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Something Between Us

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She hopes there isn’t a tremor in her voice as she approaches the counter. She’s never felt this nervous in her entire goddamned life—although that interview for her first job was certainly something.   

  

She steels herself amid cold feet and shaking fingers: she’s done this before, it’s just one Caramel Coffee Jelly order, no big deal.   

  

Kaydel, who she always sees and talks to in the morning when she comes here, gives her a happy wave and a sweet smile. That helps her. Kaydel knows her order by heart and will have it ready in no time.   

  

Although she still needs to come up to the counter and pay up, and he’s the wall she wishes did not exist there. Maybe it’s because she feels like she’s walking in water or he can still just smell her, knows her scent so that when he looks up, she pretends that maybe he does.   

  

Kaydel is busy in the background, everyone is busy in the background, and as he squints at her, she’s seeing him as the boy she once knew and she wonders if he remembers that, too.   

  

“Rey?”   

  


 

Being poor is hard: this, Rey realizes as she stares at the weird blue of the linoleum floors of Brendol & Sons Partner Office for Alpha and Omega Protection. When she saw it in the newspaper this morning, she’d spat out her drink while reading the description.   

  

Offering pre-rut guidance for Alphas through omega partnership.   

  

She nearly tore the paper down the middle and called it a day when the promised pay caught her attention. And pretty soon she was thinking about finally having enough money to afford a washing machine, perhaps, so she won’t have to hand wash all her clothes in the tub. Or how extremely helpful that money would be in her transportation needs. She always commutes and she always runs late and Plutt always wants to take it out of her salary.   

  

As she sits here now, though, she thinks about the name of this “company”, quite a mouthful for something that obviously might have started off as a scam. She asked around about it, though, in that stinking omega group sessions Finn makes her sit through. Beta as he was, he wants to get to know the omega world a little better, and the sit downs are helping him understand her bodily reactions during heats, that’s for sure, but for Rey, the sweet gesture has just grown frustrating.   

  

She doesn’t have the heart to tell him that, though, so she just took advantage of what she had. She asked everyone in the session: from Linda, the wizened old lady that leads the group, to even fucking Nancy who liked to overshare so much that the group had deliberately tried to switch the meetings on days Nancy “entertained” Alphas.   

  

She came away with her queries feeling a little more relieved when two members said they’d worked under the company for a short time. Maybe the place isn’t as fancy as she thought it might be, but perhaps this could still be helpful in her situation.   

  

The heaters aren’t working properly, though, and her feet seem to feel like they’re either damp or frozen. She gets the feeling it’s probably both.   

  

Here there’s no receptionist; she just saw a door on the address indicated, watching as a curly-haired dude looked her up and down, asked her designation, and told her to take a seat. True to his words, the guy let her inside an office shortly after, a much more sterile one. It gave off distinct vibes of a pet grooming area, but Rey was at least relieved there were certificates on the pale yellow walls on her right. She just wishes they weren’t fake.   

  

A red-haired man comes out from an adjacent room only a second later after she entered the room and it throws her off only slightly enough that she was able to control the surprise. The man looks at her the way older people would do when they’re judging you. Rey wishes she can feel uncomfortable, but at this point, pickiness was not an option.   

  

Straightening up, the man rounds his table and hands his hand out for her to shake. So, she does.   

  

“Are you sure this is not illegal?” She can’t help but ask. “Sorry, it’s just... unheard of, I guess.”   

  

“Ah,” he responds like he’s heard that before. His relaxed face tells her he probably has. “We get that a lot. Dameron and I try to keep our operations open to the public, but when they climb those stairs, they assume we’re going to sell them some cocaine.”   

  

“Aren’t you?”   

  

The man looks into her eyes, and it’s the only indication that Rey needs to know what this guy’s designation is. She backs down only biologically, but her brain tells her not to. Thankfully, though, the man does nothing more beyond staring her blankly for her weird joke and then turns back around to situate himself behind his desk.   

  

He gestures for her to take a seat. “Welcome to Brendol & Sons, how can we help you?”   

  

“I saw your ad and decided it might be good to manipulate my biology to my own way of living.”  

  

“Alright,” he seems to think, answering in that crisp British accent that she’s always found safe with. As she sounds the same.   

  

“But will this be a consultation, or have you been here before?”   

  

“No. Totally new here. You’ve got pretty wonky decor, by the way. But anyway, yeah. Consultation.”   

  

“Are you aware of what we offer?”   

  

“Alpha and Omega partnership services?”  

  

“Yes. Do you understand what that means, miss...”   

  

“Rey. Just Rey.”   

  

“Shall I elucidate this partnership program?”   

  

“Please.” She replies, suddenly feeling a little insecure now that the man knows her name.   

  

“We provide Alphas with guidance from omegas through both pre-ruts, and preliminary ruts that they would otherwise not understand themselves– “  

  

So much for Alphas and Omegas.  

  

“Some of our clients bring in Alphas who also just presented. And who might need to know what to do in order to make it in the Alpha world.”   

  

“The Alpha world?”  

  

The man blinks at her once with that Alpha stare again. She bristles and fights the urge to cower under that tense glare. Stupid omega genes. Thankfully, he seems to understand the reaction he produces in her and sighs quietly so that Rey can only see his shoulders rise and fall ever so slightly.   

  

“Why are you here?”   

  

Rey hesitates. “I need money.”   

  

“Despite what many call our operations, we are far from a prostitution service for Alphas. The government provides us with the adequate funds we need to run the business because, though experimental, Brendol & Sons have reduced the incidence of Alphas... going out of control.”  

  

“Out of control?”  

  

“I presume you were too young to remember the Chandrila Hotel incident?”   

  

“What happened?”   

  

A shadow chases the light out of the man’s eyes and he clears his throat like it’s physically taxing to recount something like this to, Rey’s sure, is not the first omega that has come through this door.   

  

“An omega sought entrance in the Chandrila Hotel after she was physically assaulted by the Alpha that was supposed to be her mate. She fought biology to get inside the hotel and was assisted by the beta receptionists and fixed with a temporary solution—they doused her with insecticide to try and dampen her scent. Both from her being able to smell herself, as well as Alphas who might be able to smell herself. As this was 2002, suppressants were still highly experimental and were not given the go signal to hit the market.   

  

“The owner, himself also a beta, gave her a room with the condition that she stay only for 24 hours. She obliged. But another Alpha guest got to her before daybreak, mating her so violently that she died beaten and bloodied.”   

  

Rey feels herself blink, gulp, and rethink her decisions. Both for coming here and for how she perceived the office’s services. The man sensed her unease after the story, and Rey can smell understanding from the Alpha dancing around in her otherwise suppressant-clogged olfactory senses. In her mind, she thanks him silently.   

  

“We were originally created through the need of the current society to protect omegas while also employing them. Suppressants were introduced later in 2005, two years after we were given the mandate to start this business in 2003. But our operations soldiered on, although quite non-existent now. We mostly link omegas to Alphas who live in poverty and have not the resources to buy the suppressants they need or the know-how to deal with their ruts. From then, we expanded to provide free suppressants for both Alphas and omegas in impoverished areas.”   

  

“So,” Rey tries. “Not really a prostitution service for Alphas?”  

  

“I can’t convince you any more than I have,” he smoothly ignores her jibe. “You are certainly free to leave through that door if you do not believe me. Or if you would rather back out from this consultation.”   

  

“You say you give free suppressants?”   

  

“That is correct.”   

  

Rey inhales through her nose. “What papers do you need to see?”   

 


  

The rules of engagement were easy enough. Meet the Alpha client twice a week for the first month. Talk over the stuff that will come up during the possible pre-rut and actual rut sessions. The Alphas—some as young as 18 sometimes—were encouraged to be candid but not disrespectful. Brendol & Sons were strict with that. Once an omega is unduly disrespected or harassed, it will lead to immediate termination of the Alpha client.   

  

Rey had sighed in relief after reading that one.   

  

The meetings were set in places close to the living quarters or at least in the general city of the Minder, an agent from the company that tags along with the omega worker on the first month of contact, making sure everything was smooth sailing.   

  

After the first month, the Minder will continue to be in contact with the omega as well as the Alpha, keeping track of the progress to ascertain when it was time to pull out the omega partner should the Alpha show signs of readiness. This took the burden off of omegas who some Alpha clients may be too attracted to, still, even after the guidance period.   

  

The Alphas must also not be in rut or about to go to rut when meeting the omegas, and must at least begin the suppressants so that they are both in a safe head space. The omegas, too, should be on suppressants on the meetings and get off of them a week before an Alpha client’s rut—if they are hired to accompany the Alpha’s rut.   

  

All of this follows the first-month rule.   

  

If the Alpha or his family were not made aware of the oncoming rut, they will still be able to avail services but will be put on Pending so as to protect the omegas who may be sexually assaulted and forced into a Heat without their consent. The company advises the families to put Alphas on suppressants immediately when the signs of rut peek through and let it wind down before seeking Brendol & Sons’ services.   

  

Brendol &Sons will also be following the age of consent in certain areas of the country when taking in and matching omegas with their Alpha clients so as to assure every party involved that there will be no laws broken during the process.   

  

Age of consent? Rey thinks. That’s probably something that both applies to the Alpha and the omega. Theirs is a relatively muted operation, after all, that tidbit about the age of consent was the right call.   

  

Coruscant’s age of consent was 18. She’s already way past that at 20, and is actually, stupidly, heavily considering taking the job. Finn wasn’t too convinced, though, but those classes for omegas had made him realize that he will never truly be able to erase the fact that omegas were made for Alphas.   

  

She picks apart another conversation she had with Armitage Hux --the man’s name, she now knows -- about the information she needed to provide the company in order to get certified:   

  

Designation Certificate: where official records state one’s designation.   

 

A blood test: to check for any sexually transmitted diseases.

 

Heat charts: providing rough estimates of the times during which an omega goes through his or her Heat. For a better estimation, the company requires Heat periods to be illustrated how they would normally occur within a three-month period.   

 

Heat suppressants: omegas are required to include the name of their suppressants so that the company can either provide them with stronger, safer ones, or more mild ones. Something that the company will be able to tell once the blood tests are submitted.   

 

Contraceptive methods: the company is entitled to know what contraceptive methods is being or will be used by the omegas who choose to assist an Alpha going into rut. Those with weak contraceptive methods will be fixed with better ones, and those with too strong or even potentially dangerous contraceptive methods will be fixed with other methods that will not endanger their health.   

  

In exchange, Hux had said that the company will provide omegas who complete these requirements with health benefits which include regular blood testings, suppressant supplication, free check-ups, and free abortion services in the event that a contraceptive method fails.   

  

The company will also be starting off an omega’s pay at a fixed price but could change depending on the Alpha client’s generosity or need to provide. Regardless of the Alpha’s stature, though, the company will pay the omega the fixed price split during a halved month—the first salary day being in the middle of the month and the second one at the end of the month.   

  

So no matter what Rey is getting her money from the company. The only difference is, if the Alpha clients “feel generous”, she can squeeze in a little more smooching if it means she can make the most out of this job. 

Chapter Text

In the few days left for her to think and back out from this arrangement—if the need so arises—Rey has turned over the pros and cons of what this whole arrangement will bring her life. She writes to fill droning articles on a small-time website in freelance and gets the rest of her money from cat- or dog-sitting for her neighbors in the complex, something she at least has to ground her. Now, as she sits on Finn’s floor and scribbles down the pros and cons like it’s an Algebra homework, she glimpses at the cat that has popped up in her peripherals, stretching and regarding her with a curious stare.   

  

She shrugs, facing the cat. “Think I should push through with this?”   

  

The cat sits down, saying nothing. “I mean, they’re going to call for confirmation soon. And in a week’s time, I’m going to need to turn in the papers they need to see to cement my employment.”   

  

She scoffs, internally laughing at herself for talking to Finn’s slightly overweight orange tabby and for actually thinking being a “companion” for any Alpha counts as “employment.”   

  

But what can she do? And her mouth gets to answer. “In this economy?” Plus sarcastic laugh.   

  

The tabby is nonplussed, of course, but he does seem to get it in his little cat mind, and saunters over to Rey, sniffing her thighs and her fingers before laying half of his body on her outstretched thigh.   

  

“I’ll take that as a yes, I guess. You got it easy,” she chuckles as the cat immediately purrs as she rubs his head. “You can just piggyback on Finn’s rich money slash trust fund to provide for your daily canned food meals.”   

  

She thinks about that for a second, how she’s like the cat but in human form. And ultimately—maybe she’ll take it to her grave, even, with how Finn is—it was that that made her realize she’d already probably made her decision.   

  

When Finn came home, he brought some Chinese and they ate as they talked. She stayed for an hour more to take notes on how to exercise Beebee, the cat’s name, so that he at least gets some action that could truly shed his pounds. By the stroke of midnight, Rey says goodbye and departs for her own flat, lying in bed wide awake as she goes over the tasks for tomorrow.   

  

A man named Mitaka calls her in the morning after she wakes up, saying they’d already found her a Minder and that, if her requirements are already completed, the company could dispatch her in at least a month. It’s still a lot to take in, of course, especially when Brendol & Sons’ business hours seem to be ass-crack of dawn to twilight o’clock.   

  

She’s exaggerating, of course, but 6 AM is still quite early.   

  

“Your Minder, as most agents are already out in the field and whose responsibilities are maxed out with their three-client requirement, will be Mr. Armitage Hux. He will keep in contact with you for the duration of your companionship of the Alpha matched to you and will be in charge of terminating a partnership if unsavory behavior is exhibited by either you or the Alpha.”  

  

“Hey, do you guys always talk like you’re reading something?”   

  

Mitaka’s obviously silent surprise makes Rey feel slightly guilty. Maybe he is—  

  

“I am reading something.”   

  

There it is. “I’m sorry, continue?”   

  

“You are required to speak truthfully and as honestly to your Minder so that they can assess the risks and rewards of the partnership and even ascertain if a match is ineffective.”   

  

“Does this include, err, bedroom shenanigans?”   

  

“Preferably, yes. Although we have found most of our workers and clients feel a connection to their activities that make it sometimes difficult for us to accurately get a read on a partnership. In any case, we have decided to continue finding out about any and all aspects of the partnerships, provided that, for the comfort of both our clients and employees, we are offered only brief, succinct reports of possible problem areas and places of improvement that may benefit from our assistance.”   

  

No shit.   

  

“So, just short and sweet sex stuff?”   

  

Another pause. “I suppose.”   

  

“Alright. When do you want me to drop by for the requirements?”   

  

“A week from now, preferably, in the same office you went to for your first consultation.”  

  

“Got it,” she says, glad to be rid of odd human-pamphlet speak.   

  

Time to chart those Heats.   

 


   

She finishes up her Heat charts with Finn over their Saturday dinner tradition, which had first discussed her and her plans to push through with this company as well as Finn’s strong feelings about it.   

  

“What if you get sick?” He begins, and Rey says the company’s already thought of that and runs and requires complete check-ups to make sure both parties are not in bad shape.   

  

“If they’re lying about not being sick? What if they have a criminal record?” To which Rey replies that the Minder will offer a complete dossier of the client upon confirmation, and that she’s pretty sure the fact that the company is small, but has remained efficient, is because they know what to do.   

  

“But I don’t trust Alphas, Rey,” he goes on around a mouthful of Great Grandma’s Amazing Brisket™️, Finn’s mother’s mother’s recipe. She takes a bite too, because, delicious, and says that no one really does.  

  

“What about Beebee?” Alpha meetings were only thrice a week if Heat services are not the availed package. “They’re going to send you out to some Alpha when you’re in Heat??” Bite suppressants, Finn, she says, not too afraid herself because most Alphas don’t want mates yet these days.   

  

And then he stands, lays down his fork calmly and breathes. “I can’t stop you, but, if there is something you need, call me, text me, hell, “beep me if you wanna reach me” this shit. I will be there.”   

  

She awards him with a peck on the cheek and thanks him mostly for his help during her Heat chart task. Turns out, she’d been riding out most her Heats with Finn that he’d already marked her Heat cycles diligently. So really, all she needed was to copy and paste.   

  

After a week, she drops by the office and gets greeted by Mitaka, who she now sees is a man of average height, average feet and perfectly coiffed hair.  

  

“Miss Rey.” He greets.   

  

“Hi.”   

  

“The requirements?”   

  

“Right.” She holds a finger up and rummages in her messenger bag. “Everything is right here in this clear book.”   

  

Mitaka turns his stare at her. “A staple would have done nicely.”   

  


   

Rey has never been to college—and probably never will. So, it’s a surprise for her surely to find out that the client was going to be a professor who, apparently, had never had a rut in his life. At the miserable (for an Alpha) age of 26, the poor man has only ever felt the urges of the Alpha designation when he had presented at age 18—and had just as easily done away with them a week after that.  

  

Suffice it to say, he probably lived his life like a beta with a sprinkling of some Alpha tendencies sandwiched in between. Although none of them were realized – as Hux also tells her that this Alpha has also never had a partner before – he seemed to have been pretty resigned to his fate.  

  

Even as she looks at his files right now, she wonders how the hell an Alpha could even deign to not act upon the biological dictations that make them who they are. Personally, as an omega herself, she wonders if there will ever be a day when she isn’t thinking about what’s underneath a sexy Alpha’s shirt when she’s close to Heat.   

  

He teaches a college history class which is interesting. Though out of school, Rey has always been interested in history and she thinks maybe she could ask some historical facts when he pounds her pussy raw. She shakes that thought just as quickly as it slipped in, trying to keep a clear head about this entire arrangement.   

  

The sudden shift in higher dose suppressants is definitely messing with her hormones, and that means the omega in her is furious and more than a little confused – relaxed only by just the mere thought of mating with an Alpha.   

  

Rey shakes her head again. “Not mate,” she mutters.   

  

Before she signed an agreement and left, Hux had told her that whenever she was ready, she could make contact with the client just as long as the company was notified. And seeing as how Rey had felt like the best way to deal with her problem was to just get it over with, she had given Hux a heads up that if not tonight, she’d probably just make contact come morning the next day.   

  

It was just that the cold splash of reality hit her in the form of a paper bowl of leftover Chinese food and left her gutted that yes, this is her life now.   

  

She slurps the last of those cold noodles, imagining them warm and fresh in her stomach and then sauntering over to her bed to type in her client’s number on her phone. After changing into something more comfortable, she sits cross-legged on her bed, the faint, weak light of her hand-me-down phone casting marbled shadows and swaths of blue light on her Hello Kitty pajamas as it lay directly on the bed, displaying the dreaded number.   

  

If she engages now, it would be clear to her that this is where her life has come. If she doesn’t, she doesn’t get those free check-ups and free A-grade suppressants.   

  

Rey says fuck it when she presses the call button, angrily falling face first on her bed and the dizzying number of bad decisions that it would probably see in the following couple of weeks. It goes on ringing and Rey has to hold her breath so as not to hyperventilate—but the call goes straight to voice mail.   

  

That voice mail makes her look up. How can a voice mail make someone so... wet?   

  

“You are calling the residence of Professor Benjamin Solo,” it had begun, and she was struck by how rich and guttural it sounded. “If you are hearing this, I am currently unavailable. Leave a message after the beep.”   

  

She’s finding it more ridiculous that the three mere sentences of his voice is already making her squirm. Until she realizes maybe she can use that. What’s the point of resisting, anyway, she had after all said yes to this arrangement in her head more times than she doubted it. So, bolstered by what can potentially lead her life in a winding path of curveball after curveball of problems, she leaves him a goddamn message she hopes he never forgets.   

  


 

Ben Solo wakes up the same every day.   

  

Every morning he makes his bed, jumps in the shower, takes a suppressant, cooks himself breakfast, brushes his teeth, gets dressed, and gets to the university.   

  

Except for this particular morning, he feels lethargic due to an overthinking stint the night before. It’s not even a week in after he’s finally taken matters into his own hands and submitted a file on that Alpha-omega program that he’s just sure will end badly for him.   

  

Maybe canceling is an option. There was a clause in there after all that both Alphas and omegas can opt out if they feel like they wouldn’t be able to go through with it. Besides it’s not like the program has found him a match yet, there certainly hasn’t been any contact made.   

  

His sluggish trudge to the kitchen is what he believes is going to get him well and truly late but he does it anyway. He needs to stew in this pit he’s dug for himself and rethink the last 72 hours.  

  

Today, he allows himself to think on nothing but milk and cereal, abandoning the much more caloric affair he prepares for himself in the morning. The miserable cereal suits him nicely as he goes over the medical problems he now faces because of years of essentially living like a beta. He’d said he won’t ever debase himself by giving in to instinct, but now it had become his only option. His doctor had said he needed to – in no specific terms – get laid. And by an omega. Because if he doesn’t he could just kiss his fertility goodbye. As well as the agency for his other organs.   

  

It was stupid. Now that he sits thinking about it, it just sounds even more stupid.   

  

He’s washing his bowl after a while and glances at his ringing phone on the counter that he left last night. When he swipes to accept the call, he’s treated to a silently angry Amilyn Holdo.   

  

“Benjamin. Would you care to explain why your ass isn’t on school grounds yet?”   

  

“I slept in.”   

  

A pause in which Ben is absolutely sure Holdo is in conference with other teachers standing nearby and she doesn’t want to blow a fuse. He winces. “I’ll be there, I've already dressed anyway.”   

  

“See to that.”   

  

He slips his phone in his pocket, and sprints to the door. It’s only when he reaches his car that he realizes there was another message, this one from an unknown number. He does some mental gymnastics trying to just forget about it. It’s probably just his mom, asking him why he hadn’t shown up at her gala when he always shows up. He rarely does, his mother just likes to exaggerate. Until the guilt chews him out and spits him whole that he becomes forced to answer the call.   

  

When he does, he nearly flies out of his seat.   

  

A woman sent him a voice mail of her... moaning. There was some squelching, too, (dear god in heaven) and finally, a voice that makes him feel lightheaded, makes him grip the steering wheel.   

  

“Hi,” the woman says breathily, squelch, squelch. “Are you Professor, uh, Benjamin Solo?” There’s that… that way that his name just rolls along her tongue that makes his head spin. Focus on the road , Ben, not on some imaginary pussy that might not even be yours.   

  

“Yes.” He mutters mindlessly anyway, against gritted teeth.   

  

As if on cue, like she’s actually in his passenger seat doing god knows what, she giggles, sighing. “Call me back when you get this message. I’ll be waiting, Alpha~”.  

Chapter Text

Hux is going to get an earful, he knows. Five minutes ago, he'd called Rey if she went through with her first contact plan only to find out that she had done so and in a manner that had him massaging his temples. After putting the phone down on Rey, Hux answered a very angry Benjamin Solo asking why the hell the match set for him had to be a fucking nympho.  

  

"I could get you out of this program for calling her that," he reminds him sternly, after years of clipped and calm responses to pesky Alphas that always, always act up. God, how he hated to be grouped with them. Ben backs down, mumbles a frustrated and yet deeply remorseful apology.  

  

"Now," Hux restarts. "What seems to be the problem?" He knows already, Rey had been all too cheeky with zero regrets about how she'd acted, and the blowback was strange coming from Ben Solo because, well, Alphas usually liked it when an omega talked like that to them.  

  

Not this one, then . He muses. 

  

"She called me while... while… touching herself!" He whisper-shouts. The idle chatter in the background tells Hux that he's perhaps currently preoccupied and just had to squeeze this phone call to chew him out. He adopts that steely resolve again. 

  

"There is an opt-out. I could fix you with someone else. The contract does say termination could occur if one or two parties are not compatible with each other," he explains, going over the file he has of Rey.  

  

The idle chatter continues on the other line and Hux is most definitely sure it's that Alpha blood in his veins that's making him truly think about that opt-out. Which is to say Not Thinking About The Opt-Out At All. He thinks maybe he should even thank Rey. This Alpha clearly needs to take the edge off.  

  

After a while, he answers with a shaky sigh, and the muffled shuffle he hears allows him to imagine the aggravation on the client's face.  

  

"Just… don't… have her do that...?" He tries, an entry point Hux knows is the best way to interject that they will still be meeting to go over those things specifically. The response comes in the form of another sigh and a teeth-gritted "Fine."  

  

"You will have to call her back, of course, to schedule the arrangement."  

  

"Won't you be doing that?"  

  

"I'm a Minder, not a babysitter."  

  

Ben bristles at that, he just knows, he's outlined the many identical reactions Alphas gave him over the years he's run this business. As an Alpha himself, he knows he doesn't need to see another Alpha to know what he or she is feeling.  

  

"How. How is that going to work?"  

  

"Ask your omega."  

  

" My omega?" 

  

"Yes. You did pay for her."  

  

"Don't…" he sounds pained. "Don't call her like… that."  

  

He sighs, looking at the croissant on his table that's now just sitting there coldly thanks to the fact that he has to do damage control for two squabbling children once again. Alphas and omegas almost always fall in this dynamic.  

  

"I am sure you are, to a certain degree, highly attracted to her, correct?" Horny, even, if Hux’s hunch is correct. It surely explains why he’s bearing down like this all of a sudden. 

  

Silence. 

  

"Mr. Solo?"  

  

"Yes. Correct." 

  

"And it seems to me that your unease at having her called names so callously by other people implies that you hold a certain respect for her, still, despite not having met her. Correct?"  

  

"Yes."  

  

"Then an arrangement and a meeting with her is not something you should be worried about. She is amiable and nice and will not hesitate to report you should you deliberately make her feel uncomfortable." 

  

"You know her?" He asks, tentatively, before the shuffling becomes distant for a split-second and someone in the background calls his name. Hux speaks once he is sure he has Ben's attention.  

  

"No. She had just been confident enough to explain the... reason , I suppose, of your outburst right now."  

  

Cue another gritted-teeth response. Ah, that growl is a nice touch, very scary, he thinks. "She told you??"  

  

"It was in the agreement, after all, Mr. Solo. Or am I to think that a man in the academia, of all people, forgot to read the agreement before signing it?"  

  

"You're getting on my nerves."  

  

"That does nothing to faze me, Mr. Solo. Talk to the omega, her name is Rey and she is ready whenever you are ready."  

  

Hux sets the phone down before Ben could add another layer of contempt, coming back to his papers and going through Rey's file once again. He sighs. "I fear I may have quite the case in my hands."  

  


 

Ben tries to calm down for the rest of the day, trying not to gnaw the inside of his cheek every time the sound of that... that moaning omega slips his mind. Rey , he reminds himself. Her name is Rey .  

  

Part of him thought it would be easier if he knew her name, but as he humanized her in his head, so, too, did his imagination fill her out with muscles, and skin and curves that he's sure he'll die of either a boner or embarrassment by the time school lets out. As he works on his school records, he imagines her fingers dancing on his chest. As he reads and grades shitty essays that have nothing to do with the reading assignment, he thinks not of his incompetent students as per usual and imagines lips ghosting the tip of his cock or the swell of his knot.  

  

It's disgusting. Utterly unbecoming of him and what he promises himself each day: I will not give in to biology.  

  

He'd cultivated years' worth of well-behaved Alpha reputation and he was not so keen as to let that all go today. But as he vows not to lose, he thinks of her. He thinks about what he could have possibly done to suffer this fate.  

  

In the end, he'd reached out to the Minder, an Armitage Hux, and ranted to him like a fucking schoolboy. He's never even done that with his own mother since he was five years old, and yet the simple moans from an omega he doesn't even know have defeated him? How pathetic.  

  

After taking a relaxing drive back home, he supposes Hux is right. Plus, his medical problems are not going to get better, and a part of him still wants a family so he does what he can to calm down and not just ejaculate when she answers his call later.  

  

He will call her, of course. In five minutes.  

  

But five minutes become an hour, and an hour becomes two, and two becomes three, until finally, finally, like some idiot, he calls her at 3 in the morning hoping against hope that she's already deeply sleeping.  

  

She isn't because, well, fate is unkind tonight. She sounds groggy, and Ben feels bad for postponing because of his anxiety and not even thinking about her own well-being. When she responds with a slightly cranky and scratchy "Hello?" though, he's immediately taken back to that message she left him.  

  

He pushes that away. "Hello. This is... Professor Solo."  

  

Her voice alights with recognition and his whole body reacts. Cursing under his breath, he hears her say:  

  

"I was wondering when you'd call."  

  

"Were you really?"  

  

"Was it revenge?" She giggles quietly, shuffling in her bed. "Since I left that voice mail around this time too yesterday?"  

  

"Uhh, yeah, about that."  

  

She hums, and his apartment is dead quiet as he hears how she's hanging on his words. "I- I was- that surprised me."  

  

"I hope it did more than that, surely?"  

  

Oh god, he's going to spill all over himself and he's going to mess this up. She's going to think he's some kind of a pervert. "I- Yeah. It did more than surprise me."  

  

"Good," she practically purrs, and Ben finds it odd that it's the simplest of her reactions that draws him in.  

  

"Listen," he tries, "I haven't really done this before."  

  

"I know."  

  

"How?"  

  

"The file, Professor Solo," she admonishes playfully, dragging the ‘o' at the end like she's getting ready to hoist him closer to her with that voice alone. He wishes she really was close, how he'd love to do things to her to hear that voice.  

  

Ben swallows, clenching and unclenching his fists. He still thinks this is a bad idea, though, the pinnacle of all his other bad ideas. Which is saying a lot already, what with all the bad ideas he’s had. But it feels like less of a pressure now that he was able to tell her.  

  

"You?" He asks, hoping she stays on the line because he just knows he'll take the cadence of her voice to bed and sleep soundly dreaming of it. A giggle and then she starts humming.  

  

"You could say that."  

  

"Explain."  

  

"Let's just say I indulge my omega nature when the need arises. It's there anyway. And it feels good when you just let go, sometimes. You know?"  

  

"I've never... let go before."  

  

"Then maybe you should."  

  

"I should. That's- that's the whole thing of why I'm here."  

  

"Letting go?"  

  

"Sort of."  

  

"Do you want to let go together?"  

  

Ben inhales through his nose, thinking about what that means and how it's going to change his life. Letting go, huh? 

  

"How does coffee sound?" He asks.  

  

She exhales a short, lilting chuckle. "Amazing."  

  


 

Coffee, it turns out, for Rey, was an outdoor thing. Before they said goodbye, Rey had asked him whether he wanted more of the voicemail she sent the night before. He was shocked, of course, that she — this beautiful (he's sure) young woman — would touch herself if he asked her to. It threatened to go to his head, of course, and the way his body reacted had made him wince. He'd gone the honest route and she'd appreciated it.  

  

But honest for Rey came also the reality that this was still essentially just an arrangement. So, he tried to take that out of the conversation in his head at least until he was comfortable with it. He didn't want to think of Rey like that, but of course, she insisted it. He understood that it was for her safety, that boundaries were still boundaries no matter how much we think other people don't need them.  

  

As he sits on a bench now, he tries to keep his hormones in check. Rey said she'd gone out for a jog and asked him to buy her an iced coffee, and Ben doesn't really want to think about it, but his mind just went to workout clothes territory... and how Rey might look in them.  

  

He shakes his head, letting the ghosts of her as-of-yet imagined appearance float in the wind. Things were going so well right and messing that up now means he'll be stuck in a limbo of "what if I had done it and not been afraid?". He likes to think he's not afraid right now as he centers himself in the coldness of Rey's ice-cold coffee. He likes to think he's not afraid, turning his head to the sound of her voice and thinking, well, he's definitely not afraid now.  

  

Rey jogs up to him with a sweet smile and an even sweeter scent. It's dampened, as it is when a person is on suppressants, but he detects hints of mandarin there, mingling with the sweat already drenching her grey crop top. He should be disgusted: the sweat marks on her shirt tells him she'd probably been here all morning just running around. He wants to roll around in it, scent her and make sure she stays scented.  

  

Instead, he hands her the iced coffee just before he notices that she's been looking at his face the whole time. Just like that, the spell is broken.  

  

Both of them clear their throat at the same time like they're about to give a speech. And while Rey is busy guzzling a tumbler of water, he wills himself to keep drinking his own coffee in silence, trying so hard to not let his fingers alight on her skin. How the hell can one person be so magnetic?  

  

That, or he must have really been deprived to feel like he's going to cum just from the thought of being able to touch her.  

  

Which... she actually does with ease, offering a hand for him to shake and beaming brightly when his body coordinated with his hand and took it. He imagines he'd probably be dead of embarrassment right now if she weren't so amiable.  

  

"Thanks for this," she says, lifting the coffee.  

  

"Won't you get dehydrated?"  

  

"What?"  

  

"Well," he hears himself say, forcing himself to go on autopilot just to keep the conversation going. "Coffee is a diuretic. It, uhm, it dehydrates you."  

  

She stares at him curiously, which makes Ben berate himself because of course, she knows it dehydrates you, Ben, she just drank water – 

  

"I didn't know that," she says finally. "Thanks for that, too."  

  

Without prompt, she swings around and starts walking, her high ponytail swishing to one side as Ben's heart seizes with want at the sight of her gland. There's no marking on it, which appeases him, but at the same time, he's scared he might do something stupid when his rut comes... and makes sure there's a bite there. Realizing Rey is walking much further now, he jogs to catch up with her, finally actively trying to be part of the conversation.  

  


 

She's clutching the coffee close to her chest because Ben was definitely not what she expected him to be. The file had said he was a little over six feet tall, and it definitely didn't leave out the color of his hair, or his eyes, but if she thought he was attractive before, he was even more now.  

  

When she'd seen him on that bench, she was supposed to be finished with her lap. But seeing an Alpha like that — sitting patiently, waiting to take care of her — it had all been too much. So, she distracted herself a little more, running until her heart began to calm. Which is to say, not that much at all because she'd been running an hour even before he came.  

  

Still. She approached him when she knew she wasn't going to be tempted to climb him like a tree, and he'd been genuinely sweet thus far.  

  

There's always the fact that this is all just an arrangement, of course, and that single fact of all of this either grounds Rey or makes her doubt her own decisions. She won't tell Ben, of course, not when he's looking at her like... like... an Alpha.  

  

"Do you jog often?" He asks firmly, finally present in the conversation. The depth of that voice rattles in her head and speeds her heart up more than a possible palpitation from this coffee could.  

  

Alpha wants to know about me.  

  

"Yes, Alph- I mean," shit, way to go, Rey . That makes him visibly uncomfortable. And she can't help but wince because she's feeling it, too. Whatever it is.   

  

"Yeah. I do. I do it mostly to clear my head."  

  

"Lot of things in your head, then."  

  

"Yeah."  

  

"What things?" He urges, looking at his footfalls and matching it with hers. That makes her look down on her feet, too, and zeroes in on the sound it makes on the ground before responding.  

  

"Many things. Like this, for instance. I still think I made a stupid decision."  

  

He chuckles, scratching the back of his head — and his scent wafts in the air a little, making Rey a little dizzy, cursing herself for meeting him a little too soon and not giving the suppressants enough time to be activated.  

  

"Me too."  

  

"How'd you learn the partnership?"  

  

"My, uh, doctor suggested it for medical reasons."  

  

"Medical reasons?"  

  

"Yeah," he replies, shy and maybe a little sheepish, too, like he'd rather not have this conversation. But she sees the determination in his eyes and feels strangely proud of him for persevering. "My doctor said I could be permanently infertile if I kept on with this... this... lifestyle. So, she suggested that maybe I could, uh, get some help, as it were."  

  

"That sounds serious." She replies because, well, she doesn't really know what to say to that.  

  

"Yes, well, I don't mind it that much. I kinda knew this was where this was going. Besides, I'm not telling you this because I want to get laid so badly. I just. Don't want you to be doing anything you don't want."  

  

"That's–" Unexpected? Weird? Sweet? A sign that Alpha wants to make sure you’re safe?

  

"That's unusual." 

  

For a minute, she thinks maybe he was offended by that, but the small smile that forms on his lips tells her he knows exactly what she's talking about.  

  

"That's me."  

  

"For what it's worth, I think you did a great job until now. If this doesn't work, at least you tried." She says, mindlessly wrapping both her hands gently around his. It's so corny and Rey wants to smash her head against something but... this is the most non-Alpha-omega interaction she's ever had with an Alpha. She decides she likes him already, client or not, and she tugs him as they walked together to the best place she has in mind. 

Chapter Text

She's never seen an Alpha like him before, she concludes, which is probably why she is reacting this way. He's the biggest, broadest, thickest Alpha she's ever seen in her life. His body radiates a body heat that affects her every time she touches him, and his eyes are magnetic pools of swirling brown mysterious intent. Obviously, it's not hard to see that he's attracted to her. He follows her like she has a hold on his spirit, falling into step with her when she speeds up or slows down, and never once takes his eyes away from her.  

 

His scent is muted, too, a sensual touch at the edge of her senses — but it's there. It's there when she laughs and his eyes fall on her gland and he licks his lips like he's never seen anything like it. It's there when she hustles him to walk ahead of her just for the hell of it, only to feel the heat when he looks back and worries why she's not following.  

 

In the past 15 minutes that they walked to her favorite place in the massive park at the center of Coruscant, she's already touched him approximately 15 times. Ridiculous . One touch for every minute.  

 

And each time it happens, Ben turns his head to the warmth of her hand, drops his gaze down to meet hers, and inhales slowly. She must smell so fucking horny right now, but even if she does, Ben seems to have the decency to act like it's not doing anything to him. As much as she likes to think she is a rule-breaker, she's not stupid enough to mess up her employment either. Those A-grade suppressants will certainly help her a little better with her Heats. After, presumably, she is done with Ben.  

 

Somehow, that thought stabs at her heart, and like the survivor she is, she tackles the threat, takes on the anxiety, and finds a solution. As Ben sits down the proffered bench, she excuses herself to call Hux.  

 


 

Hux positions himself close enough that he sees where Ben and Rey are sitting on a bench in the park. He stands to the side of his BMW black 5-series and keeps a watchful eye of the love birds. Right off the bat, he notices that lovestruck look in the Alpha Ben's eyes, and a cheeky and laughing Rey that obviously has enough experience in handling Alphas that this doesn't faze her at all.  

 

When he first matched them, he'd wondered if it was the right call. Rey was young, very young, for a mild-mannered academic guy like Ben. And although Ben's not exactly in his twilight years just yet, he'd thought maybe he'd be too shocked to handle such a spritely omega such as Rey.  

 

Which, well, he thinks, he was shocked, but only until he allowed himself to admit that he was insanely attracted to her in the first place. The beginnings of that attraction are such a tell now that he'd pat himself on the back if he didn't have coffee in his hands. Thankfully, his matchmaking talent had given him joy in his line of work. Either that or Rey was just a special omega.  

 

He doesn't want to be patronizing, of course, a self-made woman like Rey wouldn't like that very much. So, he watches, sipping coffee the entire time Rey charms Ben Solo and it's only 8 in the morning.  

 


 

After Ben excuses himself to leave for work, Rey stays behind in the park, calming herself down and waiting for Hux to come around. She's a little all over the place after it all, happy and content, like a fat cat, and dopey and high on pure Alpha goodness. She wasn't too bad herself, she thinks, because she's sure she totally did a number on Ben before he left. Now she just has to tell Hux. 

 

Sure enough, there he is, bright red hair softly moving in the wind as he hands her an ice cream cone.  

 

"Chocolate chip."  

 

He nods, making himself comfortable on the bench. "I saw you trailing the vendor earlier with your eyes. Need I remind you you already have an Alpha?" He smiles. Rey's brows furrow for a moment, not quite believing Hux was ever capable of joking. It's like he's read her mind because he says, "I joke, too, you know. Mitaka's the one with the stiff upper lip." Hux adds, glancing at the pond before them and taking a small sip of his coffee.  

 

"So," he begins again. "How was the first meeting?"  

 

She's prepared to answer the question even long before Hux arrived, but somehow, with another Alpha here, she doesn't feel too comfortable divulging the life of hers. She shook her head as Hux busied himself with the lid of his coffee. 

 

Not yours, Rey.  

 

"It was… good."  

 

Hux stares at her like she just told him cockroaches grow to the size of Elephants in a distant island at the center of the Pacific Ocean. Which, to Hux, means absolutely nothing. So, it's his stony face that greets her. She clears her throat and Hux leans and crosses his ankles. "Last I remember you were more than happy to tell me the details of your 3 am phone call. Now that you shared a seat with your Alpha, you suddenly feel very different about oversharing. Why is that?"  

 

"It's just— " You're not supposed to know anything about my Alpha.  

 

When she doesn't reply, Hux sets his coffee cup to the ground and brushes off his very clearly lint-free pristine woolen coat. "I'm going to take a wild guess and presume this is because of the suppressant change?"  

 

He's good. "Right, yeah. Sorry about that." She tries to make herself sound sure, but the truth is, she thinks even if she wasn't taking or changing her suppressants, Ben would still be delectable in her eyes. Hux catches her lust-addled gaze, of course, and knows better than to believe her very obvious lie. He collects that fact and moves on to other matters.  

 

"Has he told you about his outburst?"  

 

"Outburst?" She repeats, licking the chocolate off her fingers.  

 

"Mr. Solo called my office the morning you sent him that voicemail -- very much upset about it."  

 

"He told me it surprised him." 

 

"To the point that he'd taken it out on me. I would advise you, Miss Rey, to hold back on what counts as inappropriate behavior without your partner's consent." Hux tells her, observing how positively messy she eats her ice cream. He reminds her of a dog that has been starving for a long time and was just given a lick of water. He files that away, too.  

 

"So, he was mad?" 

 

"Not exactly."  

 

"Then what was he?"  

 

"Aroused, Miss Rey, in the middle of a conference with Coruscant University's finest professors, and hating it, from what I can gather. You've done him in quite easily. Poor guy." 

 

She winces, lowering the ice cream down and watching it melt on purpose, as though she's projecting her shame on it. "Sorry." She says in a small voice.  

 

"Don't be," he smiles as she turns her head towards him. "It was a very fun morning."  

 

"Weren't you… pissed?" 

 

He shrugs, inched a little closer on instinct when he sees her shiver in the chilly air. "Here, take my coat. Your, err, cutoff shirt is not doing anything in your favor right now."  

 

"Oh! Uh, that won't be necessary. I'll need to get going soon."  

 

"Alright." He stands, straightening his coat once more. Rey detects a nervous tick but is unsure why. "Keep in contact, Miss Rey, and do take my advice."  

 

"I will," she says, huffing. "Anyway, thanks for this. I'll call you when we set another meeting."  

 


 

Rey had been more than willing to live her life on her own terms. It was something of a gospel truth she grew up understanding. Mostly alone in life, the people who did stay with her would either just do under obligation or some sense of I-own-you attitude that she'd always found grating.  

 

Her life was hard, all right. Fending for oneself when oneself was not in any shape to do it had been hard. But Rey was nothing if not a phoenix rising from the ashes. In that time, she managed to make something of herself, establishing where she wanted to go, and who she wanted to be.  

 

Granted, being an omega while doing all of that meant she had to work twice as hard. But as she got to know the few people she adored along the way — people who she'd known had helped simply because it was the right thing to do — she realized an even more harder-to-swallow truth that should probably have not been that hard to swallow if her life had been slightly better.  

 

In the chaos of that truth, she found peace at the fact that while some people leave, some people are worth allowing in one's life. She learned to let Finn help her as others helped her, and she learned how to embrace vulnerability.  

 

This is probably why it doesn't feel as difficult anymore to let Ben lead her inside the dry, warm restaurant, why she let him drape his coat around her even though she'd told him that there was no need for that now because she has an umbrella. The nerve of this guy to say that he hadn't wanted her to get sick because of the rain, the nerve of him to envelope her in his scent and expect her to will her knees to keep them from buckling.  

 

She held herself up well enough only until a few blocks from the restaurant. As he's looking around wildly and she's drowning in his scent and she's hearing him say how wonderful it would have been if he brought his car right now and what did his stupid mother even want with the car anyway — until Rey just had to pull him in close and let those thoughts drift away.  

 

He kisses her back as the water cascades around his face, and, oh, how warm it is to be devoured by him. He links both arms strongly around her waist, wrenching supple, swollen lips down her neck to mouth at her gland so gently, teasing, and laughing when she moans so he can push her against the wall of the restaurant they should be in by now.  

 

How wet her arms are and how that's the case too with her pussy— 

 

"Rey?"  

 

—his fingers travel to places she only touches herself and—  

 

"Rey, wake up!"  

 

When Finn pushes her on the arm gently, she jolts awake, flopping to the side of the bed where a grumpy-looking orange tabby is looking at her with his own brand of kitty contempt.  

 

She rubs her eyes. "Sorry. Slept in."  

 

But Finn is looking at something that isn't her face, and so is Beebee. Rey turns an embarrassing shade of red and tugs the bed sheets so forcefully that it sends Beebee flying off the air. He'd been sitting directly on that wet spot, examining what it was.  

 

Finn sighs and walks back out to the kitchen, "I'll make breakfast. And then we'll go to the support group."  

 

"Ugh, I don't want to listen to Nancy."  

 

"No one does. But the group has a new Alpha guest today. You remember Jessika, right?"  

 

"Yeah." Everyone knows Jessika, she thinks, but lets Finn have his moment. Beebee jumps up on a seat at the table, and Rey follows suit, allowing herself to bask in her best friend's exceptionally good cooking.  

 

"She says she and the organization are partnering with a few local Alphas to get insights about how they interact with omegas in general. Should be enlightening."  

 

Beebee serves as the perfect distraction for the moment, as Rey pets him as he's purring and she's erasing how much the word "Alpha" for her had only recently morphed into "Ben Solo."   

 

"I thought you hated Alphas?"  

 

"I do. I still do. But it's really fascinating," he says, thoughtful. She resists the urge to roll her eyes. Sweet summer child. The only thing Alphas find fascinating is the practice of comparing dick and knot sizes. Or, at least, a figurative version of it. As an omega, she can't begin to illustrate just how silly and stupid some Alphas guys really are around omegas.  

 

There's the nearly quintessential posturing as Alphas watch out for Alphas in the area and do the dog equivalent of protecting the pack, protecting the mate. After agonizing minutes drag on, she waits for them to drop the corniest lines she's ever heard, lets them gloat, and, when they don't seem half as bad as they look, she sleeps with them.  

 

"Besides," Finn goes on, sitting across from her as he watches her eat. "You're going to be hanging out with one more often now. I need to know what I can do if he starts going loco, you know."  

 

She wants to say so badly that Alphas really didn't get the bad reputation they have by exactly being nice. That if Finn decides to post up to one, he really won't stand a chance. But just the thought of having someone's back so much that they were willing to risk life and limb for her brings her unbidden tears. She pokes Beebee enough times to piss him off, prompting him to lay a dangerous last warning for her — a paw with his claws out halfway. It centers her and keeps the tears from coming.  

 

Rey thinks about all the Alphas she's encountered her whole life, how most of them had gradually become more bearable with the introduction and mandatory constitutionality of suppressants.  

 

And how some had simply ignored it and gave her more than enough headaches. She managed to escape these encounters, though, thankfully, and when she became friends with Finn back in high school, omega life and dealing with Alphas, in general, became a little easier.  

 

Nonetheless, she gives Finn a piece of her mind about this Fascinating-Alpha take of his. "Some Alphas might be there just for the omegas, though. And this Alpha could just be Nancy's "friend" again. God, I hate Nancy so much."  

 

"So much." Finn echoes.  

 

"Most Alphas don't even care about what omegas really feel about them. They just care that they're around them, probably because that ups the chances of them getting laid. And then, they'll go gloat to their other Alpha friends about bedding an omega."  

 

Finn nods in understanding, deep in thought.  

 

"Alphas are arrogant, and also ironically spineless at the same time. They like to act like they know what's best for omegas, and even betas, too. Sometimes, with the Alphas I've slept with before, they would even tell you exactly what to do on dates. I'd ditch them right away, though, because, as we both know, I take precise instructions from Alphas very seriously." She says, slowly nodding her head to the sarcasm.  

 

Finn laughs. "That's my peanut."  

 

"Yeah." She laughs, too, high-fiving him.  

 

"Was Ben like that to you, too?" 

 

That surprises her, not only because she didn't think about it, but because even now she actually does, realization dawns on her fast.  

 

"No." She says, more to herself as Finn moves to clean the dishes. "He wasn't."

Chapter Text

All the members of the support group are drenched in rain except for Nancy. Rey resists the urge to roll her eyes. Of course, it’s fucking Nancy who’s dry, must have ridden here on some of her Alpha partners' cars or something. Or maybe she’s just early (because she always is), a part of Rey tells herself, but she erases that very rational thought because the realization that came to her was entirely crippling that she’d been silent the whole ride here.   

  

Even as Beebee play-bites and scratches up a storm on her right hand, even as Finn tries very carefully to take Beebee away from her, that thought stayed. It stayed because she’s only known Ben less than two days and he’s never once acted how most Alphas did.   

  

Ben carried himself with an air of dignity and respect — for the sake of others and for himself. She brings that thought with her as she escapes the rain, as she sits, half-drenched, hanging her rain jacket on a chair by the door, and half-listens to the introductions of the group. When Finn finished introducing himself, he tapped Rey’s knee gently, jerking her out of her thoughts.   

  

She clears her throat. “Hi. My name is Rey. I’m an omega.”   

  

“Hi, Rey.” They say in unison, and the introductions continue.   

  

But why did he have to act that way? And why was she thinking so much about it? There had certainly been other Alphas before who were also the same brand of decent Ben was, but why was Ben the only one’s behavior that struck her? She’s probably just missing something. Something. Something. She has no idea what that was, of course, only that it’s strange that she’s still thinking about it.   

  

Jessika begins with her day and talks about a pretty normal one and Rey can’t help but listen this time. A lot has changed since omega activism was able to utilize politics into actually finding a solution for the routine abuse and discrimination of omegas in society. Thanks to organizations like Resist Omega, which also funds these support group sessions, omega struggles were brought to light. It jolted companies into slowly incorporating omega-based reforms in the workplace and creating environments that could cater to their needs the same way they do for Alphas.   

  

When the first companies began offering Heat Leaves, and adding in benefits so omega employees can easily afford suppressants, so, too, did Alpha understanding expand. For the longest time, too, people thought Alphas were indestructible, but the truth is they would also experience the same level of discomfort as omegas did during heat when they themselves were in rut. So, Rut Leaves were introduced, too, as well as the benefits for suppressants.   

  

Jessika tells the group about her last Heat Leave, deftly leaving out oversharing-territory details and generally just basking in how far their activism has come.   

  

Rey can’t help but agree. As she and the group clap hands, something disturbs her senses so strongly that she had stopped moving altogether.   

  

Once upon a time, it was discovered that scents on Alphas and omegas were strongest after the rain. The way this worked was Alphas and omegas would smell like themselves because, well, they should biologically gravitate towards each other. When they get wet, the scent is dampened. Stand in the rain for too long and their scent gets washed away.   

  

After the rain, though, their hormones urge their body to produce some more to signal to other Alphas and omegas that they’re not gone, really, it was just the rain.   

  

That’s the kind of science that brought Rey and the rest of the omega circle to turn to the lone Alpha that has entered their midst — and sweet, spicy bergamot Alpha locked eyes with Rey alone.   

  

So that’s what he smells like, Rey thinks, like a beautiful morning over a cup of Earl Grey Tea.   

  

Finn snaps his fingers in front of her face, drawing her attention to him. “What is he doing here?”   

  

Out of the corner of her eyes, he sees Ben come around the circle, those deep whiskey brown eyes never leaving hers.   

  

Jessika speaks up first, the only one unaffected by the Alpha’s scent for some reason. Rey doesn’t care. She just wants to claw these bitches’ eyes out for ogling her Alpha.   

  

God, fuck. Get it together, Rey.    

  

“This is the Alpha that’s going to be our guest this morning, Professor Benjamin Solo.” Jessika introduces, and the group practically swoon in his direction — even Rey saw fucking Nancy bat her eyelids.   

  

She’s going to choke her.   

  

“Hello,” she hears Ben say, feeling lightheaded because his eyes were still on her.   

  

The entire time the group convened, Rey and Ben would look at each other. Occasionally, Ben would glance away to rid the thickness in the air, or Rey would look at her fingers to make sure they weren’t shaking as visibly as she feels they might be. But their eyes would always meet at the center, their gazes radiating nothing but want.   

  

Maybe someone should keep a towel in here next time, that way she wouldn't feel so damn wet right now. 

  

Nancy tries to get Ben’s attention after the session — and fails. Rey watches her from where she’s standing in the women’s restroom and smirks, doing absolutely nothing to appease her as Ben stalks ever closer. Finn is shouting something in the background, worried and anxious, but Rey is too preoccupied with the irresistible mix of dark chocolate and bergamot to notice as Ben crowds her into the restroom and closes the door.   

  

Her hands fly to his arms and travel the expanse of his chest as his hands find her waist. His face hovers close to hers and she's inhaling gallons of his scent fast and deep as he says through labored breaths:   

  

“They would give us hell for this— “   

  

She sighs, running a hand frantically up and down his chest. Tugging his hair, she breathes him in by the neck. “I don’t want to get kicked out of this support group, you know.”  

  

Ben groans, squeezing her hips gently, ghosting his lips along her ear. “You smell like fucking oranges, baby. I can’t think.” She thinks he’s mouthing at her ears but she can’t really tell above all the wincing and hissing he’s doing, trying to hold himself back. “Rey, this- this is not good,” he says, even as he’s groaning and Rey can feel his erection against her stomach very faintly.   

  

“I know,” she answers, loving the way his eyes dilate and his groans escalate when she strokes his dark locks. He grunts one more time, pained and regretful, allowing his forehead to thud dully against her collarbone.   

  

She thinks about how close his face is already to her breasts and bites her lips. “We should at least- at least get out of here maybe?” Together? She doesn’t add. 

  

“I couldn’t stop thinking of you,” he admits, voice growing deliciously deeper. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have come here, baby,” he says, something she notices is an effect of the scent that she’s very obviously emitting. Rey understands, she even tastes him in the air.   

  

“You didn’t know,” she replies, trying not to reach her hand out when Ben grunts in agony as he glues himself to the far wall. His face is so red and his cock is so hard that it’s outlined on his slacks, his hair disheveled and his mouth half-open from panting.   

  

She tries a smile even as Ben is bent on doing away with the formalities. “I’m happy to see you, by the way.”   

  

Rey watches him fight it, as he forces a chuckle and looks everywhere else but her. The entire restroom smells like them, now, and it’s making both Rey and Ben dizzy.   

  

“I’m happy to see you, too,” he says finally before he does something that Rey has never seen an Alpha do before.   

  

“Finn?” He booms out, and someone quickly replies behind the door.   

  

“Yeah?”   

  

“Can you- can you get Rey out for a while, please?”   

  

A pause. Rey looks for an answer in Ben’s face, and she gets an apologetic and yet lust-filled smile at the same time.  

  

“Okay, now I can. I just asked the omegas to leave the room.”   

  

“Thanks, but there had been no need for that,” Ben answers. “I’ve already scented this one.”   

 


   

After an agonizing ten minutes, the scent of Ben on her nose has disappeared enough for her to think clearly. Jessika, the only one unaffected, was left behind and the other omegas were already sent home so as to protect them from unduly going into heat. Finn was giving her a glass of water, she detects vaguely, and she takes it to slake her thirst.   

  

“Where’s Ben?” She asks.   

  

“He’s still in the restroom, spraying it down with a can of insecticide to get rid of the scent.”   

  

Rey tries to imagine big, thick Alpha Ben erasing her scent in the air and she wants to cry. But the rational part of her already peeking through can’t help but feel overwhelmed at how much her Alpha wants to make sure she is protected — even if it means he gets to smell like disgusting pesticide afterward.   

  

Jessika, after having noticed that Rey is coming back to herself, walked closer and bent down. “Are you alright? Do you want to be sent home?”   

  

Her brows furrow, “No, I- I know the Alpha. I- “   

  

“You’ll go into heat.” Jessika says, worry evident in her eyes. “And he’s obviously not far along his rut, too. Either one of you has to go home. He’s quarantined himself in that room so it has to be you.”   

  

“Why aren’t you affected?” Rey retorts unnecessarily but Jessika is unaffected by it.   

  

“I’m mated.”  

  

Okay. That definitely shocks her, but she thinks maybe she’ll just ask tomorrow. “Can I- can I just talk to him? Finn will be here with me—” 

  

“If that’s what you want, I’m staying here, too.” Annoyed, Rey just lets it go.   

  

Finn offers her another worried look, but Rey only touches his face gently to assure him. “Do it, Finn.”  

  

He grits his teeth and complies, standing in front of her just in case.   

  

“Solo.”   

  

“Yes?” Ben’s muffled voice replies.   

  

“Rey wants to talk to you.”   

  

Minutes tick by and Ben says nothing until he breaks that silence with: “Are you sure that’s the best idea?”   

  

“Ben.” Rey calls out, and to no one’s surprise, Ben comes right out at the sound of it. He reeks of nasty, nasty pesticide, but it offers everyone in the room some solace.   

  

“How are you feeling?” Ben asks. Rey purrs, feeling all kinds of warm and fuzzy at his concern.   

  

“Better, thanks. I- I really like you. And I- I would like to see where this goes but I can’t think straight right now so. So, maybe I can call you back later when my heat starts. When I’m able to think better.”   

  

Finn is looking at her with an unreadable expression on his face, while Jessika is standing there knowingly.

  

As they look on to Ben, Rey thinks maybe he doesn’t want to take her up on the offer, but in no time, he’s nodding his head.     

  

“I won’t be able to drive in this state,” he says by way of answering, and Jessika immediately turns to her phone to hail an Uber Beta. She excuses herself for a while as Rey and Ben catch their breath. She notices that even his erection has gone, and his grunts and groans were now just gentle huffs.   

  

“I’m really sorry for coming onto you like that,” he half-whispers, like a dog hanging his head in shame.   

  

She sees Finn visibly relax and strokes his hand as it lands on her shoulder. Ben’s eyes immediately rest on it, but tears his gaze away from it with calculated ease.   

  

“You didn’t know I was here. It’s fine.”   

  

“It’s not. I wasn’t thinking. I could have harmed you.”   

  

“But you didn’t.”  

  

“I could have. That’s never right.”   

  

“Yeah,” Rey remembers what Hux had told her and can’t help but feel incredibly lucky. She was still horny, but as her hormones cool, she thinks maybe she needs to invite Ben over for a thank you dinner. Maybe Finn can teach her some simple dishes...   

  

“Cab’s here,” Jessika announces. “He’s waiting by the back door. Let’s get going, Ben.”   

  

She nods at Rey one more time before escorting Ben stiffly outside. When Finn is sure they’d driven away, he allows the creases of confusion deepen on his face and along with it, something else.   

  

“You were right,” he says quite like he can’t believe it.   

  

“He isn’t like the other Alphas.”

 

Chapter Text

Just like she does every heat, she asks Finn to buy her a supply of canned peaches, the heat food that she's come to love ever since having some in one of her foster homes. Every heat, she promises she'll pay Finn back and every heat he says she doesn't need to. But when Rey slips the exact amount of money Finn's spent on her in one of his jeans or directly in his wallet, he mentions nothing of it. At this point, it's just become a routine, and they both know by now that Rey won't budge on this.   

  

Finn is here, though, giving Rey a sit-down on whether or not she really thinks this is a good idea. She appreciates it, even as her legs are becoming only increasingly tacky from slick and her head is throbbing with a dull ache.   

  

"You're sure about this, Rey?" He asks, leaving the peaches on Rey's small island, making sure that they're easily within reach when Rey emerges from a marathon of sex in the event that her body starts seeking sustenance. There's an entire bag of protein bars, too, some jerky because sometimes Rey likes to chew on something easy, plenty of water, and practically an entire garden of fruits in the fridge that she’s sure she’s going to go through fast. She always does, ravenous hunger and sex highs run quick and in opposing directions during her heats. 

  

Rey pays Finn back for all of it, slowly sometimes, but always just in time for each succeeding heat.   

  

Finn knows not to mention it now as he waits for Rey's answer instead. She shakes away from the creeping pain she's feeling the longer it drags that she's not with Ben and has half a mind to call Hux for an update. She'd triggered Ben into a rut which was too early than expected, and hopes Hux can provide her an answer on why she herself has suddenly gone into heat.   

  

"I'm fine," she replies to Finn, eyeing the containers and deciding Finn could call Hux since her body feels physically painful when she moves too much, like her muscles are sore and her bones are thicker and heavier than usual. She's already slumping on the chair, debauched even though the Alpha she wants is practically still miles away.   

  

Finn calls Hux easily, and the Minder answers quickly. Finn lays the phone down the table and puts it on speaker. Beside her, Finn crosses his arms, face schooled to a serious expression Rey knows is actually serious.   

  

"Miss Rey, what seems to be the problem?"  

  

"I'm in heat," she starts without preamble. "It's kind of sudden and I don't get it. I think I triggered Ben's rut, too. Is this because of the medication?"   

  

Rey suspects Finn might have the same thought because he shuffles on his feet and mutters something like, "fucking Alphas."  

  

Hux hums, probably nodding. "It could be. How long has it been since you've last been in contact with an Alpha?"   

  

"Uhh," Rey draws a blank — Finn steps in.   

  

"About three years."   

  

"That's quite a long time," Hux says, the sound of rustling paper reaching Rey's ears. And god, Rey is so hot and bothered right now that it's both pissing her off and making her grip the edges of her seat as her slick continues to gush down.   

  

"Will it be safe to let Ben in? Because Rey is definitely thinking about involving him." Finn interjects.   

  

Rey tries to protest, red blush blooming on her skin. Hux's voice takes on a concerned tone. "Miss Rey? Are you sure about this? Mr. Solo is not scheduled to go on an unsuppressed rut until next month — you've got plenty of time. Besides, and forgive me for saying this, your friend Finn can help you like he's always had."  

  

"But it's not... ‘not' allowed?" Rey asks and Finn's eyes fix on her with wariness.   

  

"I'm not sure I follow—"  

  

"If," she cuts him off. "If Ben comes dashing through the door and we go into heat and rut, will it be safe for either one of us?"   

  

"Biologically, yes. Your being unmatched with an Alpha for the last three years means your body will quickly rid the discomfort you are clearly feeling right now and will also alleviate infertility symptoms in Mr. Solo; on a more rational note, I want to make sure you are not rushing into something you will regret. Do you have the bite suppressants I gave you?"   

  

"Yes," Rey answers, breathily, heartbeat consistently at a mile a minute.   

  

"Just ask him to take it when he comes, have Finn around with you. Guard him. It needs to warm up in his body for at least 15 minutes to be effective. After that, you don't have to worry about a mating bite when you re-emerge from your nest."   

  

Rey wants to wail about how wrong it is to prevent her Alpha from biting her. Just the thought of it makes her gland itch, and she's already been touching it the minute Finn sped almost the entire way to her apartment. But she knows what Hux is saying and swallows the urge to scream at him for standard operating procedure.   

  

"Okay," she says, more to herself. "Okay. Bite suppressants, and then it will be alright."   

  

"Yes, Rey. Call me if something comes up. Or, err, when your heat clears up, at least." He says, squeezing in one last professional-sounding goodbye as Finn moves to grab soothe her shoulders.   

  

Rey stares at him slack-jawed. "Now call Ben, please."   

  


 

Ben's barely reached home when his phone rings and his already shaking hands shake all the more when he sees the caller ID. Jessika knows what's going on and politely asks the driver to pull up on the side of the street as Ben takes the phone call.   

  

"Hello?"  

  

"Ben," he hears instantly, and he's just sure his dick twitches and Jessika can probably smell him in the air, so thick and fucking desperate. He smells himself, too, still not too comfortable with the fact that his scent spikes each time he's horny. But he smells happy, he realizes, and figures maybe he should even thank Rey.   

  

Even the beta driver is uncomfortable, but he says nothing about it.   

  

"Ben, come home with me, please? Hux says it will be alright." She says, and her pretty, pretty voice almost makes him forget how odd it sounds that they have to ask Hux for permission.   

  

He grunts, Alphas are so thick-headed during these things, he thinks, and reminds himself not to resent Hux since he is actually the one who matched them. If it weren't for Hux, he wouldn't even have dreamed of scenting such a delicious omega. He thinks of mandarin oranges and closes his eyes from the dizziness it makes him feel.   

  

Rey , his blood sings now. He says it out loud without realizing. And Rey breathes his name back. "Jessie knows where I live. Just ask her to turn around."   

  

"Jessika?" Ben ventures. Jessika gives her a single nod and requests the driver to turn around right away, slipping a little more money than usual to make sure he doesn't dilly dally.   

  

"I'm coming for you, baby," he says, wanting her to speak again at least so he can tide the 10-minute ride to her place.   

  

Rey sighs, purring and sounding like she's in agony at the same time. "You had better be. And inside me, too."   

  

He groans, clutching the phone so hard he thinks he'll break it. "Alright. I'll see you, Rey." He manages to get out, feeling his chest tighten as he exits the call and feels his skin prickle with want the entire ride back to her place.   

 


  

Ben is filled with a buzzing kind of energy that makes him want to crawl out of his skin, and none of that changes as she enters Rey's apartment. It's so heady he has to hold onto the doorknob as the beta — Finn, he remembers — holds him upright by the door. It's... odd. He's never felt like this before, and the hot tightness in his chest and the excessive perspiration and absolute itch to be near Rey is either going to be his salvation or his downfall.   

  

Either way, his eyes land on her frail little form, the epicenter of the Earth-shattering scent that permeates the room. Before he knows it, he moves to put one step in front of the other when Finn crowds him into a corner. Ben doesn't budge, of course, the man is built like a brick house, but Finn does not back down.   

  

Ben's brain supplies he can take him, but when Finn holds up a packet of some pills, he backs down a little. "What's that?"   

  

He hears Finn's muffled response, thanks to the scent of Rey flooding his system. But Finn is definitely knowledgeable about these things because the way he positioned himself directly in front of Ben helps alleviate some of the deliriously delicious smell of oranges in the air.   

  

"Bite suppressants. You're not going into this and getting out by saddling my best friend with responsibilities she's not prepared to handle. Rey doesn't need pups."   

  

Oh, but how he wants to give them to her. Just give it until she can take it, pump her insides full of every reason she needs to realize that all she will ever need is her Alpha. He can be that Alpha, he will be that Alpha.   

  

Finn waves his wrists in his face, once again throwing a little of Rey's ever-encroaching scent. "Ben, if you really want to protect her, you will take this."   

 

Protect. That gets him to listen. Protect the omega, protect Rey.

  

He blinks slowly, allowing Finn to guide him to a chair by the door, far from Rey. He accepts a glass of water when Finn gives it and follows his instructions to sit down for at least 15 minutes as he's been told the medicine can only take full effect by then.   

  

At some point, Rey becomes the only thing he sees. He wonders if Finn is still around, sniffs the air and stands up very slowly. He sees Rey inhale from across the room, and he can't help but breathe himself. It was like wading through water, except every time he moves closer to Rey, his mouth waters at the way her slick beckons him. He lets out a groan when she sees it — feels it tacky on his fingers as he forgets at what point he's reached her.   

  

Bringing his fingers to his lips, he tastes her, eyes dilating, he looks up — and Rey pulls him so close he thinks they might drown together in the haze.   

  

When Rey thumbs his gland, his body restarts, like a switch has been turned on, and he can hear, and feel everything.   

  

He opens his eyes to the sight of Rey's right hand down her pants, the left looping around his neck to touch his gland on the right side. And while she's looking at him, she's biting her lips, flushed so deliciously from her cheeks to her neck.   

  

"So beautiful. My omega."  

  

"Yours," she whispers. "C-couch?"   

  

He obeys her, picking her up deftly and depositing her on the sad old beige couch she has — he doesn't care, it smells strongly of her. So strongly he thinks he's losing his mind.   

  

Rey hurries to get out of her shorts and pulls Ben down for a bruising kiss. The way she grinds against him when he pins her hips down with his makes him growl low in his throat, gland swollen and itching under her fingers.   

  

"Can I lick you, baby, please—"  

  

"Yes, Alpha," she replies, knowing exactly what he means as she shows him her gland. She trembles at the first swipe of his warm tongue, feeling like her entire body is a live wire. With one all four fingers jammed inside her gaping pussy, she moans a song of pleasure in his ears. She feels teeth grazing her gland too, and as Ben begins to suck, her hand flies out to grasp his to let him feel her sopping wet cunt.   

  

"Rey," Ben gasps, dropping his head down to watch as his fingers automatically move inside her. She barely even winces when he adds a second finger in.   

  

"Such a good little omega, taking it so bravely. Aren't you, Rey?" There is only the sound of her moans and the squelch of her wet cunt as his fingers pass through.   

  

"I'll be good for you Alpha."   

  

"I've been thinking about you every day since that voicemail," he moans, curling his fingers as she screams through her first orgasm. He shoves his fingers in his mouth and drowns in her. "And now it's time to see how you taste."   

  

Ben rips her shirt without warning and grabs her breasts fast and hard, before throwing a leg onto his shoulder and going to town on her cunt.   

  

Ben has been sent to heaven, there was no way this was real. He can't believe it's real when Rey is suddenly cumming again, wetting his mouth and chest with delicious slick. She screams, animalistic and beautiful, turning herself around with so much ease to lift her ass up for his inspection.   

  

"Alpha, please, please, inside me—"  

  

"You have to be nice to Alpha, baby," he teases, his cock straining and purpling under his slacks but he does not care. She's so sensitive and he loves it, how much she smells like him now, his marks littering her body. He sucks blooming hickeys down her spine and watches in awe as her pussy flexes against nothing, enjoying the release of slick as he playfully pushes it back inside with his fingers.   

  

"You want Alpha inside you now?"   

  

"Yes! Yes, please, Alpha?"   

  

He slaps her, hard. He doesn't know what came over him. In the haze, he wants to apologize. But she groans and releases even more of her pungent aroma that when Ben does it again, he can't help but dive back down and drink her up.   

  

"Alpha, please," she begs, her face pressed on the couch. "Please—"  

  

"What's my name?" His voice drops to a dangerous timber, and it goes straight to Rey's cunt.   

  

"Ben."   

  

"Again, baby," he groans, enjoying the way Rey's back trembles even more at the sound of his belt buckling in the relative quiet of her apartment. When he splays a massive hand on her buttocks just above her cunt to slap it, she sobs and gushes again. "What's. My. Name?" He punctuates every harsh word with a slap.   

  

"Ah! Beeeeen!"  

  

Finally, he pushes himself in, to the hilt on the first try. There's nothing left to do but pound her raw. He's been waiting too long.   

  

"Too long, baby," he mutters. "So good, so good for me, Rey."   

  

"I'm good," she replies, chanting his name. He brings himself to completion not long after, only to find that his knot has swollen and that it brings Rey into another orgasm after he's just sure she already had one. Ben emerges out of the first tide of arousal feeling like he'd never felt before.   

  

He rocks his hips gently to feel the way he's locked inside her and is racked by another devastating orgasm that floods her insides — just like he said he would do.   

  

"Alph—"  

  

"Rey, please," he pleads, gentler now, tracing warm lines down her sweat-slicked back. "Call me Ben, please, baby."   

  

"Ben," she moans when he licks a bead of sweat running down from her hair to her gland.   

  

"Ben," she moans when he starts moving ever so slowly.   

  

"Ben," she whispers when he grips onto her tightly until she's sitting on top of him.   

  

"Ben," she groans when he pinches her nipples and presses her nub somehow at the same time, prompting another blinding orgasm from her.   

  

They fall asleep locked together, but it was just the start. 

Chapter Text

Slivers of light meet Ben’s eyes as he shuffles into wakefulness slowly. When he stands, it dawns on him that this is not his room. No faint smell of old books, or piles of paper with red marks on them. He manages to pick up he’s slept on a sofa, a grim-looking one that has stains he doesn’t want to know about.  

 

And then it hits him — the scent of oranges fill the room, light and sweet but also very and insistent, and sees Rey standing as naked as him and holding a mug of a steaming drink of some sort. His blood flows southward to his dick and his eyes grow the size of dinner plates. Terrified, he looks to Rey for an explanation, but she’s already eyeing his cock.  

 

He blushes furiously. “Rey, did we— did I–?” 

 

“Did you what, Ben?” She teases, taking a sip as she keeps her eyes on him. His skin prickles and it feels strange to him how much that simple gesture makes his dick twitch. He blushes again, staring in horror as his cock twitches so visibly that it’s jutting out so proudly like he’s never seen it before.  

 

“I–“ You what, Ben? 

 

Rey gives him some time and leaves to go back to the island. He can see her very clearly, can’t help but watch intently as her breasts bob gently in time with her footfalls and feels himself swallow. Humming a little, she leans down to get something in the fridge, and her slicked-up pussy becomes his first clue. 

 

“So good, so good for me, Rey.”  

 

Horrified at what he’d done, he sequesters himself to the edge of the couch, feeling at once confused and somehow incredibly horny at the same time. The fact that Rey walks around naked and unperturbed is not helping, and he’s never had such a barrage of hormones such as this that he’s finding it incredibly difficult to ignore the urge to touch Rey, hold her down, and fuck her for the rest of his life. 

 

He shakes his head. Christ , what is happening to him? Ben doesn’t realize he’s said it out loud until Rey responds to it.  

 

“What’s happening is that you’re finally feeling that Alpha urge,” Rey says. She sits down beside him and his eyes go to stare at her pussy like a pervert. His throat feels dry. 

 

“I– don’t understand,” he manages, taking the glass of water Rey offers and watching her stand back up with a slight shrug. Ben drinks up as he watches her hips shake. He doesn’t even know he’s massaging his cock to the image of her until he feels himself squeeze his knot.  

 

His... knot. He’s never seen it so red like that since he was eighteen. Ben breathes through his nose, which, he should have known is a bad idea. He gets bombarded by her scent again, and this time, his scent is overlaid on top of it, as well as the scent of peaches. He doesn’t know how it’s possible, but his dick is hard as a rock.  

 

“Rey, please tell me I didn’t molest you,” he pleads, standing up to follow her in the kitchen.  

 

An even worse idea. Now it smells of tea, too, of Rey and the pretty peaches she’s slipping between her lips. He either wants to pull his hair out or eat peaches straight out of her mouth. Both options sound appealing, anything to alleviate the oppressing tightness he feels when he’s not around her. 

 

He shocks himself with that thought, too; Ben has never wanted to be around anyone.   

 

Rey laughs. It’s a lilting sound that calms him. “You didn’t, don’t worry. Finn made sure.”  

 

At that, he quails, rubbing the back of his head — only to hiss at a swollen gland that he also found equally terrifying. 

 

“What—“ 

 

“I’m gathering you really are clueless about this, huh?”  

 

He stands silently, still watching the peaches leave a shiny wet sheen on her lips before disappearing inside her mouth. He blushes and licks his lips. Rey steps closer to touch his chest and he has to breathe deeply to fight an odd, inexplicable urge to just grind against her.  

 

Beautiful, beautiful omega. Mine. His thoughts scream, unbidden. He doesn’t say it, but it’s there in the slow kiss he leans towards Rey for, in the way he squeezes her ass with ease and pops her on top of the island to press his weeping dick against her folds.  

 

He then stops himself, blinking away some of the confusion again and wondering how Rey can feel so calm about this. He’s practically harassing her! 

 

Ben backs off her personal space and winces at a pain he doesn’t understand creeping up his chest. It’s like being physically away from her is dealing him death blow after death blow.  

 

Rey smiles at him and patiently waits for him to gravitate back — and he does, much to his own surprise, and he marvels how much she doesn’t push back when he grabs both her thighs with meaty hands, enjoying the way she warms up immediately when he’s close by.  

 

A fresh spurt of something leaks on the island and he has half a mind to dip a finger in it and taste it. It’s so delicious he groans, and when he opens his eyes Rey is staring at the finger he just sucked with hooded eyes.  

 

Ben looks away and shakes his head. “Can– can you tell me what is happening, please?”  

 

Rey exhales through her mouth, setting the can of peaches down and dragging him slowly back down for a kiss. He obliges, canting his hips uncontrollably when she hooks her ankles around his waist and caresses his chest. The low rumble of a moan makes Rey shiver with want and the hands that hold her fast against him make her throw her head back.  

 

“We should- ah, talk about what you’re feeling– ah, Ben,” she breathes, shaking as he finds her gland and languidly laps it up.  

 

“Rey,” he hums, as his other hand begins to slide the head of his cock against her very wet, very musky pussy. “Fuck, Rey, you’re so wet, baby, I–“  

 

Like earlier, his eyes project that confusion again, and though he wants to stop the slow sinking of his cock inside her, his breath hitches instead, and Rey’s sweat-slicked ass moves back and forth across the counter.  

 

“Shit, Ben. Uhm, you were– I kind of triggered your rut too early, ah,” she moans, feeling delicate bruises form on her pelvis as he grips her hard there, rocking in and out of her at a consistent enough pace and planting wet, open-mouthed kisses on her gland at the same time. It’s almost too much, and it’s even more ridiculous how she feels like she needs to help him understand the situation still, even as they’re headed for another round of intense fucking.  

 

Ben, she realizes, comes back every now and again, his eyebrows furrowing but his movements not stopping.  

 

“Did I— how did I get here? And, ugh,” he grunts, pressing her clit on instinct. Rey yelps. “What, what did Hux say? Is this alright?”  

 

“Yes!” She shouts. Another orgasm is forming and Rey’s not even halfway through her tea. “Oh, Ben.”  

 

“Rey.” 

 

Rey moans long and loud when he finally indulges his curiosity and takes one of her nipples in his mouth. “Ben! Ah, Hux said it was fine. That- that this was going to happen anyway.”  

 

“Hmm?” He bites the skin under her breast and it’s that stimuli she needed to cum with a dragging moan. The slow orgasm makes him cum, too, although the languid state of the fucking means his knot didn’t lock them together just yet.  

 

That’s good. It makes him think. The Alpha in him doesn’t let go of Rey on the counter, though, instead, he leans his head to her sweaty chest, watching as she grabs another peach slice into her mouth.  

 

The sweet juice that falls to the valley of her breasts he licks clean and Rey shivers so visibly that her nipples bob a little, too. 

 

She’s so hot, he thinks. If he was going to die of an erection, let it be because he cleaned up peach juice stains off her body with his tongue.  

 

“You and I began fucking yesterday.” She begins after a while.  

 

“I’ve been here since yesterday?”  

 

“Yes.”  

 

“Shit, but I didn’t tell Holdo.”  

 

“You did, actually. Some time at dawn. I saw you mechanically move through the room to grab your phone, formally declare on the phone call to Holdo that you wouldn’t be coming in for about a week because you were in rut.”  

 

“Huh,” he responds, bemused and almost afraid of this version of him. Almost. But Rey’s breasts in his face is making him forget.  

 

“And then we basically had the mother of all sex marathons.” She chuckles at her joke and Ben’s not sure why but he... purrs. It surprises him so much he stands up straight, noticing the purring is not going away and that Rey is looking up at him with an amused smile on her face.  

 

“Fuck, you’re even worse than I imagined,” she laughs, but somehow it lacks heat or hatred. His heart swells. You did good to your omega. She is happy and content because of you .  

 

“Is. Is this what being an Alpha feels like?”  

 

“Yeah. I mean, I don’t know exactly what you’re feeling but if you’re basically thinking I look like a sexy meal right now, that’s probably the hormones talking.”  

 

“I also feel like I should maybe do something to keep...” he hides his blush valiantly, but Rey apparently spent enough time with him not to be fooled. She touches the shell of his ear and determines his shame from there. Why did his ears have to be so big, and, and so blushy ? “To keep you cumming.” He finishes, realizing he’s purring again because she’s just kissed his earlobe.  

 

“Fuck,” he mutters, slowly being overcome by oranges again. So delicious. So beautiful.  

 

“That’s usual, too. So is feeling like you want to jump off a building or cut off an arm when you’re not close to your heat partner.”  

 

The extreme nature of her description is more a scathing commentary on her experiences as an omega, and he soothes that by dropping a kiss on her forehead and lifting her up by the ass and dragging that kiss down to her lips. Her arms latch around his neck with so much ease he lets his mind imagine he’s maybe lucky enough to be more than this girl’s client one day. Though he forces himself not to hold his breath.  

 

He realizes she’s directed them into her room when the scent of her hits him more strongly, pulling a harsh groan from his throat and making his cock twitch anew. His cock, which is hard again even if it’s barely been 10 minutes.  

 

“Did– did I hurt Finn?” He won’t be surprised if he did. It’s happened before. Rey shakes her head and lies down on the bed, taking up the side of the bed pressed up against the wall. She turns around and faces him, smiling a dopey grin as he looks down at her. The view of her like that twists his insides and he locks it away forever. He folds his knees on the bed and scoops her up in his arms, pulling her close to him.  

 

He waits until her breathing is more relaxed and slowly braids her hair. When she realizes what he’s doing, she kisses the underside of his chin, a little scruffy now. His heart feels like it’s about to leap out of his ribcage and it takes him a while to figure out that it’s got nothing to do with the oncoming arousal he’s feeling again.  

 

I want to make her happy. I want her to be happy with me.  

 

“This... this is nice.” He thinks, dragging a hand to undo the braids he’s done only to do them again.  

 

“Yeah,” Rey agrees with a whisper. “Very nice.”  

 


 

 

The next time he wakes up, he sees her hair first, dancing in the moonlight as she sits on the bed. She still smells of slick and his own scent, something he’s just now getting used to. Really, the first thought he had about it was how incredibly thick it was. How his own scent suffocates him on its own. He smelled himself back then in that cab and he’d been absolutely sure he probably does not smell good to anybody.  

 

But the calm and content tones he detects in Rey’s own scent makes him feel like he’s on top of the world, knowing his omega might actually like the way he smells.  

 

She’s turned away from him and the curls that stayed on her hair where he’d braided it earlier made for soft, messy locks that made him smile. Until he gets to see how thin she really is. Her spine is bony, ridged, and her skin, he now sees, is barely even thick enough to soften the juts of her shoulder blades. Rey doesn’t seem to care, though, although he’s never really asked and he gets the feeling that even if he did now, she wouldn’t say.  

 

She must have felt his eyes on her or smelled the curious barrage of confusion he is emanating with his scent because she greets him with an unexpected declaration.  

 

“I called Hux.”  

 

It shouldn’t be as grating to him as it was, Hux was their Minder, and they did have to call him. Still.  

 

“What did he say?”  

 

“My heat shouldn’t be too long. He estimates maybe it’ll only run two more days.” She says. Somehow, Ben doubts she still had to ask Hux that even though she'd obviously had heats before. He keeps it to himself.  

 

She’s still not facing him. He wonders if he should maybe touch her, or hold her hand in case she was crying. But the way she steadfastly stares ahead is very telling for Ben, so he stays where he is, dick still getting ready to go into action.  

 

“It won’t be for very long. You can go if you want.” 

 

That makes him stop. “Go, Rey?” 

 

“Yeah. Go.” 

 

“I’m not going anywhere.”  

 

“It’s fine. I got some toys,” she insists, offering a slow, wet laugh. Definitely crying, then. “One is a red dildo that has an inflatable knot—“  

 

“No knot goes inside you that isn’t mine.” He didn’t mean for it to sound so possessive but it pulls Rey out of her crumpled form to a standing position.  

 

“Suddenly, you know all about being an Alpha, do you?”  

 

“I- I didn’t mean it like that-“  

 

“But you implied it.”  

 

“Rey, baby, please sit down, please—“ 

 

“Fuck me, Ben. Let this be over now.” 

 

“No–“ 

 

“Ben.” 

 

“I’m not going to do that.”  

 

“Why?” She snaps, angry and beautiful.  

 

“Because I don’t want this to be over.” 

 

“You don’t know what you’re saying.” 

 

“I do. I very much do.” 

 

“God,” she groans, as he sees slick trickle out her core once more. He licks his lips at the sight of it and she chuckles bitterly when she catches where he’s looking. “You’re such an Alpha.”  

 

“Rey, please.” 

 

“Please, what? ‘Please let me fuck you’?” She’s mocking him now, dangerously close to him and pointing an accusing finger. “Is that what you’re going to say?”  

 

It makes him angry, too, and he grabs her hand softly so his steely gaze can meet hers. “No. I don’t see you like that.”  

 

“Oh, come on! You were just ogling my slick and now I can smell that, not only are you horny, you’re confused as hell, too! You don’t know what this means!” 

 

“But so do you!” He throws back, not realizing he’d stood for the sake of the argument. It throws her back and she takes an unconscious step back, obviously terrified of what Alpha might do to her. Ben stays rooted in his spot, head hung low.  

 

“I don’t know why this is. Why I’ve only barely scratched the surface of who you are and yet you’re so... present in my thoughts. I wish, I wish maybe we met in a different way.” His breathing stills — and so does hers.  

 

“I wish we had met at the library. Or at the coffee shops. Or one of my free history lectures. Or even at my mom’s stupid galas — anywhere, Rey. Because even then, I think I still would have wanted you.” He chuckles low, dejected.  

 

“I don’t know what you’re feeling but all I’m feeling is that I want you. I want to be here. But I know you want to kick me out so bad because you’re not sure if it’s safe for either of us to continue anymore. And I get that. I’m still horny as you can see, and you still smell like the world’s sweetest bar of chocolate but god, I’ve thought about your smile and your laugh and the way you call me stupid more times than I’ve thought about fucking you.”  

 

He looks up at her, bathed in the glow of the moonlight with tears glistening in her eyes. He wants to fucking scream. “It’s not even fair how much you beguile me. How easily you swept into my world and made a place for yourself in it — and I didn’t even mind.”  

 

“It’s only been a couple of days and you’re already my every waking thought. And it has nothing to do with the fact that you’re just an omega. Don’t you dare fucking think that.”  

 

He sighs because she only sits down on the floor to sob a little louder. “Tell me you want me to leave, Rey.”  

 

She looks up, sniffling. His heart tightens and his body screams at him to scoop her up and comfort her, to take away her pain. “Tell me, baby, and I’ll go,” he whispers in the chilly night air.  

 

Rey doesn’t say anything but she does stand up, and when she pushes him back down the bed, his body heats up with a different kind of warmth.  

Chapter Text

It’s when they’re locked together on her bed in the sepia-tones of the afternoon that she tells him in the quiet why she’d broken down the way she did. So many loathed names pass through her lips and he can’t help but nuzzle her close and held her even tighter.  

 

He didn’t say anything as she let her talk, and even as he’s spurting randomly inside her, he watches her moan and writhe and cry all at the same time, pressing the flat of his tongue to catch her salty-sweet tears. It’s the third day and none of them has showered. Ben tried when he woke up in the hazy dawn on the third day, got distracted when she touched his wrist ever so slightly and quietly whispered for him to watch her.  

 

She touched herself and instructed him to do the same. In a somewhat bizarre turn of events (but also somehow something that made sense to Ben), she gave him a lesson on his own body. Told him why his knot was red, why his gland was swollen and aching like someone rubbed sandpaper over it, and why his cock won’t stop getting hard. The whole time, she was moaning, using the way he touches himself and fondles his cock, his knot, as stimuli to bring herself to completion.  

 

Heady, Ben thinks she might be loving the role reversal of it all. How they both know he’s the teacher here but now she’s got his rapt attention instead. When he reached his climax then, thoughts about baths have completely left his mind. All that he was able to do was slam back inside her cunt and pound her as hard as he dared until his knot locked them together again. 

 

That was another thing he was still getting used to: his knot. It was strange being plugged inside her, and it was even stranger that she seems unfazed by it. It’s not a brag by any means, but when she first impaled herself on him and took his knot in the rare moments that he wasn’t overtaken by the violent urge to fuck, fuck, fuck, he can’t help but feel that maybe he’ll break her. That maybe she’ll be damaged because he had been so brash, an Alpha not knowing anything and yet acting as if he does.  

 

But in the succeeding knot periods, she talks to him that it’s alright. Shyly, she tells him she’s been wanting to get fucked by an Alpha for the longest time, and that she was glad that it was him. He’d grip her breasts as the surge of arousal that that statement brings to him makes him empty out and shiver into her cunt again. Rey, his sweet, sweet omega Rey, would then clench her walls around his cock like he’s sure she’s probably done before and she’ll laugh and he’ll groan and bite parts of her stomach, arms, breasts to keep track of her misdemeanors.  

 

At first, it had been a joke, but the next time he’s done it, he made sure the marks were seen. He’d touch it when she’s taking a catnap, and suck on one to jolt her awake so he can fuck her.  

 

He doesn’t knot her all the time, over the course of the last two days and well into the third, he learned how to get a hold of himself. The suppressants were leaving his system, though, and the sex was getting only messier. But she takes it each time, interjecting each quiet moment of respite with a wordless affirmation through her actions that she likes him in her space.  

 

Against all odds, he’d watch Rey limp around even as he commands her to get back to bed lest she sprains herself. Each time she’d just still at the commanding tone in his voice, close her eyes tight as his voice causes her to spurt more slick, and continue on with her little scavenger hunts.  

 

Rey would bring back his clothes, soiled and messy and pungent, and line them up on her pillows and he finds they fuck better when she does that. She brings in some of her favorite articles she’s written, the ones she’d printed even though most of her stuff was online, mindless little droning pieces but she’s proud of it. Ben reads it all when she asks, fulfilling her request of offering her some advice to better her writing.  

 

He can’t help it. The smell of sweet, happy, horny Rey makes his heart beat incredibly wildly, and as he’d admitted before, it’s that rare crinkly-eyed laughter that makes him want to just take her away on a distant island and keep her there, happy, healthy, and decidedly not bone-thin.  

 


 

 

On the fourth day, they play a sad game of Uno. It’s just the two of them, of course, and they barely have a friendship to ruin at that. Either way though, as he holds the old, withering, and slightly starchy cards in his hand, he laughs a good belly laugh, still naked and sure he both looks and smells disgusting.  

 

The haze of the last four days have begun clearing up and it’s all Ben can do to finally fight the instinct to crawl into her bathroom and get cleaned up. As they take turns setting down cards, Ben marvels at how nonplussed Rey is by her own scent, how, as the self-consciousness of their more human parts creep back in, Rey seems to be comfortable with letting the more deeply-rooted biology peek at the surface, enjoy the days at least.  

 

He looks at her cunt and notices she isn’t spilling buckets of slick anymore which relieves him and causes his heart to tighten. What happens now? He wants to ask, watching her laugh as she yelps “Uno!”.  

 

Ben stares at her, glassy-eyed and intense with his brown eyes, and he etches those smile lines on her face into his memory — as they fuck one last time on her floorboards.  

 


 

 

Finn finally comes back on the fifth day with a fresh change of clothes. Ben didn’t bring any clothes with him and so he had to trust that Finn would get him decent enough ones when he tells him his size. He comes back with some sweatpants and a shirt with the sleeves a little too tight on him but he’s silent and does not complain.  

 

Earlier that day, he blinks his eyes open to a more calm Rey, walking around in a fresh change of clothes and a smile on her face, his scent gone. He tries not to show how it stings.  

 

You did pay for her.  

 

He remembers Hux saying, and he brings it with him as he showers, enshrines those words so he doesn’t forget — because he shouldn’t. Rey is not his to have no matter how much he wants to. So, when Rey stands by the door to say something that his sadness only drowns out in his mind, he leans down and kisses her, soft and warm and firm and insistent, trying to tell her something. He gazes at her one last time and hopes against hope that this isn’t the end of whatever this is.   

 


 

 

“Rey.” 

 

“I’m not overreacting, aren’t I?” 

 

“Rey—“ 

 

“Because I was pretty sure I felt it—“ 

 

“I get that but can you just sit down? Beebee’s going to run after you soon. Look at him.” Sure enough, Beebee sits there, his ass lifted and waggling in the air, following the frantic back and forth path that Rey’s sure she’s carved onto her floorboards. Ben fucked me there. She shakes her head. Thinking less about an Alpha that you only want more of is not an easy task, especially when the conversations they’ve had the past few days return to her at such a slow pace that it’s like the universe is deliberately saddling her with enough time to reflect each one of them.  

 

There was that prominent conversation where she erupted, though, where she spilled the proverbial beans on her tragic backstory like some idiot. He didn’t recoil, though, and he didn’t patronize. He’d just matched her truth with one of his own, and neither of them knew what to do with that.  

 

So, Finn finds her pacing when he comes by to hole up in her apartment to do his homework, and she tried to distract herself by going to work herself. Until she reached a tipping point that it just kind of... tumbled out of her, the anxiety, the overthinking, the what-if-loaded meaning of Ben’s gaze by the door.  

 

She hasn’t stopped thinking about it when she cat-sit Mrs. Castro's cat, Oliver, and she obviously hasn’t stopped after that because now Finn is her unfortunate soundboard.  

 

“I just don’t know if I should, you know. Hux did say it was just a service. Is this part of that? What did that look mean? Why do I want to see him again?”  

 

“That typically means you like a person, peanut. Wanting to be with them. Thinking about them — ugh, listen to me. I sound like a Thought Catalog article.” 

 

“He might not like me back.” She points out.  

 

Finn sets his pen down, pensive. She knows as much because he does that whole pursed lips thing of his. She bites at her nails, a nervous tick she thought she’d grow out of. She bites hard enough for it to chip. Not outgrown, then.  

 

“Did you have to let him go without asking?” He asks simply. Rey throws her hands in the air.  

 

“I didn’t know if that was appropriate behavior.”  

 

“Rey, you guys just had sex. What are you going on about appropriate behavior? Besides, you told him you wanted to know where this goes. And now you’re just walking around your apartment like a caged animal trying to find answers in your paranoia—“ 

 

“Hey—“ she warns but Finn soldiers on.  

 

“And you saw that look in his eyes, you must have had some idea.” 

 

“Stupid heat making me feel stupid about my feelings,” she mutters. Finn lowers his chin, eyeing her over the top of his rimmed glasses.  

 

“For all we know, maybe the reason he isn’t calling is because he thinks maybe he’s crossed some sort of line. Or, much more plausible, maybe he’s not calling because it’s him who doesn’t think that’s appropriate behavior.” Finn adjusts his glasses, once again picking his pen. “If you call him now, I’m sure he’d come bounding eagerly on your lap judging by the way he’s looked at you by the end of your... episode. And even the day before it, at the support group.” 

 

Rey blinks at that. “What do you mean the way he looked at me?”  

 

Finn takes a deep, long-suffering breath, and Rey knows better now than to be offended by it. “Has anyone ever told you how dense you are, Rey?”  

 

“What— that’s biology, is what it is. Do you think he’ll look at me the same way if I wasn’t in heat? He asked for a heat partner, not a mate.”  

 

“Then don’t go by feeling, either. That’s even more misleading.”  

 

“But there’s something—“ 

 

“Then admit it. It seems like you have to admit it for you to see. You push yourself to not think about it and then you overthink about not thinking about it enough. The fact is this: he was here in your space for nearly a week, only you could say for yourself if there really was something. Then you can finally come to terms with that and well and truly ‘see where it goes.’” He says, air-quoting the last part.  

 

“But what if I don’t anymore?“  

 

Finn’s head pulls back and intense knot forms on his brow. “I just verbatim-ed your shit back at you and now you’re doubting it?”  

 

“Still. What if it’s not anymore?”  

 

“That depends. Do you mean that?”  

 

He’s right. Does she? Rey doesn’t answer for a full minute. It’s like the room is holding its breath for her and yet Finn has only turned back to his work. She sits down, worrying her lips. Does she? 

 

Rey suspects Finn already knows the answer to that. 

 


 

 

Much to her surprise, her phone rings that night and she answers it with her heart in her throat. Maybe I should just let it go to voicemail?  

 

She doesn’t, though, and before she even has a chance to overthink it (because Finn said not to), she mutters a quiet “hello?” into the receiver, subtly pinching her thighs to make sure she’s not dreaming. The force bit her skin like a pinch. Okay. Now, breathe.  

 

“Hello, Rey.” He’s careful and she detects maybe he’s as nerve-wracked about the abrupt end of their dalliance. Rey remembers what he’d said, about how he still would have wanted her had he met her elsewhere. She lets herself smile at that; he won’t see it, it’s fine.  

 

“Hi,” she whispers.  

 

“I wanted to call sooner.”  

 

“Yeah?” 

 

“Mmh. I just didn’t know if that would be... appropriate,” he says, and Rey has to chuckle. She’s going to have to buy Finn something to compensate for his oracle powers.  

 

“I thought so.” She answers instead, biting her lips. “So...” 

 

“So.” 

 

God, she feels stupid. What a teenager. Her smile only grows wider.  

 

Ben clears his throat. “I had to drop by my physician today. And I received a fairly adequate dressing down from Holdo after the stunt I pulled.” There he pauses to laugh and Rey laughs with him. Somewhere in her mind, she basks in the idea that big, strong Alpha defied the natural order of his beta-like life to make room for her.  

 

“I have extra work now because of all the work I missed the past week, and my students won’t stop giving me hell for ‘finally fucking it out of your system, Mr. Solo.’” He recounts.  

 

“Dear Lord,” Rey mutters. He begins purring from the other line. She smiles.  

 

“I would have scolded that kid for that potty mouth but I figured I’d let him go. You’re the reason my physician thinks my infertility symptoms have alleviated after all.”  

 

There it is. The part of the conversation Rey fears. “Speaking of that,” she says, letting her fingers drift around the side of the bed Ben had occupied. “What did she say?”  

 

“She said I would need to keep going from here and she’ll have to monitor my condition. But that the next rut I have, I have to be completely flushed of suppressants.”  

 

Rey tries, she really tries, but she sighs into the receiver in relief, much to her horror. On the other end, she hears Ben intake a gulp of air. For a moment, Rey thinks maybe she’s scared him but then he spoke.  

 

“Rey?” He says, voice hushed and deep.  

 

“Yeah?”  

 

“I won’t be having another rut anytime soon. Can I— can we, you know. I can bring you coffee on your jogs and I can—“ 

 

“Yes, Ben,” she chuckles, clamping down on the urge to squeal. What the fuck is wrong with her? 

 

Now she hears the smile in his voice and she’s sure she, too, is wearing an expression of blissed-out happiness. “Goodnight, Ben.”  

 

“Goodnight, Rey.”

Chapter Text

Hux thinks he catches a whiff of her even before she’s reached his office. Standing behind the door, Hux thinks she smells funny. Or, happy, or rain-wet. He’s not really sure. Nonetheless, she huddles inside his office, slightly drenched from the rain. He fixes her with a gaze by his door, using all his Alpha might to keep her from tracking mud from her sad, wet shoes to his carpeting. It works, because of course, it does, Rey is still at that doe-eyed omega stage of her life.   

  

He then sets his glasses down. “What can I do for you, Miss Rey?”   

  

“Did he renew?”   

  

Somehow, he knew that’s what she was going to ask. He moves his hand mechanically on the handle of his locked right-hand-side drawer and drops his gaze from her only as long as he manages to pop open the drawer. He hands her a file folder that he has to stand up to offer and Rey takes it from where she’s standing. Not on my carpets, omega.    

  

She tries to hide it, but Hux sees the eagerness in her eyes.   

  

“Thank you,” she mutters, almost to herself. He speaks once again when she starts sifting through the papers, hiding a wince every time he thinks she’ll soil the impeccable paper with water droplets from her skin.  

 

“The physician said that Mr. Solo usually had ruts every two months. Accurate consensus on whether or not Mr. Solo should continue on with the program is yet to be decided at this point so unless you want to take on more clients in that time, you will be recognized as temporarily unemployed.”

 

“Unemployed?”



“Yes. Of course, the money you have acquired in the time you spent with Ben will be handed to you.”



It does not surprise him that she just nods at that, this girl, who came here the first time asking for a job because she needed money, merely nodding her head in such a resigned manner if it means she gets to clear her schedule out for only one Alpha. Hux files that information away, getting a handle on how well and truly young she still is.

 

“How has the last heat been?” He asked, changing the subject. 

 

“It was fine. He got a little out of control toward the end, but it was nothing I couldn’t handle.” 

 

He purses his lips at that. “I’m sure.” He drawls, moving to sit back down his high-back chair.  

  

Hux pins her with a gaze when she looks up and he sees her eyes flutter, caught in a biological war with the Alpha to lower her head down in submission. He sees the struggle there but he knows she will not succumb to it. Faltering only slightly, Rey lifted her chin up and closed her other hand into a fist. There it is. “You have to remember what this is, Rey.” He says simply, easing out of the glare as he watches her relax as well.  

  

He smells a very faint concoction of shame, confusion, and defiance that he can see is building up behind her pretty brown eyes. “What do you mean?”  

  

“You already know the answer to that or you wouldn’t have called me.”    

  

Rey straightens her shoulders. “That’s. That was nothing.”   

  

“If that’s what you say. Don’t get too excited, Miss Rey,” is his dry retort, adding the one painful reminder that he knows she dreads. “Payment will be deposited into your account. Expect it by Friday. Mitaka will show you out.”   

  

After taking the file from her, Mitaka returns to Hux’s desk to deposit it on one of his paper trays. In the corner of his eye, he sees Mitaka’s movements falter. Without looking up from his documents, he asks, “Out with it.”   

  

Just like he’s told him, Mitaka doesn’t hesitate to speak his mind upon Hux’s permission.   

  

“I’m sure you needn’t have to be so harsh, sir.”   

  

“She’s a big girl — she doesn’t have to be babied.”   

  

“Yes, sir, still. Most of our first-time omegas have gone through that same phase. You should have just given her the benefit of the doubt.”  

  

Hux sighs and seeing Mitaka flinch, he sets his glasses back on his nose, turning Mitaka’s suggestion in his mind. He really should have; he knows that. So, why didn’t he?   

  

“How do you know it’s just a phase?”   

  

“How do you know it isn’t?”   

  

He shakes his head, smoothing a hand down his cable-knit sweater. “You hadn’t been the one who had to listen to her whine at god knows what hour for what it would be like to be separated from her Alpha after his rut.”   

  

“Sir, you seem to be implying I haven’t handled agents like her before. It’s not an isolated case; they all feel like that in the first months.” Mitaka continues, still cautiously testing his speaking up privileges. “What caused you to talk to this one differently?”   

  

Frustrated and not really having an answer for that, Hux turns his attention back to his papers. He gives it a once-over and stands up to pick up his car keys.   

  

“I need to go,” he says maybe a little too loudly, Mitaka just looks at him with an unreadable expression. 

  

“Our Alpha Ryan needs help with his omega. Really, let it be said that our Alpha agents are somehow more fragile than our omega clients.”   

  

“Hear, hear, sir,” Mitaka says, Hux knows, without meaning it.   

  

He leaves the door without so much as a goodbye.   

 

 


 

Amilyn Holdo’s dress down was something of a blessing to him. It had been good for two things: (1) it had given him the out from sly, inquisitive P.E. coach Gwendolyn Phasma who will likely have the right idea as to where he’d been the past few days, and (2) the reminder that is his responsibilities as a teacher serves just the perfect reminder to him that he was both a busy man and that Rey was essentially off-limits.   

  

By the time he had finished talking with Holdo, he had twice as much paperwork on his hands, a budget breakdown he needed to do for the upcoming school career fest (it was going to be hellish to have to be the one to organize this already chaotic task), and yet even more book-based essays he’s surely going to lose sleep over.   

  

It’s okay. It’s more than okay. He needs this distraction. As much as he hates to admit it, Rey has wormed her pert little ass into his mind, sitting eager and shining between his thoughts that he sometimes catches himself stopping oddly in the middle of a lecture, thinking about warm and soft Rey bouncing on his stiff cock. Whoever was watching over him offered him the courtesy to make sure it’s not vivid enough that he gets an erection in front of a crowd of college students.  

 

After all, there was somehow nothing worse than death by embarrassment after his entire class sees that his mind had been… elsewhere.  

  

Doesn’t matter, of course, only half his students listen to him most of the time.   

  

After class, though, there had been those brave birds who came up to him to tell him how much they had noticed the change in him, even though he’s pretty sure he’d washed thoroughly enough.   

  

He gave the small crowd a once-over, though, and found that most of them were young Alphas who obviously had more experience at what he had just done the past few days to be able to tell.   

  

This was another commonplace Alpha thing that he thought obnoxious. The congregation of other Alphas that form whenever just one of them sniff out that someone’s been busy. He tries not to let it bother him, carefully protecting Rey’s personal information from what he can see are grabby Alphas.   

  

After a while, they disperse, but not after throwing teasing statements his way. He had gritted his teeth and bore it all, and afterward, he holed up in his office until Holdo came mowing down with fiery anger.   

  

He’d let her have her moment, docile and quiet and answered her understandably odd questions.   

  

“Why did you have to disappear so suddenly, you could have filed a leave beforehand—we had rut leaves for that kind of thing, Solo.” To which he’d said he wasn’t aware it was happening, that all he knew was that he was seeing this omega and she was the most beautiful thing he ever saw. Just like with the Alpha students, he does not divulge that information. Holdo is an older Alpha, and while her patience is incredibly admirable, her anger is just as easily stoked.   

  

Then: “Did you have any idea who had to take your classes? I did. I already did some substantial saving your ass on so many occasions. Remember’s Leia’s last gala?” He’d shook his head at that, staring her down from where he was sitting before he realized it.   

  

Holdo only stared right back. “I don’t care to know who this omega is that you are meeting, whether she’s from a program or not. I care that you see to it to come to work like I tell you to.”   

  

To that he’d gritted his teeth, getting only increasingly aggravated at the standoff. Ben realized belatedly, after Holdo had left the room, that maybe, just maybe, before the suppressants, before the presenting, his bouts of intense rage were not anger issues after all.   

  

Ben exits his office with heavy footfalls, pausing only to set his extra work carefully on the passenger seat, and then turning to the bushes over one side to growl his pent-up anger away.   

  


 

So far, he had been right. The extra work had proven to be enough of a distraction for the inevitable contemplation of what he wanted to come out of his rut with Rey. There were a lot of unsaid things at the end of it, and the things that were said were somehow only half of what he’s sure are deeper trenches of horrid history he’s sure they both have.   

  

When he settles into the drafting the career fest budget, one he set out to do first so he can at least get a head start in case the assigned committees of the event ask him for a draft estimate, he allows himself to think about her. In the quiet of his home office, his mind drifts to lazy fingers passing in and out of dripping wet pussy, and bedhead, and the smell of sweaty Rey as she sleeps and all he can do is watch, urged by an inexplicable need to make sure that when she wakes up, he is there to fulfill her every need.   

  

As he’s writing numbers and punching keys on a calculator to his right, he thinks maybe those Alpha qualities he always had really are peeking through. Intrigued, he fires up his computer and tells himself he’d just Microsoft Excel everything so it’s faster.  

  

If he doesn’t do that, well, it was only a five-minute quick search.   

  

Instead, he pulled up article after article to read more about his condition. Lethargy. Loss of sexual interest. Erectile dysfunction. He’d already gone through that with his physician. But as he reads on, he sees slightly more disturbing stuff. Knot deflation. Gynecomastia. Partial or total lack of olfactory function. Non-reactive gland. He wonders if he’ll have that, although he’s been told he’s not too far down that road to worry about it. Now that he’d read it, though, he’s definitely worried.   

  

After having scented Rey, he can’t imagine a life not being able to smell her.   

  

Really, in the next five seconds after that thought, he could have done anything, anything, with that information. He stocks it up somewhere in his brain and calls Rey instead. 

Chapter Text

Ben Solo waits at the same bench by the pond, watching the ducks lazily glide over the water. He’d barely gotten enough sleep last night, kept up by both the budget assignment and thoughts of Rey. The latter caused him more distress than the first one, his body filled with a strange energy to always be going out of his way for her. He’s your omega.

 

Before his last rut, he hadn’t been masturbating at all, driven only by a disgust he strongly feels for the Alpha/omega system. That night, that changed and he suppressed a laugh when he shot ropes of cum in a half-second period. Still not a lot but it was progress.

 

He allows himself to think, then, about how this could be easily prevented if he had made the choice to be attuned to his designation. He remembers being asked to join Alpha fraternity in his time in college and feeling repulsed by the way the Alphas handled themselves. He’s never wanted to be like them, and for the longest time, when people would ask his designation, he tells them he’s either a beta or a non-practicing Alpha. That last one was a joke, obviously; there was no such thing as an Alpha who did not partake. 

 

After all, he knew he had partaken himself, a long time ago. Though resentful of his designation, he knew he still had it easier. His first partner had been an omega who hid who she was to no avail because every Alpha could sniff her out. It caused her to breed contempt over the entire designation. Back then, the Resist Omega was just a budding organization and omegas like the one Ben had dated did not have the wherewithal to file for designation discrimination. No one had listened to them.

 

That being said, it didn’t surprise him when she turned tail when he presented an Alpha.

 

Ben thought that was for the best; she hated her designation and he hated his.

 

Even more so, he was unsurprised that his designation was just the designation his mother and father wanted — both Alphas themselves. But then they started planning his life out for him and that had been the end of his stay with them.

 

If there was one thing Ben regrets, it was maybe not listening to his mother when she’d said he could have really big problems if he became dependent on suppressants at a young age.

 

He’d scoffed back then, assuring her it couldn’t be that hard. Of course, Leia Organa knew what hard was, she was an Alpha female married to an Alpha male, gave birth, and swore never to do so again after the tooth-and-nail experience of expelling Ben out of her body.

 

His father, Han Solo, had no qualms with that, having been largely absent from Ben’s formative years himself. By all means, his strong Alpha mother made sure he was well-fed and alive. Up until now, he had a certain kinship with his mother but would be annoyed when his mother would bring that up only to attach it with “just like your father.”

 

Back then, he’d hated it because he loved his mother fiercely and loathed his absentee father in the same breath. He’d hated it because he reasoned he was not his father. He was here, wasn’t he? How was he anything like his father? He’d ask his mother. She’d just smile and ask him to hand the carrots, or prepare the table, or get her that bottle of absinthe. Now, as he thinks about it, maybe he’d hated it because it would come to be true.

 

He thinks about Rey now. Will he be absent in her life, too? Their life? And would they even get that far?

 

It’s cold when he’d reached the park and he can smell the wetness in the air, the petrichor from the drenched soil reaching his nose, the sweat and the distinct scent of everyone in the park. It almost feels like he’s placed behind an opaque wall of glass and forced to tell whether the people behind the wall were Alphas or omegas — and he’ll be able to tell. He blinks his eyes a little to a haze he doesn’t realize has formed around his vision and somehow sees everything a little bit clearer.

 

Odd. It feels like he can even pick out individual droplets on the duck’s smooth feathers, like he can jump over to the water and taste it and feel like he’s never taken a bath. Suddenly, a warmth fills him, his fingers feel tingly, and his nose feels irritated.

 

Rey finds him like that, hands frantically scratching the edge of a nail against his skin. When Rey touches his shoulder, he nearly jumps out of his seat. Rey catches the iced coffee that he very nearly drops and looks immediately worried.

 

He turns his attention to her. Oranges. Mandarin oranges. He sees her freckles first and dislodges over the short acid trip— what in the world?

 

“Rey?” He asks like he’s not really sure she’s there. Except she is, holding her own iced coffee. In her workout gear, a sports bra this time and her gland is right there. He growls at it and Rey raises an eyebrow. Clearing his throat, he moves to divest himself of his rain jacket.

 

“Ben— Ben, what are you doing?” She gets out before he whirls around so fast Rey is forced to back up a few steps. “Ben? Are you okay?”

 

“I—” That’s him. His voice. “Too hot? Don’t you feel too hot?”

 

“No.” She’s eyeing him suspiciously, stance on guard and setting her drink on the bench. “It just rained, Ben. Should I take you back to your physician?”

 

“No,” he hears himself growling, Rey gives a full body flinch, backing away even more. No. No, don’t do that. He’s scared her, oh no. Or maybe. Maybe it isn’t him. He swivels his head around, standing to his full height and scouring the area for anyone who had dared make his omega flinch like that. Omega . His eyes drop back down to Rey. Omega. Are you mine?

 

“Ben, you don’t look too good.” She insists, her feet getting ready to sprint if her slanted stance is any indication. “Sit down for me, Alpha?” She tries, and he can smell she’s terrified. He follows, docile when she puts a hand on his face. She lifts it right back up as if his skin burned him and he nudges his head to meet her hand instead, nuzzling an aquiline nose to her wrist. Rey’s breath hitches.

 

“Omega.” He rasps.

 

“Ben,” she’s trembling, this beautiful— his beautiful omega. “Ben, stay here. Stay here, okay? I’ll— omega’s going to be really mad if you so much as move from where you’re sitting.”

 

He doesn’t take his eyes away from her, but he sits firmly in place. If he wasn’t acting so weird, Rey would have found it funny. He follows her move around the space, eyeing her gland and how it’s so open. Mine, his body screams, but if he moves… no. No.

 

Ben watches her pace by the pond, follows the curves of her body with his eyes and whipping his head around once more as he sniffs another Alpha approaching. “Rey,” alarms blare in his head but when Rey turns around, she is not afraid.

 

This is an Alpha whose scent he knows. With slightly crazed eyes, he redirects his attention at the long and lean redhead.

 

“You do like making my work difficult for me, don’t you?” Ben hears him mutter. He growls at the new Alpha from where he’s sitting, only staying in the position because his omega is there. He can’t disobey her. He would never.

 

“Mitaka.” Is the one word that the redhead mutters before Ben remembers distinctly falling in the dark.

 


 

Before Rey could say something, Hux storms in the direction of — Rey knows — his car. “Hux, wait! Hux!”

 

She speedwalks beside him, struggling to catch up to his long strides. She sees him breathing through his nose, trying and failing to keep the vibrating anger inside him. “You didn’t have to sedate him! What was that tranquilizer for? Hux—!“

 

“Let’s renegotiate terms, Miss Rey.” He grits through barred teeth, not daring to meet her frazzled eyes.

 

“What?”

 

“You are unfit for this client—“

 

“Excuse me?”

 

“I should have known this would happen,” he bites out angrily, not breaking stride.

 

“What do you mean?”

 

“He’s unstable—“

 

“Unstable?”

 

“Yes, Miss Rey. Unhinged, out of control, the exact opposite of what we do at Brendol & Hux—we have to pull you out of this immediately—“

 

“No—“ she says, having enough presence of mind to reach out for Hux’s arm and yank him back. It takes a lot of work for her, an Alpha is hard to take out of a task they desire to do. Hux looms over her, then, crowding her space.

 

“Why?” He breathes a low rumble in her face, and the scent that she picks up from him causes her eyes to twitch.

 

“I can handle him.”

 

“He’s out of control!”

 

“I asked him to sit down! That’s why he never stood from there!”

 

“Miss Rey,” Hux tries, breathing heavily through his nose. Strange. Rey can smell his agitation but senses something underneath that, too. Something she can’t pin down.

 

“Get out of here.”

 

“I’m not going anywhere.”

 

“Miss Rey, I urge you to get in the car.”

 

She ignores him, jetting to the other direction only to find Mitaka hoisting Ben up from the shoulders and positioning him to drape over his own shoulders. Mitaka catches her gaze and tries to talk her out of what she clearly intends to do.

 

“Put him down, Mitaka,” she should have known Mitaka will never follow her, with Hux clearly following closely at her heels.

 

“Don’t,” Hux booms at her back. The park itself has gone unnervingly tense, the scant amount of people hovering in her periphery watching the commotion.

 

“Mitaka.” She bites out. “Set him down on the bench. Please.”

 

When Mitaka looks back for confirmation at his boss, Rey stares Hux down from behind her, meeting his gaze. She watches his nostrils flare, and if he had hackles, she knows at this moment they are raised. His hair is wild, like he’d just flown out of his office at her phone call and she tries not to let that obvious concern sting. After what seemed like ages, Hux turns his nose up and gives Mitaka the slightest nod she almost misses it.

 

Slowly, Mitaka’s polished shoes trudge on the ground and Ben is heaved onto the bench again, half his torso nearly falling off and his left hand touching the ground.

 

Rey turns to Hux. “We done here?”

 

There’s an expression there, one that she notices Mitaka has noticed, too. Where she stares at Hux with contempt, Mitaka stares at him with something else.

 

And he redirects that stare back at her. Her brows furrow, but she does not get a chance to parse out Mitaka’s expression before Hux is talking in a sickeningly calm monotone, his forehead having relaxed but his eyes hard as ever.

 

“We’re done.”

 


 

When her money comes Friday, she finds a termination notice in her email, signaling formally that Brendol & Hux truly is done with her.

Chapter Text

Rey steadfastly ignores her financial situation once more, burying thoughts of giving up in a box somewhere deep inside her. She has bigger problems. 

 

After Ben emerged from that Alpha spell, he’d avoided her like the plague. She’d called him, of course, after that little tiff, and he’d simply said he had classes to attend to. His voice had been hard but the haze of confusion and self-loathing was there as he muttered he’d have to stay away from her for a while until the suppressants whip him back into shape. 

 

When he did finally ask to meet with her, he gave her an address of a part of town she hasn’t been to before. Somehow, in Coruscant’s upscale and suburban mix, this place looked even more austere. It was a hospital and it smelled like disinfectant and alcohol. Alphas and omegas are milling about but their scents are so clean and discernable at the same time it was making her wonder: they probably take regular suppressants and go on with heats and ruts more normally. And their suppressants weren’t the cheap, free kind. 

 

Rey supposes she has to stop lamenting her suppressants too much lest she relives the embarrassment that had transpired when she disobeyed her Minder who only wanted to make sure that she was safe. 

 

She’d tried to reconcile, really, she did, but when she dropped by the office, Mitaka said Hux had been transferred to another office upstate, as most of his family members wanted to work closely with him about additional projects under the program. Mitaka knew about her situation, she guessed because he offered that even though she was unemployed, she could still come by and ask for free good quality suppressants. 

 

But she’d driven Hux away and thought maybe it was for the best that she not have any ties to Brendol & Hux any longer. 

 

Back to her old suppressants she was now, the one good thing about it is that her body is used to this brand. Maybe she’s not cut out for all the fanciness of this world after all. 

 

She’s thinking about this as she waits for Ben on a bench in front of an office. She reads Maz Kanata M.D., ATTENDING PHYSICIAN on the nameplate tacked on the door. Rey feels distinctly out of place here, too, nose down and fiddling with the edge of her skirt. She shivers, the offending cold of the building giving her one good pair of stockings a hard time fending off the chills. 

 

The door in front of her opens just then, a small, elderly woman peeks out, her wide eyes regarding her behind thick glasses. 

 

“You!” She gestures a vague hand at her. Rey is surprised, looking around, and lays a flat hand on her chest as if to say “Me?”. She nods, smiling and subtly sniffing the air. She stands to her full height, which is… not a lot. Hobbling past the door, she takes Rey’s hand in hers unceremoniously. Rey would have drawn back in momentary shock had she not said what she said. 

 

“You’re the girl, I see. Come in, come in!” 

 

Rey follows her immediately, confused at the sense of urgency she has while tugging her into her office. 

 

When she is finally inside the office, Dr. Kanata sits down on her own swiveling chair, looking at her with an expression she can’t quite place. This time, she sniffs a little more openly and it makes Rey turn an embarrassing shade of red. Only asshole-y Alphas did that, but the lack of scent the woman emits tells Rey she is a beta. She doesn’t look like she’s going to mount her, though, so she relaxes in her chair but is wary at the same time. 

 

She should have known by now that this was not going to be an ordinary visit to the doctor because Dr. Kanata suddenly began asking her questions she truly wasn’t prepared for. 

 

“Your Ben’s latest sexual partner, huh?” 

 

“Uhm. Latest?” She blinks. But Hux said he’s never had one. Dr. Kanata nods as if correcting herself. 

 

“I’m sorry. I meant “only” sexual partner at the moment. That boy could never really get a woman even if she was staring at him in the face. How are you?” 

 

“I’m good. Thank you.” Rey says, trying to get comfortable in her seat. To no avail, she notes, since it’s not the seat that’s making her uncomfortable. 

 

“Are you… Ben’s physician?” 

 

“Ha! Took you long enough!” She half-shouts like she’s just won the lottery. She must have realized it because she leans back considerably in her seat, softening her expression. “I apologize. I’ve been hopped up on several cups of coffee now and our man of the hour still hasn’t shown up. Always late, that boy.” 

 

“You seem really close.” Rey blurts, before cursing her own stupid mouth in her head. Dr. Kanata waves a dismissive hand. 

 

“I’m a family friend of the Solo’s and have been their family doctor since Ben was a wee sapling,” Dr. Kanata laughs, pinching her thumb and forefinger for emphasis. Rey chortles at that before covering her mouth. 

 

“So yes,” she hums. “We are pretty close. And seeing as you are in my office right now, I’m assuming I’m about to be really close to you, too.” 

 

“Why?” 

 

“Ben told me about that day at the park.” 

 

“Oh,” she isn’t sure why it bothers her that he didn’t say sooner, but Ben always had his reasons, she wonders. She just feels a little confused about what that may be this time around. 

 

“I told him he’ll be getting an ass-whooping from me if he so much as hurts you, and he tucked his chin at that and muttered sorry like a five-year-old! You’ve got this Alpha in the palm of your hands, dear, Ben Solo doesn’t just say sorry like that.” 

 

“Was it… dangerous?” Rey asks, ignoring the joke even as it tugs at something in her. 

 

“For you, yes.” And her face is serious once more. “Which is why he put himself under self-imposed exile to make sure it doesn’t happen again. We talked about the latest progress of his condition, though, and it’s really odd hearing a grown Alpha marvel at the fact that he’s cumming again because of a spritely young woman.” 

 

At that, she blushes and looks up when the sweet, calming aroma of bergamot reaches her nose. Ben stands there, hair a little wild, glasses a little lopsided on his high nose, and a toothy grin on his mouth. He sets a box of something on the upholstered black sofa to the right.

 

“It’s about damn time!” Dr. Kanata yelps, pointing an accusing finger at him. Ben turns his gaze from Rey to the diminutive woman, rounding her desk and planting a kiss on her cheek. 

 

“I got you some cookies. Don’t tell Alfred, I told him I was picking some up for the faculty.” Ben teases, before sitting down on the sofa and taking out a box of said cookies. Rey watches the exchange, feeling her heart tug at the sight of what is clearly almost a mother-and-son interaction. She imagines it’s her, imagines a version of her somewhere was fortunate enough to have her own guardians even as she herself didn’t. 

 

“Hey,” Ben says quietly, bringing her back with a warm hand on her knee. She relaxes, breathing in the giddy scent of him here. How she’d missed him. 

 

“Okay,” Dr. Kanata claps, commanding their attention. 

 

“We all know why we’re here,” she begins. “And it’s because of this dolt.” 

 

“Watch it,” Ben admonishes happily. 

 

“As much as I’d like to congratulate you for the slow recovery of your poor sperm, you, mister, must learn to control yourself. Being an Alpha does not give you a free pass to scare pretty omegas away.” 

 

“I know.” 

 

“And you,” she turns to Rey. “Do you know why Ben brought you here?”

 

At a loss for words, Rey just looks back from Dr. Kanata to Ben. 

 

“You’re here because I was told you would like to help Ben with his condition, even as you were fired from the Brendol & Hux program a week prior.” 

 

“How did you know that?” 

 

“Brendol & Hux is affiliated with us and I know Armitage personally.” 

 

“You do?” Ben and Rey both ask, obviously surprised by this piece of information. 

 

Dr. Kanata nods, pressing on. “From what I can gather, Ben wants you to come along to see me so he can make sure you’re not going to regret your decision to help him. It’s not easy to restrain an Alpha out of control, after all, and some omegas, in particular, are still in danger of aggressive Alpha behavior the world over. So, I’m going to ask you again if this is something you want.” 

 

Rey chews her bottom lip, looking down at the shiny oak table. “It is.” 

 

Dr. Kanata’s voice takes on a softer tone, too. “All right. After some scans, I have determined that Ben’s health and fertility are slowly returning. A big chunk of that is thanks to you. Although he’s taking medicine himself to try and improve sperm production. Tests that came back show he is also blessedly not suffering a varicocele so he should be fine.” 

 

Rey tries to hide the blush that blooms at her cheek. Why does she feel like she’s the one being consulted? Even as Dr. Kanata fixes Ben with a stare instead? 

 

“I would suggest you refrain from aggressive behavior, or find an outlet for it. The jolt of dominant and aggressive behavior could be because of the massive surge of hormones from the previous rut treatment, though. But since you won’t be going into rut for at least another month, your aggressive behavior will also likely diminish. If not, I’ll be forced to refer you to a psychiatrist.” 

 

Ben chuckles easily, though Rey suspects there’s a much more tense reason for that. “I’ll be fine, Maz. I’ve learned my lesson.” 

 

“What can he do, though?” Rey interjects. “When an aggressive episode happens?” 

 

“Usually, Alphas are only aggressive when they are suppressed for far too long. As is the case with Ben here. But since the law on mandatory suppressant ingestion was passed, you are more likely to fight with a hipster over where best to buy fresh produce than encounter a truly aggressive Alpha. Those that are still aggressive, though, well, we have places for those that hurt their own or other designations: it’s called jail.” 

 

“So, Ben won’t be aggressive anymore?” 

 

“I don’t guarantee that. But his medication should do away with those fears. If he acts up, hit him with a kick in his southward glands.” 

 

“Southward glands?” 

 

“His balls, sweetie.”  

 


  

As strange as her encounter with Dr. Kanata had been, she realizes she likes her. Very much. And if she had the money, she’s sure she might have brought her some cookies, too. In this hospital, it seems there are a lot of benches because she’s sitting on one again as she’s waiting for Ben to come back. After the meeting, he looked at her like she was going to break. She thinks maybe he set this up to explain something to her he can’t explain himself. 

 

Rey accepts that, understands it, even. 

 

He’s never mentioned her breakdown during their shared heat and rut, though, and she almost thinks maybe he’d forgotten. But this austere, warm meeting with the bright ball of sunlight in the otherwise oppressive hospital made her feel as though Ben would really like to express something to her. If only it wasn’t so difficult. Just like she had with that breakdown.

 

The white socks she’s wearing has accumulated some flecks of mud and she lifts her legs up, inspecting the dirt. Frowning, she sets her foot down and picks up Ben’s scent about a mile away. 

 

Settling himself into the spot beside her, he hands her a soda. 

 

He’s quiet for a long time, watching the crystal droplets on the trees glint against the scant sunset. If she looks at it at just the right angle, it looks like someone strung fairy lights on the trees. 

 

“So,” his voice is loud in the still air. “That was Maz.”

 

“I didn’t know it was that serious.” 

 

“It’s not, really, don’t worry,” he chuckles, asking permission with his eyes before settling his arm behind her on the bench. “I don’t have a knot deflation yet. Or anything like that.” 

 

She blinks at him, thumbing perspiration on the can he’d handed. “That happens?”

 

He shrugs with an unguarded smile and knocks back his soda. “Yeah. Well.”

 

Rey settles into quiet again, fiddling once more with her skirt. Ben nudges her neck slowly with a pointed nose, pressing a sweet kiss on her gland. She inhales a deep breath of him in the air. “Everything okay?” He murmurs against her skin. 

 

“It was just odd to me, is all.” She mumbles thoughtfully, setting the soda can down. 

 

“How?” 

 

“It was like we’re a mated couple asking her why we couldn’t have pups even if we know we’re both eagerly sleeping with each other.” At that, Ben laughs and Rey can’t help but laugh with him. 

 

“Well aren’t we?” Ben asks. The intensity of his gaze leaves her breathless, and the genuine affection she sees there gives her life at the same time. Her eyes are curious against his. 

 

“A couple?” Ben says— 

 

At the same time, Rey says, “Mated?” 

 

An awkward moment passes, and Ben looks at her lips before settling his gaze on her again. “Do you want to be?” He asks quietly, shifting somehow closer, nuzzling against her gland. She laughs nervously, although she’s sure even if she said no now, Ben would be okay with it. Feeling giddy and loved, she mutters a sweet ‘maybe’, before he’s crashing his lips against her. 

 

Rey resurfaces for air feeling a little dizzy as Ben plants his head firms against her right shoulder. She reaches back to play with the wisps of hair at the base of his neck. He shivers. 

 

“I was scared when it happened.” She mutters, curling her hand and waiting for him to respond. He stays still and presses warm, gentle kisses on her jutting collarbones. 

 

“I’m sorry.”

 

“What did it feel like?” She surprises him by asking. Ben lifts his head up, then, following her gaze as she stands up, smiling. 

 

He’s still so tall even when he’s sitting, so even as she eases between his thick thighs, she feels slightly heady at the twin glands that are now releasing a strong, musky scent all for her. She daintily turns to her side, settling to drape herself on his right thigh. His hand automatically holds her lower back firmly, one hand grazing tantalizingly at the edge of her flowy skirt. 

 

Ben looks at her there, tracing her hot skin. “It felt… restrictive.” The honesty surprises her, and as she watches his hand move about on her, she hears the odd weight of truth in his deep voice. “I felt like I could run a hundred miles and never be tired — but it also feels like I’m giving up a part of me just because.” 

 

He breathes a deep inhale, coming back to nuzzle at her gland. She does the same, letting her hand ruffle at his thick, glossy black hair. 

 

“What does an omega like you feel like?” He hums, this time genuinely curious. His hands have stopped journeying and he’s just now letting them rest on her waist. 

 

She smiles, turning her head slightly to tap a finger comically at her chin. After debating it in her head, she decides honesty is also the key here. 

 

“I honestly like it.”

 

“Why?”

 

“It’s like. Like I’m taking ownership of myself with everything that I do. Even before coming to that small group, I reached where I am now because I’m an omega who can . Not because I’m an omega. It’s hard, still, because we have to do twice as much work. But it’s the payoff that I get after that makes me feel like it hardly matters.” She remembers those days very well, running away from abusive overseers to sleep on a car graveyard filled with dust and all manner of sharp and possibly tetanus-inducing objects. 

 

That had been her home, she smiles at him this time, and the sun has long retreated in the horizon but even in the distant light of the hospital behind them, he sees his eyes shining with mirth she also feels inside. 

 

“I am who I am right now because I told them to fuck off and deal with it,” she finishes. Ben laughs a good laugh, one that accentuates the deep timber of his voice beautifully. 

 

“I wish I could do that. But it seems even my body doesn’t like me being… this.”

 

“I like… this,” she says, using his own words. 

 

“This buys me coffee. This follows me and sits on the bench when I tell him to. This eats me out so eagerly it makes me wet thinking about it.”

 

Ben laughs even louder at that, surprising her by spanning a wide hand between her thighs. Down there, she knows she’s warm because his slightly cold hand leaves an imprint on her skin. 

 

“Did you mean that? Staying with me?”

 

“Yeah,” she hums, pressing a kiss to his temple. “I want to get to know you. I really like you.”

 

“I really like you, too,” he whispers in her ear. His big hand is cupping her now, and she giggles a little, pressing her thighs together teasingly. 

 

“Shall I get to know you here?” Ben says, pressing a thumb on a rough estimate of where her clit is. Rey’s hands grab his own tightly, filling his ears with titillating laughter. 

 

“Ben! Not in public!” 

 

“Why not?”

 

“Because.” 

 

“Because what?”

 

“Ben!” She laughs, biting at his ear. That gets him to stop — and blush such a pretty shade of crimson she feels a laugh uncontrollably bubble out of her. 

 

He looks at her like she just stole the last cookie in the cookie jar. She bites her lips. This man. 

 

“You’re going to pay for that,” he rumbles quietly. 

 

“Yeah?” She bites back, taking a few steps back. 

 

“Yeah.”

 

“How?”

 

And then he sprints after her to catch her as night falls on them completely and the stars slowly witness how tight he presses her against him, the soda sitting forgotten on the bench behind them.

Chapter Text

It’s official; Rey is jobless.  

 

Not entirely, though, she reminds herself, diligently savoring her cheap dinner and imagining it’s a continental breakfast. After she’d shaved off the money she needed for her house and food budget, she hid the rest in the bank, keeping it there in case of emergency. 

 

It had been a week since she’s been kicked out of the program, and in that time, she’d done all she could, applied to everything she can think and still she remained without a penny she can at least buy some extra ice cream with. Finn, as usual, came along to do homework in her apartment and bitch about classes. When he would leave, it was Ben’s turn to come over much later to do his own work.  

 

They would each bring food to her place and not mention that they’d added a little extra in there. Rey hated to admit being dependent on her friends and now Ben, too, but hunger and practicality win sometimes and she swallows thick and bitter pride.  

 

After the fiasco, Ben and Rey had the mother of all awkward conversations about his brief Alpha stint in the park. It had involved a very cheerful, eccentric woman but, still. Awkward is awkward. 

 

It took a while for him to accept what he’d done, and up until now, he still kisses her and mouths at her gland in apology. Rey has forgiven him a long time ago, and he’s not reverted to that in the last few days, but she loves being given attention like this, and Ben doesn’t seem to mind that she might be taking up some of his time.  

 

Their park meetings have continued after Rey had allowed herself to make sure that Ben is back to normal. When he asks her to sniff him one day, she realizes he’s back on strong suppressants and feeling a little less agitated.  

 

He’s as attracted to her as ever, though, still, and before he’d leave for work he’d often do it locking lips with Rey in sultry, long kisses.  

 

Ben’s been busy himself, fulfilling the duties he has for the school and coming to her at night.  

 

One night, she’d asked about his infertility once again and she remembers how much he tried to distract her. His wide hands found her ribcage under one of his dress shirts that she loved wearing to bed, and even after that, with Rey’s eyes closed and her saliva-laved tits rapidly cooling from the air, Ben quietly tells her about his condition, speaking words he’s ashamed of to the column of her throat.  

 

He tells her fears, the erectile dysfunction, how very hard it had been to reach a climax where he could paint his own stomach with signs that it’s not really over, it’s not really.  

 

Rey assures him the infertility of a man does not define him, and he grunts, not accepting that at all. He shifts the conversation after he’s divested her of the dress shirt and pressed her back against his chest.  

 

As he nuzzled her gland, he told her about the pleasant way in which he was able to masturbate lately, driven to release by thoughts of her. And he’d been so proud that it was slightly off-putting. Here was an Alpha, revered for their virility and strength, worshipping at her gland how wonderful, how tear-jerked he’d been when she finally helped him gain little by little of that virility back. It was an odd feeling.  

 

In a lot of ways, they completed each other. She afforded him the experience and affection she sees every day that he clearly needs, and he, in turn, makes her feel safe in the nights when they are together, smiling to the way he purrs in her ears.  

 

Not so long ago, he’d felt a little off-put by that, but now he does it so subconsciously and mostly only when she is around him. He still comes by exhausted, though, although he never forgets to tend to her as she drags her covers to the living room to rest her head on his lap to sleep there.  

 

Once, he woke her up with a shining glint in his eyes. Back on her shitty suppressants, her body reacted immediately when his fingertips grazed the elastic of her underwear. Sometime in the night he’d obviously taken her sweats off, and backlit by the milky moonlight, she watches him bite down on that juicy bottom lip before muttering: “I want you on my tongue.”  

 

It had taken all of her willpower not to come the instant he gripped her thighs tightly and placed a sloppy kiss on her knee. She remembered nodding, too and relished the soft bite of her underwear against her legs when he purposefully let it drag on her skin.  

 

He’d draped both her legs over his broad shoulders and started kissing the inside of her thighs, nosing on the glands she had there. She fell on her back when he suckled there, the growl he pressed in her skin a sign that he liked the way she tasted.  

 

“Beautiful,” was his muffled prayer, tucked into the deep recesses of her skin and it made her squirm. Ben only pressed a firm arm on her lower abdomen and prepared to take his pleasure from the warmth of her cunt that he hadn’t minded the squirming.  

 

Every time he delved a tongue inside and bumped his high nose on her clit, Rey would swear she was seeing stars. As her toes curled, her whimpers grew louder and Ben would look at her then, make a show of slowly closing his eyes and easing his mouth up to lick a slow, deep stripe from her perineum to her clit.  

 

Each time, she’d buck and he’d catch her, and he’d do it again until she locks her thighs around his head and comes uncontrollably on his waiting mouth.  

 

Ben then assembles her on the couch to sleep, content and blissed out. Each time, he denied having her return the favor and returned to his work as soon as she would begin drifting off.  

 

This was the routine, and it made Rey feel like there was finally something in her life worth keeping.  

 


  

On a sunny afternoon, Rey receives a call from Ben. 

 

“Hello? My beautiful ball of sunshine Rey?” He says over the drone of what are obviously too many people around him, wherever it is he might be. 

 

“Rey?” Finn says beside her, nodding at the cards she is holding. “It’s your turn.” Paige and Rose shift their eyes at her, too, and she flushes but does not exit the call. 

 

“I’ll just take this.” She excuses herself. 

 

“Tell him he had better help you cheat at least!” Rose calls and Rey laughs. 

 

“He’s got x-ray vision!” 

 

The sisters gasp, “Is that why he got a peek inside your pussy, too?” 

 

“Rose!” 

 

“Oy!” The super admonishes from down the hall. Rey flinches, scrunching her face up to what she hopes looks like an apology and goes down the hall to the top of the stairs. 

 

Ben is saying something to someone from where he is before he is coming back to her. 

 

“Hello?” She finally answers. 

 

“Rey,” he says, loud and light. She bites her lip. 

 

“Yes, Ben.”

 

“Boyfriend.”

 

“Boyfriend?”

 

“Yes, Boyfriend is what you’re supposed to say, Rey.”

 

“Shut up,” they laugh, not really caring that she sounds like a schoolgirl. The super is peeking at her and she schools her face in a serious expression. She fails and grins to herself in the next point-five second. 

 

“Someone here just dropped an application.”

 

“What?” 

 

“Some weirdo just dropped this application on my lap at the Registration.”

 

Rey’s brows furrow in silent amusement. “What application?”

 

“For the university library.” He says, and Rey hears someone shout someone else’s name, hears some co-teachers of Ben talk to him about where the ambulance was, and about how Ben says its stationed near the stage alongside their ice cream sponsor. 

 

“What does it say?” She asks, still not sure where he is going. 

 

“It says applicants should be 18 to 24 years old.”

 

Rey’s brows relax a little. “What about if they aren’t from the university?”

 

“Nope,” Ben says, making the “p” pop. “Doesn’t say anything about that here.”

 

“What was the weirdo even up to?”

 

“Beats me. Though, for context, the university library is near the Jango Fett building on the East side of school. It sits beside this beautiful river. You’ll love it.” 

 

“Is this a date?”

 

“What? No. I would never! There’s a hidden garden there, all the faculty take care of their plants there and students are not allowed in.”

 

“How quaint. And what are your plants?” 

 

“Nothing. I just water. You know, the plants still need to get wet.” He pauses before saying that last word and Rey has to bite back the urge to scoff. 

 

“Why are you telling me this?”

 

“I heard they compensate workers with frozen pizza and shitty ramen.” 

 

Rey huffs, disbelieving but chuckling despite herself. “Won’t take it. Unless they slip in some budget soap in there and some barely-there conditioner, it’s a no deal.” 

 

“I mean, you should probably talk to the person hiring to negotiate that deal.”

 

She’s laughing again. This is so ridiculous. “Yeah? And who might that be?”

 

“It’s that dork Benjamin Solo? Dashing debonair of Coruscant’s boring literary classes? I heard he’s a bit of a prick, too.” Ben is chuckling too, she realizes, after hearing someone tutting his distracted conversation with her. 

 

“I hear he’s good in bed,” Rey smiles. 

 

“Is he? Maybe we should sleep together?”

 

“Oh, yeah. Rough and aggressive, very into that sort of thing.”

 

“Yeah, I figured. It’s always the quiet ones.”

 

“Always.”

 

“So,” he says after a while. Rey has a feeling they’re wearing the same amused expression. “Should I return it to the weirdo or..?”

 

“You should bring it back here. You know, in case there’s some hidden code in it. What if it’s a secret passage to some Narnia-type shit?”

 

He clicks his tongue. “I knew those taps on the table were morse code!” 

 

She laughs fully at that, wondering what she ever did to deserve this… this man. When she recovers, it’s with tears of laughter in her eyes. The super issues a long, hissing ‘shhhh’ and Rose and Paige and Finn now sound like they’ve continued on without her if the bickering is any indication. 

 

“So, I’ll see you later?”

 

“I’ll see you, Ben.”

 

“Boyfriend.”

 

Rey rolls her eyes. “I’ll see you, Boyfriend.”

 

As she exits the call, a giddy smile splits her face and when she turns around, Rose and Paige were already standing there, looking like they just saw an extremely cute dog down the street. 

 

Rey blushes fiercely, holding her breath for the barrage. 

 

“You sly bitch,” Rose mumbles, face the picture of happy bliss. “You have a boyfriend!!”

 

“Paige, are you seeing this?” She yells, and Paige flinches at the pitch in her voice but nods enthusiastically. 

 

“Oh my goodness! Oh!” Rose exclaims, peeking inside the apartment. “Finn! We have to celebrate! Rey’s popped the cherry!”

 

“Rose, what? No—“

 

“On her singledom!” Rose continues, dashing to hug her. Rey can’t help it; she laughs as Rose tackles her. Finn has emerged, leaning his shoulder on the doorframe and showing them all a knowing smile. Paige frowns at him and then smiles back. 

 

“Finn knew.” She’s looking at Finn but Rose realizes she’s talking to her. 

 

“What?”

 

“Finn fucking knew, Rose! Can you believe these two have been hiding this information from us? Betrayal, I tell you!” Paige declares, storming comically at Finn and punching his other arm. Finn yelps and rubs his shoulder. Rey throws her head back. 

 

“Guys, seriously, it’s not a big deal. He’s just some guy I met on this program.” 

 

“No. This is a big deal. We have to see him or it isn’t official.” Paige says, already fishing her phone to check her schedule, probably. Finn surprises all them by saying: 

 

“He helped her through her last heat.” 

 

Rose’s jaw drops. “Our girl’s gone and snagged an Alpha! What the hell? When were you going to tell us?” 

 

“I,” Rey chuckles, scrubbing a hand over her hot, blushing face. “I didn’t know it was official until today. He just asked me to call him boyfriend. There was no ceremony or whatever. And I think he’s offering me a job at the Uni.”

 

Finn perks up at that. “Wait. Coruscant University? As in, where I study?”

 

Rey nods. “As in, where you study.”

 

“Shut up,” Finn says, smile disbelieving. 

 

“Yeah.”

 

“Shut up,” Finn continues, face wide open and smiling. 

 

“Yeah.”

 

“We can show you that great food place we go to that sells Korean noodles! We can play frisbee on the quad! And invite you to frat parties! Rey!” Rose lists, somehow vibrating with even more energy. “You can help me write an essay for Solo’s class!”

 

At that, Rey bites her lips playfully, failing to hide the knowing smile from her lips. 

 

“Hold on.” Paige senses. “Are you… dating Professor Solo?”

 

Rey just stares at them, smiling back at Finn. Rose looks between them. “As in stud muffin dork-lord Professor Benjamin Solo? Built like a brick house Solo? Oblivious to flirting omegas Solo?”

 

Finn chuckles behind them, humming to himself before entering the apartment again. 

 

Rey lifts a brow at Rose. “Should I be worried you’re calling my man a stud muffin?” 

 

“Well, isn’t he?”

 

She nods slowly at that, with a resigned sigh. “Don’t let it go to his head.”

 

Rose laughs, and Paige pesters her with questions about this newfound love life. Rey laughs at everything, continuing to field their questions about her and Ben. A pride inside her swells slowly. Safe to say, the feeling of being wanted is unlike anything she’s ever felt before. 

Chapter Text

The pub that Rose and Paige chose for the meeting with Ben was a swanky, not-at-all-tacky haunt with a mostly hipster crowd. It’s been hard trying to imagine going into a bar where there were both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks in the menu. The menu itself was fucking impressive. Names of fruits were there, as well as the usual cocktails and beers, and even some expensive artisan stuff. Paige even mentions she heard from someone the place also had a wine cellar for people who knew their wine well enough to pick out their favorites. 

 

Looking around the high-ceilinged, brick walls, through the second floor at the top where college students and businessmen alike are huddled in close proximity, she supposes this does look like a place that has its own wine cellar. 

 

Not that she’d know, though, she rarely drinks. Finn is sitting beside Rose and Paige is sitting beside Rey, as they form a circle around the round table. A lone spot awaits its own occupant, someone Rey is suddenly nervous about. 

 

She’d called him after Rose’s suggestion, asking him to bring a box of the same cookies he’d brought over for Dr. Kanata and he’d been too happy to agree. He even insisted on adding in some sugar cookies, too, just for a dash of vibrance. Though she hadn’t told him why he should bring the goodies, she suspected that he already knew. 

 

A glance at her phone shows her a text from Ben alerting her that Ben was just a few blocks away. 

 

Sitting on the table are two incredibly light, incredibly fruity non-bitter fruity beers for Rey’s curiosity. Paige had ordered a Long Island while Rose stuck it out with soda. There’s also a plate of nachos sitting at the center of the table, mostly taking up Rey’s attention. 

 

Rose and Paige are talking about the Game of Thrones ending even until now. Finn has remained silent, chuckling at some of their back and forth, having stopped himself from watching after the sixth season “went to shit”, he says. 

 

Rey herself thinks it could have gone better, but after stumbling on that documentary-slash-behind-the-scenes one night, she’d kept herself up thinking about the amazing work those people had done. What was it like to be passionate about something? She had thought that day. But to this day felt she was rather unfortunate to not have that opportunity. 

 

“I’m just saying, no one liked Cersei–“

 

“I actually did,” Finn interjects. “I liked the entire Lannister house. Gotta respect that hustle.”

 

“As I was saying.” Rose soldiers on. “She was such an integral character. The show managed to build her up as this broken, beautifully cynical and ruthless woman only to have her cower just like that? Even dying in Jamie’s arms was such a lame touch I had to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating the entire thing.” 

 

“Didn’t Jamie say he wanted to die in the arms of the woman he loved?” Paige inquires, sipping her Long Island. 

 

“Lame,” Finn and Rose say at the same time. 

 

“It’s even become such a real joke over Reddit about how the producers were so keen on “subversion of expectations” that they forgot to tie it in with the actual plot,” Rose says. “It’s only effective—the subversion—if there was something that clearly led to that event.” 

 

“You could argue it was all there all along. Like Arya’s killing the Night King?” 

 

“I’m kind of on the fence on that one, too,” Rey finally joins in. “Did I think it was awesome? Hell yeah. But did I also think it was slightly shoehorned? A hundred percent.”

 

Finn scoffs. “Slightly?” 

 

“I even thought she was going to pull the same stunt with Dany,” Paige admitted, nodding to herself. “Though I feel if that had happened, it might somehow be a better ending.”

 

Rey agrees with that, at least. 

 

“Anything would have been a better ending.” 

 

Bergamot fills Rey’s nose as she stands and greets Ben’s smiling face with a relieved kiss. The action is so sudden Ben shuts up almost immediately, pressing back eagerly with a smile on his lips. Happy and content Alpha is Rey’s favorite scent so far, and Ben carefully sets the box of cookies down on the table before letting go of Rey’s lips. As he noses her gland, Rey realizes the entire table has been staring at them. Rey blushes, but Ben just holds her securely in one arm. 

 

“I stand by that,” he continues. 

 

Rose and Paige are snickering, moving a little more to Finn’s side of the crescent seat after seeing that Ben might need the extra space. He slides in with much ease, excusing himself for being late. 

 

“I’m Ben,” he says when the table doesn’t offer a greeting. Rey suspects it’s because he’s older than all of them and that though Rose is a giggling puddle of fangirl, she knows he’s still her professor. “Rey’s, uh, boyfriend.” He adds somewhat awkwardly, sliding his gaze out and into the pub. His thighs are warm where hers are pressed against and she decides to place a hand there, making his head turn back at her. 

 

“We know,” Rose finally says. “So, these cookies, huh?”

 

Ben seems to brighten at that. “Yeah, it’s one of the bakery’s older recipes. It remained unchanged and still amazing.” 

 

Without prompt, they all popped the box open, sending the scent of cookies floating in the air. Rose takes her pick of a sugar cookie first, humming when the flavor hit her tongue just right. 

 

“These are really good,” she says around a mouthful. Rey chuckles, feeling Ben’s eyes on her in her periphery. 

 

Finn reaches across the table to snag one for himself before turning back to Ben. 

 

“I suppose now that we’re all here, it’s high time we give you The Talk,” Finn says, making Rey blush uncontrollably. Rose and Paige’s eyes shift to the lone Alpha on the table, two keen-nosed omegas picking up on the nervous energy he’s suddenly emitting. It’s a tense moment, as Rey looks at the sisters with a face she hopes they understand. 

 

This Alpha is unusually insecure, their eyes shone. And Rey promises back that she’ll talk more about that later. Not without Ben’s permission, of course. 

 

Ben clears his throat and the moment is gone. “If you wouldn’t, I’d be very disappointed.”

 

Finn smiles at that, but only slightly. And suddenly, the beta in him becomes the head of the table. 

 

“I’ve known Rey since we were in high school. And Rose and Paige have been hanging out with us since I started college.” Finn narrates. Ben stays still in his place, seeking Rey’s warmth under the table and emanating a slow kind of peace under the pressure of Finn’s narrative. 

 

Alpha wants to do good for you, her brain supplies, as she catches a whiff of her scent. She hides a smile. 

 

“When she went on heat with you, I was sure I’ll be coming back the next day at the first sign of a call from Rey dragging your ass out of her space in a hot minute.” Finn drawls, leveling a stern stare at Ben who does not exactly flinch but does a minuscule re-adjustment of his body, starting with a subtle foot shuffle. Rey sees it under the table and wonders how the Tico sisters have naturally fallen back into Game of Thrones discussions amid the tension between the Alpha and the beta. 

 

It’s… an odd standoff. 

 

“But you didn’t show me signs I should pull you away from Rey.” He says. “She even went on a paranoia-induced meltdown when you hadn’t called.” 

 

Paige looks up, grinning wide. Rey fights the urge to facepalm her reddening face. 

 

“She really paced around her room,” Paige cuts in, serving to embarrass Rey even more. Ben looks at her with a teasing grin and Rey receives it by throwing a mocking smile back at him. He gives a slow rumble of a laugh. 

 

“How did you know that?” Finn asks innocently. “It’s almost like—“

 

“You told us.” Rose continues. “And remember how Rey stood up from a game of Uno to take his call? Precious. It’s her only favorite game.”

 

“Rose,” Rey bites out. The girl just stares back at her with a tiny wink. Ben sees it, too, because he’s suddenly laughing a little more loudly. 

 

Finn is nodding now, fishing for another cookie before discreetly flagging a waiter standing by the door. “You know those chick flicks where the female leads are strong independent women but turn to goo when the men they like begin courting them?”

 

“No,” Ben mutters in faux disbelief, side-eyeing Rey with a smirk. 

 

“It’s exactly like that. She burned a path of her feet on the floorboards from all the pacing. Nearly drove my cat insane.” Finn laughs. 

 

“I feel like that’s not too bad,” Ben supplies, tightening a warm hand around her own, the hand she doesn’t realize she’d pulled back since the round of teasing began. “Especially since it wasn’t any different from my end of things.” 

 

His honest response lays a quiet blanket of silence over the group, even Rey sees Paige blushing in the corner of her eyes. Rose is wearing the same sickeningly touched smile. 

 

“I’m sorry,” Rose blurts. “Is anyone finding this a little odd? I really do. I mean, he’s my professor. I feel like I’m getting reprimanded for sticking gum under the tables at Lecture Room C—“

 

“That was you?” Ben inquires, which could have stirred the conversation in a different direction if it hadn’t been for Finn’s abrupt cackle. 

 

“As I was saying, what made you want to date our friend here?” Rose continues. Ben is still looking at her with wry amusement. “I don’t mean this in a bad way, but you really just met her in some matchmaking heat program. You could have done anything other than date her after it all. So, why?”

 

It occurs to Rey that she should probably be offended, but she knows it’s an important question. Because she hasn’t bothered to ask Ben about it herself. When she turns her head to him, he’s already looking at her. Slowly, as if the entire room is holding their breath, Ben brings her hand up to his face, keeping his eyes on her as he runs his stupidly sharp nose against the soft skin of her wrist. 

 

“Because Rey is special.” Is his simple answer to Rose sitting across the table, turning beet red at Ben’s brazen show of affection. 

 

Rey’s body becomes inflamed after Ben’s declaration, and if Rose and Paige can smell her steadily wanting nothing more than to leave the premises to tongue Ben’s throat outside, they say nothing of it. 

 


 

It’s annoyingly corny. She’s heard it a thousand times before, from Finn even telling it to her when she feels sick to the stomach and questioning her self-worth. 

 

It’s the stupid line all those male leads use to describe their muses. It’s the statement of rich people funding poor students for publicity. It’s the shorthand for every clichéd chick flick movie line, the only iteration of it all that has been said so many times she hurts hearing it now. Or at least she does. At least she does, walking ahead of Ben on purpose and hiding a smile in the dark of night as he struggles to catch up to her while also being discreet. 

 

She does. She thinks it’s clichéd that Ben called her special. She really does. 

 

“Rey, wait up.” He calls, long legs finally catching up to her. In front of her beneath the lamp post, he cuts an impressive, imposing silhouette on the sidewalk. The omega in Rey marvels at the strong implication of his species, but the human part says climb him like a tree. Either way, she knows Ben is smelling her want in the air but ignores it when he holds her hands tenderly in his. 

 

Backlit though he is, Ben’s smile is a contagious thing. She smiles despite herself, looking away to scoff without any real heat. 

 

“You embarrassed me tonight,” she says, voice quiet and looking away. 

 

“Have I?” He asks, lowering his head and bringing her fingers up to his lips. They’re sticky from the candied strawberries she’s popped in her mouth back at the pub. 

 

“Yeah,” she says, her voice a slight pitch higher as she watches him kiss each finger one by one. 

 

“How can I make it up to you?” He mutters, letting her sticky fingers fall on his face. The sexy moment is lost when he places one large paw on her waist — over where she’s ticklish. Immediately, she lurches forward and laughs, her sticky fingers falling on his gland for support. Ben hisses abruptly. 

 

Firmly, he plants a sweet, wet kiss on her own gland. Hard. “You make me feel some type of way.” He says against her skin and it surprises them both. 

 

The air has suddenly changed. She doesn't feel like pushing him up a wall and ravishing him, and he doesn’t smell like that either. Under the light of the lamp post, she finds he’s spilling his guts to her again in a very uncharacteristic vulnerability for an Alpha. 

 

Before she’s able to find her words, she finds they’re moving in a slow circle of footsteps. Dancing, she sees now, with Ben’s nose on her gland and her own fingers in his hair. 

 

“Ben,” she whispers. He tears away, looking at her through thick lashes. 

 

“I don’t know what it is with you,” he says, eyelids fluttering. “Am I— is this all too fast?” He mutters, swallowing. “I’m so…”

 

“Yes?” Rey encourages, lifting her fingers off his gland with difficulty so she could wrap both arms around his neck. He’s tall and she has to tiptoe but that hardly matters when he meets her halfway with a kiss. “Don’t worry; I feel it, too.”

 

“Yeah?” Ben breathes against her lips, his chest hot and his fingers slightly trembling where he’s got her pressed up against his body. 

 

She allows herself to think about that confession. By all means, it doesn’t make sense to her either, the pace they’re setting for this entire arrangement. 

 

Have they really been going too fast? Is it going to be a problem? But he’d gone out and met her friends. With sugar cookies. 

 

A silence fills the air around them and Rey thinks she’s never been this calm around anyone before. So, maybe it doesn’t matter. Maybe it doesn’t matter because she’s got what she wants here now. She doesn’t want anything at that moment and she means that so genuinely that it almost scares her into almost crying. Almost. But with Ben’s hands around her, she feels elated instead, not even caring if they look odd to walking strangers. 

 

“Do you listen to DVSN?” She asks, playing around with the hairs at the bottom of his head. He hums in thought and it vibrates through her own chest. 

 

“No, sweetheart.” She bites her lips. She likes that. 

 

“You should. You quoted them.” Rey adds, slowly creeping her fingers under his hair to scratch at his scalp. His breath hitches as he looks up at her and this time it’s her who mouths at his gland. He groans at that, hoisting her up higher and securing her against him by her buttocks. 

 

“And H.E.R, too. ‘Every Kind of Way’. Sort of. It’s a variation but it’s there—“

 

“Sweetheart,” he interjects gently, making her pay attention. “What’s wrong?”

 

“Nothing.”

 

She knows Ben knows there is. He can smell her. The concern that is both naked in his eyes and distinct in his scent is making Rey feel some kind of way for him, too. 

 

“About what I said? The one you told me was a lyric sang by DVSN? Tell me, baby,” he urges, setting her down gently and stilling his movements completely. 

 

She thinks about running away instead of admitting. This is all easier said during heats, during phone calls. But this is the same man; why is it hard to say now to the open air, to his face, to his waiting, pliant, expecting face?

 

“I’m scared,” Rey tries, angling her face a little so she isn’t — not directly — staring into his warm brown eyes. “I’m scared that this might all end as soon as it’s begun.” 

 

She’s happy and terrified at the same time. Which is an odd feeling to be having for someone who just went on a heat with her and continued dating her even as she’s years younger than him. He probably thinks she’s some sort of moon-eyed teenager. 

 

Ben ducks down and presses a warm hand against her cheek, urging her to look up. “How about we set this at your pace?”

 

“My pace?”

 

“Yes. I come over to your place only if you want me to. And we do the things we want to do only if you ask.”

 

“And that’s.. okay? To you?”

 

“Yes,” he nods, and she sees there is no hint of contempt there, just a sincerity that once again terrifies her. He’s got it so clear in his head, what this is, and her heart constricts at the thought that he’s willing to wait for that same clarity to wash over her, too. 

 

“Rose’s question made me think, sorry.” She feels compelled to say but Ben’s expression does not indicate offense at that. 

 

“As well you should,” he simply responds. “Come on.” He says, smiling. “Have you seen the Daniel Sloss standup routine on Netflix?”

 

“No.”

 

“You’ll love it. Your place? Or nah?” He adds, implementing his new rule seamlessly in. Rey lets herself smile widely at that. 

 

“Sure.”

 

“Daniel Sloss it is.” 

Chapter Text

The previously agreed on arrangement has given Rey her place back. She misses Ben dearly in her space, smelling like both of them and pulling his hair out of frustration at a tricky sentence that doesn’t make sense to him. 

 

But she likes being alone again, too. Heats give you that false sense of security in being around someone else that when you really look back and think about what it all meant, you can’t help but say “it was just the heat.” Though Rey doesn’t share the same opinion, she knows that the independent streak in her has and probably will never dissipate. It’s kept her alive, after all, through a tumultuous past that’s better left unsaid. 

 

The small stipend she gets from writing online articles is a blessing, and she nearly sighs in relief after seeing that it’s padded her modest bank account. At least she can buy a little something for herself with that money. Probably replace her ancient bedsheets? Or probably get a tub of ice cream in the fridge just for the hell of it? 

 

The slight cramp on her lower back does tell her it’s that time of the month again, so she just buys herself vapid, nutrition-less chips from the supermarket to go with obviously warm-compress-to-the-lower-abdomen days. 

 

She fires up her laptop back home, a hand-me-down from Finn she’d tried to turn away but failed. It helped her work and gave her yet another incentive to make sure she can feed herself well enough. The tradeoff was, of course, having no freelance work to make up to Finn’s gracious help and Rey knows that simply won’t do. 

 

Well into her second article, her phone rings. It’s Ben, calling at 8:30 in the evening. 

 

She’s halfway through a list of ‘good food haunts for the flexitarian in you’ when he explodes in a rant of why so many students still can’t get it into their heads that the super romantic Romeo and Juliet was not actually super romantic. To which she asks why that’s even a topic of discussion since everyone who knows Shakespeare probably also knows that Juliet dies of a death that must have sent dear old Cleopatra rolling in her grave. 

 

He tells her it’s incredibly common, especially with the students that take up his class as extra credit for “something soul enrichment something” (Ben’s exact words). He says he hates those types of kids, and that it irks him to be a teacher if his students are just going to heavily imply they would stupidly not mind dying such a senseless death. 

 

Rey continues to let him run his mouth as she pulls up a tab of Reddit discussions over the Romeo and Juliet arc. 

 

She does it mainly because she is embarrassed at not having an organic thought about the story proper, since, like everyone, she only really knows about the stupid twin deaths. 

 

“I’m on r/ShowerThoughts right now for this,” she interrupts him gently and he shuts up easily to hear it. “One guy says it’s a bad case of miscommunication.”

 

Ben scoffs, “A very bad case indeed.” 

 

“They were young for this?” Rey says, incredulously. 

 

“It was historically coinciding with the age of consent, but I lose a couple of brain cells when they look this up and insist that that makes the situation any better,” Ben mutters petulantly and Rey pictures him rubbing the bridge of his ridiculously high nose. 

 

“Juliet was 13? How on earth…” She trails off, before reading one entry that sends her into a fit of giggles. 

 

“Look at this: “‘Don’t pretend that you fucking killed yourself’ is a little bit more than just miscommunication.”” 

 

“Really, it doesn’t take that much effort to pull up Reddit. These children need to stop watching so much Netflix. I heard the “You” is giving the youth some pretty stupid ideas about what is love and what is obsession.” 

 

Rey at least has something to say for that, having been exposed to the Twitter shitstorm that came out of it. She shudders now just thinking about it. 

 

“What’s your favorite classical story?” She surprises him then, and she savors the contemplative quiet that falls on him instantly at her inquiry. 

 

The thought process he obviously goes under gives her some time to construct a paragraph or two. When he speaks again, it’s firm but quiet, like he’s a little embarrassed by it. 

 

“Don Quixote.” Is the unexpected response. She frowns, expecting him to say something like Jane Eyre or one of the Brontë sisters. She pulls another tab to search about Don Quixote. 

 

“It’s written by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra,” Rey says, reading the fact on a Wikipedia page. The shuffle on the other line tells her Ben is probably nodding. 

 

“It’s a favorite of mine.”

 

“Aren’t you going to discuss the feminist undertones in any of the Brontë sisters’ works? Or go really deep into Margaret Atwood territory?” She knows that last one from The Handmaid’s Tale that everyone loves on Hulu. She would like to see it but current financial restrictions are always issuing a stiff “no.”

 

“I could but then many people are already doing enough of that, in my opinion.” He chuckles, breathing a little more steadily now after his outburst. “Marcela is my favorite character in it. No one seems to know a lot about her, even though she was a force to be reckoned with in her own right.” 

 

“I can’t say I’ve heard of her.” She admits in a hushed tone, resting her back on her bed and reaching a splayed hand in the direction of the ceiling. 

 

“Tell me about her,” Rey urges. 

 

So, he does. Ben tells her about the beautiful Marcela, standing on top of a boulder, looking down on the grave of the man who claimed she’d been the cause of his death and bellowed a graceful ‘fuck you’ to the male congregation there. 

 

They had called her basilisk, Ben said, called her cruel and beautiful in the same breath, until Marcela spoke, not bothering to ask any of their permissions. The free-spirited beautiful young woman had defended her honor with no less grace that they perceived her to have, and she’d pretty much insulted them in the same breath. 

 

Rey laughs at that, continuing to gasp in quiet awe as Ben repeats a line from the book as if it’s just something he thinks about every day. 

 

“But what I don’t understand is that just because a woman is loved because of her beauty, she’s obliged to reciprocate this love.”

 

Marcela says, in Ben’s not-quite sotto voce. It makes her think that maybe he really is embarrassed about this a little bit but nonetheless keeps silent. 

 

“And furthermore, it could happen that the one who loves the woman is himself ugly, and since ugliness is worthy of being despised, it would be silly for him to say: ‘I love you because you’re beautiful; now you must love me, even though I’m ugly.’...

 

“Honor and virtue are adornments of the soul, but without them, the body shouldn’t seem beautiful, even though it may appear to be. So, if purity is one of the virtues that must adorn both body and soul to make them beautiful, why should the woman who’s loved for her beauty sacrifice her purity by yielding to the wishes of the man who, for his selfish pleasure only, seeks with all his might and wiles to cause her to lose it?”

 

The next moment is filled by silence and Rey thinks that maybe Ben has fallen asleep, but when he clears his throat quietly, she sighs and mutters a hushed “wow.” 

 

There is a smile in Ben’s voice when she hears it again. “She’s a relatively small part of the book, and she only appears vicariously first through one of the people Don Quixote meets on the trail. But she made her mark on me. She became my favorite part of the book.” 

 

Rey sits back up, pulling up some tabs to read about this wonderful woman because even Ben’s words illustrated her to be someone worthy of being praised for being herself and making her own choices, the latter being something that Rey wishes she could do. 

 

“I’m reading about her now,” she says into the receiver. Ben chuckles softly. 

 

“You can continue that tomorrow. Right now, we have to go to bed.” 

 

“You go on. I’ve got some stuff to finish.” 

 

A beat passes them as Rey’s clack-clack-clack on the keyboard is the only thing she hears. “Goodnight, sweetheart.” 

 

“Goodnight, boyfriend.” 

 

Ben hums before exiting the call. 

 


 

And getting back to the story, although the uncle presented each suitor to his niece and told her the qualities of everyone who asked to marry her, begging her to marry and to choose as she pleased, she responded only by saying that she didn’t want to get married right then and that, since she was still so young and didn’t feel able to take on the responsibility of being married.

 

With these seemingly proper excuses, her uncle stopped pestering her and waited for her to get older and choose a husband who would please her. He said—and he was right, too—that parents shouldn’t marry off their children against their wishes. But here’s the thing—when I least expected it, that persnickety Marcela showed up one day dressed as a shepherdess; and even though her uncle and the rest of the townspeople advised against it, she went into the countryside with the rest of the girls of the village and took to tending her own flock of sheep. 

 

And as soon as she came out in the open and everybody could see how beautiful she was, I can’t begin to tell you how many rich young men—hidalgos and peasants—have taken up the same costume as Grisostomo, and roam about these fields trying to court her. 

 

“...I was born free, and in order to live free, I chose the solitude of the outdoors. The trees of these mountains are my company; the clear water of these streams are my mirrors. I communicate my thoughts and share my beauty with the trees and water. I’m the distant fire and the sword placed far away.

 

“...I, as you know, am independently wealthy, and I don’t covet anyone else’s fortune. I’m free and I take no pleasure in submitting to anyone…”

 


 

Ben comes inside the library not knowing what to expect. Rey’s shift her is going to start in about fifteen minutes and he has at least an hour-long window to drop by to see her settle in. After she showed him her high school diploma, it had been easy enough to process her application and get her started. He hid the excitement of seeing her on campus spectacularly badly — it had been embarrassing. 

 

One of his co-teachers, Snap, an Alpha, looked at him funny during lunch, picking through his lamb chops and giving him a not-so-subtly-side-eye as if to say “I see what you’re doing.” He’d ignored that conveniently, though, it was not at all hard to tune people out when Ben Solo wanted. But when he reached his office, he took a tentative whiff of himself and turned his nose immediately. It wasn’t as unpleasant as before no matter that his sense of smell is working a little better, but he does smell like someone’s who’s about to meet someone on a date. 

 

Which he was, only ‘kind of’. Nevertheless, he still needed to get through the day, so he pulls his drawer open and goes to town on a suppressant body spray to ward off any students who might sense the shitstorm of excited energy he has in his body. 

 

Once there, Ben sets his books down and works while he waits, greeting the head librarian, Jocasta Nu, as she passes by. Thankfully, she’d approved of Rey’s application when he showed her, not worrying too much about the fact that she had merely finished high school. It was just as well, although Ben knew that Jocasta is always thankful for new hired help. 

 

At that moment, Rey strolls around the room, carrying a worn brown messenger bag and beaming at him with a smile that could sweep the rain clouds out of the sky. He feels a sharp tug of possessiveness at seeing her like that, although the minimal scent that she’s exuding could mean that she has the same idea to double down on suppressant body spray. She’ll be working in a university with rowdy idiots, after all, so she knows to be prepared. 

 

Ben’s already talked it over with Nu and she insisted that it doesn’t matter if Rey’s designation is omega. Nu doesn’t care about that stuff, she says, so she eagerly brings Rey around the library as Ben eyes them subtly, and his heart constricts with joy at seeing how bright Rey’s smile only gets. 

 

Rey comes back to his table after Nu excuses herself to make Rey her pass so that she could gain access to the school grounds even though she is not a student. She pulls a chair out quietly, careful not to let it slide on the floor. 

 

“Hey,” she whispers, wearing a bright smile. 

 

“Hi, sweetheart. How is it?” 

 

“I love it. Mrs. Nu seems to really like me,” she says in a conspiratorial tone, leaning in and wiggling her eyebrows. And then she leans back, lifting a hand to wave at the library supervisor who is not at the front desk. Nu waves back. 

 

“I can see that.” He smiles, feeling proud. “You sure you’ll be able to handle this on your own?” 

 

Rey flinches slightly at that, looking at him with an unreadable expression. Suddenly, Ben realizes the stupid thing he’d said and inwardly facepalms. “I mean, uhm, I’m sure you can, baby. But if you ever need anything— if an Alpha comes and does… something to you… I’ll mow down the door and strangle him ‘till lights out.” 

 

The pair of students sharing the long table with them turns to regard them warily, smelling confused and irritated to Ben’s nose. 

 

“Thanks, but I can handle it.” She says, clipped. Well, he had to open his mouth. 

 

He sighs, reverently taking her small, slender hand in his and kissing her fingers, the way he knows she likes. Rey inhales slowly, watching him with a cock of her head. “I’ll be fine, Ben.” She is smiling now, the tension in his previous declaration ebbing away. “It’s been a while since I worked outside the complex or my apartment but it’s not like I’ve never been in a public place before. Don’t worry about it.” 

 

Rey glances at Nu on the front desk, delayed on the pass printing by a gaggle of students looking tired. Ben spots some of his students among the crowd. They’re probably looking for that reading assig—

 

“Gahhh,” Ben mumbles incoherently, feeling Rey’s small socked foot press against his… 

 

“I want to show Alpha I can take care of myself,” Rey purrs, a slow mischievous smile on her lips curling. Ben feels his cock swell and he’d curse himself if she doesn’t smell so good right now that he’s suddenly forgetting he’s in public. 

 

“You said—” he tries not to choke. “You don’t want to do this in public—” he manages to get out as quietly as he can. 

 

This little minx—

 

“Hmm?” She looks at him innocently, pressing her big toe down harder where she predicts is the head of his cock. Ben’s hand shoots out to hold her foot still but she slips it before he can reach it with his fingers. 

 

Nu has come into his periphery, clueless and happily handing Rey a laminated pass. Rey has stopped looking at him, though he can still smell the spike of mischief that he caught earlier, the suppressant body spray doing its job and covering her again. 

 

“Thank you for this.” She cheerily accepts the pass and watches as Nu walks back to the front desk, picks up her glasses and some books on the wooden counter, and gestures over for Rey to follow her into an aisle of books that needs reshelving. Rey offers Ben a two-finger salute as he mouths, “What the hell?” 

 

“Payback time,” she leans in to whisper as she passes him by, giggling to herself.

Chapter Text

As Rey’s newly-minted boyfriend, Ben now has access to information like Rey’s schedule, her friends’ thoughts about them (Ben finds Rose’s especially endearing in that he may or may not feel proud at being appealing enough to be dubbed a ‘stud-muffin’), as well as Finn’s schedule (he’d drop by the library sometimes at the same time he was there and would be asking him if he could maybe tell Rey that her best friend wanted to talk to her about something.) 

 

It’s only been roughly a week and the few times he’s dropped by to just check up on her has relaxed his fears of her being in any kind of danger. There hadn’t been any Alpha idiots hanging around too long or those lone wolf types who literally go ‘hunting’ for omegas to take advantage of. 

 

He hopes he can just strip them of their privileged asses and hang them to dry in their shame. 

 

So far, Rey is easily falling into the routine. 

 

She’ll work on campus for four days, Monday through Thursday and will be given a small stipend at the end of each week. In the meantime, in the slow hours of the day, Rey can still squeeze in her other freelance work. Fridays are date nights, nights Ben treasures because he gets invited back in her space. Her scent filled him differently when he came back to her place once more, the day Finn graciously made a casserole because he says he hasn’t quite thanked Ben enough for both not being a dick during Rey’s heat and even offering her a job. 

 

Most of that casserole went into Rey’s stomach, but the happy smile she beamed at him right after — and the one she wore when she called Finn to thank him again — was worth giving up his share for. Not that he doubted it. 

 

He is sitting in a quiet section of the library when they hang out again. Rey is wearing jeans and a white shirt, her hair tucked neatly in a ponytail. He watches amused as she disappears behind the cart and its contents as she bustles and shelves books in their places. 

 

Thankfully, she is calm and smelling safe. Ben purrs, something he’s taken to actually like doing. 

 

“Sweetheart?” He whispers, not wanting to startle where she’s standing. She hums in acknowledgment but keeps her eyes on the small book she’s now reading. Victorian Treasury: A Collection of Fascinating Facts and Insights about the Victorian Era, he manages to catch before she hums a tune he can’t place and plops down on the floorboards without prompt. There’s a slight creak after he follows her down, folding his legs rather awkwardly after checking to make sure that Nu or any other students were not nearby. He waits for her to acknowledge that him, though the change in her scent tells him she knows well enough where he is. 

 

On alert, he listens for anyone who might be wandering through the deeper parts of the library, thinking why Rey would see fit to venture this far out. 

 

He suspects maybe Nu gave her something a little challenging to do today if only so she can test her abilities. Based on the books she’s already neatly shelved, he wagers his girl did a pretty good job. 

 

His girl. A toothy grin occupies his full lips then. Fuck, he’s proud of her. 

 

At Rey’s small “hmph”, he turns his head and his gaze falls into the pit of her beautiful hazel eyes and how they flick and change color like they depend on her feelings for clues. He thinks maybe he should try to dig deeper at what lay there, what she is hiding still. After a while, Rey crawls between his long legs with one palm and both her knees on the floorboards, doing a rather awkward shuffle that really should not be as endearing as it is. 

 

He smirks when she looks up. She huffs. “What?” Her voice is a little raspy from disuse and rather loud in the quiet behind the cart and the aisles. 

 

“It’s true when they say you can’t put a good book down.”

 

Another “hmph” and she’s pressing her back to his chest, pulling her legs closed and settling the book atop her bent knees. Ben has half a mind to lazily nose at her gland, content at the sweet relief that he realizes begins flooding her system at his nearness. They sit like that in the quiet for a few minutes and Ben is glad he doesn’t have his phone here to buzz him out of the relative peace with the girl in his arms. He wraps her arms around her then, kissing the ridges of bone on her nape. She hums but keeps her attention on the page she’s reading: Crime and Detection.

 

“What are you reading?” He says barely above a whisper, watching the small hairs on her skin stand on end. She shivers, he kisses her ear. 

 

“In March 1873,” she begins. “A woman dubbed the ‘black widow’ was executed at Durham Gaol.” 

 

“Hm, her husbands must really be jerks.” 

 

“Uh-huh, and her stepchildren, too. Says here she killed more than 20 people with arsenic poisoning and got away with it a lot because people thought it was just gastric flu. Only two children of her own escaped her, the rest of the thirteen died.” 

 

He frowns, trying to figure out where she was going with this. After a beat, he decides maybe she’s just fascinated in that morbid way people sometimes are in the event that something unsavory happens and they’re not the victims. 

 

But then she sets the book at her feet, pressing her knees closer and leaning her chin on them. Ben picks up her scent, too, a mixture of a kind of pent up misery, the kind that speaks to a part of him, too. 

 

“Rey, baby, what’s wrong?” 

 

“One of my foster parents was arrested for murder.” 

 

Suffice it to say, he is not ready for that kind of revelation. He keeps quiet, though, and knows that Rey can smell him but she will just let him re-acquaint himself with the alarming gravity of the truth. His hands tense even tighter somehow. She is warm in his grasp. 

 

“Tell me.” 

 

“I didn’t stay there long. I ran away when I felt like I didn’t want to be with them. Some guy tried to take me in the neighborhood and I could do nothing but scream at eight years old. He was a drunk Alpha and he smelled like rotten eggs and the foster parent I didn’t like, the exact same person whose house I don’t want to be in, came and hit him so hard in the head with a bat that he toppled over.” 

 

He notices her voice has dropped down a pitch. He strains to hear it but does not give her verbal commands in case it startles her into keeping it under wraps once more. 

 

“When the cops came, we thought it was all just a concussion. But then they checked the pulse…” She trails off there, her eyes far away. “They were going to rule it as justifiable homicide, until some of his buddies, who had also been there, turned the court around and got my foster parent convicted. She was a drug addict, but she protected me. It was the last thing they needed to make sure she was going to rot in jail.” 

 

Ben doesn’t dare say anything to that, purring instead in her ear because he knows she likes it. Rey relaxes slightly at that, letting a hand fall to one of his slacks-covered legs. She traces a pattern there, or her name, he doesn’t know. He’s ticklish there so he flinches without his knowledge and Rey releases a short trill of quiet laughter. 

 

“She was… not a good foster mother. But she was the first one who cared about me even if I was outside her house. The drugs got her convicted for a longer time and the neighbors were too happy to get rid of the village crackhead. The Alphas got away and poor little Rey was transferred to her next adventure.” Her story ends there, he’s certain because she’s turning back around to face him, not-quite crying eyes but with a glossy fog on her eyes that tells him she’s only recounted this story a few times. 

 

“I’m sorry,” for a lack of anything better to say. He brings her hands up to his face again, kissing her fingers gently. 

 

“S’okay. I made peace with it.” 

 

“Do you visit her? In prison?” 

 

“She died last year. I guess I never really got to grieve her passing,” she chuckles dejectedly, a small choke squeezing its way past the fading sound. “I told you because I feel like you should know. Before… before anything else.” 

 

Ben nods, he understands. He lays on his back still against the shelved books when she leans in, slender body propped up on her knees as she kisses him, deep, sweet, and long. Her tiny fingers comb through his hair as she slowly maneuvers both legs to straddle him. When he’s coming up for air after the liplock, his hand gropes her ass on instinct when she grinds on him without prompt. 

 

“Rey— what—” he chokes on his spit when she grazes her teeth on his gland, his hand involuntarily slapping at her ass. The sound echoes in the aisle and they both freeze, listening for footfalls, breathing, sniffing the air for other people, but it’s only just them. 

 

“Rey,” he tries again, searching her face as they sit interconnected. She smiles, the faint glow of the overhead lights haloing her face. “Are… are you sure? You just—” she grinds, he hisses. “—bore your past to uhh—” Grind. “—me?” 

 

She looks away, an embarrassed blush blossoming on her neck and chest. He can’t help it, he surges forward and kisses her warmed skin. She tilts her head back. “I want you to have this piece of me.” She looks back up at him, tugging his hair to her and crashing their lips together again. But when he reaches a hand to touch her mound, she stops him with a dopey smile. 

 

“I’m unavailable, Ben.” 

 

Oh, in his head, then, “Oh.” Much louder.

 

He finds it’s an awkward fact now but his brain is telling him the blood will be the least of his problems. He shakes that thought away. “We can just get coffee. Or, uh, let’s read that book again?” 

 

She chews the inside of her cheek, looking thoughtful, shrugs and surprises Ben when she presses her nose on the bulge in his pants as she goes down. He’d growl if they weren’t in the library, watching her kiss him through his slacks. 

 

“Rey,” he says, breathless. “Rey, are you s-sure? About this?” 

 

“Yes, Alpha.”

 

“Don’t— please, Rey, call me Ben.” 

 

“Ben.” She says like she’s saying it for the first time. Frantic, he whipped his head around, sniffing at the air for any intruders. In that time, Rey’s managed to unbuckle his belt, the click of the metal such a tease to him, somehow. She unzips his front languidly, nosing deeper, where the base of his cock is through his slacks. He curses silently, running thick fingers in her tied-up hair. 

 

“Rey,” he says again, this time in praise. She must smell it in him because she nods and licks a stripe against his slacks. Fuck, it’s going to be hard to deny having had sex at work if he comes in his pants like a teenager. 

 

Rey starts to talk then, finally fishing his cock out of both his slacks and his boxer briefs, pressing a thumb at the head. Her cheeks flush a pretty shade of red and her eyes stare him down, dilated. 

 

“I’ve come so long from there,” she says, uncharacteristically innocent-sounding even as her fingers on his cock is anything but. “I guess I just thought it’s amazing how you still want me.” She says ‘want’ as she’s looking at his cock, and he thinks maybe she needs some proof. Maybe she needs to hold on to something tangible to make sure he isn’t going away. 

 

It’s an odd, slightly twisted way of thinking this through. Half of his mind can’t even believe he’s able to think. 

 

She leans in and pops the head of him in her mouth, suckling gently as she pumps the rest of him slowly, her tongue darting at the underhead of his head to try and nip gently there. It’s a sting and his leg muscle jumps and her lips look a little weird scrunched up but— oh, when she takes him in slowly inside, inch after terribly wet, and terribly tight inch, he thinks maybe this has just been such a long dream. 

 

He’s desperately trying to keep from babbling out too loudly when he bottoms out and Rey gags quietly, pulling back with a slight swallow that presses his cock tighter in her mouth he almost screams. How the hell can he stay quiet?

 

“Is this—” she stuffs him inside her mouth again and peeks at through her lashes. Fuck, maybe he is dead? “Is this what you meant by ‘payback time’?”

 

She laughs low and it's the vibrations in her mouth that has him gasping and gripping one of the bookshelves behind him so tight. Rey doesn’t answer in words, she answers in the way she slightly picks up the pace, sucking at what portion of his cock she can fit in her mouth and them pumping the rest. He chants her name like a prayer, wondering how the hell they got here. Thinking they’re going to have to spray this area of the library down with something so the next time he comes here, he won’t lose his mind at the way the space smells like both of them. 

 

When he sees her rubbing the apex of her thighs through her jeans, he moans her name a little louder. Rey’s eyes fly up to meet his and reprimand him with a glare and he curses silently and tries so hard not to buck too much but fuck— in no time, he is, anyway, and Rey is only too happy to brace her hands on his thighs as he fucks up into her mouth. 

 

His breathing becomes more labored, his thrusts erratic, but her mouth is still open, still there. As she finally catches the underside of his head with a flat, warm tongue, he thinks maybe he really has died when he sees her swallow. 

 

Ben’s eyes land on the Victorian Treasury and thinks he’ll never look at it the same way again. 

Chapter Text

Armitage Hux finds it rather frustrating that his demanding family sends him back to the city center even as they insisted he do more work upstate. His uncle, he can only assume, wants him out of the board. He wonders how one man can be so stupid; his uncle may have taken over the company, but Hux was still Brendol’s son. 

 

As he stares forward on his fogged up mirror and pats aftershave generously on his pasty skin, he thinks about maybe passing all the work to Mitaka. Or having him split it with Poe Dameron who has also moved upstate for work along with him. He rubs his palms together and runs his fingers in his ginger hair, lightly coating his strands with hair gel so that it’s not quite a slick-back but more of an I-run-my-fingers-through-my-hair-rather-sexily look. The result is not sexy, though, which, admittedly, he’s not surprised. 

 

He gets dressed in silence, peeking at the emails in his phone and immediately pressing the bridge of his nose. The neck of his navy blue sweater seems unnervingly tight today and when he touches his gland to check, he grunts. How inconvenient. He comes back to the still slightly steamy bathroom and ups his dose. 

 

Once he’s settled in his car, he is quiet as he makes the drive back downtown. It’s not that it’s necessarily a long drive. Downtown just gives him memories he would rather not remember, of people he would rather not see. He supposes there’s really not a lot he can do in the situation. Taxes still needed to be filed, a creditor just contacted him with a screech and a clear bourbon-induced slur last night about how the big employee transfer is going to leave his Alpha son without a heat partner. He’d waited for him to calm down and then explained to him in a tired, deadpan voice that the move will only transfer the home base of the agents either upstate or in their suburban little branch, ran by the incorrigible Moden Canady, places he’s sure his agents can cover. 

 

Sometimes, he wishes they would all just shut up. Sometimes, he wishes he could be anywhere else, not tying up loose ends in a dissolution process that doesn’t really need him in it but his asshole of an uncle insists. Perhaps being a Hux, it is par for the course the first assholes you negotiate with are the assholes in your family, but then again, it’s not like Armitage is weak in the face of an asshole. 

 

The only good trait about the Huxes really just seems to be the oddly sincere concern and care they have for the Alphas and omegas in the society. Hux suspects it’s got to do with the fact that his father actually started the business out of love for his omega wife, Hux’s mother, who sadly passed a long time ago.  

 

The building that housed their office peeked into view above Hux, windows reflecting back light from the sun. It’s early in the morning and Hux is thirsting for some coffee but he’s already told Mitaka to make a coffee run before he even got here. As he waits by the building, he gets a message from an agent who will be meeting with one of their Alpha clients today. He scans the message for the address and shoots Mitaka a text to meet him at the park. 

 


 

“You certainly took your time.” Hux deadpans as he takes his coffee from the poor, panting boy’s outstretched hand. Mitaka leans his hand on his knees, trying to get his lungs to work better again. Eventually, he draws himself up, sidling up to Hux and scanning the space before them. 

 

“Are we on Client Duty?” Mitaka is asking tentatively, and it irks him only slightly that he even has to ask that. Of course, they’re on Client Duty. He’d rather bleach his hair and eyebrows than come back to this blasted park. Mitaka collects himself and pins his presence in Hux’s periphery, feeling the ominous annoyance rumbling off him and wisely keeping distance. 

 

They wait in silence as the crowd comes and goes. A child has just crossed the wide green expanse of the grassy knoll. He stomped deliberately, his lips moving and appearing like he’s counting his steps. Over to the other side of the hill, two dogs are sunbathing in the early slice of sunlight that bisects their twisting bodies on the grass. In a distant part of the park, a tourist is being assisted by one local. No sign of the omega agent still. He sips his coffee and takes a deep inhale like he’s making sure it’s there. 

 

“Sir?” Mitaka says, breaking the silence. Hux’s head is pounding dully. That extra dose is going to give him headaches this whole day. 

 

“The girl came back when you left.” 

 

He — doesn’t know what to say about that. So, he focuses on his coffee, watching the slight slosh of the deep brown liquid marking a waterline in the cup. 

 

Mitaka takes this as a cue to keep going, albeit tentatively, like he’s getting ready to face it in case Hux decides he doesn’t like where this is going. 

 

“She wanted to apologize.” 

 

Ah, that does sound like her. “There is nothing to apologize for.” 

 

“If you had just told her, then you wouldn’t have had to move you upstate for damage control. When the Senator was notified, she had insisted on an explanation; you could have avoided that.” 

 

Hux frowns, resisting the persistent urge to hightail it out of there. This is much too much on a morning his hormones are acting up. “Thank you, Mitaka, astute observations as usual.”

 

For some reason, the dryness on Hux’s drawl doesn’t deter him today. Perhaps he deduces Hux is a little worse for wear and that trying his luck now could only lead this conversation in two directions. 

 

“His mother was a benefactor, and you could have avoided the ass-kissing if you had just gone through procedure.” 

 

Hux looks at him, then, narrowing his eyes. “I’m sorry… did you just say ‘ass-kissing’?” 

 

He should get angry at that. He really should. Instead, he just stares at Mitaka in naked disbelief. The man throws the look back at him with a saucy eyebrow raise. Hux chortles. Touché. He lets Mitaka have his moment. If he is being honest, it’s not like he’s particularly inclined on inflicting physical pain to anyone, no matter that he was an Alpha. 

 

A hush of air passes by with the two of them in silence, the omega agent still nowhere in sight. 

 

“You make it sound like I didn’t know his mother was a benefactor. Everyone knows Senator Organa has multiple connections into agencies protecting the welfare of omegas and Alphas.” Hux says. “I knew the moment Dr. Kanata called my office that I was going to get an earful out of this one if something happens to Mr. Solo.” 

 

“And yet you risked pulling the agent out and then not offering her an explanation.” 

 

“Yes, well. Not that it worked.” He grumbles, pursing his lips as the bitter liquid slid in his mouth. “Also, the explanation was already cited in the Termination Notice.” 

 

The younger man nods thoughtfully at that, but Hux knows it’s only a matter of time before he’ll be speaking again.

 

Mitaka ventures again. “I still would like to understand why you pulled her out like that. Miss Rey doesn’t strike me as one of our more inexperienced omegas. She told you she had had her fair share of run-ins with Alphas before, and that she knew, more or less, how to deal with them. She could have been a good agent.” 

 

Hux sips his coffee in irritation, refusing to answer until he’s finally sure he won’t be stomping off in baseless anger like a five-year-old. Mitaka watches him carefully, the wariness back in his form. Good. 

 

“She could have.” He simply says, too confused himself as to if he should say more than that. “I pulled her out because the Alpha had been out of control. I expected complete understanding on her behalf, thinking that she knew where I had been coming from.” 

 

Mitaka nods gravely. “You can’t expect her to know you were there, sir. And it’s not like you were completely honest with her on that, too.” Hux has to agree with that, he knows, but he’d thought it was a good idea at the time to have Rey think he was not a part of the incident. He could not have been more wrong. 

 

“She wouldn’t have died if I had been smart enough to relocate her for the remainder of the night. Then our hotel businesses would still be in operation.”

 

“But the Alpha was arrested, wasn’t he?” 

 

“Yes,” he supposes there was that, too, and one other thing. “And yet the shame remained.” He was saved from that commotion swiftly, though, the Hux family lawyers scooped him up quickly after that catastrophe and the ruling was fair enough. Hux’s parents still paid for damages after it all, but he knew it had never been enough. Not for him, and probably not for the family either. 

 

 “Resist Omega is here now,” Mitaka tries for placating and Hux simply nods, staring straight ahead. 

 

“They weren’t back then. I was so young then, thrust into one of my family’s backwater businesses and now carrying a burden no one should. I was there the night the remaining family of the woman came, there to look at them in shame of what I had failed to do.” 

 

“You couldn’t have known,” Mitaka says after a while.  

 

“That’s true.” He supposes it is. But it follows him like a dark storm cloud over his head to this day. 

 

“I wanted to protect Miss Rey because I could. Because I knew I could try to make amends for my carelessness back then.”

 

Mitaka chews his lip, something Hux notices he only really does when he’s about to say something he knows is risky but wants to say it anyway. “It still could not have been what she wanted. For her or her Alpha client.” 

 

Hux sees her, then, before Mitaka has the time to deduce what’s now been laid before their eyes. He stares at them in silence, masking his expression into passiveness so Mitaka doesn’t pick up on the recognition in his eyes. Walking hand-in-hand, the Alpha, Ben Solo, is listening to an animatedly gesticulating Rey, undoubtedly wearing one of Ben’s own shirts if the way it brushes mid-thigh is any indication. 

 

“I won’t think about it too much,” he finally replies, Mitaka turning his head to regard him. “Love always finds a way.”

 


 

Ben concludes it was bound to happen anyway, that her mother would find out that there was someone in his life right now she can show naked baby pictures in the bathtub. It wasn’t like he could hide forever, no. His Dad was good at that, not him. He thinks back on the events of the morning just before he dropped by Rey’s apartment to get coffee and then accompany her to her library shift. 

 

His strict senator mother had called sounding like he’d never heard her before. All because of “a girl”, she’d said. Irrationally, he got upset at that, like a moron, re-evaluated his urges and realized it had been too late anyway. He’d already grumbled something stupid into the receiver about how “she has a name mom, and it’s Rey.” 

 

“Rey,” his mother had repeated, her voice coated with small awe and an even larger intrigue. He’d facepalmed and rubbed a hand on the side of his face. 

 

“Bring her over next week. I want to meet her.” She’d said, using that stern senatorial voice that she knew grated on him. 

 

“Mom, she’s busy with work. I’m busy with work—”

 

“Come on, Benny boy,” she sighs. “Can’t you just let your mother have this?” 

 

He’d sighed heavily at that. And then sighed again, working his bottom lip between his teeth. 

 

“Rey’s going to have to agree.” He responded, and the hum he heard, he knew, was his mother tracing her fingers on the calendar at her table, marking the day of reckoning and one of the few times he’s actually going to step back inside his childhood home since the divorce, since Leia threw herself at her work, and since he struggled to make something out of the pieces that were left behind. 

 

“If she does, tell her I make a mean stew.” 

 

Ben laughed. “You don’t, though.” 

 

Leia shared in that laugh for a while and Ben told himself maybe it wasn’t so bad after all. “That’s what your uncle is for.” He heard her say. 

 

After his mother put the phone down, Ben thought back on when Rey insisted he tell her a little bit about his family. He relented, seeing as how it was only fair that Rey had not only blown him so sexily but also allowed him a peek into what she had been like before him, where she had come from. 

 

That night, they came back to the pond they first met at, alternating between kissing, feeling each other in the dark like they were still coming into their sexualities and punctuating each touch, each press of the lips with truths and facts and anecdotes about his young life. 

 

Ben had told her about the omega he’d dated, about the day he presented and about how he can never really look at a fleshlight without vomiting because he just hated having no other option than to bear with the fact that he was, and forever will be, an Alpha. He’d have thought maybe whoever had his life in the palm of their hands would have guessed that Ben would rather die on a bed of fire ants than turn into a brutish Alpha and given him the peace of mind and just made him a beta. But when he looked and looked and looked at himself as he was growing up, he saw that there was the unmistakably large hands, large feet, long arms, muscled biceps, and well, it is true — the large, bulbous, elongated penis, coupled with the equally unmistakable knot. He sighed and went under a hormone-induced rut that left him sweaty, smelly and exhausted when he finally came to. 

 

He’d had his first rut at home, much to his dismay, so about two or three weeks after it, he was glad to be moving into college so he wouldn’t have to even think about the fact that his parents had been the ones who bought him sex toys to go through it. 

 

At that, Rey had laughed, wondering how odd that must have been, having to explain to your mother that “no, I don’t hate you, mom, I just want to be horny non-stop for three days.” He’d tackled her into a bear hug and nipped at her earlobe until she sighed. 

 


 

Ben also concludes it was bound to happen anyway when Rey agrees to meet his mother when he brings it up much later.

Chapter Text

Rey is excited. 

 

She’s going to visit someone’s house. With someone’s parents in them. Eat someone’s parents’ stew and hang out with someone’s parents as they go over the embarrassing snippets of her significant other’s childhood life. It’s barely Christmas but she declares, as she blinks awake this morning, that it might as well be. The chilly early morning air is certainly feeling a little festive. (Although honestly she just pretends it’s maybe Christmas because her heater likes to malfunction). 

 

She opens the door of her apartment just in time for Ben Solo to come knocking at her door — that is, with his one hand raised, curled into a fist and poised just a little above his torso. 

 

“Hey babe,” she greets first, dragging him down to her by his silky tie. He obliges, groaning when she presses up against his chest. 

 

“I’m stupid excited,” she says, flattening a palm against his chest. She feels his laugh under her fingertips, feels his hand on her hips. 

 

“I’m not,” he admits, wearing an expression that looks like he’s vaguely constipated. 

 

She ignores it and kisses him back once more, pressing her fingers playfully against his gland which makes his hips buck against her stomach involuntarily. “Rey,” he sighs, pressing closer to her. 

 

Rey just laughs at that, closing the door behind her and holding her messenger bag at the ready. “Let’s go!” 

 

Ben gives a final grumble, letting her small hands drag him through the complex. 

 


 

The house is not what she is expecting. If some lunatic had told her she would manage to snag both an Alpha and a man made of money (old money, she’s sure) and have him proclaim through sugar cookies and to his own mother that she was his girlfriend, she would have laughed her ass off and noped out of that fantasy. 

 

Now she has both that and Ben’s tight grip around her hand, his face scrunched up in a sort of preemptive dread culminating in pinched-thin pink lips. Vaguely, she gets the impression that visiting parents for some non-Christmas Christmas (Rey says so) casserole is not a calendar event in Ben’s life. It’s not fitted in with meetings at the university or discussed with what little friends Ben has. She remembers him saying his only friend-ish colleague is a PE teacher by the name of Phasma. She’d remembered brightening at that and saying it sounded like a cyborg name before Ben told her that was probably something Phasma would like to hear. 

 

The steps to the house are massive, wide, marble things, the kind of stairs that are both wide and always clean at the same time. As she looks up, she sees actual pillars and columns, Corinthian columns that stretch so far up that even the front edifice of their house looks like a museum. When she swings around, some man in a blazer is already standing at one open door — there are two doors and they swing inward and they’re giant oak, she thinks — and hitting them with a greeting that just makes this all seem so surreal. 

 

“You sound like Alfred!” She blurts before she has time to think about it. Ben laughs from where he’s standing, watching her the whole time. 

 

“This is our Alfred, I guess you can say that.” 

 

‘Alfred’ looks at Ben with a quizzical expression but it’s no less polite. “I’m not sure I know what’s happening, young master—“

 

“Young master?” Rey blurts again, watching Ben hold a fist against his lips to stop himself from doubling over. “You call him young master?” She asks ‘Alfred’. 

 

He still looks confused but polite — how do butlers do that? 

 

“You guys have a butler?” She turns to Ben who just shrugs. 

 

“He’s been here since I was a child. Helped me build my treehouse.”

 

“You have a treehouse? ” 

 

Ben chuckles like having a treehouse is not a big deal. She’ll contest him on that point but allows him to usher her inside the even more opulent home. It was like coming back to the medieval era where everything was more grand or drab with no in-between. If her sad apartment was drab, this place was like one of those music video locations flexing hip hop artists liked to use. There were drapery and intricate gold details on little side tables holding up vases of flowers that don’t seem to wither at all. But when she touches them, they’re not plastic. The little tables are arranged neatly in a row at both sides of the hall before her. Their house is so big it has halls.

 

When she gets a look at the single winding staircase off to one side, she thinks about Neverending Nightmares , that game Finn once downloaded for her to play. This is a brighter version of that but she’d wager if she mimes that game here, there are enough Solo family portraits probably the size of her tiny bedroom to complete the fantasy. 

 

And Ben just stands there with that same dread in his eyes. She remembers this is something he’d probably seen so many times before, least of all because he lived here as a kid.

 

‘Alfred’ had skittered off somewhere, he says quietly, presumably to call his mother from some office nestled inside the house. 

 

“This was my grandmother’s house.” Ben says as they are walking. 

 

“Am I dreaming?” She asks when he quietly takes her upstairs, steps made of the same magically-clean marble as the front steps. 

 

“No.” Ben supplies, leading her down another hall with plush carpeting. It’s so luxurious she can feel its softness through her thin cheap flats. And then the hall began to grow dark, the walls losing their opulence and being replaced by almost a moss green wall that clashes only slightly with the blood-red carpeted walls. When Ben flicks a switch, the moss green wall turns out to be yet more marble. Upon closer inspection, she concludes it’s the color of jade. But what draws her more are the drawings stuck on the wall with strips of tape, some dusty and some nearly falling off. There is no draft in this part of the mansion so even though some of the drawings are hanging on incredibly thin slivers of tape, they don’t quite fall. 

 

The walls are covered with them and thrown in with the drawings of suns and cars and little meadows are scribbled notes that at first, looked to Rey like alphabet exercises. 

 

When she nears one though, she sees that they were little poems, cobbled together by odd-sounding rhymes and written in cursive with different-colored crayons. 

 

Ben clears his throat. “My mother insisted I had an affinity with literature. She always said I liked to read. And like she always is, she was right. Now, I teach history and literature, a combination that could never be more boring.” 

 

She shares him a proud smile even at his jibe at himself, poised to say something before a voice down the hall pulls their attention. There, standing at only half the size Ben stands, is a bright elderly woman still with curlers in her hair. 

 

“Rey.” She announces to the hall, silken robes billowing around her feet as she walks. “Come, come. We shall eat.” 

 


 

Rey likens the silence a tiny bit like the lulls of non-laughter when a waiting audience listens to the anecdote of the comedian to finish so they can laugh at the punchline at the end. Except here there is no punchline and Leia is neither the type to ramble in anecdotes or punctuate it with punchlines. 

 

Instead, Leia is sitting at the head of the table, eating and glancing up at Rey and Ben with a knowing smile. Rey can smell her anxiety, Ben’s anxiety, in the air. 

 

Which means Leia can smell them in the air, too, curling her lips to a knowing smile as she slices her meat calmly. The tension is not the thick kind, but it is a kind of building tension, like a burst of energy at the start of a whip and the resulting “whap” at the end when all the energy and build up has nowhere to go. 

 

When she finally talks, Rey feels herself lower her head. Leia smells a little like a flower garden, fragrant but not overpowering. 

 

“How did you two meet?” 

 

Ben clears his throat at that. “Through this uhh,” he stops short at that and Rey realizes they hadn’t really talked about this before the visit. Ben clears his throat again, Leia raises a brow. 

 

“An Alpha-omega program.” 

 

“Oh?” Leia says. 

 

“Yes. My doctor told me to… get connected to an omega partner as part of treatment for my infertility.”

 

Leia nods, for once actually finally showing a little emotion. “Wouldn’t say it’s something I’ll ever find myself in but I suppose it’s a good place to start.”

 

That… stings a little bit. The scrunch of Ben’s face tells her the implication has carried itself to him, too, and that he isn’t exactly happy about it either. 

 

“Are you going to go on about how it’s not traditional?” Ben asks. 

 

Leia drops her gaze back at him again, her chin tucked slightly to her check. “Benny, I’m not an idiot. Times have changed. Besides, I know the Brendol program is one of the most trusted in its field.” 

 

Ben opens his mouth at that and Rey can smell he is slightly shocked.  “You know… Brendol & Sons?”

 

“Yes. They are funded by the government and I am a benefactor of the subsidiary branch situated in Central Coruscant. I knew all of this even before you told me.” 

 

Ben’s fist clenches under the table and Leia waves a dismissive hand, obviously picking up the scent of Ben’s building frustration now. 

 

“Don’t start on me now; look at this beautiful girl, Ben. Can’t have you growling about on the table.” Leia says, unfazed. 

 

For a long moment, they stare at each other, mother and son locked in a quiet standoff that she eventually finds intimidating, making herself small in the process. 

 

After what seemed like forever, Rey watches as Ben’s shoulders slowly relax, the fight in his eyes all but gone. He sighs and formally excuses himself out of the room 

 

When he had gone, Leia slowly looks at Rey with a… smile. But it’s not of mockery, not even of pity on her or her son. Just the kind that seems way too sincere for the kind of moment that had just transpired. She glances at the door, wondering where Ben went when Leia talks again. 

 

“This has always been the way I tried to help my son,” she says. “I don’t know how to help him any other way.” 

 

The first thought she has of that is: Why are you telling me this? While the next thought is more of an odd urge to defend Ben. She tries to dull the sharpness of her voice when she speaks next but she’s already realized by now that nothing escapes Leia Organa-Solo’s stellar observation skills. 

 

“Maybe… you could let him come to you.” It’s not at all as brave as she made it out in her head but it’s all she needs to make Leia think. 

 

“And what do you advise, then, for my headstrong son to come back to visit me for even just a day in a week or two?” 

 

Rey feels vaguely that this may be a test. “Maybe don’t try to always insist you know what’s best for him.” 

 

“I am his mother.”

 

“And he is pushing thirty. Well, he’s not close there yet but the point is he’s not a child anymore. He took matters into his own hands and got checked out for his infertility issues and responsibly took up the Brendol program even as he hated to have to deal with the Alpha side of him he didn’t like.” 

 

Leia stares at her with an expression she can’t read — so she doesn’t read , she just feels , plowing forward on her rudimentary defense even though she feels internally that it might not even work. 

 

“Ben is perfectly capable of making his own decisions,” she says with a conviction she didn’t know she could muster in the face of this incorrigible woman. “I see that with my own eyes when I watch him duck down to study and write his papers in the library; and I see it everyday he chooses to be with me. Ben doesn’t need your approval, what he wants is for you to be happy so he can be happy himself. And part of that is letting him make his own decisions.” 

 

She stands up abruptly before she loses her nerve, bowing rather awkwardly after the outburst and leaving the room. 

 

Before she is finally out of the room, she notices that Ben had been standing by the door the whole time — and his eyes shine with wordless affirmation. 

 

Leia screams something as she hurries out, though, something along the lines of “Marry her!” which she assumes she said to her son. 

 


 

They are quiet after the little standoff and Ben is strolling calmly through the halls of his childhood home, grateful that Leia had retired for the day in her office. 

 

She’d asked if she offended Leia when he led her through the halls again, to which he’d just responded to her with a dope-y grin. 

 

Rey decides to let it go. 

 

“You have to have had a little cosplay moment in this place.” She says as his childhood bedroom comes back to view. “There’s got to be some prince outfits here or something. Though I doubt you’ve ever had those starchy, scratchy thrift store costume-y ones to use—“

 

He squeaks an ‘Ah!’ at that and unlocks the last door down the hall with urgency. She watches him disappear into the darkness, waiting for him to come back out. Ben peeks from inside, one hand on the doorframe. 

 

“Rey, come here.”

 

That moves her from her spot and when she does move, she sees that Ben's room is as opulent as the rest of the mansion, but this one has more boy written all over it. Posters of movies, flags, and memorabilia of sports teams, figurines, a tiny study table she’s sure he’s too big for now, and another two doors she thinks is probably his walk-in closet and bathroom. There’s a bookshelf in there, too, with various yellow-paged books fit to bursting. The walls are clean, the sheets smelling fresh, and his toys without a speck of dust. 

 

As if to answer the question in her head, he shuffles beside her, hands in his pockets, voice quiet but affectionate. “It’s probably the only room my mom still has regularly cleaned. We’re not always at the best terms but… she was always there.”

 

“Then why don’t you come back more often?” She must have struck a nerve there because he purses his lips and takes a deep inhale. 

 

“It’s… complicated. This,” he gestures around him. “It’s not me. I want to be my mom’s kid but I don’t want to be a senator’s kid, you know. So, I had to try and make something of my own.”

 

“You’re still filthy rich, though.”

 

“I am,” he says like he’s resentful of his privilege. 

 

“So,” she says after a beat. “About those costumes.”

 

He chuckles low. “Oh, god. Is it weird if I told you I kind of have something here?”

 

“It is.” 

 

“Oh, god.” He covers his face, a secret smile on his lips. “Wait here.” 

 

Rey sits on the plush bed while waiting for him, stroking the sheets before saying fuck it in her head and laying down on the bed. It smells clean, mostly because Ben has never been here for a long time, but she detects his faint scent still, just lingering at the edges so that it only barely tickles her nose. 

 

He comes back soon after, holding a garment bag and then sighs when he looks at her, in his childhood bed, clearly doing something to him. Rey knows because she can smell him. She props herself up on her elbow and looks playfully at him. 

 

“Is that going to be some customized Gucci vintage?”

 

“No,” he says, rasping. “No.” He says much louder after clearing his throat. 

 

“Well, let’s see that costume, then.”

 

He moves instantly then, like he’s suddenly remembering where he is, and sets the bag down and unzipping it gently. Once it’s opened, Rey tilts her head and stares at it for a while. Grinning like a madman. “I got an idea.” 

 


 

“Rey,” Ben warns, voice shaking and deep. Rey covers a hand on her mouth to keep from laughing.

 

“Come on, Ben! Where’s your sense of childhood innocence?”

 

“Gone.” He grumbles, scratching at stiff collars and chest straining on uncomfortable fabric. He’d only put the costume half an hour ago, and yet she feels like it had been one of her best ideas yet. Nothing screams Alpha better than Ben Solo in an ill-fitting piece of clothing. She bites her lips. 

 

“My prince?” She says a little exaggeratedly, giggling now. From where she’s standing near the banister of the treehouse (which she had admired for quite a few moments when she saw it was irritatingly well-made), she sees Ben’s scrunched up face and irritated pout, a blush creeping up his thick neck when ‘Alfred’ suddenly comes out. 

 

“Young master—?”

 

“Get back inside, Anthony.” 

 

The poor startled man regards him for a few seconds and Rey just laughs more in her hand when Ben turns back with an even more sour expression. Even from here, Rey could smell the itch in him to just reach her, finally be able to hold her and punish her. She shivers a little at that. Oh no, she thinks, not really worried at all. 

 

“So, his name is Anthony?” Rey asks. Ben whips his head around to her. 

 

“Rapunzel,” he begins. Voice dripping low and hardened honeyed eyes looking at her. “Let down your hair.” 

 

At that last part, he uses the Alpha voice. It kisses small goosebumps on her flesh and she smiles. “As you wish.” As she pulls out a blanket to help him mime climbing her hair while only stepping onto the tree steps. 

Chapter Text

For all his fuss, Ben seems to be pretty calm when he reaches the actual treehouse. His embarrassment abated, Rey watches him as he traces the path of his childhood on the art-covered walls, on a pile of books from his childhood, to the scattered woodwork toys collecting dust on the floorboards. When his eyes landed on her again, he has a soft smile on but with his teeth peeking out. It tugs at Rey’s heart in ways she doesn’t quite want to name yet. 

 

“Have you seen the bed?” He says voice lit up with what Rey knows is brought about by a childhood he actually liked. She ignores that, putting on a curious smile as he eagerly takes her hand and leads her to a door she doesn’t notice is there. The place is still small, but the wooden panels at her feet seem to hold sturdy, save for a few clicks and groans. The door is the same shade as the rest of the wood walls, with a small string hanging where the doorknob should be. He tugs at it gently and the door swings open, beyond it lay another room, this one cleaned. 

 

“I used to hang out here a lot.” He says suddenly beside her, pushing past her carefully, standing over to the window — with actual jalousies on it — and peeking below to probably see if Anthony was anywhere near. 

 

“I built this with Anthony… and uhm, my dad.”

 

At his hesitation, Rey detects it is a sore spot. 

 

“You built this?” Voice ringing with joy as she imagines young Ben hammering nails and happily showing his mother what he’d done. 

 

He nods. “My Alpha dad… he was a little traditional. Both of my parents are. He insisted I had to know how to build for my own family eventually when I grow up to be a ‘big and strong Alpha’. This was one of my best memories with him.” A beat. Rey doesn’t say anything, just waits until he sighs and turns around, eyes searching. She offers a calm, welcoming smile. 

 

“He must be quite the man.” She risks, and the sad smile spreading on his plush lips is the only invitation she needs to shuffle a little closer on her equally starchy princess dress. He eyes the way she hobbles uncertainly and uncomfortably, lifting a challenging brow as if to say “I told you so.” 

 

She ignores that, too, resting both hands against his thick arms. He sighs then, deciding to answer her question. “He was.” And the implication is not lost on her. 

 

She eases into his line of vision at that, pressing as much of herself between the fabrics separating them. It makes Ben’s breath hitch but he only calmly tucks a strand of her hair behind one ear. When he speaks again, it is soft and hushed. 

 

“My mother liked you,” he says. “If my dad were here, I think he’d like you, too.” 

 

“I’m scared of your mom.”

 

He chuckles low, “I know. Although I feel like that’s on me; I should have given you a heads up on how she was like. But you managed on your own, little omega.” 

 

She feels her heart inflate with pride at that as she leans up and rubs her nose against his gland. He sighs, content. 

 

“I like that she’s happy. You made her happy with that little stunt of yours,” he says after a while, sounding amused as he rubs large warm hands on her hips and kisses the corners of her lips. “I like that you’re happy.” 

 

“Happiness is a pretty complicated emotion.” 

 

Ben traces fingers up and down her spine. “Aren’t you?” 

 

“Happy?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“A little,” she said after a while, thankful that Ben is content even with just that vague of an answer. “Although I’d be happier if I can really just get out of this itchy, itchy dress.” 

 

He smiles wide at that, keeping his eyes on her as she walks to the far wall of the room and reaches her hands up to her back. His stare feels heavy on her neck from where she’s standing turned away from him. The air smells faintly of clean sheets and pleased, pleased, curious Alpha. Rey blushes. “Do you mind?” She asks, voice a little pitched. Ben holds his hands in mock surrender. 

 

“Me?” 

 

“Yes. Can you, maybe, I don’t know… turn around? So, I can shimmy in peace.” 

 

Ben shrugs both unbearably thick shoulders. “Shimmy away.” 

 

“You’re watching,” she says, unsure why she’s suddenly so self-conscious even as they’ve practically mapped each other’s bodies before. When the space under her left breast starts to itch, she remembers why: She’s going to have an itching fit once this dress is off, and it’s not going to be pretty. Rey wishes she can kick herself right now for such a stupid idea, playing Rapunzel like some kind of child. 

 

“This is my treehouse,” he counters easily, leaning back on stupidly sturdy arms on the bed. She can smell his arousal in the air but she can’t bother to care, too focused on trying to get her fingers to reach the zipper. 

 

From behind her, Ben’s voice reaches a tantalizing drop in octave. “Need some help, babe?”

 

Cursing, she relented, legs feeling heavy like she’s walking on water. Ben situates himself behind her, gently placing her hands on her sides and puffing air at the nape of her neck. Rey shudders visibly, hands clenching. There’s no way Ben hadn’t seen that, but he lets it go, thick fingers at the top clasp. Popping it open, he plants a chaste kiss among the small smattering of hair trailing softly from the bottom of her head. She holds her breath, trying to relax even as every instinct tells her to — Please Alpha.

 

Ben caresses her arm through the starchy fabric, the cloth biting at her skin and stoking irritation and arousal in her gut. Christ, how she hates this dance. When she hears the quiet hum of the zipper, she goes perfectly still when Ben kisses every inch of skin he exposes. A part of Rey’s mind thinks it must be really difficult for him to have to bend over to kiss her places all the time, while the other half just stops thinking when the zipper reaches halfway through her back, ending there. 

 

Ben chuckles softly, pressing his tongue flat on the exposed skin and breathing her in at the same time. 

 

“My omega, so good, so beautiful.” He says reverently, collecting her hair and putting it off to one side so her gland is finally exposed. He places two fingers there, pushing only slightly to make her press her legs together. “So good for me, Rey, aren’t you?” 

 

“Yes,” she nearly chokes as Ben seems to just leisurely press up against her again, his tongue laving slow, delicate wet circles on her skin. She wonders what she might taste like to him. If her flavor pleases him. 

 

Ben surprises her when he rips the dress open from where the zipper ends. The suddenness of the act surprises her but it is juxtaposed with his gentle fingers slowly easing her heated body out of the rumpled and frayed pieces of clothing. 

 

He swallows so thickly she thinks she can hear it. “Do you know what you do to me, Rey?” He sounds pained. She turns around slowly then, eyes shining with lust and fingers slightly trembling. 

 

She’s never seen him like this, under a cloud of lust that isn’t fueled by his biological need to mate. It feels more… crystal clear, somehow. More intimate, more jarring because the look he’s giving her makes her feel like it’s him who’s at her mercy. She relishes that feeling. 

 

“Alpha.” She says, barely above a whisper as she’s backing Ben up back to bed. The skirts are heavy, they are itchy, and Rey knows for sure that parts of her will be kissed by a red bloom of itch — but there is only here, now, an Alpha whose eyes put the hottest eye-fucking to shame. Deftly, as she gravitates towards him, she steps out of her dress, and Ben’s eyes follow the movement of her tanned legs slipping out of the faded teal tulle. 

 

When she finally reaches the bed, Ben is sitting, looking up to her and she’s tilting her head at him like he’s the prey, like he’d kiss the ground that she stood on. He melts into her when she holds him close, groaning softly against her black cotton bra when she grazes her nails on his gland. It elicits a soft purr in him when she scratches at his scalp too, the move almost tender before Rey is kissing him with such slow, passionate force. Her lips firm, wet, and sure against his own. 

 

His hands drop down to her buttocks and he kneads her there, admiring the soft skin. It’s slow and hot-in-her-belly foreplay, so slow, so intimate that she needs to resist the urge to cry in fear that his mother might come calling and it would all be over. 

 

But even as she’s pushing Ben down to lay back, no one comes calling. Her fingers lift to a portion of her stomach unwittingly, scratching at where the fabric irritated her skin. Ben notices that and it’s like he comes to his senses a bit, though the strain of his cock against the beige material of the medieval prince costume tells her he’s still pretty much aroused. He lifts her hand away from that spot and slowly scratches at it himself and it shouldn’t feel so damn great, but, oh, it does.  

 

He must smell it in the air, she’s certain because he grins like a Cheshire cat the next moment. 

 

“What? I’m just scratching an itch, Rey.” His eyebrows raise again innocently. Rey groans at that, flicking his hand away and diving for a kiss. It’s still a slow collision, as though they’re waiting for something before they let it get wild. 

 

Or maybe they’re not waiting. Maybe this is the kind of lovemaking that is done simply because two people love the way they had fallen into each other’s orbit. 

 

She holds her hair back to kiss him better, but Ben lifts her hand from there, too, loving the way her hair forms a curtain around their faces. When she starts involuntarily grinding down, Ben hisses, the formerly soft grip on her hips getting tighter. He’s breathing more heavily now, and Rey is just drowning in the delectable scent of his arousal — and feeling simultaneously plucky at the fact that he’s still wearing every piece of clothing known to man. 

 

“Strip,” the command slips out of her and Ben regards her with a wry smile but gently pushes her back on his thighs before he’s popping button after button free, watching her watch his fingers' slow descent. 

 

“You’re so beautiful,” he says in between his task as he’s shucking out of the deep maroon sleeves. She meets him when he leans in, arms still in the sleeves as she helps him pull it off. Their eyes are closed and it’s entirely too awkward to get it off but they just laugh as they kiss and kiss as they laugh. 

 

Once the offensive thing is off, Rey appreciatively feels the expanse of his chest, slightly damp with sweat and scattered with goosebumps, too.

 

He watches her fingers, half-lidded eyes trailing up from her soft touch to her arms to her thin shoulders and the gentle mounds of flesh nestled inside her black cotton bra. He bucks when she plucks his nipple, a soft sigh escaping his pillowed lips, red now from how much he’d been biting down there. 

 

“Do you want to build a home with me?” 

 

Rey leans back, startled, but her hands stay on his chest. Ben is breathing hard, hips canting slightly and rubbing at her at such a nice, slow, but firm way. 

 

“Build… like this treehouse?” She leans back in his face, mouthing at his gland and speaking her words on his skin. His grip slides up from her hips to her ass then, and she lets him drag her clothed cunt along his tented length. “Build what, Ben?” She asks, breathless. 

 

She nips at his collarbones and reaches one hand down to firmly smooth over his hard erection and he chokes around a word that throws her off so fast she nearly falls off the bed—

 

“A family.” 

 

That sparks an odd fire in her belly, pumps blood in her veins, and gives her a renewed sense of purpose as she grinds down, taking the liberty of finding her sensitive nub. Ben watches as she touches herself in time with the way she dry humps on his cock. Alpha, please. Her mind screams, curling her body back to his face and panting at his lips as she touches herself on top of him. 

 

A family, she thinks. A family with Ben. With pups, unsuppressed heats, mating bonds—at that last one she is thrown into a fit of mini convulsion, peeking to see if this selfish self-satisfaction is agitating Ben. But the blissed-out expression he’s wearing and the hot and heavy scent of him in the air tells her that he doesn’t mind this one bit. 

 

But she just suddenly wants him inside her. The urge to let the Alpha plant his seed inside her so deep it doesn’t come leaking out is a tough one to turn away. She sinks on him slow, panties long forgotten. Lifting her ass, she presses both palms on the side of Ben’s arms as she rides him, feeling her clit rub against him and his knot press just so deliciously heavy against her perineum. 

 

When she licks the sweat off his chest, she grows even more delirious, hips jerking and canting as she rides him erratically. She must not have realized that he’d been holding back all this time because at that moment, he grabs her so tight against his chest, flips them over and settles his heavy body over her as he fucks her fast and hard, groaning against her collarbone and pulling at her thighs so tightly against his own that she so badly wants it to bruise. 

 

Mark me, Alpha . Her blood sings, but this time, it’s a song that is reflected in his eyes, too. The air smells of sex and the connection that they had formed in that odd moment. Recollection. Intimacy. And something far more violent, like a raging sea of emotions. 

 

Ben bites all over her body then, except her gland, which she is pressing and rubbing in time with Ben’s relentless thrusts. She is marked as she had wanted; the bruises bloom almost as quickly as he’d sucked them against her, and she is transported back to their last heat together. 

 

She smiles at that and he sees it. Rey smells his confusion at her expression, but she amends it quickly with clenching her channel hard around him. 

 

He makes another choking sound, pressing his head against her chest so he’s folded so low, almost like her body is the altar on which he offers himself. “Come, baby. Come on my cock, please. Wanna feel you.” He sobs, bringing his thumb to press at her clit. 

 

She arches her back at that, feeling a scream slither its way past her throat as she cums with a strangled shout of Ben’s name. 

 

He gives one final growl at the intensity of her orgasm, as the wetness inside her eventually also leads him to where he wants to be, hair drenched and body trembling. 

 

Dizzy, Rey realizes that Ben’s knot had inflated in the process. She is not too worried, stretching her arms and legs gently so he feels just how much that tightens her hole. He shivers, canting small movements and spurting another wave of heat inside her cunt. 

 

“Stop that,” he rasps, sounding entirely too adorably awed for an Alpha who should expect that this is a normal thing that happens. 

 

But then it dawns on her again. This is the first time in a long time that he’s had sex outside his presentation and his rut. Which explains to Rey just how much he’s shivering, eyes rolling back in his head when he spurts fresh, hot cum deep inside her. 

 

He looks up with a disarmingly clueless expression, the same way he looked when he realized what he was capable of doing in bed. The room smells like pleased Alpha now, and she is more proud than ever. 

 

Almost cat-like, she lifts herself on her elbows, her own body also trembling. “So,” she begins. “A family, huh?” 

 

She watches a muscle jump on his shoulders and she smooths fingers over that spot in an attempt to calm him. It works easily, and when he searches her eyes, she tilts her head to the side, urging him to scent her. The resulting rub of his sweaty hot skin placates his body as they find a comfortable position to stay locked together. Rey is planting little kisses on his forehead when he talks again. 

 

“My father always wanted me to have a family,” he says, quietly tracing a thick finger against the skin of her sternum. She hums, giving the idea some thought. There was more there, more he was afraid of saying. 

 

“He said I’d only really understand what had happened between mom and him if I got a family of my own.” He laughs dejectedly and it’s a biting reminder to Rey that maybe they aren’t so different after all. “He said Alphas were the providers and protectors. He said so many things about what Alphas should be when it turned out my mom was the only Alpha between the two of them.” 

 

“Where is he now?” 

 

“Hell if I know.” He sighs heavily at that, lifting half his torso by supporting his weight on one forearm. His other hand snakes playfully down, lightly stroking her swollen clit gently to get her to burst heat again. She flicks his hand away, blushing madly, but she doesn’t say anything, just lets his fingers amble lazily around her sweat-slicked body. 

 

As he rests a massive paw on one of her breasts, he says, “I’ve never thought about it before.”

 

“What do you mean?” 

 

“Settling down.” He says a little too quiet, a little too quickly. “Mating. Pups. I never thought about it all… before you.” 

 

That’s. The honesty in his eyes make her melt and the omega on her is quick to jump on the mental image of that proposition. Rey, with child and hobbling around the house doing chores while surrounded by her doting children and her doting Alpha…

 

But the more human part of her thinks back on all the families that she’d had, how they never acted like that. How families are never pictures of the perfect suburban life because they get dysfunctional so easily. Someone will want to leave, no one will want to stay, and everyone will want to go their own way. 

 

She knows that’s not the family that Ben wants, but her anxiety makes her dizzy all the same. She knows he’ll be the good father he intends to be… but, she’s too young. Still too young. She says as much, and that earns her a puzzled look from Ben. 

 

By now, his knot has gone down and his flaccid cock is slowly slipping out. Nothing truly is more terrifying than reality. 

 

“I don’t want to get married.” She blurts, curling in on herself when Ben sits beside her, looking at her blankly. “Yet,” she follows up just to try to amend the situation. 

 

“Okay,” he says, but there’s an edge to it. 

 

When he stands to his full height, she asks him. “Okay?” 

 

“Okay.” 

 

“What does that mean?” 

 

“It means that it’s okay.” 

 

“Ben,” she says, sitting up now, ignoring the stab of soreness in her thighs and legs that makes her wince. “I’m… much too young for that sort of thing.” 

 

When he doesn’t move, doesn’t answer, Rey shifts her gaze on the bed, on the crumpled sheets, on the wet spot she’s not sure what is and speaks achingly loud in the quiet room. “I still… want to go to college. I still want to try. I realized I like writing,” she looks at him then and his expression is slightly wistful. “I realized I’m really into it — like really — when I met you. And that, if the things I wrote was good enough for you, maybe I can teach myself to make them good enough for other people, too. I want to make something of myself. I want to… be like Marcela.”

 

At this point, she knows he’s looking up but she doesn’t even care if he’s looking at her. 

 

“I want to know freedom and the feeling of being able to choose who I want to be even if everyone says I can’t be that. I feel like I don’t belong anywhere. I see you in the library while I’m tending to students and I hear you talking to them and I can’t help but feel proud of you but a part of me wants to be like those students, you know? I want to know what it feels like to want something so bad that your eyes shine with it. That people can hear you get excited talking about it and dreaming about it and finding a way to reach it.” 

 

“You can still do that. Even if we get married.” 

 

“But I won’t, though.” 

 

“I’m not saying we get married today , I’m just saying if we get married—“ 

 

“You’ve already thought ahead for me haven’t you?” She asks quietly. Ben’s lips thin again and that’s all the answer she needs. “I’ve lost so many years of my life just trying to survive. Now I’m lucky enough not to be stuck in a limbo of what I’m supposed to do to make sure that I don’t have to starve for three days— I want to live , Ben. I want to live for something.” 

 

“I could get you into college,” he says almost frantically, chewing his lips worryingly. Rey shakes her head. 

 

“You’ve done enough for me. That library job is a really big help. All I’m saying is, I want to want something for myself that I didn’t just get blessed with from someone I know. I want to know I can take care of myself if this doesn’t work out.” 

 

She realizes she must have said the wrong thing because Ben steps back at that, jaw locked shut and eyes filled with a sorrow that turns her stomach so abruptly. She goes cold at his words. 

 

“So, you’re going to… to field applications for other Alphas? If this doesn’t work out?”  

 

“What?! No! Ben! I— that’s not what I meant!”

 

She’s standing now, her feet urging her to move as she watches in horror as her Alpha starts to walk away. He stays in his spot thankfully, but somehow the intense stare he gives her makes her feel even more pained. “I— I just… this conversation has just escalated so fast. Can we just go back to bed, please?” 

 

“I see you in my future,” he says abruptly, stepping away from her as if he’s expecting her next words were going to sting him. “Do you see me in yours?” 

 

And he’s not wrong. 

 

“I don’t… know.” She thinks maybe she should add the ‘yet’ in there, too, but Ben has already entered the adjacent restroom and Rey is left staring at the twisted sheets.

Chapter Text

It’s embarrassing that the reconciliation she’s expecting to have with Ben is pretty much Ryan Reynolds’ grandmother faking a heart attack to get him to Sandra Bullock before she leaves and it’s officially over for both of them. There’s enough similarities in their story (an arrangement-type of deal with both parties agreeing, and then eventually fulfilling a shared need to feel loved) for Rey to imagine it, but the silence in the car jars her so much that her only solace can be found in the practice of counting what little coins she has in her purse. 

 

It’s not like Ben looks any better than she does. After the aftermath of their treehouse shenanigans — she winced — he had stayed quiet as they got dressed and went back into the house. There were several delicious moments when he’d lean into her hair when he walked behind her subconsciously, but then he’d wake up from it and grumpily trudge forward to avoid her. 

 

Even now, in a car that smells just like him, she knows she should feel a little bit self-righteous. They were dating, not meeting his parents for a prenup; surely he’d have thought that marriage was the farthest thing on Rey’s mind. 

 

As the red sweep of color from the nearby traffic light makes the slight sheen of sweat glitter on her skin, she knows Ben’s looking, still unable to help himself. 

 

When green paints her chest, he tears his gaze with a grunt, parking the car in front of her complex and helping her with her stuff only so she can pick them up and bring them back home with his car already roaring away in the distance. 

 


 

Alphas get angry, they get possessive. He knows both of these things are behaviors borne and evolved in Alphas. Yet, he had been scared to let those thoughts outside but had let them slip anyway, and so disastrously that he allowed his Alpha to ruin the moment by stomping and claiming dominance over Rey like she was nothing but a chew toy. 

 

Rey had called it very accurately as a ‘heat of the moment’ kind of thing when she described the way she babbled to him as he pounded her senseless through her heat. 

 

He sees how that might apply to the previous incident, too. His infertility has been healing alright because those Alpha tendencies are now teasing the surface of what is acceptable to the dynamics and what is acceptable only to Rey. 

 

Do you see me in yours?

 

God, he’d asked like a lovesick puppy; he’d asked like he’d willingly fall on a knife if she’d denied him. It was… not his best moment. 

 

And of course she was going to say no, the girl was just 20! He’d rankled all the same when she said what was essentially a pretty normal answer. 

 

I don’t know. 

 

And his heart hurt even more when he saw where she was coming from. Because as his privilege allowed him to have a mother who was there even though she was busy and a house built to feed him, a job that was there to pay him, he realized Rey did not have any of these things. What she had were mere approximations of them. That the first real thing she had in her life was her modest apartment (which she was adamant on keeping for herself and not moving in with him at the drop of a hat), her relationship with Finn, her friendship and bond with the Tico sisters, and now, him. But that she kept them all at arm’s length out of a miserable attempt to make sure that when it all fell apart (and he realizes it might have fallen apart for Rey very often), she could still come back to the wreckage to tally the damages and move on. 

 

There was an odd interplay of her neediness and independence in there and he wants to kick himself silly at how he simply missed it all. 

 

Accepting the food he’d bring before even as each bite must be chipping away at her pride, working harder than he’d ever seen anyone work before, coming to her library shift patting her leggings down for dust and cat hairs and smelling vaguely of wet fur. He hates himself for not seeing. 

 

The problem was knowing, he supposes, and knowing — on his side — that she was the one for him. Frustrating, because she really does not feel the same right now. There had been a ‘yet’ in there, which was something that he could at least latch on to. Latch on to it, he did, and he thinks about that as he’s picking his phone out to answer Holdo on the other line. 

 

“Solo,” she says, having no use for formalities. 

 

“Yes?”

 

“Your analysis has been chosen for a journal. That’s good,” Holdo says in that medical, sterile quality of her words. “That’s a good step for a shot at tenure. Are you thinking of expanding your papers into pitching for well-funded research?” 

 

He thinks on that, letting the moment of brief distraction take him away from the look in her eyes when he’d left her on the curb with a big bag of his mom’s lamb recipe. 

 

“My last one didn’t pass.” 

 

“You can always try again.”

 

“I’m not sure I’ve got a thesis right now worth pursuing. And even if I did, I’m not exactly sure it’ll pass either. We all know the odds of getting my proposal picked for funding is stacked incredibly against my favor.” 

 

“You dream of tenure and are not willing for a little hardship.”

 

Can we not have this discussion now? He wants to say, except he just sighs as quietly as he can. “That’s not what I’m saying.”

 

“What are you saying, then?” 

 

“I don’t have a plan yet.” 

 

“We’ve already gone over that.” 

 

“The analyses that I write are not exactly expandable, and all I have in my docket right now are the omega tribes in the mountains of Kashyyyk. I’m not sure that’s going to hold up. Especially since I would have to move over there — presumably — to study them. Or at least in a city nearby.”

 

“The grant can cover for that, I’m sure. But they need to know that you are willing to put in the work. So,” Holdo pauses. “Are you, Professor Solo?”  

 

Ben just wants this conversation to end so he tries not to growl into the receiver: “Of course I am.” 

 

“Excellent,” Holdo replies. “Although I would very much like to talk to you about another matter.” 

 

“What’s that?” 

 

“The school will have to be assured that your personal pursuits, Professor Solo, do not, in any way, get you written up.” 

 

At that, Ben bristles, his nose involuntarily puffing out an air of frustration. 

 

“We’ve more or less adjusted to the needs of our current generation and expect only the bare minimum of proper decorum from everyone involved. I’m sure you are aware of what I’m saying?” 

 

“Yes,” he tries to keep the stiffness in his voice under wraps but it’s only half-working, if he’s being honest with himself. It’s like that high again that’s urging him to go running to a cliff and jumping off from there — except he’s here, expected to bow down to another Alpha he didn’t like. 

 

Nonetheless, he swallows and takes it. 

 

“I will expect your plan in the coming days. As for the Kashyyyk study, I’m sure you’ll have enough resources to shoulder the expenses for that should you push through with it before the proposal gets approved.” 

 

“I am not wasting money to get money from grants on a study they might not even approve.”

 

“Well,” Holdo hums. “Someone has to do it.” 

 


 

Finn comes back to her apartment that same night tugging along a grumpy Beebee gently so he steps into the apartment. Eyebags outlining his exhaustion greet Rey, as well as the dead eyes Finn gets when things get too stressful at school. 

 

“I don’t ever want to code anymore,” he simply says, which, is honestly something that he’s almost always said when he’s at her place. She laughs lightly, closing the door behind him and gesturing him to pick a spot on the humbled couch where Beebee is now lounging on. 

 

The salvaged coffee table becomes Finn’s textbooks and notebooks’ home for the duration of the night and he knows her well enough to understand that, in a few days, her heat is going to start very soon. 

 

There’s bleach and mops and rugs all nestled outside her bedroom door and she knows Finn knows it’s near that time of the month again. She’s not sure if she’s got enough prescriptions to last her, though, so she’s thinking of maybe buying some in advance later. 

 

“Rey?” Finn calls. 

 

“Yeah?” 

 

“Can I use your laptop? I need to charge mine up for a while before I can use it. It’s acting all silly again.” 

 

“Sure,” she says, going over her stash of food in the fridge and unwrapping a Mars bar. As she chews on it, she takes stock of her food supplies real quick, counting containers, making sure there are peaches, water, juice, fruits, sweets, foods she could re-heat and everything she can have to survive her coming heat. It’s roughly a week off from her estimation. 

 

“Hey Rey,” Finn calls again, and this time, she strides over to where he’s sitting on the floor and hums as they both look at the file he’s pulled up to show her. 

 

“You wanna tell me what this is?” 

 

“What do you mean what that is, it’s just a form.” She tries for nonchalance but Finn wasn’t having it. She reckons she’s already so close to smiling anyway so she lets him rummage around in her laptop some more just to see if his hunch is right. 

 

In that time, the way he just absolutely lives to ever so slightly piss his owner off, Beebee jumps on the keyboard and steps on the keys, sending some tabs closing as the cat sits idly on the ‘R’ key that it runs ceaselessly on the document file. Rey stops herself from laughing outright but she can’t help it. Finn glares at her when he finally gets Beebee off the laptop and sends him sauntering in the bathroom. 

 

But then Finn is pulling up another link she’d bookmarked about college applications and Rey could swear she’d never seen Finn look happier. She hums, looking away and chomping on her bar of chocolate. Finn nudges her shoulder and then tackles her into a bear hug. 

 

Rey is already laughing as Finn hugs her. “Okay, okay. So I may be thinking about seriously going to finally study again.” 

 

“Was the essay for a scholarship, or something? Or a contest? I heard you could win scholarships that way.” 

 

“I guess? I never really thought of that. I just thought maybe I should do something with the talent I at least have to persuade academics into giving me a shot at a college comeback. I did read about winning scholarships through contests, though. Think it’ll work?” 

 

“Hell yeah! You’re the smartest person I know, peanut.” He says, holding her tight again. Rey feels like crying then, feels Finn’s pride roll off him so viscerally that it makes her momentarily forget the many obstacles she knows she’ll encounter if she allows herself to go into this direction. 

 

As Finn’s letting her go, though, as he smiles at her with pure pride, she thanks what gods in heaven helped her land one of the bestest friends in the world. Finn’s already tearing up and she knows she is, too, both of them overwhelmed and extremely proud at the implications of this new information. 

 

“You can help me pick a Uni,” she says brightly, standing up to check on Beebee in the bathroom. 

 

“Why not just go to Coruscant? So you’re closer to the apartment?” 

 

“Hm.” There’s a bright orange spot curled up under the sink so Rey returns to the living room, sinking on the sofa beside where Finn is on the floor. “No can do. Ben teaches there. I doubt they’d like a teacher-student relationship. I already think Ms. Nu knows about that one time I blew Ben in the library.” 

 

If Finn had been drinking some water then, it would have come out of his nose with how hard he snorted. And then his face was of quiet horror. “You what?” 

 

“I can’t be sure, though. We just agreed we wouldn’t do it again.” 

 

Finn doesn’t look convinced. “Okay, different uni then.” 

 

She shrugs, issuing a faux smile at that. She and Ben hadn’t talked since the treehouse incident, and Rey’s already decided it’s better Finn doesn’t know about that yet. This is friend time, she reasons. Friend time with Finn. 

 

“What do you want to take?”

 

“I want to take journalism? Do you know any universities with good journalism programs?” 

 

Finn exits the tabs of her applications and opens Google. Next, he’s listing universities. “I’m thinking you should try taking journalism courses in major-city universities. Coruscant’s taken, but there’s always Naboo. And Chandrila.”

 

“What about Naboo?” 

 

“Naboo’s got a good program. I hear Ben’s grandmother was from there.” 

 

“Ben’s grandmother?” 

 

“Yeah. Padmé Amidala-Skywalker.” 

 

“I was at her house yesterday,” Rey says casually, measuring the weird excitement and puzzlement etched on Finn’s face. 

 

“Okay. What?” 

 

Rey almost wants to laugh. Almost. But she still remembers Ben vulnerably asking for her hand in marriage, and then adopts a semi-serious expression instead, picking one of Finn’s books from the table and thumbing through the pages. “Well, I didn’t like, ‘ hang out’, hang out there just because. Leia just asked Ben to bring me over because she wanted to meet me.”

 

Finn’s eyes bugged at that and he snatched her hand in his. “You. Met. Senator. Organa?” 

 

“Yeah,” she could smile at that at least. She’d loved the incorrigible woman in an oddly complicated way. Maybe she just fit Rey’s perception of a protective mother, no matter that her and Ben’s relationship was a complicated one. “She was a riot.”

 

“What did she say? What’s she like? Does she sound all diplomatic? Do you know she’s also involved in Alpha-omega protection work? Do you know she donates to Resist Omega, too? Do you know she’s an Alpha? That last one’s fairly obvious.”

 

“Yes, Finn,” she laughs. “I know all of those things — and more.”

 

Finn adjusts in his spot like she’s about to tell him a bedtime story. 

 

“Let’s see. She lives in Amidala’s house. It’s big. It’s very big. There are halls, Finn. And entire wall-space just for pictures of men and women in flowing robes. The kitchen is big and spotless and everything has a place. You’ll love cooking there. And they have a butler.” At that, she raises a brow. Finn rubs his chin. 

 

“I called him Alfred, like some idiot. But Ben said it was fine. Confused him, though. Poor man didn’t understand what was happening.” She grins. 

 

“What did you guys do there? You and Ben?” 

 

“We met his mother. Very regal. She ate like someone was always taking her picture and she didn’t want to be caught with cilantro in her teeth or whatever. And Ben and I… talked.” 

 

Well, so much for keeping her mouth shut. Finn studies her, then, watching as she slowly fidgets, she knows, because now she’s subconsciously looking away. 

 

“‘Talked,’ Rey? How exactly did you talk?” 

 

“Well, he kind of… proposed to me…” 

 

Finn stares at her in silence. 

 

“...While we were locked together.” 

 

Finn’s hand goes to his chin in thought. “What did you tell him?” 

 

“That I don’t know.” Rey shrugs. “That I’m too young.” 

 

“Okay,” Finn says. “So why does it look like this bothers you more than all the other Alphas you’ve had one-night stands with and did the same thing?”

 

“What are you talking about?” 

 

“You can’t lie to me, Rey. I know this bothers you more than you care to admit.” 

 

“It happened just yesterday.” She says, willing him through her gaze to just drop it. But she knows he can read her like a book, anyway. She can never lie to him. 

 

“Still. Why are you so evasive about this?” 

 

“Because it’s embarrassing.”

 

“Rey.” 

 

“Fine, fine. I was scared when he said it. Because the way he said… it seemed like he meant it. It felt like he meant it. It felt like if I asked him then, he’d go down on one knee under my command and promise his heart to me just like that.” 

 

Finn is looking at her tenderly now. “That doesn’t sound too bad. And your life doesn’t end just because you get married, Rey.” 

 

“How do I know it’s not just, just, the heat of the moment that’s making him say that? How do I know I’m even capable of trusting someone with my heart for that long?” 

 

Finn shrugs. “We’ve been friends for the longest time, Rey. I’d think you trust part of your heart to me. What makes him so different?” 

 

“I don’t know.” She says, and when she stares at the words on Finn’s book that she doesn’t understand, she feels like she’s about to cry. “Ben is so good. He’s got a good family. He’s got a good house; a mom who cares for him so much, even if their lives are full of misunderstanding. He has direction in his life and I… don’t. I’m just now going to college, Finn. But he’s already past that. I’m just me.” 

 

“Who’s his girlfriend?” 

 

Rey looks up, eyes misting. “Me.” She says as though she's speaking for the first time. 

 

“And who did he bring to his mother?” 

 

“Me.” 

 

“And who did he help get a job for at uni?” 

 

“Me.” 

 

“Then that’s your answer.” Finn takes her trembling hand in his as she lets her tears fall. “Rey, Ben loves you for who you are. He doesn’t care that you’re not on his level because he’s not too proud to connect with you on yours. He even met up with us, for god’s sake, and indulged Rose’s questions and brought us sugar cookies. He may have just begun with you as a means to solving a biological problem, but you’re both way past that now.”

 


 

Now all by her lonesome, Rey lets Finn’s words sink in. She doesn’t think she’ll know what to do when Finn finally takes up an internship in another city. Or if the Tico sisters finally move back to their hometown to take on their family business. She’d let Finn know about it that much and putting that in context with the whole marriage proposal thing, Finn got a slightly clearer view of all Rey’s fears laid out in front of them. 

 

The truth is, she was right when she said she wanted to make sure she could handle herself even if things start to change around her. And Finn was right, too, when he’d said Ben doesn’t see her insecurities as imperfections. 

 

Rey supposes it’s just the circumstance in which he said it, or maybe a big part of it was just her fears manifesting. After all, dating someone is worlds different from actually already being married to them. Nonetheless, Finn assures her before leaving with Beebee that night to talk to Ben when she can, to which she’d assured him she will once she’s gathered enough of her wits about her back. 

 

Ben solves her dilemma for her that night when he shows up at her doorstep, holding a bouquet of peonies and an adorably sheepish smile. 

 

“I, uhh, Maz said flowers would help.” He says. Rey lifts a brow and hugs her coat tighter against her form. 

 

“For what?”

 

“For my apology. Look, I’m really sorry for springing that question on you. I just… I know there’s no excuse for wanting to tie you down so soon but I—“ he turns his attention to the flowers, tracing a pink petal before swallowing again. “I was just afraid I’d lose you after your interaction with my mother.” 

 

Rey just looks at him, letting him talk. 

 

“And I knew you want a family of your own and that that’s why you told me that I should visit my family more often because you know how shitty it is to not have one. And I proposed to you later that day because I thought maybe that was what you wanted but… I just assumed, and that was my mistake.” 

 

He finally looks up at that and Rey looks at him tenderly, feeling a soft smile gracing her lips. Always so sincere, this man, it hurts her heart just thinking about how easy it is for him to bare himself to her like this. 

 

Maybe it’s about time she did the same. 

 

“I didn’t ask you what you wanted. And I’m— really sorry for that.” He sounds so broken, so Rey gently takes the bouquet from his thick fingers, seeing as how they’d been trembling the whole time. 

 

“I’m… going to have my heat soon.” She says, keeping her eyes on the beautiful pink petals. She feels his gaze heavy on her neck, on her gland, she surmises, because now he’s zeroed in on that when she said it. She must smell so appetizing to him now. But she smiles some more when he shakes his head, trying to at least dispel thoughts of sharing another heat with her without her express permission. 

 

It’s adorable. She loves it. 

 

“I’m going to refill my prescriptions in case they run out in the following week. Do you want to come with me to the drug store?” 

 

“Yes.” He replies, scratching at his gland subconsciously. 

 

Rey just nods, keeping him tense as she motions for him to stay by the door as she sets the flowers down her counter. 

 

When she comes back out, she locks the door. 

 

Her fingers find his chest then, touching him so softly that his breath hitches. “If I want to have a dry heat… will you be alright with that?” 

 

She watches, fascinated, as his eyes screw shut the moment she places one hand on his cheek, pink now from her careful attention to his body and she’s barely even touched him in any overtly sexual way. 

 

It takes him a long time to gather enough of his attention back to the conversation, so when he talks again it’s like someone’s sanding his throat. “It’s… it’s going to be alright. Uhm, I’m fine with it.”

 

She pretends to think on that, fingers slowly popping a button open on his navy blue dress shirt. She watches his throat bob, watches his jaw clench. “Do you want to share my heat with me?” 

 

Ben groans. “Fuck, yes, Rey.” He sighs as she’s smiling and pulling him in close to kiss him. He kisses her back like it’s his last day on earth, thick hands coming around her waist to press her hard against his body. When they break apart it’s with no less difficulty from both of them but Rey doesn’t care. She holds his hand and thinks that yes, maybe it is time to let herself be truly vulnerable with this man.

Chapter Text

Three Years Later

 

“I don’t think I’ve ever tripped on a dog before, but there I was, apologizing to a client’s poor little dachshund as I’m entering his house. Which is really, really stupid to say the least. I was just there to make sure we stick to the script and film Melissa do the interview.”

 

“And the client was not too mad, I hope?” 

 

“Oh, he wasn’t, thankfully. It’s the least he can do to fully be featured in the magazine project of a lowly three-man team for a school requirement. I don’t think I’ve ever stayed up that late in my life. I was having back to back palpitations from all the editing I’ve been doing! Oh, and the coffee.” 

 

Leia laughs hard and full at that, drinking a glass of wine heartily as Rey chops up the vegetables Finn’s brought over. 

 

They’d been talking about her school project for the better part of an hour now. It had been grueling, to say the least, and Rey half wonders how the hell she’d managed to get Melissa and Sam on the project even as it took them almost a century to fill content after content under magazine sections. 

 

Then when they’d divided the work for the social media presence and the editing and interviewing and documenting, they’d nearly chopped each other‍ 's heads off in the process. 

 

Lord knows Rey is not, in any way, a people person. Sure, three years with Ben Solo and constant advice from Finn has made her come out of her shell a little bit but that was only mostly because she had a special kind of connection with them. But when she’d tagged along with the very jovial Melissa, she knew she’d just man the camera and bring the interview questions. It was a good thing Melissa was all about putting herself out there, appearing on camera was one of the things she’d wanted to do to help pad her resumé when she finally went out there. 

 

Rey just wanted to write. 

 

By some miracle, they’d finished the magazine and it was up to snuff enough that their professor said she could almost forgive some of the grammatical errors in some of the articles. 

 

It was a stab at Rey’s diligently writing heart but she knew the professor always meant well. Naboo had helped her so much since she was accepted, the least she could do was learn to suck it up and keep surviving. 

 

And Rey prides herself for being a survivor. 

 

Thankfully, she’s gotten herself such good survivor-buddies. Like Leia in their very opulent kitchen drinking expensive wine and Finn bustling about with pots and pans, heating, stirring, and flipping god knows what. 

 

Ben had been apprehensive when Finn first started visiting the Amidala house more often as their relationship blossomed into something stronger. 

 

“What if he gets scared of my mother, too?” He’d asked one night when they had both felt experimental. Rey thought it strange to talk about another person when Ben’s got her sporting a butt plug with a cat tail attached to it. It was certainly strange to answer it, even, on trembling legs and very perked-up nipples. 

 

“From what I can tell, Leia would like the company,” she’d answered, shivering when Ben turned his attention back to her and sunk inside her slowly, gritting his teeth. 

 

“Are you going to tell me to visit my mother often again, little one?” He’d asked, gently nipping at the underside of her breasts as he’s slowly pistoning inside her. She hisses, feeling her pussy clenching around both his cock and the butt plug. Ben curses loudly, roughly lifting her legs and pounding hard in earnest. 

 

“Rey,” he urged and whimpered when she gushed so suddenly. 

 

“Because you should,” she’d been indignant even as his Alpha came out more now, growling as he went down and nibbled almost roughly against her gland. It made her come again and in the back of Rey’s mind, they’d been having a conversation, but the bed was so wet and smelled so much like them that she didn’t quite remember what had been talked about. 

 

When he’d slid home to finally plug himself inside her, he shook above her when he came for a full minute, his shoulders finally giving out and his face landing smack-dab on her left shoulder. She’d convulsed with him on top of her, smelling like all she’d needed and she kissed his swollen gland with such tenderness he’d started purring. 

 

“Finn won’t burn down your kitchen, I promise. And I have a feeling she’ll really like him.” He’d grumbled at her response but lay still on top of her. He’d whispered sweet nothings, too, as he tensed every time he came inside her. Sweet nothings she’d grown to love more now than fear back then. 

 

Speak of the devil, it seems she and Leia could smell him from the giant double doors, pumping his legs excitedly like he did now almost every time she was at the mansion. He moves around the island to plant a kiss on Leia’s wrinkled forehead first before sauntering over to Rey to hug her from behind. 

 

“Good to see you too, Benny,” Leia says playfully, winking at Finn who has also looked their way when Ben entered the room. 

 

Ben ignores them, kissing Rey’s cheek. “You’ll never believe which one of my co-workers are getting married.”

 

“Who?” 

 

“Snap.” He says, grinning. 

 

“So he finally put a ring on it, huh?” 

 

“Mhh,” Ben hums, gently prying her slightly damp fingers from the knife she’s holding and slowly tugging her close to him so she’s standing in front of him. 

 

“You know what else?” Ben is grinning and it puts Rey slightly ill at ease. She doesn’t let it show, resorting to tilting her head slowly to the side to encourage him to stop with the suspense already. 

 

“Yeah?”

 

“He’s invited us to the wedding. Says his fiancé will be sending your dress over to the apartment in a week or two.” 

 

“Who’s getting married, again?” Leia asks from where she’s standing, and it’s when Rey realizes they’d probably been too quiet that even Finn is peeking over his shoulder at the commotion. 

 

Ben nods in Finn’s direction first, answering the question in both their minds that way. “Finn, you remember your web design professor? He’s getting married.”

 

“Web design? Is it that kid Snap?” Leia says looking thoughtful. 

 

“Kid?” Rey asks Ben who is still grinning. Feeling bold, she kisses the side of his lips as his mouth starts to open to utter the words. Distracted now, Ben leans back in to capture her lips until Leia is clearing her throat to keep the ball rolling on this conversation. 

 

Finn snorts in the background, transferring some meat or other to a waiting plate. “Who’s he getting married to?” 

 

“She’s a lawyer, I think. Snap’s been dating her for quite a few years now.” Ben answers. 

 

“Hm, Holdo never told me about Snap dating anybody. And why am I learning this now? Where has Nora been with the news when you need her?” Leia says. Rey turns back to Ben that moment, a question in her eyes as to how Leia’s dropping names of Ben’s co-workers like it’s nobody’s business. 

 

Ben smiles. “Mom has known Holdo and the others for the longest time. They’re family friends we’ve known almost forever. Mom knew Snap even before he’d become a teacher, knew his mom, Nora.” 

 

Having sufficiently explained to her, Ben turns his attention back to his mother. “Holdo hasn’t talked about it with you because I don’t think Snap’s told anyone at the faculty yet.”

 

“How come you know?” 

 

Ben shrugs. “Maybe because he knows I won’t run my mouth?” 

 

Finn chuckles at that, moving about on the sink to wash some utensils. “You just did, though.”

 

“Mom won’t tell, won’t you mom?” He says smoothly, toothy grin so handsomely reaching his ears. 

 

“Of course not,” Leia says confidently back, calling for Anthony’s presence inside the room in the process. This time when Anthony brings a string of maids into the kitchen, it’s Ben’s turn to ask what was going on. 

 

“Your mom has some friends over. Something about re-campaigning.” Finn says at his spot. Before Rey explains to him, she watches instead how things fall into place as she looks at his face. It’s almost terrifying how he’s more expressive now that his infertility has blessedly reversed, how easily he carries himself now in a room full of people — even in front of his mother. 

 

Ben nods, she knows, in understanding and not necessarily camaraderie. 

 

His eyes track Anthony’s movements in the kitchen, watches silently as the maids bustle in and out to fill trays with refreshments of different colors. Only mildly alcoholic, Leia had said, because of course, they were only mildly alcoholic. Leia’s playful streak had always found a way to worm its way into her more diplomatic nature and the result is almost always through the service of drinks that were pale pink enough you’d never think they even have just a smidge of gin. 

 

“Come on.” Rey tugs Ben’s hand when he’s finally gone out of the headspace he’d just been in seeing his mother in what might just be a capsule of a time long forgotten. Rey suspects his mother’s been in politics for so long Ben’s gotten resentful of it. But he huffs when she pulls him again, just sighing small and peeking at the door again. 

 

“Where?” 

 

“To your room. I got my laptop there, we can laugh at my shitty editing.” She smiles and he frowns at that, booping her nose. 

 

“You don’t edit shittily.” 

 

“I do, though.” She replies. “You going to be okay?” 

 

Ben visibly sighs, the scent of him becoming only increasingly frazzled and not knowing what to do with it spiking in the air. Rey touches his face in her hands and kisses him lightly between his eyes. 

 

“Okay?” She asks again, and this time, Ben nods with a bright smile back. 

 

“Okay.” 

 

As they’re leaving through the kitchen door, Rey feels herself blush at Finn’s parting words: “Don’t play too rough, kids!” 

 

And a less confident Ben would have moved quickly out of the line of fire of that jab. But less confident Ben had been gone two years ago, and in his place is the Alpha he now is, confidently nosing at her gland as they trudge up hand in hand on the marble staircase to his childhood bedroom. 

 

Life is good right now, Rey thinks. 

 


 

It takes about an entire bottle of whiskey and enough Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong to get him really thinking about this day many years ago. It’s not like anything changes, he’s still Hux in the first house he’d bought for himself when he had been 23. The only house of his he liked because his mother had been there when he’d seen it first glinting in the sunlight when he was still so young. It was so long ago. They had been looking for a property to move to now that the Brendol & Hux headquarters had been set up upstate. His mother had had brown hair, had the softest voice that it sounded like she was always singing him to sleep, and the kindest heart Hux had ever known. 

 

She’d almost complimented the hardness of his father, and for all the odd fights they’d have as husband and wife, Brendol would always find his way back to his wife no matter what. 

 

It was almost silly how much he cried one day in 2008 when he’d first heard Ne-Yo’s “Mad” on the car radio and remembered just how imperfect but sensible his parent’s relationship had been. The song was beautiful, of course, but he’d never admit it because Brendol would likely say something like, “I didn’t raise you to bring you to classical music shows for you to listen to new age garbage, Armitage.”  

 

He laughs dejectedly at that memory, staring half-naked and just in sweatpants at the sprawling city beyond his glass-encased balcony. He doubts Brendol even knew what new age was enough to call it garbage. After he’d broken away from recitals and the shadow of his father just by a tiny bit, he realized his categorizing was wrong after all. But he also knows there are not enough answers in the world he could say to puncture the reality of the fact that both his parents are gone now and that whatever memory he had of them is likely going to stay in the past. 

 

All he knows is that it’s the same day every year that gets him so down in the dumps. 

 

He’s back upstate this month because an omega agent he’s worked as a Minder for had a contract wrapped up nice and tidy. He almost wishes he hadn’t, almost wishes he’s back at shitty downtown so he doesn’t have to sulk in his empty, empty, sentimental house thinking about his dead mother. 

 

It’s silly, he thinks. Silly because no one probably grieves as much as he does for his mother. Or he doesn’t know, doesn’t think he’d had enough heart in him left to hurt. But he’s proven wrong every time the day of her death rolls around. And his body almost always knows that it’s a day of reflection for the only glittering memory he cherishes from his childhood. 

 

No rut of his has fallen on this day since the accident, and he always seems to have a bottle of whiskey just lying there for when he needs to drink down the pain he’s feeling a day before he fulfills his year-on-year tradition of driving to the place where it all began — or ended. 

 

He should have listened to his father that day, shouldn’t have had an attitude about his mother not being able to drive him to his recitals more often than his father did. His father was a staunch advocate of tough love, though, and Hux had always gravitated in the orbit of his more caring mother. 

 

But the road had been slippery. It was one of those road cliches that no one likes to take seriously because how hard was it to drive on a wet road? Probably not too hard. Young Hux should have known, though. His mother had been very sickly. She’d been playing the piano on trembling fingers, the Shostakovich piece she loved wobbly and out of tune in her fingers. She’d been weak and still, she’d smiled at him, looked on with pride and affection whenever Hux would return home with a piece he knew his mother might like. 

 

Hux wanted nothing more than to play for his mother, wanted nothing of the pomp and glory people associated with rich young kids showing off on the ivory keys the level of privilege they have for being able to afford classical music classes in the first place. 

 

So he’d asked his mother if she could maybe try to take him on one of his recitals. He insisted on that day since he knew it was the time his father was busy at the budding new business he’d begun. She’d agreed with a strangely pained smile and Hux should have known. Hux should have seen it then. And now he can never forget. 

 

The slippery road cliche has led him back to the day he’d lost his mother on this side of the road, listening to that same Shostakovich piece floating out of his car. It’s a reminder, he supposes, of how it all went wrong. 

 

The doctor looks at him, and he doesn’t want to be here anymore. He just wants to be with his mother. “Armitage, my boy, Alphas and omegas have two olfactory systems in their bodies. Can you tell me what designation your father is?” 

 

He wants to cry. His father smells like nothing. So he says nothing. But it seemed like it was the wrong answer. The doctor looks at him again, and then to his father. Why are they here when his mother is suffering? Why are they not by her side? He wants to say. His father has a twisted emotion in his face he can’t read as the doctor turns to him again, bringing a tray of orange rind close to his face. Hux flinches away, tears splattering on the doctor’s liver-spotted hands. He is calm nonetheless, urging him to hold a peel in his hands. 

 

He can smell it but still thinks the exercise is pointless. “Where is mother?” 

 

“She’s sleeping, Armitage.” His father says. 

 

“Can you smell the orange, my boy?” 

 

Hux hesitates, sniffs again. “Yes. Why?” 

 

“What’s the diagnosis, doctor?”

 

That visibly displaces him, and thoughts of his mother’s safety momentarily leave his mind. “Diagnosis?” 

 

The doctor sighs, retreating and writing something on a clipboard. Hux waits with bated breath, looking to the door and thinking maybe he can just leave now and it won’t matter. That his father would surely forgive him because he only really wants to see his mother right now. Not any of this. Not any of what this doctor is going to say because he doubts it even matters when his mother could be somewhere in this goddamn place looking for him, too. 

 

“It looks like hyposmia of some sort. But his brain scans show that only one part of his olfactory system has been damaged.”

 

That gets his attention. “Damaged? What… what do you mean damaged?” 

 

The doctor looks at him with weariness in his eyes. “The accident damaged a part of your olfactory senses. You won’t be able to smell Alphas and omegas anymore.” 

Chapter Text

The sun is low on the horizon when Hux finally stands up from his desk and moves to stand by the floor-to-ceiling glass window. He’s mostly been relegated back to managing other Minders and reporting back to the upstate office. His uncle still likes to keep him at arm’s length, putting him up to tasks that Hux would never have thought he would ever be in had his father still been here. 

 

If his father was still here, he’d probably be negotiating with lobbyists from pharmaceutical partnerships on new medication for the ever-expanding scientific eyesore that was the Alpha-omega community. And it was still an eyesore for beta lobbyists who dipped their toes in the designation system only because their jobs required them to. 

 

From his personal experience, they don’t like having to dig into the meat of the struggles of the designation system. Why would they? Sometimes, he honestly feels they have a point. Sometimes, he even thinks if he was born a beta, for example, he might have had the same thoughts, the same loathing. But Hux doesn’t like half-assing any kind of job. He scoffs. It’s probably something he’d gotten from his father. 

 

If his father was still here, he’d bet he’d be handed off to work on a research division of some sort, where people probably care more because they are usually permeated with bright-eyed, bushy-tailed Alphas and omegas looking to make a difference. They’d partner up with professors or students who the company can commission to make products and offer services that cater to the Alphas and omegas’ needs. Or support studies that could contribute to the understanding of Alpha-omega behavior. It could even help the program update their handbook with more sufficient information, and they may even be able to partner up with public schools around the country still struggling with the lack of understanding and the stereotypes that Alpha and omega children are subjected to. 

 

It’s a long shot anyway, the possibility of Hux rising quickly like hot air to the very tippy-top of the board, no matter how world-changing his ideas were for the future of the company. His uncle still sits at the top, manspreading like the Alpha he is. And therein lies the heart of the problem. 

 

Hux will never be half the Alpha of the weakest Alpha he will ever meet. 

 

Living with a busted sniffer and being an Alpha at the same time—and having to live with the reality of both—meant that he’d learned to take everything in stride. 

 

I can’t smell anything about your designation so I won’t judge you, he’d say on his previous dates. But it’d hurt him just the same when they feel as though that’s sufficient grounds to judge his 'eligibility', as it were. As far as he could tell, from a quick peek on the notches on his bedpost, those who warmed his bed usually did so under only some escapist fantasy where they could pretend for just one night that everything was different. 

 

Usually, Hux would be on the same page, but sometimes, he lets go on the nights he might find himself picking clothes off an omega conquest. He lets himself go and lets the Alpha in him have his way the only other ways it knows how — through knotting and lust-driven aggression. But when all is said and done and the omega will now require the attention they so often do, he’d be at a loss as to what to do, frozen by the ineptitude to deal with the situation like they’d expected him to. 

 

He can’t smell them but he can see, he can watch, as their face turns sour, as their heart rate evens out, as his knot loosens, that he’s never attentive enough, never adequate enough because the cues, the moods, the lingering questions, fears? He can’t pick up any of them. 

 

So after his fair share of omegas and Alphas alike, what he does instead is to study them. Watch their eyes, their lips, the way they breathe or the way they moaned and made sounds to him. He’d presented quite young, at 13, and only enjoyed equal amounts of terror and pleasure from his designation before he got into the accident that still haunts him to this day. He adamantly reasons that it’s not that big a deal, having only gone through 5 years worth of experimental sex and self-pleasure. He’d dry-rutted before, he could do it again. 

 

But the glaring oddity in his case was that all his Alpha instincts are intact, they’re just dulled over by the noticeable lack of his ability to fully prove he’s a member of the designation. 

 

In his frustration, he’d unconsciously taken the Brendol & Hux program, it being the best decision he’s ever made in his life. Though he’d rather be dead than admit that to his uncle, knowing full well he’d further use that to discredit his bid for CEO.

 

Armitage Hux, CEO, would still have to wait, although he’s pretty sure he’d be lying to himself if he said that the wait was perfectly fine. It wasn’t; and the longer it dragged, the longer Hux felt like he was a ship with no anchor, there is nothing to ground him. 

 

And so on his dates, he’d proposed mostly reasonable rules of engagement. It’s probably not ideal for anyone else, but it was ideal for Hux. 

 

Tonight, he’d forgone Mitaka’s help with the “date”, though he’s loathe to call any meeting at a second-rate bar a date in the first place. From the looks of it, calling it a second-rate bar was probably flattering it. The pretty-eyed omega would have to suffice though, thankfully, his looks were not so forlorn that he couldn’t catch a date with it. 

 

Tonight, he’d let his hair down and play along with the escape. 

 


 

She’s small like omegas are, hair the same color of fire he has and eyes a brilliant burst of blue. She’s at least a decade younger than him; he’d wager she’s a graduate student. She’s checking him out as she walks inside, red hair bobbing slightly atop her head on a knot he assumes was arranged to look as haphazardly as it does now. 

 

Discreetly, he tries to discern if she’s one of the feisty ones, the married ones who come at him for a quick fuck because, ah, of his lack. 

 

No ring, thank heavens. 

 

The easy smile she has either tells him she’s as much on board with this meetup as he is, or maybe she’s got a sordid laugh ringing in her head at seeing him, the Alpha who couldn’t sniff. Before he could analyze how quickly he’d turned that thought in his head, she’s already taken up the stool beside him, bouncing lightly and asking the bartender for water. 

 

He lets himself relax, scanning her state of dress — it’s… mediocre. He’s met with an alarmingly simple assortment of gray clothing and what he assumes are running shoes. He feels woefully overdressed then, nervously looking around.

 

Her clear voice brings him back to the moment, the cold water sweating between them. 

 

He regards it curiously. “You ordered a glass of water,” Hux says. He hopes she picks it up as a question. Eyes shining from something he can’t pinpoint, she chuckles. 

 

“Yeah.” 

 

“Right,” he says in response, watching as her fingers close around the glass. 

 

There’s a dull thud of some alternative song in the background though he can’t tell what it is. “Armitage, you said your name was?” She asks, blue eyes trained on him. 

 

“Yes.” 

 

“Hm. You could be lying,” she replies. Her voice is a tad gravely in a sultry kind of way, like she’d just been singing yesterday and had pushed her way into this bar to meet him. 

 

“I’m not sure I follow.” Hux visibly fidgets, leaning his arms on the counter and trying to calm his damn nerves. He’s not good at this, not when the terms of engagement are not the way he begins things. But just for tonight, he’d wanted to dip his toes back, play for a date who just might not mind that he’s not-quite an Alpha. 

 

She watches him for a while. “I’m Tara.” 

 

“Tara.” He repeats, distinctly remembering she had gone by a different name on her profile. And then when he’s looking at her, he realizes what she’d meant. 

 

“You were asking if my name was...”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Oh,” he breathes out, smiling rather awkwardly, a practiced expression that does not sit in camaraderie with the unease in his gut. “Does it sound so terribly pretentious?”

 

She chuckles — Tara — pushing some strands of her hair back from her face. “Yeah, a little.” 

 

“Yours does, too.” 

 

“We have that in common.” 

 

“So,” he wades in the waters of his awkwardness, diving off the deep end. If this is just a hookup, he should stay in that mind. “Do you do this often?” 

 

“Meet up at seedy bars?” 

 

“I had dubbed it second-rate.” He says, flashing her a toothy grin, leaning forward a little on his elbows. Tara’s eyes narrow at him. 

 

“You’re giving it too much credit.” 

 

“Am I?” He eyes the brick walls and the sticky floors and tilts his head to the side. “I frankly cannot argue with that logic.” He says. A wide smile spans her thin lips. 

 

“You seem much too… professional-looking for this kind of place.” 

 

“Do I have to look a certain way to meet a beautiful girl?” 

 

Tara narrows her eyes at him like she just can’t quite believe he’d just said what he said. If he’s being honest, he’s surprised he’d done that, too. He usually just skips this part. Tonight he thinks he’d indulge, briefly thinking turning on the charm won’t do anyone any harm. 

 

She chews the inside of her cheek. “Is that something you say now that you’ve got a busted nose?” 

 

And there it is. It slides off him, turning his heart cold once more. Unfeeling. Protected. But the charm remains. 

 

“Omegas like challenging me now, it’s very distressing. Would that be the beat of your drum tonight?” 

 

“Dunno,” she says, smile disgustingly pretentious, he now knows. That smile at the start was a mock, a challenge. Hux’s only instinct is to take it up. “As long as you’ll move to the sounds I’ll make.” 

 


 

That’s how Hux ends up pouncing on her freckled, half-naked form on his king-sized bed, roughly nipping against her skin. She’s warm and soft and all he needs right now, the only need in him is to conquer, to mark, to pound, and to find release. 

 

His gland acts up and he ducks down to roughly run it against Tara’s, feeling the unease abate only a little before it’s pulsing again, like a headache on his neck. Hux hates it, but it helps center him during this, reminds him he has to do twice as much to make sure he’s picking up those clues he might be missing. 

 

It feels empty when he inhales, and maybe the omega is just polite enough to let him approximate it, but he grunts hard anyway when she lifts her hips up to grind against him. 

 

Though they share the same red hair, the slight tan on Tara’s body is a stark contrast to his pale one. 

 

He’s sweating bullets as he lifts her legs gently, droplets of his sweaty forehead sluicing her cheeks and she laughs and looks at him with those eyes. Hux ignores it, knowing that she probably smells heavenly now that she’s horny, but he’ll never know. 

 

When he kisses down, his fingers shake from the lust clouding in his head, his knot expanding slowly when his nose pushes against the fabric of her crotch. Long arms come around to pull her on the edge of the bed as Hux bites the waistband and pulls it down. 

 

“Alpha,” she then says, and it stops Hux in his tracks, hesitating. He obviously takes too long because soon Tara is coming up on her elbows, looking down at his frozen face. This is why he should have just followed the rules of engagement.

 

Rule Number One: Never call me by my designation.

 

Raking a hand through his hair, he swallows. “Don’t— don’t talk like that.” 

 

“I want to,” she responds, biting her lips just so and the way that she’s touching her own gland almost feels like someone is landing a punch on his gut. So he rears up, lifts her hips against his erection and latches his warm mouth on her neck to suck. In an instant, she’s whimpering, babbling appreciative nonsense for him. Affirmation interspersed with Alpha and I’ll be so good for you—

 

A growl tears from the bottom of his throat. Wild, his pulse jumps when she practically melts in his hands as he turns her roughly around, her belly flat on the covers. He slaps her ass hard and pulls her hips up and roughly towards him before rubbing himself roughly against her cunt. Tara curses, taken aback by the obscene act, but he sees her eyes dilate and for once Hux forces himself to feel that’s good enough. 

 

“Do you want to call me Alpha, little one?” He says because fuck it to high heaven, he’s going to see this through even if each act kills him. Even if he knows he’ll never be what she needs. He lands another hard slap on her ass again, his other hand circling around her waist to rub at her nub. This time, when he slaps her again, she gushes anew, and Hux is all too happy to dip inside and lick her off his fingers. Her gland swells and her next whimper goes to his cock: “You’re my Alpha.” 

 

Hux laughs at that, almost crazed. He’s been on the receiving end of that promise so many times that he knows they never mean it. Not for someone like him. Somewhere in her head, he likes to think maybe she thinks the frantic look in his eyes is because Alpha finds her pleasing, or ready to be fat with his children or some other bullshit, even though the rest of her body language tells him she’s becoming mildly afraid, though the hesitation she has when he slowly moves away tells him she’s having an internal fight with her omega. 

 

Hux wonders what that’s like, he really does, the full extent of it. The only fight left in his Alpha is the one he has post-coital when it’s high time to attend to the needs of his omega. 

 

But most omegas only think they need attending, he convinces himself. There’s nothing about this new one that will make him want to attend to anyone. 

 

With firm resolve, he draws himself up and pushes his cock inside, enjoying the stretch of her cunt. She whimpers and she shakes but he’s too far gone. As he bottoms out, he lets himself go. 

 


 

Tara is asleep on his bed, having resorted to just holding a pillow he’s scented between her thighs. He’d had to command her not to draw near him to make sure this doesn’t go so badly. And the guilt that suffused his system while looking at her face as she begged him to hold her, to caress her, kiss her sweaty forehead left a bitter taste in his mouth. Hux powered through it all, ignoring biology and standing away from her coldly. Standing on his full height, he uses the same voice to command her into staying in his bed. 

 

She’d followed, and Hux had stood up to sort through his drawers to find some clean sweatpants to wear as he stalks the house. The tiled, dark floors provide a balm to his sweaty feet, and the cool draft in the air that kisses his skin somewhat relaxes him. 

 

He reaches the end of the hall and turns around in the direction of his living room, finding his phone nestled with his keys in a bowl on a table beside his Chesterfield sofa. There are already messages there waiting for him. There’s one from the liaison he assigned to collate all the omega agent reports for the day, a file that’s surely going to take up most of his time later. There’s a ton of emails, too, a mountain he’d keep himself busy with throughout the rest of the day so he doesn’t have to think about what happened tonight or, rather — glancing at his clock shining 3:30 AM — what happened earlier. 

 

Ignoring all of that, he pulls up Mitaka’s number and rings him, knowing he’d be answering no matter what. 

 

“Sir?” His voice filters through the receiver not a moment later. 

 

“What way did I last sort the library?” 

 

There's silence and Hux waits in it, looking at the still-pristine condition of the rich leather upholstery of his Chesterfield. 

 

“You arranged it according to ‘Date Published’ the last time, sir.” 

 

“Are there enough books with colorful covers?” 

 

“I believe so, yes.” 

 

“Good,” he says last, stalking to the direction of his library where he knows he’ll spend the rest of his chilly morning, just like he does every time he does this.

 


 

When he finally emerges from the library and its dull rainbow-colored shelves (thanks to the book spines turning out to not be as colorful as he’d hoped), he finds that Tara is sitting on his couch, fully dressed. He frowns, looking at the dip of the leather under her pert ass. 

 

He rounds her to reach the kitchen for something to drink and she follows after him like a confused puppy, hair pulled back in that topknot. Hux squares his shoulders, ready for the tears, for the pleading, for the — and it’s the part he hates — residual lust. 

 

Instead, she smiles at him, testily, though, her eyes blinking fast and her smile twitching just a tiny bit. Whatever it is she’s going to say, he knows it will be in hesitation. 

 

He fixes her with a stare as she remains mum and the slow drag of her eyes on his fingers around the glass tell him she’s probably going to say something that plays into his favor. But she just nods, stepping forward only to slide a piece of paper on the counter. 


Same place. Friday. Her handwriting shone and under it a number. As he looks back at her face, she nods, shoving her hands in her pockets and turning swiftly for the door.

Chapter Text

The most prevalent thought in her mind right now was how devastatingly easy it was to feel so alone. 

 

Back then, it wasn’t a problem. Back then, she was always alone. Always kept to herself because it was the safest possible course of action. Finn came into her life, though, and painstakingly made her realize there was a place in her heart for other people. 

 

Even as she makes out the words from the slides of the lecturer in front, listening to the BBC News’ experiment that tested Generation Z’s abilities to spot hogwash pieces of ‘news’ material, she thinks about Finn. 

 

Finn and his cat, Beebee, whose ass she probably wiped more than enough times that he whisks away the instant he sees her holding the cursed rag. Rey thinks about Rose, too, and Paige, and how each game of Uno changes rules because of their insatiable competitiveness. They were a merry band of friends who stuck it out when it was tough and Rey’s determined personality was thankful for that. Still is. 

 

It was more than a little jarring and exciting, sitting in her very first class for the semester and feeling well and truly alone. She’d asked in a call one time if maybe she could shoot Ben some texts in the middle of class, but he’d replied in a groggy morning voice that it would be hypocritical of him to support Rey’s rule-breaking when he hated having to compete with a student’s attention in class. 

 

She smiled and teased him for it. 

 

That was another thing. 

 

Ben. 

 

He was another thing. 

 

Slowly letting people into your life means you also have to be prepared to be apart from them from time to time. Finn always says familiarity breeds contempt. If you ask her, sitting here at the moment trying her best to guzzle down statistics and picking up on whether or not the lecturer would give them a task to complete concerning the topic, she’ll say familiarity does not breed contempt. She’s been with Ben three years after all, and though it was far from a perfect relationship, it was something worth holding on to. 

 

Other unique challenges presented themselves when she came to Naboo. Her roommate was an Alpha, first off, which had greatly displeased her the first time she found out. But seeing that she was not at all interested in Rey whatsoever (owing to the fact that she gets followed around by omega guys so freely around the campus that she’s usually mostly out and about), they fell into the acquaintance dynamic. 

 

All Rey knows is that her name was Katy and that she’s a science major of some sort. They rarely catch up, and when Rey does come back to the dorm, Katy is the type to do her due diligence, cleaning up after herself each time. 

 

That’s another thing. 

 

Ben doesn’t know that her roommate is an Alpha. 

 

There are just too many problems with that piece of information at the moment, and she didn’t think it would do Katy and Rey any good if Ben came knocking at her door threatening to call the school board for the arrangement. Just thinking about it makes her feel both bad and regretful. Bad in a sense that Katy most definitely does not deserve to be ejected out of a perfectly fine dorm arrangement just because Ben says so, and regretful because she still thinks she should have told him. 

 

But a lot of his behaviors now has pushed that regret farther back her mind, because somehow, all the things she wanted to do was to protect everyone else from the person Ben had slowly buffed up into since his infertility reversed formally about a year ago.

 


 

They sat back together in Dr. Kanata’s office and Rey watched as Ben’s knee bounced almost incessantly, his face pulled in a calmly nervous expression. She can smell it rolling off him in waves, and though Maz’s soft Beta scent slowly cut the corners of Ben’s sharper musk, she knew they both shared that same nervous energy. 

 

“So,” Dr. Kanata began, smiling as always. 

 

Rey had half a mind to prepare herself in case she did the thing where she’d deliver a piece of mild to serious bad news with an upward tug of her lips. 

 

Instead, she said, facing Ben: “Congratulations, kiddo. You’re cleared.” 

 

Ben beamed, or at least, tried not to, if  his pressed-up lips and the slight tremble in his cheek was any indication. She ignored it, rolling her eyes and turning to Dr. Kanata once again. 

 

“Well,” she said, flipping through the papers in Ben’s file. In the hush, Rey peeked at the “Solo, Benjamin” tag on the tab, waiting for Maz to talk again. 

 

“I’ll be completely honest with you when I say his sense of smell will be keener than ever.” 

 

Rey nodded. Ben’s eyes caught hers and they remained locked in each other’s gaze. Maz coughed in the spell. 

 

“If it isn’t already.” 

 

“And?” Rey turned. “Anything else.” 

 

“Along with an improved sniffer means more… ‘forward’ scent-marking behavior. Has he ever scented you before more than he already does, nuzzling your gland?” 

 

Rey would have blushed at that before, but she knew better now. Beside her, Ben answered the question. 

 

“I’d lick her wrist sometimes. And have her wear my shirts.” 

 

Maz regarded them. “You’re going to need some scent-blocking perfumes, then, Rey. Your Naboo move is going to change your scent patterns, and meeting up with Ben might cause distress for both of you.”

 

“What does that mean?” Rey asked. 

 

“Means he’ll have a bitch fit a little more frequently now that he’s been rewarded back all the Alpha behavior that has been affected by his previous infertility.

 

“From the looks of it, though,” Maz continues, finally setting the folder down and dropping her glasses gently only to be tugged by the beaded lace. “Ben’s going to make an actual great Alpha otherwise. But you both have to be patient with the changes.” 

 


 

Just as Maz had predicted, the signs started to appear slowly, with little to no warning. 

 

It was a man in his 30s, neatly put-together in a suit at a supermarket near where Ben lived. She’d been looking around for value cuts that she could buy and try to cook herself in Ben’s gorgeous kitchen. Said man had other ideas. She’d nearly thrown up when she smelled him on her, his body bent around her back. 

 

So she’d elbowed him, and when he staggered back, his eyes flashed with dangerous intent. She knew not to be cowed in all logical sense, but when the hostile puff of his chest mingled with the strong scent of him in the air, she’d been at a loss as to what to do, paralyzed by the omega blood coursing through and telling her to make herself small. Small is safe. Small is safe. 

 

But Ben was here. He was here. And soon he was pressing the man on the ground, punching him, the scent of his anger both exciting and causing her pain because now they were looking — and she didn’t want them to. After the staff tore them apart, there was far more damage to the Alpha who’d leered at her than at Ben. 

 

All she could do was drop the scant grocery items she had in her grasp, crush herself in his chest, and calm the frayed nerves of his anger. She felt him relax, the slight huff of his breath evening out as he held her, too. 

 

Around them, some spectators had smiled knowingly — I’m glad you’re safe, she knew they wondered in their heads. But there were always shadows in every slice of light, and those who had grimaced and offhandedly told her she deserved it for smelling the way she did. 

 

This had… never happened before. 

 

Though she supposed that was the benefit of working remotely in the comfort of her own home. Suddenly, everything came into focus in the most terrifying way. She was once again an omega living in an Alpha’s world. The fact that that will never change twisted something hot and ugly inside her. Thankfully, the Alpha who had been cutting the meat had informed the staff that Rey was, indeed, not in the wrong in the situation, that Ben had only been trying to protect. Ben had nodded in camaraderie with the older Alpha as security promptly escorted the man out of the store. 

 

“Rey? Sweetheart? Are you okay?” Ben had said then, moving away to take stock of her arms, looking for bruises. He sniffed her subtly, face twisting and jaw clenching when he didn’t smell himself there. He brought her hand up to lick her wrists possessively, eyes reflecting the same fear she knew he must be seeing now in hers.

 

“I’m alright, Ben. We should— I want to leave.” 

 

Ben’s eyes moved around the store, his nose trained and highly alert for when the asshole came back.

 


 

“Chances are, most of that will just be for the sake of protecting you, the omega.” 

 


 

Rey could rattle off and talk about all the reasons this was an unnecessary precaution, but she knew that after that grocery store commotion, there was no arguing with him on this. 

 

So, she sat in his car, doused in his scent from the shirt he’d rubbed down her body after she emerged from his bath. 

 

The act chafed at her independence and she vaguely thought about rethinking the offer he practically commanded her into taking after that Alpha got his hands on her. She supposed she couldn’t blame him; it must have torn at his heart to have to see her so blatantly molested in public. But there was just something nesting inside him when she looked into his eyes. In the quiet of his car, she wondered what that was. 

 

“You don’t have to drive me everywhere I go, Ben,” she said, the rub of his clothes against her body providing her with the happy hormones she knew her body will crave no matter what. 

 

“I will.” 

 

“Ben, it’s okay.” 

 

“This is non-negotiable, Rey.” 

 


 

“Should I be worried?” 

 

Dr. Kanata chuckles softly. “I don’t think so. Ben can handle his Alpha well enough, I like to think. Leia did it, didn’t she? And raised a young Alpha boy at the same time.” 

 


 

Familiarity does not breed contempt. 

 

Ben’s lips were searing hot and wet against her neck, tight grip around her body as he pushed her against her door and pressed her lower body back against him. There was a scent he was chasing away when that Alpha ran up to her before Ben got here.

 

The book, she thought dimly, her body malleable under his fingers and hot under his firm grip. The book she borrowed from that Alpha guy from one of her classes. His head thudded gently against the door when he surged up to rub his gland against her, cursing roughly and bucking a little erratically. 

 

Her omega whimpered, pleased with being claimed like this, even as this was different, even as Ben hadn’t done this before. And she didn’t want to think it was caused by anything, but she knew that would be a lie. The book had smelled different, and so she had smelled different. It didn’t help that the room smelled different, too. Smelled of a different Alpha. 

 

She guessed that was part of that, too, part of the reason he came in here a little too sweaty and scowled in her face before striding in. 

 

There was no way he wouldn’t find out. 

 

Now against her door, she remembered how he heavily petted her when he came inside, quite like he was looking for something to offend his sensibilities. Finding none, he looked at the book she held, jaw clenching and heavy breathing cluing her in that whatever was going to happen was the protection that Dr. Kanata had been talking about. 

 

She had a hard time thinking when his fingers were relentless and his scent was rooted deep in her nose, the smell of desire and entirely too comforting bergamot. Something else lay beneath it, and Rey’s breath hitched when that spike grew when he growled in her ear that he wanted that scent gone . She’d let him, oblivious to what this meant to him and only that the raw want in him was making her want, too. And she’d wanted for so long so she ignored and ignored when his hands became too rough, when his nips became indulgent bites, and when his breaths became increasingly labored. 

 

Alpha wants you to be his alone, her omega preened, basking in the ethereal attention of Ben and the heady possessive scent of his instinct to touch and feel and be reminded who he belonged to, and who Rey belonged to. 

 

The haze would come to pass, though, and the blanket of frantic energy pulled to reveal that Ben’s eyes looked shattered and different from his earlier actions. His lips were swollen and his arms trembled as he looked down at her with those same eyes she didn’t understand. And she neared slow because he’d flinch, and then he’d focus, and then he’d stalk away, clutching her close against him with a deep, mournful sigh when he came back.  

 

“What’s wrong, Ben?” 

 

“Nothing is wrong.” 

 

“I think something is,” she insisted. A deep shaky sigh came out of his mouth and those eyes—they cut so deep. 

 

“I miss you, Rey,” he said, voice strangled and raw. “Every day I can’t pick you up and kiss you and follow the scent of your skin in my apartment, in my bed, I feel like I’ll go crazy.” 

 

“We visit each other. You’re here in my dorm right now—“

 

“It’s not enough.”  His gaze thrown to the floor, he sighed again. “It’s not nearly enough.”

 

“What?— What do you mean it’s not enough?” 

 

“Not you. It’s not that you’re not enough, it’s just…”

 

“What?” 

 

“I can smell everyone,” he mumbled. “And they can smell me. I’ve… I’ve been touched too many times in hallways at school and I… I feel something when they do. My body reacts to it. And I hate it. I hate it so much. When it’s not you.” 

 

“You told me you were fine?” 

 

And he did, they both knew. One night when they talked about how Rey wanted to one day send manuscripts to publishing houses and get literary agents and use social media for promotion when she finally became the grassroots YA novel she always wanted to be. Or more. He said he’d be fine when she kissed her worry against the shell of his ears. He inhaled. 

 

“I did. But I didn’t know how much it’ll physically hurt to have you so far away from me. Do you… does it hurt, too? When you’re far from me? Because this hurts…” he looked at her with those eyes again, lifting thick fingers on his gland. Now, she could see it was quite swollen. 

 

“Oh, Ben.”

 

“But I know it shouldn’t. I know I shouldn’t say this, act like this. Because you’re here and you’re reaching your dreams and I… just don’t want to be so possessive.”

 

“You’re not possessive for wanting to make sure my scent protects you.” 

 

“I’m not?” 

 

“No,” Rey stared into those unsettled eyes. “No, you’re not.” 

Chapter Text

Ben liked her like this, bundled up in his shirt and snug against his chest as he nosed and kissed at her gland. Omega is safe, his mind assured him. You have done well. 

 

Running his fingers gently in her hair to smooth the knots in her locks, Ben felt all kinds of warmth in his body. There was nothing he would rather do in this world than stay where Rey wanted him to be, to be able to touch her, hold her, kiss her, lick her — every which way she wanted him to. 

 

When he was braiding her hair, it was no easy feat, no. Not when she was sitting on his naked cock with such an open expression on her face, studying him. He soldiered on, running thick fingers in her hair and humming contentedly when she tilted her head back at the sensation. 

 

For many, such a thing would be unheard of, when an Alpha like him sat there with a pliant omega and his cock was out and wanting. He couldn’t bring himself to care, really, and so he’d parted her hair this time, though he couldn’t see the back. Her hair was a little greasy from sweat, but the spice of her and the way she smelled like him was motivation enough for him. 

 

It was one of those moments when their schedules aligned, the quiet moments they shared after the frantic tugging of clothing and caressing of skin. 

 

Here, she was just a woman, and he was just the man who found he would give his heart to this woman no matter what happened. In his surrender, he found peace, he found light. He was a new person with Rey. He felt like himself and more. 

 

His fingers began working on one side of the part, twisting her hair gently into a simple braid. 

 

“How did you learn how to braid?” She asked, watching his fingers move with ease. The angle was awkward and her hair was short, so after a while, Ben smelled the discomfort in her, having to turn her head just so and look at his ministrations. He kissed her forehead in an effort to soothe her. 

 

Thinking back on her question, he shrugged, bringing her right hand to his mouth and kissing her fingers one at a time. “My mother loved braiding her hair. She had entire hair and makeup teams that made her look pretty every time she was going to make an appearance. But mostly, she just braided her own hair.”

 

She smiled softly. He continued, “I sort of just wanted to be included.” 

 

“Can you braid your hair?” 

 

He shook his head, settling the finished side on her exposed shoulder. He switched to do the other side. 

 

Rey hummed, reaching out to scratch a hand through his scalp. He purred greedily, his fingers slowly still on her hair. 

 

She couldn’t stop smiling, he noticed. His heart swelled because he knew it was from him. 

 

“Can you show me how to do it?” 

 

“Why?” 

 

“So I can do it for you, too.”

 

“Why?” 

 

“Because what, omega?” 

 

“You did not just do that,” She crossed her arms, twisting her face at him in mock chastisement. 

 

He was genuinely curious. “But why?” 

 

“I want to learn it. It’s… something you do for me that I want to do for you, too.” 

 

If his heart was not fully hers yet, it was at this specific moment. He still had to know, though, the curiosity and persistence of his Alpha winning the battle of keeping his mouth shut. 

 

“I think it’s mildly disconcerting to me how you don’t know how to braid hair.” 

 

She shrugged at that, eyes flitting away for a while. When she spoke next, he wondered if maybe he should have just kept that thought to himself. Rey looked like there was an internal battle inside her.

 

“I don’t think I’ve bonded with anyone long enough for them to want to braid my hair. Or do anything for me, for that matter. It was… never like that.” 

 

He doubted braiding was so much of a sophisticated past time as it was a useless one, but something about the way Rey said it clenched his heart. 

 

“Braiding is easy, actually,” he said instead, leaning on the back of the sofa. Rey pressed her hands against his chest as she planted a kiss on his plump lips and then nuzzled his gland. 

 

“Show me,” she still insisted, whining it out playfully when Ben got distracted by her closeness. He ignored his cock for quite some time now that he nearly forgot about it before Rey’s knuckles brushed against it. He hissed, nibbling at her protruding collarbone. 

 

“Beeen,” she urged, snaking two warms palms around his thick neck. He chuckled, pressing another lingering kiss on her mouth before gently depositing her on the couch and disappearing into her room. 

 

When he came back, he was holding a hand mirror. Curious, Rey took it from his hand, studying it. Next, she watched as he placed a chair before her full-length mirror, standing a little away from her rudimentary coffee table. He felt almost a little funny, naked with the head of his cock bobbing against his lower abdomen and arranging her furniture. He can smell she liked that, so he pretended to be oblivious to the heat of her gaze. 

 

He strode to her, pulling her up to her feet before he sat on the chair. 

 

“Hold this mirror beside your face,” he commands in a deep velvety voice. She nodded and bit back a grin. Rey did as he instructed and he arranged her on his lap. He held out his hands and drug them into her hair, sectioning off portions of it as she watched through the hand mirror. 

 

“First, you part the hair in three sections,” he began, voice calm and deep. She nodded diligently to the image of that, watching as he separated the hair. “Then you just have to kind of, twist them together. Like this.” 

 

So he showed her, feeling almost hypnotized by the act. Once finished, his eyes found hers again and the intense concentration with which she stared at the mirror made him smile. Lifting a hand, he touched the side of her face. She blinked at him. “Can you do it for Alpha, baby?” 

 

Rey beamed at that, ready to prove herself. Gently, she placed the hand mirror on the floor and began to section off his hair. Ben closed his eyes. 

 

After a while, the soft tugs almost lulled him to sleep before she talked again. “I’ll miss you.” 

 

He opened his eyes slowly, half-lidded with her fingers in his hair. “I’m right here.” 

 

“When I move to Naboo, silly,” she chuckled. 

 

He bit his lips. Right, there was that. “I’ll come visit you.” 

 

“It’ll wear you out.” 

 

“Never.” 

 

“And you’ll be busy.” 

 

“It’s an hour drive, Rey. I think I can handle that.” 

 

“You think? So you’re not sure?” She said, grinning slightly. Then she pulled her fingers away from his hair before he kissed her anew, circling his arms around her waist. Her heart thudded dully against his bare chest. 

 

“I’m serious.” 

 

“Serious as a heart attack?” 

 

“If that’s what you want it to be, yes. As a heart attack.” 

 

Rey sniggers. “That’s bad.” 

 

“I wasn’t the one who said it.” He challenged, raising a brow at her. 

 

“Look at your braid!” She said excitedly, easing her head away from his line of sight so he could observe her efforts in the mirror. The braid was hard to find because of the backdrop that was his jet black hair. But it was there, sloppily sitting a bit off. He smiled. 

 

“This looks beautiful, baby. Thank you,” he touched the small tufts of hair that had come loose and is sticking out of the braid and felt fiercely proud. She smiled wide, moving to the other side of his hair. 

 

“Won’t you miss me?” She asked quietly, almost like she was too shy to give him an inkling of her desire. He knew she couldn’t hide it, of course, she wanted him to miss her. And fuck it, he already does, even now that they’re together because soon they’ll be apart. 

 

He nodded, tilting his head when she tugged it close by his hair, laughing playfully again when he slapped her thigh playfully. 

 

“Miss my heat, Alpha?” 

 

Ben looked up in challenge, running a hand along the seam of her underwear and urging her to look at how hard he still was, how much she drove him into quiet madness just by being beside him, smelling like him. 

 

“I could just slip inside,” he muttered teasingly, watching her face for any indication that he could turn this into a more… vigorous form of activity. 

 

“Hush, child. I’m concentrating.” Her laugh was a siren song for his heart, and when she leaned back and once again let his hair go, there was another braid there. He thought he’d never be any happier at the smile on her face. 

 


 

Ben sees a similar braid before him. 

 

Or different. 

 

Someone is talking. 

 

“Professor Solo?” The braids were speaking. He blinks. The girl smells like a bakery and looks like she’s both embarrassed and enthralled that she’s talking to him. She bites her lip and her scent spikes around that single act. Ben’s lips set into a scowl. He doesn’t like the saccharine sweetness of it, omega , her whole scent pattern screams. It’s a scent his body knows to react to, but his mind argues with him not to. He should probably start bringing around something of Rey’s to ward them off because otherwise, his overexcited Alpha will be reacting.  

 

“What were you saying?” 

 

“I was hoping if you could give me an extension for the 18th Century Prostitution in England essay?” 

 

“Why would I do that?”

 

She twirls the twisted braid between her fingers, eyeing him up and down. It does nothing but disgust him. “Maybe we can… arrange something—“

 

“I have set the right deadline and I intend to stick to it. Either you send an essay or it comes out of your grades. This conversation is over.”

 

But it doesn’t end there. 

 

Since Rey left town, he forced himself to just find ways to cope with having way more omega attention now than he had before. There had always been women bustling around him. With Rey around him, he’d been able to largely ignore them, the scent of mandarin oranges eclipsing any kind of omega attention he was getting. Her noticeable lack has him clenching his fist tight. Just this week alone, that bakery-smelling omega had followed him around all over campus. Had suggested discussing something in his office and even went so far as to ask him if they could get coffee sometime, and this was after he'd already made it clear he was committed to another.

 

He’s sure next week, it will be a different one. He will have to remember that new route around campus if he was going to survive without Rey in Coruscant. Lately, he’s had to use more scent blockers after he used the bathroom, too, because he could smell other Alphas and omegas on his tweed jacket, in his hair sometimes. It’s not pleasant. When Maz had announced that he could put fears of irreversible infertility to rest, it had felt thrilling. Almost like a new adventure. But now, as his class filed in again for the day, all the scents that never bothered him before only threaten to give him a pounding headache. 

 

He must push through, he knows, so he waits until they settle, and prays he survives the day.

 


 

Leia calls that afternoon to inform him that her re-election campaign went off without a hitch despite the efforts of the other camp. Ben has half a mind to tell her that he already knew about it. It was all over the news that morning, yet another source of his stress.  

 

He was a grown man; why the hell does his mother’s political ambitions still grate against him? Maybe, he supposes, maybe he just doesn’t want to admit that what he wants is for his mother to retire. She’s lived a full life, surely? Donated, fought and worked for the designation system for so long it’s all Ben remembers his mother ever did.  

 

Now he’s grown, he just wants his mother to come to terms with the fact that all that has been accomplished now is as best as it could be under the current circumstances. That maybe, just maybe, she can hand down the fight to someone else. 

 

Because he thinks maybe he can win that fight now that he was, as he’d said, a grown man, he tells his mother as much over the phone. 

 

“We have had this conversation before and my answer has always been the same, Ben,” she replies. Ben doesn’t know what he expected. 

 

“I’m just saying, mom, there are plenty of other progressive omegas in office right now. The ALL Omegas Act has passed the amendment and stronger advocates are holding high positions thanks to your pioneering work. Maybe it’s time to let them take the reins.” 

 

Like always, she doesn’t listen, changing tact and talking about another event he almost forgot. 

 

“Snap sent me additional details for his wedding. When are you getting married, Ben?” 

 

When was he getting married? He doesn’t know about that yet. “Mom, you can’t just change the topic when I’m talking to you.” 

 

“You might want to watch your tone there, Ben.” 

 

“Mom, you’ve done all you can do for the designation—for the country. Rest, please.” 

 

“Ah,” She says. “I know what this is. I’m an Alpha; I know when someone is projecting protective instincts on me.” 

 

“Protective instincts? — mom, you don’t have to do this anymore. You’ve dedicated your whole life to your career already,” The price you had to pay was being absent as I grew up, he wants to say. 

 

“If I could fight for the designation system until my last breath, I would.” 

 

“But you don’t have to anymore. Just. Come back home, mom.” 

 

“No, Ben. I have decided,” Her voice brooks no argument and Ben begrudgingly relents. 

 

He sighs. “What did Snap say?” If she’s not going to discuss it and is set firmly in her ways now, chances are, she won’t engage any subsequent discussion about it. 

 

“The wedding’s going to be at The Apostles’ Cathedral. The engagement party is going to be in two months, can you come?” 

 

“How come he told you and not me?” 

 

“Didn’t he send you an email?” 

 

Right. Snap was absent for the day. “Guess I haven’t seen it.” 

 

“Can you come?” 

 

“Of course, mom. I think a lot of us here are going anyway.” 

 

“Oh, and bring Rey with you!”

 

He laughs unbidden at that, soft and quiet, thoughts of Rey distracting him momentarily. His eyes fall on her jacket slung against the back of an office chair. Her scent there calms him but it also displaces a heavy weight in his stomach and a part of his heart and mind that always thinks about her safety, now that she was far away from him. 

 

“Of course, mom.” 

 

He doesn’t mean for it to happen, voice slightly off as he thinks about how shitty his week had been without her to brighten it up. Such a shame he needs her like oxygen now, drawn like a moth to her flame. 

 

His mother senses it. “What’s wrong?” 

 

“Why does everyone keep asking me that?”

 

“Because we both know how testy you get when I’m talking about my work in politics. You never stop politics talk with me under just any circumstances. And I heard that hesitation in your voice so don’t try to get out now. How are you and Rey?” 

 

“Rey and I are fine,” He knows there’s an edge to his voice there when he says it. Belatedly, he curses the way his Alpha also seems to hate being the weaker one in any conversation, as though he’s always on the lookout for ways to prove himself to others. 

 

“I know when something is wrong, Benny. So, out with it. If your father was here—”

 

“He’s not, though.” He says, and it’s hard; harder still to admit to himself that his father was no longer here. “That’s that. He could have been but he walked out on us years ago. Get the hell out of your damn fantasy, mom—”

 

“Benjamin!” As she shouts, he realizes he’s made a mistake in the rational part of his mind, but he just can’t seem to understand why his mother would think about such a horrible man. Even now that he’s been gone a long time and no one knows when he’ll come back— if he comes back at all. 

 

“Don’t you dare talk to me that way.” His mother’s stern voice came through and despite where she is, he imagines this is a standoff once more, one he’s never had with his mother for the longest time. Fighting with his mother seemed more difficult, too, now that he has always had a stronger desire to fight back and to win. Instead of just rolling with the punches and reaching a compromise like a responsible adult. He supposes it’s a forgone conclusion: all he can do now is deal with the fact that this has always been his fate. What with Alpha blood thundering in his veins.

 

He shouldn’t be so relieved when Mike, his TA, chose to come by his office at that moment, reminding him of the faculty meeting he still has to attend this afternoon. Gruffly, he says goodbye to her on the phone, trying to rationalize his temper with the guilt of talking to his mother in such a way he hasn’t done in a long time.

 

As he makes his way out the hall, he shoots Rey a text if she could come by in case he flies off the handle again. He waits for her reply. 

 

Chapter Text

Something Between Us First Moodboard!

 

His mother continuing to work despite his insistence should not have been a surprise to him. It’s frustrating, of course, but he honestly doesn’t know what he expected. 

 

That the Leia Organa turn her back now from the career that defined her? The Leia Organa whose name has now been tied invariably to the dedication of fighting for the rights of the designation system? The Leia Organa who has championed the ALL Omega Bill well into completion, and is now the media’s sweetheart as she talked about getting more omegas from low-income families more access to classes and medicine that can help them transition as productive members of society? 

 

He can’t compete with the entire designation system, he thinks bitterly. Still can’t even after all these years. 

 

So it’s not a surprise that when Rey sends him a text about coming over, he immediately flies into a slow, happy panic, clearing out empty coffee cups, cup sleeves, crumpled papers, and pens from his dining table. Going over bookmarked pages before shutting them close, he stacks his books and lays them neatly in his study, some he leaves out on the coffee table. He even washes the dishes and scrubs the countertop. He deposits discarded jackets into his laundry basket and then goes to his shoe rack to pick out socks he may have left inside. 

 

The work distracts him sufficiently before Rey finally comes knocking on his door. She’s barely inside when he drops his arms and holds her tight, nuzzling her soft neck and missing every citrusy breath of her . She chuckles. 

 

“Glad to see you, too, Ben,” she says, the soft ring of her laughter like a cooling balm to his lonely heart. 

 

“I didn’t get the chance to drop by for those to-die-for sugar cookies you always liked to ply people with so I just got some burritos and this big bottle of Coke,” she sets her tote bag on the table, followed by her much bigger backpack. Ben eyes the Coke bottle warily. 

 

“I’ll just get some coffee.” 

 

“Not with burritos, you’re not. And then we’re rewatching Gabriel Iglesias on Netflix.” 

 

His smile to that is small and timid. “What’s wrong with coffee and burritos?” 

 

When Rey blinks at him in disbelief, his smile grows a little wider. God, he’s missed her so much. “ Everything .” 

 

He knows she knows what this is about; he knows she can smell him. But there’s also a fighting need inside him that balks that she’s worrying too much. He’s the Alpha here, he has to be strong. At the same time, he doesn’t find it in him to talk about Leia, mostly because that’s a broken record of pent-up resentment that Rey already knows by heart. It would do neither her nor him any favors if he starts talking about it again. 

 

And so he watches as Rey makes herself at home, setting burritos on the table and opening the bottle with a soft hiss. He lumbers over to the living room to set up the TV. When he comes back, Rey’s got glasses and has resorted to putting the burritos on a plate to transport it to the smaller table before his TV. His hands grab at the glasses and he pats down the couch before she sits down. 

 

She looks at him curiously. 

 

“What?” He asks. 

 

She kisses him softly before setting the food down. “Thank you, Alpha.” 

 

A surge of pride fills him. How could he ever have wanted anything else in his life? Rey is always here. When he’s feeling a little down, he calls her and she answers when she’s not in class and texts him back when she is. She lets him ramble on about his co-workers, and listens patiently when he goes off on a tangent about nearly everything. He even feels marginally lighter when her jealous flare peeks out when he’s talking to her about the increase in omega attention he gets both in and out of the campus. 

 

She’s his everything. And she’s here in his house, stuffing her face with a massive burrito looking too large in her slender hands and his heart just hurts so good. 

 

He takes his burrito and pulls her close as he sits down. She follows willingly, slanting her shoulder under his armpit and resting a hand on his thigh. 

 

“Macho, macho man / I’ve got to be a macho!” The sound of the show filters the room. 

 

“What’s the ALL Omegas Act?” 

 

He stares at her then, wondering what this means. It’s all honesty he sees there and it disarms him. He chews on his lip, contemplating how to answer the question without thinking back to his conversation with his mother. 

 

“ALL Omegas Act is short for ‘Access for Low-Income Level’ Omegas Act. My mom drafted it years ago, long before the government mandated that the designation system should have legal access to suppressants. She was the first one to champion that bill. She threw herself into fine-tuning it. She found her purpose there, after Dad left, and she’s pushing for an amendment this time because research showed that there were still areas in the country where omegas were barred from taking oral contraceptives, or implants, blockers and, yes, even suppressants because these areas are also deeply religious, and believe that introducing medical solutions to aid with heats and ruts goes against their faith.” 

 

Memories of his mother hunched over a desk pouring her heart and soul out for this single focus of her life filter in his mind. How he sat there beside her as she flipped through her books, and how he’d wake up on the study’s couch the next morning, all alone.

 

“That sounds… really cool, actually.” Rey replies, and realizing her mistake, she hastily adds, “What she’s doing, I mean. Not the religious bit.” 

 

He smiles. “It is cool.” 

 

“Aren’t you happy for her?” 

 

He’s not sure he can answer that without being a little selfish, so he just shrugs, trying and failing to laugh with the crowd from the show as Gabriel Iglesias lands another flawless joke.

 

“I don’t know.” 

 

“Don’t you want the omegas to have their rights?” 

 

“That’s not what I meant.” 

 

“Then why does it hurt you so much when she does it?”

 

Because he’s selfish? Because he only ever wanted to be taken care of by his mother? Because he’d spent years taking care of her that he knew better now than to try and stop her when she wanted to do something? It’s probably any one of those things. Or nothing at all. 

 

He turns to Rey and responds to her question with the first sensible reason he can think of. “I just want her to take a rest now. She’s done so much already. I just want my mother back. Without a campaign manager hovering around in the background every time I just want my mom to- to- cook for me or something.” 

 

“Did that happen a lot?” 

 

Slowly, he nods. 

 

A sad smile works on Rey’s lips, almost like she’s cautious that if she makes the wrong move, he’ll bolt out the door and escape. That can still happen. He doesn’t like talking about this, but at the same time, he can’t stop thinking about it. 

 

“You said your mom can’t cook.” 

 

“She can’t. We had to remodel parts of the kitchen when she tried to heat something once. Anthony had to wipe the soot down for hours,” he chuckles to himself. 

 

“You didn’t help?” 

 

“I was… preoccupied.” 

 

She tilts her head—and then she’s smiling a too-wide smile that signifies she understands what he means. Years ago, he might have folded in shame after admitting such a thing, but now he feels like he is entitled to talk about the basics of his designation. Entitled enough to brag about it, even. 

 

Her voice turns syrupy, then, and he knows by this time the show is forgotten—and so, too, are his qualms on his mother coming back to the senate.

 

“How did you do it?” 

 

“Do what?” 

 

“Touch yourself.” 

 

And because he knows Rey is here upon his request, he feels he owes it to both of them to dispel thoughts of his mother’s re-election for now. Especially now when Rey is seated beside him looking at him with a mix of expectant delight and barely-concealed lust. 

 

He smiles. His sweet, sweet girl. He wonders how he could have possibly lived his life any better before he met her. If his politician hotshot mother Leia Organa was not going to give him the attention he’s always fought for as long as he can remember, then maybe it’s time he stop trying. 

 

He turns to Rey, carefully taking the half-eaten burrito from her fingers and pulling her to his lap. 

 

“We were just talking about your mother.” She says.

 

“And now we’re not anymore. How was your day?” 

 

He sees her face twist at that question and he can almost see the cogs of her mind is turning. 

 

“It was… boring.” 

 

“Boring how?” She’s still wearing a jacket— his jacket, his mind amends. He runs his hands on the soft cotton before slowly easing it off her shoulders. If he hears her breath hitch when his hand passes the side of her breast through her shirt, well, that’s just an accident, he thinks playfully. 

 

“Rey,” he urges. 

 

“I sat in class for an hour losing my mind over copyright infringement.” 

 

He chuckles, running warm hands gently down her back. “Was it hard?” He licks at her earlobe. Her thighs clench but he senses she knows that he wants this, whatever it is, so she keeps talking. 

 

“It’s…” a small lick to her gland. “ It’s— oh, Ben.” 

 

“Tell me, baby,” he whispers, biting the soft flesh of her ears and pulling her close. She feels his erection there because then she’s heaving, fingers catching the tips of his curled locks. He hisses when her touch grazes his gland but he ignores that for now.

 

He sees her swallow. “I- It was… confusing. And I was sleepy. And-”

 

He slides his hands down into the back of her shorts, squeezing her warm skin. But when he looks up at her flustered face, he pretends he doesn’t see the quiet seething rage that’s building there, the kind of spitfire attitude he knows Rey has even when she’s under the haze of lust. His voice is playfully light. “Sleeping in class? Bad girl.” 

 

“Shall I make a progress report of the immense boredom I felt?” 

 

She shivers, unbidden, when he licks a wide, firm strip on her gland at her response. “My sweet, feisty omega, do you know how much I’ve missed you?” 

 

“How much?” 

 

He holds her gaze as he lowers his head, willing her to look at him until the moment that he’s engulfing one puckered nipple already pressing against her shirt. Her fingers squeeze at his arm and whatever sentence she wants to say dies in her throat when Ben licks back up to mouth at her gland. “I missed the scent—the taste of you—“ as he suckles there, it’s the heady taste of her. No more other scents. Just your good little omega. Yours. 

 

It undoes him how she whimpers as he rubs his gland against her, how much she’s letting her legs slide open and how hot and bothered and absolutely debauched she already looks. 

 

“Fuck, baby. Such a good omega for me— take this off for me.” He tugs at her shirt impatiently, catching her lips between his teeth and nibbling, heedless of the blind struggle of getting the garment off. 

 

Warm skin meets his fingertips as he pulled her closer and closer, only ever closer, and roughly pulled her black bra down, sucking a trail of blooming hickeys down her chest. She leans back in ecstasy and his instincts scream at him— omega is uncomfortable — so he pulls his coffee table close and swipes at the books there. 

 

She yelps, startled, but she relaxes on the cool surface as he sets her down, eyes momentarily coming back into focus to see him now. It’s so disarming how she can look so beautiful and he’s already so lost, the soft hazel of her eyes makes him want to risk it all, fuck it all. 

 

If no one is going to stay with him, at least he’ll still have Rey. Only ever Rey. 

 

“I’ve missed your smile, baby,” with his fingers on her lips, she dutifully takes them inside and he feels his whole body shiver, threatening his Alpha to seize complete control. 

 

“Alpha.” 

 

“I’ve missed your hands, slender and sweet,” he takes his finger from her mouth and trails hot kisses on her fingers. All his Alpha wants to do is claim , but he wants to fight it, wants to make this last. 

 

“I’ve missed your moans, I’ve missed this cunt, I’ve missed my omega. Did you miss me, baby?” 

 

Her denim shorts come off next and it’s such an awkward wiggle of a moment that she just laughs off. He bites at the inside of her thigh. “Answer me.” 

 

Yes , Alpha~”

 

“Louder,” as he’s loosening the tightness of his belt, hearing her breathily call him his designation. 

 

“Louder.” 

 

“Alpha.” She groans, hands coming up to knead her breasts when she glimpses his cock, wet with precum. Something primal overtakes his heart as she does, something almost ancient. He growls and fists himself while drinking in the slow shuffle she does on the squat table to get close to him. It’s almost too cute when her wetness presses against the length of his cock. 

 

“Fuck, omega . So good, so good for me. I want to fill you up so bad, Rey, tell me you’ll take my cum, you’ll walk around leaking your affection for me—” his breath escapes his lungs when she reaches down to fondle at his balls. 

 

“I’ve missed you too, Alpha~” Her eyelids flutter as he finally pushes inside, rocking gently. His heart is beating so loud, much too loud, but he doesn’t care. This is all for her. He bottoms out and it’s all for her. His panting breath against her neck, all for her. He finds his peace in her arms, feels accepted in her breathy sighs, feels welcome in her smile as she screams her release above the laughing noise of Iglesias’ set still playing before them—

 

And he can do little else but drive deep inside, losing himself to the tight, wet grip of her as he thumps his head on her shoulder: No one can ever have her like this. Just him. Only him. 

 


 

Coruscant University is the most still around the early morning when every student is keeping their head low and keeping their bellies full of coffee. It’s something she can empathize with now, and that small detail of her life makes her feel as though she finally, finally belongs. 

 

It’s just as well that she comes here for that high of having a place in the world again, and the promise of finally seeing her friends after so long. 

 

Finn calls her just as she’s on the library steps. 

 

“Hey, peanut~” 

 

“Hey!”

 

“Listen, so Rose and Paige are going to be a while but I’m already at this we've-got-it-all-for-you pub.” 

 

“I figured. Listen, I’m just going to drop by the library and greet Mrs. Nu, alright? And then I promise I’ll hurry on over. Is that okay?” 

 

“Sure thing. I’m just eating breakfast. Take your time.” 

 

She hops off the call with a cheery goodbye and marches inside the building. 

 

Before she gets to Ms. Nu’s desk, a petite, braided girl stands in front of her. Her eyes are wide and curious, but something is unsettling about the way she smells. Rey takes a small step back. 

 

 “Can I help you?” Rey says. 

 

“You smell like Professor Solo.” 

 

“That’s none of your business.” 

 

“Why do you smell like him? Are you a student? Have you slept with him?” The girl insists, throwing her braid back and advancing. Rey steps back when the omega’s scent hits her. Angry. Jealous. And suddenly Rey can’t take it, overcome by a need to prove herself as Ben’s. She is Ben’s and he is hers.

 

“None. Of. Your. Business.” She grits out, holding her ground now and staring down at this girl through her nose. And like a mask, the insistence in the other omega’s face melts into manipulative innocence, her voice dropping into a soft octave that Rey knows is as filled with vile intent. 

 

“It’s just that you’re never around, you know,” the girl hums. “And you have to make sure he doesn’t… take advantage of that.” 

 

“Don’t talk like you know Ben like I do.” 

 

“Oh,” she laughs and Rey just wants to stab her throat. “We know enough. But strangely, not enough about... you.”  

 

“What’s that supposed to mean?” 

 

“Ben never told us he had a girlfriend.” 

 

Rey blinks, feeling strangely sick. “What?” 

 

“So, we just assumed he just liked sleeping with an omega who smells like oranges.” 

 

He… hasn’t told anyone? About them? But the faculty knows, surely? What with her being invited to Snap’s engagement party. 

 

Steeling her face, she swallows, doing her best to stand her ground even as every bone in her body wants to get out of here now .

 

“Ben has no obligation to explain anything to you. And neither do I. Especially when it comes to who he’s sleeping with.” 

 

The omega scoffs. “So he’s just sleeping with you? You’re not his girlfriend.”

 

Rey is getting angry, and the small crowd that has formed in front of the library since their conversation began can already detect her animosity. She doesn’t care. “I am his girlfriend.” 

 

“Is that what a good omega does? Leave for another city while her Alpha here continues to be all by himself.” 

 

Good omega? This woman has to be stupid. “You don’t know me, you don’t know my life.” 

 

“I know that Professor Solo always feels alone. We can see it. When he teaches, when he hands out tests. He sulks in the cafeteria during lunch and explodes at the drop of a hat when we knock on his door to ask about reading assignments. Who do you think is the reason behind all that?” 

 

Rey’s ears are ringing and her fingers are cold, and even though she doesn’t want to let this get to her, it does. Good omega, it rattles in her mind, and she remembers all the time she’s spent on Naboo far away from him. Has she done something wrong? Is it so wrong to chase her dreams even when she doesn’t always want to do it by his side? It’s ridiculous; Ben doesn’t mind that she’s reaching her dreams… does he? You’re not a good omega. You’re not a good omega.  

 

“Shut up,” she says, to both that voice and to this slip of an omega before her. Not a good omega. You’re not a good omega. Not good for Alpha.

 

“If you can’t even stay with your Alpha, do you even deserve him?” 

 


 

Ben doesn’t know what to say and Holdo can see it in his eyes, the same eyes that grew wide after seeing the email that he’s been waiting for years. His Kashyyyk field study proposal went through. It went through. 

 

“Well?” She asks. 

 

He doesn’t know. 

 

“Although you would have to bring a couple of graduate students who helped build the research plan with you.” 

 

He knows where it is because he’s been there before. His uncle was from there and he visited it one time during summer when he was trying to find where his dad had run off to. 

 

“Ben? Are you listening?” 

 

He looks up, clearing his throat. “I’ve listed down the students I’ve chosen to accompany me, but I didn’t know it was really going to happen.” 

 

Hold smiles and he knows she expects him to return the sentiment. But he can’t. He knows he can’t. Where will Rey go, then? How would he see her? 

 

At the same time, he feels his life goal has been fulfilled. All the years he’s spent studying was finally going to bear fruit — it was just his luck it had to happen at a time when he was in a state of immense confusion. 

 

Holdo nods. “You have to inform them. And inform the board how soon you can head to Kashyyyk.” 

 

“Can it wait until after Snap’s wedding?” It doesn’t feel good using someone else to save him right now, but it’s the only option he can think of. 

 

Holdo shakes her head. “You might be able to stay in Coruscant until, say, Snap’s engagement party. But if you fly to Kashyyyk before Snap’s wedding and stay there for research, I’m sure he’ll understand.” 

 

He will. That’s what Ben’s afraid of. “I’ll… I’ll think about it.” 

 

“But this is not about Snap, isn’t it?” 

 

Looking at her face, Ben assesses his options in answering that question and carefully crafts his reply. 

 

“I’ll work with the students right away and then I’ll talk things over with my girlfriend.” 

 

Holdo’s not satisfied with that answer, but she knows that’s the only thing she’s getting from this discussion.

 

“I’m sure you can work something out with her,” she says it like Rey is his business partner. “But everyone knows a good omega will wait patiently for her Alpha.” 

 

She leaves then, allowing Ben to stew and re-read the email in silence, thinking about his next move. 

 

At the moment, said next move will just be coming back to his apartment and hoping that Rey is still there. He drives most of the way home in silence, thinking back to the first time he proposed the research. There’s been enough evidence to point to a potential Alpha-omega community that esteems the omegas more than the Alphas that he’s been hooked ever since. 

 

As he shifts his car to park and heads to the building, he sees Rey outside chatting with what looks like a dark-haired boy. Ben stops, feeling his blood boil slowly. Alpha . His nose tells him.

 

His eyes are wrinkled, and his laugh is loud and the comfortable enough kind that he knows Rey’s probably met him before. He tries to, he really does, but before he can chastise himself, he’s striding over, feeling only marginally light when Rey beams at him. 

 

“Hi, Ben.” She greets. 

 

He nods in return, eyes trained on the Alpha. Rey’s scent pattern has changed enough that he senses she’s probably been talking to this Alpha for a while now. He forces a smile. 

 

“Trevor, this is Ben, my boyfriend. Ben, this is Trevor, I worked with him during my time in the library.” 

 

They shake hands. If Ben’s grip is the cause for the wince in the other Alpha’s face, then perhaps he just isn’t strong enough for Rey. No one can have Rey, or possibly change her scent. Only him. 

 

“So, I’ll see you ‘round?” Trevor says as Rey nods. And when he comes in for a hug, Ben pushes him harshly away with a palm to the chest. Rey yelps. 

 

“Ben!” 

 

But he’s not listening. A good omega will wait patiently for her Alpha

 

“Don’t touch her.” 

 

“Professor Solo, I was just–” 

 

“She’s mine .” He grits out. 

 

“Ben!” Rey warns, gripping his arm and tugging him away. 

 

“Look, man, I’m not trying to steal your girl.” But then he smells it, too. They’d been together. 

 

“Rey,” he turns to her, eyes flashing dangerously that she takes a step back. “Were you with this Alpha the whole time? What about the meetup with Finn?” 

 

“I– there was a commotion in the library and Trevor made sure I got here safe. Ben, whatever it is you’re thinking, stop thinking it—“ 

 

“You didn’t tell me.” 

 

His eyes land on Trevor again, the boy is not at all intimidated. His scent is calm and his face is serene. Which makes Ben even angrier. This can’t be happening. Leia is back in politics and he’s about to go to Kashyyyk for research and Rey is here talking to another Alpha? 

 

His Alpha feels betrayed. Doesn’t she know she’s his only rock? 

 

“Get the fuck away from here.” He says instead to Trevor, who flinches only slightly and looks back at Rey. His scent spikes at that act and Ben’s Alpha balks again. 

 

“Stay away from my omega or I pummel you into the ground.” It does the trick and he watches as the Alpha fades away in the distance, feeling less like he wants to crawl out of his skin. 

 

He holds Rey’s hand from where she’s standing beside him — but she swats it away, striding for his building and stomping on the stairs. 

 

Confused, he follows her marching footsteps. She’s angry. But why? He’s just being a good Alpha? 

 

“Rey.” 

 

“Don’t talk to me.”

 

No, no, omega is angry. His legs pump faster up until finally, he catches her at the landing, grabbing her arm. She grimaces but he does not let go, not even until she tries to pry her arm off. 

 

“Ben, let me go—“

 

He’s suddenly struck with an unpleasant thought. What if he leaves and Trevor swoops in to entertain Rey? No. No, he can’t have that; he won’t. He tugs Rey. 

 

She’s so soft, so easy to pull to him, and she lands with a satisfying warmth against his chest. “No other Alphas, Rey, just me.” 

 

“What did you think I was doing?? I was just talking to Trevor!” 

 

No, no , she doesn’t understand. He needs her. Hasn’t he shown her during their time together? 

 

“I need you,” he mumbles, unable to help himself as he drinks her in through a bruising kiss. But she wrenches away from him almost instantly and the act churns the pit of jealousy in his stomach. 

 

Her eyes are filled with terrifying confusion, and she steps away while watching him carefully. He grunts, matching every step backward of her with a step forward. He just wants to kiss her, and keep her here forever, until he comes back from Kashyyyk. He’ll even petition the board to let her study in Coruscant just so he can keep an eye on her, even if they’re in a relationship. Because Rey was his and no one else’s, and she has to realize that. Why isn’t she realizing it? 

 

Oh—this is his door. She finally stops, swinging the door slightly open. Her eyes are still watchful, her scent cautious. But why? He’s just doing his duty, making sure that she’s safe before he went away. 

 

“Why were you talking to that Alpha?” 

 

“I told you, I worked with him before.” 

 

“Then why didn’t you tell me?” 

 

Her eyes bore into him as a scowl disturbs the calm press of her pink lips. “You’re one to talk.” 

 

“What?” 

 

“None of your students know you’re in a relationship.” 

 

That… flares up a storm in his gut, rising to accumulate in the canals of his mouth. Bile. And the hot escalating anger of which he can’t pinpoint the cause. Why is he so angry? If he’d been the Ben he was before, he’d have let it go and explained in patience, but that Alpha had pushed him into this, he reasoned. And it’s bad enough that Rey has to find out his haphazard attempt at keeping their relationship private in such a way.

 

His comes closer to her and stops just before her. She tries to stand her ground but he knows it’s futile now. 

 

Something has changed in the time it took for Rey to accuse him of something she hasn’t even bothered to ask about. 

 

“Are you accusing me, omega?” 

 

She’s shaken by that because she trembles. Oh, how she trembles. It feeds him and the next thing he knows, he’s backing her up against his door, devouring her mouth. In an instant she’s pliant, and the scent of arousal opens up the need in him to claim once more because— A good omega will always wait for her Alpha. 

 

But she’s still stiff though she’s kissing him back. So he pulls her closer and grinds against her belly, enjoying the way she wrenches her lips away to pant in the air. 

 

Someone can come down the hall so easily, but Ben’s Alpha cannot give a shit. 

 

Rey is his ; nothing is going to change that. He’ll chase down every Alpha he can see within a mile radius if they so much as touch Rey like Trevor did. He kisses her, hot and angry, running rough palms on the side of her body underneath the shirt so insistently that she’s gasping—

 

“Ben— we have to talk—“

 

Later, I need to have you—“

 

“Ben—“ she pleads, but he will not have it. 

 

“Door, now, Rey. Open it,” he commands, and the timbre of his voice sparks the match of desire in her as well, because she pushes inside the apartment so effortlessly, catching Ben’s lips against her neck as he prowls. 

 

Nothing can ever measure up to the feel of having his lips on Rey. Nothing. He is ruined for everyone else. Rey is his sanity, Rey is his home, and anyone who tries to change that will answer to him. He needs no one else, as he picks her clothes off one by one, leaving fevered kisses on the trail—everything she has is his. 

 

He suckles on her breast when her top comes off, and he sighs hot, heavy on her skin when she leans back on the counter he sets her down on. The hickeys bloom and the effect of seeing them fester inside his soul. What he wouldn’t give to have Rey here all the time. Always so beautiful, the sweetest smelling omega in the world. 

 

She’ll not want for anything because Alpha will provide. “I love you,” he mumbles, lost to the task of ridding her panties from her slender legs. She does not respond in anything above a whisper, the three words fuelling the possessiveness he already feels inside. 

 

Yes , he sighs, drinking in her heavenly cries as he lets the world fall away. 

 

“Take me inside you, omega .”

 

“Yes,” there is no more confusion here. 

 

When he pushes himself in, she’s already drenched and as he rocks inside, all manner of cutlery and papers fall all around their feet. He thinks about everything Rey has ever been to him— everything no one in his life has ever been. 

 

She yelps when he pushes himself all the way in, arms coming to frantically grab at his sweaty back—why is he still clothed? He spasms when he draws back and pushes in so suddenly, falling forward on her naked chest—still breathing, though it feels like he’s running a mile a minute. 

 

And then everything is fast— so fast . Rey’s breasts jiggle and her moans drop from her mouth at the same time his cock hits her deep where he's sure she needs him. 

 

“Yes,” she pants. “Yes!” She pleads, and Ben will give because he will never want for anything just like she never will. Because he wants to have her here and no one else. He’ll move mountains for her, destroy cities for her, and, as he chants her name over and over against her neck, he will make sure no other Alpha ever gets near her again. 

 

Ever. 

 

Or die trying. 

 

When he comes, it’s accompanied by a long, low shout of relief and the bliss of having had his fill of her and her alone. 

 

Chapter Text

SBU2

 

It’s Monday once more when Rey comes back to the dorm to see Katy in front of their room accompanied by two men.

 

“Hi, Kate!” Rey says as she approaches. But when the Alpha turns her head, there’s an off-kilter set to her jaw. “What are you guys doing?” She asks instead, trying to bat away the anxiety of that gaze.

 

She holds her ground, watching as the two men bustle about some of Katy’s stuff on the table. The air is charged with the tension of quiet hostility but Rey can’t explain why, and she feels too terrified to ask. She turns her attention to the two men instead, one is holding one of Katy’s thicker textbooks and another has her knapsack slung on one slender arm. Omegas.  

 

“Katy,” she says, even as Katy looks like she would rather be anywhere else but here. “What’s going on?” 

 

“I’ll be hanging out at Maurice and Glen’s dorm for a bit. I don’t want to lose my scholarship.”

 

Rey’s brow knits. “What?” 

 

Katy’s hard eyes fix on her, studying her. Inside the room, the two omegas smell it in the air, too, something Rey can’t get an accurate read on. Nonetheless, Katy is steaming with it, unnerving decency the only thing that’s keeping her mounting irritation at bay. In the halls, two Alphas pass them by, and even the burlier Alpha gives Katy a wide berth. 

 

Katy’s voice is ice set in silvery metal. “I said maybe you should corral your boyfriend before he goes around accusing people of sleeping with his girlfriend.” 

 

There’s a slow crawl of dread from the pit of her stomach at Katy’s words and the twin accusatory looks thrown her way by Glen and Maurice does nothing to appease her. It’s bad enough they hadn’t talked about the Trevor incident, and now this? Something isn’t right. 

 

“He did what?” She almost doesn’t hear herself say above the ringing in her ears. 

 

Katy scoffs. “Threatened to pull me out of my scholarship.” 

 

“He can do that?” 

 

“Of course not,” Katy’s laugh is deceptively calm, just this side of rising anger that is characteristic of all Alphas. In her omega mind, the continued pulse of thought centers around escape, but the rational part of her wants to be here to seek answers. Answers Ben apparently won’t give. 

 

“But when I told him that, he had the gall to accuse me that it’s all a ploy to get you to ‘warm my bed‘. ‘Diversion tactic,’ was the term he used, like I didn’t just defend my whole education.”

 

“How—“ Rey can’t believe what she’s hearing. 

 

“I do what I can to keep my distance from you and your Alpha but you still somehow ran to him to tell on me!” Katy’s shoulders shake with venomous laughter. Rey stands up straight. 

 

“I would never do anything like that.” 

 

By this time, the two omegas have fully finished what it is they were doing in Katy’s side of the room and are standing behind her. Katy’s long hair lands on her other shoulder when she turns her attention to an inaudible question by one of the omegas and Rey tries not to flinch when Katy’s deep, dark eyes settle on her once more. 

 

“Whatever it is, I won’t be here for the rest of it. The last thing I want is an Alpha threatening me when I’ve done absolutely nothing wrong.” 

 

“I’ll talk to him, Katy. You don’t have to do this.” She knows it’s futile. This. Whatever it is she’s doing. She can stop this. She can fix it, she can—

 

“Save it, Rey. I’m not leaving the dorm fully yet so don’t act like a mighty savior. I’m leaving for my sake. Your boyfriend managed to make a fool out of me in front of my friends .” 

 

Rey winces internally. Just when it couldn’t possibly get any worse. “I—“ what is she going to say? That she’s sorry? Will that make a difference? 

 

She says it anyway. “I’m sorry. I apologize for Ben’s behavior.” 

 

Katy holds a hand up, her jaw working. “I’m going to stay over at Maurice’s for a week. I expect you to have talked to your asshole of a boyfriend by then. I’ve followed every rule there could ever be about rooming with a committed omega and I don’t like being told now what to do when I know for a fact I’ve been doing everything right.” 

 

“I’m… really sorry.” There’s nothing left to say. Katy must sense this, too, because that’s when she finally nods over to the omegas and walks off with them. 

 

Standing in the blessed blankness of ambient noise, Rey feels the beginnings of annoyance. How the hell has Ben even gotten here without her knowledge? Has he stalked Katy? And why is he doing that when he has responsibilities at school, not to mention field research that’s still in need of his attention? And why is he acting this way? This has never happened before. Rey’s never had to worry about something like this. 

 

Confused and angry, Rey slumps on the nearest wall. It’s dizzying; the smell of aggravated Alpha still permeates the air where she lays her feet. She can’t dwell on this just yet and it’s by far the worst part. So she stands and tries to wish away the lightness in her head. She still has classes today, not to mention a pile of communication theory readings that sadly won’t read themselves. 

 

Her fingers are shaking but she doesn’t know if it’s the flame of anger, the pain of betrayal, or the stoking of shame. She fishes her phone out of her pocket. 



<Rey>

 

Ben, what the hell did you do?

 


 

Today is another name change, it seems. 

 

It turns out this Tara woman has a certain air of mischief about her that Hux has not entirely been prepared for. For the past few weeks, Tara comes over, changes her name and insists Hux use it to address her. Mitaka is beside himself each time he has to open the door of his boss’ study to find the girl standing there, smiling, calling herself ‘May’. Hux thinks it’s a fun game for once and she knows he likes it because he indulges her, keeps her around. She can smell it in the nuance of his scent though he cannot detect it. 

 

Today, she is ‘Valerie.’ Her cell number blessedly does not follow the change. So all Hux has to do to keep up is check the numbers at the end of her contact and edit the contact name for however long she wants to keep the new name. 

 

Still pretty much a redhead, ‘Valerie’ asks him to meet her at a different pub tonight, one nearest his old college. Hux frowns, thinking back on entire semesters he’s not particularly inclined to reminisce. And so he is oddly relieved to find that he will instead need to think about another corporate matter as he gets ready for this date. 

 

Someone in the board suggested Brendol & Hux should up their parameters on Alpha and omega agents and commission some startup to produce more effective scent blockers for the program. Thanks to one omega agent nearly filing a lawsuit for Alpha harassment, the higher-ups have suddenly become very concerned about the program after setting it on very low priority in meeting agendas for years. Hux feels frustrated that the program has to be noticed this way— through the stirrings of a very fixable problem.  

 

He’s already had to talk the omega agent out of the lawsuit and frustratingly disentangle the Alpha client from the service. It’s a hard feat; the Alpha is the son of yet another huge benefactor. Through negotiations, he’s at least able to evade bad blood with the benefactor and all it took was marking all the misdemeanors of the naive boy that Hux knew the stickler of a father would not like. 

 

The Alpha son is now mad at him. At least he’s not the benefactor and the Hux family has more than enough reliable lawyers. 

 

And so the pressure is on for Hux. He has a meeting with one of the chemists the startup is sending in a week. Mitaka gave him the file yesterday, which he read thoroughly, but the chemist’s name had been such a curious experience for his tongue that he can’t remember it. Thankfully, he doesn’t have to; Mitaka already penciled her in. 

 

He looks at his phone when it lights up and on the screen and it’s ‘Valerie’ saying she’s already at the pub. 

 

Hux inhales. Time to come back to Naboo University.

 


 

Concentration is hardest to come by when all one wants to do is jump off the nearest window and pretend their whole lives hadn’t just happened. It will surely beat sitting here, Rey thinks, actively hating each flicker of disinterest that forms in her brain. Media ethics is not something people would be at the edge of their seat for, but even in her tired, confused mind, she’s naively hoped that it would serve to be just the distraction she sorely needs. 

 

And yet her phone keeps buzzing in her pocket and she can only ignore something for so long before it drives her up a wall. 

 

She opens one message. 



<Ben> 

 

What do you mean? 



And then another. 



<Ben>

 

Rey? 

 

<Ben>

 

Rey, talk to me. What did I do? 

 

<Ben>

 

Are you in your dorm?   

 

<Ben>

 

Why didn’t you text me when you got to your dorm? 

 

<Ben>

 

You have to tell me every time, Rey. I have to know. 



He has to know? She tries rationalizing. But the mixture of Katy’s incurred wrath this morning and the lack of explanation on Ben’s part two days ago is only making the situation even worse for Rey. She suddenly feels like being left alone in the dark. Thoughts of Ben going behind her back to confront Katy lingering and the implications of it nags at the paranoiac part of her brain. 

 

Ben has been upset before; he’d been angry. She saw it herself at the supermarket. She knows what it smells like, she knows what to look for in his eyes when it happens, knows the shift in his voice. But this… 

 

It’s not just anger. 

 

“Rey?” Someone says. Rey blinks at them— her. Melissa. Right. They’re still going to put the finishing touches to the magazine. 

 

“Are you coming? We’re going to the library. Francis wants to show you a few of his last-minute changes before we print the whole thing.” 

 

“It’s finished?” 

 

Melissa hesitates, a slow smile spreading on her pale lips. “Uhh, yeah. You showed us the final draft, right? Francis just has a few suggestions.” 

 

Rey nods, only half-listening. There’s a paper she still needs to do. A pile of reading assignments and analyses she has to submit within the week. She takes a deep breath and looks up from her seat. Melissa’s presence reminds her of everything else she should have been thinking about. 

 

“Yeah. Let’s go.” 

 

Melissa nods, but her eyes are warily trained on Rey. 

 

They walk in companionable silence toward the library and only exchange a few words of formality when they find where Francis is sitting. Her phone vibrates again. 



<Ben> 

 

I’m coming to get you. We need to talk. 



Somehow, that bothers her more than the stalking. The nerve of him to suggest talking now when he did nothing of the sort after what he did to Trevor. She can’t afford to deal with this, there’s too much to do. So she shoots him a short text and turns her attention back to Francis. 



<Rey> 

 

Don’t bother. 




“So, I realized this text is too small. Maybe we could change it.” 

 

“It looks alright to me.” 

 

“No, I mean, it looks okay now but later in printing, it’s going to change and you’re not going to like it.” 

 

“Hm. I’ll take your word for it— how about this one? Don’t you think that’s too much white space?” 

 

A shrill ring cuts through their discourse and Rey goes on a frantic grab for her phone, cursing and excusing herself to take the call outside. Ben’s name lights up the screen. 

 

“What?” She barks when she picks it up. There is no answer, only the shuffle of clothing to indicate movement. 

 

“Ben, where are you?” Her voice quivers though she knows it’s not from fear. She knows where this is going— where he is going. And she hates the fact that it has to be now, of all times, now when all she wants to do is let her mind cool for just a little bit before dealing with this shitstorm amid all her responsibilities. 

 

“Where are you?” He fires the question back. He sounds like he hasn’t slept, the hard rasp of his voice grating on something inside him that’s crackling. 

 

“What’s it to you?”

 

Where are you?

 

She resists. And yet the way he sounds makes her betray herself. Her omega doesn’t care for the turmoil; it just wants that voice. Rey draws a deep breath. 

 

“If you come here, Ben, I swear to God, I will call someone—“

 

“Like Trevor?” 

 

Rey groans. “What— Trevor is no one, Ben! Will you give it a rest?!” 

 

“Not good enough.” 

 

“Look, I don’t need your bullshit right now, I got stuff to read and Melissa and Francis are still going on about the damn magazine and I’ve been sat at that chair for five fucking minutes before you called so rudely and made every student in the room look at me dirty because you can’t just let it go—

 

“You’re going to tell me where you are or I will hunt you down, Rey.” 

 

This is ridiculous and part of her wants to laugh, part of her wants to pull her hair out and the other part thinks maybe if she ignores it, it’ll go away. 

 

“Are you fucking serious?” Rey really wants to laugh. 

 

“Try me,” he grits out, and there’s more shuffling and the sound of a dull thud. “Where, Rey?” 

 

“I don’t need to tell you anything .” 

 

“I’m your boyfriend.” 

 

“And now you’re acting like a lunatic! ‘Hunt me down’, are you an animal? And for what? To go on a journey to pluck out the other Alphas in my life? Like you did with Katy? Ben, you don’t own me. ” 

 

“I don’t but I have a right to know where you are, Rey. It’s to keep you safe—“

 

“No, Ben. It’s for your selfish rescue mission. I’m the wayward omega, right? I’m the secret none of your students know about? Well, guess what, Ben, I don’t need you to watch over me because I’ve taken care of myself long before you came into my life!” 

 

Suddenly, Rey doesn’t care. No bone in her body cares what happens, not when Ben is acting exactly like the Alphas he despises and Rey realizes she’s been stupid enough to ignore the signs. 

 

“Rey, if you cut me off one more time—“

 

“You’ll what? I don’t need to ask for your permission about who I talk to, who I room with. If you have a problem with that, that’s on you!” 

 

She exits the call then, too filled with the licking flames of anger she’s never felt before. It’s like she’s back in her foster parents’ homes again, with the whole world telling her what to do. And now Ben is one of them, the only person she thought maybe she could finally truly rely on. 

 

Someone collides hard against her shoulder and shoves her elbow roughly. “Watch it, omega .” It’s another Alpha but she recognizes this one’s face. She’s seen it before in one of her classes. She watches the agitated Alpha rejoin the rest of his friends. They’re leaving for the bar outside campus, she thinks, after tense minutes of angrily stomping in the same direction. Her stuff is still in the library and Melissa is probably looking around on the front steps to see where she’d gone. The same way Ben is. 

 

She doesn’t care. If Ben wants to hunt her down then she’ll let him. But he’ll regret every minute of it. 

 

The Alphas disperse when she pushes through, and one of them, the one who looks like he’s the brains of the operation, looks down on her from the high point of his nose. Oh, yes, her omega helpfully provides. This one is the ringleader. 

 

“What do you think you’re doing?” 

 

She ignores the five pairs of eyes on her and uses the anger and resentment inside her to fuel her actions. “You guys going to the bar off-campus?” 

 

One Alpha looks stricken when Rey’s eyes land on him. Attraction, his pupils swim in it. And she’s so angry she doesn’t care. Ben will think whatever he wants anyway, and will even willfully confront someone with empty threats just to push a point across. 

 

It’s disgusting. Rey doesn’t feel like she knows Ben anymore, and it hurts because she thought she did but now she’s not so sure. 

 

The ringleader looks at her and Rey tries her best to look like the jovial, flowery omegas most Alphas around here preferred. 

 

The Alpha beside the ringleader is the one who takes the bait, bringing his arm around her when he nears. In her mind, she knows this is not a reasonable course of action, but she can’t help but do it anyway. Nothing is more painful than realizing what Ben has done and so, in a foolish attempt at retaliation, she resorted to proving that she doesn’t need to explain how she wants to live her life to anyone. 

 

This Alpha smells bitter and intrusive, but she lets it dwell in her system as the group of them walk toward the pub. One of the Alphas struck a conversation about a school sports event she doesn’t know about so she easily tunes it out. If Ben wants to hunt her down as he says, let him come. See if he can sniff her out doused with someone else’s scent. 

 

The Alpha lets go just as they reach the front of the pub—subsequently falling like a sack of potatoes when a punch lands his right cheek. 

 

And lo and behold, there he is. “What are you doing here?” Rey spits, pushing past an Alpha who has advanced after his mate fell on the ground, disoriented. With wild eyes, Ben regards her, but she only feels anger. 

 

“I told you I’m hunting you down.” 

 

“You’re delusional.” She growls, the sound a curious experience for her throat. His eyes blink at her and then to the Alphas around her. He must lose the scent of her now, must not pick up the notes of oranges he likes and it must drive him insane. Let him be, Rey thinks, extracting herself from the Alphas to head for the bar entrance. But Ben catches her roughly by the wrist, glaring at her. She struggles. 

 

“What are you doing?” She asks, the taste of heady anger strong on her tongue. 

 

Ben answers through gritted teeth. “I should be asking you that question.” He tugs her, roughly, weaving through a sparse crowd of onlookers. But Rey is not having this. 

 

When Ben’s grip eases a fraction, she slips from his hold and turns back around. Ben pulls her arm then, “Rey,” he says behind her, before his warm hand lifts and his whole body comes crashing down. Another Alpha from the group has retaliated with a punch. It’s the one who slung his arm around her. 

 

It’s almost as if the world is in slow-motion when Ben shakes to a stand, eyes feral. Seeing him like this is almost an out-of-body experience. Almost like she’s standing there watching but her eyes are someone else’s. She thinks that’s what quiet resentment feels like over time, like slow rot inching out of her heart for which there is no antidote. 

 

Ben pushes his body through the throng of Alphas that have descended upon him, landing what punch he can land and kicking and growling and reaching where she stood. “You’ll leave this place with me if you know what’s good for you.”

 

Crude that it has to be those words that draw her out of her revery. Crude that it’s an indication this hasn’t ended yet. It’s not just a bad dream. “And you know what’s good for me?!”

 

“Better than you do yourself, right now.”

 

“How can you possibly know what’s good for me? I can take care of myself!” The yell that comes out of her is strange, it’s a shrill ring in her ears, a pained plea to the man before her who’s only hurting her now. 

 

Ben fidgets and she knows deep inside that he’s fighting, too, between the two halves of the same whole of his existence. This fucking biological dance of confusion. “What about that man? At the grocery store? If I hadn’t been there—“

 

“Don’t you go there, Solo.” Too far, her heart clenches. But he can’t stop now. She can smell it in him and it only hurts her more. 

 

“It’s true! If it hadn’t been for me you would have been—“ Slap. 

 

Everyone is angry, but none more so than her. 

 

“You have no right to say that to me.” With her voice low, she takes a step forward, eyes misting. “You have no right to assume responsibility for something I could have just as easily warded myself. And you have no right to use fucking defending me to get brownie points for your fucking bravery.” 

 

It’s like she’s the one who got slapped. Why won’t she feel that way? She’s only here standing in front of a man emotionally manipulating her and hiding it under the guise of good intentions and Rey is so done with that. She’s so done with faux kindness that makes its home in nothing but selfishness. 

 

She watches Ben draw himself up from her words, eyes reflecting pain like she physically burned him. She feels nothing, only a pit in her stomach carved out by the fact that she can’t bear to look at those eyes. 

 

She turns away just when Ben’s hand shoots out to grab her again. In a flash, one of the Alphas decides to be noble and push him aside. It only sparks the tension anew so that as Ben retaliates by pushing the other Alpha roughly against the chest, another clocks him in the head. 

 

The dance has only continued inside her. Because fuck it all, her omega still cared. So even as it hurt to try and pull Ben out of the pit of angry posturing Alphas, she tries, crying hot, messy tears because part of her aches that this has to happen. Luckily, she manages to push away enough Alphas to get to him. Alpha is in pain, her omega cries. You can’t let him treat you this way, the rational one screams.

 

Shots of red and blue pierce the veil of night around them and an Alpha blindly swings a thick arm— and it lands on Rey’s head. 

 

Disoriented and feeling asphalt beneath her fingertips, the terrified eyes of Ben is the last she sees before everything fades to black.

 


 

No phone. No calling card. Not even a bag. Ben has run away in shame in the dark and now Hux is left with the same task he thought he would never have to encounter again. Since the brawl outside the bar began, he did not hesitate to stand up and check what was going on. Only to find that now he is saddled with someone he truly felt responsible for. 

 

Good thing Mitaka has managed to bring his car around front. 

 

“Long time no see, Ms. Rey,” he says, before he gently leans down to carry her by her back and her legs. Valerie will have to wait. As he sets her gently in the backseat, he instructs Mitaka to drive back to his house. There will be no sexcapades tonight.