Actions

Work Header

Rose in Hand

Chapter Text

Sicheng’s family completely and thoroughly screwed up.

Although, in their defense, after decades of birthing Omegas in the Dong clan, no one even considered the thought of a Beta son…

Sicheng closed his eyes, lips pressing together, and leaned his head against the bed board, releasing a soft sigh into the bedchambers. He almost expected it to echo in the gigantic room, but only silence caressed his ears.

His eyes fluttered open in the dim room, gazing at the candlelight casting an eerie mood on the surroundings. He smelled a strong stench of flowers. The powerful perfume of roses carried its way up to his nose, making it twitch. The smell reminded him of home even though he knew it came from the bowls of scented water scattered around the room. But his memories went back to thinking of his own family gardens, delicately kept so that his mother could attend to the visiting advisors who came in proxy for the royals.

Along with that odor, he could also smell the thick scent of Omega clinging in the air. That made him lift the long, heavy sleeve of his robe and take a loud sniff, knowing it was from him.

As it should after soaking in Omega pheromones for an hour. Not to mention all the scent blockers he practically smothered into his skin the moment his parents told him about his new…mate.

He pulled the sleeve away from his face, lips pressing close once again, and drew his knees up to his chest, eyes glancing at the door.

Mate was too romantic of a word for becoming a part of a harem. Even if he was to become the only one to Soul Bond with him.

He has been here less than a week and still hadn’t met the Prince. But Kun whispered to him a couple hours ago that Sicheng would meet his Lord as the sun sunk today. However, Sicheng doubted that their meeting was top priority in the Prince’s mind. It was made fact as he sat there, in their coupling chambers, for what seemed like the third hour.

A part of him was relieved, like the sword hanging over his head disappeared for a few moments, even though he knew it wouldn’t last too long.

If his sister hadn’t passed away, he wouldn’t be here. He would be back home, studying the dance he loved, and not thinking about learning a new language or having to bed an Alpha prince.

But that wasn’t reality.

The reality was that his sister, the original bride candidate, died of an unexpected fever, and his mother quickly offered him instead, knowing he was a Beta.

(no matter how much they wished it wasn’t so)

By then, the Dong clan’s pride refused to announce their mistake, too afraid of losing favor with the Lee family. So they still sent him off to the capital, begging him to keep his presence meek enough to bore the princeling and not discover his secret.

“It will not be difficult for you,” his father told him as the servants quickly packed his belongings into the coach. “You’re already so simple, and His Highness is known for having more…exciting types in the bedchamber. He’ll leave you be after the first time.”

Sicheng ran his hands over the soft bedsheets, hoping he could live here happily. After tonight, he would probably blend into the rest of the court life and hopefully only come to this Lord’s call every once and awhile. Maybe the Prince will find more courtesans.

Maybe. Hopefully. Sicheng’s parents would be ashamed of his behavior. Despite being a Beta, he was still raised with the same understandings as everyone else in his family: that his future was meant for someone else.

A rustling sound at the doors made him jump, hands unknowingly moving to comb through his dark hair.

He didn’t expect the faint giggles that came for behind it, and his hand fell from his head to his lips, confused. He knew that the guards outside wouldn’t giggle like children…

Sicheng silently made his way to the door, bare feet warm on the floor and thick rugs. He pressed his ear against the wooden doors, careful not to breathe too loud. Just on the other side came more breathy chuckles in high pitched voices.

“Minhyun, Donghyuck! What did I tell you about coming here?!” came a much deeper voice. Sicheng’s confusion continued to rise with each word. He didn’t recognize the voice, nor the names, but then again, he previously only talked to Kun since he came to the palace.

“Um, not to?” someone chirped, followed by the snorting of the other.

“Yoonoh, we just wanted to say hi to Taeyong’s—Ow! Yoonoh my arm!”

He heard Yoonoh say something, (something about it being too late to deal with infants) when he and the children went deadly silent.

Sicheng yanked himself away from the door, nerves tugging at his throat, threatening to choke him. He backed away until he stood in the middle of the room, staring in wide-eyed horror as the large doors opened, and someone stepped in.

“…tomorrow instead-” Sicheng heard the man, Yoonoh, whisper right before the door slammed closed once more, drowning him out altogether.

The person in front of him stared, dark eyes boring deep inside of him. Sicheng didn’t bother keeping his gaze or taking in his features. His body automatically bowed before him thanks to years of etiquette training, and bared the nape of his neck to him.

“Milord Prince, your presence is an honor,” he uttered softly so his accent wouldn’t show itself too much. Sicheng had practiced the phrase for so long, he prayed that he didn’t make a mistake. He wouldn’t forgive himself if he greeted the Prince his chipped tongue. “I am here as your…” A hand tenderly cupped his chin, cutting off his words, and lifted his eyes to look at…

The Prince’s black pupils were blown wide, almost consuming the brown, hungrily watching him.

That’s when Sicheng noticed it. The scent was so strong. He felt like an idiot for not recognizing it earlier. His nervousness must’ve covered it, but now there was no doubt.

He was in rut.

The place where the Prince held his face suddenly felt too hot. And then everything became too hot.

Every one of Sicheng’s senses sharpened, crisp and sensitive at this Alpha because he was rut and he came to him. A fire lit in his abdomen, and more than anything he wanted to grind against him hard. By the Stars, it didn’t matter he was worried about this a few seconds ago, Sicheng wanted him now. He felt so nice. The fire felt so-

The Prince kissed rough and starving on the mouth, wet tongue licking and then parting his lips. Sicheng moaned, the scent of rut begging his body to takegivetakegivetake.

So he does.

 

//

 

Someone shook his shoulder, a faint voice whispering his name until he stired.

“Kun,” he squinted into the darkness, confused as to why his adviser was next to the bed. Kun placed his finger to his lips, then pointed beside him. Sicheng slowly, achingly, turned his head. The sight finished waking him up from his sleep, shocking him back to reality.

The Prince laid naked next to him, sound asleep. From here, Sicheng can take in the delicate features of his face: from the straightness of his nose, to the arch of his bow lips, and high cheekbones. Locks of chocolate messily frame his face, and for a moment Sicheng thought this man is an angel.

“You need to come with me, Sicheng. His Highness will be up soon, and you’ll need to be ready again,” Kun’s urged, hands hurrying to get him to quietly sit up.

Like a confused child, Sicheng allowed him to do so until he winces, a whine almost jumping out of his throat.

“It- It hurts… Kun, I can’t stand up…” Sicheng stuttered, the pain shooting up from his ass and legs to the base of his spine.

Kun frowned, giving him back his robe, and wrapped his arm around him to lift him up. Sicheng had to lean all of his weight onto him and let himself be dragged across the room.

Sicheng glanced at the Prince, taking back the angelic comparison. This was a man who pounded him into the mattress and made him come three times. Sicheng shivered at the memory. Betas usually aren’t meant for multiple orgasms like that, and he knew if had been born an Omega, maybe he would have doubled that number.

The guards quickly opened and closed the doors behind them. “Listen to me, Sicheng. The Prince had apparently been working himself into the ground over the past 3 months, so much so that he missed his last rut,” Kun explained, dragging him until they came to his own chambers. The guards standing watch let them through, and once inside, his two personal servants grabbed from Kun. "Stress and all that, you know?"

With swift hands and feet, they took him into his bathing room, where the tub, more like a pool, filled with his artificial Omega pheromones lingered. Sicheng chewed on his lips, confusion and pain intertwining and increasing. “I don’t understand,” he said as one of the servants stripped and lowered him into the warm water.

Kun sighed, rubbing his creased brow. “His father, Grand Majesty, isn’t happy that the Prince let himself get this worked up over his work. Obviously for a number of reasons, but of course missing a rut cannot be a good thing for his health.”

“Alright and?” he asked. He sighed in relief, a hand going in between his thighs to try to rub off the dried come.

Kun waved his hand around in the air, his tone hinting to frustration. Apparently this was supposed to be obvious. “It means that this rut will be hard, and he’ll need someone through all seven days of it. Usually he would switch partners so they wouldn’t, um, tire out… But as punishment from Emperor Chanyeol, Prince Taeyong’s only going to have you…for three days out of the seven.”

Sicheng stared at him, jaw slacked.

He… Oh. “No!” Sicheng cried out, trying to push himself out of the water. But the servants held him down, their Omega strength showing at the worst possible time. He dropped back, and stared blankly into the bath water, scared and worried. “He’ll find out, Kun. He’ll know,” he whispered.

Kun dropped down next to him, shaking his head. “No he won’t, Sicheng. This rut will be hard on him, so hard that he’ll be in a daze for most of it.” He paused, eyes watching as one of the servants smeared the pheromones behind his ears. “He probably doesn’t even realize you’re the one to be his Bondmate.”

The words had Sicheng’s chest tightening in the strangest way. He turned away from him, all and any of his own words trapped in his throat.

“It’ll only be for three days,” Kun said as if that was supposed to reassure him.

It didn’t.

 

//

 

That became the routine for the next three days. He got lost in the Prince’s scent, in the way his hands roamed and wondered, of how his tongue dance across the plain of his stomach and lower and lower…all until he became boneless and mewled for a person he didn’t even know. Even the groans and faint whispers of nothings rang like things of splendor to Sicheng’s ears.

Every couple of hours, Kun would come by with the same two servants to help bath and feed him while the Prince slept on obliviously, his own meal left by his bedside.

The last day Sicheng was with him, as the Prince slowly (agonizingly) filled him again and again for what was possibly the sixth time that day, Sicheng’s mind wondered to how many others would be in this spot soon enough. He wondered about the rest of the harem.

The thought didn’t bring jealousy (not yet anyways), instead Sicheng felt…alone.

He threw his head back, panting as the Prince growled against his neck, tongue lapping at where the Bite still bloomed purple for everyone to see. He widened his legs, hips stuttering to make the pace faster, but it seemed this round was meant for lazy, tortuous thrusts.

They were Mated. Sicheng noticed the Bite on his neck almost as soon as Kun returned him that first night, and since he could smell his fake Omega scent on the Prince, he could tell they were Bonded.  

Sicheng Bonded to the man who would one day be the most powerful Alpha in this continent, but as of now, they knew nothing of each other. Even what little the Prince did know of him was a lie.

Sicheng couldn’t bare him children. He wasn’t an Omega, or even a Beta or Alpha female. The chances of a Beta male becoming pregnant were so low, it was nonexistent. Hopefully, the Prince would fancy another member of his harem to take care of the child birthing. Sicheng knew he couldn’t.

How quickly would this man (beautiful, breath-taking, painful man) toss him away?

(just like his family)

Now more than ever did Sicheng hope he would fade into the background so that no one would call for him and that the Prince would forget him soon enough.

His dull nails broke the skin on the Prince’s back, his thick cock finally slamming into that sweet spot inside of him until at last the stars burst behind his eyelids, and the world tipped into pure ecstasy.

His climax didn’t help to reduce the raw throbbing in his chest, and soon the pressure built up behind his eyes and throat. He muffled the sob by his hand, head turned away so that the Prince wouldn’t notice and hurry up and off of him.

However, Sicheng felt the gentle press of lips under his eye, softly kissing the salty tears. He felt a distant wave of concern pass through him, through the Bond. “It’s ok,” the strange voice slurred close to his ear, hot breath tickling. “I’ll take care of you,” the Prince said, bringing him closer to his side as he laid down.

The Bond told him the Prince spoke honestly. It was only after Kun came to retrieve him for the last time that Sicheng wished he never met Prince Taeyong.

Chapter Text

Sicheng stayed in his chambers for the next couple days, recovering from the pain. The days were quiet, with only the servants coming in every couple of hours to help him use the bathroom and bring him food.

Yet the times when the two Omega servants came in, gossip on their mouths, Sicheng pretended to sleep. There was no other way of finding out news outside if he didn’t.

“His Higness threw the biggest tantrum I’ve ever heard,” the girl whispered to the other. He heard the gentle clatter of the food tray on the wooden table.

His Highness… Taeyong? A part of Sicheng had wondered how he reacted after finding him gone. Now he knew.

The boy hummed in interested. “Really? I’m not surprised. I heard if Alphas get in ruts for too long, they get needy. Seems almost worse than any heat,” he whispered back.

“The Emperor really must want to prove a point with this. I know that the Prince has four others in his harem after all.”

“It’s cruel, but it nice to see even an Alpha get bothered like this,” he snickered.

A giggle then she hushed him. “If anyone…” Sicheng knew she moved away from him and probably kept her eyes on his figure. “We can’t talk like this around his pets. You never know when one might want to climb the social ladder and just-” She clicked her tongue and laughed softly.

“Pfft, how greedy do they have to be, though? Do they need more gold, silk, homes? They came with titles, so being a part of the House of Lee just seems like a bonus, don’t you think? They already have everything. This one definitely has his place secured…” The servant’s voice grew louder, telling Sicheng he stepped closer. Every muscle in his body tense. His willed his eyelids to relax and his mouth not to twitch.

He felt the heavy stares of the Omegas. Sicheng quickly reminded himself to keep his breathing low and deep. To them, he slept.

“Look at that Mark,” he mused, an odd tone in his voice, awfully thick.

Silence. “Imagine becoming the Omega of Crown Prince Taeyong, the First Son, future Emperor of Aerok; a country as large as a whole continent,” she finally murmured, breathless. “I wonder who and what his family bribed for this position. Remember the list of Mate candidates? Longer than I am tall….” Realizing what she said, the servant quickly cleared her throat. “Anyways, let’s go, we need to get his laundry ready.”

Sicheng heard a heavy sigh. “Alright.” Footstep, then a closing door.

Sicheng froze in place, counting and recounting in his head after they left. At last he sat up in bed and stared at his meal.

 

//

 

A week later found Sicheng wondering through the garden close to his room. He knew Kun followed him, like he did everywhere. Hopefully he trailed behind at a wide enough distance to let Sicheng pretend he wondered alone.  

Ever since Sicheng appeared at the palace, someone always appeared next to him. He fell asleep to Kun reading his schedule for the next and awoke to the servants opening the curtains.

The time with the Prince was the closest he’s had the whole time to be alone.

Whatever, it didn’t matter. He was out now. After staying stuck inside nursing an aching pain in his pelvis and lower back, Sicheng began to think he wouldn’t ever get to leave his room. Well, he thought, breathing in a deep gulp of air, that didn’t matter now. For a while he could pretend he was home. Sicheng stepped closer to the roses, each bud as large as his hand. He stared down at the row of white and pink, recalling his home country of Ina only ever having red primroses.

His mother told him the story of a goddess who pricked her finger on a rose thorn, turning it red, and cursing the flower by taking away their size. For some reason, he loved that story.

Sicheng reached for the flower before hesitating. He missed his mother. His missed his home. This only acted as a reminder he no longer was Dong Sicheng, sole Beta son in the main branch, but Omega First Consort, Dong Sicheng. Sicheng smiled bitterly and shook his head to himself. Even if this was a forgotten fake, it was still familiar.

He leaned down again, hand caressing the rose petals when he noticed a shadow in the corner of his eye. He smiled bitterly and purposely ignored Kun. He pressed his nose to the flower, closing his eyes, feeling the set of eyes locked on his face.

He could feel the beams of sunlight fall on him from between the gapes in the wooden ceiling. His own personal garden? More like a pretty cage he could take himself out for a walk.

After a moment, Sicheng moved back, gaze still on the pale pink petals. “Well, what is it?” he asked in his tongue, exhaustion in his tone. He didn’t look away from the flower. What chore do I have to do today? “Do I need another bath?” Sicheng hated the Omega stench. It smelled too sweet, like chocolate and sugar melting in his mouth.  

“Oh,” said a voice that was definitely not Kun. Sicheng’s head snapped towards him, body instantly locking into panic mode. He could feel his heart on his tongue as the Prince shrugged a shoulder, the corner of his beautiful (skillful) mouth tilting up. “I just wanted to say hi.”

All at once, recent memories sprung up in his mind’s eyes. The remembrance of his skin caused him to flush red, heat gathering under his layers and layers of clothes.

Sicheng ducked behind the closest pillar out of shock, only realizing that hiding behind it wouldn’t make the Prince go away or think he disappeared.

(like he wanted too)

I’m sorry, Milord Alpha, he needed to say with a deep bow, but the thought stilled in his head as he peeked around the corner. He jumped back behind it when he saw that the Prince was still there, staring at him with those heavy, black eyes. He wore a simple white shirt. It fit him too large and almost reached his muscular thighs.

“Sicheng?” The Prince asked, talking a step forward, smile soft.

Sicheng found himself nodding before coming to his senses.

Bow. He needed to bow and introduce himself. However as the Prince kept his gaze on him, coming closer and closer, Sicheng could only recall the heat of his mouth and the empty tender words. He bit on his lip, gathering his scattered thoughts just as he leapt from behind the pillar. “M-milord Aph-” he started to say, moving toward him.

A second later met him tripping over his feet. A yelp scratched his throat when hands grasped his shoulders, leaving Sicheng gasping against Prince Taeyong.

“Are you ok?” Sicheng heard the concern in his voice and felt the worry blossoming inside of him through the Bond. 

He looked up, heart pounding hard in his chest, and noticed how close their faces were. Sicheng looked away. He sensed a rush of the Prince’s anxiety before it disappeared under forced indifference.

Sicheng nodded, blushed, and pulled away. “Thank you,” he whispered, eyes casted downward.

A peek back at him told Sicheng about the Prince’s intense stare. Sicheng pushed his hands deeper into his sleeves. His mind raced, almost hearing the panting hot against his neck. The bite of teeth felt faint on his shoulder and a shudder ran throw him. He tried to shake the feeling away.

Sicheng cleared his throat. After everything, Sicheng stood here as a representative of his clan. If hearing what those servants said meant anything, his parents must’ve promised the sky and sea to the Imperial Family that he would be the ideal Mate Consort. 

“Milord Alpha, blessed be the grounds your feet touch,” he knelt at his feet in a swift motion, bowing so that his forehead touched the ground and carefully placing his palms facing upward. “Grant me permission to view the eyes that darken the skies and bring life to the stars.”  

For a moment, silence. As the seconds stretched, Sicheng felt a cold fear in his spine. He couldn’t have messed up. Sicheng practiced and practiced. Darken the skies and bring life to the stars for the First Son- move the earth and awake the sun for the Emperor… Sicheng ran through all the greetings for to the Imperial Family and couldn’t figure out what he said wrong.

Everything was perf-

“No! Get up! It’s ok!” Sicheng glanced up and almost died at the Prince’s hand on his forearm, urging him to rise.

“B-but-”

“Relax, I won’t bite. Again,” the Prince smiled, then instantly turned red. “I mean- You don’t need to do that everything time you see me. Only greet me like that during official matters.” Sicheng stared at the ground, eyes in a daze. “Do you understand me?”

Quickly, Sicheng nodded. He kept his eyes downward and hands clasped together. His long sleeve thankfully hid the fact his fingers kept twitching.

He felt the Prince’s nervous through the Bond: nervous, anxious, and annoyance. It felt almost like a slap to Sicheng. Annoyance? He didn’t do anything to this man, and he already seemed a patronizing shit.

Breathing shallowly, he whispered, “Thank you for this permission, your Highness.” There. Dismiss him and let Sicheng leave. He’ll run back into his chambers and curse the fact he ever wanted to leave the safely of his room.

The Prince said nothing. Sicheng bit the inside of his cheek. Didn’t this man know how deafening his silence screamed to others? “You’re allowed to look at me.” Sicheng knew the direct translation of that: look at me.

Sicheng recalled the countless times Kun and his parents told him to keep from locking gazes. A well breed Omega knew their place. 

“Yes, your Highness,” he murmured, forcing his eyes up to meet his.

Black. Blacker than coal or the pitch of the night sky. Sicheng felt bile touch the back of his throat. The Prince stared right back at him, unwavering or shy, an Alpha set of eyes. He envied the confidence in those eyes. He noticed a scar on the side of his face.

“Can I see the Bite?” The Prince spoke at last. He gently whispered it to him. In any other case, Sicheng would’ve mistake it as embarrassment, but he knew it an effort not to scare him.

Ahh, so that why he found him.

“If that is your will, your Highness. My body is your temple to visit at any moment.” Sicheng wanted to throw up. How many times did Kun read him that line and touch his cheek after he grimaced. Just bear with it, Sicheng, he’s your Alpha now.

Sicheng reached for his neckline. “No, it’s not that,” the Prince said in a rush. “I don’t want to force you if don’t want right now… There’ll be more time later anyways.” Sicheng instantly felt his cheeks burn. He almost wanted to shoo him away and tell him to get find an actual Omega to fuck.  

Grinding his teeth together, Sicheng poured honey into his voice, saying, “But I am yours, milord Alpha.” He pulled away the layers of clothing and moved his head to the side. Nested between his neck and shoulder, the Bite appeared still a bright red-purple. It looked fresh, not like how should by now. Everyone knew the Omega scarring process started a day after, yet here Sicheng’s Beta body didn’t understand that.

Kun told him they would start to apply paint soon so that it appeared like a normal Omega bite, just until his body caught up and started to naturally scar itself.

The Prince stared at the Bite on his skin. His hand hovered over it, almost moving to touch it. Instead his fingers brushed Sicheng’s chin and moved his face back to meet his eyes. Sicheng almost whined at tenderness. “Does it hurt a lot?” the Prince purred.

Sicheng resisted between narrowing his eyes and melting into puddle. Bites on Omegas are supposed to feel euphoric, Bites on Betas, on the other hand… The pain felt like death. He should know that unless… No. No way the Prince suspected anything. Sicheng tried to calm himself down.

“No… It feels…like nothing I’ve ever experienced.” He lowered his eyes and looked back at him through lowered lashed. He instinctively bit the corner of his mouth to calm himself. Sicheng didn’t lie. “Your Highness,” he quickly added as an afterthought.

The Prince rested his knuckled on the Bite. Sicheng stared, blush full on his face, as the Prince almost seemed to shiver. With eyelids half close, his lips growled, “Taeyong. Call me alone when we’re alone, understand?” Sicheng’s limbs felt weak. The low heat in between legs rose up in flames.

The bones in his legs turned to water and for a moment, the allure of his pheromones caressed his body. It called for him to part his legs for him and-

“Yes, Taeyong.” His throat threatened to close on him.

Taeyong… Taeyong continued to caress the Bite. Up to that moment, it felt like a bruise. Even acknowledging it made him wince, but at Taeyong’s fingertips lightly stroking him… Sicheng forced himself not to moan. The Bond caused this. Every time Sicheng tried to even poke at the Bite, he felt like he pushed his finger through a gaping, blooding wound. Yet with Taeyong, pleasure started to bubble up from inside of him. He felt himself start to throb harder. He knew. He had to know this effect on him. Oh gods, he needed to stop touching him. Because if he didn’t- Sicheng squeezed his thighs closed together. Sicheng’s hand followed his thoughts, coming up to grab his wrist, weakly hoping he would(n’t) stop.

“T-Taeyong…” Please. Please. Please.

“What’s wrong?” Taeyong smirk at him. His black eyes appeared even darker, threatening to eat him whole.

Sicheng almost collapsed, lungs running out of air. He would let him too. Oh fuck. Sicheng would let him rip off all his clothes and take him here in the gardens. 

“Sicheng?” Sicheng almost cursed. Pushing himself away, he turned to see Kun at the other end of the hall. Kun blinked at him in confusion.

Suddenly, the ache in his groin reminded Sicheng of the situation. He turned back at Taeyong and sensed the sharp irritation. Sicheng yanked his robes back in back and tried to calm himself down from this strange high.

“Y-your Highness?” Kun finally seemed to realize what was going on. He dropped right then, even at this distance and started a similar greeting to the one Sicheng made earlier. Sicheng kept his head down and bit his lip. He would’ve burst if this went on a moment longer.

“Rise,” Taeyong told him and beckoned him with toward them. “Advisor Qian Kun of the Qian Clan.” For some reason, the weight of the words seemed to match the earth itself.

“Yes, your Highness.” Kun said after reaching him. He stood bowed at the waist, eyes focused on the ground.

Taeyong stood with a straight back and tilted his head slightly. “What reason do you have for interrupting a moment between First Consort Dong and I?” Then seriousness of the question and his tone seemed heavy.

“His Majesty, the Emperor, requested me to introduce First Consort Dong to the rest of your harem.”

Taeyong frowned. The air, for some reason, felt chilled with that gesture. “Why would the Emperor ask for that?” He spoke the question to Kun, but it sounded like it was meant more for himself.

Kun stayed quiet for a second. “I understand that His Majesty wishes for First Consort Dong to meet the others in your Imperial Harem... So that he can become more settled in Aerok, your Highness,” Kun finished with an even deeper bow.

Sicheng almost laughed, catching himself before the sound left his mouth. Choking it down, he snickered behind his sleeves. Did the Emperor think he would run away if he didn’t like it here in this damn country? Sicheng’s chest tightened. That was impossible. He couldn’t run away. He couldn’t run away from the bruise on his neck or the blood in his veins.

“I see.” Taeyong looked back at him, causing Sicheng to lock eyes with and see a thousand words and emotions pass through his head. Suddenly, Taeyong passed onto him a questioning emotion, so soft that Sicheng almost didn’t realize it creep past his ribcage.

He ripped his eyes away from the Prince.

Omega never look at Alphas in the eyes. Never, ever unless the Alpha let them.

The sweat gathered on the back of his neck.

“Take him then.” Taeyong nodded at Kun, jerking his head in his direction. Sicheng bowed to the ground, palms again facing up to him.

“Glory to the Blood and blessed be the Land.” Taeyong made a noise, tapped his foot, and allowed Sicheng up. Sicheng glanced at him, and saw that he wasn’t looking in his direction.

“Advisor Qian, make sure to return him to my chambers tonight.”

Kun dropped to his knees, repeating the same words as Sicheng. Taeyong turned heel as soon as he finished the farewell, leaving them in an empty hallway.

Kun slowly got up, watching Taeyong’s figure completely disappear around a corner. “Sicheng!” He hissed in their language. Sicheng didn’t know why. It felt like everyone in this country spoke four stupid languages. “Why did you meet him? We have a schedule for the two of you!” Sicheng smoothed out his white and yellow robes. “If anyone one else saw what I just did-” Kun blushed, swallowing thickly.

Sicheng rolled his eyes. “A scandal? Really, Kun? We already Mated.” To make his point, Sicheng yanked the neck of his robes apart and bared his Bite to him. The court lifestyle tired him out more than anything about his new life. While his strict household may have bored him, at least there were never any rules about when and where to talk to someone. 

“Sicheng!” Kun gasped, scandalized, quickly reaching over and pulling it, and him, to modesty. Kun looked around, hands shaking.

“No one’s here, Kun. This is to be my private garden.” Sichen sighed and forced a smile.

Kun ignored him and continued to look around. “Shut up. Servants are the worst gossips,” Kun snapped. Sicheng recalled the words of the two Omegas. He hated this. Sicheng slapped his hands away.

“Let’s just go. I’m sick of this,” Sicheng snapped back, hating himself even more as soon as he said it.

Kun pulled back his hands slowly. With huge eyes, Kun gently touched a lock of his hair. “I know, Sicheng.” Sicheng could feel the onslaught of tears on his eyes. “I know,” Kun murmured and continued to touch his hair. Sicheng smelled the protectiveness of an Alpha practically roll off him in waves.

Sicheng pushed himself away, keeping his eyes on Kun’s. His mouth stayed frozen in a grimace, teeth grinding together. He bared his teeth at him. “Stop patronizing me! I’m not a child or a stupid O-!” Sicheng bite down on his tongue. His eyes glanced around, back tense and hard as a rock.

Kun’s lips parted in shock, eyes widening at his show of challenge, seeming to forget the truth he slipped. Finally, anger and a hardness pressed onto his features. Kun took a step toward him with that face and it took everything in Sicheng not to lower his head. The advisor grabbed his upper arm in hand, fingers tight enough to bruise.

“Never look at anyone with those eyes again. Do you hear me, Sicheng?!” He hissed angrily into his ear. “An Omega doesn’t challenge anyone, ever. I said do you hear me?!” Kun shook him, growling. Sicheng tried to pull away, tears really threatening to come rushing down. “Least of all an Alpha. They’ll sooner have your corpse displayed at the door than let an Omega,” he hissed under his breath, “get away with challenging anyone above their status.” Every word lead to a puff of warm breath on his cheek.

“I’m sorry! Ok? I’m sorry. It won’t happen again!” Sicheng crumbled under his voice. His hand grasped at Kun’s in hopes of running away.

“They won’t hesitate to kill you for that, Sicheng.” Sicheng’s blood ran cold. He had to meet his eyes for those words. “Or for the truth. They’ll kill...” Kun’s voice trembled. For the first time ever, Sicheng saw the raw fear on his face. He constantly hid that emotion from him. Even as children, Kun seemed fearless and unnerved by everything around them. Yet since the announcement of his engagement just that short month ago, Sicheng saw hidden panic in Kun’s eyes every time anyone neared them. Sicheng could see the horror and blood on his iris.

His stomach dropped to his feet draped in silk. “Both our clans, our families- No. All four clans knew if this lie came out…” Kun’s hand slipped from his hold. Sicheng stepped backwards, holding his arm.

“Stop,” Sicheng controlled his voice to keep from screaming. “Don’t. Stop talking to me about that. I can’t know, Kun. I can’t. P-please.”  He couldn’t know anything behind his Bonding to the Prince or entrance to the Imperial Family. He just couldn’t handle any more.

The Zhong, Huang, and Qian…they all knew? Did they pick him out especially between the four clans? Yes…yes they must’ve. Kun’s older siblings all married years ago and while Kun himself is single, he’s an Alpha and a sixth son. Useless.

Zhong and Huang- Sicheng’s head spun. No. It needed to be Sicheng.

Kun stepped closer to him, hands back to their usual tenderness as they held his face. “That won’t happen, Sicheng. You’re my brother. It won’t happen.” Sicheng shut his eyes tightly. This was a nightmare.

When he opens his eyes, everything will return back to the way it was. Sicheng will awake to his older sister practicing on her guzheng while he dances. Mother will write her letters while father will paint them, another piece to the collection.

When he opened his eyes, Sicheng wouldn’t have been thrown away.

“Sicheng.” Sicheng looked into Kun’s brown eyes and realized his tears already streamed onto his cheeks. Kun frowned, brows clutching together. He gently released him and took a breath. “Clean up, we need to visit the others.”

Sicheng wiped his nose and tears on his sleeves. After he fixed his face, he stood with a straightened back and raised his head higher. Mother would shame him for wilting under anyone’s eyes. As the lowest caste, Omegas suffered more than anyone and because of this suffering, it made them stronger than even the most confident Alpha or smartest Beta. Right now and onwards, Sicheng needed to become that Omega.  

At last he folded his hands inside of his sleeves and nodded to Kun. His advisor bowed lowly to him. “This way, First Consort Dong.”

Sicheng did what he always did and followed.