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Tsukishima Kei did not date omegas.

Then again, he didn’t do much dating anyways. But when he did, it would be with a beta. As a rule. He wasn’t particularly attracted to betas especially; and in fact, he felt the same draw towards omegas most alphas felt. It was just that he always felt it more a curse than anything.

Alphas were supposed to be strong, he was told. Reliable and dominant. He didn’t really consider himself any of those things normally, but around omegas, he was even less so. Sweet, cloying scents, robbing him of focus, head pounding once he finally gets away from them. Knees going weak at the worst of times because of a passing whiff. Walking into an empty room and having his stomach turn because of an echo of someone gone an hour.

It wasn’t always that bad. Those were the extremes. Most of the time, he just found the scents unpleasant. But that was enough for him to think to himself, ‘omegas just aren’t for me’.

(Those with even mild scents constantly falling over themselves while staring at him and bothering him with stuttered confessions was also a factor in that conclusion.)

He still felt the draw. Most alphas did. (He envied the exceptions.)

There just aren’t any omegas that don’t smell wrong. Like cotton candy, or bubblegum, or something else so artificial and fake. It was exhausting.

Ironically, it was a smell that would help him clear his senses and return to his normal mental faculties. Or, not normal, since he’d always leave the bakery in a better mood than he ever was normally.

It was strange, he thought, that a fairly busy store could be anything but irritating to spend his time in.

He supposes the strawberry shortcake is just that good.

It was stranger still, that he preferred to eat there, even with other noisy patrons bumbling about, loud and obnoxious.

(He wasn’t aware so many alphas besides himself enjoyed sweets.)

He supposes that he may have something of an affection toward the freckled beta that did the baking.

(He mostly notices these feelings upon realizing that he hasn’t memorized the face or name of any of the baker’s employees, but has spent time taking note of the man’s freckles.)

He is not so optimistic as to assume the affection is returned in anything but a platonic manner.

Even when the man, Yamaguchi Tadashi (or, Tada-cchi, as so many of the alphas call him), begins to have a slice of shortcake ready for him at his usual time on his usual days. It’s just a matter of being predictable. It’s not strange or out of the ordinary to adapt to a customers habits to make things easier for yourself.

What is strange is how territorial these alphas seem over a beta, sending him dirty looks when their precious Tada-cchi starts calling him ‘Tsukki’.

(He probably has nicknames for all of them, if they have one for him. It’s not that strange an idea.)

It just doesn’t make sense.

Until it does, one night when he’s late. A meeting dragged on, letting him out an hour late, a delayed train taking an extra half hour off of his night. By the time he arrives, the bakery is ten minutes from closing.

He shouldn’t bother him.

He’s not going to.

Another man comes out from the kitchen. An employee, by the apron. Yamaguchi looks unsurprised.

So why does Kei’s chest feel so tight when he sees them alone together?

He vaguely recognizes the other man. Bedhead. Alpha, he thinks. Looking back, he’s the only full-time employee; always there when Yamaguchi is.

He shouldn’t bother them.

He’s not going to wonder if they’re together.

The bell on the door rings out.

“Oh! Tsukki,” the man starts, breaking from chatter with the alpha when he hears Kei enter, “wait here!”

Bedhead only chuckles, shaking his head at the beta’s excitement as he pushes into the kitchen again..

“S-sorry Kuroo-san! You can go home!”

“See ya tomorrow, ‘Tada-cchi’.”

But ‘Kuroo’ stops short of the door, sizing up Kei. Smirking.

“...What?”

“Oh, I’m just wondering why, after all these alphas clamoring over him, he… heh. Nevermind.”

There are questions burning at the back of his throat, but the alpha is out the door, laughing, before Kei could even think of swallowing his pride.

So he sits at a table, letting them burn a hole through his head. Why were so many alphas after a beta? Why did said beta start keeping a slice of shortcake aside for Kei, when he’d never seen him do the same for any of the others? Why did he never hear Yamaguchi call others nicknames? Why had he refused to question any of this until now?

Why does an empty bakery smell so strongly of strawberries when there’s only one slice of cake in front of him?

“S-shit!”

Yamaguchi smiles brightly above him. “Sorry, Tsukki! Did I scare you?”

Tsukishima Kei did not date omegas.

“No—I…”

(But there’s a first for everything.)

“...Would you go out with me?”