Work Header

mercury retrograde (and other shitheads)

Chapter Text

Rin knows something is wrong the moment he wakes up. 
It’s not that anything is outrageously out of place; he opens his eyes and he’s facing the window, which is how he usually wakes up on his side. Sure enough, he hears traffic and that consistent undertone of racket that comes with living in the city. His bedroom is clean, his limbs are attached, and he is properly subdued with Saturday morning laziness.  
But something is off.  
Rin grabs his phone, checks the date, and flies off the mattress in a flurry of blankets. He stumbles into the kitchen and shoves the phone in Makoto’s face so quick that the poor omega startles like a virgin in a thirties movie.  
Rin is unflinching. “Do you know what today is?” 
“I don’t know?! The day you go to prison for accidental manslaughter because I’m four seconds away from a heart attack? Jesus, back up.” 
Rin rolls his eyes and does so. “Fuckin’ Mercury retrograde is starting.”  
Makoto stares, flustered to black-out proportions. “I mean, like – yeah, and? It’s cloudy outside too,” he adds with sarcastic matter-of-factness. He brushes himself off and continues making a packed lunch of snacks that don’t involve using a stove and burning this side of the world down. Makoto shakes his head with proper indignation. “Adhering to your borderline-religious obsession with space was not in the lease agreement.” 
Rin snorts and heaves a tub of strawberry protein powder from the cabinet. “That’s astronomy, not astrology.”  
Makoto looks up from writing a cute little letter on a napkin. He tucks it into the lunchbox as he pouts in confusion. “Astrology wouldn’t even be a thing without stars, though.”  
“Sounds like something a Scorpio would say.” Rin flops onto a bar stool, winded with stress. “This shit is gonna last like, a whole three weeks. My heat’s gonna hit while this -” He flies through an irritated gesture. “This dumb planet makes everyone act like a rhino in a hospital.” 
“Well, ain’t that a hoot and a half,” Makoto drawls, zipping up the lunchbox and acting like they’re just talking about the weather, not the complete and utter downfall of the human race. Makoto braces his hands on the counter. “Look, maybe you should just relax this time around and not... do what you normally do for heats."
Rin blanches. “Don’t give me that nun in a titty bar look. My doctor suggested I get railed, so I'm following orders." 
Makoto grimaces at his wording. “Fine, then. You’ve never had a problem finding someone to spend your heat with, so I’m sure this time will be no different. You could waltz into the club wearing a tactical skirt and the outcome would be the same as it always is.”  
Rin pinches the bridge of his nose because Makoto truly can’t be this dense. He dumps some protein powder into the blender heartily. “I’m not saying I’m the one with the problem -” Makoto gives him a look. “- I’m saying that this retrograde is gonna throw off all the usual alphas that are on my level. I’ll have to settle for some fuckhead who clips their toenails on airplanes.”  
Makoto steps into the hallway with a groan, calling, “You could just spend the three days alone like everyone else.”  
“Stop being a rational Scorpio, Mako,” Rin hollers back, already scrolling through Tinder. 
He finishes making his shake and is five messages deep with an alpha who is desperate for some foot pics when Makoto emerges from the hallway bedroom. Swimming fins slap against the hardwood as little feet follow the omega. Rin could just squeal as he kneels down to squish the little girl’s floaties. “You are the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.” 
Itsumi beams, hopping up and down on her toes. She’s already dressed in her swimsuit with goggles around her neck, but Rin is sure she’d be wearing them if she didn’t have glasses. Itsumi thrusts a swimming cap at Rin, mumbling, “I can’t get this on. Too tight. Pulls my hair.”  
Rin chuckles and ruffles her orange hair as he rises. “Your coaches will help you when we get to the pool. You should eat first.” 
Itsumi sighs and there’s about to be a tantrum - Rin can see it in those big green eyes. Makoto picks his daughter up to kiss her temple and he sits her on a bar stool. “Rin’s right, Itsu-chan. Swimmers need a good breakfast so they can be strong. He was an Olympian; he knows what he’s talking about.”  
Itsumi looks to Rin for confirmation and he nods enthusiastically. “I wouldn’t have won any medals if I didn’t eat breakfast.”  
The four-year-old considers, thinking hard. She sighs, yanking off her flippers so she can get comfy. “Fine. But can we please have something besides rice? I don’t like it when it’s burnt, Daddy. I’m sorry.”  
Makoto blushes and Rin smirks at his expense, leaning down to whisper, “I swear, your Daddy burned water one time in high school.” 
“Probably,” the girl deadpans. Makoto shakes his head and Itsumi clarifies, “It’s okay, Daddy. I can’t cook either.”  
Makoto arches his brow in amusement and Rin hugs the girl with pride, saying, “A fellow unabashed water sign after my own heart. I told you me and her would get along when you found out her due date was in January, didn’t I, Mako?” 
“I think there’s too many ‘water signs’ in this apartment,” Makoto chuckles, though he says it fondly and steps out of the way to let Rin have at the stove.  

Rin feels hopeful as he accompanies Makoto and Itsumi to the local pool. He anticipates great things from swimming lessons. Itsumi is a serious child and a bit too independent; Rin expected her to be a clingy little girl that cries at the drop of a hat, not to throw unwarranted shade at Makoto. The only time Itsumi really cries is at the grocery store because it’s too crowded, and she’s smart as a whip but school means socializing, and Itsumi doesn’t like that – at all.  
He was genuinely surprised when Makoto said she wanted to try swimming. Maybe she only wants to because she knows Makoto used to swim, not to mention they live with Rin and he’s a bit of a celebrity in the swimming world. Either way, Itsumi is willing to try and Makoto was ready to throw money at anything that could help his baby come out of her shell and show the world just how wonderful she is.  
Though she’s starting out at entry level, these lessons are hard to book – borderline impossible unless you know someone. Luckily, lots of people know Rin and he’s got a few tricks up his sleeve.  
All that means is that Haru coaches the lessons and Rin got his number when they were training under the same coach a few years back. Rin wore the alpha down and got him to open up a spot in his lessons after sending him many 3 AM messages, including outdated memes with the bold text because they are Haru’s number one pet peeve. It was all worth it, not only for Itsumi but because Haru is Rin’s absolute favorite person to fuck with – especially since Rin placed higher than him in the Olympics a few months ago. Yes, it was only by a few seconds, but Rin is going to ride that shit until the wheels fall off, and he will continue to gloat about it even if Haru ever beats him in another race. Which he won’t. 
The local sports complex is always crowded on the weekends, but Rin is secretly disappointed that nobody recognizes him for the first few minutes. Fame is something that he is very used to and prideful about. He didn’t work his ass off to be modest for one minute of his life.  
Soon enough, someone recognizes him, but it’s Haru, so the reaction is an eye roll of dread. Rin sidles up to him and flings an arm around his shoulder with all the evil glee in the world. “Morning, Haru~” 
“You found me.” Haru stares at the wall like he’s waiting for the portal to hell to spring open and wrench him from this misery.  
“Course! Could smell you from a mile away. It’s like you use Ocean Mist Febreze as deodorant. Thought you were an omega for a minute there.” 
“Ha,” the alpha drones, taking it in stride because Rin’s made fun of his delicate smell for years. “You here for lessons?” 
Rin rolls his eyes at the jab. “My goddaughter is, yeah.” He waves her and Makoto over from the bleachers. Both of them look a mess as Makoto shepherds her through crowds of college athletes and old timers. More than a few alphas turn heads when Makoto passes – not only is he startlingly tall for an omega, but he’s everything an alpha would biologically want with his shy demeanor. Makoto doesn’t usually fumble so much – he's a proper firecracker for the right reasons – but Itsumi got her timid spirit honest. She’s nowhere near as emotionally wild as her sire, thank goodness.  
Makoto walks Itsumi over and she shies against his thigh, tucking herself behind it. Makoto pats her hair before throwing a smile at Haru. “Sorry, she’s a little nervous.”  
Haru doesn’t respond. He’s not blinking either. A curious look passes over Makoto’s face and the alpha jolts, ducking his head to look over his clipboard. “It’s fine," he says robotically.   
Makoto glances at Rin, who shrugs because Haru’s done much weirder.  

Haru goes through his clipboard to find Itsumi’s information; Makoto acts like he’s just helping him out, looking through the disorganized papers as well, but Rin catches his eyes drop down Haru’s jacket opening. He isn’t wearing a shirt underneath. Rin gives a very pointed cough and Makoto winces, passionately scrolling down the list of names to find his daughter and blurt out her name with a cracking voice.

"Great," Haru says just as loudly. Itsumi blinks up at Rin with worry and he just grins. The alpha clears his throat, briskly continuing. "She'll be with Yamazaki, he does all the entry-level stuff. Go to Lane Three, its -" Dumbly, Haru points at the other end of the pool. "That way."  
"Oh, okay!" Makoto catches himself before bowing too low. "Thank you so much for your help!" He chews his lip to shit, grabs Itsumi's hand, then scurries off. 
Rin gives Haru a sarcastic salute and follows after them, but he catches Haru take a deep inhale of the smell that lingers in the air. 
He jogs after Makoto and nudges him - well, more like elbow-knifes his ribs. "You liked him." 
"Shut up," Makoto whines. "He's got the sweetest smell, oh my god. It's like my grandmother's house." 
"Okay, don't make it weird," Rin cringes, helping Itsumi to a group of children at the edge of the pool.  
Itsumi won't talk to any other kids, but luckily, a bubbly girl rushes over to embrace her. Rin assumes they might know each other from school until the little stranger beams, "I'm Yua! Let's be friends."  
Itsumi looks flabbergasted and almost offended. A man jogs after Yua – an omega, by the peachy scent he carries, and he’s likely Yua’s parent because they have the same bubblegum hair. The man reins in his daughter with a bashful laugh. “You can’t just attack people like that, Yua! Sorry, she’s a bit excited.” 
The girl pouts and yanks at his shirt. “But she’s so pretty! And she’s got glasses like me. I wanna be her bestest friend.”  
Itsumi beams shyly and most adorably. “Thanks,” she mumbles.  

Yua takes her hand, nodding at the pool. "Come splash with me?” 
Itsumi looks up at Makoto in a silent request for permission and he all but falls apart. “Yes, of course! Absolutely – have fun, yeah! Just -” Yua has already skipped away with his daughter in tow and Makoto weakly calls, “Don’t run! Keep your floaties on! Please don’t lose your glasses!” 
The stranger omega waves after the kids and grins at Makoto. “They grow up too fast. Names Kisumi’s, by the way.” 
Makoto introduces himself and when Kisumi takes a good look at Rin, his eyes widen. “Whoa, you’re - you’re the guy who raced on TV a while back, aren’t you? Yeah, I recognize the hair.” 
Rin subtly flips said hair and Makoto rolls his eyes. “I might be,” Rin laughs, preening so hard his toes could curl. “Just having a little break, you know. Chilling. I haven’t taken time off in like, ever.”  
“I hear ya,” Kisumi nods. “It was big news, you were like, the first omega to ever place that high, right? That’s so cool.” Kisumi scoffs at a memory. “You were all Sousuke talked about for weeks, I could not with him.”  
“Well, thanks,” Rin grins, and Makoto gives him a flat look because Rin’s head will be far too big for at least a day after all these compliments.  
Kisumi keeps a firm eye on the kids while still managing to look relaxed. He carries himself with an air that parents can jealous of; there’s surely a lot of omegas who want to be his friend since he’s fashionably put together in a pastel flannel, and his kid is adorable. Kisumi says, “I don’t know much about swimming but my husband keeps up with it. Thank goodness I went to school with Sousuke and was able to get Yua a spot; Asahi was so excited to enroll her in these lessons.”  
Makoto’s brows jump slightly. Kisumi looks about Rin and Makoto’s age, so it’s safe to assume that Yua was a late-teen pregnancy, like Itsumi was. Kisumi’s alpha must have married him when they found out they were going to have a baby, which is socially appropriate since there’s a nasty stigma attached to single omegas with a child. Rin can tell Makoto tries not to sound envious when he sighs, “Ah, that’s so sweet.” 
Kisumi chuckles. “Yeah, he’s pretty great. Loves being a dad.” The fondness in his smile proves his words are an understatement. The three of them take a seat on the lowest bleachers to keep a clear line of sight on the girls. Kisumi glances from Makoto to Itsumi. “Nothing wrong with doing it on your own, though.”  
Makoto winces a smile. “Am I that obvious?”  
Kisumi nudges him in affectionate reprimand. “Us tall omegas can’t go anywhere without an alpha trying our patience. They see us as a challenge, and let’s be real, that shit gets old, so Asahi usually comes with me to places like this.” 
Makoto nods. “Rin is more confrontational than I am, so I like having him around.”  
Kisumi balks playfully. “And what do you do, Rin-Rin, when a big bad alpha oversteps?” 
“I usually like it,” Rin shrugs. 
Kisumi sings a laugh and all but falls into them. “God, we’re gonna get along great." 
He and Makoto start talking about parenting, so Rin takes that as his cue to let his mind wander. He crosses his legs and leans back on his hands, rolling his neck with a wince. Scent glands line an omegas throat, not visible to the eye, but they will start to fever as heat grows near. Rin’s neck is already feeling itchy as he rolls it, exposing the sensuous curve from jaw to shoulder.  
The weight of a gaze makes him stiffen. Rin blinks up and instinctively takes a sniff – musky vanilla, far away but potent. He finds an alpha watching him from across the pool, eyes wide with momentary expression before he composes himself.  
Rin’s blood melts into sticky honey when he realizes the alpha wasn’t looking at his face, but his throat.  
The man goes back to calling the kids over and Rin can’t even think. His height makes him a presence and that uniform polo is just tight enough in the sleeves to show off rounded biceps that bulge when he moves his arms. Rin’s nails dig against the bleachers.  
The alpha introduces himself to the group of parents first but Rin can’t focus on what he’s saying – he just hears a voice that could purr so low in the right circumstances. Rin catches that his name is Sousuke, and he apologizes for his coworker, who is running late but will help with lessons upon his arrival. Sousuke promises not to waste anyone’s time and will begin the lessons. He’s got a serious face, but Sousuke is intimidating in every way that Rin loves.  
When Sousuke walks away, more than a few omegas are whispering and oh, Rin could just hiss. There is no way in hell that alpha is single; at least two of the kids here are probably his. Life is so unfair and the misery shows on his face when Makoto glances at him. His friend asks, “What’s wrong?” 
Rin bobs his ankle, scenarios flying all hot through his mind. He leans in close and whispers, “Do you think I could be a homewrecker? Not like, break up a marriage and steal their car, but just, you know. Something more lowkey.”  
Makoto opens his mouth, follows Rin’s gaze to Sousuke, then closes it. Rin says, “Not like I’d actually do it; I’m just asking if you think I’m qualified.” He blinks. “Hypothetically, you know?” 
Makoto looks pained. “He might be single.”  
Rin scoffs. “There’s no fuckin’ away.” He nudges – shoves – Makoto with a fast whisper. “Ask Kisumi.” 
“What?! No,” Makoto hisses. “We just met him, I can’t do that.” 
Rin rolls his eyes and puts on his most winning smile, leaning over Makoto’s mountain of a shoulder. “Hey Kisumi, is the coach that Sousuke guy you mentioned earlier?"
Kisumi looks up from playing with his alpha’s fingers. “Yeah,” he nods. “I’ve known him most of my life.” 
“Aw,” Rin drawls. “That’s so cute. Makoto was wondering if he’s single.” 
Makoto just closes his eyes and gives the deepest sigh.  
Kisumi and Asahi look at each other before the redhead crooks a grin. “He most likely is. Sousuke’s a little awkward when it comes to that stuff.”  
Kisumi elbows him with a pout. “Asahi means that Sou-chan is just a tad shy. Nothing a little warming up can’t fix.” 
Rin says, “But he can probably bench-press a Fiat, right?” 
“Oh, hell yeah.”  
“Great, thanks.” Rin goes to his phone to start his social media stalking, but then the doors crash open and a guy staggers in. He rights himself, throwing a haggard peace-sign at Sousuke before jogging over. Rin and his friends just stare because he’s never seen someone show up to the pool in flip-flops and ragged jeans, but at least he’s wearing a uniform shirt - even if it’s inside out.  
An alpha slips through the doors much calmer, breezing across the floor to settle down beside Asahi. “Hey, Nao-senpai,” Asahi laughs. “Thought your man overslept this morning.” 
“Oh, he did,” Nao sighs, adjusting his blazer. “But it was the stolen bike that made him late today. Natsuya can’t remember the combination on the lock I bought him, so he just stopped chaining the bike up at night.” 
Asahi chuckles. “You won’t let him drive the Audi to work?” 
Nao lifts his brows. “I have an Audi. Natsuya has a revoked license and probation court next week, not to mention my child in his stomach. So, no.”  
Kisumi gives a kind smirk. “You’re a good alpha for taking care of him, Nao-senpai. He stayin’ sober?”  
“Of course.” Nao’s features soften at a thought. “He’s been more serious in general since we found out about – you know. He got a little depressed at first, but he’s slowly getting excited. He’s started going to bed at two in the morning instead of six, so he’s making progress. Oh, and he quit smoking like, a year ago, so he no longer sounds like a broken-down leaf blower.”  
Rin is winded from eavesdropping on such a conversation. He whispers to Makoto, “Goddamn, do they just hire anyone here? This is supposed to be an exclusive thing.”  
Makoto shrugs. “I don’t really have room to judge another parent. At least Natsuya seems like he’s trying.” He takes a controlled breath. “But if he suddenly pulls out a vape and takes a rip of it anywhere near my baby, I’ll claw his throat out.” 

Itsumi doesn’t have a miraculous personality change while swimming, which Rin did not expect, but he was privately hopeful about it. She does not make an effort to talk with the other kids, clinging to Yua most of the time, but the bubbly little girl doesn’t seem to mind. Yua introduces Itsumi as her best friend to everyone and makes up elaborate stories as to how they met: she tells one boy that they met on a ski trip, then tells another group of girls that she and Itsumi first ran into each other in the middle of a wildflower pasture in Amsterdam. Itsumi plays along with every fantastical lie and Kisumi gives a simple explanation for his daughter’s dramatics: “She’s got big dreams.” 
Rin’s had anxiety building for weeks when he thought about team exercises, but luckily, Sousuke seems aware of things that kids can be sensitive about. This first lesson was mainly about introducing the kids to each other and making sure they’re comfortable actually getting in the water.  
Natsuya is... well, Makoto was right, he does try. He gets along with the children naturally, and Nao looks quietly proud at every situation Natsuya takes on – including but not limited to a boy tattling on his friend for peeing in the pool. Natsuya says that yes, the concept is tempting, and heck, he's done it before, however, they should not do it. 
Sousuke does so well with kids it’s downright mystifying to Rin. Though the alpha has a serious face, his actions were so kind and careful anytime a child needed help. He displayed stonewall patience in the wake of a dozen excited children. Most alphas would run headfirst to the nearest bar if they faced such a challenge; so few would even try, much less approach the task with Sousuke's grace.
By the end of lessons, Rin has sadly accepted that he doesn’t have a chance with the alpha. He’s definitely the type of guy Rin is attracted to, but Rin finds himself uncharacteristically shy. Omegas swarm the man when lessons are over, using any excuse to ask him questions about swimming that make no goddamn sense. Even though Rin could come up with something much more appropriate and genuine to ask about lessons, he’s too close to his heat to be getting that close to the alpha. He’ll fuck up whatever he tries to say.  
He and Makoto are waiting for Itsumi outside the bathroom when his friend nudges him. “Why don’t you go talk to him? Those other parents should be gone by now.”  
Rin grimaces and shakes his head. “Nah, I’m not really my best today.” He throws in a dry joke. “Gotta go home and regroup, come back with a vengeance next week.”  
Makoto rolls his eyes with a grin. “Did you lose interest in him that quick?” 
“Definitely not. I’d climb that man like a tree if I saw him anywhere else.” Rin squints, lips tightening all sour. “Ah. Maybe that’s the problem.” 
Makoto looks nauseous. “What, that you’re a horn-dog?” 
“Nah, I’m just not really used to approaching an alpha subtly.”  
Makoto shrugs, crossing his arms. “Maybe he’d like it. Won’t know until you try.” 
Rin smirks. “You’re just hoping I find someone I can shack up with during my heat, aren’t you?” 
“All I’m saying is that dragging a child onto a three-hour train ride to Iwatobi every two months for your heats can get tiring.” 
“It’s not my fault you don’t have them as frequently,” Rin teases.  
Makoto scoffs, gesturing to his belly. “I’m sorry, did you have a baby cut out of your stomach and then make eye-contact with a nurse who was holding a bucket of your insides? Of course my hormones are fucked up after that. You should just go back on suppressants.” 
Rin whines, “No, they make me sluggish.”  
“You’re literally on break!” 
Itsumi exits the bathroom and finds them mid-bicker, bluntly interrupting to tell them she left her goggles back at the pool. Rin offers to fetch them while Makoto and Itsumi get a head start on the walk to the ice cream shop.  
The pool area is far less crowded; the only people there are some elderly women doing a water aerobics class, but Rin can’t find those damned goggles anywhere. He slips down the administrative hallway, following the smell of ocean breezes to the last door on the right.  
He pops his head in with no announcement. “When is Sousuke’s birthday?” 
Haru startles in his desk chair and it scrapes the floor with a painful sound. His expression twists in frustrated confusion. “Huh? How’d you get back here-” 
“Your coworker that looks like he’s got ice in his semen and it wouldn’t be a bad time. His birthday.” Rin lifts his brows with importance. 
Haru rights himself and scoffs, turning back to his monitor. “Why the hell do you want to know that?“ 
“To see if we’re compatible,” Rin says like it’s obvious. “I’m betting he’s a Gemini.” 
“I can’t give out that kind of information, Rin.”  
He props his cheek on the door frame with a pout. “You are absolutely no fun.” 
“Yet you’re still here.” 
“Did someone pick up Itsumi’s goggles? She left them at the pool.”  
“No,” Haru shrugs, still clicking away on his mouse. “But I’ll keep an eye out.”  
Rin squints. “Are you really doing anything that important right now?” 
“Absolutely.” Haru nods. 
“... you’re playing Minesweeper, aren’t you?” 
The alpha flashes a rare smile and it’s terrifying. “Life is a skyscraper of shit, Rin. You binge on vodka and dick to deal with that, and I play Minesweeper.” 
Rin’s eyes widen. “Well, damn. Valid, I guess, but harsh.”  
“Thanks. Close the door on your way out.” 
Rin does so, then gets three steps down the hall before rearing around and thrusting himself back in the office. “I’ll talk to Makoto for you if you tell me Sousuke’s birthday.” 
Haru tenses as his gaze snaps away from the monitor, then his eyes slide back to the screen. His voice isn’t as leveled as he probably hoped. “Why would I want you to do that?” 
“Because Makoto is shy and hot and that’s your type. I can put in a good word for you.” 
“No thanks. Don’t need it.” 
Rin gives him a look. “Haru, you broke off a relationship with a guy at a McDonald's in San Francisco then ordered a McFlurry. You’re not exactly the most emotionally sensitive, and Makoto’s more sensitive than a tit submerged in ice.”  
“I don’t need you to ‘talk’ to someone for me.” He lifts his chin with indignation. “I know how to talk. If I gave you that kind of power, it’d be like if goddamn hammerheads could fly.” 
Rin rakes a hand through his hair. “Nanase. We’ve been friends for a long time, so I’m gonna be the one to tell you that when you try to be charming, it really just comes off as –” He gropes for the word. “Just evil. Like, I can’t even imagine that you make a face when you cum, and I’ve fuckin’ tried to visualize it for years. I’m sorry, man.” 
“Yes, Rin, we’ve been friends a long time. That’s why I can tell you that your ‘charm’ is more toxic than a radioactive cockroach that crawled up a dead horse’s ass. Now, if you please?” He waves at the door.  
“C’mon, Mako’s really sweet. I wouldn’t even be here if I thought you two weren’t a good match. He’s a rational Scorpio, you’re a cold-hearted bitch. It’s perfect. Just tell me Sousuke’s birthday and I’ll make it happen.” 
Haru shakes his head like he’s exasperated with a child. “It would be extremely unprofessional of me to give out a coworker’s information.” 
Rin sighs and accepts defeat, heading out the door - 
“September 14th.” 
Rin turns around so fast he stumbles but Haru is still watching his monitor evenly, as if he said nothing. All he gives Rin is a very-telling raised eyebrow, and the omega grins.

So Sousuke is a Virgo. It makes total sense with the alpha’s demeanor - he's patient, serious, fast, and was most definitely the hardest worker in the room. Virgos can be judgmental, yes, and maybe a bit too modest for Rin’s taste, but Virgos also crave indulgence.  
Surely, it’s too good to be true. 
Rin scrolls heatedly through his phone, trying to remember who Virgos are most compatible with as he navigates to the front of the sports complex. He catches a whiff of musky vanilla and looks up to find Sousuke right by the entrance doors, scanning a map of the property.  
Fuck. Rin could slip passed the alpha without speaking, take the shy route and not have to meet those intense eyes. 
As fucking if.  
Rin clears his throat and Sousuke looks up, tensing with recognition. The omega arches a brow and keeps his voice soft. “You lost?”  
The alpha’s lips part before closing. He blinks back at the map and winces through a smile. “Ah, yeah, maybe a little.” He rubs the back of his neck and Rin could just whine at how his bicep swells. “I haven’t worked here long, so I guess I’m still finding my way around.” 
Well, isn’t that a fantastic excuse to get closer to him. Rin sidles up to the alpha, quietly enjoying how small he feels next to him. Rin’s smile is teasing as he observes the map with Sousuke. “And where were we going today?” 
“My office. I thought I had the way figured out, but I ended up here instead.” Sousuke squints at the map like it personally offends him. “I swear, I had it right.”  
“You literally could not be further from the administrative wing unless you were outside. Unless there’s a secret basement under the pool that I don’t know about.” 
Sousuke’s grin is only half sarcastic. “No, I’d be taking my lunch breaks there if that were a thing.” 
Introverted. Definitely a Virgo.  
Rin sweeps his head around to look down the hallway. “Well, I know the way there, if you wanna...” He turns back at Sousuke. The alpha is only looking at him, but Sousuke blushes like he just got caught doing something naughty – or maybe thinking something not so appropriate for a person you’ve just met.  
Rin flutters a dumb blink. Well, if that isn't a hot, addictive rush. Rin likes the feeling but he’s so breathless all at once. He can’t find his voice. This isn’t even flirting and he’s already fumbling. “If you wanted me to, you know. Show you the way there. I just came from the administrative wing.”  
Sousuke chews the inside of his lip before nodding faintly. “If you wouldn’t mind.” 
Rin twitches a smile. It’s all he can do, his face is so hot and numb. “Yeah, no - no problem.”  
They walk in silence for a bit and Rin screams at himself inside his head. He needs to fucking say something, anything! He’s usually confident with small talk, but right now, he can’t even breathe. It’s all he can do not to trip on thin air. His palms are sweaty, his knees are jittery and he can barely walk a straight line.  
Rin dares a glance at the alpha. He doesn’t seem like he’s having an internal meltdown. Sousuke walks with his hands in his pockets, head bowed submissively with his eyes almost closed. He’s probably one of those people that can fall asleep standing up. Rin wonders if the man is tired, then he remembers that other alphas walk like that with omegas. He’s trying to look more subdued – he doesn’t want to make Rin nervous, since they’re relatively alone.  
That’s a new one for Rin. Most alphas stand as tall as they can to impress him, but Sousuke just wants to make sure he feels safe.  
Rin pulls a shaky breath.  
Carefully, Sousuke ventures, “So did you, uh – come with a kid today?” 
“Yeah. Itsumi.” He mentally relays the words back to himself and freezes. “I mean, not like, she’s my kid. She’s my goddaughter. I’m not – I don’t have any kids. I’m single.”  
The silence hangs. Rin could wail for hours. 
“Oh,” Sousuke mumbles.  
Rin grimaces. Politely, he says, “How long have you worked here?” His voice cracks and he’s ready to slam headfirst into a wall, bury his face in insulation, and never come out.  
Sousuke lifts his head a bit, keeping his gaze forward as he thinks. “About four months.” 
Rin can’t help but grin cheekily. “You still don’t know your way around?”  
The alpha laughs and it’s the most handsome sound. “I’ve never been good at directions. I still take the bus for catering deliveries with my parent’s restaurant.” At Rin’s curious look, Sousuke adds, “I do that full time. This is just a side-gig since I was qualified.” 
“You’ve coached before?” 
“Not really,” Sousuke shrugs. “But I had a -” His brows go high and crease with embarrassment and his little smile turns wistful. “Well, I had a mediocre background in swimming before I tore my rotary cuff.” 
Rin hisses, feeling a sympathetic phantom pain in his own shoulder. “Shit, I’m sorry. I hear those are terrible.” 
“They're not fun,” Sousuke chuckles. “But it’s whatever, I guess.” He pauses, then takes a chance, opening up just a creep more. “I’ve considered getting some more physical therapy, like, trying to get back into it.” He shrugs, ducking his head once more, though he’s smiling at the thought.  
Rin tips his head sweetly. “I’m sure you were better than just ‘mediocre’.” 
Sousuke’s eyes crinkle in thanks before nervousness creeps over his face. “I don’t really know how to say this, but um – I know who you are. Like, of course, I’m sure most people do, but...” He cringes and Rin giggles. Sousuke shakes his head bashfully. “Yeah, you know. You’re a great swimmer.”  
“Thanks so much,” Rin preens, trying not to goad him for more. He could burst into light this second. “I’m willin’ to bet you are, too.” 
At long last, Sousuke lifts to his full height with pride. His voice is teasing, just on the edge of flirting. “Maybe.”  
Rin practically floats the rest of the way to the alpha’s office. They stop at the appropriate door and Sousuke keys the lock, then pauses. He looks Rin over, hesitating in the most adorable way. “Did you want some coffee or anything? I’ve got a pot in here.”  
His heart stutters. Rin would love nothing more than following the alpha into his office, lock the door and see just how sturdy that desk is, but Makoto is blowing up his phone. Rin winces because the prospect of leaving truly pains him. “I need to go catch up with my friend.” His foot twists back and forth all coy. “But I could take some for the road, if you don’t mind.” 
Sousuke nods and holds the door for the omega, letting him slip in first. The chivalry is mouth-watering.  
Sousuke’s office is bland in terms of décor - there’s the standard desk and storage locker, as well as a cart for the coffee maker – but the man’s aroma saturates the room. The back of Rin’s neck prickles and he knows his eyes are dilating. Awareness sharpens him. 
The alpha pours him some coffee in a teal thermos, but Rin hesitates to take it. “I’d hate to steal your cup.” 
Sousuke shrugs as he hands it over, their fingers brushing just quick enough for Rin to want more. Then the alpha grins. “You'll just have to bring it back sometime.”  
That was definitely flirting, and bolder than Rin anticipated. He ducks his lips to the mouth of the thermos, his whisper shy. “Okay.”  
Sousuke’s gaze sweeps him, fast but prominent. “I meant what I said, you know – about you being a great swimmer. Not taking any shit from the media. You seem really focused.” 
Rin smiles, happiness warming his voice. "I try to be. Not like I’d get anything for letting people call me a ‘lucky omega’ when I really just worked my ass off.” 
“It shows,” Sousuke nods. “You were treated unfairly but you proved everyone wrong. Lots of my students look up to you for that.” 
Rin doesn’t respond – just lets the pressure build between them, waiting for the alpha to do something. They’re watching each other and the office door is closed; they’re alone with all this tension in the air, and Rin knows what a typical alpha would do in this circumstance.  
Sousuke reads his expression clear and just smirks, still leaning on the wall with his arms crossed, not making a move. He knows Rin wants him to, but he’s already proved himself to be a gentleman. Sousuke’s not about to back him into a corner as much as Rin wishes for it.  
The omega gives him a pout and an eyebrow raise. “All right, well.” He waves the thermos a little. “Thanks for the coffee. I’ll bring it back next week?” 
“Sounds good.” The alpha holds the door open for him, tensing when Rin not-so-subtly breezes by too close. Rin throws a grin over his shoulder and Sousuke waves meekly, watching the omega step behind the corner. Sousuke falls back against the wall with an exhale, head swimming.  
His shirt is going to smell like Rin and the omega knew it.  

Rin does good on his promise to Haru. All week, he mentions absent things to Makoto, including Rin's adventures across the globe with the alpha. Haru might be his mortal enemy in all the dramatic ways, but they went through a lot together on their road to the Olympics. When Rin thinks about it, Haru is the only alpha that's never made him feel like things could get dangerous. Well, him and Sousuke, of course. 

Rin thinks a lot about him, too. The omega doesn't have a job since he's taking full advantage of his break, so he's got all the time in the world to daydream about their encounter. The experience was so simple yet sweet; Sousuke was obviously attracted to him, but his flirting was respectful - borderline polite. Rin's never felt so hot and bothered over mere words and looks. He wanders around the apartment with his thermos, reliving all the anticipation and shyness. Rin should be ashamed of the fantasies that take over his days, but he is just too fucking close to his heat to care. 

He starts coming down with the usual symptoms of pre-heat: he gets a head-cold and chills; a fever builds until he is utterly miserable, curled up in blankets and near-tears with loneliness. He might just have to endure this heat on his own. This is about the time he normally starts searching for someone to take care of him, but he is sick and lazy and just accepts defeat. 

He can't even dream of talking to Sousuke about it, though Rin has been bold like that with other alphas before. He can't think of a better way to spend his heat than with Sousuke, but Rin is far too messy and needy during those three days for the alpha to want to stick around afterward. 

Even so, he can't skip the opportunity to see the alpha again. Rin accompanies Makoto and Itsumi to swimming lessons, insisting that he needs to return Sousuke's thermos. He will give any excuse to get closer to the alpha and scent him again, walk just a bit too close and give Sousuke something to think about during the upcoming week. 

Lessons are relatively the same - he and Makoto talk shit with Kisumi, Natsuya shows up late and loud, and Sousuke sneaks those little looks at Rin. The omega wore a low cut shirt and pulled his hair up so Sousuke could steal as many glances as he wants, eyeing Rin's exposed throat. 

Kisumi swarms close with a laugh. "You are killing him! What have you done to our poor alpha?"

"Nothing yet," Rin promises. It might just be his pre-heat talking, but Rin has every intention to get back in that alpha's office and lock the door after lessons. 

That is, until Natsuya has a bout of morning sickness and throws up in the pool. Things derail after that. 

Apparently, Natsuya didn't tell his superiors that he's pregnant, and the manager at the sports complex - an alpha - is infuriated. Natsuya has already missed days at work, and when he does show up, he's always late. 

"I will sue this complex," Nao hisses, pacing back and forth as he waits for his omega to emerge from the administrative wing. "You can't fire someone for being pregnant. I swear to god, I'll -" He storms off on another tangent. Rin and his friends stuck around after lessons to show support - well, the other parents did, anyway. Rin has been bored out of his mind on this break and he is dying for a little drama, though he will admit this is a bit more intense than he wanted. 

"Bosses are colossal dicks when it comes to male pregnancies," Kisumi says, shaking his head bitterly. Yua is asleep in his lap and he plays with her curls. "They say we can only carry a baby for so long and there's always complications. Like, you think we don't know that? I've never seen a male omega have a baby that wasn't premature. Stressing us out isn't going to help anything." He crosses his legs and absently bobs his knee. "I don't blame Natsuya-senpai for not telling them, to be honest. Fuck them."

Asahi winces and tries to talk to Nao. "Maybe he's just getting yelled at. I mean, Natsuya-senpai has laid out a little already, so they might just be giving him a warning."

Nao bristles and comes to a full stop. He looks toward the administrative wing like he will claw down the walls if he hears someone raise their voice at his omega. Makoto and Rin share a brow raise, a silent agreement that they'll be talking about this over wine after Itsumi goes to bed tonight. It seems like Nao is far more emotionally invested in the omega than first assumed. 

Sousuke comes back first and Nao rushes him, demanding to know what happened. "I put in a good word for him," the alpha promises. "But just letting you know, Natsuya has laid out a lot. He's cleaned up in the last few weeks, but there's only so much I can do." 

Nao deflates in acceptance, nodding once. "Thank you." 

Sousuke nods and Rin takes in just how haggard the alpha is - not just from the situation at hand, but generally. He looks like he needs some affection, and that's all the encouragement Rin needs to follow the alpha to his office. 

They walk closer than they once did, and Rin asks, "Think they'll go easy on Natsuya?"

Sousuke sighs, raking up the back of his undercut. "Probably not," he winces. The alpha opens his door before migrating to the coffee maker. He takes the thermos from Rin and nods at the only chair in the room, which is the one behind his desk. "You can sit if you want." 

Rin blushes and does so. Sousuke's jacket lies across the back of the chair and Rin subtly rubs against it, desperate to get a whiff. He takes some indulgent breaths to let the alpha's calming aroma wash over him - Rin audibly sighs. 

Sousuke grins, noticing what he's doing. "You like how I smell?"

No need in lying; that takes far too much effort. "Yeah. It's good." 

"Well, thanks." Sousuke hands the thermos back, fingers closing over Rin's for just a beat - he is strong, Rin realizes. His fingers are perfectly heavy. 

The alpha murmurs, "You smell prettier today than you normally do." 

Excitement buzzes through his knees. "Thank you." Sousuke makes great coffee on top of giving sweet compliments - Rin takes a long sip and hums, appreciating how much warmer he suddenly feels. "God, that shouldn't taste so good. I've had the worst chills these last few days." 

Sousuke's brows crease in concern as he props against the wall. "Are you sick?" 

Rin makes a face. "Not really." 

The alpha frowns, then Rin stretches his neck. His throat is red with fever, and Sousuke says, "Oh." The man glances away, standing up straighter to compose himself. He clears his throat but his voice is all low. "Think you'll be all right?" 

Rin doesn't quite understand. That almost sounded hopeful, like an offer. Surely, that's not what the alpha means - he's far too polite for something like that. 

Just the prospect of it makes Rin flush. He blinks, struggling to come back to reality. "Y-Yeah, I'm good." He leans back and crosses his legs, trying to come off as casual. "Just gonna, like -" He fumbles through a shrug and picks his nails. "Hang out or whatever, I guess. I'll probably go get something to eat later, then hunker down." 

Sousuke looks up rather intensely. "You haven't eaten today?" 

Rin ducks his eyes shyly. "No," he mumbles. "I woke up late. Didn't have time." 

The alpha looks playfully reprimanding. He glances down and puts his hands in his pockets, keeping his voice soft. "I'm done for the day, if you wanted to hang out. Since you won't be able to go out for a while after today." 

Rin's navel dips with a ragged breath, then he teases a grin. "Are you finally asking me on date, Sousuke?" 

Sousuke chuckles low and Rin's toes curl. The alpha's gaze sweeps him all slow and savoring, then he lifts his chin. "I am." His eyes go half-lidded with affection. "Rin." 

Chapter Text

They take a train to the countryside. It’s a crowded ride, so Rin stands with his back to the corner window,  Sousuke  facing him and forced close. The alpha’s forearms brace the overhead; he’s relaxed and lazy as prisms rush over his face. Rin enjoys looking at him, likes this little space in the train that is all their own. Aromas swirl around them in the confinement, but the alpha’s is the strongest and most addictive: a clean musk, potently masculine and soothing.   
Rin mumbles, “What’re you thinking about?”   
Sousuke’s  eyes move from the scenery to the omega’s face. “You.”  
Pleasure warms his voice. “Yeah?”  
The alpha nods, grinning, then his eyes turn back to the window. Lights flux across his face gorgeously.  
Rin ducks his head to smile. “You don’t  wanna  be more specific?”  
“You already know I like you.”

Rin gives a bratty pout and 
Sousuke  chuckles, dipping closer in a lazy sway. Rin lifts his face higher to meet his stare and the alpha’s mouth twitches. “You seem to need complimenting a lot. Detailed compliments, specifically.”   
Rin lifts his brow into a duh expression. “I’m an Aquarius.”  
“I don’t know what that means.” It’s  deadpan  enough to be adorable.   
Rin shrugs, considering as he watches the world rush by. “It’s astrology. Just makes me feel like I can figure people out quicker. Have the upper-hand, or whatever.”   
The train screeches to an abrupt halt. Rin slams both hands over the alpha’s chest to catch himself;  Sousuke’s arms are steady around him, holding the omega firm.  
Rin admires how small his hands look on  Sousuke’s chest; the alpha is sturdy, his pulse ricocheting under Rin’s fingers – he feels wild under the skin, such a contrast to his even features.  
Sousuke  meets his eyes as his hands roam from Rin's waist to his hips in one purposeful motion. Then he lets go, takes Rin’s smaller hand in his own, and leads him through the crowd. “Hungry?”  
Rin nods faintly, hips aching where they were touched.   

The Yamazaki family’s restaurant is closed due to some plumbing issue in the women’s bathroom, so Sousuke  and Rin have the establishment to themselves for the evening. It’s a cozy place, outdated in an endearing way – Rin feels nostalgic for the outings he had with his parents at restaurants like this when he was a child.   
Rin sits at the bar, drinking a glass of  umeshu  sweet enough to make his toes curl. The kitchen is an open space on the other side of the bar, so Rin is face-to-face with  Sousuke  as the alpha works the intimidating grill.  Sousuke  rolls his sleeves up, flushed from the heat of the grill, and he is a graceful cook despite his bulk. It’s the most attractive thing Rin has seen in a long time.   
Rin says, “You look more relaxed than you were at work. You seemed kind of stressed.”  
Sousuke  chuckles, taking a sip of his own  umeshu . “You have that effect on people.”   
Satisfaction makes Rin’s back arch just a little. He teases, “Is drinking while cooking permitted here?”  
“It is tonight.”   
Rin smiles, enjoying the no-nonsense humor, that confidence. He pours himself a little more  umeshu ; the alcohol helps with the pre-heat cramps, but he will be restless soon.  Sousuke’s  smell is a blessing and a curse, making Rin feel taken care of, but only in a way that makes him crave more.   
The alpha waits for the meat to finish, bracing his forearms on the bar. Rin takes the alpha’s hands and opens them, learning the lines of his palms, playing with his fingers. “Do you like working with your family?”  
“I do,”  Sousuke  nods. “I know what to expect. I like a routine.”  
Rin grins, sliding their fingers together – a sense of wholeness brims in his chest. “You don’t seem that spontaneous.”   
“Not really.”  Sousuke  isn’t offended; Rin is sure that it would take a lot to upset the alpha. He is confident in his traditional ways. “This is the craziest thing I’ve done in a while. Well, that and working with kids every week. They’re always unpredictable.”   
Rin laughs, enjoying how the alpha turns his wrist over to rub the inside. His touch is careful and warm.  Sousuke  traces the path of his vein and Rin murmurs, “You do really well with kids.”   
“Thanks.  Itsumi’s  probably the easiest student I’ve had like, ever. She’s shy, but she listens. I can tell that she has a good relationship with – the people who take care of her.”  
Sousuke  knew not to say “her parents” - he must read dynamics well. Rin says, “She and Makoto live with me. I was able to get a bigger apartment after the races, so I just let them have the extra bedroom.”   
“That was good of you.”  Sousuke  cups Rin’s hand and turns it over to cradle it most gently. “Your fingers are so cold.”   
“It’s just the chills.”   
“Mm.” The alpha lifts Rin’s hand, turns it over and brushes his lips across Rin’s wrist, where his scent is the strongest. It’s not a proper kiss, but an instinctual comfort. Rin’s legs cross tighter together as the alpha’s mouth slides up his hand, pecking him there before leaning back. Rin’s whole arm shakes and the chills build to a pulsing fever.   
The yakitori finishes and they eat side-by-side at the bar. Rin’s had plenty of grilled chicken before, but goddamn if this isn’t an  experience –  the meat is saturated with flavor and his eyes roll back. “Jesus,” he chews, covering his mouth with a hand. “That’s fuckin’ good, holy shit.”   
Sousuke  takes the expletives as a deep compliment. “Yeah?”   
Rin scoffs and rolls his eyes at such audacity, the playful modesty.  Sousuke  knows just how incredible this is. “Yeah, shit, I could come it’s so good.”   
The alpha laughs louder than Rin’s heard before and it’s easier to sit close to him after that, letting their thighs press together all firm and warm.  Sousuke’s  arm even slips around him – loosely, just on the small of Rin’s back. He rubs sweetly, hardly bold enough, but Rin’s body does not care about what he’s used to. He needs to be touched and it doesn’t matter how.  
Dinner sobers him up and leaves him drowsy, forgetting about the concept of personal space as he snuggles into the alpha’s side.  Sousuke  chuckles and rubs his cheek across Rin’s hair, murmuring, “Satisfied?”   
“Very,” he grins, eyes opening half-lidded as he faces the alpha. Their intertwined hands rest in Sousuke’s lap, and they’re close enough to share smells; Rin likes the aroma they create, heady enough to taste. He brings Sousuke’s  hand to his mouth and pecks his wrist. “That was so good, thank you.”   
The alpha blinks dazedly, half-nodding. He lets Rin sneak closer, legs thrown over his lap, and  Sousuke  rubs a path up and down Rin’s thigh. The omega sweeps a finger between  Sousuke’s  brows just because, noting the frown-line there. He keeps his voice quiet. “Tell me something about you. Besides swimming.”  
Rin’s finger slides down to  Sousuke’s lips and the alpha gives it a quick kiss before responding. “I wasn’t the best in school? I did all right, but if I don’t like something, it’s hard for me to change my mind.”  
His hand is on Rin’s back, roaming up his shoulders to  cup  the back of his neck, soft but heavy. Rin’s hand is trembling when it rests on the alpha’s thigh. “And what about when you like something?” Rin’s eyes flutter up, black swelling over his irises.   
The alpha’s hand climbs through Rin’s hair, pushing it back. Rin parts his lips, vanilla tickling his tongue.  Sousuke  is so close when he murmurs, “Then it’s hard for me to stop wanting it.”   
A breath punches out of Rin before he falls into the alpha, lips meshing together hard. The world is a black fire behind his eyelids; heat crawls up his thighs, festering between his legs. Hands cradle his face, adoring and not so careful anymore. Rin licks into Sousuke's mouth, nails digging into the muscle of Sousuke’s  thighs, and he  moans  when the alpha’s teeth scrape his lip.   
Sousuke  lifts him easily without breaking the kiss, setting Rin on the bar and yanking him close by the knees. Rin’s arms go around  Sousuke’s shoulders and he tips his head back to let the alpha eat at his throat, licking heat across his skin.  
“Fuck,” Rin gasps, struggling to get a leg around  Sousuke . The alpha stands up, never parting from his neck, and his body presses near, so intense that tears swell in Rin’s eyes. Sousuke’s breath is ragged all over him, hands up Rin’s shirt, and the omega rasps, “’M wet...”  
Sousuke’s  groan makes him shake. “I know.”   
His teeth are so closed to digging into  Rin’s  throat -  
The front door jiggles open and light floods in. “Yoo-hoo,  Sou-chan ~ Are you here?”   
Sousuke   growls.  He keeps Rin against him until a short lady waddles in and scandalized excitement blooms on her face. “Oh! I’m sorry!” She’s definitely not.  
Sousuke  cringes,  thunks  his head against Rin’s shoulder, then composes himself. “It’s fine, Mom. Hi.”   
Her gaze darts between her son and Rin. The omega scrambles off the bar and fixes his clothes, but he still looks crazy, his hair a mess from Sousuke’s  hands. The woman gives  Sousuke  a pointed look and he sighs. “This is Rin.” The omega flutters his fingers in a timid wave.   
The woman’s jaw drops. “Are you – is he that swimmer you have posters of in your apartment?”  
“No,”  Sousuke  snaps. Rin cranes back with evil glee.   
The woman bows politely. “I was just getting something from the back. Has  Sou-chan  offered you any of our mochi? I’ll go get some, it’s our specialty! No fee!”   
She hurries through the kitchen doors and  Sousuke  just looks after her with a shake of his head. Rin giggles and leans up on his toes to kiss the alpha’s forehead, swinging their joined hands. “Have you jerked off on posters of me?”  
“I’m not  that  weird,”  Sousuke  grumbles.   
By the time they’re back on the train, Rin is in  pain  and can’t ignore it. His hands get shaky, knees wobbly; he’s dazed from his fever and his hips throb.  Sousuke  accompanies him to the grocery store, where Rin buys all the cola and chocolate the alpha can carry for him. He has very specific cravings during his heat and he will throw a fit if he doesn’t get what he wants.  
He’s already getting needy, clinging to  Sousuke  as he walks him home. The alpha is such a gentleman about it, carrying Rin’s groceries, keeping an arm around his shoulders. Rin is borderline delirious once they get to his apartment steps; he takes deep breaths of cool air, brows pinched against waves of pain.   
Sousuke  pets his hair worriedly. “Is this normal?”  
The omega’s teeth grit as his muscles contract, swell, spasm. He can’t talk, so he offers a meek nod.   
Sousuke  looks pained. He frames Rin’s face to press their foreheads together and it’s such a comfort. The peck the alpha gives him is soft. “I don’t think you’re going to be okay by yourself, Rin.”  
If Rin wasn’t so out of it, he’d realize that  Sousuke  is  offering .

The omega wavers, struggling to keep his vision focused. “Mine are just...” His lips tremble, mouth dry. “My heats are just... more intense than the norm. This is fine.”
Sousuke  gives him a winded look.  
Rin embraces the alpha, snuggling into his chest for a blessed minute. He inhales against  Sousuke’s  throat, peppering a few delirious kisses there. “Smell so good...”   
Sousuke  leans back to shrug off his jacket, then drapes it over Rin’s shoulders. At the omega’s dazed confusion, the alpha grins just a bit. “ So  you’ll think of me.”   
An aching swell of desire burns him up inside - a possessiveness that  Sousuke  reads on Rin’s face. The omega pulls his collar down and orders in a whisper, “Scent me.”   
Sousuke’s  on him quicker than the next breath. Rin whines at having him close, shaking in his arms. The alpha runs his mouth down both sides of Rin’s throat, breathing heat over his skin and leaving chills in his wake.  Sousuke  presses messy kisses to his wrists, then cradles both of Rin’s hands against his chest. “Text me if you need anything.”  
Rin promises to do so and wobbles into the apartment, groping through the dark. He follows the light of the television to the living room, where  Itsumi  is asleep beside Makoto on the couch. The omega glances up from his phone, then does a double-take. “Shit, Rin -!”   
Makoto stumbles over and steadies Rin before the poor omega can waver. He takes the groceries from Rin and he would thank Makoto,  were  he not bowed over the island and squeezing his eyes shut against the pain.  “Fuck.”  The word punches out of him, more guttural than he would have allowed  Sousuke  to hear.   
“Jesus, you reek.” He hears Makoto drop some ice into a glass and pour some cola. The omega nudges it against Rin’s hand, along with some sleeping pills. “Here, take those real quick. You need to try and sleep through some of it.”  
Rin groans and takes the pills, wincing at his sore throat. He’s panting from the exertion of just  being.   
Makoto looks him over in concern. “Did you at least have fun?”  
“Yes,” Rin whines, rocking back and forth, restless. “He’s so sweet, I could have died.”  
Makoto’s smile is genuine. “Good. Is he coming back to...?”  
“No. I didn’t know how to ask him.”  
The omega’s eyes bulge. “Are you kidding me?! Rin, you’re drenched in his smell! He had to have been all over you!”  
Rin grimaces as a wave of blistering fire shakes his core. “I got –  s hit  -  I got nervous, I don’t know. Don’t  wanna  put all that on him just yet.”

Makoto sighs, giving him a pitiful look. “You really like him then, don’t you?”  
“Don’t go soft on me, Tachibana.”  
“I’m not, you’re the one getting soft.” Makoto reaches for his phone and starts scrolling. “ Itsumi’s  sire is picking her up in a few days, so I can’t go to  Iwatobi  for this.  Kisumi said we could come hang out at his place, since Asahi is away on a business trip.”  
“That’s not fair though,” Rin croaks. “You hate being around other people too long.”  
Makoto winces because, well, that’s true. “ Kisumi  is nice, though.  Itsumi  wants to hang out with  Yua  anyway, so it won’t be a big deal.”  
Rin shakes his head, groping along the wall to hobble for his bedroom. “Just - just  gimme  a minute, I’ll figure  somethin ’ out.”   
He hears Makoto sigh, then Rin shuts his bedroom door. The omega blacks out before falling face-first onto the mattress.   

He breaks at four in the morning.  
Rin jerks awake and gasps for air. His back arches; sweat stings his eyes. Muscles burn and his insides pulse. It feels like he’s been in a car wreck and he just won’t die.   
The omega is mindless as he pulls his phone from his jeans. His eyes are bloodshot as he scrambles to find a contact. He hits the call button and the waiting brings him to tears.  
There’s an answer on the last ring;  Sousuke’s  voice gravels over with sleep.  “Shit - yeah?”   
“Please come fuck me.”  
The alpha inhales sharply and there’s a hurried rustle of movement.  “Give me ten minutes.”   

Rin finds his way to the kitchen from muscle-memory alone. His vision is peach-toned, swimming in a throbbing haze. It feels like he’s holding the wrong end of a curling iron and can’t let go.  
Maybe he came in here to find a drink - or was it to splash some water on his face? Rin doesn’t know. He misses the sink, misses the note on the counter from Makoto saying that he and  Itsumi  already left for the Shiina household.  
Rin is wearing nothing but his underwear and Sousuke’s  jacket. He is slumped in a bar stool, arms hugging around his middle to keep himself from spilling apart.   
Distant and muffled, a door opens. Musky vanilla hits his senses and his pupils burst over the last sliver of his irises. Like the crack of a whip, everything inside of him changes.   
He can’t hear anything; the world drips in slow-motion and his pulse beats on like a ticking clock, echoing in his ears. He turns in the stool to find  Sousuke  there with fretting hands – but when he finds Rin’s skin, the hesitation slips away. He is not shy in that moment, but he still waits for permission.   
Rin lifts a hand to Sousuke's face in awe, fingertips running down the man’s lips to his throat.  
Rin yanks him forward by the shirt and hisses into his mouth,  “Alpha.”   
Sousuke  snaps – Rin breaks him in two and throws the pieces of him into the fire they make together.  Sousuke  takes his mouth with possessive aggression, yanking Rin closer, and he grinds once against his core. Rin leaves a wet mess on the alpha’s jeans and humps his stomach, sinking from the surface of himself; every nasty ambition he’s ever had spills from his mouth, babbling, hissing, sobbing.   
Sousuke takes the omega’s arms and twists him around on the stool, pinning Rin’s cheek to the counter. He moans at the show of strength, not realizing that there’s blood under his fingernails - he accidentally scratched  Sousuke  in a desperate attempt to make him  do something.   
Shh, baby,” the alpha coos. Rin trembles down to his toes.  Sousuke  pulls the omega to the back of the stool until Rin’s ass hangs off. The alpha’s hand goes down the back of Rin’s underwear, finding where he’s wet and pink and ready.  Sousuke  moans a curse.   
Rin jolts, burying a whine against the counter. He is blind with need; his ankles twist around the leg of the bar stool and he holds on for dear life, rutting against nothing.   
“Please,” Rin whimpers.   
Sousuke lets his bound wrists go and there’s a shuffle of movement. The alpha’s hand is rather chaste on Rin’s back, then there’s a pause. “Are you on the pill?”  
Rin shakes, searching frantically through his ruined mind. He remembers enough of himself to nod – he hates suppressants but deals with the side effects of birth control because it’s a necessity. “Yeah.”   
Sousuke  lets out an immense breath. “Thank God.”   
The alpha’s cock splits him open in one full motion and Rin lets out a wild cry.   
For the first time in  days,  there’s no pain - only the heat, only the sensation of  Sousuke’s  arms hugging around him, locking their fingers together.  Sousuke  gives it to him in long, hard strokes, sliding in deep, coming out  slick.  Rin gives a raw yell, eyes squeezed shut as his toes curl. The alpha’s arms are enveloping him and Rin grips his fingers, digs his nails in possessively.   
Sousuke  ruts into him and the drag of his cock is the best thing Rin’s ever experienced. The omega feels small and messy, fragile and hot with excitement. He knots his fingers in  Sousuke’s  hair as the alpha  dots  quick snatches of kisses across Rin’s throat.   
“Yeah?” The alpha is breathless, pinning Rin to the counter and holding him in place for fucking. “You like that, baby?”  
“Yes, fuck,  yes,”  Rin whines, squeezing around  Sousuke’s cock. He’s so big inside, sinking in deep enough to make Rin shake.  
“Fuck, you’re so  wet,”  the alpha breathes, giving a long, slow thrust that makes Rin’s knees dig together.  
Fo -or you,” Rin hitches, feeling just a bit more like himself when he grins faintly.   
Sousuke  chuckles and nuzzles into his throat, hugging the omega tight to him. He pants against Rin’s ear and Rin clings to the sound, letting it take him higher and higher; the pleasure narrows, sharpening, and Rin comes with a shocked cry.   
He’s panting with his cheek against the counter, satisfaction making his eyes roll back. Drowsiness sweeps over him and he’s quivering, needs to be held. His body won’t let him go to sleep unless his alpha is near.  
Distantly, he realizes he’s being picked up, cradled against a damp chest. He’s laid out and the world is soft, so forgiving beneath him.  Sousuke  gathers him up in his arms and Rin curls into a ball against his chest, drifting away to the sensation of kisses in his hair.   

He finds consciousness just a few hours later and Rin has reached the possessive stage of this nightmare.  
Waking up alone is infuriating; he sits up in bed with an inhuman growl. The apartment smells like his alpha, Rin’s body smells like him, but why is he not here?  
Sousuke hears the omega’s calls and slips back into the bedroom; Rin’s growls turn into purrs when Sousuke  puts his hands on him. “You need to eat,” the alpha says.   
Rin’s brows knit.  “No.”   
Sousuke  arches a brow in patient amusement. “I won’t fuck you again until you eat something.”   
The omega bristles, offended. He seethes and pushes  Sousuke  onto his back, straddles his hips. The alpha hits the pillows with a flat expression, but he sighs, patting Rin’s hips.  Sousuke  says, “Are you in pain?”  
Rin’s eyes narrow. He rolls down on the alpha’s cock -  Sousuke  is wearing sweats, but Rin still feels the shape of him, remembers how it felt inside. Rin bends down to lick across the alpha’s scent gland, whispering , ”I’m still wet for you.”  
Sousuke  clears his throat, keeping a firm gaze on the ceiling.   
Rin sits up, confidently naked as he brings the alpha’s hand between his legs. “Feel that? How you make me feel?”  
Sousuke  works his jaw but says nothing.   
Rejection makes Rin’s eyes prickle. “Why didn’t you come in me?”  
Sousuke  finally looks at him and startles at the tears on Rin’s face. “Baby,” he sighs, sitting up to cradle the omega close. “You fell asleep.”  
“Want it,” Rin sniffles. “Need it. Want your knot.”  
Sousuke  hesitates and the omega yanks his shirt with a bratty order.  “Give it.”  Desperation leaves him babbling, “Please, fuckin’ do it, please, ‘m sorry I’m mean, just -” He takes a breath. “Give it, please.”   
Sousuke’s  grin is one of  fond  exasperation. He taps Rin’s nose. “You have to eat afterward. Understand?”  
Rin nods dumbly, grinding down on  Sousuke’s  lap. “Want your cum.”   
“You're gonna kill me,” the alpha says, lying down and shimming his pants just half-way down his thighs. He runs indulgent hands up Rin’s stomach, teasing over his navel. “You want it right there? Inside you?”  
“Yes,” Rin gasps, mindless as he rubs against a naked cock. He presses that big hand over his stomach. “Want your pups.”   
Sousuke’s  eyes go black as his own.   
Rin holds his gaze as he reaches down between  them,  finding where the alpha is long and hard and throbbing. He gives him a few dragging strokes before positioning his cock, and when Rin sinks down, his body flushes.   
“Easy, pretty,”  Sousuke  whispers, keeping one hand on Rin’s stomach, the other on his hip.  
Rin tips his face to the ceiling and opens his thighs wider.  Sousuke’s  cock squeezes deeper; Rin slides down to the swollen base and that’s when his back straightens, face scrunching. He is so  full.   
Sousuke  rubs the omega’s stomach, where he’s bulging. “Take it, baby. Take my knot. It’s yours.”  
Rin  moans.  He bounces down, pleasure raking his spine. Aggression burns up his thighs and he  rides  the alpha in long, wet strokes. Desperately, Rin tries to take more of him, but he’s fit to burst with cock, all pink and sore between the legs.   
He wants to cry again. He needs it so fucking bad, but he can’t -  
Rin gasps when the alpha flips them, never slipping from his body.  Sousuke  sits up with the omega’s thighs in hand, then presses into him  deep.   
Rin’s eyes narrow at the tightness, back arching, then an immense girth pushes against his entrance.   
“Oh  god -”  Rin digs his nails into the alpha’s thighs, head thrown back and delirious.  
The alpha pushes gently, but it still drags a scream out of Rin. He slaps  Sousuke’s  thigh impatiently, ankles rolling, legs clenched. The omega croaks, “Please,  Sousuke please -”  
“Please what?” The alpha brushes a kiss against Rin’s raised thigh.  
Rin no longer recognizes pride. He’s never met that bitch in his life.  “Fuck  me.”   
The alpha is panting, sweating all haggard and gone, but his gaze is so affectionate.   
Sousuke  fucks him harder and Rin can’t breathe, can’t think of anything else other than being  full.  He yelps against each thrust, fucked out and stretched and near-tears with pleasure.   
The alpha’s knot works its way in and Rin clenches down, greedy for the flash of pain, possessive of all that is his. He scrambles for  Sousuke’s face, grabbing him by the hair to yank him down into a kiss. The alpha purrs, wrapping his omega up in his arms and panting against his ear, “Come for me, Rin, come all over that cock -”  
Rin does, perfectly obedient and crying out, curling into himself. Another orgasm builds in his stomach as  Sousuke  loses himself, taking his pleasure – it makes Rin hot all over. He’s numb between the legs but he still hisses filthy things at  Sousuke , nasty whispers that he will not remember.  
When  Sousuke  groans and spills, it’s the hottest moment of Rin’s life. His legs squeeze the alpha, fingers digging into his back, and Rin’s cock weakly sputters once more.   
Rin doesn’t do good on his promise. He passes out.   

The next two days are a wonderful blur.  
Rin always wakes up possessive, but sometimes it’s subdued.  Sousuke  will have his arms around him, either playing with his hair or tracing his scent glands. Sometimes Rin cries for it, other times he demands it, but in the end, he gives  Sousuke  full control.   
The alpha eventually persuades  him into eating - probably not as much as  Sousuke  hoped, but enough to satisfy him. The alpha is always ready to please and seems to enjoy providing for Rin in any way he can, whether that be pleasure, food, or comfort.   
Rin starts coming back to himself on the night of the third day. It’s like the whole thing has been a black-out, yet he knows that he was never afraid, never in danger. He’s in the bath and  Sousuke  is washing the omega’s hair.   
Rin blinks, awareness creeping back to him. He looks around in a daze, groping along his throat. There are definitely some hickeys, but Sousuke  never bit him – even when the alpha lost himself beyond comprehension, he never took the power of consent away from Rin.   
His eyes burn.   
Slowly, he turns around to blink up at the alpha, and  Sousuke  looks down at him. His hands are sudsy, sleeves rolled up. Rin’s brows go high and crease with emotion. He whispers, “Hi.”  
“Hey. You back?”  
Rin nods faintly, still staring at him in awe.  Sousuke  seems to understand, giving him a long look of affection before rinsing Rin’s hair.   
“Thank you,” the omega mumbles, knees drawn up. He is so warm and supple.   
Sousuke  chuckles handsomely. “For what? Getting to sleep with you? Getting to take care of you?”  
Rin blushes, toes digging together underwater. “Yeah.”  
The alpha just shakes his head in amusement before grabbing a towel, opening it up for Rin. He stands on  wobbly  legs and lets  Sousuke  envelop him in the plush cotton; the alpha kisses his forehead and Rin could just melt away into nothing.   
Sousuke hugs him where they’re standing and speaks against Rin’s skin. “It was my pleasure. Not to sound like a jackass.”  
The omega giggles. “Well, thanks, then.” He places his hands on Sousuke’s chest, chews his lip. “I’m surprised I didn’t scare you off yet. I’ve been told I’m a fuckin’ nightmare to deal with during a heat.”  
“You are,"  Sousuke  nods solemnly. Rin rolls his eyes and swats the alpha’s ass. “But I’m the same way during a rut.”  
Rin’s eyes widen. He is so tired, so sore that he could sleep for a year, yet desire still pools between his legs at such a prospect.  
Sousuke  smirks. “I like you, Rin. Even when you’re not yourself.”  

Since they have the place to themselves, Sousuke  plans on spending the night again. Rin hastily cleans the entirety of the apartment, opening all the windows and turning every fan on blast.  Sousuke   cooks  dinner and they have brief conversations each time Rin dashes by with the mop. It’s domestic; it’s addictive.   
Makoto and  Itsumi  come home and the little girl  is  delighted to see her coach. Again, domestic and addictive.   
While  Itsumi  drags  Sousuke to her room to show her each individual toy she’s ever owned, Makoto chews his lip at Rin. They’re standing alone in the kitchen, yet the taller omega still keeps his voice at a whisper. ”Hey, uh. I might need a favor. Like, tonight.”  
Rin lifts his brows over his wine glass. “ Wanna  know how to take seven loads in a day?”  
Makoto’s eyes fall flat. “Was that all?”  
Rin splutters on his drink and Makoto continues over his hacking coughs. “ Haruka  asked me out and I’m wondering if you and  Sousuke  could watch  Itsumi  for a bit.”   
Rin chokes even harder, throwing himself over the sink.  “What the hell?!  How -”

Makoto waits for him to finish with exasperation.

Rin flops against the wall and heaves. “What the hell have
you  been up to?”  
“He came over to Kisumi’s for dinner one night while I was there. We talked.”  
Rin’s eyes narrow. ”You tongued him down, didn’t you?”  
“Not yet, but I’d like the opportunity to. So, if you wouldn’t mind?”  
Rin throws a hand up and refills his wine glass. “Yeah, shit man. Go for it. Just don’t get pregnant again - like, I love Itsumi , but Haru’s got a cousin that had twins and it’s safe to say we would all lose our shit if that happened. Can you imagine if Haru had just one kid? That fucker would be pale as a ghost and have a major staring problem.”  
Makoto just stares. “Right.”  

Nanase  Haruka  isn’t the most typical alpha.   
Granted, Makoto was only attracted to the over-bearing type in college. He liked that thrill he had never experienced before; growing up in a small town, he was expected to act one way and grow up to be one thing: a married omega who stayed at home with babies on his hips.  
Makoto didn’t even know there  could  be another path for him until he got to university. He didn’t know a thing about sensuality or the fact that alphas could want him - like, a lot. Growing up with the same set of people means that when he did something embarrassing in grade school, everyone remembered it after graduation and nobody wanted to give him a chance.  
Rin tried hard to help Makoto keep his chin up, but it was  attention  that made Makoto change. He did things in college that his conservative family would have balked at – Makoto himself balked at all those things until someone wanted him to do it.   
Itsumi’s sire was good for one thing, besides giving Makoto a daughter: he taught Makoto passion during those first few months they were together; the man was immature and foolish when it came to life, but he told Makoto that he could be whoever the fuck he wanted to.  
Itsumi’s  sire liked him wild and careless; Makoto liked being that version of himself for a while, but it was never who he truly was.   
He realized that he and Itsumi’s  sire were going to split up when Makoto found out he was pregnant. He fled college, fled everything he knew and followed Rin to Australia. Makoto had to straighten up and get his shit together; there was no time to find himself, but he had to figure out who he needed to be for his baby.   
Itsumi’s sire was furious that he left. The idiot didn’t want to try and work things out, but he made it clear he still cared in his own selfish way. Makoto can’t be that mad at him, but he can most certainly carry around some justified resentment.  Itsumi’s  sire insisted that he wasn’t ready to have a child; he never considered that Makoto was three times more petrified and  unprepared . Makoto had to accept that he was going to be cut open and might die, which wasn't even the hardest part of being a parent. That was just the beginning.
Makoto is happy to say that he did find pieces of himself eventually, over the years. He found himself in those first few weeks after Itsumi was born, when he was sitting on his bed in his parent’s house. She was asleep in his lap and all was quiet as he looked out the window to the first blooms of spring.   
He found himself when he was scrambling for job interviews and nobody wanted him because he hadn’t finished his degree. There were so many nights that he spent staring at the wall with a sobbing baby, feeling so below rock bottom. He got through it because he had to, and he came out stronger.   
He found himself when Rin made bank from the races he won, and when his dearest friend offered an empty bedroom for Makoto and his daughter. He got back on his feet, found a job at an overcrowded daycare where he feels important and life is purposeful.  
Makoto thinks he will always be finding himself, and he feels an awareness like never before as Haruka  sits across from him in a little café with brick walls and red booths- it’s another precious moment to fill his heart, build him to wholeness.   
The alpha’s hand was resting on the table and Makoto took it simply because he wanted to, but it was the alpha who linked their fingers;  Haruka’s  hand is smaller than his own, but certainly not delicate. His palms are textured rough, fingers long and capable.   
The alpha is not good at small talk and it is difficult to make him laugh, but Makoto is  ecstatic just to feel like a normal person again. Haruka  flirts in more subtle ways, through stolen glances and the ghost of a smile. He is attractive in that he has nothing to prove, and Makoto wishes he could be so free.   
Of course, Makoto could talk about his child for days, and that’s where the conversation turns when Haruka is walking him home after dinner. The alpha says, “You’re doing good with her. She’s more well-behaved than most kids.”  
Such compliments have brought Makoto to tears before, but he just smiles with the alpha’s hand in his. “Thank you. Rin helps out a lot.”  
“He’s more immature than her,” Haru scoffs, and Makoto laughs more genuinely than he has in a long time. He never wants the night to end.  
That’s why he offers  Haruka  a cup of coffee for the road, lets him into the apartment and anticipates some sweet looks, maybe a kiss when he leaves -   
Makoto opens the apartment door and the acidic scent of an alpha hits him. It’s like a flat soda, or something else just as  disappointing  
Makoto sighs and looks up to see Rin and  Sousuke  in the kitchen; Rin is drowning a scowl in wine while  Sousuke  stands between his omega and the unexpected guest.   
Makoto's voice goes flat as roadkill. “You were supposed to pick her up in the morning,  Kaede .”   
“Early flight,” the alpha responds.   
Haruka  is still holding  Makoto’s  hand and  Kinjou’s  gaze darts between them. His brows startle together, neon eyes hardening. His jaw ticks.   
Haruka growls.   
Kinjou jumps, probably not expecting such an intense noise from a shorter alpha. Rin and Sousuke  also look surprised. Makoto is, well, rather  intrigued  by such a noise.  
Kinjou  leans back with a  tch,  rolling his eyes, but he backs down. “ Itsumi  wanted to say  bye  to you. That’s the only reason I’m still here.” He gives a sharp, critical look that isn’t as strong as he probably hoped. “What were you doing out so late?“  
“Oh, fuck off, Carrot Top,”  Rin scoffs in the background.  Sousuke smirks and pats his omega proudly.  
Itsumi emerges from her room with her backpack and a new doll that is almost as big as her. She holds the doll up to Makoto proudly. “Sire brought me this.”  
“And she is so  pretty,”  Makoto gasps, bending down to her eye level. He fixes her coat collar and adjusts her backpack straps. “Be a sweet girl. Don’t let sire give you too much candy.” He lifts his brows playfully.  ”We  tell him it’s bad for us, right?”  
Itsumi  twists her foot shyly. “Yeah.”  
She’s such a liar and Makoto  loves  her with his whole heart.   
He sends  Kinjou  and  Itsumi  on their way, then flops on the couch because holy shit that was almost too intense.   
Haruka  stands awkwardly, still reeling. The alpha finally mumbles, “I’m  gonna  be honest, he’s not what I was expecting.”  
Makoto sighs, taking the wine that Rin hands him with a smirk. “We all make mistakes, Haru-chan.” He takes a long sip and grimaces. “Kaede  was mine.”   

That night with Sousuke  in his bed, Rin scrolls through his phone. The alpha is surprisingly clingy when he’s tired; he throws an arm over Rin’s ass, keeps his face nuzzled firmly in the omega’s shoulder.   
The light from Rin’s phone eventually wakes him up.  Sousuke  grumbles, “What're you  doin ’?”  
Rin rolls over onto his stomach, propping up on his elbows. He looks enlightened. “So, okay - I had originally worried we weren’t going to be compatible since you’re a Virgo and I’m an Aquarius.”  
Sousuke stares, then frowns at the clock. “It’s three in the morning -”  
“But I knew there was another way it could work,” Rin continues on a proper tangent. “ So I looked it up, did some research, and I figured out that it doesn’t matter I’m an Aquarius!”  
The alpha blinks once, twice. “Because we already like each other?”  
“You’re sweet, but no. Guess what Virgo’s planet is.”  
Sousuke is exasperated, yet Rin looks so excited that he has to rake the omega’s hair back. Fondly, he murmurs, “What planet, baby?”  
Rin’s got pure starlight in his eyes when he turns the phone around. “Mercury.”