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Sweet Heat

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Everything that can go wrong does.

Shiro somehow sleeps through his alarm, leaving him with no time for his morning run before he has to work. His first client of the day—the only one who didn’t seem scared during the two hour safety video—ends up puking the second they jump from the airplane, which is less than ideal for Shiro who takes the brunt of it from behind. It’s not the first time Shiro’s been thrown up on—it’s kind of a hazard of being a tandem skydive instructor—but it never gets less gross. His second client is so over exuberant that on landing he tips them both backwards, sending Shiro flat on his back on a rock.

The rest of the day goes by without incident, giving Shiro a false sense of hope that things are on the uptick.

This hope crashes when he goes to leave work and finds the front tire on his motorcycle flat. Shiro’s got AAA so it’s less of a financial hit and more of a pain in the fucking ass. By the time he gets it towed to his mechanic, gets a quote for a new tire, and gets an Uber, he’s got a raging headache and he’s starving. What Shiro probably needs after his day is a balanced meal with adequate protein and carbs and a lot more water since he forgot his hydro flask at home today. What he wants is an extra sweet dirty chai and a cinnamon roll the size of his head.

Decision made, he gives his Uber driver the address of his favorite independent coffee shop across town instead of his apartment.

Sitting in the back of his driver’s Prius—his legs shoved into the back of the front passenger seat because of the lack of legroom—Shiro’s reminded of why he loves his motorcycle so much. You almost never get stuck in traffic, there’s way less gas wasted from idling and, most importantly in this moment, his legs actually fit.

It’s late enough in the afternoon that what should be a ten minute drive takes twenty-five, and by the time he’s finally being dropped off out front, Shiro practically leaps from the car. The only thing he hates more than being a passenger is being stuck inside a stuffy car with artificial air blasting.

He pauses on the sidewalk, shaking out his legs and stretching his arms overhead, and filling his lungs with the cool air. He spins on his heels, reaching out a hand towards the door when he spots his mystery crush. Just thinking the words mystery crush makes Shiro feel closer to thirteen than thirty. Still, it’s impossible for Shiro to deny that looking at his crush makes his insides feel fluttery and his face warm in ways he hasn’t felt since he was a teenager. Shiro only saw him for the first time a few weeks ago and had been rendered so stupid by his beauty he’d walked off the curb and spilled his entire hazelnut cappuccino on himself. The only positive to that situation had been the fact that the guy didn’t notice Shiro making an ass of himself over a pretty face.

Shiro’s seen him in this same coffee shop no less than half a dozen times in the last month—each time decked out in a different form of athletic wear that makes Shiro feel crazy. Today is no different. Through the massive front window Shiro has a clear view of the guy standing in the back of the line. He’s wearing a pair of black compression leggings that might as well be painted on with tiny red running shorts over them and a pair of crisp white sneakers to match his loose white t-shirt. Shiro’s tongue feels stuck to the roof of his mouth as the guy shakes his hair out.

A rush of heat floods Shiro’s chest. So far hasn’t gotten close enough to say hello, or get a whiff of his scent to tell if he’s an alpha, omega, or beta. Not that Shiro cares one way or the other. He’s progressive enough to know secondary genders don’t always define who you fall in love with, even if there are plenty of other people who still get stuck in antiquated stereotypes when it comes to dating. Shiro’s learned the hard way that every dating app he’s tried has an algorithm that only matches him with alphas, and most of them swipe left on Shiro. He tries not to take it personally, but he knows he’s not the stereotypical omega or what most alphas want.

Shoving aside any lingering self-doubt, Shiro makes up his mind that today will be the day he finally says hello—and maybe even works up the courage to ask for the hot guy’s phone number.

Before he goes inside, Shiro spares a moment to look at his reflection in the window—smoothing a hand down his white t-shirt then running a hand through his hair to fluff up the hair in the front. He’s thankful he had something nice to put on after work, tightening the flannel around his waist—not above trying to highlight one of his better features—then straightening the collar on his leather jacket. Allowing himself a moment of vanity, Shiro smiles at his reflection pleased with what he sees and hoping maybe his crush will be too.

Shiro’s just about to reach for the door handle, eyes focused on his crush’s long legs when he catches the reflection of someone behind him—a tiny old lady struggling to get her walker over the edge of the curb. The guy is next in line now and if Shiro doesn’t go in now, he’s going to miss his chance. There’s no choice to be made.

Shiro spins on his heels, jogging across the sidewalk. “Need a hand?”

The elderly woman looks up, surprise flitting across her face followed by a smile that highlights the many wrinkles on her face. She’s got a kind smile, her pale grey hair done up in a bun atop her head and her flowery dress—which Shiro’s pretty sure is actually a nightgown—reminds Shiro of his own grandma he lost a few years back.

“Oh, that would be wonderful,” she says, touching a hand to her face.

Shiro smiles, lifting her walker up over the lip of the curb before stepping down and offering his left arm. Her smile widens into something radiant as her shaky hands wrap around his forearm and he helps lift her up over the sidewalk.

“Thank you so much, dear. I’m afraid I’m not as spry as I once was.”

“You’re just fine, ma’am.”

“Oh my word, aren’t you a gentleman,” she laughs. “I bet you have all the ladies blushing.”

“Maybe the boys,” Shiro grins, shoving his hands into his jacket pockets. “Did you need any help getting anywhere else?”

“Don’t you worry about me, dear. I’m just going to get my hair done next door.” She pats his arm, her touch impossibly light. “I know it’s hard to believe but I don’t always wake up so pretty.”

“I find that very hard to believe,” he tells her.

“Goodness,” she huffs, shaking her head and fighting off a blush. “Aren’t you charming. You just made my day young man. You have a wonderful day, you hear me.”

“Thanks,” Shiro smiles. “You too.”

He waits until she makes it down the sidewalk and into the beauty salon before turning back towards his original destination, his heart fluttering once more as he thinks about what he’s going to do next. Shiro pushes the door open, wafts of freshly ground coffee and freshly baked pastries filling the air, as the low hum of voices sounds around him. It’s one of Shiro’s favorite places, partly because the coffee is good and the pastries are even better, and largely because it’s one of the few places Shiro can go and hang out where the rich aroma of coffee beans and various freshly baked delicacies smell stronger than the scent of others. Shiro’s always had an impeccable sense of smell—even for an omega—but the older he’s gotten, the more tuned in he’s become to others.

It’s one of the reasons Shiro loves his job so much. Sure there are hours spent running safety meetings and training but a lot of his job is spent outside or in the air and in small groups, making it easy to not get overwhelmed by the intense mood changes or pheromones of other alphas or omegas.

He found this coffee shop a few years ago, right after it first opened. He’d been immediately enamored by the cozy decor, friendly employees, and carefully handcrafted drinks and beverages. There’d been a touchy few weeks when a Starbucks opened up a mile away last year, and Shiro had feared his favorite indie place might not survive. To his surprise and pleasure, nothing could’ve been further from the truth—something which Shiro is immensely grateful for every time he comes. The coffee here is infinitely better, and the ambiance can’t be beat.

Once he’s acclimated to the change in scents and noises, Shiro turns his gaze towards the front register, unsurprised that the hot running boy is nowhere to be found. He was afraid if he lingered too long he would’ve missed him. He probably left while Shiro was talking to the old woman outside and he hadn’t even noticed. Disappointment rises in him but he shoves it down as he makes his way to the line. Today just isn’t his day, but there’s never been a thing a cinnamon roll and a dirty chai couldn’t fix.

“Hey, Shiro. What can I get you today?”

Shiro looks up to find Hunk—the owner—working the register. Shiro really likes Hunk, not just because he’s the world’s most easygoing beta or because he makes the best baked goods in the entire town. Shiro likes him because he’s smart and friendly, and in the years Shiro has been coming here Hunk rapidly became one of Shiro’s closest friends.

“A cinnamon roll and a dirty chai, extra sweet.”

Hunk whistles. “Long day?”

“You have no idea. I need a sugar and carb hit pronto.”

Hunk frowns. “About that…”

“Please don’t tell me you can’t make my chai.”

“No, I can definitely make you a dirty chai. I just sold the last cinnamon roll five minutes ago though. I would’ve saved it for you if I’d known you were coming in today. I’m sorry, buddy.”

Shiro deflates faster than a balloon with a hole. He was really looking forward to that cinnamon role. He’s been dreaming about the fluffy dough, spiced cinnamon, and thick frosting all afternoon.

“I’ve got a few snickerdoodle cookies left,” Hunk offers, gesturing to what Shiro now notices is a practically empty display case.

“Sure, I’d love a cookie,” Shiro lies, forcing on a smile.

It’s a sad substitute but it’s something, and it’s not Hunk’s fault his baked goods are so popular they usually sell out by this time of day. Shiro should’ve known better than to get his hopes up there’d be anything left this late.

“How much do I owe you?” Shiro asks, pulling his wallet out of his pocket.

“On the house today. You look like you could use it,” Hunk says, stoutly refusing to take Shiro’s credit card.

“Thanks, Hunk.”

“No problem,” Hunk grins.

Shiro waits until Hunk is busy putting one of his jumbo cookies in a bag to shove a ten dollar bill in his tip jar.

“Don’t think I didn’t see that,” Hunk says, passing Shiro his cookie.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Shiro says.

“Mhmm,” Hunk hums. “I’ll bring your drink out in a minute if you wanna sit down. Unless you needed it to go today?”

“Nope, here is perfect. Thanks again, Hunk.”

As Hunk busies himself making Shiro’s drink, Shiro grabs a few napkins and makes his way over to his favorite table near the window—coincidentally the only empty one too. He’s pretty sure most people avoid it since the direct sunlight streaming in makes it nearly impossible to stare at a laptop or phone screen. Shiro likes it because he can stare out the window and watch people walk their dogs. His apartment is strictly no pets, and Shiro loves the location and the rent control too much to move, but one day he’s going to get himself a dog. A big one too.

He’s so lost in thought he hardly notices Hunk depositing his drink on the table, thanking him before digging into his cookie. As far as cookies go it’s good—sweet and a little chewy with just the right amount of cinnamon and sugar on top and even if Shiro’s never exactly been a huge cookie fan, it’s good.

Shiro has almost convinced himself it’s a good enough snack replacement when a familiar takeout box with a clear lid is set on the table. When he looks up, Hot Runner Boy is standing in front of him—his cheeks wind-chapped and a heavy backpack now slung over one shoulder. He’s got something to drink in a to-go cup, and Shiro now knows exactly who bought the last cinnamon roll.

“Do you mind if I sit in this empty seat? Everywhere else is full and I need to study, and my roommate has his girlfriend over tonight and—that was a lot, sorry. I just really need to study.”

“Oh, yeah, no. I mean yes. You can definitely sit,” Shiro corrects, knocking his knees on the underside of the table in his haste to sit upright, spilling some of his chai tea on the table. He grabs for a napkin and dabs up the spill, pretending he’s not being watched. Hot Runner Boy is thankfully polite enough not to mention anything.

“Thanks,” he says, dropping his backpack on the floor with a loud thud. “I’m Keith by the way.”

“Keith,” Shiro repeats, savoring the name on his lips. “I’m Shiro.”

“Nice to meet you, Shiro. Thanks again for letting me share your table.”

“It was nothing,” Shiro says, reaching for his drink solely so he has something to do with hand.

He takes a sip, trying desperately to think of what to say next. In his silence Keith bends down, long bits of hair falling into his eyes and he rummages around through his backpack, eventually pulling out two hefty textbooks which he thunks on the table. Unable to resist his curiosity Shiro tilts his head to the side to read the spines—Primary Care Skills of Secondary Genders and Reproductive Genitourinary and Obstetrics: Heats and Ruts.

“Med School,” Keith says.

“Huh?” Shiro asks, drawing his attention back to Keith.

“The books. I’m a med student,” he offers.

“Impressive,” Shiro whistles, earning him a bashful grin from Keith.

“I haven’t graduated yet, right now it’s less impressive and more lets see if we can kill you with a crazy study load,” Keith laughs. Something about it makes Shiro’s pulse soar.

“That’s still impressive,” Shiro says, unsure how to cope with the new knowledge that not only is Keith hot, he’s also smart.

Keith shrugs, ducking his head as he bends over to withdraw a notebook. “I just want to help and I like science.”

Shiro’s heart flip flops in his chest like a fish yanked from water. Hot, smart, and decent. Shiro’s dealt with more than his fair share of doctors, the vast majority of them alphas and betas—who have no idea what it’s really like to be an omega, and as such seem inclined to reduce his every medical issue to hormones or hysterics. Not that he has any idea what Keith’s secondary gender is. Shiro’s sense of smell is good but not that good. Maybe if Keith was right beside him, but across the table with everyone else’s scents mixing with the coffee, it’s impossible for Shiro to be sure what he’s picking up.

Somehow that makes Shiro’s heart beat even faster. It’s unlikely Keith can smell Shiro either. His behavior has nothing to do with the knowledge that Shiro is an omega.

“That makes it even more impressive,” Shiro says, pulling himself out of his musings and back to the present.

Keith’s cheeks flush a pretty pink at his words, causing Shiro to gulp down his chai so quickly he nearly chokes. It’s absolutely ridiculous. Shiro’s nearly thirty. He’s dated before—had boyfriends even—but something about Keith makes him feel the same way he did as a teenager. It’s a little unsettling and a lot exciting, and Shiro has no idea what to do next.

It’s not just that Keith is pretty, there’s something else—something more—Shiro can feel it. He’s just not sure what.

They lapse into silence after and Shiro takes no offense. Judging by the notes crammed into Keith’s notebook and the textbooks spread open, he’s got a lot of work ahead of him. Shiro does his best to be as quiet as possible, sipping his chai and avoiding eating his cookie so he doesn’t crinkle the little parchment bag or accidentally get crumbs all over the table.

Despite his best efforts to not be distracting, Keith glances up at him ever few minutes—his eyebrows furrowed and lips drawn tight. It’s on the tip of Shiro’s tongue to offer to leave when Keith sighs, slamming his book shut.

“It’s no use,” he says, confirming Shiro’s worst suspicions. While he’s been patiently waiting until Keith isn’t busy to maybe possibly get his number, he’s been impeding his studies.

“Problem?” Shiro asks.

“Yeah, you.” Shiro’s mouth falls open but before he can think of a response Keith is running a hand through his hair and fixing his gaze on Shiro. “You’re so pretty it’s distracting.”

Shiro splutters. Whatever he was expecting, it sure as hell wasn’t that.

“Don’t try to tell me you don’t know you’re gorgeous,” Keith says.

It’s Shiro’s turn to blush. He doesn’t necessarily consider himself vain—he knows appearances are superficial—but he can’t deny he spends more than an average amount of time trying to look his best. Having Keith appreciate that sends a rush of warmth to places that make Shiro glad he’s sitting down.

“You always flirt with guys you just met?” Shiro asks.

Keith shakes his head. “No, never.”

“Oh,” Shiro breathes. Keith’s apparently just full of surprises.

“I was gonna wait until I finished studying, maybe offer to buy you another drink and then casually ask for your phone number, but I don’t think that’s going to work.”

“Oh no?” Shiro asks, fighting back a smile. He’s never met anyone quite so blunt. Apparently it’s a thing Shiro is very into because he’s equal parts flattered and intrigued.

“Nope,” Keith confirms. “Too much waiting.”

“They say patience yields focus.”

Keith clicks his tongue. “Patience isn’t exactly my strong suit.”

“What is your strong suit?” Shiro asks, arms on the table as he leans forward.

Keith licks his lips. “Go on a date with me and find out.”

Suddenly Shiro’s day gone wrong becomes a day gone so, so right.

“Alright,” Shiro agrees. “I’d love to go on a date with you.”


When Keith suggests meeting the following day for a their date, Shiro happily agrees. He’s never been one to hold back when there’s something he wants, and he appreciates that neither one of them are interested in feigning coyness or playing games. Shiro likes Keith and Keith likes him, and there’s no reason to pretend otherwise.

Unfortunately their plans for a Friday night date end up being changed to a Sunday afternoon when Keith has to cancel last minute to make up some research for one of his labs. Shiro attempts to hide the disappointment in his voice as he assures Keith he doesn’t mind, because for all he might be disappointed, he understands Keith’s classes have to come first.

It’s just that the extra time gives Shiro a lot of, well—time. Time to overthink. Time to wonder if Keith’s an alpha or an omega or a beta. Time to wonder if Keith’s made any assumptions about Shiro because of his physical stature. For all Shiro knows that his secondary gender doesn’t define him—that no one’s does—it doesn’t change the fact that when it comes to dating, Shiro still worries about being what someone else expects, or wants.

He recognizes that not every omega wants or needs an alpha and that not every alpha wants an omega. Shiro’s even seen alpha to alpha or omega to omega matches where both people were happy, even if it’s unconventional. He knows that there’s no one-size-fits-all mold for people or relationships. But he also knows that most people fall into relationships that fit into these norms. Some people say its biology, others say its pheromones. Shiro’s not sure which it is, since dating has never been at the top of his priority list. He’s dated before, mostly betas and a very short-lived fling with an alpha who’d eventually felt too emasculated by Shiro. Hell, Shiro’s been on suppressants so long he’s never even had a heat, which is also unusual for someone his age. Everything about Shiro is unusual. He doesn’t look like an omega, he doesn’t act like one—whatever the hell that means—and he doesn’t even have heats like them.

Most days Shiro doesn’t care if he fits into anyone’s box.

Most days.

The closer his date with Keith gets though, the more he starts to care. Just a little bit. Something about Keith makes Shiro’s heart feel like it's in his throat and when Shiro thinks about Keith’s warm laugh and dark eyes, Shiro doesn’t want to see him walking away. Keith is special, and Shiro wants to be special too. The thought alone makes him feel ridiculous. He’s never been someone defined by romantic relationships or lonely without a partner, but he’s hard-pressed to deny that something about Keith is different.

Shiro keeps the nagging worry at bay by reminding himself that Keith was nothing but a gentleman the rest of that afternoon when they first met, splitting his cinnamon roll with Shiro and, true to his word, buying him a second dirty chai. Long after Keith had finished studying they’d both lingered, making surprisingly easy small talk but not quite broaching any getting-to-know-you conversations. It’d been a comfortable conversation though, far easier than Shiro was used to with strangers. Not once had Keith tried to casually get Shiro to confess his secondary gender, nor had he made any indication that he cared.

People have been trying to guess Shiro’s secondary gender before he even presented, and long after that never bothered to stop—doctors, strangers, coworkers. It never fails to shock Shiro how many people feel entitled to inquire about something that, and while Shiro is not ashamed of it, he feels it’s private information. Sometimes Shiro corrects people, sometimes he doesn’t. A lifetime of people making assumptions and then dealing with their surprise or disappointment takes its toll, regardless of how hard Shiro’s worked to feel comfortable in his own skin. Meeting Keith had been like stepping into the woods and inhaling the scent of fresh air and pine for the first time—rejuvenating and new, and full of hope. It’d been a relief to meet someone who seemed more interested in Shiro as a person than where Shiro fit on the gender spectrum.

That high lasted up until Keith had been forced to postpone their date, and then the doubt slowly trickled in.

Sunday morning Shiro wakes up and showers, then ends up so restless as he paces his kitchen that he goes for an hour long run until sweat drips down his face and clings to his clothes—until the only sound in his brain is his feet hitting the pavement. By the time he returns to his house he’s disgusting and and needs to shower again. A quick glance at the clock tells Shiro he was out longer than he probably should’ve been, which gives him just enough time to take an ice cold shower.

“Pull yourself together,” Shiro mumbles, staring at his reflection in the mirror.

It’s late enough now that Shiro doesn’t have time to blow dry his hair again, so he settles for shaking it out, running his fingers through it and hoping there’s not enough humidity to make him look like a deranged poodle. He runs a hand over his jaw and sighs, hating the way the nervousness has settled in his stomach.

The only upside to Shiro running late after his second shower is that it leaves him with no time to overthink what he’s going to wear and decides to keep it simple. He pulls on his favorite pair of jeans—worn thin from wear and snug as a glove. On top he throws on a loose white t-shirt with an impossibly low neckline, because Shiro’s not above showing off his chest in the hopes that Keith’s a pec man. Lastly, he grabs one of his favorite faux leather jackets—the dark brown one lined with sherpa so he doesn’t get cold, then gives himself a minute to appreciate his appearance in the mirror. Shiro looks pretty good, if he does say so himself. He just hopes Keith agrees. Pleased with his appearance and resolved not to let himself get too into his head, Shiro grabs his keys and phone, plugs in the address Keith gave him into the GPS to double check the directions before leaving, and hops onto his motorcycle.

Fifteen minutes later he’s pulling into the parking lot of the last place he expected to be taken on a first date—a miniature golf park.

Shiro parks his bike in the back of the lot to avoid the throngs of families and kids milling around the front end of the parking lot, wondering how on earth he’s going to spot Keith in the crowds. He doesn’t have to wonder long. By the time he’s got his helmet off he can see Keith approaching from the far corner. He barely has time to shake out his hair and try to unflatten his floof before Keith’s standing in front of him.

“Hey, you made it.”

“Of course,” Shiro says, eyes raking over Keith. He’s dressed in athleisure again, though it’s clear he’s tried to dress up for Shiro. The joggers are a dark grey, nearly black, and cling to Keith’s long legs before stopping just above his bare ankles. His shoes are a bright red today, as is the shirt he wears beneath a cropped black leather jacket. He looks incredible and Shiro can feel his heart skip a beat.

“You look good. Really good,” Keith says, not masking his appreciate gaze as his eyes rove from Shiro’s boots and up his body. Arousal floods Shiro’s body. Keith clearly likes what he sees, and Shiro likes that he’s looking.

“You’re stunning,” Shiro says.

The tip of Keith’s nose goes a little red as his eyes crinkle up in a smile. “Oh.”

The idea that Keith might not know just how beautiful he is is unfathomable, and Shiro finds his mouth moving before his brain gives it permission. “Can I confess something?”

Keith nods.

“I’d been watching you for weeks. Not like…creepy watching. Shit, that sounds worse out loud than it did in my head. Just like, I noticed you. I go to Hunk’s a lot, and then one day you showed up and I couldn’t take my eyes off you. I wanted to say hi but you were so pretty I was tongue tied and I thought I lost my chance. But then a few days later there you were again. Every time I saw you it was like you got prettier, and every time I swore I’d say hi, I turned into a disaster and—” Shiro pauses, blowing out a breath. He’s rambling again. “You’re just the most beautiful man I’ve ever seen.”

“Wow,” Keith murmurs, running a hand through his hair.

“Sorry, was that too much?” Shiro asks. He’s always had a problem with being all or nothing when it comes to dating, and he can feel himself falling down the all path fast.

“I mean I asked you out after like five minutes, so if you’re too much then so am I,” Keith laughs, unmistakably pleased.

It settles the racing of Shiro’s heart.

Shiro turns away from Keith to eye the crowded parking lot. In the distance are the spires of a little white castle and rows of flags from what appears to be a go-kart track. “So mini golf, huh?” Shiro mumbles, afraid of what else he might say if he lets himself continue to stare at Keith’s pretty face.

“Oh, yeah. I guess I didn’t really think through the whole Sunday afternoon thing. It’s crowded and there are…a lot of kids,” Keith says, eyes following Shiro's as he takes in the crowds of people entering the front doors. “Shit, sorry. God, maybe this was a bad idea. It seemed like a good idea before, and now it seems kinda lame. I just wanted to, you know—show you what my strong suit is.”

Mini golf isn’t exactly what Shiro expected either. He hasn’t been to a place like this since he was a teenager. Most guys he’s tried to date in the past have either tried to impress him with fancy restaurants, or pulled the old back of a movie theater trick and assumed just because he’s an omega that he’s gagging for it all the time. This is different. Keith is different.

Shiro loves different.

“Gosh, then this is bad,” Shiro says, doing his best not to smile.

Keith’s entire facial expression changes. “Fuck, yeah?”

“Yeah, because you’re going to lose so hard.”

Surprise flickers across Keith’s face. “Shiro, are you competitive?”

“That would imply there’s a chance I lose at anything, which I don’t.”

Keith splutters, barking out a laugh that echoes across the parking lot. The smile Shiro’s been holding back breaks free. This is already the most fun Shiro’s had on a date, well—ever. Maybe things are going to be alright after all.

“So, you ready to lose?” Shiro asks.

“No,” Keith deadpans. “But I am ready to wipe the floor with you.”

“Those are some big words,” Shiro grins.

“Damn right they are, big boy, and I can back them up too.”

Shiro sways, the rush of heat that hits him nearly staggering. Keith’s cocky and Shiro is into it. So into it. It’s easy to forget that Shiro is an omega, and competitiveness is considered an uncommon less-than-attractive trait in an omega—and definitely one that had ended more than a few of his past failed dating attempts before they could really become a thing. Shiro knows he’s a lot to handle—he’s impulsive and competitive and an adrenaline junkie who doesn’t like being told what to do. He’s also never had any desire to tone himself down for anyone else, which is why it’s been so long since his last date he can’t even remember who it was with or where.

Keith doesn’t appear turned off by it though, possibly because he doesn’t know yet that Shiro’s an omega. Things could change later when he finds out, but for right now Shiro is just a man on a first date, and he’s going to have some fun.

“So, you ready to lose?” Keith teases, his eyes alight with playfulness. It sends a fresh wave of adrenaline and arousal coursing through Shiro. He’s never met anyone who could match him like this. If anything, Keith might be more competitive than Shiro and he’s so into it. He’s starting to suspect he’s into everything about Keith.

“I’m ready to see what you’ve got,” Shiro shoots back.

Keith smirks, nodding his head towards the entrance. “Lets do this.”

Giddiness rises in Shiro as they make their way through the groups of families and giggling teenagers, unbothered by the way the group of preteens behind them in line keep giggling. Ten minutes later they’ve got two putters, two tiny pencils, and a score card.

“Left or right?” Keith asks.

Shiro appraises both choices. There is a small sign indicating the difficultly level of the two courses. The left is marked as beginner and the right intermediate. Shiro hasn’t been mini golfing in well over a decade, and the beginner’s course would provide him with less chance of making an idiot of himself. It’s definitely the safer choice. Shiro’s not interested in safe.

“Right.”

Keith passes one of the putters to Shiro. “I was really hoping you’d say that.”

“Just fair warning, I haven’t done this in a really long time.”

“Lucky for you I’m basically an expert at miniature golf and would be happy to provide you with a refresher. You know, just so you can keep up with me. Or try.”

Shiro barks out a laugh, pretty sure he’s never met anyone like Keith before. “How magnanimous of you.”

“I’m very giving,” Keith agrees, winking at Shiro.

It takes Shiro a good ten seconds to drag his brain out of the gutter. It’s clear Keith is aware of exactly where Shiro’s brain went which only makes Shiro feel more flustered.

“First things first. You need a lesson on grips and stance.”

“What’s wrong with my grip?” Shiro asks, looking down at the grip of the putter held in his hands.

“A lot,” Keith says. It’s not condescending, just matter-of-fact. “Look, you need to relax that death grip thing you’ve got going on right now. Relax.”

“Relax,” Shiro repeats as Keith crowds in front of him, repositioning Shiro’s hands. It’s a lot easier said than done.

“Exactly. Think about how you’d touch a lover—confident and sure, but gentle.”

His words don’t make anything better. They make it so much worse, and Shiro finds himself gripping the handle of the putter ever tighter instead of looser.

“Sorry,” Shiro mumbles.

“How would you touch me?” Keith asks, brushing his fingers over Shiro’s knuckles.

“What?” Shiro croaks.

“How would you touch me,” Keith repeats, proving that Shiro did in fact hear him correctly the first time. Keith inches even closer, so close that Shiro can smell the hints of sandalwood in his cologne and beneath that something distinctly Keith—something alpha. Keith is an alpha. “Would you be that rough or would you be gentle with me, Shiro?”

“Gentle,” Shiro breathes, loosening his grip so much the putter nearly falls from his grasp.

“Right, lets try this another way,” Keith says, propping his golf club against the brick wall and moving behind Shiro. Before Shiro can mentally prepare himself for what’s happening, Keith’s pressed snug against Shiro’s back. It makes something in Shiro’s brain short circuit as all the blood rushes to his ears. “This okay?”

“Yes,” Shiro whispers, unsure if it’s the truth. Up this close Keith’s going to be able to smell Shiro—even without trying he’s going to be realize Shiro is an omega. Shiro doesn’t mean to tense up, it’s a gut reaction as he prepares for the downfall—prepares for Keith to realize what he is and that he’s not the kind of omega an alpha wants.

Unaware of Shiro’s thoughts, Keith drags his hands over Shiro’s shoulders and down his biceps. He continues further, smoothing his palms over Shiro’s jacket until flesh meets flesh and his warm hands are covering Shiro’s. The thundering in Shiro’s ears increases with Keith plastered to his back like this—the growing arousal he feels at Keith’s proximity at war with his nerves.

There’s no way Keith can’t smell him right now, and he can only imagine the kind of pheromones he’s putting off.

“Relax,” Keith murmurs, breath ghosting across the back of Shiro’s neck.

Shiro tries to do as Keith says, really he does, but it’s impossible with Keith’s nose so close to the bare flesh of his neck. It’s intimate in ways Shiro is unused to.

“That’s it, good,” Keith says, resting his cheek against Shiro’s shoulder as he helps him pull the golf club back. There’s no way he hasn’t picked on Shiro’s scent by now, but he’s not pulling away. “You wanna keep the swing small and firm. The ball is gonna go where you send it, so you need to know where you want it to go.”

“Okay,” Shiro says, barely paying attention.

“Ready?” Keith asks, moving Shiro’s arms back into the right position.

Shiro feels anything but ready but he nods, waiting for the moment Keith releases his hands to swing forward. It’s too hard, and his brightly colored gold ball flies across the putting green, thunking loudly as it hits the cement barrier and bounces back, finally rolling to a stop next to Shiro’s boot.

“Easy there, big boy,” Keith laughs, clapping Shiro on the arm. “Here let me help.”

Shiro grunts out some kind of response, too hyped up to be embarrassed about such a spectacularly bad first shot. Keith has to know Shiro is an omega and he’s not changing his demeanor—he’s not looking for a way to back out of the date or expecting Shiro to suddenly be someone he’s not. What he’s doing is pressing himself against Shiro’s back again, touching him in a way that leaves no space between their bodies.

It feels amazing, and Shiro chokes back a euphoric laugh.

“You just wanna tap the ball, okay?” Keith instructs, replacing Shiro’s golf ball into the little tee area before moving behind Shiro once more. This time he keeps his fingers wrapped around Shiro’s on the handle as he guides the club back about six inches. It’s surprisingly easy to let Keith take the lead in this, focusing on the strength in Keith’s smaller body and the certainty of his touch as he helps Shiro bring the club back down. There’s a satisfying ping as Keith manages to hit the golf ball with the center of the putter. To Shiro’s surprise and satisfaction the ball glides smoothly across the fake grass and directly into the hole.

Keith whistles. “Look at that, you got a hole-in-one on your first shot.”

“Technically second, and I’m pretty sure that doesn’t count because I didn’t do anything.”

“As the mini golf expert in this scenario I officially declare the first shot a practice shot. As for the hole-in-one, you’re the one holding the club therefore it’s your shot. Rules are rules.”

“Is that really in the rules?” Shiro asks. His own experience with mini golf is long forgotten, and even when he did used to think coming here was the height of coolness, he definitely didn’t read the tiny fine print rules on the back of the scorecard.

“Nope,” Keith laughs, “but rules are more like guidelines.”

Shiro pretends to be scandalized, tapping the side face of his golf club against Keith’s sneaker. “Are you a rule breaker, Keith?”

“Maybe,” Keith grins,his smile crooked and wide.

It makes Shiro feel as if a swarm of butterflies have taken residence in his chest, which is ridiculous. Shiro is a grown man and it’s just a smile. Except even as Shiro thinks it, he knows it’s not the truth. It’s not just anything. Shiro’s never been so attracted to anyone in his entire life—in looks or personality. He’s pretty sure he never even felt this smitten as a teenager.

It’s possible it’s just the rush of endorphins clouding his judgment, but Shiro’s pretty sure that’s not the whole truth. He knows that the connection he feels to Keith is unlike anything he’s ever felt before—something so strong it almost feels tangible.

“Wanna know a secret?” Shiro asks, breathless from the way Keith is looking at him.

“Okay,” Keith nods.

“I might have a thing for rule breakers.”

Keith’s eyes widen and before Shiro knows what’s happening, Keith is dropping his golf club and surging up onto his tiptoes as he grabs the lapels of Shiro’s jacket and pulls him into a kiss. Keith’s lips are sun-warmed and soft, and the first press of them against Shiro’s has his knees trembling. Unable to hold back, Shiro makes a soft sigh into the kiss, which seems to embolden Keith who deepens the kiss—dexterous fingers sliding over Shiro’s chest.

“Get a room,” someone yells, making them break apart. The group of teens who’d been behind them in line is standing at the tee line waiting to use the first course.

A rush of heat courses through Shiro’s body and leaves him tingling. He chalks it up to the thrill of the world’s best first kiss and the warmth of the afternoon sun.

“Your play now,” Keith says, grabbing their abandoned golf clubs and stepping off to the side.

Shiro follows suit, falling into step beside Keith as they make their way down the steps to the next hole—a chorus of giggling following them.

“Sorry about that,” Keith says, holding Shiro’s golf club out for him. “You might have noticed that I, uh, well—I’m not the most patient person. I can be a little impulsive.”

“You kiss a lot of guys like that on the first date then?” Shiro asks, suddenly unsure.

Keith falters, turning wide eyes on Shiro. “No. Never.”

“Oh, I was just teasing. I mean, it’s not my business if you did or—” Shiro cuts off, the intensity of Keith’s gaze making him stumble over his words.

“I don’t date,” Keith blurts. “Normally, I mean. Like, not that I’m celibate or anything, but med school is insane and I’ve always been a bit of a loner anyway. Dating is…a lot of work. It never seemed worth it, you know? But I saw you and—” he pauses blowing out a breath. “There was just something about you. To be honest you’re so far out of my league I was sure you’d say no when I asked you out.”

“I’m not out of your league,” Shiro interrupts. “Have you looked in a mirror. You’re gorgeous, and on top of it you’re fun and kind.”

“Look who’s talking. You’re hot as fuck and you help little old ladies and—”

“Wait, you saw that?” Shiro asks.

Keith clears his throat. “Um, I might have been watching you through the window. Sorry.”

“I mean, just for the record I like being looked at. Especially by you. You can look as much as you want.”

“Yeah?” Keith murmurs, and damn is he looking. It’s enough to make Shiro want to shed his jacket as a new wave of warmth spreads through him. Even with the late October chill in the air Shiro suddenly feels overheated, a problem he rarely struggles with.

“Yeah,” Shiro echoes.

Something about the look in Keith’s eyes makes Shiro feel bold as he slowly inches his face down with full intention of trying to get one more kiss. He’s interrupted when there is more giggling behind them, followed by someone loudly clearing their throat.

“Can we play through?” One of the teens yells, alerting both of them to the fact that they’ve been having their little moment in front of the second hole and were likely being watched.

Shiro’s too happy to be embarrassed and simply smiles as Keith snakes an arm around Shiro’s waist to guide him into the shade of a nearby tree just off the path.

“Yeah, play through,” Keith tells them once they’re out of the way.

He leaves his arm around Shiro’s waist long after the teens have moved on. Standing in the shade of the tree, cheesy music blasting through the stereo speakers disguised as rocks, Shiro can’t help but think this is the best first date he’s ever had. He can’t imagine things getting better, but somehow they do.

Keith’s bravery on that first hole opens up the floodgates for Shiro, who has always been a tactile person by nature but also has enough self-control to know the level of touch he desires isn’t usually a good idea on first dates—not unless he wants to give the other person the wrong idea about how fast he wants to go. Somehow with Keith though, Shiro feels safe reaching out to touch Keith’s hip as they move to the third hole, or to lean into him on the fourth. He finds himself pulling Keith into a hug when he gets a hole-in-one on the ninth hole—a par three, no less—and can’t seem to keep his hand off Keith’s ass on the tenth and eleventh holes.

By the time they’re at the eighteenth hole, Shiro’s left hand is basically a permanent fixture at the back of Keith’s neck—alternately stroking over the little bit of exposed skin or twisting some of the longer bits of hair around his fingers. When it comes to dating Shiro is used to holding part of himself back, aware of people’s perceptions of omegas and how most people perceive any affection from an omega as permission for more. He doesn’t feel the need to hold back with Keith.

Shiro’s got friends he loves and trusts, but he’s never met anyone who made him feel so comfortable so quickly—or someone who he couldn’t stop touching. Something about touching Keith soothes something in Shiro. The more he touches, the more he wants to touch. He chalks it up to the thrill of meeting a decent man for once, inordinately pleased at the little smile Keith shoots him whenever one of Shiro’s hands find their way to his body.

Everything about being with Keith is easy. So much so Shiro doesn’t even mind that he loses spectacularly. Especially since it earns him a knee-shaking victory kiss from Keith.

Keith seems as happy on the date as Shiro, and instead of letting it end when they’re done golfing, he challenges Shiro to a race in the small video arcade in the front lobby. Shiro tries to go halfsies on the game tokens, but Keith refuses to let him pay and disappears with a serious face, returning a minute later with his pockets weighted down with tokens.

They spend the next hour surrounded by teenagers. Shiro laughs more than he has in years. Keith’s not just sexy and smart, he’s got a dry sense of humor that makes Shiro laugh so hard his cheeks hurt. When he’s not laughing, he’s fighting off arousal at the sight of Keith’s long legs bracketing the fake motorcycle for the race game they’ve basically claimed as theirs. Shiro reclaims some of his honor by wiping the floor with Keith six times in a row.

“How does it feel to be a loser?” Shiro asks afterward.

He’s only teasing, but the second the words are out of his mouth he regrets them—alphas don’t like losing, especially to an omega.

To his surprise Keith doesn’t frown, he smiles. “You are so fucking hot.”

Heat floods Shiro’s body. “You don’t mind losing? To someone like me?”

Keith’s eyebrows knit together as he grabs the front of Shiro’s jacket and pulls him closer, secluding them further behind the token machine in the corner. “I hate losing. But for you, I’d lose every damn day.”

Shiro inhales sharply. Along with the smell of the slightly moldy carpet and the greasy popcorn machine at the snack bar, there’s something else he’s picking up—something innately Keith. Shiro’s always had an incredible sense of smell, even for an omega, and he hones in on Keith’s scent,overwhelmed by the earthiness and safety it invokes. Shiro’s heard stories of omegas calmed by scents or driven wild by desire, but he’s never experienced either. He thinks he understands a bit more about the idea of pheromone compatibility though, because something thrums in his veins as he breathes in Keith’s scent, a part of him itching to get closer to Keith. It startles him to realize how close he is to baring his neck, itching for Keith to scent him. He resists, but just barely.

Scenting is way too much too soon—the most intimate act committed between an alpha and omega. It’s not something you do with just anyone. It’s something you do with a mate, or at the very least a long-term partner, and Shiro can hardly believe the thought of it even flickered through his mind on a first date. He also can’t fathom what Keith would think if he knew. Scenting isn’t just about dating or sex, it’s something else—or at least for Shiro it is. It’s the single most intimate act, part caretaking and part sexual. It’s how he imagines it to be, anyway. Shiro’s never been scented before. He’s watched enough bad porn to get the idea that most alphas get high on the scent of their omega, especially when they’re in heat, and if society is right, then most omegas seem to gag for being scented,but it’s always felt like a very foreign concept to Shiro. He’s no stranger to sex, but he’s never shared a heat with anyone and he’s never felt anywhere close to finding someone he would trust enough to go off his suppressants for. He’s had past partners try to scent him without asking while they fucked, which usually ended with Shiro kicking them, quite literally, out of the bed.

For Shiro, scenting is intrinsically linked to intimacy and his throat goes wobbly as he thinks about it again, imagining the way Keith’s nose would feel rubbing against the delicate underside of his wrist or the hollow of his throat. It’s a surprisingly vulnerable thing to imagine, mostly because when he imagines Keith doing it, being scented no longer feels like a foreign concept.

Shiro’s never cared if he had a mate—it’s part of the reason he’s stayed on suppressants this long. He’s always been fiercely independent by nature with no desire to make himself smaller to fit with anyone else. Sure, there have been Shiro’s longed for a partner, but only that—an equal. There’s never been someone Shiro felt could match him, and definitely no one who might be alright if Shiro beat them.

If anything, Keith seems as excited about beating Shiro as he does losing to him and it’s a goddamn revelation. Keith can handle Shiro, and it unleashes something in him—something wild and eager he hadn’t realized was there. He wants things, things he’d never allowed himself to think about having not because he didn’t want them, but because he didn’t think he could have them.

“I really want to kiss you again,” Keith says, breaking Shiro from his musings.

“You can,” Shiro shoots back, smoothing his hands down Keith’s back to cup his ass and pull him closer. “You should. You really should.”

There’s a fire burning in Keith’s eyes as he rises up on tiptoes, pressing his lips to Shiro’s once again. All things considered, it’s a pretty chaste kiss, they are surrounded by people after all, but it sets the embers of desire burning in Shiro.

Standing there surrounded by the chattering of voices and the ding of the token machine, Shiro can’t help but notice a change. He can’t put his finger on what it is exactly, or what it all means, but there’s one thing he knows for certain—this is the start of something good.


Shiro’s suspicions are confirmed on their second date when Keith surprises him again, this time taking him to a raceway at the edge of town temporarily set up in the abandoned fairgrounds. They spend hours speeding around the race track, taking turns beating each other. They go again and again until Shiro finds himself losing track of who is winning and losing because being with Keith is so much damn fun.

They race until the track is closing and they're asked by the owner to leave, but even then neither of them seem eager to let the date end. By some unspoken agreement they find themselves across town, inhaling piles of pancakes thicker than Shiro’s thighs and hash browns greasy enough to clog arteries. It’s glorious, and the only thing better than the food is Keith’s company.

Keith, it turns out, knows a thing or two about independence, and turns out to be as defiantly stubborn and strong-willed as Shiro. With every little breadcrumb Keith offers about his lonely childhood or time in foster care, Shiro returns with whispered revelations about the family he lost in a car accident that took his arm, and the years of loneliness.

He’s never met anyone as easy to talk to as Keith, and they sit in the booth for so long that Shiro ends up sneaking the waitress and extra twenty dollar tip for taking up a table for so long. For some reason that makes Keith shove him up against his truck and kiss Shiro until he’s more aroused than he’s ever been in his entire life,dick hard and heart fluttering as he makes out with the most beautiful man alive in the IHOP parking lot at 5 a.m. It’s one of the most unexpected dates of Shiro’s life and also the best.

Their third date ends up canceled when one of Keith’s professors drops a mountain-load of work on them last minute. He makes it up by texting Shiro during his study breaks. Sometimes it’s simply an I’m thinking about you, other times it’s a mountain of energy drink cans and a stack of books, and sometimes it’s tiktok videos of foster animals that tug at Shiro’s heart—both for the animals in the video and for Keith taking the time to seek out videos he thinks will make Shiro smile.

The only downside in the entire thing is the strange turn Shiro’s health takes as November comes. It starts with sporadic headaches followed by heat flashes and nausea. Despite Shiro’s coworkers urging him to go see a doctor, he resists. It’s so close to the end of the year and the last thing he needs is to shell out a grand in office visits and blood tests when he knows they won’t roll over for his copay for the new year. It doesn't matter seem to matter much anyhow, Keith’s too busy the following week redoing his study schedule for his COMLEX Level 1 and USMLE Step 1 exams,both of which apparently won’t even happen until next year.

As disappointed as Shiro is with missing out on seeing Keith for another week, he takes comfort knowing he won’t pass on whatever he has to Keith. The longer he feels like shit the more he suspects it’s some sort of weird virus. By the time the week has almost ended, it’s been ten days since Shiro saw Keith and every day he’s only gotten worse. His entire body aches, he’s hungry enough to eat a horse but too nauseated to keep anything down, and he’s sweat through a week’s worth of clothes in twenty-four hours even though it’s not even hot. He’s also jerked off more in the last week than he has in the last year, because apparently not even feeling like death warmed over is enough to dissuade Shiro from fantasizing about Keith.

When Keith says he misses Shiro’s face, Shiro snaps a quick selfie and sends it to Keith without thinking. Thirty seconds later he gets back a concerned text asking if he’s sick. A frown takes shape on Shiro’s face as he swipes up to actually look at the photo he sent Keith. He’s clearly delirious for sending it without double checking it—his hair is a mess, there are dark circles under his eyes from not sleeping, and he looks pale.

Shiro looks like shit, and there’s no pretending otherwise now that Keith’s seen the proof.

Still, there’s no point in worrying him especially when Shiro knows he’s busy studying. He shoots off a quick text assuring Keith he’s fine despite feeling anything but. He’s still feeling overheated but he grabs the blanket off his couch—eager for some small semblance of comfort—and attempts to wrap himself as tightly as possible in it before face planting on the couch and passing out.


A loud banging sound startles Shiro awake but he ignores it in favor of trying to burrow himself under the couch cushions. Unfortunately this doesn’t make the sound go away. If anything, the subsequent banging gets louder at which point Shiro’s sleep-addled brain realizes it’s not one of his upstairs neighbors banging around—it’s someone knocking on the door.

With a loud groan he forces himself to roll off the couch, frowning when he realizes his boxers are wet. It’s been a hell of a long time since Shiro had a wet dream, but he doesn’t have time to wonder about that because the knocking is increasing in frequency. He tugs the blanket around himself tighter, careful to hide his bottom half from whoever is on the other side of the door and yanks it open.

“Shiro.”

Shiro blinks. Keith is standing on his doorstep looking like a dream. He’s dressed in a pair of tight running leggings and his university hoodie, his hair sticking up at all ends—well, more than usual. The sight of him makes Shiro sway on his feet and he slumps against the door jamb, unsure why he feels so dizzy.

“Hi, Keith,” Shiro mumbles, too happy to see him to worry about how embarrassed he should be at being caught looking like a hot mess, or to worry about getting Keith sick. In fact, it’s hard to focus on anything but Keith, his scent so strong Shiro’s dick hardens.

“You don’t look so good, Shiro.”

“Oh,” Shiro whispers, heart dropping. The words go straight to his heart, his bottom lip jutting out before he can stop himself.

Something in Keith’s face softens. “Not like that. You’re beautiful. Just, you look—” but his words cut off as he slides past Shiro to step into his apartment. Shiro’s not too sick to notice the furrow of Keith’s eyebrows and the way his hands ball up into fists.

“What’s wrong?” Shiro asks, his body suddenly so hot he feels like he’s burning up. He desperately wants to throw his blanket to the floor but he can’t, not with his boxers soiled and his dick already hard. It makes no sense, Shiro’s always been good at staying in control and now is not the time to get a hard-on for his beautiful new boyfriend.

“Shiro, why didn’t you tell me you were in heat?”

“I’m not in heat,” Shiro mumbles, pulling the blanket around himself tighter. A weird sort of shame and confusion burns in his gut.

“Okay, if you don’t wanna talk about this then—”

“I’m not in heat,” Shiro blurts out, his ears burning and his stomach churning as he stumbles backward.

“Shiro—”

“I’m not,” Shiro huffs again, unsure why the ground feels like it’s spinning. He’s never been ashamed about anything about himself before, but he is all too aware of what most of society would think about a twenty-nine year old who’s never had a heat—pathetic, strange, broken.

“Hey, it’s just me,” Keith says, pitching his voice low as he approaches Shiro with his hands held in the air. “I just wanna check your pulse okay? I’m worried.”

Something about that breaks through Shiro’s stubborn wall and he slumps down onto the arm of his couch, poking one arm out of his blanket cocoon to offer his wrist to Keith. He doesn’t look up, unsure what to make of the mix of confusion and arousal he feels. The closer Keith gets, the harder it is for Shiro to even think,his head full of white noise and his dick throbbing. He’s not sure if he wants to throw himself at Keith and ask for cuddles or run away and hide. Everything feels wrong somehow.

Until the moment Keith’s warm fingers wrap around his wrist, the pads of his fingers pressing against the pulse point.

“Shh, it’s just me,” Keith murmurs. “I’m just checking your heart rate okay. Just breathe.”

Shiro wants to say he’s fine. He’s always fine. He’s never liked being less than fine—never wanted anyone to see him as weak. Thing is, Shiro doesn’t think he’s ever been less fine in his entire goddamn life.

“Shit,” Keith breathes, dropping Shiro’s wrist. “It’s 120, that’s high. And you’re burning up. If you don’t wanna talk to me about this that’s fine, Shiro. It’s not going to change anything between us if you want to spend your heat alone but—”

“Why do you keep saying that?” Shiro asks, the blanket slipping off his shoulders as he reaches up to scrub his hands over his face. He knows he should care that Keith’s going to see him dressed in nothing but his disgusting damp boxers with his stupid hard-on, but he can’t care when he’s suddenly so hot he wants to rip his own skin off.

“Saying what?” Keith asks, something in his tone soothing Shiro’s agitated state even if the words themselves aren’t making a lot of sense.

“About the heat,” Shiro grits out, roughly scrubbing a hand through his hair as he shoves the blanket all the way off, unable to care anymore. He’s so goddamn hot he feels like he’s burning from the inside out. “I haven’t…never had…fuck—I don’t feel good.”

“Shiro—” Keith breathes, and his voice is so gentle it hurts.

Just like the boxers Shiro should not be okay being seen in, he knows he shouldn’t be airing all his secrets like this, but he can’t seem to filter his thoughts. Not right now.

“After the accident…my parents, the arm—the doctors put me on suppressants. Too dangerous to have a heat with so much trauma. Was too young,” he recounts. He can still hear the doctors’ voices when they thought he was unconscious—lost his parents and his arm, the trauma has caused unprecedented case of early presentation, he needs suppressants and now. “I’ve never had a heat okay. I can’t be in heat.”

“How old were you?” Keith asks.

“Fourteen,” he whispers, breathing in deeply through his nose. “Been on them ever since.”

“Shiro that’s—fuck, that’s fifteen years.”

Shiro recoils, wrapping his arms around his middle and jutting out his chin. “My choice.”

Something in Keith’s expression softens, and this time he does touch Shiro. It’s just a brush of fingers over his left knee, but it’s enough to make Shiro nearly weep. Keith’s touch feels so good. Everything hurts and nothing makes sense, but Keith’s fingers are cool and his smile is kind and Shiro is so damn tired.

“Yeah, sweetheart—your choice,” he echoes. “But it’s also medical negligence. No doctor should have ever let you stay on suppressants that long. I’ve never even heard of an omega being on them more than five years before taking a break. It’s—the hormone blockers are a lot. Your body is probably in shock right now. I don’t know how the suppressants stopped working but you’re definitely in heat, Shiro.”

Heat—Shiro’s in heat. It should be a shock but all Shiro can feel is a strange mix of relief that he’s not dying and a dawning understanding of his rapidly growing arousal. It also explains the stickiness in his boxers.

Shiro whines. He doesn’t mean to do it but the sound just comes out. He claps a hand over his mouth but it’s too late, Keith’s heard.

“Hey, shhh,” Keith soothes crowding in closer. He moves in between the V of Shiro’s legs, smoothing the hair back off his forehead. “It’s okay. I have a friend at the heat clinic. I’ll make a call and they can help you, okay?”

A punched-out cry claws its way out of Shiro’s throat at the words.

Shiro is in heat and his alpha doesn’t want him. It’s enough to make him nearly cry. He doesn’t want to be alone. He doesn’t want a group of strangers poking and prodding at him and clinically assessing his hormone levels.

He wants Keith.

But Keith, he doesn’t want Shiro—doesn’t want to share Shiro’s heat—he wants to send him away.

Just the thought of someone he doesn’t know or trust near him right now makes his stomach roll.

“Hey, what’s wrong?” Keith asks, his fingers slipping through Shiro’s bangs again. It’s pure bliss which makes it so much worse.

Shiro squeezes his eyes shut, afraid if he looks at Keith he really will burst into tears. Shiro’s not a crier. The last time he cried was when his parents died. He hates crying—it makes him feel off-center and vulnerable in ways he doesn’t like. Right now, though, he doesn’t feel in control of whether he cries—he doesn’t feel in control of anything. His body is doing things without his permission—slick beginning to pool out of his ass and his dick so hard it hurts—but worst of all are the tears leaking out of the corner of his eyes.

“Baby, talk to me, please,” Keith murmurs, wiping away the tears.

Keith’s never called him baby before and that makes all of this so much harder. Shiro opens his mouth, not even sure how he’s going to explain it when a wave of pain and arousal so consuming assaults him he nearly falls off the arm of the couch. It’s only Keith’s strong arms that stop him hitting the ground. The feeling of those arms snug around his waist—Keith’s body so close to his—is too much for Shiro to handle. A moan falls from Shiro’s lips, his hips arching up against Keith instinctively. There’s nothing left inside of his brain except Keith—he needs to be closer—and he rolls his hips against desperately trying to rub himself against Keith.

“Shiro,” Keith chokes out, voice shaky.

It punches a hole through Shiro’s arousal, reminding him of what Keith had previously said. He doesn’t want to share Shiro’s heat, and now Shiro is touching him without asking. He’s always known he was a shit omega, but this just proves it. He slips out of Keith’s hold, his ass falling to the floor with a painful thud as he scoots himself backward until his back slams painfully into the wall. He pulls his legs up to his chest, wrapping his arms around his legs and digging his nails into his calves.

“Fuck, fuck, fuck,” Keith hisses.

Shiro digs his nails in deeper, vaguely aware of breaking the skin. It doesn’t matter. Everything hurts and the only thing that can make it better is an alpha—not just an alpha, his alpha—Keith. Now that he knows what’s going on everything else slots into place and he knows it’s true. Keith is his alpha.

He just doesn’t why if this is true Keith wants to send him to a heat clinic. He’d grown up hearing nothing was more alluring to an alpha than an omega in heat. He can feel the tears coming again and he drops his face to his knees trying to wipe them away.

“Hey, no, it’s okay,” Keith tries, his voice getting closer. It sounds like he’s shuffling across the floor closer to Shiro but he doesn’t want to look up and find out. He knows he won’t be able to cope with another rejection. “Shiro, it’s okay. Fuck, baby, don’t cry. Just tell me what to do. I’ll do anything to help you. Please.”

Shiro drags his face up, unable to care that he probably looks a wreck. Keith’s looking at him with his wide, beautiful eyes, and it’s all Shiro can do not to fall apart completely.

“Why don’t you want me?” he whispers.

“Why don’t I—wait, what? You think I don’t—holy fuck, no,” Keith says, closing the distance between them so his knees are shoved up against Shiro’s calves. “I was trying to give you autonomy. This is your choice. You don’t have to share your heat with anyone ever if you don’t want, and just because we’re dating doesn’t mean you owe me your heat. I didn’t want you to feel pressured or trapped.”

It’s so hard to focus that Keith’s words barely make sense. Shiro scrubs at his face, unable to stop the whine that falls out of his lips. “I don’t—I can’t…it hurts.”

“Shhh,” Keith says softly, reaching out to cradle the side of Shiro’s face. “Oh, Shiro. You’re burning up, baby. You’re heat sick.”

“It hurts,” Shiro sobs. “Make it stop hurting.”

A pained expression crosses Keith’s face. “You can’t consent like this, Shiro. You—”

“Do you want me?” Shiro asks, chest shuddering with the force of getting the words out.

“So fucking much,” Keith answers. “You have no fucking idea. The day I met you I knew…I knew you were my omega.”

The sound Shiro makes is nothing short of primal—something guttural and raw as he surges forward to slam himself into Keith. Keith opens his mouth to say something but Shiro beats him to it, licking into his mouth as he all but climbs into Keith’s lap.

There is no room left in Shiro’s brain for thoughts of what he should and shouldn’t do, and definitely no room for propriety. The only thing running through Shiro’s brain is a faint buzzing sound that gets louder with every brush of their lips. When Keith’s hands slide over Shiro’s spine he’s pretty sure the needy moaning sound comes from him, but he can’t stop making noises—can’t stop writhing and pawing at Keith as he ruts against him over and over. It’s a frenzied pace that’s impossible to maintain, but Shiro isn’t capable of patience. Every one of his nerve endings feels lit on fire and the only thing that soothes the burn is Keith, his touch somehow fanning the flames of arousal and calming the storm raging inside of Shiro all at once.

On some level he’s aware Keith is speaking to him, but nothing makes sense except the rock of their bodies.

“More,” Shiro cries, somewhere between a demand and a plea.

Keith must take pity on him because his hands—previously situated on his lower back—move around to the front. Shiro bites down hard on his bottom lip to keep from screaming as Keith’s hand turns over, the flat of his palm cupping Shiro’s cock through his boxers. It’s not even skin to skin, but it already feels better than every single attempt to get off this last week. Shiro’d assumed his dissatisfaction with jerking himself off was because he was too sick to really enjoy it, but now he knows the truth.His own hand was a paltry excuse for Keith—for his alpha.

“Keith,” Shiro gasps, nuzzling into the side of Keith’s neck as he rocks his hips desperately trying to get more friction.

“You’re doing so good, Shiro,” Keith praises seconds before his fingers slip beneath Shiro’s waistband. This time Shiro’s pretty sure he does scream, the sound only half stifled against the side of Keith’s neck. “Shhh, you’re doing so good. Good boy. My good omega.”

The words go straight to Shiro’s head, and the rest of his body—his hips stuttering and a wave of slick dripping out. Keith rubs his nose into Shiro’s cheek, a sound not unlike a purr rumbling out of his chest as his cool fingers wrap around Shiro’s girth and begin to stroke.

Shiro sees stars. There’s no other way to describe it. It’s just a hand on his cock, but it’s Keith and Shiro is in heat and his alpha wants him, and the discomfort sharpens into something that feels so good it leaves Shiro breathless.

“Baby, breathe,” Keith tries, but it’s too late. Shiro can’t breathe, can’t speak, can’t do anything but shove his face into the hollow of Keith’s throat as he tries to suck in a raggedy breath—the scent of Keith’s pleasure hitting him in full just seconds before he’s shooting off his release and the world goes black.


Shiro rolls over with a soft groan, buying his face in the pillow which is the first thing that alerts him to the fact that he is in his bed, no memory of how he got there. The second thing he notices is that he’s a mess—the sheets soiled beneath him with slick. Third, he’s alone.

It’s the last one that feels like a knife to the heart,panic surging through his body as he rolls out of bed, stumbling toward the bedroom door. He’s completely naked, his own mess dripping down his thighs and his legs shaky as he stumbles towards the cracked bedroom door. If he was in his right mind, Shiro would’ve cleaned himself up or pulled on a fresh pair of boxers.

He’s not in his right mind, not even close.

The bedroom door is cracked open a few inches, allowing just enough light to spill in front the hallway that Shiro at least doesn’t stumble over the shoes in the middle of the floor. Shoes that are definitely not his. The only person Shiro knows who wears bright red sneakers is Keith, but Keith’s not in Shiro’s bed cuddling him. He’s gone, and the bed was cold enough that Shiro knows it wasn’t something recent.

Before Shiro can push the bedroom door open to try and figure out what’s going on, Keith’s soothing voice filters down the hallway—from the kitchen, by the sounds of it. Shiro exhales, poised on the other side of the door as he listens.

“Yeah, I know. Jesus, fuck, I know okay. I wouldn’t do that to him, I’m not an asshole. I really care about him.” There’s a pause and Shiro tries to figure out who Keith might be talking to on the phone. “I’m not going to tell you if I love him, that’s none of your fucking business. If I was going to tell anyone it’d be him not you. Look, just email my professors will you.”

Another pause, at which point Shiro can only assume whoever is on the other end of the phone is once again talking. He strains his ears, desperate to hear more.

“Yeah, no. I’m not leaving him until his heat’s over, so just send in my SGAA paperwork okay? Thanks, I owe you one.”

Shiro doesn’t realize Keith’s off the phone until there are footsteps coming down the hallway. He turns to move back to the bed but his legs give out and he ends up sprawled on the floor, naked and embarrassed, when Keith quietly pushes the door open. A frown mars his face as he stares at Shiro’s empty bed, the lines of it deepening as he takes in Shiro on the floor.

Before Shiro can make an excuse for why his bare ass is on the carpet, Keith’s dropping to his knees and reaching out touch Shiro’s face. “Are you okay?”

Shiro opens his mouth to answer but grimaces instead. His mouth is so dry his tongue feels glued to the roof of your mouth.

“Stay here,” Keith says, as if Shiro would go anywhere else. He sprints from the room, returning a minute later with a Gatorade that definitely wasn’t in Shiro’s apartment earlier. “Here, drink this. You need the electrolytes.”

With a nod Shiro takes the bottle, taking a big gulp. It tastes so good he takes another and another and before he knows it the entire 32oz bottle is gone.

“Sorry,” Shiro mutters, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand as he belatedly realizes he should’ve offered Keith some. It’s not even his Gatorade.

“Don’t be. I wanted you to drink that. It’s why I ran to the liquor store across the street to get it. I was hoping to slip back into bed before you woke up, but I had to call my roommate.”

Shiro nods, not sure anything makes much more sense yet.

“Hey, come here. Let’s get you back to bed, we can talk there.”

“It’s sticky,” Shiro whispers, shame making his cheeks burn.

“Okay, that’s fine.” Shiro’s face much show some of his disbelief because Keith leans forward, kissing the tip of Shiro’s nose. “It’s fine. More than fine. It’s just biology, Shiro. Besides, I’m a med student remember. There’s literally nothing about bodily fluids that bothers me. Besides, it’s you, so it’s pretty hot.”

It doesn’t feel hot to have his body secreting things without his permission. It feels weird.

Somehow, Keith makes it feel a little less so.

“Do you have any extra sheets?”

“In the closet,” Shiro answers, too exhausted to argue when Keith tells him to stay sitting and proceeds to strip Shiro’s bed and make it again with a fresh set of sheets.

He doesn’t stop there, piling all the pillows back on the bed then frowning. Before Shiro can ask what’s wrong, Keith's across the room and digging through the master closet again. He emerges a minute later with an arm full of extra blankets and pillows so big Shiro can’t even see his face. Without a word he drops them on the floor before proceeding to arrange them around the bed in what is unmistakably a nest— the center of the bed piled high with soft blankets and surrounded by a ring of pillows.

The rush of emotions it invokes makes Shiro’s head spin. He’s made a nest for himself before after a bad day, but he never dated anyone else long enough to have them do this for him. A nest is about safety and comfort and having someone else make one for him is surprisingly overwhelming. Shiro’s barely rolled over onto his knees to try and get back up onto his feet to see the nest up close when he falters, nearly falling to the floor again. Before he can crash down Keith is there, slipping an arm around his middle and supporting his weight as he helps him to the bed.

“Sorry,” Shiro mumbles again when his legs wobble. The nest looks inviting and safe and something in Shiro’s chest twists. “Just a little shaky.”

“Shiro, your body is scrambling to figure out what the fuck to do with fifteen years of repressed hormones. Most people would be in a ball in the corner crying or maybe even in the hospital. You’re incredible.”

“You think I’m incredible?” Shiro asks, eyes wide as Keith guides him down into the center of the nest.

“Shiro, you’re fucking amazing.”

“Oh,” Shiro breathes. He doesn’t feel amazing. He feels flushed and kind of confused, and the arousal that had clawed its way through his body before is already starting to return. He feels like a disaster.

“How do you feel?” Keith asks, tentatively sitting down on the edge of the bed.

“Embarrassed,” Shiro admits, the memory of practically tackling Keith to the floor and rubbing himself off on him fresh in his mind. “I’m so sorry about before. Shit.”

“I know you were pretty far into the heat so maybe you couldn’t tell, but I was really into it too, Shiro. You don’t need to apologize.”

“Yes I do,” Shiro groans, shame burning in his gut along with arousal.

“No, you don’t,” Keith repeats, inching his fingers towards Shiro. When Shiro doesn’t pull away Keith slides his fingers over his thigh. “I wanted it. I want you.”

Shiro huffs out a breath, resisting the urge to disagree. Even if he wanted to, Keith’s scent is ripe with honesty,sweet sincerity dripping out of his pores. No matter what insecurity is nagging at Shiro, it’s impossible to not know how truthful Keith is being right now.

“You wanna lay down and rest, or you want some food?” Keith asks, scooting closer so his hip bumps Shiro’s. “Not to go full doctor on you which—okay, I’m not a doctor yet—but I can pretend. But between you and me, the caloric output during heat is insane. Not to mention the way it fucks with your hormones. You’re probably dehydrated and you’re probably lightheaded. Right now you’re cycling through and that’s good, but pretty sure your hormone levels are going to dip and the heat is going to come back harder and faster than before.”

“Well, fuck.”

“Shit, sorry. I’m not trying to scare you,” Keith says, squeezing his knee. “I just…while you’re like this it’s a chance to hydrate and get some calories in you if you feel like you can handle it. And, uh…you know, maybe talk about boundaries for next time.”

“Boundaries for next time,” Shiro says, licking his lips. The skin beneath Keith’s fingers tingles.

“Yeah,” Keith nods. “I, uh…you were baring your neck before. To, uh…to scent you. But I wasn’t sure if you wanted me to. You’re also probably going to need to be filled, and I can help you out. I mean, I want to help you out, you have no fucking idea. I’m also okay with using toys or something else if you’re not comfortable. I just…I need to know what you’re comfortable with so I don’t take advantage of you.”

“Take advantage of me,” Shiro says, aware he’s just repeating everything Keith says at this point. His thoughts are too muddled to do much of anything else.

Keith nods, pulling his bottom lip between his teeth. He chews on it a few times before letting it fall from his teeth. “You can’t even imagine what it was like to look at you…to smell you in heat. I wanted you so bad.”

Shiro’s mind reels. He’s never heard of an alpha holding back when they wanted something. It’s part of the reason he’s always had a hard time dating—he has a history of pushing people away before they could want more than Shiro wanted to give.

It should be a shock to realize he wants to give everything to Keith. Instead, all it feels is right. On some level Shiro is aware his brain is being driven by his heat, even now when he’s more clear headed. But beneath the pull to fuck and scent is something warm and safe. Even before this, Shiro knows he wanted to give himself to Keith the moment he met him.

“I always thought a heat would be horrible,” Shiro says, staring at Keith’s fingers gripping his thigh. “The idea of my body controlling me, wanting someone else—needing someone else. I think some part of me knew it wasn’t great to just stay on the suppressants forever, but the doctors never said anything so I thought it was fine. I didn’t…I never wanted to have a heat.”

Keith’s thumb strokes the inside of his thigh, inches from Shiro’s cock which is already hard. Keith’s not trying to touch his dick though, he’s trying to soothe Shiro’s nerves and it solidifies Shiro’s feelings about Keith. He is a good man—a good alpha.

“I’m so sorry, Shiro. Whatever it takes to make you feel comfortable and get you through this heat, I’ll do it. Anything.”

“I’m not sorry,” Shiro whispers, daring a glance at Keith. It makes his stomach flutter to see the fierce devotion in Keith’s eyes. He always thought a heat would be about someone wanting to take something from him—to claim or own him. He doesn’t feel that way with Keith. “I feel safe.”

The inhale is sharp,color rising on Keith’s cheeks as his fingers grip Shiro’s thigh. He’s affected by the words and Shiro is undone,any of his lingering embarrassment and fear fading away in the face of Keith’s steady and gentle devotion and kindness.

“I make you feel safe?” he asks, his voice low as if the words shock him.

Shiro can already feel the heat coming back—his skin flushed and his heart racing. Now that he’s aware of what’s happening it’s easier to pick up on the signs. Pretty soon he won’t be able to talk, won’t even be able to think about anything except the primal urges of his body. Before that happens he needs to get this out, needs to let Keith know what his heart needs—what it wants.

“Yes,” Shiro answers, suddenly aware of the thrum of his heart beating as he turns sideways to face Keith. “You’re a good alpha.”

Keith’s fingers dig into Shiro’s thighs hard enough that Shiro can feel the tremble in his body. It’s enough to let Shiro know that no matter how wrong-footed he feels right now, he’s not the only one struggling to stay in control. The knowledge soothes his frayed nerves. Shiro is not alone.

With purposeful movements Shiro slowly scoots back on the bed, Keith’s hand falling from his thigh as he lays back on the carefully arranged pillows. Keith’s eyes stay on him the entire time, a wave of heat flooding Shiro’s body at the unmistakable desire in Keith’s eyes. Shiro doesn’t feel so powerless anymore, he feels powerful.

Keith isn’t taking anything from Shiro—Shiro is giving it to him.

“Will you take your clothes off?” Shiro asks, skimming his fingers down his own chest as he spreads his legs wide to make room for Keith.

Keith makes another high pitched sound, nearly falling off the bed in his haste to kick off his boxers and leggings then toss his hoodie on the floor. There’s nothing inherently sexual about the haphazard way Keith undresses, but somehow that makes it all the more erotic to Shiro. Keith’s just as eager as he is, and it feels good to know that at least in their desires they are equally matched.

The bed dips under Keith’s weight as he gets his knees on the mattress and over the wall of pillows. Once inside the nest, he shuffles in between the spread of Shiro’s legs. Before Shiro is too far gone, he allows himself a moment to really get a good look at Keith. He starts where Keith’s knees press into the bed, memorizing even little scar and the dusting of dark hair over his thighs as his gaze moves upward. Keith’s body is a thing of beauty—muscular but compact, with his long legs and tiny waist. As Shiro’s eyes move up his own arousal builds, partly from his heat but mostly from Keith’s proximity.

“You’re so pretty,” Shiro murmurs, the tips of his fingers skimming over Keith’s hip as he eyes the length of Keith’s cock—hanging heavy between his legs, flushed a pretty pink and the cockhead glistening with a bit of precome. He’s bigger than Shiro would’ve guessed, and Shiro feels a gush of slick as he imagines Keith pressing him back into the mattress and filling him.

“Fuck, look at you,” Keith exhales, his knees bumping the insides of Keith’s thighs as his hands spread his legs apart even wider.

Keith’s looking at his ass, probably watching as slick drips out. This time Shiro isn’t embarrassed, not when it’s so obvious how turned on Keith is. Shiro is too—probably more than he ever has been. Unlike last time, there’s none of the frenzy—yet—just a throbbing need that permeates his entire body. A need only Keith can fill.

“That’s for you,” Shiro tells him, pulling his knees back enough to expose himself further. “Look what you do to me. You’re such a good, alpha. You make me so wet.”

“Fucking hell, Shiro.”

“You can do more than look,” Shiro utters, palm spread wide over his belly. As tempting as it is to let his hand drift lower to wrap it around his cock, he wants Keith’s hand there not his own. “Touch me.”

“Where?” Keith asks, his Adam's apple bobbing as he swallows.

“Anywhere,” Shiro answers.

“You don’t know what you’re offering,” Keith chokes out, and if Shiro isn’t mistaken there’s a quiver in his hands. It solidifies Shiro’s choice to give himself to Keith—knowing he is going to be

“I do,” Shiro counters, lifting his left arm so it hovers between them. He turns it over, exposing the delicate underside of his wrist and the swollen scent glands surrounding his pulse point. He lifts it higher, wrist turned towards Keith and his intentions clear.

Shiro.”

“Scent me.”

Keith makes a punched-out noise—something between a groan and a trill—as he takes Shiro’s wrist in hand. He makes the noise again as he smoothes the pad of his thumb over the delicate skin. The touch is electric, shock waves of pleasure ricocheting through his body.

“I’ll take such good care of you, baby,” Keith whispers as he lifts Shiro’s wrist. “Gonna make you feel so good.”

“Please,” Shiro whimpers.

“I’ve got you,” Keith soothes, his warm breath ghosting over Shiro’s wrist seconds before he’s nuzzling into it.

There’s absolutely no stopping the desperate sound Shiro makes as Keith rubs his nose against the swollen area. It makes something in Shiro’s brain short circuit,serotonin flooding his veins as a bone-deep rush of pleasure hits him. Keith noses it again, cradling Shiro’s hand in his as he rubs Shiro’s wrist over his cheek, a gentle but firm pressure against the scent glands.

Keith’s purposeful and slow, alternating between rubbing the glands with his fingers and nosing against them. It’s not just the pleasure Shiro feels at the touch, it’s the way it feels to watch Keith’s eyes flutter shut as his nostrils flare and he inhales Shiro’s scent,a rumble of pleasure escaping his lips. Shiro’s scent is clearly pleasing to Keith who continues to scent Shiro as if he’s the best thing Keith’s ever smelled.

Shiro isn’t sure what he expected it to feel like—vulnerable and scary, maybe. And it is. Fuck, it is. It’s absolutely terrifying, but not in the ways he’d always expected.

It’s terrifying precisely because he loves it, because it makes him want more—makes him wanting everything. He understands now what people meant when they talked about this being more erotic than actual sex. It’s easily the most vulnerable Shiro’s ever felt—splayed out on his own bed naked and hard, his ass leaking and his heart racing as Keith noses against his wrist. Somehow, he feels even more exposed than when Keith found him confused and horny in his apartment and had to be the one to tell Shiro he was in heat because he was so blind he didn’t realize it himself. The difference is staggering, and while that moment had felt undeniably overwhelming, it was nothing compared to this.

He had done his best to fight against the now obvious signs of his own biology manifesting itself. He’d spent his life trying to repress the very ways his own body was born to function—fighting against his own desires.

He doesn’t want to fight anymore.

For Shiro, the idea of a heat has always been inextricably woven into control. He has long assumed he would have none—that his body would betray him and twist his own desires and wants leaving him at the mercy of someone else’s desires under the guise of his own. He knows now how far from the truth that really is. It’s his own desire for Keith—for this deep intimacy—that brought on his heat in the first place, he’s sure of it.

The air changes between them, Keith’s scent deepening into something earthy and sweet that makes Shiro’s toes curl. That change is for him—because of him—and he’s nearly undone already.

“Breathe, baby,” Keith whispers, mouthing at his fluttering pulse point.

It’s easier said than done, especially with Keith’s lips on his wrist. Try as he might Shiro can’t get the air he’s trying to choke down to make its way to his lungs. Everything is too much and not enough all at once—the intense pleasure of Keith’s touch somehow making the ache in his gut more pronounced. The more Keith touches him, the more his tenuous grasp on coherence fades as the heat begins to take over. The ache grows, shifting into something bordering on uncomfortable.

“You’re doing so good,” Keith says, pausing his ministrations to learn over Shiro and brush the long strands of hair that have fallen into his eyes off his face. He doesn’t stop there, smoothing his fingers over Shiro’s furrowed eyebrows. “Try to breathe, sweetheart. Your heart rate is off the charts, it’s starting to hurt isn’t it?”

Most of the time, Shiro’s used to denying any and all discomfort for fear of being seen as weak. He doesn’t have that fear with Keith.

“Yes,” he whispers, holding his breath as Keith draws his fingers over the bridge of Shiro’s nose and down the side of his face, his thumb smoothing circles over Shiro’s cheek.

“I thought so. The scenting releases dopamine which will help but I think, uh, before—that was more of a pre-heat. Based on the time since your last orgasm, I’d guess it’s gonna hit soon. I’ve done a lot of work in the research lab about stress and heats and the thing a lot of mainstream doctors don’t tell you is that suppressants aren’t meant to be used long term. Most of them get kickbacks from the pharmaceutical company and they don’t see the patients as people but stats on a form and—wait, I’m going on a medical rant, sorry. That’s not appropriate.” He ducks his head, looking embarrassed.

“You’re cute,” Shiro laughs, momentarily distracted from his own swirling emotions.

“You think me going on a naked tirade about medical negligence is cute?” Keith asks, lip quirked in the corner.

Shiro nods, ignoring the wave of warmth spreading through his limbs. “I think everything about you is cute. I’m so lucky.”

“Shit,” Keith mumbles, shaking his head as a pretty pink blush rises high on his cheeks. “How the hell are you even real? I’m the luckiest man in the entire world.”

Keith.”

“It’s true,” Keith insists, lifting Shiro’s wrist again. This time he presses a chaste kiss to the underside before moving his arm above to the side and leans over Shiro. It makes his hair fall down around his face, his gaze soft but intense as he hovers above Shiro. “Not only are you the most beautiful man alive,—and don’t argue because it’s true—but you’re going through your first heat and you’re doing it amazingly.”

“I’m a disaster,” Shiro huffs. “I cried and then rubbed myself on you and passed out.”

“No self-deprecating talk on my watch, baby,” Keith says firmly but not unkindly. He dips his head, rubbing his nose against Shiro’s until some of the tension begins to recede from Shiro’s body. “Good boy.”

“I didn’t do anything,” Shiro huffs.

“Yes you did, you’re trusting me. Do you have any idea how fucking incredible that is? Do you have any idea what a turn on it is to know that you’re trusting me right now? The idea that I get to be the one with you for your first heat? I’m the one you want touching you? Holy fuck, it’s so hot, so incredible.”

Shiro blinks. “Yeah?”

He hadn’t thought of it like that at all—hadn’t once stopped to consider that anything about this might be something special for Keith.

“Hell yeah,” Keith confirms, reaching for Shiro’s arm again. He doesn’t kiss his wrist or scent him this time, instead he brings it up to rest Shiro’s palm on his chest over his heart. Beneath his fingers Keith’s heart races. “Do you feel what you’re doing to me? Can you feel the way my heart is beating for you?”

“Fast,” Shiro stutters, his ability to really think rapidly fading.

The thrum of Keith’s heart under his fingertips helps soothe the erratic beating of his own heart—grounds him somehow.

“So fast for you,” Keith says. Then he does something no other lover in Shiro’s life has done—he reaches for Shiro’s other hand—the metal prosthetic most people ignore—and lifts it to his mouth to press a kiss to his knuckles. A choked-off sob falls from Shiro’s lips. His prosthetic is pretty high-tech—the prototype years above what’s available commercially on the market—but the sensory integration is still less than Shiro has in his flesh hand. It’s not the sensation of lips against metal that has Shiro trembling though.

“Shhh, baby, I got you,” Keith murmurs against his knuckles.

With a nod of his head Shiro tries, opening his mouth and inhaling a shuddering deep breath. He’s on his way to managing a second breath when Keith turns his wrist upside down and rubs his nose against the metal of Shiro’s wrist.

“There’s no scent glands,” Shiro chokes out, aware that for a lot of alphas that would be a turn off.

“I know,” Keith answers, eyes on Shiro as he opens his mouth and kisses the inside of his wrist. It’s a kiss so feather light that if Shiro hadn’t watched Keith do it, he’s not sure he would have known it happened. Except Shiro is watching and he does know, and the kiss undoes him completely. Whatever little bit of self-control Shiro’s been holding on to snaps.

It’s such a small thing, but it’s all the confirmation Shiro needs to know the truth.He is safe with Keith—he is wanted—not because he’s an omega, but because he’s Shiro.

Shiro tugs his hand away from Keith and there’s a fleeting second where Keith’s eyes widen in obvious confusion. He opens his mouth to say something, but Shiro doesn’t give him any opportunity to speak,surging up to crash their lips together in a kiss,and pouring every bit of his desperation and affection for Keith into it.

The way Keith has been touching Shiro since he regained consciousness has been gentle, soft. Shiro's kiss is anything but. It’s haphazard and uncoordinated and sloppy as Shiro ruts up against Keith. With every swipe of their lips, every brush of Keith’s bare skin against his own, Shiro feels himself slipping into the heat.

“Mine,” Shiro groans, one arm sliding around Keith’s waist and the other slipping into his hair as he deepens the kiss.

It’s clear Keith means to say something, but again Shiro beats him to it, swiping his tongue across Keith’s bottom lip before pulling it between his teeth. Instead of words, Keith just groans, guttural and deep, as he shifts forward. It brings his cock—his very hard cock—against Shiro’s hip.

“Fuck me,” Shiro gets out, pulling out of the kiss only long enough to say that before he’s mouthing at the side of Keith’s jaw.

“Oh my god,” Keith moans, his fingers digging into Shiro’s biceps as he throws his head back. It forces Keith’s cock to rub against his hip, a bit of precome smearing on Shiro’s side. It’s too much like teasing, and Shiro nearly whines as he bucks his hips trying to get some friction on his own cock.

With his nose so close to Keith’s neck, Shiro is acutely aware of the subtle change in Keith’s scent—the earthiness ripening into something sweet. It makes the blood rush to Shiro’s ears and his head spin. Desperate for more, he shoves his face into Keith’s neck, rubbing his nose into it and mouthing at his skin. Keith doesn’t have scent glances like Shiro but he doesn’t need them,his alpha pheromones oozing out of his every pore. Shiro wants to cover himself in it, wants Keith’s scent on him and in him. There’s a fever building in his soul and the only thing that can quench it is Keith.

“Alpha,” Shiro croons, nuzzling at Keith’s pulse point. “My alpha.”

Keith inhales sharply, rocking his hips against Shiro as his nails dig into Shiro’s arms hard enough there will be crescent marks tomorrow. That too makes Shiro’s heart beat faster, makes the blood in his veins boil as he moans for more.

It’s not enough to be touching Keith or be touched by him, something deep inside of him needs to be marked and claimed—needs to be filled.

Like the slow build of an approaching wave, Shiro is aware of the heat taking over, all coherent thought being swept away by his body’s basic biology. For once Shiro isn’t afraid, he doesn’t fight against his own body—he rides the wave of desire and lets it lead him to Keith.

Keith, who is sweeping his hands over Shiro’s face and hair as he kisses him.

Keith, who wanted Shiro before he knew he was an omega.

Keith, who built Shiro a nest.

“Baby, look at me,” Keith murmurs, gentle hands on his jaw. Shiro does as he’s told, turning his eyes on Keith and flushing at the way Keith’s face transforms because of it. “Oh wow, the heat hit fast. I’ve read about this happening in rare cases but I’ve never seen it.”

Keith’s words don’t mean much to Shiro, whose sole focus is the pitch of Keith’s warm voice, not the words themselves.

“I don’t think you can really answer me right now, but I’m going to take care of you, okay?” he says, pushing the hair off Shiro’s forehead. “I’m gonna make you feel so good.”

Shiro licks his lips as the words wash over him, filling him with a warmth unlike that of his heat. It’s not consuming, just warm and safe. Shiro is safe, he knows it, and the knowledge allows him to lean into wave of arousal as it crests inside of him—poised to break.

As Keith’s fingers smooth back his hair again, Shiro lets his mind drift—everything in his brain going fuzzy as if the world is made of white noise—the only thing that breaks through is Keith; his touch and scent able to reach Shiro on a primal level.

“That’s it, good boy,” Keith praises, hands unexpectedly leaving Shiro’s face.

A whine of displeasure leaves Shiro’s mouth before he can think about containing it. He doesn’t want Keith to stop touching him. Keith’s touch feels so nice, his fingers cool against Shiro’s flushed skin and his touch a balm to Shiro’s frazzled heart. It’s not just the emotional weight of the touch Shiro craves, but something physical too, because just a moment after Keith stops touching him heat prickles under Shiro’s skin. It’s warm, but nothing about it is calm or safe like before—it’s like kindling thrown on the fire, his skin set ablaze.

“It hurts,” Shiro gasps, arching up beneath him.

“I’m still here,” Keith says, giving a firm but gentle squeeze to Shiro’s hip. “I was just moving.”

The new touch is good, but it’s not enough to quell the sudden burning.

“Hurts,” he repeats.

“Shit, I was hoping it wouldn’t but…your body’s fighting itself. Your endocrine system is on overload. There are too many hormones flooding your system.”

Shiro’s jaw quivers, a wave of arousal crashing over him as the heat spreads. It’s so much—too much. He’s so turned on, his cock throbbing as he writhes. Beneath that is something else, an emptiness in the pit of his stomach—an ache so deep he wants to claw at the sheets and scream. He needs something but he doesn’t know what.

“Fuck,” Keith mumbles, his knees bumping the inside of Shiro’s thighs as he drapes himself over Shiro, crowding him in. “Just breathe, baby.”

He tries, really he does, but there are too many sensations. His cock is so hard, his skin tingles, and there’s an uncomfortable churning that makes him fear he might throw up the egg drop soup he had earlier.

“Shhh, it’s just me. Your body is freaking out a little bit, but it’s okay, because I’m here. Touch will help, and well—fucking. Every time you orgasm, it’ll release oxytocin. It’ll soothe the—”

His words are cut off by Shiro pawing at him, pulling Keith down for a kiss. Keith’s tone is enough that Shiro is sure he’s trying to say something important, but there are too many words and not enough touching. Shiro doesn’t give a fuck why his body is doing what it’s doing right now, the only thing he cares about is getting Keith closer to him.

“Mmpf,” Keith groans, adapting quickly and returning the kiss.

Despite his rather small dating history, Shiro’s always prided himself on being a good kisser, or at least his past partners have said so. Right now he’s pretty sure he’s anything but. There’s no grace or finesse to his kisses, no seduction to the slide of his lips against Keith’s. Instead it’s more like Shiro is trying to devour Keith, gasping and grunting, desperate to share the same air as he deepens the kiss. Keith is undeterred by Shiro trying to suck his face off, slipping a hand between their bodies as he slips his tongue into Shiro’s mouth.

A sob is ripped from Shiro’s body as Keith curls his long fingers around his cock and begins to stroke. The synapses in Shiro’s brain misfire, a rush of heat coursing through him as he gasps for air and arches into the touch. All it takes is a few strokes and Shiro’s coming in hot spurts, his chest quivering as he struggles to breathe.

Through it all Keith continues kissing him, guiding Shiro through the orgasm with ease,the kiss turning languid as he slows the pace. Shiro struggles to catch his breath, overwhelmed by the intensity of his orgasm. Fingers move back into his hair, nails dragging over his scalp as Keith swipes his tongue along Shiro’s bottom lip.

A swell of bliss washes over Shiro as Keith abandons Shiro’s lips in favor of dropping kisses along his cheek. It feels so good, the pleasure momentarily dulling the ache within.

“You did so good, sweetheart,” Keith praises, mouthing down the curve of his jaw until he gets to the side of his neck. He continues his way down the side, pausing as his lips finger the swollen scent glands. Without hesitation he noses into them, inhaling Shiro’s scent. “Fuck, you smell good.”

The praise makes Shiro’s head spin and as much as he wants to touch Keith, his arms feel like lead, practically glued to the mattress.

“So sweet, baby. I could smell you all day,” Keith says, smoothing his teeth lightly over the nodules and dragging a broken off scream from Shiro. It seems to embolden Keith as he does it again, teeth scraping over the delicate skin before he covers it with his mouth and sucks hard enough to mark. Shiro’s hands fist in the sheets, his cock jumping to attention as Keith continues to suck, unmistakable pleasure rumbling from his chest.

Keith likes the way he smells—his alpha is pleased. Somehow that knowledge is like a key, unlocking the floodgates,the ache in his stomach increasing. It takes him a few seconds to realize exactly where it’s centered, but as Keith continues to suck Shiro becomes aware of the throbbing in his ass and the sudden wetness. Experimentally Shiro wiggles his hips, rubbing his still-soft cock up against Keith’s hip.

The pressure at his neck increases, a pain so sharp it’s pleasurable. Keith’s teeth graze over the gland again and he’s not biting him—not leaving a bond mark—but Shiro wishes he would. The thought makes Shiro’s vision go black at the corners as more slick drips out his ass, practically drenching the blanket beneath him.

Wet—he’s so wet.

He’s also not the only one to notice it either. Keith continues sucking, but the pressure decreases as Keith’s fingers dance down Shiro’s hip and along the inside of his thigh until they’re at his entrance.

“Holy fuck,” Keith exhales, panting into the side of Shiro’s neck as he drags two fingers through the thick slick and up into the crease of Shiro’s ass.

With Keith’s fingers at his ass there’s no hiding the next wave of slick as it drips out onto Keith’s fingers.

Shiro’s heart beats so fast he can hear it thundering in his ears as Keith drags his thumb over Shiro’s hole. It’s so close to what Shiro wants and yet so far away from being enough. Try as he might, he can’t remain still, can’t do anything but whine as he spreads his legs as wide as they’ll go in the desperate hope Keith will fill him.

“Oh,” Keith whispers, lifting his head to stare down at Shiro. “You need more?”

The answer is on the tip of his tongue but Shiro can’t make words, can only nod his head as he digs his fingers into the backs of his knees and pulls them up to his chest, exposing himself completely.

Keith’s eyes widen—pupils blown wide with desire—as his gaze moves down Shiro’s body.

“Baby, you’re dripping.”

That too makes Shiro whine, warmth leaking out his ass and his blood going hot. There’s so much unmasked desire in Keith’s eyes and voice, his scent ripe with his arousal, and all if of it is for Shiro—because of Shiro. The more Shiro thinks about it, the hornier he gets, nails digging into his flesh hard enough to hurt as he watches Keith watch him.

One thing Shiro has never denied is how much he likes being looked at, but he’s never felt as seen as he does right now.

The urge to shut his eyes is strong, but he resists. Keith’s too beautiful for Shiro to look away even for a moment.

“I knew what heats were like in theory, I’ve studied them enough, but I didn’t know,” Keith whispers, one hand on each of Shiro’s thighs as he glides them up caressing Shiro’s body. “Look at you spread out under me, so turned on—so trusting. All that for me. I’m the luckiest alpha in the whole world.”

Air fills Shiro’s lungs as he puffs his chest up wide. His alpha is pleased with him.

“Oh, you like that. You like when I tell you how beautiful you are? You like knowing how proud of you I am?”

Shiro forgets how to breathe, biting hard on his bottom lip as he gives a jerky nod.

“Such a good boy,” Keith croons, his voice taking on a honey sweet pitch. “Such a good omega—trusting me, letting me take care of you. I will, you know, take care of you. For as long as you’ll let me.”

Shiro wants so much to answer forever but he still can’t seem to articulate his mess of thoughts into words. The most he can do is release the grip he has on the back of his knees and slide his legs down to wrap them around Keith’s waist, linking his ankles together and pulling Keith closer.

Something between a laugh and huff spills from Keith’s mouth as he tumbles forward on Shiro’s chest. He takes advantage of an arm full of Keith and wraps his arms around him, nuzzling his face into the top of Keith’s head. The deep need and arousal is still there—growing with every passing moment—but Shiro longs for this deeply intimate touch as much as he longs to be fucked.

“You’re cuddly,” Keith murmurs, head pillowed on Shiro’s chest. Before Shiro can worry that’s a bad thing, a trill rumbles from Keith’s chest as he rubs his cheek against Shiro’s pec. “God, Shiro—your heart is beating so fast. I can’t believe this is for me. It’s still so fast but it’s mellowed out. It’s not skipping a beat anymore. Is that because of me? Do I make you feel good?”

“Yes,” Shiro chokes out. It’s a struggle but he wants Keith to know.

Keith’s inhale is sharp. “Shiro.”

The next words are a struggle too as Shiro forces his brain to cooperate and just get the words out. “I’ve never felt like this.”

He means so much more than just right this moment—so much more than just his heat—but it’s too many words to get out, too much to explain when it’s all Shiro can do to remember to breathe and not break down in tears and beg Keith to fuck him. The heat is clawing its way up his back, the arousal making his blood pump faster and his head throb.

“Me either,” Keith answers, as if just maybe he has some idea of how Shiro feels.

“Keith, please,” Shiro sobs, digging his heels into Keith’s lower back. He stops his hands from shaking by digging them into Keith’s hips hard enough to bruise,as if Keith can anchor him from slipping away. There’s so much pleasure but as it crests, there’s a tingling of fear. He thought the peak of the heat was before,—felt things mellow out after his orgasm—but the heat is coming back faster and harder this time and it’s not like before.

Shiro’s vision begins to tunnel, his fingers turning Keith’s skin white as he shudders.

“Shhh, you’ve got me, Shiro. I’m not going anywhere. I won’t leave you,” he promises, darting up to press a chaste kiss to Shiro’s lips. His attempt to chase Keith’s lips fails when Keith pulls back, earning him a pitiful frown from Shiro.

The words are meaningless to Shiro. The only thing he knows is that Keith’s not kissing him, Keith is moving out from between his legs and away—away from Shiro.

The reality of not having at least some part of his body touching Keith’s rips a broken sound from his throat.

“I’m just getting a pillow, I—” but he stops as he turns his eyes on Shiro then he’s flying back across the bed and crawling on top of Shiro,knees on either side of Shiro’s hips and elbows by his head as he cages Shiro in on all sides. He doesn’t call Shiro pathetic or ridiculous, just drops his chest to Shiro’s and tilts his head back to expose his neck. “Shhh, I’m yours baby. Mark me. I’m yours.”

Even in his heat-crazed state Shiro is aware of what a big fucking deal it is for an alpha to let someone mark them. Keith is being vulnerable—offering up something of himself for Shiro—and Shiro takes it greedily, shoving his face into Keith’s neck and letting the tears fall from his eyes as his neck closes on the delicate side of Keith’s neck, sucking hard.

Keith moans, hips slipping forward as he arches his neck further and bringing the tip of his cock against Shiro’s hole. Shiro has no idea if it’s on purpose or an accident and he doesn’t care. All he cares about is being filled by Keith. Thankfully Keith seems to be of the same mind, somehow managing to move between Shiro’s legs without disturbing Shiro from his single-minded attention to cover every available inch of skin in love bites.

It is not simply that Shiro is Keith’s—Keith is his.

His heat, he now realizes, is not about his belonging to someone else, but finding the person he belongs with.

When Keith pulls away from Shiro’s mouth this time, Shiro doesn’t whine—he waits. His patience—all three seconds of it—is rewarded when Keith throws Shiro’s legs over his shoulder and lines himself up, pushing forward. Shiro’s so wet and ready that Keith’s cock slips in without a single bit of restraint, the muscles in his ass giving way easily to accommodate Keith’s substantial girth.

“Look at you, taking me so good,” Keith says, bending Shiro completely in half as he buries himself to the hilt. “You’re so full of me.”

Shiro tries to say something but all that comes out is a puff of air, his entire body set on fire.

This, this is what he’s been aching for.

“You look so good, so beautiful—all for me,” Keith says, linking his fingers in Shiro’s as he pulls his hips backward, dragging his cock out as slow as possible then thrusting back in. When Shiro grunts, Keith does it harder. When he moans, he does it faster. Keith studies every sound Shiro makes, every little twitch and writhe of his body, until he’s figured out the exact speed and angle that makes Shiro scream.

He doesn’t stop there, his pace frantic and his grip on Shiro’s fingers bruising as he fucks into him hard and fast, filling the room with the filthy sounds of fucking and the scent of their arousal.

It feels so good Shiro doesn’t want it to end, wants to just lay there and be fucked within an inch of his life for the rest of his life.

Keith is easily the most attentive lover Shiro’s ever had, his eyes never leaving Shiro’s body as he murmurs words of praise. The harder and deeper he fucks, the more Shiro wants. The ache in his gut isn't lessening, it’s growing. He’s sure it’ll fade when he comes, but a few minutes later when he’s screaming Keith’s name and shooting off with Keith’s cock buried deep in his ass, the ache doesn’t fade.

It magnifies, twisting the post coital bliss into something that almost feels like withdrawal. It makes no sense, Shiro’s just had the best fucking of his life and his second orgasm in less than an hour. He should be drooling in his pillow blissed out and finally relaxed.

He’s not.

Instead he’s struggling to breathe, his legs slipping down into the crook of Keith’s elbow. Keith’s cock is still hard, his ass full as his own dick softens. The rush of hormones should dull the heat frenzy but somehow it’s like kindling on the fire,his arousal surging as the hollow ache inside of him increases to the point Shiro’s vision goes blurry.

He needs.

He needs, he needs, he needs.

Keith stops thrusting, hovering over Shiro and smoothing the hair back off his forehead. He is easily the most beautiful thing Shiro has ever seen,his dark hair in disarray and his chest heaving. Shiro’s eyes trace over the delicate lines of his face and the strength hidden in his compact body. Everything about him calls to something deep in Shiro’s soul—the pull earth-shattering.

“You’re still burning up baby,” Keith heaves, his sole concern is Shiro even though he’s yet to come. He strokes his fingers over Shiro’s forehead, his touch electric. “I thought this would help, but—”

Shiro doesn’t let him finish, using up his reserve of strength to get his legs off Keith’s arms and onto the bed, flipping them over so Keith’s the one on his back.

“Holy shit.”

“Mine,” Shiro gasps, his mouth falling open on a moan as he rises up onto his knees and back down hard enough he can feel Keith’s dick everywhere. His dick is still half-soft, but Shiro isn’t concerned with coming, all he wants is to be full.

“Yeah, yours. I’m yours aren’t I? Take whats yours.”

The words resonate in Shiro’s soul as he rides Keith’s dick, his entire body trembling from overstimulation as he fucks himself on Keith’s dick like he might die if he stops. It feels like he will. He moves faster, harder, but it’s still not enough. Something is missing and Shiro doesn’t know what it is.

“Breathe, baby.”

He wants to breathe but he can’t. He’s so tired, his body close to overheating and his limbs filling with lead. Through it all he continues to rock on his knees, the emptiness inside of him searing.

“Need,” Shiro sobs.

“What do you need?” Keith asks, his hands so gentle as they smooth over Shiro’s quivering thighs—such a stark juxtaposition to Shiro’s manic thrusting. He’s so calm, so steady,the only thing anchoring Shiro from falling into a heat craze.

He’s everything, he’s—he’s Shiro’s mate.

The thought quiets the white noise in his brain. This is more than a heat fuck—more than an alpha helping an omega through their heat—this is a call to bond, a call to mate.

It’s a quiet realization, one that allows Shiro to slow the rocking of his hips as he settles into the knowledge. He knows now what he needs, what he wants.

“Mate me,” Shiro whispers, arching his back as he sinks down on Keith’s cock and exposes his neck.

Beneath him Keith’s hips jerk and his eyes widen as Keith’s fingers dig into his thighs. “Shiro.”

“Please,” Shiro begs, barely rocking his hips. “Bite me. Mate me. I’m yours. I’m your omega.”

“My omega,” Keith echoes.

The confirmation soothes the heat that’s been raging inside of Shiro, a wave of clarity overtaking him as the physical ache dulls into background noise.

“Shiro, there’s no going back. This is permanent you can’t undo a mate mark, you—”

“I’m your omega and you’re my alpha. Show me, Keith. Show me how you take care of what’s yours, make me yours,” he breathes.

Keith surges up, hands flying out to Shiro’s hips to keep him on Keith’s cock as he settles Shiro in his lap. They’re so close now, faces just inches away. The heat is still there, but it’s not as consuming anymore.

“Are you sure?” Keith asks, rubbing his cheek against Shiro’s.

He almost laughs. He’s never been more sure of anything in his entire life. He understands now. All the signs that have been there since the moment they met—the sense of knowing Keith longer than a few weeks, the way his scent soothed Shiro, and how safe and wanted he felt. He’d heard of mates at first sight but always assumed it was some fairytale romance novels and the porn industry played up to appeal to lonely alphas and omegas.

“I’m sure,” Shiro answers, arching his neck back further.

“Thank you,” Keith whispers, the tips of his fingers smoothing down the side of Shiro’s neck and over the scent glands. It’s enough to make Shiro’s spent cock leap to attention, hardening as Keith thumbs over them.

“Keith.”

“Shiro.”

Shiro preens, the sound of his name falling from Keith’s lips as erotic as the fingers at his neck.

“When I do this, I’m gonna knot you,” Keith says, his breath warm against Shiro’s neck. “It’ll cement the bond. An alpha can’t knot without the mark. One of my professors spent an entire semester explaining the physiological link between the bite and the hormones released that allows an alpha’s knot to form, but I have my own theory.”

“What is it?” Shiro whispers, head woozy in a new way at the attention Keith is lavishing upon his neck.

“I think it’s about consent. Everyone acts like the bite mark is all about the omega being claimed, but for an alpha it’s about—it’s about being wanted.”

Shiro blinks, somehow surprised by the revelation. He’s never heard about anyone talk about anything related to alphas that comes close to being vulnerable.

“I want you,” Shiro says.

This time it’s Keith who shudders, his jaw trembling as he uses his free hand to lift Shiro’s hand up to his chest, settling it over his heart. “Alphas don’t have a mate mark like you, not that you can see. But you’ve left a mark here—feel. Feel the way it beats for you.”

Shiro presses his palm against Keith’s chest, his own heart stuttering in his chest at the feeling of Keith’s heart thrumming beneath his fingertips. He leaves it there as Keith leans forward and opens his mouth, teeth against his bare flesh. As Keith bites there’s a sharp pain, but that’s not what Shiro focuses on. Neither does he focus on the fullness in his ass as Keith’s knot swells locking them together.

Instead he focuses on the the beat of Keith’s heart—on the tangible life force thrumming under his palm. As the knot grows to fullness, a rush of endorphins flood Shiro, leaving him feeling like he’s floating on a cloud—likely so his brain can’t focus on the five inch knot splitting him open. Still, his attention remains on Keith’s heartbeat as it settles and Shiro understands exactly what Keith meant before.

As the knot swells, Keith’s other hand moves down to stroke Shiro’s cock, guiding him to his third orgasm as Keith comes inside of him, their gasps and shuddering filling the room as the steady beating of Keith’s heart slows to match Shiro’s, their hearts beating in time together as Keith guides him down into the nest and holds him close.

“So beautiful,” Keith whispers, fingers in his Shiro’s hair again. “How do you feel?”

“Fucking amazing,” Shiro says, then huffs out a laugh. “And kind of drunk.”

Keith’s lips turn up in a smile as he continues to push the sweaty hair back off Shiro’s forehead, dragging his nails over nails over scalp. Shiro’s eyes nearly roll into the back of his head.

“Yeah the knotting does that,” Keith says, sounding a bit smug. “There’s enough oxytocin in your system right now to knock out an elephant. Partly so you don’t feel any pain, and partly as some primal biological thing that is supposed to make you want more knot again.”

“Oh my god, I can have it again?” Shiro gasps.

“Yeah,” Keith laughs, twisting Shiro’s bangs around his finger and kissing the tip of his nose. “You can have it whenever you want, sweetheart.”

“Wow,” Shiro breathes.

“God, you’re so out of it,” Keith snorts, his smile splitting his face in half.

“I feel like I’m floating,” Shiro admits, closing his eyes and exhaling as Keith strokes his belly with his other hand. “How long does this last?”

“Uh, I’m not sure,” Keith admits, a flush on his cheeks. “I mean, I’ve never done this. The mate thing, obviously…but also, uh…the thing is—you’re my first everything.”

The flush on his cheeks deepen and it’s not just Shiro’s ass that’s full—his heart is nearly bursting out of his chest. “Oh baby, you didn’t say.”

Keith huffs, his eyes downcast. “I wanted to be the kind of alpha that could take care of you. I was…fuck, I know it’s stupid but I was nervous about not being good enough for you. I just wanted you to have everything you deserve. I hope, well, I know maybe I’m not that good at fucking yet, but I hope it was a good first heat.”

“That was the best fuck I’ve ever had,” Shiro says, tilting his face forward to touch his forehead to Keith’s.

“You’re kind of heat drunk, so—”

“You fucked my brains out,” Shiro interrupts with a grin, a giggle erupting from his chest as he thinks about it. “Keith, you fucked my brains out.”

“You’re so fucking cute, what the hell.”

“You’re cute,” Shiro says, rubbing his nose against Keith’s. “So cute, so pretty. My Keith.”

Keith exhales a slow, deep dream. “Yeah, yours.”

“Keith, Keith—oh Keith.”

“What, Shiro?” he laughs.

“Keith, I love you.

Keith swallows, a tremble detectable in the fingers that are pressed against Shiro’s tummy. “I love you too.”

“You do?” Shiro gasps, head spinning.

“I thought the mate thing made that obvious but…yes. Yes, Shiro. I love you.”

“Oh my god, you love me and your knot is in my ass, and we’re mates.”

“Yes,” Keith grins, thumb tracing circles beside Shiro’s bellow button.

“Thank you,” Shiro whispers.

“You just—fuck, how are you real?” Keith murmurs against Shiro’s lips as he kisses him sweetly.

It’s languid and sweet and Keith continues to stroke his belly as they kiss, sending Shiro into a haze of pleasure. He lets out a soft groan, every inch of his body tingling with pleasure. Eventually he’s forced to break the kiss to yawn.

“You’re tired,” Keith whispers, sliding his palm up Shiro’s belly to rest over his sternum.

“I didn’t do anything,” Shiro mumbles between a second, bigger yawn.

“You did though, Shiro. The amount of energy your body has used in the last twenty-four hours is insane. Actually, did you know during a heat you burn the same calories as you would doing a triathlon?”

Shiro shakes his head, trying to bury himself further into the blankets.

“You can sleep, sweetheart. It’s gonna be a while until the knot going down. Just sleep, I’ll be here when you wake up.”

“Not tired,” Shiro insists, even as his eyes droop.

“Whatever you say,” Keith answers, moving his hand to Shiro’s hair once more. It proves to be the tipping point for Shiro, who is unable to resist the pull of sleep with nails dragging across his scalp.


“Hey there, sleeping beauty.”

Shiro groans, burying his face in the pillow. He doesn’t want to be awake.

“How do you feel?” Keith asks, rubbing Shiro’s back.

In answer Shiro merely grunts. There’s not a single thing on his body that doesn’t hurt. His skin feels strangely sensitive, his ass throbs, and his legs feel like jello. He can’t even try to stretch his legs out without being acutely aware of how weak he feels despite having done absolutely nothing but lay there and get fucked.

“Okay yeah, so about as bad as I expected. I can practically hear your brain working. Remember what I said about the triathalon? Your body has gone through so much. It makes sense if you feel, well—less than great.”

Mustering his strength Shiro rolls onto his back, squinting at Keith. Less than great doesn’t even begin to cover it, but Keith’s doing his best to try and make Shiro feel better. The truth is, Shiro’s mouth is so dry he can’t swallow his own spit, his entire body aches in places he didn’t even know could be sore, and he’s sticky. So damn sticky.

“I feel like roadkill.”

Keith laughs, abruptly cutting himself off. “Sorry.”

“It’s a little funny,” Shiro concedes, cracking a smile.

“What would help? Food? You need food. Maybe a new nest? Just tell me what you need and I’ll make it happen.”

“A shower,” Shiro answers without pause. He can handle pain and discomfort, what he can’t handle is feeling dirty. “But, well—I don’t think I can stand up,” he admits.

“I can help with that,” Keith grins.

Shiro’s never showered with anyone before, and he’s surprised at how much he likes the idea. “Yeah?”

“Yeah,” Keith agrees, bending down to put an arm under Shiro’s back and help him sit up. Shiro doesn’t need that much help, but he doesn’t admit that. Keith’s touch is always welcome.

As soon as he throws his legs over the bed and tries to stand up, he realizes that maybe he does need that much help.

“You fucked me so good I can’t walk,” Shiro snorts, trying to make light of how weak he actually feels. He’d always thought the post-heat exhaustion stories were exaggerated for the benefit of alpha egos. Apparently they weren’t.

“Lucky for you I’m strong,” Keith says, softly hip checking Shiro as he twines an arm around his waist.

“Yeah you are,” Shiro agrees as he drapes his right arm around Keith’s shoulder.

At first he tries not to put his full weight on Keith, afraid he’ll be too heavy. It proves to be unwise because Shiro’s legs feel like jello, and it’s only Keith’s arm around his waist that strops Shiro from face planting on the rug. Shiro doesn’t joke about it again, feeling unexpectedly knocked off-center by it. He’s always been strong, always been able to take care of himself. Keith’s here, and he clearly doesn’t mind, but the fact that Shiro needs someone else still feels strange.

Keith seems to have a good read on what Shiro needs though, and tactfully doesn’t mention how heavy Shiro is, or complain about practically carrying him through the bedroom and down the hallway to the bathroom. He’s incredibly careful as he sets Shiro down to sit on the edge of the tub, kissing his cheek before fiddling with the water. He checks it several times, the frown on his face only receding when the water is warm enough to steam the bathroom.

“The hot water will feel good on your sore muscles,” Keith says, a determined look on his face as he helps Shiro step into the shower, and under the spray of the shower head.

“Oh my god,” Shiro groans, eyes fluttering shut and his back slumping against the wall.

“Good?” Keith asks, and even with his eyes shut Shiro can hear the smugness in his voice.

“Fucking amazing,” Shiro answers, feeling practically reborn as the water washes away the slick and come.

“Good,” Keith murmurs, his voice dulled by the sound of the water in his ears.

The hands at his sides disappear for only a second, returning a moment later covered in soap. Shiro is helpless to stop the groan that falls from his mouth as Keith begins to wash him. It’s got to be awkward for Keith—having to help Shiro stay upright and wash him—but he doesn’t complain,simply switching from his left to right hand to scrub away all the sweat and mess that coats Shiro’s body. He drops to his knees, water splattering on his face as he tenderly washes Shiro’s thighs and calves, even taking the time to wash his feet. By the time he’s done, Shiro’s so relaxed his knees wobble.

Still Keith says nothing as he shoulders more of Shiro’s weight, somehow managing to keep a hold of Shiro and wash him.

Shiro wraps his arms around Keith’s neck and balances against him as Keith scrubs himself clean with quick efficiency and noticeably less tenderness than he’d displayed for Shiro. He makes up his mind to treat Keith to some of the same care he’s showing Shiro—it’ll just have to wait until Shiro doesn’t feel like he’s been run over by a bus.

When they get out of the shower, Keith shakes his head to rid of the water and ignores the water dripping down his face as he drops to his knees and towel dries Shiro. Try as he might, Shiro can hardly keep his eyes open, the brush of the towel against his warm skin lulling him back into a sleepy state.

“You still with me?” Keith laughs, only bothering to halfheartedly dry himself once he’s satisfied that Shiro is dry and warm.

“Mhmm,” Shiro hums, refusing to admit that he’s tired again. He’s only been awake maybe half an hour and all he did was stand there. It’s absolutely ridiculous that he feels like he could fall asleep again.

“Just stay here for a second, yeah?”

He hums his agreement, too tired to point out he can’t go anywhere.

Keith disappears from the bathroom and, from the sounds it, is in Shiro’s room doing something. With no one there to see him, Shiro closes his eyes and tips his head back against the wall as he basks in the feeling of being clean. He drifts, the sound of Keith moving around in the bedroom filtering down the hallway and Shiro’s body goes lax.

“Hey,” Keith whispers, a hand on his cheek startling him. Shiro has no idea how much time has passed since Keith left. “You fell asleep.”

“I was just resting my eyes,” Shiro insists, squinting his eyes open to see Keith standing in front of him dressed in a pair of Shiro’s Star Wars pajama bottoms—the pants hanging low on his slim hips even with the waistband drawn tight—and Shiro’s favorite t-shirt from the gift shop at work that says Don’t Follow Me I Do Stupid Things with the silhouette of someone jumping out of a plane.

“Sure you were,” Keith grins.

“You’re wearing my clothes.”

“Oh,” Keith falters, looking suddenly unsure. “I just…sorry. I should’ve asked. I was getting some clean clothes for you and they looked comfortable and—”

“Keith, it’s okay. You can wear my stuff, any of it. In fact please do it again when I’m less exhausted so I can get properly horny for it.”

The little worry lines on Keith’s face transform into something different, something a little more playful. “You like me in your clothes?”

“You have no idea,” Shiro says.

“I’m going to remember that,” Keith smirks, holding up another set of sweatpants and a thin long sleeved thermal. “I picked this for you? Is this okay? Or I can go switch it if you wanna wear something else maybe.”

“It’s perfect,” Shiro insists, his heart leaping into his throat when Keith squats down to help Shiro get his feet through the pant holes.

“You’re really good at this.”

“Putting pants on isn’t exactly rocket science,” Keith laughs, once again using his considerable strength to help Shiro stand up and pull up the sweats.

“Not that, you smart ass,” Shiro snorts. “The heat thing and the, well—taking care of me thing. You’re going to be an incredible doctor.”

Keith pauses, holding his breath as he turns his eyes on Shiro. “You think?”

“I know,” Shiro says.

“Thank you,” Keith whispers, clearing his throat as he reaches for the thermal on the counter.

“You’re incredible,” Shiro tells him as Keith holds up the shirt and tugs it over Shiro’s head. He might be too tired to wash his own ass or stand on his own two legs, but he’s not too tired to tell Keith how perfect he is.

“Oh my god, are you always like this?” Keith asks, his breathing going funny, as he scrubs a hand across his cheeks which are flushed pink.

“Um, yes? But I mean, if it makes you uncomfortable I can stop. Sorry, just—you’re so perfect and so beautiful and—wait, I’m doing it again. Sorry.”

“You don’t need to stop,” Keith mumbles, his blush deepening. “I’m just not used to it. But, um, I like it.”

“You like me telling you how good you are for me? What a good alpha you are?”

Keith inhales so sharply through his nose for a second Shiro thinks he might pass out and his cheeks are red as a tomato. “Maybe.”

It’s all the confirmation Shiro needs, shamelessly whispering praise and rubbing his cheek into the top of Keith’s hair as Keith helps him back to the bedroom. Keith snorts, calling him incorrigible as they make their way down the hallway and back to the bedroom where Keith’s temporary departure makes more sense. The nest—which was soiled and in disarray when they went to the shower—has been re-made,dirty blankets replaced and the pillows stacked twice as high.

“Oh,” Shiro whispers.

“Uh, yeah. Research says post-heat nests provide feelings of safety and comfort that aid the production of serotonin and dopamine and—oh god, I went full med student again. Sorry.”

“It’s cute,” Shiro assures him. “And the nest is nice. Really, really nice. No one’s ever made me a nest.”

“No one?” Keith asks, shock evident as he helps Shiro across the room and into the center of the nest.

“Just you.”

“I’ll make you as many as you want,” Keith huffs, determination evident.

He’s so damn cute Shiro can hardly believe that he’s actually his. Once Keith’s got him settled in the nest, cocooned in blankets, he steps back instead of joining Shiro.

“Where are you going?”

“I was gonna get you food.”

“I’m not hungry,” Shiro lies at the exact moment his stomach betrays him, grumbling loudly.

“No?” Keith asks with an arched eyebrow.

“Fine, maybe I’m a little bit hungry,” he concedes, “but I’d rather cuddle.”

“You really need to replenish all the lost electrolytes and calories so you don’t feel worse.”

“Everything you’re saying makes a lot of sense, but to be honest there’s only one thing I want right now,” Shiro says, scooting sideways in his nest.

“Hmm?”

In answer he pats the blanket beside him. When Keith doesn’t scramble to get in, a pout forms on Shiro’s face. “Please.”

“Damn, you’re playing dirty.”

Bingo. Shiro knows he’s won. Just to be safe he exaggerates the pout, adding his best puppy dog eyes.

“Holy fuck that’s not fair,” Keith laughs, quite literally leaping into the nest.

The bed bounces as he settles back into the pillows, opening his arms for Shiro who attaches himself to Keith’s side,throwing his right arm and leg over Keith as he uses Shiro’s chest as a pillow. It takes Shiro a little while to get comfortable, during which he almost elbows Keith in the stomach and shakes the bed a second time. When he’s finally comfortable he turns his face into Keith’s chest, inhaling slowly and marveling at the way Keith smells in his clothes.

“Better?” Keith asks, rubbing a hand up and down Shiro’s spine.

“So much,” Shiro murmurs, focusing on the strong, steady thrum of Keith’s heart. “You smell amazing. Oh god, I think I’m getting hard again. How is that even possible after last night?”

Keith laughs, sliding his hand down to cup Shiro’s ass. “You make it sound like a bad thing.”

“Not bad,” Shiro says. “But my ass is so sore I’m not gonna be up for fucking for a week. I think I’m out of commission, I’m sorry.”

“Oh,” Keith mumbles, hand stilling at Shiro’s lower back. With his ear on Keith’s chest, Shiro has a front row seat to the way Keith’s heart races as his next words come out quiet. “You could, uh…you could fuck me.”

Fuck you?” Shiro exclaims, lifting his head to stare at Keith.

His face has gone red again, and Shiro doesn’t know how to handle how endearing he finds it that Keith is a blusher.

“Uh, yeah,” Keith laughs, averting his gaze. “I mean, I know it’s maybe a little atypical, but I’ve never been a very typical alpha and—shit. Maybe I shouldn’t have said that. We can forget I offered, okay.”

“What if I don’t want to forget?” Shiro whispers, dropping his chin to Keith’s chest and resting his hand there.

“Uhhh—”

“I wanna fuck you so bad,” Shiro tells him, his cock leaping to attention as it hardens. “M’kinda wiped though. Not sure I can give you the fucking you deserve.”

“I could ride you,” Keith blurts, as if he’s thought about this. “You could lay back and I’ll do all the work.”

Keith’s heart is racing beneath his palm as Shiro’s lips curl up in a smile. “Yeah, but only if you promise me one thing.”

“Anything,” Keith agrees.

“You don’t even know what it is,” Shiro snorts.

“I’d still agree, for you.”

Shiro’s heart flip flops in his chest once more, affection threatening to spill out in every direction. He’s so goddamn lucky.

“You’re too good to me,” Shiro huffs, turning his face into Keith’s chest and kissing his sternum.

“I’m exactly as good to you as you deserve,” Keith scoffs. “So, what did I agree to anyway?”

“You gotta promise that when I get my strength back, you’ll let me fuck your brains out.”

The red spreads across the bridge of Keith’s nose like fire, the tips of his ears even turning red as he nods his head and croaks, “Yes.”

Shiro smiles in turn, slipping his arms around Keith’s middle and using what strength he does have to roll them over so Keith is the one on top.

“So, cowboy, you ready to ride?”

Keith throws his head back, a hearty laugh rumbling out of his chest. “What the fuck am I gonna do with you? You’re ridiculous.”

“Guess you’ll have to keep me,” Shiro grins.

“Yeah,” Keith agrees. “Guess I will.”

“Alright then, giddy up,” Keith says with a twang.

It’s Shiro’s turn to laugh, the bed shaking with his amusement.

All along Shiro’d been sure finding a mate meant losing a part of himself, but now all he can think is how very much he’s gained.