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Willing

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It’s Rose who sends her the ad. 

A screenshot via WhatsApp, with the caption <In case you’ve changed your mind about dating> followed by a laughing emoji, the one with the spilling tears that is rotated to a forty-five degree angle. It takes Rey two reads to realize why.

 

34 [M4F] New York - Alpha M looking for Omega F in her early 20s. Athletic build, small breasts, straight brown hair, and a light complexion are a must. Freckles and British accent are a plus. Willing to do as she’s told. Not looking for commitment. Contact for more information.

 

Rey huffs out a laugh and mutes her TV, right as Liz Lemon begins to sing about her night cheese.

 

Rey: <omg> 

Rose: <right!?> 

Rey: <fits me to a t> 

Rey: <except i’m not willing to do what this dude wants, ofc> 

Rey: <i almost feel flattered…> 

Rose: <you totally should. you’re someone’s fetish or something> 

Rey: <would be the first time> 

Rey: <where is this even from?> 

Rose: <Reddit. Personals.> 

Rey: <not sure I want to ask but what were you doing there?> 

Rose: <you know Finn and I are looking for a third> 

Rey: <oh, yeah! how’s that going?> 

Rose: <chatting with a guy named Poe now> 

Rose: <he’s a Beta, like us> 

Rose: <seems promising. keep you updated>

 

Rey lets herself ponder the intricacies of three-way Beta sex for what she considers a reasonable, non-creepy amount of time, and then unmutes the telly. 

She takes a sip from her water bottle.

She fluffs her pillow.

She eyes the pistachio Oreos on the coffee table (and ultimately decides against eating a couple, not worth the hassle of having to brush her teeth again).

She fluffs her pillow again, settling back more comfortably to finish watching this episode of 30 Rock for the nineteenth time.

And then, after all of that, she reaches for her phone and pulls up Rose’s messages once more. 

 

 

She doesn’t even have to make an account. 

She already has a Reddit username, from back when she was in her cross-country skiing phase and couldn’t figure out what gear to buy and where the best spots in her area were. It’s not her real name, and it’s not connected to her work email, which means that it’s anonymous enough, signing in and browsing the Personals by keyword; looking for the post Rose took a screenshot of. It’s—it’s that easy, apparently. 

Rey has no idea what she’s doing. And whatever that is, it sure doesn’t seem like a good idea. So she sets her phone on the coffee table, screen down and facing the chipped wood, and tries to focus on Tracy Jordan and the tantrum he’s throwing. While biting off the little cuticles around her nails.

 

 

It’s not the “Willing to do as she’s told” bit that has her mull it over as she prepares her overnight oats. Probably. 

Maybe. 

Surely.

It’s just—being an Omega, it can be so bloody confusing. On the one hand, there is her education, and her common sense, and the stupid stereotypes she wants to fight against—decades of gender studies scholarship and the First and Second Wave Omega Movement and heaps of Instagram influencers who make a living by being inspiring and talking about their experiences as Omegas finally in charge of their own minds and bodies. 

On other other hand... on the other, there’s a whole lot of pesky little issues. Like the fact that the other day her new, very detestable Alpha boss randomly ordered her to prepare a report on the most recent infrastructure projects carried out by Resistance, and the next thing she knew so much slick was running down her thigh, under her very professional pencil skirt bought on sale from Kohl's, that she had to run to the ladies' room to cover her scent with coarse toilet paper and liquid hand soap. 

So. Yeah. Confusing.   

But it’s not the tough guy attitude in the post that has her impressed. Alpha posturing is just that—posturing. It’s possibly the fact that this specific Alpha (34, M) is looking for someone who looks and sounds exactly like Rey and granted, Omegas tend to be light and slender and of average height, not to mention that British people are a dime a dozen in New York and freckles are technically a skin disease, but—

No one ever likes Rey. Or—some do, of course, but never to the point where they’d rather be with someone who looks like her than with anyone else.

Not Alphas, anyway, and not in the way the ad seems to imply.

She’s still not sure how she feels about the “Willing to do as she’s told” bit. Even though, just a few seconds before falling asleep, it occurs to her that she might be a little curious. To find out exactly what it is that this Alpha would tell her.

 

 

She doesn’t do anything about the ad for a day. Then two. Then four. 

Then she forgets all about it, because apparently working for a company that was the recent target of a successful hostile takeover is a time and energy consuming experience for all employees—made appreciably more unpleasant by the weird family ties between several of the players involved. 

She is definitely not thinking about the ad anymore the following week, when the CEO of the acquirer company, First Order, and his in-house legal team visit Resistance for what feels like the tenth time this month and erase every trace of the previous owners, who have been nothing but lovely to Rey since she graduated from college. Rey would quit in solidarity, really, but she has very little money, no citizenship, and she’s an Omega to boot. People who say that designation doesn’t make a difference in whatever workplace—hell, in whatever moment of a person’s life—are either liars or fools.

At least, she gets to be icy-cold and borderline contemptuous towards the new CEO—the very asshole who triggered a small lake of slick from her and reminded her that she really is an Omega after all. When she pretends not to see his hand to avoid shaking it and his jaw tightens and rolls, Rey savors a moment of glee. When he asks for a meeting with her to discuss the task-management in her division, it feels good to send Snap in her stead. Yes, maybe she needs another brief trip to the restroom and more of that liquid soap, but she does it while gloating in vengeance a little. Take that, you Alpha shithead. This is for taking your parents’ company away from them.

So, yeah. Rey doesn’t think about the ad for two whole weeks. And probably never would have again, if it hadn’t been for Rose’s texts.

 

 

Rose: <he.>

Rose: <is.>

Rose: <IT.> 

Rose: <he is the one.> 

Rey: <what? who?>

Rose: <Poe. Poe’s the one.>

 

Poe. Poe? It takes Rey a couple of seconds to place him.

 

Rey: <wait. Reddit guy?>

Rose: <yep. we hung out last night. smart and funny and decent and all that>

Rose: <i loved him, Finn loved him.>

Rose: <we both loved him>

Rose: <(orally)>

Rose: <his dick. fuck Rey, it’s alpha-sized>

 

Rey buries her head in her hands, because—no, she didn’t particularly want to know. And then she takes a deep breath and powers through, because—yes, that’s what friends are for. Apparently.

 

Rey: <i’m so happy for you>

Rose: <thanks me toooo>

Rose: <we’re gonna take it slowly, but…>

Rose: <btw, this was all me. Finn was all like ‘Reddit sucks, no decent human being answers personals on Reddit, he’s gonna disembowel us and eat our gallbladders with garlic salt and cash in our 401ks' and i am an amazing girlfriend, because i didn’t say ‘i told you so’ even once while Poe was sucking his spine out of his dick last night >

 

Oh, God. Oh, God, God, God. So. Much. Information.

 

Rey: <that’s so kind of you>

Rose: <right? but pls, 3 months from now when you’re helping us move Poe’s credenza into our apartment do tell Finn something like ‘thank god for Reddit and thank god for Rose’>

Rose: <it’s what he deserves>

Rey: <will do.>

 

Rey will do no such thing. Ever. Since she mostly agrees with Finn, and considers Reddit the harbinger of the apocalypse, the black hole from which all chaos originates, the dumpster fire of the internet. But hearing that not everyone who hangs out in the Personals forums is a weirdo… well.

Well.

 

… 

 

<Hi :) >, she starts. 

And then hides her face in the Nicolas Cage sequin pillow on her couch because—Hi?! Who is this lame? No one. Just Rey. In the entire damn world. God.

 

Sunshine94: <I have never really answered a post on Reddit before>

Sunshine94: <Or online>

Sunshine94: <Or anywhere, really>

Sunshine94: <But… I do fit your description. Physically, I mean. I even have freckles—everywhere, really, it’s kind of a curse—and a British accent. I’m 5’7’’. Hair is brown, and a little longer than shoulder-length. Omega, too.>

Sunshine94: <So I thought I’d try and see if you were still interested. I know it’s been a while since you posted.>

 

She grimaces, and holds tight onto the pillow.

 

Sunshine94: <But I might be screwing this up big time.>

Sunshine94: <I’m not sure what else I should tell you.>

 

Three dots appear at the bottom of the screen, and Rey's heart speeds up in her chest.

 

K_Ren: <It’s okay.>

K_Ren: <I’ve never posted an ad, either. We’re on even footing>

K_Ren: <And you sound perfect, Omega.>

 

Oh—oh.

Oh.

Oh.

 

Sunshine94: <Can I ask you a couple of questions?>

 

She is not blushing. She is not.

 

K_Ren: <Of course>

 

The thing is, Rey has no idea where to start. There are so many things she wants to know. So many things she should know, if she’s even considering this.

 

Sunshine94: <What do you look like?>

K_Ren: <Nothing special. Pretty much typical Alpha. Tall, the usual build, dark hair. Not particularly handsome. Would you like me to send a picture?>

Sunshine94: <No. No, I don’t think it’s necessary.>

Sunshine94: <What is it precisely that you’re looking for?>

 

It takes a few seconds for the answer to come. A few seconds, in which Rey reminds herself about eighty times that she is crazy—completely insane, a total lunatic for even thinking about—

 

K_Ren: <I am looking for an Omega who fits the description you read, and I want to have sex with her.>

K_Ren: <And I want to call the shots.>

Sunshine94: <Call the shots?>

K_Ren: <Yes.>

Sunshine94: <Are you, like… into bdsm? Ropes? Safe words, and stuff?>

K_Ren: <No.>

K_Ren: <Well, maybe. I don’t know much about it. What I want, though, is a mutual understanding that I’ll be in charge, and an Omega who doesn’t mind doing what she’s told for a couple of hours. With my guarantee that at any point, if you tell me no, I’ll stop doing whatever you don’t want me to do. No questions asked.>

Sunshine94: <And… what is it, that you’d like to do?>

K_Ren: <Nothing unusual. Fuck you, mostly.>

K_Ren: <We could talk about it more in detail in person, when we meet. At a place of your choosing, where you can feel safe.>

 

Reasonable. This sounds reasonable. They could meet in a public place, and she could figure out whether she wants to go through with it and actually have sex with him—Let him fuck you, whether you want to let him fuck you, the Omega voice in her head provides—and it would be okay. It would all be okay.

She has to be crazy. Crazy to even consider this.

 

Sunshine94: <Okay. I think… I’d like to try.>

Sunshine94: <Try to meet, I mean. And then see what happens.>

K_Ren: <Okay.>

K_Ren: <Is there anything in particular I should do for you? Any wishes?>

Sunshine94: <I don’t believe so, no.>

 

Except that maybe she should mention that…. Rey taps her fingers against the back of her couch, and hesitates for a few moments before adding:

 

Sunshine94: <Actually, could you go slow with me? I haven’t been with anyone in a while.>

Sunshine94: <And never with an Alpha.>

 

If he is surprised, he doesn’t let it show. He just types, <Of course. I will take care of you.> and Rey—is that a whimper?

He seems… gentle. Nice. Sane. Not Reddit-like at all. More like a Bumble, eharmony type of guy, and Rey can’t help but wonder why an Alpha who clearly knows how to use punctuation as well as basic etiquette in passing social interactions is putting ridiculously specific ads on the worst website in the world. 

Then again: Rey is the one who’s answering said ad.

 

Sunshine94: <Are you on blockers?>

K_Ren: <Yes.>

K_Ren: <I just had to up my dose to the highest it’s ever been. Are you on suppressants?>

Sunshine94: <Yes, but on an average dosage.> 

Sunshine94: <Is that going to be a problem?>

 

I don’t usually smell irresistible to anyone, anyway, she doesn’t add. It feels like it probably wouldn’t help her cause.

 

K_Ren: <No.>

Sunshine94: <Are you sure?>

K_Ren: <Yes.>

Sunshine94: <Because I could double my dose for a couple of days.>

K_Ren: <It’s okay. I’m usually not sensitive to Omega scents at all. With one single exception. You can up your dose if you want, but you’ll be safe no matter what.>

Sunshine94: <Okay, then.> 

Sunshine94: <Where should we meet? I have no preferences, really.>

K_Ren: <We can meet on neutral ground. A bar, or something like that. I’ll also book a hotel room in case we want to use it, and get back to you.>

Sunshine94: <Okay. Would you like to know my name?>

K_Ren: <No.>

 

Rey blinks at her screen, wondering if he is joking, and then realizing that he probably isn’t, since her exchanges with this Alpha haven’t exactly been humorous, so far.

Wow. Maybe he’s not so nice or sane, after all? She just stares at the chat, too surprised to know what to say, until he adds:

 

K_Ren: <Sorry—it’s not personal. I don’t mean to be offensive.>

K_Ren: <And I’ll try not to, but there is a fair chance that if we do end up having sex, I will call you by someone else’s name.>

K_Ren: <You should know, in case it’s a dealbreaker.>

 

Oh.

It dawns on her right then, what the description in the post is all about. Not about someone fetishizing the way Rey looks or sounds, not at all. Something completely different, actually: this nice, sane, gentle Alpha, who seems so out of place on Reddit, is clearly—he is just in love with someone else. Someone who Rey just happens to resemble. Just her luck.

She wonders who it is, this other Omega who looks so much like her. If it’s an ex-girlfriend whom he’s trying to fuck out of his system, or someone who rejected him; maybe the spouse of a friend or relative, who is totally off limits. 

And then she wonders whether being someone’s obvious stand-in is a dealbreaker for her. 

It probably should be. Rey should have more self respect than going for an internet hookup with an Alpha who clearly would rather be with someone else. And if she’d known this from the start, maybe she wouldn’t have reached out at all. 

It’s just—it’s been so long, since anyone has liked her. And talking to him on this stupid chat app is the most sexually adventurous thing she has done in years, and he’s being—at least he’s being upfront about this, which is something that Rey can appreciate. And in the end—maybe, maybe it’s possible that if she gets laid once, even just once, she won’t have to bring a change of panties into work from now on, for whenever her new asshole of an Alpha boss asks her to make copies of blueprints or something equally annoying. 

Which is why what she answers is:

 

Sunshine94: <No.>

Sunshine94: <It’s not a dealbreaker.>

 

 

 

He messages her to tell her to meet him on Saturday afternoon in the lobby of the Grand Hyatt (<It’s a public place. Will that make you feel safe?>); and then he texts her again about one hour before their meeting, explaining that he’ll be wearing jeans and a blue Henley. When she asks, <What kind of blue?> he answers, <I’m not sure. Blue blue.>  

Rey chuckles, pushing her phone down the pocket of her shorts as she steps on the subway.

She should probably be more anxious than this. Not that she isn’t nervous—it took her three tries to apply her liquid eyeliner straight—but her body feels strangely light as she walks towards the hotel. Maybe it’s because this is her own thing: if she decides to go upstairs with the Alpha she’ll text Rose, but for now no one knows that Rey is doing this—not her friends, not her colleagues, and not her elderly neighbor who insists on telling her that she’d be so much prettier, if she only smiled a little more frequently and maybe dyed her hair blond. 

It’s probably dangerous and slightly reckless, but it just feels freeing. And her skin is hot, her panties are damp, rubbing against swollen, freshly shaven flesh, and her glands are itching—yes, even that one. Alpha? her nerve endings are wondering, timid and hopeful. Alpha. Rey doesn’t silence them like she usually does, and they seem to thank her by vibrating under her skin. 

<It’s black shorts for me,> she messages him when she’s ten minutes out. <And a red shirt with white polka dots, tucked in. Though I guess you’ll recognize me from the freckles.>

The dots bounce at the bottom of the chat, and immediately disappear. Rey wonders what it is that he almost texted her and then decided not to type. She wonders if he’ll be disappointed, or put off by her scent, or if he’ll lose interest as soon as he sees her. And then she tightens her hand on the shoulder strap of her purse and walks faster. 

It’ll be fine. She has the accent, and the build, and she’s an Omega. It’ll be fine.

The lobby is AC-cold, and just crowded enough to make Rey feel safe but not overwhelmed. Rey looks around the wide room, her gaze skimming over exotic-looking plants and marble floors and tourists carrying large suitcases. She takes a deep breath and heads for the hotel bar. She is barely halfway across the room when she notices him, and her stomach sinks.

Her boss. Her stupid ass of a boss is here. How is this even possible? 

He’s facing the main entrance of the hotel, but his profile is as distinctive as they come, and his height would give him away anyway, even if he were wearing a ski mask. Not to mention his stupidly good smell, which always makes her dizzy and lightheaded and sets her on edge.

Rey grimaces as she stares at him, wondering why the hell he has to be right here, and right now, when she is trying to do something fun for once. Is this the hotel he’s staying at? Though—First Order is based in New York, too, which means that he should have his own apartment—not hanging out where Rey is supposed to be meeting her hookup.

Not that it’s a big deal. He probably won’t even recognize her, not out of the Resistance headquarters and wearing something that is a far cry from her usual work outfits. They’ve only met a couple of times, anyway, and he’s way too above her to—

Ben Solo turns around, and Rey’s brain—it stutters, and freezes, and then it finally catches up. Or maybe it just begins to work properly for the first time in days. 

Her eyes lock with Solo’s, and—he must definitely recognize her, because he seems… surprised, to see her. And also something else. His nostrils flare and his shoulders tighten, and it’s quick, touch and go, but Rey notices anyway. 

And then she notices something else: the color of his shirt. She notices the clothes he’s wearing, and her stomach plummets, cold and laden and—

Fuck. 

Fuck.

Just… fuck.

Rey takes a few retreating steps, uncaring of the Beta whose toes she’s stepping on. Her gaze holds Solo's for a too-long second, and then—

Then she spins around, and runs out of the lobby as fast as she can.

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

She blocks his number. 

The very second she gets on the subway and she notices the missed calls and texts—she deletes everything, everything on her phone that has to do with him. Because this is—no. 

Nope. 

Rey could easily calculate the Bayesian probability of something like this happening to anyone. She has a degree in applied math, after all. The odds of her new jackass of a boss being the type of person who posts in the Personals section of Reddit, of him being an Alpha who for some weird fluke of fate is into Omegas with Rey’s body type, of his damn ad being the first online thing Rey’s ever taken a chance on—these odds are so improbable, so infinitesimal, so fucking negligible that… 

Yeah. In hindsight, this is precisely the type of shitshow that could only befall on her. 

It’s entirely her fault. Rey blames herself. And Rose. And Finn. And that Poe dude. And Reddit.

But most of all, she blames Ben fucking Solo.

 

 

When Monday morning rolls around she considers not going to the office. It seems like a wise choice, especially after a weekend spent eating frozen pizza, watching her rugby team lose by an embarrassing margin, and stress-baking her mortification into some painfully mediocre blackberry muffins. Her eyes are burning and her tummy aches, so she seriously considers calling in to work and taking a day off to bang her head against her wall some more. Eventually, though, she thinks better of it. 

Ben Solo is not going to be anywhere near her office, anyway. Resistance is one of dozens of companies that First Order acquired in the past few years. He and the transition team visited last week, assessed the situation, gave everyone their expectations and their instructions. Which means that they probably won’t be back for a long time—if at all. 

This is how it’ll go: Ben Solo won’t think about this entire terrible situation ever again, and he’ll promptly forget all about Rey. He’ll easily find another Omega who looks exactly like his prototype, or maybe he’ll convince whoever it is that he’s obsessed with to give him a chance, and everything will be just peachy. A couple of years from now, while dating a nice, not-Sasquatch-sized Beta boy who smells like unscented soap and would never dare to ask her to "do as she’s told," Rey will remember her Reddit debacle and recount a heavily sanitized version of the events at a dinner party. Everyone will laugh in merriment, herself included, and she’ll reflect that while highly traumatic at the time, the Ben Solo fiasco was barely a blip in the story of her life. Rey is certain of it.

And she is almost right. 

 

 

The first to get laid off is Kaydel. Together, of course, with her entire division. It has Rey gasping and covering her mouth in shock when she hears of it, but Snap finds her in the break room and pats her on the back, telling her not to worry too much about it. 

“It’s the HR division, after all. And Resistance is sort of small sized, so First Order can outsource what Resistance’s HR used to do to pretty much any of their other trillion companies.” He shrugs. “I doubt it means anything. I don’t think it’s the beginning of mass lay off. They wouldn’t have bought us if they didn’t have any use for us, right?”

Three days later they come for Marketing, and the following week for Accounting and Finance. Rey's team, Research and Development, is what has always produced the core product of Resistance, which should theoretically keep them safer than other departments. And yet after lunch Snap stares blankly at the water cooler, avoiding Rey’s eyes as he mutters: “At least that the severance packages are good. From what Tallie said.”  

The week after, Snap is not by the water cooler anymore, nor in the break room. Instead he is sitting in his cubicle, running his fingers through his hair and frowning at the piece of paper in his hands. Rey wonders what that might be, until she arrives at her desk to find a white envelope on top of it. It’s addressed to her, from the HR department of First Order Enterprises. 

She takes a deep breath, and feels the ground open under her feet.

 

 

The problem is her visa. Not really the job per se—Rey is sure that she could find another one, especially if she decided not to insist on humane work conditions, or be too picky about actually using her degree; and while she is by no means very financially stable, she is thrifty enough that she could probably survive without a paycheck, or maybe even two. She can always bum food off Finn and Rose after all; and a bed; and an internet connection, which pretty much make up the entirety of her Maslow's pyramid. But the problem is her visa, because she does not have another job lined up yet, and any lapse in employment means that she’ll have to go back to the UK, and that is just—not something she wants. 

It’s terrifying—because of Plutt, because of all the others, because her only two friends in the world are here, and—No. Not something she cares to think about.

That’s why Rey won’t think about it. Rey won’t open the letter until she’s answered her emails, and turned in her reports, until she’s worked through her lunch break to review the Niima project, until she’s finished her meeting with the head of Engineering for Hutt Holdings and ridden the subway home—until she’s alone in her studio apartment, which will probably not be her apartment anymore, at least not for long.

That’s when she sits on her futon, closes her eyes for a minute, and then exhales slowly before ripping the envelope open and finally reading its contents. 

That’s when she finds out that she has not been fired.

 

 

Ben Solo’s PA, a beautiful unmated Omega with long brown hair and a Lincoln bobblehead on her desk, frowns when Rey asks to meet with him.

“He’s out.” She types frantically on her keyboard at what must be at least seven million words per hour. “I’m so sorry, your appointment must have slipped through the system—when was it for, exactly?”

“Oh, it wasn’t. I don’t have one.”

The typing ceases. The PA freezes and looks up at Rey. Though to be fair it’s more like goggling. 

“You…” She clears her throat. “You don’t have an appointment?”

“Um, no.” Rey wets her lips. “Is he coming back soon?”

“I—You—If you—” She seems reduced to speechlessness. Utterly dumbfounded. “You can’t see Mr. Solo without an appointment.”

“Oh. Right.” Rey nods and takes a step back. Until she realizes that it doesn’t really make sense. “But I work here. I was just transferred to First Order from Resistance. This is my first day and I need to talk with him.”

“Yeah.” The PA winces, if politely. “About another eight thousand people work here, so if you have any issues or suggestions you can bring them to your division chief, or to HR, and they’ll be glad to—”

“No—No. Thank you, but I need to talk with Mr. Solo. In person.”  

Rey really cannot comprehend why what she’s asking would warrant a gaping mouth and that half-alarmed, half-terrified stare.

“I can… I guess…” The PA clears her throat. “I guess I could make an appointment for you. If you’re sure.”

“That would be fantastic.” Rey thinks about it for a moment. “I think I have a bunch of orientation meetings tomorrow and the day after, but I am free in the afternoon and at night—”

“The first available time is on November 16. Of this year. If a fifteen minute slot is sufficient. If you were thinking more like twenty minutes, then we’d move to November 27. Would either date work for you?”

Rey blinks once. And again. She looks around the office hoping to find a calendar, because unless she’s mistaken it’s…

“But it’s July. We’re in July.”

The PA gives her a reproachful look. “We are actually in June. July starts tomorrow.”

“And you can’t get me a meeting before November?”

“No, I cannot. As I mentioned, if you have any urgent issues you should address them with your direct superior—”

“But I need to talk with Mr. Solo—”

“—or with HR, because Mr. Solo is next to impossible to—”

“It’s okay, Baz.” 

Rey turns towards the door so quickly she almost pulls a neck muscle. And then, just as her neurons register the obvious—that Ben Solo is here, three meters away from her, thinking who-knows-what with that closed off expression that’s always pasted on his face—his scent drifts up to her.

She tries to breathe with her mouth. She really does. But it doesn’t work quite like that, and it’s as if her entire brain lurches at having him close again.

Yes. Fine. He smells good. Really good. Like an Alpha. Whatever.

“I’ll see Miss Colbert now, in my office,” he says simply, like walking into a room and finding a random employee begging his PA for a seven-minute meeting within the next decade is an everyday occurrence for him. “Can you make sure we’re not disturbed?”

Baz doesn’t answer, or maybe she nods silently: Rey cannot be sure, because Mr. Solo steps between them and shepherds her into his office, one hand hovering above her lower back without quite touching her.

 

 

“Is it because…”

Rey hesitates. It’s not that she doesn’t remember what she meant to ask—she absolutely does, she came here for a specific reason—but it’s hard to focus, what with the guarded, patient way he’s studying her, and the fact that he’s standing only a few feet from her, smelling very much like he did all those weeks ago, when Rey had all of a sudden remembered that she is, in fact, an Omega. A slick-producing one, too.

She lowers her gaze and doesn’t continue, concentrating on the way her fingers knit together, trying to look poised, or at least to build a syntactically coherent sentence. It’s harder than it should be.  

“Because?” he prompts her, unexpectedly gentle.

Rey takes a deep breath. “Everyone from Resistance was laid off. Everyone but me, that is.”

“Is that why you’re here?” He sounds curious. Maybe a little amused. “Because everyone but you was let go?”

Rey wets her lips and forces herself to meet his eyes. “It does seem like a bit of a coincidence.”

“Hmm.” Solo waits for a moment before nodding. “Yeah. Yeah, I can see that.” He leans one shoulder against the doorframe, crossing his arms on his chest. He hasn’t invited her to sit down—he has barely moved them away from the entrance of his office. Clearly he wants this to be brief and painless, just as much as Rey does. “The problem then is that you have not been laid off?”

“No. Not… It’s not a problem. I was just hoping that you would explain.”

“Explain why you have not been laid off?” It’s clear that he thinks she’s crazy. Or ridiculous. Or both. 

“Explain why I seem to be some sort of exception.” 

“Ah. I see.” His eyes harden, and he nods. “Do you have any ideas as to why that might be?”

“I…” This conversation that she actively sought, that she thought she wanted to have, it’s not turning out to be very pleasant. Not to Rey, not at all. “Maybe.”

Solo gestures at her to continue. “Want to go ahead and tell me?”

He is—he really is an Alpha. He talks like one, he acts like one, he radiates it, and Rey—she stiffens. 

“No. No, I’d rather avoid guessing games and just have you tell me why I still have a job and others don’t.”

“Okay. Fair enough.” He nods. “Then let's be very honest with each other. If you think it’s because of what happened at the Grand Hyatt—because my master plan is to bring you under my supervision and then to use my authority to coerce you into some sort of sexual—”

“What? No.” Rey gasps and takes a step towards him. It’s probably a bad idea—his smell is already a bit of a problem as it is—but that’s not—it’s really not—not at all what she— “No, no.” She shakes her head, and adds weakly. “That’s not what I thought.”

Solo tilts his head. “It’s not.” He doesn’t seem convinced.

“I know you don’t care—I know that there are dozens of Omegas who look like me. I’m not so conceited as to think that you…” She swallows, and squares her shoulders. “What concerned me is that… I was wondering if maybe it’s because you felt that you couldn’t lay me off.”

His eyes narrow. “That I couldn’t?”

“I don’t know. I… did you think it was because I might…” She takes a deep breath. “Were you trying to buy my silence, or something like that? Is it because you’re afraid I’ll say something? About the fact that you…”

“That I?”

“The post,” she blurts out. God, unpleasant is a euphemism. This conversation is horrible. “Is it because I know about the Reddit post?”

He fixes his gaze on her, studying her curiously, letting the silence dangle between them for… for too long, before saying: “It’s because you’re good at what you do. Very good. And because of your visa situation.”

Rey looks up, wide eyed. “My visa—”

“Resistance was sponsoring the visas of quite a few people, and unless there were red flags in their records or concerns about their skill sets we tried to keep those people on. We did let go a couple of individuals who didn’t seem… outstanding, but they were the vast minority. You’re not the only one—not at all. In fact, several employees from other divisions were transferred, either to First Order or to other companies we own.”

“Oh.” Rey blinks twice. And then some more. “Oh.”

“You don’t seem convinced?”

“I just…” She shrugs. She isn’t, really. Convinced. “It seems… uncharacteristically nice.”

She could swear he smiles at that. Even though his mouth doesn’t really move. “Uncharacteristically?”

“Yeah. For First Order.” For you.

“Why wouldn’t we be nice?”

“Well. You did steal away your parents’ company, for one.”

Just like that, he stiffens and squares his shoulders, looking even taller and more intimidating and—Rey still doesn’t know if he was really smiling a second ago, but now he definitely is not. “I did not steal away anything. I purchased a controlling stake in their corporation in a perfectly legal takeover.”

Rey winces. “I didn’t mean to—”

“A rather easy one, too. Mostly because of the blatant mismanagement that preceded the takeover for decades, and because of what the company’s finances were at the time.”

Rey freezes. “What do you mean?”

He pushes away from the door, and—he is large. So large. “If we hadn’t acquired Resistance, at some point my parents would have had to lay off a lot of people. Maybe even declare bankruptcy, and that would have turned out very poorly for all of you.” His voice hardens further. “We came in, and did their fucking job for them, and let them save face. So please, don’t come tell me that I—”

“Wait. Wait. Is it…” Rey presses her fingers against her mouth. “Is this true?” 

Solo cocks his head. “You really didn’t know?”

“No. No, I…”

He takes a deep breath and turns away. “No need to take my word for it. Ask Leia, or Han—or Skywalker.”

Rey nods, feeling… stupid, mostly. And embarrassed. “I… Sorry. I had no idea…”

“It’s okay.” He moves infinitesimally closer—or maybe it’s just his scent that shifts in her direction. It’s reassuring and calming and just plain good. So good that she should probably leave, now that she has her answers. “And I don’t…” His jaw works. “You are free to tell whoever you like about the Reddit post. And you won’t have to see me while working here. No need to feel uncomfortable because of what happened between us.”

“Oh.” Rey flushes and takes a step back, averting her eyes. It’s good that they never walked to Solo’s desk, or to the sitting area by the large windows, because when she reaches behind her, the door handle is right there, and there’s nothing stopping her from getting out of here. “Nothing happened, anyway.”

“No.” His lips press together. “No, it did not.”

Rey nods. “Okay, then. I will be… I’ll get going. It’s my first day, after all.”

“Of course.” He shifts back a little, as if to give her permission. “Have a good day, Miss Colbert.”

“Rey,” she correct him automatically. And then flushes, and tries to cover her unease with a laugh. “I think you can call me Rey at this point.”

He studies her for a moment, and then he nods, once. “Rey.”

This is—it’s going to be one of those days. Those days when she goes to the bathroom and finds slick in her underwear and panics for whole minutes because of that. Pretty much like any other day she’s been in Ben Solo’s presence.

“Good luck with your new position,” he’s telling her, formal and serious. “And congratulations.”

Omega.

You sound perfect, Omega.

No. No, no, no

Rey’s not like this. She’s never been. The whole praise deal—it’s not a thing for her. Never has been. It can’t begin to be one now, in her twenties. That’s not how kinks work. 

“Thank you.” Leave. Leave, leave, leave, leave— “Can I ask you… Can I ask you something?”

Solo just looks at her expectantly, and Rey—she really shouldn’t even think of—

“Who is she?”

He stares at her with a confused look. Which makes Rey flush even harder. “Who?”

“Your ex girlfriend?” Rey gesticulates vaguely with her hand. “Or.. or what?” 

He frowns. “I’m not certain I understand who you’re—”

“The Omega. The one with the freckles and the British accent?”

He blinks. Several times. “What?”

“The one you… the one you were trying to…” Rey looks for the right words and fails to find them, mostly because she has no idea what he was trying to do. 

Willing to do as she’s told.  

“You know.”

He studies her… for a really long time. He studies her like she is absolutely out of her mind; like he’s seeing her for the first time, and he has no idea how she got here, and she is speaking at him in a dead language.

“Are you serious?”

“You don’t have to tell me if you don’t—”

“You are serious.” He shakes his head slowly, a half-smile that is anything but amused curving the corner of his mouth. “You don’t know, do you?”

She tilts her head, because—no. She doesn’t. She has no idea what he’s even referring to.

“You really don’t.” He exhales a huffed laugh. “You should leave now, Rey.”

“Oh. Right.” She lowers her eyes, feeling reprimanded. It really wasn’t her place to ask, but she has been—so curious about it. About him. “Have a good day.”

“You too.”

She is less than a dozen steps out of his office, smiling at his secretary as she walks by her desk, when Solo calls after her.

“Rey.”

She pauses. And hesitates before turning around, because there is a dark curl in his voice, and Rey already—

“My offer still stands, should you be interested.” A beat. “You know which one.” 

She hears the click of his door closing behind her. 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

 

She lasts almost one month. Almost.

Not quite. It’s more like three weeks, but it’s three really long weeks—new job and new colleagues and even new friends, since Finn and Rose now do everything with Poe, and what used to be a trio is very much not one anymore. Or maybe it is, and Poe has just taken Rey’s place. It’s not a bad few weeks, not necessarily, but it’s also not good. Exhausting, for the most part, and Rey—she could use some unwinding. Something a little stronger than drinks with Jess or watching comedy specials on Netflix.

So she unblocks his number. On the twenty-second day, she unblocks his number and changes his contact information from K_Ren Reddit to Ben Solo. And then, after washing her sheets, going for a five mile run, showering, vacuuming her bedroom, and nervously checking the contents of her fridge about twenty-five times—then she texts him.

 

Rey: <I know it’s been a few weeks, but is that offer still on the table?>

 

She is already berating herself for forgetting to sign her message—how is he supposed to remember who Rey is, it’s not as if he doesn’t get laid on a regular basis with a hundred different Omegas who sound and look exactly like her, it’s not as if he would have kept her number—when she hears her phone ping.

 

Ben Solo: <Yes>

 

 

She gets slightly worried, when he says <I would like to take you out for dinner, before>. Not really at the thought of dinner with him—well, maybe a little bit—but mostly because he looks like the kind of guy who’ll take her to one of those restaurants where everyone wears five-thousand dollar Armani suits and meals are the size of a domino tile, and Rey still hasn’t learned how to eat spaghetti without making a mess of herself. 

In hindsight, though, she should have worried less about the place and more about how Ben would look—the dark hair, the dark sweater, the dark eyes as he stares at her in a somehow dark way. Rey doesn’t even have a thing for black. Or didn’t, at least. She’s not sure what things she has anymore.

“Do you come here a lot?” 

It’s a simple bistro, with relaxed, informal servers and only a handful of tables. The space seems almost too small for him, but maybe Rey is being fanciful. Maybe it’s just that he’s been taking up a lot of space in her head.

“Sometimes. I live two blocks south.”

“Oh.” It’s a nice neighborhood, of course. Nothing to be surprised about. “I don’t think I’ve ever had French food before. Is it good?”

He shrugs, and the corner of his mouth lifts. “It’s food.”

Rey smiles. “Right.”

“I find that most of it tastes the same.”

“For real?” She frowns. “Food is my number one obsession.”

“Is that so?”

“Yep. My one and only joy.”

"That can't be."

She shrugs.

“Well, then.” Ben looks down at his glass of water. “Then maybe you can help me appreciate food better. And I can help you appreciate… other things.” 

Rey’s heart skips a beat. Which is just as well, because the waitress comes to their table asking if they’re ready to order, and Rey scrambles to look at the menu while Ben orders… For both of them. For himself, and then for Rey—some kind of pepper crusted meat that does sound delicious, and, “a glass of whatever wine goes well with that.”

As soon as the waitress is gone, Rey lifts an eyebrow and leans back against her chair.

“You don’t have a favorite vintage? Or year?”

“No. I think all wine tastes like rotten fruit.”

He is… funny. Sort of. In his blunt, dry way. “Well, that’s where it comes from, anyway. So, should I call you Sir? Master?” Daddy?

He seems genuinely puzzled at the question. “Why?”

“I don’t know.” She shrugs. “You seem to have a power thing.”

“A power thing?”

“You just ordered my food for me.”

He studies her for a beat. “I ordered for you because you said you have never had French food.” 

Fair enough. And Rey—she doesn’t exactly mind. She just wants to know where they stand, exactly. “But you did say that you liked to… boss people around.”

“I did?” 

“In your post.”

“Ah.” His eyes widen in understanding, surprisingly candid. “I don’t want to boss you around.” 

“You said you wanted someone who’d do what you say—”

“Not for the sake of it, though.” 

Rey tilts her head. “No?”

“No. I don’t care about power games. But I have some… very specific ideas about what I want to do. With you. To you.” The things he says—they could sound really lecherous and off-putting. But Ben is so—so quiet, in the way he says them. So matter of fact and practical. They end up having the exact opposite effect.

“Specific ideas?” Rey’s mouth is suddenly dry. 

“Yes.” He reaches for his glass of water, but doesn’t take a sip. “I have thought about you. A lot.”

Rey—she didn’t even know it was possible, to produce this much slick outside of a heat. And there is no way Ben is not smelling it. Not judging by the way his nostrils are flaring.

“Will you be thinking of her?”

A line appears on this forehead. “Her?”

“Her.” She presses her lips together. “Will you be calling me by someone else’s name?”

Ben stares at her for a long moment. “No, I won’t.”

“But you said that—”

The waitress brings Rey’s wine and Ben’s craft beer, and by the time she leaves that line of conversation is gone, and Ben is asking Rey about—

About herself. As though he wants to know where she grew up, how college was for her, why she played lacrosse in high school, and other assorted things that just don’t seem like they would be of interest to him. And the food is—amazing, really, and as they talk quietly Rey finds out that he has a way of saying things that are amusing, and things that really make sense to her, and she almost forgets that the whole point of this dinner is to…

What is the point of this dinner?

“Would you like another glass of wine?” The waitress smiles at Rey as she comes to retrieve the empty plates.

“No,” Ben answers before Rey can squeeze in a word. The girl is an Omega, and she just nods and leaves without a second glance at Rey.

Okay.

“Maybe I wanted the wine,” she tells Ben when they’re alone again.

“Maybe. But I need you sober.”

Oh. Rey looks down, to her hands in her lap. Right. 

“So… so, what was this?”

“This?”

“This dinner. I’m just… I’m just wondering, because I didn’t expect you to…”

Ben nods. He nods as if he understands. “A date. I thought this might be a date.”

Rey flushes crimson. “Oh.”

“Do you not want it to be?”

“No. No, I… “ Her cheeks are hot. Blazing. “I’m glad. That it was a date. It was… nice.” It’s not a lie. It was very nice.

She can smell it, how much her response pleases him. She can smell it, and she can see it, in the way his fingers grip the edge of the table before he stands tall and drops several bills by his plate.

“Come on. It’s time to go.”

 

 

She is convinced that he’ll wait until they are in his apartment to do anything—and she’s wrong. Very wrong, because he moves closer to her the second the elevator doors swish closed, and then he does it.

He bends down to kiss her, eyes on her lips as he inches low, except that—

He doesn’t. Kiss her.

He leans a little lower, right where her throat is, and—he bites her.

Not hard, not enough to break the skin, but something more than a nip, a little above the gland on her neck, and—

Rey’s blood thickens. It pumps hot and loud through her veins and in her ears, and she has presented, she has been touched, she has even had sex before, but this—she has never felt like this before. It’s like being suddenly thrown into heat. His scent is in her lungs and there is slick everywhere; her mating glands are distended with blood and her hands are trembling at her sides, so much so that she has to tighten her fists.

He must notice, because he groans against her skin.

“Good.” He licks her, right there. And then he bites again. “Very good. My Omega, getting ready to be fucked.”

Rey’s knees almost give out, but he’s there to hold her up.

 

 

He makes her take off her clothes. Though ‘makes her’ might not be the best way to qualify it. He asks her to with a low, calm voice, even says please, and Rey is happy to comply. She has never felt as beautiful as in his presence, and that—that is a power she is reluctant to give him, but cannot quite withhold.

Ben, of course, doesn’t take off anything. Not a stitch of clothing. He just sits in a leather chair by the large windows and stares at her silently for a long time. He asks her to turn around and bend over (This ass of yours, Omega), to open her legs (Shiny, already, down to the knees. More than I imagined), and to cup her breasts for him (she doesn’t get a comment after that, just a deep, guttural grunt).

Then, when she has been standing in front of him for what feels like too long, she asks: “How do you want me?”

He seems to jolt awake. As if he has to tear himself away from contemplating her body. He swallows visibly, but his voice his firm when it comes out.

“I want you on your knees.”

Rey has questions—Where? The spot I am standing right now? Closer to you? On my knees? How?—but it all becomes obvious when he begins to work on the fastening of his jeans. 

He wants her to… ah. Ah. Okay. Okay, she—she has never… but she can do it. She wants to do it. Her slick is completely coating the inside of her thighs now, and the idea of it—she really, really wants to do it.

Really.

So she kneels, exactly between his legs, and then—then she just does what feels natural. She leans her head against his thigh, the rough material of his pants under her cheek, and smiles up at him.

He cups her cheek, thumb caressing her skin, and smiles back. It’s a… a surprisingly sweet moment, for something that was supposed to be a Reddit hook-up with a stranger who wanted to be in charge of her for a bit.

Though maybe it was never meant to be exactly like that. Maybe she hadn’t quite understood.

“You’ll tell me what to do?”

He nods, and lets his hand slide through her hair until he’s cupping her nape. He guides her mouth to his cock, already fully hard, and parts her lips with his thumb. As it turns out, he doesn’t even need to tell her. He can just—show her. And Rey is happy, delighted to open up and do as he wants.

“Lick it off,” he says, and it takes her a moment to realize he’s referring to the full drop on the tip. The command could sound so filthy—it is, filthy—but there is an element of worship to his voice. To the low ‘Fuck’ he breathes when her tongue darts out, tentative and delicate. To the way he pushes her hair back as he slips himself between her lips.

He is—beyond large. A little overwhelming, hard to contain. Rey almost pulls back, but his hand is holding her nape, a firm, reassuring weight, and after a while… after a few seconds she adjusts, then swallows, then she feels the taste of him, and—it must be pheromones. It must be that he’s her Alpha. It must be a chemical reaction, because all of a sudden she can’t hold enough of him in her mouth. She just wants more—just wants to be filled and full, to have more of him, to be taken over.

“Good.” His voice is raspy. Barely audible. “Very good.”

The praise makes it even worse. It makes her cunt feel tight and achy and empty and—she must be drenching the parquet floor in his apartment. She should apologize. But her mouth is stuffed, and she does not want to take it off of him, not when he’s looking down at her like she’s doing something right

“You’re doing good,” he tells her reassuringly, almost quietly. Rey isn’t sure how it is that she knows that he likes this so much, he can barely hold on. Maybe it’s the way his thumb is trembling as he caresses the stretched corner of her mouth. Maybe it’s the slow, deep breaths as he digs deep into himself to avoid losing control. Maybe it’s just his smell, that tells a story of craving and mating and other things Rey doesn’t quite understand. “Try to take more. Breathe through your nose and—ah. Yes. Relax.”  

Rey obeys. And it feels—transcendent. Beautiful, atomically so. As if the world is finally spinning in the right direction. She hums her pleasure into his flesh and he rewards her with quiet grunts as his cock leaks precome right in her throat. She must look obscene. Messy. But he says:

“Lovely.”

This, she thinks. This, is my purpose. Rey can’t recall the last time she was this calm.

“Now, lick the knot.”

She freezes. And then slowly pulls back to look at him, look at it, and…

She has to blink. Several times. Because Ben’s knot, the beginning of it, is already red and swollen at the base of his cock, and Rey might have very little hands-on experience—none, none at all—but it’s well known that Alphas don’t knot every time they have sex. It only happens when their Omega is in heat—it would make no biological sense otherwise. And if Rey were in heat at the moment… she would know it. She would be in tears, by now. She’d be reduced to little more than a writhing animal, begging him for attention.

“Ben?”

He meets her gaze, running his fingers through her hair.

“I’m…  I’m not in heat?”

Ben inhales sharply and his head falls back, eyes closed. His hand slides down urgently to squeeze his balls.

“You shouldn’t put that in my head.”

Rey stares at him wide-eyed. “Put what?”

“The thought of you going into heat. Or I’ll make a mess of you.” He exhales slowly, and his eyes flutter open. He looks down at her with a small, strained smile. “I will, anyway. Not quite ready for it, though.” His hand moves on his cock, stroking up and down. Rey cannot imagine how large it has to be, to not look small in a fist that size.

“Oh.” Her cunt is clenching, beyond drenched, now. She had no idea being turned on could feel like this. “If I’m not… How can you...?”

“Rey. I’ve popped a knot at home, alone, just thinking about you.”

She flushes. “This is not what usually—”

“This my new usual.” He lets go of himself, and his thumb sweeps across her cheekbone. “Lick the knot, Rey. Please.”

It might be tentative and shy, but she complies, because she wants to. And maybe she wants to because he asked, but that doesn’t seem to make it feel any less good. Ben lets out a surprised gasp at the feeling of her tongue, and then a low groan as his fingers press into her scalp. “Oh, fuck. Yes.” 

“Is this...” Her lips are moving against it, and she can tell how much he likes it from the tightening of his grip on her nape. “Is this how you prefer it?”

“I… Fuck.” He has to collect himself before answering: “We’ll have to find out.” 

Maybe it’s just that they’re so compatible, that she feels more attuned to him and his pleasure that ever before—even more than to her own. But it only takes a few minutes to find out what he likes—a graze of teeth, a lot of sucking, Rey’s hand working the length of him at the same time—and when he gently pushes her back, looking pleased and proud of her and almost ruined, she is confused as to why.

“I think I want to knot it.” He caresses her cheekbone again; her mouth feels tender and bee-stung.

“Knot it?”

He seems fascinated by her lips. Continues to press his thumb into them, as if to make sure they really exist. It makes something in Rey’s abdomen go even more liquid. It makes her part her teeth to bite his fingertip, ever so gently.

“Your mouth.”

Rey cocks her head, nuzzling into his palm and breathing in his scent. “Alpha.” He has said something to her, something important, but the pleasure flowing through her body is starting to lap at her brain, and she can’t quite focus on what he— 

“I want to knot your mouth.”

This time the words penetrate. And Rey’s eyes instantly dart up at him, because she is—that is… 

She has never even seen a knot before today—Reddit pics do not count—and now he’s asking her to just—to do—to take it inside her—  

“Will you do that for me?” He smooths her hair back. “Can you?”

Rey blinks. And… no. Probably no, probably she cannot do it. Girls who work in porn, Omegas who are actually good at being Omegas, they maybe could, but Rey is a little defective and has no idea what she’s doing, so no.

And yet, she feels profoundly calm as she nods.

“Yes, Alpha. I… May I try?” 

Eager, that’s how she feels. Impatient and aching, bursting with it. She can tell that he’s pleased—her presence, her words, her sheer existence, they have pleased him. She can smell it.

“Of course.”

She thinks—when she’s able to think, short spurts of lucidity with a full mouth and an empty, hollow cunt—that it must be his pheromones that make this surprisingly easy and natural. Relaxing her throat, watching for his signals, ignoring the wet, shameful noises as she takes him in deeper and deeper. He is all gentle caresses and soft, filthy praises; the occasional murmur that seems ripped out of his throat—that’s it, your little mouth, I knew it, I knew it—and eyes that become darker and hazier; then, once his orgasm begins, locked in place behind her teeth, a trembling hand presses down on her nape as he grunts his pleasure. 

He comes like Alphas come. Or—like people say Alphas come. For a long time that doesn’t quite seem to end, and strong, so strong, his palm holding her to himself in a way that should probably scare her but doesn’t, not at all. Her Alpha is showing her where to be, what to do, and Rey will do it, and the world will make sense because of it. The ocean will be wet, the desert will be sandy, and Rey will take her Alpha’s knot inside her until she’s full to overflowing. She’ll let him trace the bulge on her cheek, and caress and throat, and marvel at the way it tightens and works around him. She will hold his eyes when he asks her not to look away.

“I knew it,” he rasps, and his lids flutter closed before he can force them open again.

He comes in her mouth for minutes, and then she comes, too. A small whimper around his cock, her lips stretched too tight and she is—it’s so much, Rey crashes over the edge and can only shudder her way through the pleasure of it, her cunt empty and spasming while her throat contracts. 

Without even touching herself. It’s that easy—they are just that compatible. Hormones maybe. Must be. 

When his knot softens a little, Ben guides her mouth away from him with trembling hands, and Rey looks up; his eyes are all pupil, dark and dilated.

“Alpha?” Her jaw is sore. She licks the shaft, and his knot again. He tastes like—like a biological necessity. Like water and warmth. She wants to do what she just did, all over again. She wants to serve him. If he’ll have her. “Was that what you wanted?”

He grunts. And closes his black, black eyes; exhales sharply. “Fuck.” He lifts his hand and runs it over his mouth. “You should probably leave now, Rey.”

Her blood freezes. And so do the pheromones, the taste of her Alpha, the pleasure that was coursing through her nerve endings at having made him happy—

“... What?”

Is she—She is not a good Omega. Not pretty enough, not inviting or obliging enough, not skilled enough, not like the other Omega he wanted, the one who wouldn't be cast out, who would undoubtedly know how make him—

“I am going into a rut.”

Rey doesn’t get his meaning immediately. Because ruts, like knots, are always—always—triggered by heats. Always. Or at least that’s what she was taught in the twenty minutes of sex and gender ed that her public school district could afford, and since then she has never heard otherwise. 

“I—I am not in heat.” She is sure of that. She doesn’t want to take her skin off, for one, and she is too full of suppressants for a breakthrough heat anyway.

He shuts his eyes tight. “You really don’t want to make me think about you in heat at the moment.” 

“But how can you—”

“I don’t know.” He looks at her, and for a moment his eyes are out of focus. “But if you stay here, you’re going to get fucked. And fucked. And fucked some more.” His jaw works. “So you should probably leave, while I can still let you.”

It makes absolute sense. Even addled as she is, Rey can understand that an Omega out of heat has no business tending to a rutting Alpha. And Ben is so—he is so much, and any Omega would want to help him, and Rey is so new to this that she can’t possibly be what he needs, give him what he needs— 

All of a sudden, her mind snaps blank.

“What if I’m okay with it?”

Ben shakes his head, and runs his knuckles down the side of her face. He is so kind, so gentle, her Alpha. “Have you ever seen an Alpha in a rut?”

Rey doesn’t bother answering. She just leans forward and presses a kiss into the skin right next to his bellybutton; right next to the head of his cock, still hard and leaking.

“What if I want to?”

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

He takes a gun out of a safe and asks Rey if she knows how to use it. She nods reluctantly, trying not to think about Plutt and those years of worrying whether she’d have to shoot him or one of his cronies to stay alive.

“If I lose control and stop listening to you when you say no, you use it,” Ben tells her, lifting it up next to his face. It’s more of a command than anything else. He holds her eyes until she nods again, and Rey cannot help but notice that his hands are not fully firm when he sets the gun on his desk.

I would never say no, Alpha. The words are on the tip of her tongue, but she knows he doesn’t want to hear them. His rut—it’s affecting her, too. Or maybe it’s just that he’s an Alpha, one that Rey has allowed far closer than any other before. There have been others—in college, friends of friends, colleagues at the periphery of her professional life, but Rey has never been tempted to give any of them a second glance. 

“Have you ever taken a knot?”

She shakes her head. But he knew that already, and the way his nostrils flare in response, it can’t possibly be surprise. Rey wonders if he just wanted her to verbally acknowledge it. If it gives him pleasure to hear it. It might very well be, given how his breathing becomes harsher all of a sudden.

“Can I? If I’m not in heat?”

“Yes. I think you…” He licks his lips. His eyes are pitch black, all pupil. Rey has no experience with this, but a part of her is surprised by the control he is displaying. Ruts are dangerous games. “Let me stretch you out. Before.” 

He takes his clothes off after laying her on the bed. Everything but his jeans and black boxer briefs, and Rey is wondering why he’s keeping them on, tented and wet as they are, when he just—he hooks his palms under her knees, pushes her legs open, and buries his face in her cunt. That’s all he does—he presses his nose against her and inhales, deep lungfuls of her scent, as though he had been suffocating until a second ago.

“Jesus Christ.” He says the words into her skin, and he is so close, Rey can feel his lips moving on her labia, his breath puffing against her clit. He pulls back and straightens, licking his mouth, and…

That was probably a bad idea, because his pupils dilate even more. 

“Fuck.” He shakes his head. It takes his moment to collect himself. “I really want to lick your cunt, Rey. But I’m afraid that your slick might be too much.”

“Too much?”

He leans forward once more, and sucks wetness from the crease where her abdomen meets her thigh. She has already made a mess of herself. His fingers dig into the flesh of her thighs, smarting and hot and thrilling, and his throat moves. 

“Remember the gun, Rey. If I lose it.” 

He first puts two fingers to her hole; parts her labia, circles the rim for a moment, presses inside, and then he—

He goes nowhere. Rey feels him try to push in and there is no give; just a grunt from Ben as he stares at her opening, sweat forming on his brow. It gets only marginally better when he manages to slip in one finger. It’s not exactly painful, but very tight. Too tight. 

“Unbelievable.”

He exhales, a little shaky, and Rey thinks that maybe he is shivering. Then he begins to pump, in and out, and in a little deeper. It’s a narrow fit—if a fit at all. Rey arches up and lifts her hand to bite the heel of her palm, trying to block out the wet noises. It’s embarrassing, how much she wants this. The things she’d let this man do.

“You really should leave,” he rasps, “before I can’t help myself and I fuck you into the mattress. Knot your little cunt while it’s still too tight.” He leans forward and runs his tongue around the stretched rim of her opening, as if unable to stop himself. His moan is muffled by her slick.

Oh.” Maybe she should. It would be the smart thing to do. Except that this already feels so good. “What would you do, if I left?”

“I would think about you. A lot.” He smiles, looking pained. “Nothing new, there.” 

He can fit in a second finger now. He curls and twists his wrist until there’s room for a third one, if barely, and presses a chaste kiss on her inner thigh. His breathing is getting more labored, choppy and too loud.

“I think,” he says carefully, staring at her cunt, “that you might have been made specifically for me.” His throat moves. “You sure smell like it.”

His fingers hook insider, and she hisses. “You smell better.”

“Do I?” He sounds distracted. “You know why you are such a good Omega?”

“Am I?” The friction is so good, Rey can feel the sodden mess she is making of the sheets, wet and drenched under her ass. “Good?”

He is focusing on her entrance, now. Where his knot will stretch her the widest. He seems satisfied, and Rey feels more slick drip out of her. “Oh, yes. You are perfect.”

She whimpers, and closes her eyes.

“You are perfect, because I am about to go into the hardest rut of my life, and you’re going to take all of it. My little, pliant Omega. With her pretty, fuckable cunt.” 

Rey nods. And bites her lip, just to avoid begging him for it. 

“Not even in heat, and you are like this. Jesus.” His fingers slide out of her with a filthy popping sound, and he moves up her body, his cock nudging between the slippery lips of her cunt. “Rey. This is not how imagined it. My first time fucking you.”

“Really?” She has always hated it, a man’s weight on top of her. Always felt trapped, held down. But Ben is the largest man she’s ever met, and she just wants to live underneath him. Spread her legs for him and let him pin her whichever way he wishes. Alpha. “When—when did you imagine it?”

“It feels like I’ve never not.”

His cock is… larger than three fingers, by far. But it’s okay—by now, the slick is pouring out. And Rey’s body, it has no intention of disappointing this Alpha. Her Alpha. 

A chocked moan comes out of her throat, and Ben murmurs: “Shh. I know it’s a lot, sweetheart.” He continues to slide inside, and there is some resistance, there is burning and stretching, there is a feeling of too much too soon, but most of all there is—yes. Yes. 

Yes

Her cunt clenches around him as if to pull him inside, and his hips jerk against hers. It’s—splendid. 

Splendid.

Rey licks a drop of sweat up his throat, right across his gland, and watches him close his eyes shut and gasp silently. It’s an endless moment, before he’s able to focus again.

“You—” he huffs out a shaky, almost-sweet laugh “—are going to feel so fucking good.”

She says: “I want to. I want to be good for you.”

A kiss on the corner of her lips, incongruously chaste and innocent. Then he begins to thrust, and Rey’s vision whites out.

 

 

She’d thought that the knotting would be—well, she hadn’t thought about it.

But in the periphery of her head, when she’d conjured vague images of it, the idea of being stretched and opened up and stuck to someone for hours had seemed boring at best, awkward and uncomfortable at worst.

Mostly, Rey had been stupid. Or naive, or just plain ignorant, because really, no one had told her that just having her Alpha come inside her would feel this good. And no one had told her that while he’d come, she’d be coming too. 

“What about this?” he asks against the back of her head once his first knot is locked inside her. It grows so much plumper than Rey had expected, and—she thinks maybe more than Ben did, too. Because he seems to be unable to help himself once it’s finally at full size, and reaches down to part her labia and touch the stretch of her slick opening, the spot where they’re tied together. His breath deepens as he feels around the rim, hot and humid puffs in her ear. “Can you feel how fat you’ve made my knot? I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Rey exhales—no, neither has she. When his fingers move up to her clit her cunt clenches around him, and she buries a moan in the soft, expensive sheets as he begins to spurt come again.

Or maybe he never stopped. Maybe he has been emptying steadily inside her for minutes, now. Grinding against her and pressing his palm on her stomach to feel the bulge created by the head of his cock poking through the skin. Sometimes he grazes her clit and the contractions start again, and her body—it has never been less hers. 

“My perfect little Omega.” He kisses the hollow behind her lobe. “Is this okay?” 

Maybe. She’s not sure, but she nods.

“Next time I’ll knot you on your back,” he says anyway. “You’ll be more comfortable. How do you feel?”

She feels lost. She feels resplendent. She feels as if she has purpose, for the first time in her life. “Full.”

He hums into her skin, pleased. “But you’re not. Not yet.” He kisses the gland on her neck. One hand comes up to her tits, pinches a tight nipple, and Rey can only let it happen. She can only let him have her. “Soon, though. I’m here. Just let me take care of you.”

Rey’s teeth sink into her lower lip, and it all starts again.

 

 

She thinks it’s the rut, the reason most of the time he seems to look down at her without seeing, his eyes glassy, simultaneously far away and lost inside her. But every once in a while something pulls him back—a choked moan from her throat, a clumsy kiss on the line of his jaw—and he blinks awake, as if clearing up the fog of hormones inside his brain. 

He smiles softly then, though only with his eyes, and his thrusts slow to a delicious drag for a few moments, and he calls her Rey, Rey, Rey, instead of Omega. He tells her that she is lovely and kisses her shoulder, gently, with care, and it’s almost as though they are a normal couple, having a normal hook up after a normal date. Like they are two Betas. Almost as if she is not so full of his seed that her abdomen feels swollen and distended; not covered in bruises the exact shape of his fingers, in scattered, imprecise bite marks that just barely didn’t break the skin. 

“Thank you,” he whispers in those moments, “for letting me use you like this.” And: “Next time, I will fuck you the way you like. I promise.” And, mumbled breathlessly against her cheek: “I just didn’t know that anything could feel like this.”

Rey doesn’t tell him that neither did she, and when the urgency of his rut rises anew she lets the pleasure of Ben working on her push her to the edge of consciousness.

 

 

“What did you mean, that this is not how you imagined it?” she asks at some point during the following day. 

It’s a work day, and she should probably have texted her direct supervisor that she’d be absent; but a few hours ago, when she tried to slip out of bed to get her phone, Ben had pinned her to the bed and thrown an arm across her hips, snarling into her cunt that she wasn’t allowed, that she was his, that he needed her.

Rey doesn’t really mind.

“I’m not sure.” He has been moderately coherent for the past few minutes, but she knows better than to think his rut is over. His knot has been locked tight inside her for longer than an hour, far longer that she thought an Alpha could maintain one.

“Am I disappointing?”

He scoffs. He has pulled her on top of his body, one of his hands gripping her buttock to himself, the fingers of the other traveling up and down, from the small of her back to the cleft of her ass. Every once in a while his thumb or his index dip inside her hole, lazy and thick and unhurried. Just because he can. 

“You’re perfect.” He nuzzles her hairline, inhaling deeply. “I hadn’t been in a rut in years. A decade. More than that.”

Rey feels full and warm and unburdened, and has no intention of allowing thoughts of the other Omega, the one she happens to look like, slip between their skins. “What did you expect, then?”

“I don’t know.” She can feel his heartbeat under her ear, steady and strong. The heartbeat of her Alpha. “I thought you and I… I had hoped I’d get to fuck you after a few dates. After getting you to not hate me. Not to be on you for twelve hours straight like an animal, as though you’re…” He sighs, half frustrated and half resigned. “Not knotting you to me face to face, so I don’t go insane and bite into all your glands.”

His control must be about to slip once more. He has two fingers pushed inside her ass now, and Rey can feel his cock twitch against them. Wonders if he can feel it, too. They are intoxicatingly close, the two of them.

“I don’t hate you.” She really doesn’t. Maybe at some point, but now… She doesn’t know him very well, but yeah. Not hate, this. “And you can.”

She looks up at him and he is smiling a bit, seeming genuinely pleased. “Take you out on more dates?” He smooths her hair behind her ear. “Thank you.”

“No. Well—yes. But also, you can bite me.”

His body stiffens under her. “Rey—”

“It wouldn’t take, anyway,” she hastens to add. “The mating bond. Because I’m not in heat, and I’m on suppressants.”

“The bond would take,” he corrects. “It just wouldn’t last.”

“A few hours, right?” She swallows. “Maybe a couple of days. You could bite me, and it would feel… You would feel like…”

She feels the air rush out of her chest when he flips them around, his weight pinning her to the mattress like a boulder. She just gasps, letting him curl his palm around her neck and holding his eyes when he demands it. Oh, his control really is slipping.

“I would fuck you like you are my mate, Rey. If I bit you.”

She nods. She’s not even going to pretend that this is not for herself. That she doesn’t want to know. “Yes.” 

His scent thickens even more. “I would fuck you like you’re mine.”

She nods once again. “But I am yours, Alpha.”

He growls. Because, Rey thinks, it was the right thing to say.

 

 

“Can I use your body to get myself off?” he asks her, his breath hot and urgent against her nape. Rey, swollen and achy and exhausted from the orgasms that lock her around his knot, cannot even bring herself to open her eyes before nodding. Just your hand on my cock, he adds at times, closing her fingers around himself and moving his fist up and down. Or: Your little tits. I will push them together, okay?  She has come on her belly. And on her face. Probably in her hair. And inside her, of course, running down the inner part of her legs like a small river. Her thighs are covered with it, from when he’d pushed them together and started thrusting between them, whispering that he was sorry, that he was a beast, that he would try to give her swollen little cunt a break but he still needed to fuck something of hers. Rey’s glands, flushed and sore with his bites, are singing with pleasure, glowing with it; coated in her Alpha’s smell. 

She doesn’t want to wash him off of her. She would never. She is perfect just the way she is, because he is perfect and he’s made her like this, shaped and molded her to his will and he’s—he’s not her mate but he feels like her mate, and Rey in turn feels whole. Intact. Invincible.

The bites he has given her have tethered their minds. If Rey were in heat and unsuppressed it would be forever; as it is, she tries hard not to think about how desolating it will be, when he doesn’t reside in the back of her head anymore. 

“The inside of your mind,” he murmurs while licking the underside of her breasts, “is just as warm and snug as the rest.” The inside of him is warm, too, but also leafy and shaded, like a late spring afternoon underneath an oak tree. It would make for a cozy home.

She can feel his confusion when he wakes up from a short nap and finds her gone from the bed, can feel his displeasure at her absence and the urgency with which he starts looking for her. When he finds her she is sitting naked by a windowsill in his sunroom, trying to use his comb to disentangle the knots in her hair. She barely has the time to smile up at him before he presses her against the window, one hand flat between her shoulder blades as he pushes her breasts against the cold glass. He shoves inside with blunt, shallow thrusts, muttering filthy things in her ear about her cunt, and her smell, and all the places inside her that he will knot if she ever leaves him again.

“Please,” he murmurs a little later against the skin, sounding apologetic. “Please don’t leave the bed again, or I’ll fuck you wherever I find you.” He seems sorry. Like he knows it’s wrong but can’t help himself. Powerless, this powerful Alpha in the midst of a rut. Powerless because of her.

Rey just cups the side of his face, and nods.

 

 

On the third day, she can’t come anymore. But Ben still needs her, and it’s uniquely nice, to be used like this. To arch her back and tilt her hips, to open her mouth and her hands to him. “I can take it,” she tells him, and his hand stroking her hair back is loving and proud and impressed. Rey is, sometimes at least, a good Omega. She can feel the depth of his pleasure thrum and flood her head, see the way he can’t seem to look away from her body, the way he touches her full abdomen like it holds the meaning of life.

“I want to break you apart,” he murmurs in the crease of her thigh between bites and kisses, “and put you back together. With my own hands.” 

“I want to lock you in my closet,” he licks the sticky sweat on her nape, “and take you out when I feel like fucking you.”

“One day we’ll do this when you are in heat, too. And maybe you will feel even better, and I will die.”

Rey always says yes.

 

 

“You need to rest.”

A soft laugh. “I think you need to rest more.”

“Hmm.” She feels his sigh against the hollow of her throat. “After we rest, can I fuck you some more?”

“Yes.”

“I’ll wake you up, then.”

“You don’t have to, Alpha.” Her eyes are heavy. The rest of her body, warm and safe. “Just take what you need.”

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

She can’t walk. 

That is—she is technically able walk, because she has been since she was ten months old or so. But she cannot see why she would, not with this soreness knifing deep inside her and the little aches sprinkled all over her muscles and skin. 

“I’m sorry.” Ben’s voice is gravel in the steam of the shower, almost as dark as his eyes. “I am really sorry,” he repeats with a soft kiss on the slope of her shoulder, and she shrugs with a tired, distracted smile.

“I’ll be fine.”

“I used you too hard.”

His hands washing her torso are kind and patient, nothing like the frantic, too bruising grips of the last few days. It appears that when he is not rut-mindless, Ben Solo can be remarkably mindful. 

“It’s not the way it’s supposed to be,” he mutters glumly while untangling her hair, his thick fingers surprisingly gentle on her scalp. “Ruts without heats.”

Rey knows it. Rey can feel it in the tender walls of her cunt, where he knotted her over and over, in that floaty sense of fullness at the bottom of her stomach. Not quite meant to be, the last few days, but her body doesn’t mind too much.

She sighs and smiles again, until her hand find his and he squeezes. “It is what it is.”

Mostly, Rey just wants to sleep. For days. For decades. Ben said that he’ll take care of her absences from work, the ones she has accumulated so far and however many days she’ll need to recover. It seems like she should be too proud to accept an entire week off just because she helped her boss through a rut she freakishly, miraculously triggered, but righteous indignation is hard to muster when she is so busy yawning.  

“You should just stay here,” he tells her, eyes sharp and concerned. “For a few days.” He swallows. “For however long you want.”

Earlier today, in the pre-dawn hours of the morning, the mating bond he’d tied between them stopped thrumming, like they both knew it would. Whether Ben is aware of the empty, gaping space he left behind in her head, Rey has no idea. Whether he misses feeling whole and not alone, she isn’t sure. 

Most likely not. Most likely he is relieved that he has not accidentally hitched himself to Rey when the other Omega—the one Rey has the good or disastrous luck of resembling—is still around.

“I need to go back to my place,” she tells him drowsily, and can’t help rubbing her wet cheek against one of his pecs. “And water my poor plants.”

He tenses briefly, but it’s just a moment. Then he chuckles softly, and later holds her hand in her lap while he drives her home.  

 

 

Rose: <how’s that cold?>

Rey: <almost gone>

Rose: <dude, i think it was more like the flu. It’s been days.>

Rey: <yeah maybe>

Rey: <I’m just resting now, really>

Rose: <should we come over and bring you soup? or idk, clementines?>

Rose: <we could bring Poe along and introduce you guys.>

 

Rey buries her face in her pillow. It still smells like Ben, which can only mean that she still smells like Ben. She is not sure how much scent three betas could pick up, but she’d rather avoid any questions from Rose. Especially questions that would lead to Rey having to somehow explain that she just saw an Alpha through his rut. An Alpha whom she met on Reddit. An Alpha who happens to be her boss. An Alpha with highly questionable morals. An Alpha who is only interested in her because she is a poor man’s version of another, better Omega.

Rey sighs and scratches her forehead.

 

Rey: <Nah. Thanks, tho.>

Rey: <I’d have to shower and it sounds like a lot of effort>

Rose: <lol i can see that>

Rose: <lemme know if you need anything>

Rey: <will do <3 >

 

 

Ben texts her two days after the end of his rut, asking if he can come over to her place after work. Rey wakes up from a nap to find his message, and hesitates approximately one point five seconds before answering: <Of course.>

He shows up later that night, wearing a dark blue suit and tie, smelling like his office and downtown and vague exhaustion. And, of course, like himself. 

His scent was always delicious to her, even when she didn’t know him and half-heartedly hated him for taking the company away from Leia. Now, though, after his bites and their short-lived bond and the all-consuming way he looked at Rey during his rut, now she finds it phenomenal. Inconceivable.

“Fuck, Rey.” He sets the takeout bag he is carrying on the floor and cups her face. “You look like shit.”

She glances down at herself—at the unicorn blanket wrapped around her shoulders and her worn shorts and her polka-dotted knee socks—and frowns.

“Why, thank you.”

He huffs impatiently. “You know what I mean.” Even if she didn’t, she’d figure it out from the way he pushes back her hair and touches his palm to her forehead, as if to test her fever.  

“I’m not… I’m just tired.” And achy. And hollow. And I miss you, even though I barely know you. And I want to sleep. And sleep, and sleep, and sleep. 

He doesn’t seem too convinced. His lips replace his palm, and they stay like that, standing in the entrance of her apartment as though they were two people who actually share something. Then he pulls back and his eyes narrow and zero in on her glands, which are still slightly red and sore from the relentless attention he gave them during his rut. From his tongue, and his lips, and above all from his teeth.

“Rey,” he sighs. A little reproachful, as if taking better care of herself is something she owes him. “You shouldn’t have let me do it.”

“Do what?”

Any of it.”

“Not any?” she asks, a little teasing. But she is too weak to be funny, of flirty, or even to make sense.

He bends down to her throat, not for a kiss but to lick her gland, a slow, soothing drag that has her melting into him. It’s like a cool drink after a long run—like being submerged in a hot bath after a trek in the snow; it makes everything right. Without her permission her arms lift and loop around his waist, and she smiles into his chest. 

“Ben.”

He is the one who picks her up and carries her to bed, the one who figures out her microwave and warms up the soup he bought for her, the one who sits by her side and stares at her until she brings the spoon to her mouth over and over. Between bites, Rey tries not to fall asleep. She imagines Ben rummaging through the drawers of her cozy little kitchen, looking for bowls and silverware, and is vaguely surprised that he managed to fit in there.

“I shouldn’t have let you go,” he says, sounding a little like he’s scolding himself. “I should have come over yesterday. But it was still there. The rut. Every time I thought about you I went a little insane, and I was afraid I’d fuck you again, if I—”

“It’s okay.” Rey swallows her soup and then licks her lips. She is still sore. But. “We can—If you want, we can—”

No.” He shakes his head, sounding outraged. Even if Rey can see very clearly how much his pupils widen, or the way his hand claws at her sheets. “No, Rey. That’s not why I’m here.” He sighs and stands up, running a hand through his hair. He looks exhausted, too. The last few days can’t have been easy on his body, either. “I’ll set up an appointment with my doctor.” He undoes his tie and takes off his suit jacket, draping it neatly on her dresser. Rey is not sure why he is doing that, but asking feels like something that would require too much energy. “Figure out if I should switch to stronger blockers to avoid going into a rut every time I smell your scent.” He unzips his pants. “When you’re not in heat, at least.” 

Rey blinks, trying to prevent her eyes from fluttering closed. These things he’s saying—it all feels oddly like a long-term plan. Or—maybe not quite long -term, but definitely… ongoing. Like he intends to see more of her. Like the two of them are something evolving. A shape, shifting and developing and solidifying. 

Rey should be wise and protect herself. She should ask him again about the other Omega, the one he really wants. The one Rey is not —not quite. Instead, when he is down to his black underwear and slips under the covers with her, when he gathers her to his chest and into his arms, when he yawns against her hair, she just burrows inside his heat.

“You don’t have to take care of me,” she tells him, and he feels so good.

“Neither did you,” he says, his breath warm against her temple. “And yet.”



 

He takes Rey’s hand before crossing the street, and he always positions himself between her and the oncoming traffic. Rey would roll her eyes at the condescension (she did manage to stay alive for over a couple of decades without him, thank you very much) but his fingers are ever warm in the chilly morning air, and his coat pocket, when he slides their joined hands into it, is soft and comfortable and nicely free of lint.

He tucks her sweaty hair behind her ear when he picks her up from the gym to bring her back to his place, and he invariably lets her choose the restaurant—though it’s less of a nice gesture and more because he really does not care about food (ridiculous). His hand curves around her thigh under the tables, and over her shoulders if they are alone in the elevator. He leans into her to zip up her coat, and takes a moment to nuzzle the top of her head. He invariably whispers how pretty she looks against the rim of her ear, no matter how nonexistent her make up or messy her hair. 

He argues with her about politics. He laughs at her jokes, and while he barely makes any, he somehow has her laughing all the same. He rolls his eyes and grumbles about work, about people who don’t recycle, about drivers who won’t signal their turn on the highway. He introduces her to his aunt Q’ira and uses the word “girlfriend” as he does it, which has Rey flushing and fumbling something as simple as a handshake. He files some paperwork with HR so that Rey is “protected from unjust repercussions” or “professionalism is prioritized” or something of the like—she doesn’t quite listen during the meeting, her brain still addled by Ben’s smell so soon after the end of his rut.

She has his house keys. He doesn’t have hers, and he doesn’t ask for them. He is happy to take what he can get, and just give, give, give. To take charge until she requests that he stop. He doesn’t mind that she asked him not to seek her out at work, or that she’d rather keep their relationship a secret from his family and her friends; he doesn’t mind that she doesn’t want to answer questions about her past; he doesn’t mind being kind. In fact, it seems to come naturally to him, at least where Rey is concerned.

When he fucks her, his mind finally clear of the violent fog of his rut, he tells her the sweetest, filthiest things. She is, apparently, beautiful beyond belief and a mind-bendingly good lay; as lovely as a flower in bloom and something straight out of a porn movie he’d like to get off to for the rest of his life; the freckles on her cheekbones are pretty and enchanting, and her cunt is the most exquisite tight little hole he has ever been inside. He wants to abscond with her, take her someplace warm and sunny where she won’t shiver anymore, somewhere full of all the shades of green and blue in the universe, somewhere with bay windows where she can cat nap on his chest while watching the sun set. But he would also like to tie her spread-eagled to his bed and keep her there for days, for him to use at his leisure and without mercy, his to mold to the shape of his hands. And his cock. And his knot.

Coming from anyone else it would sound like jarring, nonsensical madness. Ben, though—it oddly makes sense, the mismatched tapestry of his desires. “When we are mated,” he says often, only to break into a self-deprecating smile. “If you let me mate you, that is,” he continues. Or: “No pressure.” Or: “Provided I convince you.” He has never formally asked—if a formal request even needs to be put forward between Alphas and Omegas—but he speaks to Rey like the offer is on the table. It’s hard to interpret, his tone: hopeful and eager, but also patient. As though he doesn’t want to assume, as though he would back down if she were to tell him no. As though he is amused by his own smitten state. As though he didn’t only find Rey because he was looking for another Omega, one that she cannot stop thinking about.

That, Rey thinks, is what hurts the most. It’s what takes up the space Ben left in her head when the bond dissolved, what makes her think messy thoughts about wanting and deserving, what has her look at him, just a few weeks after the end of his rut, and say:

“Ben?”

He doesn’t glance up from the Saturday’s New York Times’ crossword puzzle. A strand of hair is curled around his frown, the black stark against pale skin.

“Yes?” he mumbles, distracted. “Do you know a Moroccan dish that ends with an ‘e’? Six letters. Puzzle’s ridiculously hard today.”

“No.” She swallows. “I don’t.”

“Mmm. What about spiders’ respiratory system?”

“Ben.”

He finally looks up. He must be seeing something in her face, too, because he clicks his pen closed, letting it fall on the kitchen table with a clacking sound before tilting his head.

“Is everything okay?”

There is lead in her stomach, and acid in her blood, and No , she wants to answer. Nothing is okay.

“Ben. I don’t think I can continue this.”



 

To his credit, he doesn’t pretend not to understand what Rey is talking about. He blinks at her a couple of times, his scent swelling in the open space of the room, and then glances away for a moment—to his hand, and his mug of coffee, and his crossword puzzle that is, apparently, ridiculously hard today. 

He looks… not displeased, no. Not sullen. Lost? Resigned? 

“Rey.”

She nods, thrusting her hands in the pockets of the oversized cardigan she put on. She’ll have to remember to gather her clothes and bring them with her, when she leaves. And her running shoes and her spare laptop charger are here, in Ben’s apartment. But not the toothbrush. The toothbrush should stay here, since he’s the one who bought it. For her.

“We’re just…” He stands, and his scent becomes even more intense, with a hint of something stubborn and confused and wounded to it. “You want this to be over?”

“I think it’s for the best, yes.” She is glad he is not coming closer. She is glad he is far away from her, with his hooded eyes and his balled fists and his tight, working jaw. 

“Is it something I am doing?”

“No.”

“Something you want me to change, then? Because—”

“No, no.”

“—that’s the point of… of dating. To figure out if two people can be compatible. If they can compromise.” His Adam’s apple bobs. “If there’s something there.”

Rey blinks, confused. “There?”

“Before making a commitment. Something beyond an Omega smelling like… like everything to an Alpha, and I—” He looks away. Down to his palm, flexing open and closed. “There is. There is for me. So if you want me to—”

“You said you weren’t interested in commitment.”

He crosses his arms on his chest, eyes narrow. “What?”

“You did.”

“I’m pretty sure I’ve never—”

“In your post.” Rey averts her eyes. “On Reddit.” 

He laughs. A mirthless, low sound before running a hand in his hair. “Yes. Right.” He shakes his head. “I did not particularly want to get married to some random girl I met through Reddit for a quick fuck, not when I’d already found my mate and the only reason I needed a quick fuck to begin with was her nuclear smell stuck in my nose and her obvious disgust for me—” 

“Do you do it a lot?”

Silence. “Do what?”

“Think about her?” Rey hates it, that her voice is shaking. And hates the way he stops in his rant, too, as if taken aback by her question.

“…Her?”

“Her.”

“I don’t know what you—”

“Ben. Please.”

His mouth hardens. His eyes, too. “I don’t know what you’re talking about, but the answer is: probably no.” His words are not meant to be reassuring, just cold and angry. A little punishing. “Since I spend the entirety of my time awake thinking about you, and then I go to sleep and fucking dream of you.”

Maybe it was stupid of Rey, to stuff her hands in her pockets. Because now it would be nice to have them out, to wipe her cheeks furtively and not let Ben see that she has started to tear up.

“It’s just because I look like her.”

Ben’s brows knit. “Because you look like wh—” he starts, and then abruptly stops. 

Eyes wide and mouth parted, he stares at Rey as if incredulous. As if having unlocked some kind of millennia-old mystery. “Rey. Rey.” He takes a deep breath and a step closer. “Rey .”

“It’s fine, I don’t—”

“Rey.” He is walking across the room, and then—he is standing so close that he is touching her. “Rey.”

“It just feels unfair,” she continues. A little weepy, but the past few weeks—they have been nice, really nice, and she should tell him how she feels. She owes it to him. To her Alpha. “To be with you and—if this continues I’d probably go in heat, and we’d end up mating, just because… just because , and then one day you might meet her again, the Omega you want, and you would be… disappointed.” She hates the tears. Hates that she is sniffling. Hates all of this. “You would be stuck with me, and—”

“You still haven’t realized it.” Ben’s voice is hushed. His hands slide up her neck and into her hair, supporting her face, cradling it in a warm grip. “You haven’t, have you?”

She shakes her head. And then tries to pull away, because—whatever he means, it’s probably not important. Because she’d rather not know and just leave and not have to think about this ever. “It doesn’t matter—” 

“Sssh. Rey.” It’s so nice, to be soothed by him. As sweet as it is bitter. “All along,” he whispers against the rim of her ear. 

“It doesn’t—”

“All along,” he repeats. Firmer, this time. Rey can’t help herself, and lets the tip of her nose brush his gland. When he is this close, his scent deep in her lungs, she wonders if perhaps everything is going to be alright. She cannot possibly imagine that it might be otherwise. “All along.”

“Ben—”

“All along, Rey.” There is something in his throat, but the words seem to push past it. “It was always you, all along.”