“Is he going to be okay?”
“He looks like he’s in pain…”
“He’ll be alright boys, don’t worry.” Matsuyo reassured Osomatsu and Karamatsu as the two young teens continued peeking inside their bedroom. “But he needs to rest for a bit okay?”
From the inside Choromatsu continued sleeping on the futon with Todomatsu sitting right next to him, and although asleep the third eldest had his eyebrows slightly furrowed and beads of sweat were rolling down his forehead. The young sextuplet noticed his older brothers staring and offered them a weak comforting smile.
Rather begrudgingly Osomatsu and Karamatsu backed away so Matsuyo could close the shoji.
“We’ll wake him up for dinner, but in the meantime I need to talk to you.”
Osomatsu and Karamatsu looked at each other curiously when rather than going back to the living room Matsuyo started guided them towards her and Matsuzo’s bedroom. They didn’t argue or tried asking what it was about, and remained silent as they obediently followed her.
Unnoticed, and sitting by the stairs, Ichimatsu watched curiously how their mother allowed Osomatsu and Karamatsu in first. From when she opened the shoji Ichimatsu caught a glimpse of Matsuzo already inside sitting on the bed, sharing knowing glances with his wife as soon as the two eldest stepped in.
Was something happening?
As soon as Matsuyo closed the shoji behind her Ichimatsu silently crawled his way right outside the room, sitting down and slowly inched the shoji slightly open so he could peek inside but not enough to be caught on the act.
Matsuyo had taken a seat right next to Matsuzo and Osomatsu and Karamatsu stood in front of them with puzzled frowns on their faces.
“Osomatsu, Karamatsu.” Matsuzo began, a hint of concern evident in his voice. “As the alphas of the family, I’m going to have to ask you to please take care of Choromatsu and Todomatsu.”
“Take care of them?” Osomatsu arched an eyebrow confused.
Karamatsu tilted his head, his eyebrows furrowed in thought.
“What do you mean?”
Matsuzo gave Matsuyo a pleading look, still slightly agitated over Choromatsu presenting to elaborate with much details what was it he was trying to convey. Matsuyo sighed reluctantly.
“Boys, do you remember what you were taught at school about omegas?” Matsuyo asked them with a patient smile. “About why they should be careful around stranger alphas?”
There was a brief moment of silence as both brothers taught it over, until Osomatsu’s face lit up as he recalled hearing something about that in one of his health classes.
“Oh yeah! Because alphas could lose control and-”
Osomatsu cut himself short horrified as the gravity of the situation finally hit him. Karamatsu, whom had remained quiet trying to remember, widened his eyes in shock as Osomatsu’s words made him realize what their parents meant.
From outside the room Ichimatsu gulped anxiously. He remembered that and more.
Omegas were often victims of sexual abuse because they were attacked by alphas, even if they weren’t in heat. There were laws that were created for the sole purpose of protecting omegas, but even with the threat of getting arrested alphas couldn’t be deterred when in that drunken violent stupor.
Not only Todomatsu, but now also Choromatsu was at risk of being hurt by an alpha.
“That’s why Choromatsu and Todomatsu need you.” Matsuyo added with a knowing look. “If you stay close to them they’ll be much safer.”
“Don’t worry mom, if there’s someone that can look after them it’s us!” Osomatsu proclaimed proudly while pointing at his chest with his thumb. “We’re the oldest, we’ll take care of it! Right Karamatsu?”
“Of course!” Karamatsu nodded hastily in agreement. “We won’t let anything happen to them!”
“Thank you.” Matsuzo smiled relieved.
Feeling much more at ease Ichimatsu stood up and returned back downstairs, not so far away to barely listen to Osomatsu announce with the all the confidence in the world:
“We promise to keep Choromatsu and Todomatsu safe!”
From the corner of the living room Ichimatsu watched his brothers with annoyed lidded eyes.
He was not in a good mood.
“Don’t be mean Choro-chan!” Osomatsu whined from where he was resting on Choromatsu’s lap, writhing and squirming as he threw a rather childish tantrum. “You always cuddle up to me when you’re in heat!”
“Well I’m not in heat right now.” Choromatsu huffed annoyed. Despite Osomatsu’s efforts of getting Choromatsu’s attention the third eldest did not turn away from the light novel in his hands. “So please let me read.”
From where he was splayed on his plastic ball Jyushimatsu noticed from the corner of his eye Ichimatsu tense up.
“So ungrateful...” Osomatsu harrumphed. “You’re way cuter when you’re in heat.”
“D-Don’t call me cute you shitty eld-!”
“Totty will you cuddle with oniichan?” Osomatsu raised his head so he was looking at the young sextuplet sitting on the couch, his attention completely focused on the cellphone in his hands while ignoring everything else that had been going on around him.
With his arms hugging his legs close to his chest Ichimatsu quietly clicked his tongue impatiently. His hands gripped the fabric of his sweatpants tightly, and the more Osomatsu kept begging for attention from his omega siblings the more he was tempted to walk out of the room.
“Maybe later. I’m busy right now.” Todomatsu replied apathetically, not even sparing a glance at his older brother.
“So ungrateful!” Osomatsu sighed dejectedly, but didn’t even try to get off from Choromatsu’s lap, opting that it was the best next thing. “Next time any of you two are in heat I’ll remind you of this…”
As Osomatsu finally stopped complaining silence returned to the room, so much that they could hear the distant strums of Karamatsu’s guitar outside on the roof. Ichimatsu started calming down, the quiet and relaxed atmosphere pleasant and bringing his temper down.
“Don’t fall asleep on my lap Osomatsu.” Choromatsu glanced down briefly at his brother, noticing how his breathing gradually got slower.
“You can’t tell me what to do.” Came the muffled reply, and Choromatsu could only but sigh frustrated.
Accepting his fate Choromatsu decided it was pointless to try and argue anymore and simply let Osomatsu stay on his lap, nonchalantly caressing his hair and causing the eldest to nuzzle closer to him.
Jyushimatsu perked up as Ichimatsu abruptly stood up from his corner of the room, an obvious annoyed scowl on his features.
“I’m going out.” Ichimatsu mumbled.
“I’ll go with you!” Jyushimatsu jumped up and followed his brother.
“Be sure to come back for dinner Ichimatsu.” Osomatsu instructed, his face still hidden in Choromatsu’s lap.
Ichimatsu looked out the window. The sun was setting, it wouldn’t be much longer until it got dark.
He didn’t have to listen to Osomatsu.
No one said anything over the fact that Ichimatsu remained quiet after Osomatsu’s request, all of them used to the usual gloomy attitude of the fourth eldest.
Not looking back or even acknowledging he heard Osomatsu Ichimatsu exited the room with Jyushimatsu in tow. He had planned to walk around by himself and hopefully clear his mind, but he’d never reject Jyushimatsu’s company; it always made him feel better.
To his surprise Jyushimatsu didn’t ask any questions as they put on their shoes and left the house. Not even when Ichimatsu started leading them both down the street and through some alleyways did the second youngest say a word. Unusual for sure, but Ichimatsu was grateful for the silence nonetheless.
Walking past by some trash cans Ichimatsu knelt down and whistled so his presence was known. Crouching behind him Jyushimatsu watched with a smile how a white cat walked out from between some boxes and meowed at Ichimatsu, walking towards him and letting him scratch the back of her ears amicably.
“Hey.” Ichimatsu greeted with a soft smile.
“Is she a friend of yours nii-san?” Jyushimatsu asked as he moved his hand closer to the cat so she could sniff his fingers.
The cat meowed in approval of Jyushimatsu’s presence and walked back where she came from towards a box, lying down in a corner where six kittens were waiting for her.
“Oh she has babies!” Jyushimatsu gasped excitedly.
“They were born about two months ago.”
“They’re so cute!” Jyushimatsu laughed.
Because Ichimatsu had met the cat while she was pregnant he couldn’t help getting a little attached to the kittens, going as far as to bring them food and even play with them whenever he could. Thankfully so far they were all growing healthy.
Upon sensing the return of their mother the kittens started stirring and mewling. As they did they bumped into each other and it prompted them to start nibbling and biting at each other playfully, until four of them were tangled in a small pile of fur while the other two remained asleep cuddled against one other.
Ichimatsu frowned sadly. No matter how much he didn’t want to think about it his mind was constantly being reminded of what he so desperately tried to ignore.
“...Ichimatsu-niisan?” Jyushimatsu crouched down next to his sibling so he could look at him, quickly noticing that something was bothering him. “What’s wrong?”
Ichimatsu gripped the fabric of his sweatpants, his eyes still set on the kittens in front of him.
Everything was wrong.
He couldn’t comprehend how Jyushimatsu didn’t seem to be troubled by it. Out of everyone the second youngest should be the one to understand the most what Ichimatsu was feeling. But then again, there were a lot of things Jyushimatsu hid behind that bright smile of his.
“Say, Jyushimatsu… are you okay with how things are?”
“Eh? What do you mean?”
Ichimatsu stood up with a huff and reclined against the nearest wall unfazed with how dirty or dusty it was. Jyushimatsu stood up alongside him, but remained standing still in front of his older brother with a quizzical smile on his features.
“About our alleged protectors; Osomatsu and Shittymatsu.” Ichimatsu clarified straight to the point; beating around the bush never worked with Jyushimatsu. “About how they barely bother looking our way since they’re always with Choromatsu and Todomatsu.”
“What are you talking about Ichimatsu-niisan? We’re all brothers! Of course they pay attention to us!” Jyushimatsu beamed reassuringly despite the somber bitter frown on Ichimatsu’s face. “Like when we get marked for example! We’re not omegas but they do it anyways!”
“That’s because we’re part of the pack Jyushimatsu, they’re doing it out of obligation. Omegas or not, they need to mark us too.”
“Obligation?” Jyushimatsu’s smile faltered for an instant but he quickly brought it back with full force. “That’s not it at all! They do it ‘cause they care about us!”
“No they don’t.” Ichimatsu insisted, the half-lidded apathetic yet forlorn look in his eyes unwavering.
If they cared so much about them why were they always all over Choromatsu and Todomatsu? Why weren’t they as affectionate with him or Jyushimatsu? All the loving nicknames, the subtle physical contact, all of their attention and concern was directed to Choromatsu and Todomatsu only. If either got in heat Osomatsu and Karamatsu wouldn’t leave their side at all and Ichimatsu and Jyushimatsu became nothing but an unimportant thought in the very back of their minds.
They were all sextuplets goddammit. They were supposed to be equal, they couldn’t be complete even if one of them was missing. Yet why did Ichimatsu start feeling like he and Jyushimatsu had been born as twins that had been pushed away by their quadruplet siblings?
“Don’t say that Ichimatsu-niisan…” Jyushimatsu’s shoulders sagged sadly as he frowned. He really didn’t like it that his immediate older brother was so adamant in supposing the worst. “They do care!”
“They don’t Jyushimatsu. Choromatsu and Todomatsu are the only ones they care about.” Ichimatsu walked away from where he had been reclining to peer up at the sky. It was getting dark, street lights were already turning on and one by one stars started appearing.
He furrowed his eyebrows with determination.
“And I’ll show you.” Ichimatsu continued, starting to walk out the alley. “They probably won’t notice if we don’t go back home.”
Jyushimatsu stood in shock for a second as he watched Ichimatsu make his way down the street the opposite way their home was. Just where was he planning to go when it was already getting so dark?
They weren’t that far away from their house. Jyushimatsu could go fetch Osomatsu and Karamatsu to drag Ichimatsu back, but if he did there was the risk that in the meantime they lost sight of Ichimatsu. He couldn’t leave his brother alone.
Shaking his head back to his senses Jyushimatsu quickly followed after his sibling to catch up to him.
“Where are you going Ichimatsu-niisan?”
“Wherever I want.” He scoffed.
In an effort to get as away as possible Ichimatsu went through connected alleyways with no destination in particular; whether he knew his way or was aimlessly going around Jyushimatsu didn’t know, but as he followed his older brother he silently hoped they didn’t get lost. If Ichimatsu was this upset it wouldn’t be surprising if he actually tried to get lost on purpose though.
“We really should head back Ichimatsu-niisan!” Jyushimatsu tried to argue, holding his brother’s shoulder only for Ichimatsu to shove his hand away. “It’s dangerous to be out so late at night!”
“Not for us; we’re safe. Betas aren’t preyed on like omegas are.” Ichimatsu pointed out with what seemed to be resentment in his voice.
Jyushimatsu frowned. Although Ichimatsu was right that still didn’t mean they were safe from getting robbed or beat up; he could see the risks were there and almost considered grabbing Ichimatsu by force and take him home, but not only would his older brother put up a fight, but it wouldn’t help at all in making him feel better. If anything it’d only make it worse.
“W-Well aren’t you hungry nii-san? Mom must have finished cooking dinner by now!” Jyushimatsu tried to persuade him, but Ichimatsu continued going forward.
The air around the table felt tense.
Karamatsu didn’t comment on it, noticeably hesitant but still rather choosing to stay focused on the plate in front of him. Choromatsu and Todomatsu shared nervous glances every once in a while, quietly asking each other whether they should try to say something but always backed away at the last second.
And Osomatsu… Osomatsu would take a few bites before going back to stare at the empty space of either Ichimatsu or Jyushimatsu as he chewed. He hadn’t said a single word on the matter, but the dark somber look in his eyes gave away that he was not pleased his younger brothers hadn’t returned yet.
He had specifically asked they come back by dinner. He hadn’t done so because he wanted to control or annoy them, but because he didn’t want any single one of his brothers out on the streets by themselves in the middle of the night. And yes, that included Karamatsu.
He was their alpha dammit, they were supposed to listen to him. Karamatsu may be more flexible and forgiving but Osomatsu was still the eldest, and that meant he took the safety of his younger brothers very seriously. There was no way he’d be able to go to sleep if they didn’t return.
From the kitchen Matsuyo stepped into the living room to pick up the dirty dishes and was surprised to see her sons had left enough leftovers for Ichimatsu and Jyushimatsu.
“Boys do any of you know where Ichimatsu and Jyushimatsu are?”
Choromatsu and Todomatsu grimaced at the question, fearful that it’d only get Osomatsu more frustrated.
“Ah, no idea Mommy. They didn’t say where they were going.” Karamatsu replied as nonchalantly as possible. He couldn’t deny that he too was worried, but he kept his emotions under better control than Osomatsu did. That, and knowing that Ichimatsu was with Jyushimatsu made him feel a little better.
Matsuyo sighed tiredly, going back to the kitchen carrying all the dirty dishes in her hands.
“They’d better not be getting in any trouble.”
The shoji to the kitchen closed and almost instantly Osomatsu stood up, startling all of his brothers.
“I’m going to look for them.”
They had all been mentally preparing for when Osomatsu reached the limit of his patience, but even when he did it surprised them anyways. There was always something so intimidating about Osomatsu whenever he was overtaken by his instinct to protect his siblings, and the fact that he was an alpha only made it stand out more.
“Let’s go Karamatsu.”
Karamatsu nodded compliant, because of course he was also worried and of course he was going to help bring his baby brothers back home. They may be adults, but thugs, gangs and robbers didn’t discriminate against their victims. An easy target was still an easy target.
Just as Karamatsu stood up and the two started making their way out the living room Choromatsu mustered his courage to stand up as well.
“Wait… I want to go too. If there’s more of us we’ll find them quicker.”
Karamatsu softened his eyes in sympathy. It wasn’t a bad idea and they would have agreed if Choromatsu wasn’t an omega, but it wasn’t worth taking the risk.
“Choromatsu-” Karamatsu started.
“You’re not going anywhere.” Osomatsu interrupted with a deadpan expression on his features. “You and Todomatsu stay here in case they return while we’re out.”
“Why can’t Karamatsu stay with Todomatsu while I go with you then?” Choromatsu argued frustrated. He was Ichimatsu and Jyushimatsu’s older brother too, he had all the right to look for them as well if he wanted to.
Osomatsu sighed impatiently, visibly holding himself back from lashing at the third eldest from his far too naive suggestion. It was almost as if Choromatsu was trying to make him worry even more.
“I’m not even going to explain why that’s a terrible idea and instead I’ll pretend you didn’t say anything.” Osomatsu huffed while rubbing the bridge of his nose tiredly. “We have to go.”
Choromatsu stood frozen as he watched Osomatsu and Karamatsu leave, the latter offering him an apologetic frown that although agreed with Osomatsu’s decision still was empathetic towards Choromatsu’s feelings.
There was the shuffling of shoes and then the front door was closed. Quiet settled in the room once more and Choromatsu sat back down on his spot on the table with an exasperated sigh.
“I’m not a kid goddammit.” Choromatsu mumbled with his face pressed against the wood of the table. “They’re my younger brothers too… I could help if he just let me.”
“...He is right though.” Todomatsu said as he patted Choromatsu on the back. “We’re omegas nii-san. If you went with them they’d have to worry about keeping an eye on you too.”
Choromatsu turned his head to the side so he could look at Todomatsu and scoffed indignant.
“I’m not in heat.”
“You know that hasn’t stopped alphas before.”
Choromatsu hated that Todomatsu was right. It was almost ridiculous how some alphas couldn’t care less about the circumstances as long as they could get themselves an omega. Hell, they had even gone as far as to attack betas. They were like goddamn animals.
Osomatsu made the right call, Choromatsu knew it, but it didn’t make it any less frustrating.
Choromatsu groaned in defeat.
“We can never do anything...”
“I know, I don’t like it either.” Todomatsu agreed in a soft whisper. “But it’s for the best. Osomatsu-niisan and Karamatsu-niisan are only looking out for us.”
They were adults. They didn’t appreciate being treated like they were made of glass, like if they were left alone by themselves for a only minute they’d be snatched away, like they didn’t have it in them to fight back to protect themselves. But that was exactly what they needed.
Without Osomatsu or Karamatsu nearby during their heats the temperature in their body could rise so much it’d be enough to take them to the hospital. There had been countless of cases of attempted kidnappings of omegas, and Choromatsu and Todomatsu could only but wonder how many times their alpha siblings had scared away any weirdos that had thought of taking them away. And even though Choromatsu and Todomatsu knew how to fight -who wouldn’t after growing up with five brothers?- alphas were naturally stronger.
They had no choice in the matter.
“So are we just supposed to wait?”
“It’s the only thing we can do right now.”
Todomatsu watched as Choromatsu closed his eyes dejectedly, obviously worried but helpless to do anything.
It may be attributed to the fact that he trusted Jyushimatsu taking care of Ichimatsu, but Todomatsu definitely wasn’t as concerned as Choromatsu was. Deep inside he believed that Osomatsu and Karamatsu would take care of things. Sure it always made him anxious when both his alphas brothers left him behind, but he trusted them.
“I’m sure they’ll be fine Choromatsu-niisan.” Todomatsu added softly, but when Choromatsu didn’t say anything he scooted closer until their arms were touching. “Osomatsu-niisan and Karamatsu-niisan may be idiots sometimes, but we can count on them.”
Somehow after navigating through a maze of alleyways Ichimatsu had managed to lead them to the park. As soon as Jyushimatsu recognized his surroundings he sighed relieved; knowing his brothers at this point Osomatsu and Karamatsu were very likely already looking for him and Ichimatsu, and if there was a place they were going to search for them it was at the park. He had to keep Ichimatsu from moving any further.
“Ichimatsu-niisan can we stop?” Jyushimatsu asked trying to sound tired. “Just for a minute?”
After walking nonstop Ichimatsu stopped for the first time to look back at Jyushimatsu. His younger brother, although smiling, seemed to be uncomfortable. Maybe sitting down for a minute wouldn’t hurt.
“Fine.” Ichimatsu conceded and started walking to the nearest bench, Jyushimatsu sprinting ahead of him eagerly and flopping down with a content sigh.
As Ichimatsu sat down he didn’t try making eye contact with his immediate younger brother or say anything, deciding to rather stare ahead of him at nothing in particular. Not that he could see much anyways, the street lights around the park were only bright enough so he could see where he was going.
“We really need to go back Ichimatsu-niisan…” Jyushimatsu spoke in an uncharacteristically low volume, his smile replaced with a concerned frown. “Aren’t you tired? Aren’t you hungry? You could get sick out here.”
“Go back for what?” Ichimatsu huffed with a roll of his eyes. “So we can go back to being ignored again? Osomatsu and Shittymatsu only care about Choromatsu and Todomatsu. Everything revolves them and their goddamn heats.”
“That’s not their fault.” Jyushimatsu frowned. “Choromatsu-niisan and Todomatsu can’t control their heats…”
Ichimatsu clicked his tongue frustrated and turned away from Jyushimatsu.
Of course he knew that…
It’s not like Choromatsu and Todomatsu purposely had their heats just to have Osomatsu and Karamatsu for themselves. It was beyond their control; had they had a choice in the matter Ichimatsu was sure they’d choose to not go through their heats at all.
“I know, but it doesn’t change the fact that Osomatsu and Shittymatsu are always all over them and shit.”
There was definitely some jealousy noticeable in Ichimatsu’s voice. From what Jyushimatsu understood it seemed that his brother would prefer if Osomatsu and Karamatsu didn’t pay as much attention to their omega siblings, even though they needed it.
“Ichimatsu-niisan… are you saying you don’t want Osomatsu-niisan and Karamatsu-niisan to look after Choromatsu-niisan and Todomatsu anymore?”
Ichimatsu tensed up. When it was worded that way it sounded as if he wanted to leave his omega siblings without protection, to have them fend for themselves without Osomatsu and Karamatsu. Of course he didn’t want that. They were still his brothers and he wouldn’t dream of endangering them in such a horrendous way.
“That’s not it… it’s just-” Ichimatsu sighed frustrated, struggling to articulate what he wanted to say. “Maybe if I… if I was a… goddammit.” He closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and turned to look at Jyushimatsu in the eye. “Sometimes I wish I was an omega too.”
“Eh?” Jyushimatsu blinked surprised.
Ichimatsu fidgeted bashfully where he sat, averting his eyes away for only a brief instant.
“If I was an omega… maybe Osomatsu-niisan would pay more attention to me.”
“And Karamatsu-niisan too?”
Ichimatsu scoffed, definitely annoyed, but didn’t try to deny or argue anything.
“Back when we were kids, when we were all still betas, Osomatsu and Choromatsu were really close and so were Karamatsu and Todomatsu.” Ichimatsu continued, a melancholic look in his eyes as he recalled the days they weren’t set apart by their natures. “But then Todomatsu and Choromatsu presented, and all four of them sort of… got even closer. They share something special, and no matter how much we try you and I can never be part of it...”
“We’re nothing to them Jyushimatsu!” Ichimatsu sat up abruptly from the bench to glare exasperated at his younger sibling, the anger bubbling up inside him no longer under control. It was too much. He could only endure it for so long before he exploded. “Osomatsu and Karamatsu don’t care about us!”
Jyushimatsu could only but stare in shock. He couldn’t think of anything to say, nothing that could possibly reassure his older brother of the heavy burdens in his heart. Not even when Ichimatsu’s enraged scowl turned into a dejected frown and tears started gathering at the corners of his eyes did Jyushimatsu say anything.
“...Even if we do care about them.” Ichimatsu whispered bitterly, a mixture of sorrow and anger in his eyes.
Not even Jyushimatsu’s radiant attitude could cover up the reality of things. That’s how it was, that’s how it had been for years, and Ichimatsu wasn’t sure if he’d be strong enough to continue watching day after day Choromatsu and Todomatsu receive all the attention and care he craved so much. He felt like he was being mocked, taunted by what he could never get.
At least he wouldn’t be completely alone. He could take some solace in that.
Pack protectors? Yeah right.
Like they could ever care about some betas.
“Is that what you really think Ichimatsu?”
Ichimatsu’s body went cold. He widened his eyes horrified, recognizing the voice behind him immediately, and slowly turned around to come face to face with his two oldest siblings. He couldn’t tell how long they had been standing there, but judging by the way they were looking at him it had been for long enough.
As expected of the second eldest Karamatsu was both distraught and surprised, genuine concern visible on his features over what he had just heard. Ichimatsu already could tell Karamatsu was more than ready to try and comfort him.
But Osomatsu, Osomatsu wasn’t having none of it. His arms were crossed across his chest in disapproval, a curious yet defiant scowl on his face as he quietly judged his younger brother’s words.
At first Ichimatsu remained in shocked silence, expecting that one of his brothers would lash out at him, but the longer the silence dragged on the more Ichimatsu realized Osomatsu’s question hadn’t been rhetorical at all. He was waiting for an answer.
Well it’s not like he could take back anything of what he said. They were already here, so might as well lay it all out on them.
Ichimatsu swallowed the knot in the back of his throat and gripped his hands into shaky fists.
“Yeah, after years of being neglected that is what I think.” He hissed venomously.
Almost instantly Karamatsu opened his mouth ready to reassure Ichimatsu otherwise, but Osomatsu cut him short with a raise of his hand.
“Let him say everything he has to say Karamatsu.” Osomatsu murmured before returning his attention to the fourth eldest. “Why is that Ichimatsu?”
It felt like Ichimatsu was being lured into a trap, like Osomatsu was edging him to let everything out of his chest just so he could reprimand him for being a shitty brother to Choromatsu and Todomatsu. He wouldn’t be surprised if that was the case, but since his older brother was insisting so adamantly Ichimatsu wasn’t going to back away.
“Why? I’ll tell you why.” Ichimatsu narrowed his eyes. “Because every goddamn second of your lives is devoted to Choromatsu and Todomatsu. Looking after them like they were goddamn children, accompanying and marking them every fucking time they step a foot out of the house, clutching onto them like leeches whenever they are in heat. If it’s not Choromatsu it’s Todomatsu, and if it isn’t just one it’s both of them.”
The more Ichimatsu spoke the more he riled himself up, the opportunity of saying everything he’d been harboring for years to Osomatsu and Karamatsu’s faces feeling cathartic. He wouldn’t be gentle about it, he was going to be brutally honest.
“And even if they’re not in heat you’re always all over them.” Ichimatsu scoffed, looking directly at Osomatsu. “You’re either hugging them or calling them nicknames and it’s fucking disgusting. Even when they don’t need you you’ll be looking for them, all the while not even remembering that me and Jyushimatsu exist. It’s a goddamn miracle you haven’t forgotten our names yet. Because guess what asshole? There’s six of us, and we’re all brothers. But who am I kidding? You’re too busy with Choromatsu and Todomatsu to remember.”
At this point Ichimatsu was panting, not because he was out of breath but because of the adrenaline rushing through his body. There was a strange feeling of relief and satisfaction after finally giving Osomatsu and Karamatsu a piece of his mind, so much that he wouldn’t care if they decided to hand his ass to him. It was worth it.
There was silence, both alpha siblings waiting a few more seconds in case Ichimatsu had anything else to say, but when nothing came Karamatsu finally dared to speak up.
“Jyushimatsu,” Karamatsu turned to face the aforementioned sibling, who had been sitting in petrified silence the entire time. “do you feel the same way?”
There wasn't an immediate reply and Ichimatsu couldn't help turning at his younger brother curiously, widening his eyes in surprise upon seeing Jyushimatsu rubbing the back of his neck sheepishly. Was he hesitating?
“Well… sometimes I do feel jealous of Choromatsu-niisan and Todomatsu.” Jyushimatsu confessed, a guilty frown curving down his lips.
Ichimatsu stared in complete disbelief.
This entire time Jyushimatsu had been trying to reassure Ichimatsu that his fears were unfounded, that all four of them were equally loved by the alphas of the pack, when in reality he too did feel some of that neglect.
Ichimatsu eyes softened sadly. It had always been in Jyushimatsu’s nature to want to make others happy no matter the cost. Ichimatsu appreciated his efforts, but he’d appreciate it even more if Jyushimatsu was more honest with himself even if it hurt.
“I had no idea...” Karamatsu murmured solemnly.
“Of course you didn’t.” Ichimatsu remarked bitterly. “How would you notice when you barely look at us? You got no reason to care about some betas.”
“Oi.” Osomatsu called out warningly, taking a step to stand between Ichimatsu and Karamatsu. “We care about Choromatsu and Todomatsu not because they’re omegas, but because they’re our brothers. Karamatsu and I are the oldest, so of course we’re going to look after our younger siblings.”
The idea that he and Karamatsu looked after Choromatsu and Todomatsu because they were omegas annoyed Osomatsu. If that’s what Ichimatsu really thought then by that same logic wouldn’t he be also be taking care of any omega he encountered? Of course not, that was ridiculous. If Choromatsu and Todomatsu were betas or alphas the feeling inside of him that urged him to take care of them would be the same. Hell, Osomatsu even felt the same towards Karamatsu.
Whether alpha, beta or omega they were still his younger brothers.
But that didn’t mean their nature wasn’t important to take into account.
“But Ichimatsu, I’m sure you know what it implies being an omega.” Osomatsu added somberly. “Without me and Karamatsu taking our precautions Choromatsu and Todomatsu could have long since gotten seriously hurt. If you were in my place I know you’d do the same for them.”
Ichimatsu clicked his tongue and averted his eyes from Osomatsu’s.
Yes, he knew what it implied.
Yes… he would have done the same.
“But…” Osomatsu sighed, his expression no longer tense and much more relaxed as he frowned in thought.
Now that Osomatsu gave it some thought Ichimatsu wasn’t entirely wrong.
He really did love hugging and cuddling his omega brothers, even when they weren’t in heat just for the sake of being close. He always marked them as often as possible, too paranoid that if his and Karamatsu’s scent wore off just a tiny bit it wouldn’t be enough to keep alphas away. He always went out of his way to pamper them whenever they were in heat, so much that he’d cancel any plans he had that evening and the following days to accompany them during their time of need.
Choromatsu and Todomatsu had become a priority, so much that he indeed did neglect Ichimatsu and Jyushimatsu in the process.
When was the last time he hung out with either of them? Something major could have been happening in their lives and Osomatsu wouldn’t have known. He had always been so adamant in looking for either Choromatsu or Todomatsu that he completely forgot he also needed to pamper his other two siblings.
He fucked up.
“But you and Jyushimatsu are my brothers too.” Osomatsu offered a gentle smile, walking closer to Ichimatsu until they were at arm's length. The sudden proximity startled Ichimatsu, and the fourth oldest looked about ready to dodge a punch if he needed to.
Except it wasn’t a punch that came at him, but both of Osomatsu’s arms as they pulled him close in a tight hug. Shocked, Ichimatsu froze in place, not sure whether he should try to struggle and break free or hug his older brother back. As he debated over it the warmth coming from Osomatsu’s body slowly crept onto him and calmed him down, the tender touch of those arms soothing and comforting all his pent up anger.
It felt nice.
With a soft sigh Ichimatsu relaxed against Osomatsu, timidly returning the embrace and resting his head on his brother’s shoulder.
“You’re right, I do pay more attention to Choromatsu and Todomatsu. I want to keep them safe so badly I get a little carried away.” Osomatsu admitted with a weak regretful laugh. “But that doesn’t mean I don’t care about you or Jyushimatsu okay? You’re both very important to me.”
If something were to happen to either Ichimatsu or Jyushimatsu because of his neglectful ways Osomatsu would never be able to forgive himself. He needed all five of his brothers happy, healthy, and safe and sound. Not one less.
“I promise to do better. And not just me, but Karamatsu too.” Osomatsu turned to look back at Karamatsu as much as he could without disturbing Ichimatsu still tightly nestled in his arms. “Right Karamatsu?”
“Of course brother!” Karamatsu replied with a confident smile, beyond relieved that everything was being resolved peacefully.
“See? We’re going to do better.” Osomatsu whispered to Ichimatsu’s ear, affectionately pressing his cheek against his brother’s hair. “Onii-chan messed up and took you for granted. Do you forgive me Ichimacchan?”
Osomatsu noticed when the fabric of his hoodie had suddenly started feeling damp. It was almost imperceptible, but Osomatsu was close enough to hear the soft sobs and whimpers of the brother in his arms. If Ichimatsu tried to speak he would most certainly break down and cry loudly enough for the others to notice, so Osomatsu was more than happy to accept the slow nod he received against his shoulder.
“Thank you.” Osomatsu chuckled fondly, refusing to let go of Ichimatsu and patting his back reassuringly. He’d give him a few more minutes to cry as much as he needed; he knew Ichimatsu would be too embarrassed to be seen crying by any of his other siblings.
“I want a hug too!” Jyushimatsu laughed and jumped off the bench to go straight towards Karamatsu.
“You don’t need to ask brother!”
Karamatsu welcomed his young sibling in his arms with a wholehearted laugh, the momentum of the second youngest almost knocking them both to the ground but remaining balanced thanks to Karamatsu’s strength.
After everything that happened Jyushimatsu’s bright laughter came as a relief. Timidly Ichimatsu looked up from Osomatsu’s shoulder to see his younger brother and Karamatsu holding onto each other like their lives depended on it. It was reassuring to see that smile again.
When Ichimatsu felt Osomatsu’s gaze on him he turned to meet his brother’s eyes.
“You ready to go home?”
Quickly wiping what little tears were left in his eyes Ichimatsu mustered a small smile and nodded.
The sound of the front door opening brought Choromatsu up to his feet. Todomatsu, who was sitting half asleep on the table watched groggily how his previously absent brothers started filling the room.
“We’re back brothers!” Karamatsu announced with a grandiose pose.
“We’re back!” Jyushimatsu cheered.
“About time!” Choromatsu reprimanded frustrated and strode directly towards Ichimatsu and Jyushimatsu. “Where had you two been? It’s so late already!”
“We just lost track of time.” Ichimatsu mumbled bashfully as Choromatsu shamelessly looked him and Jyushimatsu up and down in search for any injuries. “Sorry.”
“Well be more careful next time.” Todomatsu sighed, not really appreciating having to wait to find out whether his brothers were kidnapped or not. “Geez.”
Seeing no traces of blood or bruises on either of them Choromatsu sighed and finally stepped back to give Ichimatsu and Jyushimatsu some space.
“Don’t scare me like that again please.”
Ichimatsu only nodded. Sometimes he forgot that even though Choromatsu was an omega he was still his older brother; it was always in these kind of situations that that nurturing worrywart side of the third eldest came to light.
“Were you seriously that worried? Come on give me some credit! Onii-chan always finds his baby brothers, even if they try to hide away from him.” Osomatsu laughed, ruffling Ichimatsu’s hair affectionately and leaving it even more disheveled.
“Is there any food left?” Jyushimatsu walked further into the room, rubbing his belly as he eyed the empty table. “I’m so hungry!”
“Ah, yeah we saved you some and left it on the fridge.” Todomatsu replied as he stood up and walked to the kitchen. “Let me heat it up for you.”
“Thank you Totty!”
Jyushimatsu was quick to sit down on his spot on the table, licking his lips excitedly as he heard Todomatsu turn on the microwave. As the food started heating up Karamatsu and Choromatsu went to join Jyushimatsu.
“You too Ichimacchan.” Osomatsu gave Ichimatsu a slight push on the back to encourage him to get moving. “You shouldn't go to sleep with an empty stomach.”
“Ah, right.” Ichimatsu nodded, not missing how Osomatsu kept an eye on him until he was seated on his spot on the table.
“Be grateful we actually left you something.” Todomatsu giggled as he re-entered the room and placed two bowls with chopsticks on the table. “You’re only having dinner ‘cause Osomatsu-niisan wouldn’t let us eat it.”
“Wow thank you so much nii-san!” Jyushimatsu exclaimed before briefly thanking for the food and digging in.
Ichimatsu also thanked for the food under his breath and took hold of his chopsticks as he turned at Osomatsu, surprised that someone that loved stealing food and eating for free would spare them their portion of dinner.
“What can I say? Onii-chan is always looking after his cute baby brothers.” Osomatsu winked directly at Ichimatsu, earning a flustered frown.
“Ugh seriously stop calling us cute!”
“But brother I’m not cute, I’m cool!”
“I’m the cutest out of all us though.”
Ichimatsu smiled as he took his first bite.