Chapter 1: Basketcase
Liam James Payne, 32, is an unbonded Alpha.
In this day and age, it’s not uncommon to see unbonded Alphas and Omegas who share a heat just to relieve Omegas of a minor inconvenience every two months. In a society where casual sex is a common occurrence and where Omegas appear to hold their own against Alphas any day, bonding is extremely rare, and most times unwelcome. Because who wants to be stuck with one mate forever, right?
But Liam Payne is also an Alpha with a heart of gold, which is why he walked into the Alpha Registry building four years ago to put his name down as an available Alpha for Omegas in distress. The lines at the Registry are abuzz every day with calls from frantic young Omegas experiencing their first heat who need someone trustworthy to share it with, Omegas in abusive relationships and sometimes even mature ones whose heat hits them by surprise before they’ve made proper arrangements.
“So you’re basically a hooker, who doesn’t get paid.” Niall, Liam’s best friend and a Beta, had concluded after Liam first told him about the Registry.
And Liam had punched him on the arm and explained that nobody should have to suffer just because they’re disadvantaged by biology. And Niall had dropped the matter.
Since then, Liam has seen many omegas through their heats, becoming friends with some of them and even being introduced to their Alphas, for the rare few who decided to get bonded.
But Harry, an 18-year old who had activated the distress signal one day after he decided that he just couldn’t share another heat with that abusive father of his, had stuck. Liam had entered the house to the overwhelming scent of an Omega in full-blown heat and literally reeking of fear.
He doesn’t remember how he did it, but he had pried the larger man off Harry, managed not to jump the young Omega, call the cops on the man and gotten Harry to a safehouse, before jumping Harry.
Always with the hero complex, Niall had said, that’s how you get stuck with the basketcases.
Liam hates to admit it, but Niall had probably been right. Because a year on, Liam is still paying weekly visits to Harry’s rented apartment after the Omega calls him crying, and each heat is shared to Harry’s pleads to please mark me, make me yours. And Liam rejects him every time, because Harry is just so young, and he just doesn’t feel that way about him.
Like right now, where Harry is sobbing in his arms after they’ve ridden out his last heat.
“Do you really have to go?” Harry whimpers.
“I’ve been here too long, Harry,” Liam reminds the younger boy gently, “You should be resting by now. It’s been a tough three days for you.”
“But I want you to sleep with me,” he looks up at Liam, all green eyes and curls that make him look younger than he already is.
“Harry.” Always so gentle, loving, so Liam. Liam who knows he shouldn’t spend more than three heats with an Omega, especially one this young, because they get attached and needy and dependent, but still comes every time Harry calls and asks only for him. Harry who keeps every Alpha away except Liam.
Liam’s cell pings at this exact moment with another distress signal. An Omega is in full heat and Liam’s the nearest one in the vicinity. Firing off a message that says he’ll be there in 15 minutes, he presses a hurried kiss to Harry’s forehead and tries not to notice the boy dissolving into sobs.
Chapter 2: Getting too old for this shit
In which Zayn enjoys pulling on Liam's proverbial pigtails.
There is smut, which could be considered dub-con, before they actually have a proper conversation, like grownups.
Liam isn’t prepared for the grand mansion that the cab driver drops him off at. Omegas that call for him are usually almost broke and living out of a cupboard under the stairs. Whatever, he thinks, an Omega in need is an Omega in need whether they’re rich or poor.
“Mr... Malik?” Liam ventures toward the speaker by the gate, which he hopes is an intercom system. The gate opens, and Liam walks in briskly.
The house is eerily quiet and Liam wonders how it is that a house this big, meant to be filled with a happy family and pups, little pups everywhere, could be so lonely.
“You’re the one they sent?” a crisp voice makes Liam look up, only to be met with what he thinks must be the most beautiful Omega he has ever seen. The man’s hair is styled into a purposefully dishevelled mess, and Liam’s eyes meet his deep hazel ones, moving down to take in the impossibly sharp cheekbones and full, pouty lips. He’s obviously well-maintained, and draped in a silk bathrobe, Liam wonders why exactly this (perfectly healthy-looking and certainly not in the throes of heat) Omega would have called for him.
“You’re fitter than I thought,” the Omega almost sneers, “I thought the services would send some balding, old Alpha eager to get in on some action. What’s your story then? Broken heart? Failed bond? Sex addiction?”
Liam feels his blood rise as he balls his hands into fists, fixing the Omega with a glare as he spits, “Well, Mr Malik, since you’re obviously in no need of my help, I’d advise you not to activate the signal at whim. There are Omegas out there who actually need the aid, and I have no time for your foolish games.”
“Please,” the man seems unaffected by Liam’s outburst, “Call me Zayn.”
“And in case you’re wondering, I did call for a hooker, it’s just that he bailed on me at the last minute and I need to get off, alright? So come here and get your knot in me, and I’ll even pay you for your efforts.”
Liam marches over to the man - Zayn - and looks him in the eyes once more (Liam knows he’s being unfair, knows that the gesture intimidates most Omegas. But his patience is wearing thin and he’s miffed by Zayn’s cockiness.) Getting close, he breathes, almost threateningly, “Zayn, I. Am. Not. A. Prostitute.” He can feel the Omega struggling to maintain eye contact, his lips determinedly pursed in a thin line as though willing himself out of the urge to submit.
Then it hits him.
Liam grabs the Omega and buries his nose deeply into Zayn’s neck. Under the fragrance of spices and floral is the very faint scent of an Omega too far gone into heat. Liam can even make out the deadly cocktail of drugs and alcohol that are coursing through his system that’s hiding just how deep in Zayn is.
“What are you on!?” he half-shouts and Zayn stumbles backward in shock, the action making his bathrobe fall open as he collapses on the overstuffed armchair.
“Suppressants... They don’t work anymore so I’ve got the drugs... I don’t know what kind. It’s supposed to take the edge off,” he confesses.
Liam frowns. Suppressants are illegal because of the known side effects that can cause. And doctors only prescribe them in the most dire of cases to Omegas suffering from rape trauma so they don’t hurt themselves in heat. To have been on them for so long - Zayn must have gotten them off the black market, and for a hefty price at that.
Zayn is practically soaking through the bathrobe, the slick from his hole flowing down his thighs into a sickening puddle as he attempts to close his legs and fails. His thighs are marked with scratches, and dick is flushed a deep, painful red, the white staining his torso a telltale that he has come, but it’s simply not enough.
“You gonna fuck me or not?” the Omega tilts his head defiantly at Liam, but his eyes a mixture of anger, resignation and pleading.
Fuck this, Liam thinks and curses his own busybodying nature again, I’ve got to help this one
Liam sheds his jeans and boxers quickly and aligns his already hardening dick with the Omega’s hole. He pushes in slowly, not wanting to hurt him, but Zayn clamps his legs around Liam’s hips, pulling him forward as they both crash and tumble to the floor none too gracefully, taking Zayn’s robe with them.
In. Out. In. Out. The way Liam fucks is slow, almost methodical, desperately calming himself and fighting the urge to bend down and mark the Omega of the day as his, while attending to Zayn’s needs. The olive-skinned man is obviously in pain, his body pliant and malleable. And at this point in time Liam isn’t even sure if he’s doing Zayn a favor or not. Liam feels the base of his cock swelling as he nears orgasm. Pulling out of the Omega, he flips Zayn over so that he’s on all fours, earning a desperate moan from him as the emptiness hits, because all Zayn wants is to be filled and knotted.
He leans forward to whisper in the Omega’s ear, “It’ll be easier this way.” And pulling Zayn’s thighs apart again, Liam enters him, thrusting a few more times until Zayn is climaxing, clenching uncontrollably around Liam as Liam reaches completion, his knot swelling and locking them together as Liam comes and comes, deep into the Omega.
Pulling the smaller man into a spooning position, Liam runs a soothing finger down his chest and on to his stomach, mumbling encouragements into his ear and rocking him slowly. “You’re good, yeah? You’re good.”
They stay there in relative silence for a while before Zayn speaks up, his voice raspy, “How long is this going to last?”
Liam shrugs, or rather, shrugs as best as he can while still buried deep in Zayn with his arms around the Omega, “An hour? Could go up to two depending on how long you’ve gone without a heat. And then it comes on and off for another three days or so.”
Liam’s eyebrows shoot up to his forehead, a million questions running through his mind. He contemplates probing, but stops himself. Omegas who’ve just been knotted are particularly vulnerable and trusting, and Liam doesn’t want to push Zayn into saying something he’ll regret.
“They warned me,” Zayn continues, sounding far away now, “They said it would stop working one day and I’d best find a good-looking Alpha who would take care of my pathetic need to get fucked. But I thought I was invincible y’know, before it hit me that is.”
Liam nods against the Omega’s neck, encouraging him to go on.
“I’ve only ever had one. I hated every minute of it. Shared it with that idiot cheerleader bitch who enjoyed telling everyone how I begged and screamed for it,” Zayn’s voice turns resentful. “So I took stronger doses every year. But it’s not going to work anymore, is it? I’m just a pathetic little Omega, at the very end of it.”
“You’re not, you know.” Liam says, “Obnoxious, cocky and annoying you are, but you’re not pathetic. No one is.”
“Says the Alpha who came heroically to this poor little bitch’s rescue,” the scoffing tone is back now, and it’s getting on Liam’s nerves.
“See what I meant by obnoxious, cocky and annoying?” Liam snaps and is almost instantly sorry for it.
“I’m sorry I’m not your perfect little submissive Omega then!” Zayn shoots back, but is not very convincing with a knot up his ass and his anger directed at owner of said knot.
Liam sighs and decides not to get into an argument with this Omega that he barely knows. “Let’s talk about something else yeah? Starting with names. My name is Liam Payne and I’m a football coach with the Little League.”
Of course. Of course he would be doing something perfect and adorable like teaching little kids football in addition to being a superhero every day, Zayn thinks before replying, “Zayn Malik, CEO of ZM Entertainment.”
They continue this way for awhile, awkward, stilted conversations before Liam’s knot subsides and he pulls out, Zayn wincing gingerly at the movement. He pulls on his discarded jeans and picks Zayn up easily, making his way down the nearest corridor in search for the bedroom.
Setting the Omega down, Liam flips open his cell to 15 missed calls and about 40 texts from Harry. Groaning, he calls Niall first to get him to cover his classes for the next three days, before punching in Harry’s number and waiting for the boy to pick up.
“Liam?” Harry has obviously been crying.
“What’s wrong, Harry?”
“Nightmares. Need you here.”
“Harry, I can’t. Not tonight. Someone else needs me."
“Can you sing me to sleep then? Please?”
So Liam does, singing an old ballad that he knows Harry loves until he hears the sniffling subside and the boy drift off to sleep. “Goodnight Harry,” he whispers and ends the call.
“Pretty sweet voice you’ve got there,” comes a muffled comment from between the sheets.
“Gonna sign me on to your record label and make me famous then?” he teases, handing Zayn a glass of water that he’s just filled in the bathroom. “Here. You need to rehydrate.”
“You play Daddy to all your Omegas or just the pretty ones?”
Liam sighs exasperatedly and messes up Zayn’s hair, looking almost fond, “One more smart remark and I’m going to wash out your mouth with soap.”
Zayn drinks up, emptying the glass before looking up and asking, “Who was that?”
“A friend you sing to sleep?”
Liam sighs again - he seems to be doing that increasingly these days. Figuring it can’t hurt to answer Zayn’s question, he replies, “Harry. He’s an Omega going through a spot of trouble right now. And we’re trying to help him through it.
“Mostly me, and sometimes Harry on a good day,” Liam shrugs and stands up again, “I figure we’ve got a few hours till your next wave hits. We’re going to need to fuel up and I don’t see anyone else around. Where’s your kitchen?”
Zayn mumbles a few directions and sends Liam on his way, the Omega burying his tired self in the sheets and wondering how is this person even real? He most certainly does not think about the very nice, Alpha-sized dick on Liam, or his soft pink lips, or his warm voice, or how much he’d like to see him again after the three days or how much he wants for Liam to come and cuddle him, like right now. Because it must be all his hormones talking. That must be it.
Is full time Little League coaching actually a thing? I don't know.
But is A/B/O actually a thing? No. So fuck accuracy and live for the AUs.
Chapter 3: And if I wanted more
The one where Zayn is a manipulative little shit.
The second time Liam sees Zayn again is completely unexpected. Not that he hasn’t googled every last detail about the CEO on the Internet.
Youngest CEO on Fortune 500 list
30 Omega billionaires under 30: Zayn Malik, 26 - That one was from four years ago.
ZM Entertainment pledges 3 million to Comic Relief
Is Zayn Malik a cheat? - Sources say he’s slept with more than 200 people in the past year while dating singer Perrie Edwards
Zayn Malik splits from Perrie Edwards in high-profile breakup
Liam isn’t sure what to think of the Omega - they had civil enough conversations in the three days that they’d spent together, though Zayn had been particularly jumpy and nervous every time a new wave hit and Liam had to soothe it. And unlike most Omegas, Zayn seemed over-eager to scamper away from the Alpha every time his knot subsided and Liam could slip out, preferring to curl up in a corner of the bed instead. Liam had briefly wondered if Zayn had had a bad experience with Alphas in the past, but decided it wasn’t his place to ask, or tell. Especially since he wouldn’t be meeting the man ever again.
Until he received an emergency call from an anonymous Omega who requested specifically for him. These were not uncommon - there were still Omegas who prefered to live as Alphas or Betas, and the Registry was a sanctuary for them when they needed to relieve their needs.
So when Liam arrives at the posh hotel where a night would cost a week of his wages, he isn’t expecting to see the Omega from a month before shivering in a corner, sheets wrapped around him, with an empty bottle of alcohol next to him. Sniffing the air, Liam realizes that Zayn had let his heat get too far in before calling for help again.
“Liam... Payne,” Zayn’s voice is shaking with recognition and relief.
“Your heat’s not supposed to come on this early,” Liam frowns as he makes his way over to the Omega on all fours, careful not to upset him.
“You’re not easy to forget,” Liam replies, having made his way to the Omega by now and taking off the sheets, “Not many Omegas are this rash y’know.”
“Get... in!” Zayn is climbing on Liam, hands scrabbling for purchase on his chest as he inhales the scent of Alpha breathily.
No time for prep now, thinks Liam as he sheds his own pants easily and pulls the Omega up onto him. Gripping Zayn’s hips tightly, Liam fucks up into the whimpering Omega as Zayn hangs on for dear life to Liam, fingernails making red scratches down his back. It takes barely any time at all for Zayn to come, shooting white liquid all over their chests and screaming from the overstimulation as Liam continues thrusting into him. Zayn comes another time before Liam’s knot forms and swells, locking Zayn in place on top of Liam.
“Did someone bail on you again?” Liam asks tenderly, stroking up and down the Omega’s back as he felt Zayn’s breath tickle his neck.
“No. Wanted you again,” is the simple reply that comes back.
“All of us at the Registry are. We go for tests regularly. And if someone tries to hurt you they’re always channels...”
Zayn lets out a chuckle - a deep throaty one that catches Liam by surprise because it was probably the first time he had heard the Omega laugh so genuinely. “You’re something different, Liam.”
They fall into a mutual silence after that, Liam rocking Zayn gently as the tired Omega falls asleep against his chest, trying to contain the suddenly surge of possessiveness and want that their closeness is bringing.
The third time Zayn calls for Liam - anonymously again, the Alpha just sighs and mounts him immediately, not even bothering to pay attention to the sputtering and incoherent words falling from the Omegas mouth. When they break apart, Liam spends half the time tending to the wounds on Zayn’s thighs where he’s scratched himself in desperation, while chiding the Omega for waiting till his heat set in fully again to call for help. Zayn listens to the lecture on what were you thinking and do you know how dangerous it is for an Omega in heat to be left alone and have you seen a doctor for your irregular heats and has the decency to look ashamed.
By the fourth time Liam is a foul mood when he approaches the cheap motel. Harry had been particularly difficult that afternoon, refusing to take his anxiety meds and clinging to Liam like a limpet for the better part of the day. Liam could never bring himself to get angry at the young boy, but he was nearly at his wits’ end now because Harry wasn’t even trying to get better. But each meeting with Harry leaves Liam is frustrated, angry and feeling helpless at himself.
So when he steps into the dingy room after finally convincing Harry to take his sleeping pills and go to sleep, Liam is in a proper mood - he knew he shouldn’t go to another Omega in his state lest his emotions rub off on the Omega, but Danielle, the Beta on the phone at the Registry, had said that the Omega had refused all help with the exception of one Liam Payne.
It’s as though Zayn had picked up on his anger when Liam enters the room, his eyes lowered and shoulders hunched in a submissive position at Liam’s feet, his heat scent overpowering as slick rapidly pools under him from where he’s sitting.
“Again, Malik!?” Liam can barely control his temper as he shouts harshly at the smaller man, not missing the flinch that comes from Zayn.
When the Omega doesn’t answer, Liam pulls Zayn up and backs him up against the wall. “What are you playing at, Malik? Is this some kind of game to you?”
The Omega only shakes his head, looking up at Liam with pure fear and confusion now as the harsh words continue to fall from Liam’s mouth. Zayn can barely hear or understand what Liam has to say, his senses only clouded by the aggressive Alpha pheromones in the air and the anger that is practically radiating off the man. It’s only when Liam lowers Zayn to the ground and makes a move for the door that Zayn recovers enough to grab his ankle pleadingly and bare his neck in a desperate show of submission.
Liam huffs resignedly and crouches down to the Omega’s level, whispering threateningly in his ear, “This is the last time, you hear? They next time I’m just going to call for the ambulance.” and Zayn nods immediately, making a move for Liam’s belt buckle.
The sex is hurried and none-too-gentle, and Liam stays silent, obviously still seething with anger at him. But Zayn laps it up, pushing back against Liam, searching for his knot. And when Liam finally swells and fills him up, he sighs contentedly, letting his head fall forward into the pillow.
It’s a long time before Zayn speaks up, his voice small, “I’m sorry.”
“For what? Taking me for a ride? Recklessly endangering your life? Calling for me anonymously three separate times and sending me to three different locations to hide your identity? For lying to me about your sexual history?”
“I never lied...”Zayn tries to protest.
“How about Perrie Edwards? Or the 200 people you've slept with? People read the news Zayn!”
Zayn is quiet for a while and Liam almost regrets his outburst, but he is still angry, at Zayn for treating him like a fool, but mostly at himself for walking into the trap that the Omega set.
Then Zayn speaks, his voice straining and Liam cannot help but listen, even know he’s not supposed to pry, not supposed to get personal information out of the Omegas in his care when they are like this. But Liam listens, riveted as Zayn talks about the fierce Omega singer who refused to accept her lot in life and had grown addicted to suppressants and fake Alpha pheromones. How Perrie would douse herself in Alpha scent before every performance or interview. How Zayn helped in the cover-up by pretending she was his Alpha for years. How the fake cheating scandals and the high-profile breakup was meant to hide the fact that Perrie had been sent to a private rehabilitation center after she had passed out from overdose.
“They still think she stopped singing because of a broken heart,” he says.
“I’m sorry,” Liam finally says when Zayn is done with the story, “But I’m still angry, y’know.”
“But thank you for telling me. I just want you to know that I’m not going to the press with the story. But Zayn?”
“Why didn’t you do what Perrie did? You’ve already been suppressing, and I imagine it’d be much easier for you, big important man and all.”
“I’m not ashamed of who I am. And I don’t like Alphas very much. Until you,” Zayn says the last two words quietly and continues, “You’re not a jerk to me.”
“I was a pretty big jerk tonight,” Liam says, feeling a little guilty.
“I deserved it I guess. I shouldn’t have tricked you into coming for me. And I guess it was pretty shitty of me to wait till I was too far gone so you wouldn’t have any choice but to fuck me.”
“Zayn,” Liam sighs, “I can’t do this, okay? I already have an Omega that’s grown too attached to me. I’m not supposed to help you out anymore after three heats because it does things to your emotions, and I can’t do that to you. This has to be the last time.”
“Do you love him?”
“Like a little brother, yes. But I don’t feel that way about him, even though I know he wants more from me.”
“What if I wanted more too? What if I want to be too attached to you? Would you say no?”
“It would be difficult,” Liam admits, “You are gorgeous.”
“So it’s a yes?”
Liam smiles a little self-deprecatingly as he replies, “I’m just a Little League coach Zayn. I never went to college, and I still live with a roommate. I’m pretty boring, and I don’t have the money for big expensive gifts... And you’re you.”
“Why would you think I care?” Zayn fires back now, the feistiness from their first meeting returning to his voice, “Why can’t I like you for being you? Why can’t you give me the chance that you gave him to get close to you? Maybe... just maybe, you’ll like me. Maybe I’ll be different from him?”
“It’s the heat talking...”
“No!” Zayn cuts in, “Nothing has been more clear to me, Liam Payne. One date. One date after all this is over. And if you don’t like me I promise I’ll never bother you again. Deal?”
“I suppose...” Liam starts but is immediately interrupted by Zayn again.
Chapter 4: 7's the magic number
In case the timelines are confusing:
The first time Liam meets Zayn is after Harry's heat - Harry is regular, which means that he gets it once every two months.
The fourth time Liam meets Zayn is five months after the first meeting - Zayn is obviously irregular and doing a shit job of dealing with it.
This present chapter takes place over the sixth month since their first meeting, where they go on dates proper and decide to make it official.
Zayn is obviously uncomfortable - Liam can tell - as he fiddles with the sleeve of his shirt, looking around nervously as he shifts in his seat. He had been surprised when the Omega suggested this small, hole-in-a-wall Italian joint instead of a fancy five-star restaurant that Liam assumed he would frequent. Still, it didn’t draw attention away from the fact that Zayn had been out of sorts since he had gotten into Liam’s truck.
“Is something the matter?” Liam asks and Zayn nearly jumps in his seat.
“No... everything’s fine. Great weather. Nice place.”
“You’re not even looking at the menu.”
“I thought.. I thought you might want to order for me,” Zayn mutters, not even looking up at him.
Liam raises an eyebrow and regards Zayn curiously before realization dawns on him. “I don’t know what kind of Alphas you’ve been seeing Zayn but I’m not the type who needs to make every little decision for you.”
“Oh?” Zayn looks up now and a slight grin forms on his face.
“And I surely hope that’s not why you made me drive you here in my beat-up truck instead of taking one of your obviously more comfortable cars,” Liam closes the menu and looks incredulously at the man seated opposite from him, “It’s 2013, Zayn. There’s no need to do the whole blushing submissive routine. I’m not a caveman and you certainly are capable of taking care of yourself.”
“You’re something different, y’know.”
Liam shakes his head and gestures to the menu in front of Zayn, “Just regular Liam. Now order your food, Mr Malik, before we get thrown out.”
Zayn ends up ordering for both of them without even looking at the dishes available - it turns out he’s regular enough to even get them both desserts that are not on the menu but a Chef’s Special that the owner makes just for Zayn. Chef Arico even delivers it to their table, teasing Zayn for finally bringing his boyfriend and Zayn flushes, for real this time as she starts telling Liam about how lucky he is to be dating Zayn because he is such a sweet boy. She apparently has no idea who Zayn actually is, and Liam cannot help but smile at the CEO who looks like a teenager being fussed over by his overprotective mother.
“Take care of my boy,” she tells Liam before bidding them farewell and pressing takeaway boxes of tiramisu into their hands.
They drive a little further to a nearby park and spend two hours lying on their backs, just talking and laughing like old friends. Zayn learns all about Liam’s family and sisters back home, and tells him about his own family who insisted on staying behind in their hometown instead of moving to the big city with Zayn.
“I’d love to see you again.” is what Liam whispers into a hopeful-looking Zayn’s ear after Liam walks him to his door, planting a kiss on the smaller man’s cheek and then patting the impeccable quiff on his head, messing it up a little. And if Zayn sort of does a mad little giggle and twirl after he shuts the door, nobody needs to know.
Liam wants to know more about what Zayn does, so on their second date Zayn gives him a tour of the company’s headquarters, the recording studios, and even takes him to meet some of the artistes under the label.
“You’re amazing, y’know,” Liam tells Zayn as soon as they’re back in his office (which is really the size of Liam’s entire apartment, including Niall’s half)
Zayn shifts a little awkwardly and shakes his head. “It’s nothing much, really. Got lucky I guess.”
“Not a caveman, remember?” Liam punches Zayn lightly on the shoulder and continues, “Everything you have here, it’s terrific. I’ll never be able to achieve half of anything you’ve done, really. You ought to give yourself more credit.”
They sit in companionable silence for a while, watching one of the latest music videos that ZM Entertainment’s shot when Zayn speaks up, “It’s probably a little too early for this. But I just want to cut my losses. Put this out there prevent myself from getting my hopes too high, y’know.”
Liam nods, a silent cue for Zayn to continue.
“I can’t have pups. I saw my doctor yesterday and he says I’m never going to be able to conceive. And my heats will probably never ever be regular, and there’s no way of predicting them. So if that’s a problem then maybe we shouldn’t see each other anymore,” Zayn says in a rush, studying his feet as though they are the most fascinating thing in the world. He’s expecting Liam to leave, or in the best case scenario, pat him on the back and say it’s okay, we can still be friends. And Zayn knows he will take whatever it is Liam has to offer because he is already defenseless against the Alpha’s charms.
What Zayn doesn’t expect though, is for Liam to chuckle and put a warm hand over his. “I’ve got 15 pups on one team and I think that’s enough for a lifetime, really.”
Liam doesn’t say anything about taking whatever-it-is-they-have further, or comment on Zayn barrenness again.
By the third and fourth dates in a span of two weeks, they’re holding hands, and Zayn curses the happy little Omega inside of him for the butterflies in his stomach and the pounding in his chest. Of course, he does a good job of remaining stoic while texting Liam under the table during meetings, and if he does tune out for awhile at what his marketing manager has to say about the sweet young thing they’re promoting this time, he does a good job of hiding it. He does a good enough job to show the Alphas under him he means business - he can take a backseat now and then.
On their fifth date Liam takes Zayn to a Little League Friendly where one of his teams is playing and Zayn watches from the stands as Liam gives instructions from the sidelines. Radiating Alpha, his traitorous mind supplies as he watches his Liam and wonders when he’s started to think of Liam as mate. That night, Liam introduces him to Niall as someone I’ve been seeing, and Niall rolls his eyes and says Fucking finally. And Zayn knows he’s in big trouble now because his heart can’t stop pounding.
took my name out from alpha registry tday. x -Liam
Zayn receives the text in the middle of another meeting and nearly spills his coffee on his Chief Financial Officer. He immediately sits up straighter in his seat and sends what he hopes is a charming smile to those who have turned to see what the commotion is all about. In reality, Zayn’s fingers are shaking under the table as a million possibilities run through his mind and he can barely wait to bolt out of his seat and call to ask Liam what he means.
He doesn’t need to make the call though. Liam’s already waiting in his office with a bouquet of flowers and a bottle of champagne. The Alpha is a little hesitant when he says I know I said I’m not the traditional type, but I thought this would make an appropriate gift. but Zayn grabs it from him and jumps into his arms, taking him by surprise and nearly knocking him over.
“I’m not the traditional kind of Omega either,” Zayn says, and pulls him in for a fierce kiss.
They spend their sixth date back at Chef Arico’s and feed each other tiramisu at the same park - in Zayn’s Porsche this time. Their first non-heat fuck is a messy, quick affair in the backseat and they end up getting cake all over the leather, their clothes and themselves.
The seventh is when it all goes to shit.
They’re in the middle of lunch when Liam gets the call. Zayn doesn’t need to hear the other half of the conversation to know that it’s Harry. He had pretended not to mind when Liam spent his Saturday’s over at Harry’s, or left movie night to talk to Harry on the phone. But he can’t help mirroring the worried frown on Liam’s face as he talks to the boy.
“Zayn,” Liam says after he hangs up, in that tone that he knows Zayn can’t say no to. “Harry’s in heat.”
He bites his bottom lip, willing himself not to say anything or betray the extreme jealousy that he knows will push Liam away.
“I have to go to him,” Liam says in a softer tone now, the apology bleeding through the words that Zayn most dreads to hear.
He gives a curt nod, one that he hopes tells Liam he’s free to go, but to stay for his sake. “Yeah,” he manages, “Yeah.” Liam casts another worried look at Zayn and presses a quick kiss to his forehead, murmuring promises that Zayn no longer cares for.
And then he leaves
Zayn manages to makes it back to his car before he feels it - the sickening pre-heat nausea that he knows he will never get used to, the initial cramps and the rise in his body temperature that tells him his hormones are beginning to change, his scent spiking to attract any Alpha in the vicinity to mount and breed him.
“You’ve got to be fucking kidding me,” Zayn curses as he fights another wave of nausea, fumbling for his phone as he searches for the Registry’s number.
“Fuck.” Zayn is about to press CALL when he realizes the only Alpha he wants is otherwise disposed and won’t be able to help him through this heat.
Fucking someone who can actually breed.
A better mate who’s less difficult, more docile.
Someone who makes him feel like a real Alpha.
I’m losing my mate to another Omega, Zayn thinks, mineminemineminemine
He presses the BACK button and dials 999 instead.
I thought I would point out at this juncture that Zayn's thoughts and behaviour become increasingly stereotypically Omega as Ziam slowly becomes a thing, leading all the way up to his sudden heat.
Chapter 5: Bondmate
The one where everyone is pissed at Liam.
1. CEO Zayn Malik wouldn't touch the NHS with a foot-long pole if he could help it, so the only reason why he calls the emergency service is because it's the only way he can quickly and legally get heat relief, without having to share his heat with another Alpha. Louis Tomlinson is Zayn's Alpha doctor and possibly the only other Alpha other than Liam that he trusts with his life.
2. Everybody scents each other in the A/B/O universe, so everyone can tell if you're an Alpha, Beta or Omega, if you're in heat, just fucked or just got fucked. Alphas still engage in battles of dominance sometimes, as you can see with Louis and Liam's first interactions here. Some Omegas can scent other Omega's emotions, which is what's happening with Harry because he is just so sensitive.
3. Zayn's condition is entirely made-up (as is everything in this universe). The idea of sudden onset of heat triggered by a competing Omega is just something that rooted itself in my brain and refused to disappear. Zayn is a very jealous and possessive Omega who tries not to show it, but betrays himself by becoming increasingly submissive in his interactions with Liam, and eventually gets triggered into sudden heat. Here we see how despite advances in society, Omegas are very much inconvenienced by biology - which is why the Alpha Registry was set up in the first place - to empower Omegas through sexual freedom.
On Captain America and Iron Man:
1. They are married to me. And in one comic universe Stark is born a woman and marries Steve Rogers as a diplomatic move.
2. If anyone is interested, the Marvel fandom has excellent A/B/O fics, where I draw a lot of inspiration for this fic from.
Harry nuzzles further into the broad, warm chest he’s pressed up against. He knows that Liam’s mind is somewhere else, and he’s got a good idea why - the Alpha had stepped in literally reeking of another Omega - a possessive one that might as well have scrawled MINE across Liam’s forehead. He can still smell the other Omega faintly under Liam’s Alpha pheromones, but even Harry realizes that the Omega’s grip on Liam’s heart is anything but faint.
“You awake?” Liam’s voice, raspy from sex, jolts Harry out of his reverie.
“We need to talk, babe.”
“Yeah?” Harry tries for non-committal, but it comes out scared and soft.
“I’ve met someone,” Liam says, “and I’ve taken my name out from the Registry.” Liam pushes Harry gently away from his chest and looks into his eyes, “I’m serious about him.”
“I can share,” Harry mutters.
“I don’t want you to,” Liam’s voice is gentle but firm, “You deserve someone for yourself. And I don’t think he’d like it very much either.”
Harry stays silent, knowing that it’s futile to argue anyway. Liam’s recent visits have been short and he’s always come in smelling stronger and stronger the other Omega that Harry already hates for being able to give Liam what he couldn’t.
“I’d love for you to meet him. You’d love Zayn too. He’s beautiful and kind, and I’m pretty sure you could be friends,” Liam says kindly.
“You’re shit at letting people down gently, y’know,” Harry answers.
“Yeah, I know,” Liam says sheepishly, “But we’ll work it out, yeah? We will.”
“You gonna find me a nice Alpha and then leave and never see me again?”
“No, never. Harry, you know I’ll never abandon you. I’ll be here. Just not for your heats anymore. But I promised you, didn’t I?” Liam pulls the younger boy closer in for a hug.
“Yeah. Yeah you did,” Harry looks down and lets the tears fall, not quite knowing how to stop, or whether he even wants to because he knows that once he stops Liam will tuck him in and bid him goodbye to be with this Zayn.
Harry eventually succumbs to sleep, the toll of his heat weighing down on his senses and forcing his eyelids closed. Liam slips away the moment he feels Harry’s iron grip loosen, bundling up the Omega in sheets to keep him warm.
“Fuck,” Liam mutters to himself as he realizes that his phone is dead and he has no way of contacting Zayn. He considers heading straight to Zayn’s place, but abandons that thought in favor of a good shower at home to erase every last trace of Harry.
He doesn’t expect Niall to shriek at him the minute he makes it through the door, or the tabloid shoved in his face screaming ZAYN MALIK IN HOSPITAL FOR EMERGENCY HEAT RELIEF.
“The fuck, Liam? I’ve been trying to call.. and you smell like... oh no you didn’t,” Niall’s face is a mixture of disappointment, surprise and anger, “Is that why you mysteriously disappeared from class for the past three days without so much as a text?”
“His heat came on too fast and my phone went dead,” Liam is still trying to process what just happened.
“Your little boyfriend is in hospital you ass!” Niall is red in the face now.
“Tell that to him,” Niall pushes Liam out the door, tabloid still in hand, “If the gossip mags are right, he’s at Parkside. Now go.”
Liam was pretty sure that even if he had no clue where Zayn was, the flashing cameras and crew camped outside the private hospital would have been indication enough of where the CEO was. He had managed to read the poorly-researched article while on the cab to Parkside Hospital and it had been enough to make his blood boil.
He makes it into the building, pushing his way through the sizeable crowd and giving his best Alpha glare at anyone in his way.
“I’m here for Zayn Malik,” he says to the Beta nurse, who scents him suspiciously and tells him to wait before dialling a few numbers. A blue-eyed doctor comes hurrying toward them soon after and regards Liam irritatedly.
“Liam Payne, I suppose?” the doctor, whose tag reads L.TOMLINSON greets Liam with an unfriendly jerk of his head and a mask of irritation.
Not one to be stared down by another Alpha, Liam fixes the shorter man with an equally dominating look, as though daring him to advance, “That’s me.”
“I’ve a good mind to ban you from Zayn’s ward but I’ve a feeling the stupid boy is too obsessed with you to ever forgive me for it,” the other Alpha huffs and turns, “Follow me.”
They come to a small, nondescript white door and Dr Tomlinson turns to face Liam again, his gaze gentler this time, but still angry.
“He came to ask if there was any way he could have pups with you. He just wanted to be sure because he know you love them. Now I know bonding’s not common these days but it seems he’s recognized you as his bondmate,” Dr Tomlinson pauses and crosses his arms over his chest, “I have a few theories about his... condition.”
Liam can feel the blue eyes boring into his own, and he falters, guilt washing over him as he lowers his eyes, letting the other assert his dominance.
“When an Omega who has recognized an Alpha as its mate goes into sudden heat without any pre-heat signs,” he makes a show of sniffing Liam before continuing, “It is likely caused by extreme distress. And in Zayn’s case, the panic of losing his mate to another Omega.”
The doctor gives Liam a once-over before speaking again, “I don’t know what your agreement is, but you’d best take a shower before going in.”
“And Liam Payne?”
“My name is Louis Tomlinson, and if you hurt him, you’re going to be a very sorry man, Alpha or not,” the smaller man seems to swell as he spits the words at Liam, the Alpha radiating from him like a blinding ray of light.
And for the first time in his life, Liam backs away from another Alpha in submission.
The pungent stench of stale heat hits Liam in a wave the moment he pushes his way into the private ward. Zayn is unconscious, his sweaty fringe plastered to his forehead while curled up on the too-white sheets, soaked through with slick. Even in sleep, the man’s face is scrunched up in agony, and Liam wants nothing but to scoop up the Omega in his arms and plant kisses to his forehead and whisper endless apologies in his ear.
Liam shudders as he thinks how Zayn must feel - helpless as his body changes and twists, while he gets no relief. The heat relief drugs for Omegas takes some of the edge off - sedates them to a point where they’re too worn out to hurt themselves - but they still feel the frustrating emptiness and itch beneath their skin as they are left alone to ride out their heat.
Liam grabs a towel and wets it, removing his pyjamas carefully as he wipes the still- unconscious Omega down, trying to get some of the stickiness off him. Zayn stirs a little and curls into his touch, and Liam’s heart breaks just a little.
It’s a while before Zayn wakes up, but Liam spends a good hour just staring at the beautiful, dark-skinned man before him who is still blissfully unaware of the prying eyes and camera flashes just beyond the blinds.
“Hey,” Liam says when he sees those beautiful eyelashes flutter and the Omega’s eyes widen, as though in surprise.
“Liam?” he’s completely awake now and looking at Liam as though he was the last person he expected to see.
“It’s me. I’m here,” Liam tries for an encouraging smile and moves to cup Zayn’s hand in his, only to have him pull away.
Zayn is quiet, stubbornly refusing to look at Liam.
“Zayn? Zayn, baby, look at me,” Liam tilts his chin gently to face him, “I’m sorry.”
“It’s nothing... We never said...”
“I know. And I should have. We should have,” Liam says, “I wanted it to be just us. And I’m sorry I did such a shit job of telling you how I feel.”
“But you still went to him,” Zayn’s voice is small. He knows he sounds petty but he can’t help it.
“And that won’t happen again, Zayn. It’s just you. No more Registry business. No one else.”
“It hurt so much, but I wanted it to be you,” Zayn mumbles as he picks at a stray thread in his blanket, “they offered me an Alpha - said it would be easier - but I insisted on the drugs.”
“I know, Zayn. Thank you,” Liam replies sincerely, “I wouldn’t know what to do if anyone else had you.”
“I spent half a day in a public hospital before they’d let me transfer here,” Zayn’s face scrunches up, “It’s the only place I could get them legally you know. Can you imagine the look on everyone’s face when Zayn Malik, genius, playboy, billionaire, philanthropist, turned up in Kingston? I swear a few nurses were trying to get a picture with me while I was out cold.”
Liam can’t help but chuckle, “So you’re Tony Stark now?”
“I like him. Iron Man’s cool.”
“I would love to be your Steve Rogers.”
Zayn finally meets Liam’s eyes, his expression unreadable.
Liam takes a deep breath and asks, “That’s exactly what I’m asking, Zayn. I love you. Will you, Zayn Malik, be my bondmate?”
It takes Zayn a while for Liam’s words to sink in, but when it does, the man’s face lights up in a grin and he answers, softly but as clear as day to Liam’s ears, “I would, Liam Payne. I’ve never wanted anything more.”
Chapter 6: Zayn&Liam
The one where the poor little rich Omega, an Alpha who's too kind for his own good, the scared boy with green eyes and the broken doctor find their Happily Ever Afters.
The thing about being irregular is, you never really know when your heat is going to come, or how long it’s going to take, or why the fuck it’s been four months now and not a single telltale cramp has come your way.
Other than the fact that he’s been fretting his guts out thinking about the next time Liam is going to knot him, Zayn’s life’s been pretty swell the last four months
They’d gone public with their relationship, though Liam had to be convinced, and the “reformed bad boy” image was going well for both him and the company, though Liam liked to tease that he was never a bad boy to begin with. The sex, heat or not, was fucking good, and even without knotting him Liam was big. Louis had finally warmed up to Liam and the two of them had finally stopped going all Alpha on each other every time they met (though Zayn found it an incredible turn-on everytime Liam stood a little straighter and bore down on Louis)
And then there was the Harry problem. Liam had taken Zayn to see Harry and he’d been afraid that things would get ugly with the younger Omega. But Harry had been painfully shy and almost afraid to look him in the eye the first time they met, but they had shaken hands and all was forgiven. Zayn would never forget those sad green eyes and the way they followed Liam whenever he thought the Alpha wasn’t looking. Oblivious as Liam may be though, Zayn couldn’t miss it, and his heart ached for the younger boy who was obviously quite smitten with his mate.
Which was how Zayn had raised the brilliant idea of introducing Louis to Harry, amidst Liam’s protests of No, Harry’s too traumatized by older Alphas and Louis’s Have you finally lost your mind Zayn Malik the boy is eighteen! But what Zayn Malik, CEO of ZM Entertainment, bondmate-to-be of one Liam Payne who can never deny him anything and longtime friend of Dr Louis Tomlinson, who is similarly wrapped around his little finger, wants, Zayn Malik gets.
Their first meeting in Louis’s office had been an awkward, nerve-wracking one, with Harry threatening to go into a panic attack anytime, only calmed by Liam’s arm on his and the Alpha’s familiar, stabilizing scent. Liam had arranged for Louis to assess Harry’s suitability for Omega suppressants, and at the same time get Harry used to another Alpha’s presence.
Zayn wouldn’t say that Louis and Harry had hit if off from the start, but Harry had been improving, and could now go for his weekly sessions with Louis with Liam and Zayn just outside the door while the two spoke alone. As Harry’s designated guardian, Liam had been receiving reports of good progress from Louis as Harry started on his second cycle of suppressants. The four of them, along with Niall, hung out a lot more now, and Zayn had been thinking of introducing a nice Beta girl from ZM to Niall one of these days.
Yeah, life is pretty good if you ask him.
“You want to what?” Louis sits across from the table, eyebrow raised disapprovingly at Zayn.
“I know you heard me the first time, Tommo.”
“But why? I don’t understand Zayn,” Louis runs frustrated fingers through his hair, “You’ve been taking black market suppressants for twelve years, and god-knows-how but you hid it from me, your oldest friend. Then you turn up out of the blue telling me some strange Alpha from nowhere knotted you the first time you went into spontaneous heat, get involved with said Alpha a few times over, then turn up out of the blue again to ask if you can have his babies... and now, this?”
“It’s just frustrating to wait around for it to happen, okay? Especially since we’ve arranged to bond...” Zayn looks properly chastised, “Anyway, it’s harmless and undetectable, isn’t it?”
Louis sighs and scribbles something on a small prescription sheet, “As your doctor, Zayn, and though you’ve never listened to me, I can’t legally do anything to stop you from inducing your heat. But as your friend, Zayn, I say be honest with Liam. Discuss this with him first. If you two have decided to bond anyway, then the actual act of marking is not going to change anything. Your souls are already bonded.”
Louis gives Zayn a sad smile and continues, “And Zayn, you know that even bonds can be broken. Trust is the most important. Don’t ever lose that with Liam.”
Zayn nods and accepts the prescription silently. Louis had been devastated when his last Omega, Eleanor, had cheated on him with another Alpha and decided to break their bond. The thing is, physical bonds can never be broken, only buried deeper by a fresh, stronger bond. And Eleanor had bonded with her new Alpha, leaving Louis stranded on the other side of his, empty and alone. Zayn cannot imagine even carrying on with life holding on to one side of a failed bond, let alone going on to help others, like Louis.
“So, there’s this thing,” Zayn pushes the small pill bottle across the table to Liam, who reads the label and frowns. “It’s safe though,” Zayn quickly adds.
“I don’t know, Zayn. You could be allergic, or there could be side effects we don’t know about yet...”
“Louis says it’s absolutely safe, please, Liam, won’t you think about it at least?” Zayn pleads.
“Only if you want to. I mean, it doesn’t make a difference to me. I guess in my eyes, we’re already bonded. Nothing can change that,” Liam smiles a little awkwardly as he makes the admission.
Zayn smiles too, and the pills are tucked into a drawer, forgotten.
When Zayn feels the first telltale cramp that Sunday morning while Liam’s away at a game, he rushes to the bathroom to check and realizes with a rush that his heat, the one he’s been waiting so long for, is finally here. His palms are beginning to sweat and his entire face is flushed. He can literally feel his body producing slick and a strange warmth is starting to make it’s way around his middle. He quickly calls Liam and notes pleasantly that Liam sounds equally pleased, then lies down in a comfortable corner of their bed, waiting for his Alpha.
Liam arrives a little under half an hour later, all sweaty from coaching and Zayn wants to get up and snog the smile right off his face. He settles for beckoning the Alpha lazily over and Liam takes the cue to hoist his Omega up, kissing him senseless.
They spend their first day in bed, giggling like teenagers and watching bad reality TV. Liam rubs Zayn’s belly soothingly when the cramps get too much and they spend the wait for Zayn’s first wave drinking in each other’s presence and being hopelessly in love.
Zayn’s first wave hits on the second day after a fitful night and the Omega’s back arches right off the bed, waking Liam as a low, needy whine escapes his lips. Checking to see that Zayn is properly slicked, Liam inserts a tentative finger into his hole, searching for his spot. Zayn screams and arches even further when Liam finds it, begging for the Alpha to enter him immediately.
Liam wastes no time in lining up with the slicked hole and pushing himself in, slowly - it is still early in his heat and Zayn is tight, his insides convulsing around Liam’s already rock-hard dick. Moving slowly, Liam peppers his mate’s face with kisses as he drives harder and faster into him, forcing Zayn to clamp around Liam with his legs for balance.
“Now, now, NOW! Please!” Zayn screams as Liam hits that spot over and over again, threatening to make Zayn come untouched.
At Zayn’s cue, Liam pulls out harshly and flips the Omega over, drawing his lean hips up such that his ass is in the air, barely supported by his shaking arms. Pulling his thighs apart, Liam re-enters with a force that causes Zayn to collapse on his unsteady arms, his hips twitching helplessly against the bed. He can see the bonding gland swelling slightly, just under Zayn’s neck.
Liam leans forward and bites, hard. The metallic tang of warm blood hits his tongue just as Zayn lets out a piercing, almost inhuman scream as he comes with full force, staining the mattress under him and clamping painfully tight around his Alpha.
Liam’s knot forms, firmly tying them together as a new wave of something different washes over them both. He maneuvers them into a comfortable spooning position, much like the first night they spent together when Zayn was just an obnoxious stranger and Liam, and Alpha too kind for his own good.
“I’m yours now,” Zayn’s smile is evident in his sleepy, fucked out voice as he nestles against the sheets.
“You’re mine,” Liam whispers in his Omega’s ear and he notes with satisfaction the red, swollen gland on Zayn’s neck and the bruise that is now forming. It will stay for days, maybe even a week, Liam notes with a possessive grin, pressing his nose into Zayn’s hair and earning a tired giggle in response.
Their bonding ceremony takes place a month later at the chapel just a little ways from Liam’s childhood home. Their families, who’ve met and been introduced by now, are seated up front. Harry sits in the second row, a small smile on his face and Louis’s comforting hand on his right thigh. And Liam swears that in the moment that Zayn appears at the end of the aisle, his father next to him and Niall, their ring bearer following behind, his heart starts pounding louder, time stands still, and nothing matters but Zayn, the most beautiful sight in the world.
Finally, the end!
The thing with A/B/O fics is that they are fascinating to read, but a motherfucking pain in the ass to write and an utter torture to write well without resorting to cliches. I hope I've done this trope justice, and while it was an uphill challenge to finish, I've enjoyed the most part of writing it.
I hope my readers have fallen in love with this universe the way I have, and hopefully, more A/B/O writers in the 1D fandom please?
Chapter 7: Outtake 1 - Unexpectedly
Written for the prompt “I'd really love an outtake or mini-sequel to Distress, maybe something having to do with jealous!liam, since zayn is so possessive in that verse, i'd love for the tables to be a bit turned on liam.”
But it really is a lot more than that.
/emerges from piles of paperwork
Natalli is back.
Liam doesn’t want to be one of those crazy, possessive Alphas that keep their Omegas at home and refuse to let them talk or even look at another Alpha. He’s better than that, and he should trust Zayn more than that because Zayn has been nothing but faithful and loving ever since they bonded.
It’s just that things have been… off with Zayn lately. He’s been keeping longer, irregular hours at work and dropping by Louis’ more often than he’s scheduled to. In fact, Zayn’s been scenting differently recently. He’s still Zayn, but Liam knows that there’s certainly something up - something that Zayn’s not telling him.
But of course he’s being ridiculous. Louis is completely besotted with Harry, and though they haven’t bonded yet, Liam knows they are well on their way to making their union official. Harry’s the happiest since Liam’s got to know him, and their weekly calls are filled with chuckles and funny anecdotes about what Louis did or said.
Unless that was it. Zayn’s still jealous about Harry and that they still talk. And he was just pretending to be fine with Harry sticking around.
No, he’s being ridiculous. Zayn’s known Louis from way back, and if anything was going to happen, it would have had by now. Besides, Harry’s happy now. No good overthinking things.
Liam’s completing the last of his circuits when Zayn finally comes in, mid-push up. It’s been another late day at work and their third missed dinner that week.
“I’m back, baby,” Zayn’s tired voice comes through and Liam looks up to see his mate stumbling through the door, half-asleep.
“Yeah, the usual,” Zayn nuzzles contentedly into Liam’s touch as strong arms come to wrap around him, “You’ve been working out.”
“Like what you see?” Liam teases as fingers come to undo Zayn’s dress pants, nibbling at his Omega’s ear.
“Not today, Liam,” Zayn pushes his hands away gently, shaking his head apologetically, “I’m tired.”
“You’re always tired these days,” Liam says, trying to keep the bitterness out of his voice.
“I know… It’s just that it’s busy at the company and I...”
“You have plenty of time for Louis though.”
“Liam… It’s not what you think, I swear, I wouldn’t...”
“Is there someone else, then, Zayn? Have you found someone better?”
“We can’t all be running around a field all day. Some of us have actual jobs!”
Zayn regrets his words as soon as they’re out of his mouth. Hurt flashes briefly across Liam’s face before his Alpha turns on his heels and stalks toward their shared bedroom. Liam rarely gets this upset, and definitely not at Zayn, and he knows better than to approach the Alpha at this time.
It’s an hour later when Zayn finishes the last of the cold Thai takeout he picked up on the way home, cleans up and shuffles into their darkened bedroom. Liam’s already on this side of the bed, pointedly facing away from him. Sighing, Zayn crawls into bed, inching toward Liam’s broad back and laying his face against it softly.
“I’m sorry,” he whispers, not quite sure if Liam can hear him, “I shouldn’t have said that. You’re amazing and wonderful and so good to me. You make me so happy and I want to do the same for you.”
It takes a long time but Zayn eventually falls asleep to the sounds of Liam’s gentle breathing, his face still pressed up against the Alpha’s. It’s a little later that night when Liam turns and pulls his mate into his arms, kissing the silent tear tracks on his cheeks and trying to ignore the feeling of guilt eating away at his heart.
They don’t talk about it after that. Zayn still stumbles home half-asleep and still visits Louis more often than Liam would like. But now Liam gets the feeling that Louis and even Harry are in on whatever Zayn’s trying to hide from him.
Now Liam’s starting to panic, because is there an anniversary, or a birthday that he somehow must have clean forgotten? And while Zayn’s been busying his ass off trying to prepare the best whatever-occasion-it-is surprise for Liam, he’s been nothing but a jerk… Oh God, he should get the Worst Alpha of the Year Award. Now that he’s had time to think about it, that sounds a lot more plausible than Zayn cheating, or any of them cheating in the first place. Soul bonds weren’t something you fucked around with.
“Liam?” Zayn’s voice snaps Liam out of his reverie as he looks up to see Zayn dressed in one of his old jerseys and a pair of slacks. He’s noticed Zayn putting on a little weight of late, what with all the late meals from the Thai takeout place that he’s been so enamored with lately, but he’s still looking great, the added weight giving him color.
“Hey babe, who’s looking lovely today?” Liam opens his arms, beckoning Zayn into a warm hug.
“Go with me to Louis’ today, okay? It’s kinda important.”
Shitshitshitshitshit. Shit. Liam racks his brains for an answer as to what day today might be but comes up with nothing. Zilch.
They arrive at the hospital to a beaming Louis and a rather excited Harry and Niall, and Liam knows he’s fucked this time - everyone is here and he still has no idea what he missed.
Zayn is going to be so mad.
“So...” Zayn smiles shyly after they all file into Louis’ office, “I’m pregnant.”
“Wha.. I.. What?” Of all the things he’d expected, this was surely not it.
“We’re going to have a pup,” Zayn explains, smiling wider.
“Or pups!” Louis pipes, “Not altogether uncommon for Omegas and especially with such… strong seed.”
“What… How? I thought… I thought you couldn’t have them.”
“But I do now,” Zayn brings Liam’s hand up to touch his belly gently, “Yours. Inside me.”
“Oh God. Oh God. Oh God. Oh God Zayn I’m so sorry. I can’t believe I thought… you… Wait, all of you knew?”
“I only found out last week,” Harry supplies helpfully, as though that would absolve him of all guilt.
“I just found out, like literally five minutes before you, dude,” offers Niall.
“We didn’t know if I’d be able to keep it. I didn’t want to get your hopes up and then disappoint you,” Zayn says, guilt-ridden, “I wasn’t supposed to be able to give you any, and now I can. I still have to be very careful, but Louis says I’ve more or less stabilized.”
“Oh, sweetheart,” Liam pulls him closer and plants soft, butterfly kisses all over his almost-flat belly, “You know you can never disappoint me.”
“But why? How?” Liam questions, turning to Louis this time as he pulls Zayn closer, “How did you do it?”
Raising his arms and shaking his head in mock innocence, Louis replies, “It was all you, Payne. I didn’t knock your husband up. You’re either incredibly lucky, especially after how Zayn here fucked up his own uterus, or you just have extremely, extremely, strong sperm.”
“Let’s go for strong sperm,” Zayn shushes his best friend quickly, “Can we tell if it’s a boy or girl today?”
“We’ll find out in a bit,” Louis says, gesturing for Zayn to lie back as he readies the probe and spreads a cool gel over his belly, “Ready or not?”
“Yeah,” Liam, Zayn and even Harry and Niall reply in unison.
As Louis runs the probe over the area, the other four stare at the ultrasound with bated breath, aware that they’re witnessing something marvellous, and yet not quite being able to make out what exactly is going on with all the splotches and shadows.
“Ah. Oh wow,” Louis mutters, “Payne, you bastard, you.”
“Not in front of my kid!” Liam snaps.
“Kids,” Louis automatically corrects, “Two of them. Congratulations. You have yourself a boy and girl.”
The room erupts in rapturous cheers as Niall envelops Liam in a huge bro-hug and Harry and Zayn share a warm embrace, Omega-to-Omega.
Liam is extra careful with Zayn after that, sending dangerous Alpha glares to people who accidentally bump into him at the store, and insisting on doing everything for him, right down to lacing up his shoes. It’s a while before Zayn starts to show and they have to announce it to the press, and two months later Zayn announces that he’s taking a break from ZM Entertainment to focus on his pregnancy.
Meanwhile, Niall and Liam work on baby-proofing their shared home - Liam having moved into Zayn’s place after they’d bonded, and Harry comes over ever so often to feel Zayn’s belly and ask about how he’s doing. Liam can tell that the young Omega can barely wait to start his own family, but Louis knows to wait till Harry’s done with school first, no matter how much the younger Omega wants to settle down early.
Now that Zayn’s getting bigger, Louis pops by every weekend to check on them and to make sure that Zayn’s been following up on all the right vitamins. Weekends are spent in Zayn and Liam’s shared lounge now, and somewhere along the way Niall finds a nice, Beta boy named Josh, and he becomes part of their little group too.
Smiling as he takes a gulp of his morning coffee (decaf, now that Zayn is pregnant), Liam thinks that life cannot be any better.
At least not until the twins are born.