In a world of imbalance - one where alpha’s held all the power and prestige - a revolt had been led by a small faction of omegas who refused to bow down to those they saw as their oppressors - the alphas. Omegas had been thought of as weak-willed, driven by their emotions and their biological desire to be caregivers, livebearers, and to submit to what was thought of as their superiors, the alphas. When the omegas call for equality was not only overlooked but laughed at by the alphas, the omegas grew bolder. They no longer saw the alphas as their superiors but their oppressors. Yes, alphas were stronger and protective over the omegas but they refused to see the omegas as anything other than what they had been - submissive and subservient to them. Omegas were thought of as weak mates, needing protection from their alpha mates at best and slaves, only existing to serve their alphas when called upon at worst.
Throwing off their shackles of oppression, the faction of omegas who desired equality grew in numbers. Aided by the betas, who lived a better life than the omegas, but also saw the alphas as wielding total control, the omegas refused to allow the alpha to continue to hold all the power. If the alphas refused to meet them halfway, to give them the equality they desired, then they would take the power they craved, tipping the scales of society in their favor. Now, the power structure of their society was no longer ruled by the alphas; it was ruled by the omegas.
Once the omegas held the power, alphas were rounded up and placed in camps. Fearing that the alphas would strike back, the omegas had the alphas collared and branded with an A to represent their gender. It no longer mattered to the omegas that they had once been in loving mateships with their alphas, what mattered was that they maintained control. Those omegas who chose to remain mated to their alphas were now heads of households and owners of those they had chosen to mate with. The alphas were no longer first-class citizens, rather they were now slaves. Those alphas who refused to concede were made examples of and put to death.
The betas, seeing that their status had not changed for the better or the worse, sat back, allowing the pendulum of imbalance for power to swing wildly until it settled with the omegas at the top, holding control of society as they knew it. With the omegas now in power, and no longer fearing the alphas that had reigned, the betas accepted the change, willing to work with the omegas to keep what had now become the status quo - Omegas sitting atop of society, betas maintaining the second tier in their newly formed structure, and alphas now residing as the lowest of the low - now slaves to the omegas.
Jensen and Jared were two such individuals caught in the wheels of the society they had been born into.
“Jensen, dear, we’ve been waiting for you,” Donna Ackles, Jensen’s mother, huffed in an exaggerated annoyance as she greeted him at the front door. Stepping aside, she allowed him entry into his childhood home and then waited for his reaction.
Rolling his eyes, Jensen chuckled at his mother’s dramatic greeting. “Momma, you told me dinner was at six. It’s barely five-thirty. I’m not even late,” he stated and then leaned down to place a kiss on Donna’s cheek.
“Is that the time?” Donna asked in an innocent voice. “I guess I’m just excited.” She clasped her hands together as she took in her son’s casual appearance. The March weather in Texas ran the gamut in temperatures - cool one day where one needed a sweater or even a coat, to warm where one only needed to dress in a short-sleeved shirt. Today, on Jensen’s twenty-seventh birthday, the weather was warm, permitting Jensen to dress casually in a three-quarter sleeve length deep green Henley shirt, black jeans, and black leather boots. Jensen’s reddish-brown, cropped hair was artfully tousled. Much to her chagrin, Jensen hadn’t shaved and was sporting stubble along his upper lip and across his chin. Reaching out, she clasped his chin between her thumb and fingers. “Still with this look?”
Pulling back, Jensen shook his head in disbelief, not seeing the harm in the slight growth of facial hair. He actually liked it; feeling it gave him a more rugged look, deterring from what he saw as his softer appearance as an omega. He knew he wasn’t the typical omega. Standing at six feet, one inch, he was considered tall for an omega. Despite his height and athletic build, there was no way he could pass for anything other than what he was. His vivid green eyes, fanned by long dark lashes, pale, freckled skin, and plush lips only added to what people had taken to calling him - pretty. All one had to do was take one look at him to see that he was an omega. There was no getting around that. “Momma, I like the way I look,” was his response. If he brought up that he looked too pretty, his mother would only launch into a lecture of how lucky he was to have been born an omega, one as desirable as he was. He came from good breed, as she liked to remind him.
“Well, just remember, you’re lucky to have been born an omega,” Donna proposed, offering Jensen a sweet smile. “The alternative could have been a lot worse.” Being an omega herself, she prided herself on the fact that she was what society deemed as superior. And while she loved her mate, Alan, he was a beta. “Omegas fought for what you and I now have, never forget that.” That was another thing she never let go of, how the omegas before her time had been forced to take action against the alphas and seize the power for themselves.
“Yes, Momma, I remember.” The all too well part of Jensen’s words went without saying, their implication hung in the air. In school, he and his classmates had been taught about what was now being heralded as the “Coming To Light”. Or, as what it really was, a civil war between the alphas and the omegas. Despite being taught their history, he still couldn’t wrap his mind around the idea of one section of their society being in power. To him, there had to be a way for all, omegas, betas, and alphas, to coexist peacefully with each other. There had been, in the past before the power change, loving mateships between omegas and alphas. Ones where the omegas and alphas not only saw each other as their equal but treated their counterpart as such. He saw it with his own parents.
While his mother was an omega, his father was a beta, and he saw no division of power between them. He only saw a loving mateship where both his parents deferred to each other. Why couldn’t that be achieved between omegas and alphas? Not wanting to ruin the night with an argument with his mother, one he knew his father would side with his mother, and he would never win, he chose to tamp down his thoughts on their societal imbalance in favor of celebrating his birthday with his parents. He would never be able to change things as they were now, and he doubted he would see a change in equality for all in his lifetime, but he still held a glimmer of hope. Recalling his mother’s earlier words of excitement, he chose to focus on that. “And just why would you be excited? It’s not your birthday we’re celebrating.” He offered his mother a bright smile, hoping that would be enough to distract her from where their conversation had been heading.
Donna clapped her hands together as her excitement returned. She and her mate had a wonderful surprise planned for Jensen’s birthday, one she was sure Jensen would be thrilled with. “Well, I was planning on waiting until after we ate but… Well, it’s just so exciting that… Just follow me.” Turning, she grabbed Jensen’s right wrist and pulled him along with her down the hallway to the large sitting room they only used when they were entertaining company.
“Momma, you’re not making any sense,” Jensen uttered in dismay as he was pulled long. With his brows knitted in confusion, he followed his mother, stopping only when she did before the closed door to the sitting room. Looking at the dark oak door, he couldn’t remember the last time he had been in the room and certainly couldn’t recall the door ever being closed. “What’s going on?” He had the presence of mind to ask before his mother’s hand was on the doorknob, turning it and pushing open the door to reveal his father standing in the middle of the room with his hands on his hips. “Dad?”
Alan turned in surprise when the door opened. He met Donna’s eyes with a perplexed look. “I thought we were waiting until after dinner?”
“I know but I just couldn’t wait. Besides, it’s not like we can leave it alone. Where is it? You don’t have it on the couch do you?”
Alan scoffed. “Of course not!”
“What’s going on?” Jensen asked in confusion, looking first at his mother and then at his father. “Neither of you is making sense.”
“Just wait a moment,” Donna breathed out breathlessly as she joined her mate, standing side by side before nodding at Alan.
“Happy birthday!” Jensen’s parents yelled out in unison and then stepped aside to reveal a man kneeling on the floor.
Jensen stared in horror at the sight before him. His mind spun out of control as he tried to make sense of things. Instinctively he knew what he was looking at. Alpha ! His mind screamed at him. He licked his too-dry lips. He had never been this close to an alpha before and there was some part of him that was responding to the alpha in the room. It was primal, as primal as an alpha and omega calling to each other could be. He forced himself to look at his parents, saw their smiling faces, and swallowed as he tried to find something, anything to say to them before dropping his eyes back to the figure still kneeling. “You… you got me an alpha slave ?” Jensen asked, his voice dripping with shock as he looked at the kneeling figure in the middle of the room. He saw the alpha flinch at the word slave but he had no other word for what his parents had ‘gifted’ him with. “Why?”
“I don’t understand the question,” Donna responded, pursing her lips together as she looked at her son. “Why wouldn't you want your own alpha? This way you can give us grandpups. It’s not like you’re getting any younger, and you’ve already told anyone who would listen that you’re an independent omega who doesn’t have time to find a mate. This,” she stated as she swept a hand in the direction of the alpha as if she was discussing a piece of furniture, “is the next best thing for you. Honestly, you act as if you’re offended by this gift.”
Jensen scoffed at the word gift. “ Gift ? He’s a human being!” he shouted.
“You will watch your tone when you’re speaking to us!” Alan yelled back. “And, he is an alpha. This is what is expected of their kind.”
Jensen pinched the bridge of his nose in an attempt to stave off the throbbing pain beginning to build behind his eyes. How could he make his parents understand that this was the last thing he had been expecting for his birthday, let alone the last thing he ever wanted for himself.
“It’s a good thing you have here,” Donna advised, pointing to the alpha.
“And this is a good thing, why?” Jensen questioned cautiously. He knew he was walking a tightrope at the moment with his parents and he needed to tread carefully. There was no telling what they would do if he continued to fight them.
Donna rolled her eyes at Jensen, wondering if he had even been listening to them. “I already told you why. Honestly, it’s like you’re a teenager again, never listening to us. Since you’re on those suppressants, and they only help with so much for your heats, you have this to help you through those. And, when you choose to, hopefully in the near future, you can have it knot you and give you a pup.”
Jensen visibly paled at his mother’s words. “Momma,” he groaned out in embarrassment. He couldn’t believe they were even discussing this at all. And to make things worse, they were not only talking about it in front of his father but also an alpha he knew nothing about.
“There’s nothing to be embarrassed about, Jensen. It’s not like I didn’t deal with those with your mother. How do you think we ended up with you?” Alan chuckled at his son’s discomfort. “You’re a grown omega. It’s not like you don’t know where pups come from or how they come about.”
Jensen nodded, it was the only thing he could do at the moment, too stunned to do anything else.
“I think you’ll find it to your liking,” Donna chirped happily drawing Jensen’s attention to her.
“Why?” Jensen asked again as his brain began to come back online as the shock of everything began to wear off. He still needed to know why his parents had actually thought he would want an alpha of his own.
“Again with the why. Why what?” Donna questioned, not hiding her growing annoyance with her son.
“Why would you ever think I would want an alpha of my own?”
Donna threw her head back and laughed. “Oh, sweetheart. Don’t play at being coy. I saw the catalog the last time I stopped by to visit you.”
Jensen scrunched his face up in confusion. “Catalog?” he asked, racking his brain as he tried to recall the last time his mother had stopped over to visit and what catalog she was referring to. He honestly had no idea what she was talking about. “What catalog?”
“You know the one.”
“No, I don’t.” Jensen shook his head and spread his hands out, imploring his mother to elaborate or at the very least enlighten him.
“I don’t remember the name of it specifically but it was one advertising alphas for sale. It was sitting on your coffee table.”
Jensen shook his head in disbelief. He couldn’t remember receiving such a catalog, and if he had he would have thrown it out with the rest of the trash it belonged with. The thought of owning another human being, even an alpha wasn’t one he had ever entertained, not even in his wildest dreams when he longed for a mate. Certainly, he had wondered what it would be like to take an actual alpha’s knot when he was in the throes of his heat but he had never gone further than using an artificial knot to slake his need. He knew there were services out there that offered an alpha-for-hire but he could never bring himself to engage in something like that. An alpha-for-hire was just another form of slavery as far as he was concerned and he refused to foster such a business as one that forced an alpha to perform for the sake of an omega’s needs. He had heard stories of how the alphas were fitted with shock collars and were shocked into compliance when they refused to knot an omega who had hired them. He couldn’t imagine being the cause of someone receiving a high voltage shock to their nervous system if they refused to perform. He certainly didn’t want to be the one responsible for administering the shock.
“Do you remember now?” Donna inquired, pulling Jensen from his dark thoughts.
“No, but I guess it doesn’t matter now does it?” Jensen cast an uncertain glance in the direction of the alpha. The alpha hadn’t moved from the kneeling position he had been most likely ordered into and he winced, thinking how uncomfortable he must be.
“Well, the alpha is yours. Of course, you still have to claim it,” Donna reminded Jensen.
Jensen took a steadying breath as he let his eyes wander over to the alpha. He couldn’t see much of the alpha’s face and he wasn't sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing at the moment. The alpha’s face was obscured by his long chestnut-colored bangs. From what he could see of the alpha, he had broad shoulders, muscular arms, and a defined chest that rose and fell under the tight thin fabric of the white t-shirt he wore. “Does…” Jensen felt his words catch in his throat but pushed on. “Does he have a name?”
“Uhm…” Alan shrugged and stepped away from his mate. Walking over to a table positioned between two high wingback chairs near the floor-to-ceiling windows, be riffled through a folder. “I assume he has one. It’s not like it matters, right? You can change it if it’s not to your liking.” He scanned a few of the pages and then looked up at Jensen. “The paper has it recorded as Jared. So, I guess, for the moment, its name is Jared.”
Stepping forward, Donna placed a hand on Jensen’s elbow, guiding him over to the table and chairs. Motioning to Jensen to sit, she took one of the empty chairs. Once Jensen was seated, Donna flipped through the paperwork until she found what she was searching for. “Here it is,” she announced, placing the paper down in front of Jensen and tapping it with the perfectly manicured nail of her forefinger.
“What is this?” Jensen questioned as he looked at the foreign document in front of him.
“The alpha is a gift. This is the document of ownership transferring it to you,” Donna explained as if she were speaking about handing over the title of her car to Jensen. “Alan, a pen if you please.” She held out her hand, waiting for her mate to place a pen in her hand. They hadn’t left one sitting out in case the alpha thought to use it as a weapon. It wouldn’t get very far or do much damage, not with the shock collar it was wearing, but they had both decided to err on the side of caution, warning it that they were not afraid of it or using the added insurance of the collar. When ordered to, the alpha had gracefully knelt on the pillow they had tossed down on the floor and had stayed in position, never moving.
“Here you are, dear,” Alan murmured, leaning down to place the pen in his mate’s hand and to kiss her cheek.
Uncapping the pen, Donna handed it to Jensen. “Just sign where the X is and you’ll be the proud owner of this alpha,” Donna announced happily.
Proud wasn’t the word Jensen would use to describe the thought of owning an alpha. He didn’t own anything aside from his own business, SUV, and his home. He didn’t even own a plant let alone a pet and if he signed the contract, he would own another living being. “What… what if I don’t sign?” he dared to ask, looking up from the document in front of him.
Alan placed a hand on Donna’s shoulder, tapping his lips with his fingers as he thought about his answer. “Then we can return it to the auction house where we purchased it from for a refund, I suppose.”
“Oh.” Jensen found himself nodding at his father’s words. “What would happen to the alpha if… if he was returned?”
“It was slated to be sold to one of the alpha-for-hire services if no one purchased him. I suppose that’s where it will end up if you don’t want him.”
“Is it not to your liking?” Donna inquired, cocking her head to the side, watching for Jensen’s reaction.
Was the alpha to his liking? He had no idea. He hadn’t even seen what the alpha looked like. “I don’t… know. It’s not like I’ve even gotten a good look at him.”
“Well, that can be remedied,” Alan stated, pulling his hand away from Donna’s shoulder. He turned and walked over the kneeling form, reached out and grabbed onto something, and urged the alpha to stand.
Jensen watched as if mesmerized, as his father led the alpha over to him. The alpha was tall, at least a few inches taller than him if he had to judge from his seated position. He let his green eyes travel over the alpha’s body, taking in the man’s muscular physique. He felt himself responding to what he saw. The alpha, Jared, he reminded himself, was indeed broad-shouldered, with muscular arms and a defined chest, narrowing into a trim waist and long legs that were covered by the drawstring pants he wore. Aside from the pants and t-shirt, the only other thing the alpha wore was a black leather collar and leash which was what his father had led him over by. He forced his eyes to focus on Jared’s face. He was going to have to get used to calling the alpha by his name and not refer to Jared as his designation - alpha - or by it. With Jared’s hair, which fell to just below his chin in layers, no longer hiding his face, he was able to take a good look at the man standing in front of him. Jared’s hazel eyes were striking, and fixed on him, taking him in as he took Jared in. He noticed Jared’s fox-tilted eyes and the small mole on the left side of his nose, his angular yet strong features, and found himself licking his lips.
“Well, son, what do you think? Is it a keeper or should we return it for a refund or possibly let you look through the other alphas they have for sale?” Alan questioned, dropping the leash in his hand, letting it softly hit Jared’s chest.
Jensen watched as Jared tried to hide his flinch at the possibility of being returned. While he loathed being the owner of an alpha, he couldn’t allow Jared to be returned. He had a feeling that an alpha being returned after a sale was not looked upon as being favorable for the alpha. The thought of Jared being forced into sexual slavery, being turned into an alpha-for-hire, didn’t sit well with him either. But owning Jared was the lesser of the two evils he reasoned with himself. At least with him, he could offer Jared safety from being forced into an unwanted sexual situation. He wasn’t sure he would ever allow Jared to knot him but at least Jared would know the safety of a home; one he wouldn’t be turned away from. Once he signed the contract of ownership, he would be responsible for Jared’s care and safety. He just hoped he didn’t regret his decision to keep Jared. “Where do I sign?” he questioned, forcing his eyes off of Jared and back down to the document in front of him.
“Right here, Jensen,” Donna explained, once again pointing to the X, watching as Jensen poised the pen over the signature line and then brought the pen down onto the paper, signing his name in one fluid motion.
Feeling sick from what he had just done, Jensen pushed the document away from himself, capped the pen, and let it fall from his hands with a clatter against the table. He looked away from the document only to look up into hazel eyes.
“We have a few things to discuss before we eat,” Alan announced, tugging on the leash to indicate he wanted the alpha to kneel down again.
Jensen grimaced at the act, not wanting Jared to have to kneel again. “Dad, can’t you bring him a chair to sit on instead of being forced to kneel on the floor?”
“Whatever you choose to allow in your home is one thing, but I will not have an alpha sitting on my good furniture!” Donna practically shrieked out. “The floor is good enough for it.”
“Momma, can’t we show him some kindness? He’s already been forced to kneel on the floor for so long as it is. Where’s the harm in letting him sit on a chair?” Jensen asked, shaking his head at his mother’s reaction. How could she act this way to another living being, he wondered.
“Jensen, it’s not like we’ve been cruel to it. We gave it a pillow to kneel on,” Alan huffed out in response.
Dismayed, Jensen watched as Jared silently sank to his knees, never showing any pain for returning to the position he had such a small reprieve from. Placing his elbows on the table, he brought his right hand to his forehead, rubbing his fingers against his throbbing head. He was definitely going to need a long shower, pain medication, and a stiff drink or two when he got home to help alleviate the pressure building behind his eyes. He looked at Jared, briefly meeting Jared’s eyes before Jared quickly looked down at his clasped hands. With a sigh, he asked, “What do we need to discuss?”
“You need to be aware of a few things that pertain to owning an alpha.”
Jensen glanced up at his mother, meeting her eyes. “What do I need to be made aware of?”
Donna handed Jensen over the file on the alpha. “You can read all this later to familiarize yourself with its history.”
“Not it. He has a name.”
“Of course, Jensen.” Donna reached out and patted Jensen’s cheek. “If that’s what you decide to call your alpha, that’s fine with us. We just want you to be happy.”
Jensen had to stop himself from scoffing in disbelief at his mother’s words. Whatever gave her or his father the idea that owning an alpha, having his own slave would make him happy? “Of course,” he responded automatically in a monotone voice.
“Anyway, your alpha has been branded with the letter A to let others in society know what it… he is,” Donna explained. “He is to be collared at all times. This collar has a biometric design. Only the designated owner has access to it. We can change that in a moment to switch it over to you. Here is the fob that will allow you to administer a corrective shock to… him should… he refuse to obey you.” She slid a sleek black key fob-looking device toward him. “You just press this button right here. Would you like me to demonstrate how it works?” Her finger hovered over the button.
“No!” Jensen cleared his throat at the sharp look his parents threw him. Glancing over at Jared he watched as Jared seemed to tense up in anticipation of being shocked. “No, that won’t be necessary. I think I can manage on my own.” Grabbing the fob, he quickly pocketed it in hope that he or his parents wouldn’t be forced to use that particular feature on Jared. “What else?” he dared to ask.
Donna glanced over at Jared before returning her gaze to her son. “Since you own him now, he has to be in your company. He’s not permitted out in public by himself and it’s preferable that he is with you at all times.”
Jensen could only stare at his mother. He had no response for this little bomb that she had just dropped in his lap. Before he could even formulate a thought, let alone a coherent sentence, his mother was speaking again.
“We’ll file a copy of the signed ownership documents with the auction house. You’ll need to keep a copy on file as well,” Donna explained as she began to pull apart the pages of the document he had signed, handing him a yellow copy, folding the white copy she had kept.
Numbly, Jensen added it to the file he had been given.
“And, he needs to be marked with not only your claiming bite but inked as well as a show of ownership.”
“I don’t… I don’t understand.” Jensen looked away from his mother, his green eyes traveling up to his father’s face, searching for a clue as to what he was being told.
“It’s nothing to worry about. We’ve already taken the liberty of contacting someone reputable to deal with that.” Alan looked at his watch and smiled. “He should be here shortly. You need to claim the alpha as yours before he arrives. He only works on alphas that bear a claiming bite. The ownership papers only back up that the alpha is yours.”
“What do you mean by a show of ownership?” Jensen asked, fearing his father’s response.
“It’s simple really,” Alan explained. “Your show of ownership, a tattoo, will be placed on the back of his neck. Between the brand on his forearm, the tattoo, your claiming bite, and his collar, there will be no mistaking what he is or that he’s been claimed and is owned by you.”
Jensen let his eyes slip closed allowing himself a moment to take in everything he had just taken in; what he had to do in order to “own” Jared. For a moment, he thought of ripping up the contract, letting his parents return the alpha from where they had purchased him before his conscience set in. No, he couldn’t do that to Jared. Jared hadn’t wanted this any more than he had but there was no going back now. He had signed the document taking on the ownership and responsibility of Jared. He watched as his father urged him up from his seat and motioned him toward Jared. Forcing one foot in front of the other, he made his way toward Jared and kneeled down in front of him.
As he knelt in front of Jared, he could feel Jared’s body radiating heat, making him wonder if all alphas were like that or if it was just Jared. “Jared, my name is Jensen, which I’m sure you already know since you’ve been listening the entire time.” Reaching out, he pulled Jared to him. He took a moment to card his fingers through Jared’s hair, pushing it out of the way when Jared raised his head to meet his eyes. He offered Jared a weak smile. “I’m sorry,” he mouthed as he pushed the collar around Jared’s neck down as much as he could to gain access to Jared’s neck. “I’ll make this as painless as possible,” he murmured.
Jared nodded in understanding, cocking his head to the side, giving the omega who was about to claim him as much access to his neck as possible. He kept himself rigid as the omega leaned forward invading his space. He felt gentle pressure applied to his shoulders as the omega, Jensen, he reminded himself, pulled him closer so Jensen was able to place a claiming bite on him.
Jensen took a deep breath, catching a hint of Jared’s scent as he did, before leaning in and latching on to Jared’s warm skin before sinking his extended canines into Jared’s neck, breaking the skin, and claiming Jared as his alpha.
Jared did his best not to pull away when he felt Jensen’s sharp teeth piercing his skin. Sucking in a pain-laced breath, he tried to breathe through his claiming instead of knocking away the omega claiming him. He knew he would pay dearly if he dared to touch the omega without permission. He squeezed his eyes closed, panting through the pain pulsing through his body, only to open them in shock when he felt Jensen’s tongue gently lapping over the claiming bite, clearly attempting to soothe away the pain he had caused.
With the claiming done, Jensen pulled himself away from Jared, looking at the alpha before forcing himself to his feet. “What do I have to do to remove this collar?”
“Why in the name of all that is holy would you even consider doing that?” Donna questioned.
“An alpha is to be collared at all times,” Alan reminded his son.
“I want to bandage my claiming bite. I don’t want the collar rubbing against it. It wouldn’t look good if the first thing that happened after I claimed him is for him to become sick. How would I explain that?” Jensen reasoned as he turned to meet his parents’ looks of dismay. “Besides, don’t you need to show me how to reset the biometric feature anyway?”
“Our son does have a point. My dear mate, would you be so kind as to find a bandage while I show Jensen how to work the collar?”
Donna pursed her lips together, ready to try to dissuade her son but then thought better of it. The alpha was now Jensen’s to deal with and he would have to learn how to handle the alpha on his own. “Of course,” she agreed before disappearing from the room.
“There’s a code I need to enter in order to allow you the ability to set yourself up with access to the collar,” Alan explained as he circled around the kneeling alpha and then crouched down behind him, motioning for Jensen to join him.
Jensen placed what he hoped was a comforting hand on Jared’s shoulder. “He won’t be hurt when we do this, will he?”
“No, he won’t feel a thing,” Alan assured his son and then pointed to a two-inch area on the back of the collar. “This is where you’ll place your thumb so the device is able to read your imprint. Right next to it is where I’ll input my code so I can transfer the collar to you.” Alan placed his thumb over the area, pressing down on it until he heard a beeping, urging him to move to the four-digit code area to type in the code he had chosen. The thumb plate turned orange, indicating that it was now ready to be reset. “Place your thumb there,” he instructed, watching as Jensen followed his lead, waiting for the beeping sound before moving aside to allow Jensen to enter his own code, cautioning him not to say the four numbers he had chosen out loud. When the collar reset, the thumb plate turned green, allowing Jensen to pull the collar off of Jared.
“That’s gotta feel a little better, even if it’s only for a moment,” Jensen said sadly as he stood, holding the collar in his hand. Before he could say anything else, his mother entered the room offering him a bandage and the doorbell rang. He heard his father mumbling about answering the door as he focused his attention on Jared, pulling open the bandage and applying it to Jared’s broken skin.
“Jensen, this was the man I was telling you about,” Alan announced as he walked in, followed by a tall, lanky man.
Jensen’s eyes went immediately to the metal case in the man’s hand, knowing what the man was holding - a tattoo gun. He was about to allow more pain to be inflicted on Jared just so he would be able to show his ownership. He wasn’t paying attention as his father introduced everyone, only focusing on the case, not looking up until the man standing in front of him cleared his throat in an attempt to get his attention.
“Hey, I’m DJ,” the man, a beta, said, offering his hand to Jensen. “So, is that the alpha?” DJ jutted his chin toward the kneeling figure next to Jensen.
“Yes,” Jensen confirmed, his eyes flicking back to Jared. “This is Jared.” He took a step forward feeling the need to protect Jared from what was about to happen to him.
“Cool, you named him. Not every omega bothers with that.” DJ offered Jensen a happy smile before asking, “Can I see the documentation of ownership? It looks like you’ve already laid a claiming bite on him if the bandaged area is anything to go by.”
“Yes, I didn’t want the collar rubbing against my claiming bite…” This was the last topic of conversation Jensen ever expected to be having with anyone, especially a stranger who was about to tattoo someone he had just taken ownership of. Forcing himself from his thoughts he pointed to the table where the document in question was.
Donna happily spoke up, “The signed document is right here.”
Turning from Jensen, the beta made his way over to look at the signed document. “The alpha’s a gift?”
“Yes, for Jensen’s birthday. He turned twenty-seven today,” Donna explained.
“Cool. Happy birthday, man.”
“Uhm, thanks,” Jensen murmured. Yeah, happy birthday to me. I’m so lucky to be having a birthday that my parents thought the best present for me was a slave, was what he truly wanted to say but he wisely remained silent, not wanting to start an argument he felt he wouldn’t win. Besides, Jared was now his. There was no turning back.
“Okay, everything seems to be in order. Let’s get the show on the road, as they say,” DJ said, pulling Jensen from his thoughts on his unexpected birthday present.
“Is this going to hurt Jared?” Jensen’s gut clenched at the thought of the man before him hurting Jared. He knew he had already caused Jared pain when he had claimed him. He was still trying to wrap his head around the fact that he had claimed someone, that he had claimed an alpha of his own. It didn’t seem real to him.
“Not gonna lie, there’s gonna be some pain involved in this. But it’ll be over quickly.”
“What… what are you gonna do to him?”
“I’ll have you write your first initial and your last name on the back of his neck and then I’ll tattoo over it. Easy peasy.” DJ beamed at Jensen. “Why don’t you have him actually sit on the floor rather than kneel? It might be easier for him to sit through this while I work on him.”
“Do you need anything to make yourself comfortable?” Donna inquired, stepping forward.
“If I could use one of your chairs and the table, I should be fine.”
“Of course, please make yourself comfortable,” Donna urged as DJ turned and made his way over the chairs and table, setting his case down and opening it.
Still holding the collar with the leash attached to it, Jensen watched as the man pulled a few items from his case, checking them before replacing them back in the case in order to grab a pair of black latex gloves to pull on. “I’m just about ready. He just needs to come closer and sit with his back to me,” DJ commented as he poured black ink into what looked like a small cap and then tested his tattoo gun.
The buzzing sound of the tattoo gun jarred Jensen causing him to jump where he stood. Over the sound, he heard his father telling Jared to move. He watched as Jared remained where he was only moving his head to look at him for approval. Jensen nodded slightly, giving Jared the permission he had sought out.
Without a word, Jared stood, moved to the spot the tattoo artist was pointing to, at his feet, and sat down. He had already felt the pain of being claimed; now he would have to endure the pain of being marked, of bearing the omega’s sign of ownership on him. He felt a hand on his head and then slight pressure as he was made to look down before the hand was removed. He sat in that position, not daring to move unless told to.
“Here, sign your name as I said earlier.” DJ uncapped a black marker and handed it to Jensen. “Right at the base of his skull will be fine.”
Unwillingly, Jensen accepted the offered pen. “Won’t that hurt?”
DJ shrugged his shoulders. “Sure but…”
“Where will it hurt less?” If he was going to have Jared tattooed, he was going to do it where it wouldn’t cause him too much pain, or at least he hoped.
DJ sat forward, poking at Jared’s back. “Right here shouldn’t be too bad.” He indicated an area of skin between Jared’s shoulders. “He’ll have to remove his shirt.”
Jensen cleared his throat. “Jared…” He swallowed as he tried to get the words out. “Would you remove your shirt?” He heard his mother cluck her tongue and he looked over at her.
“Honestly Jensen. The alpha is yours to command.”
“Momma… please...” Before Jensen could say anything else, movement caught his attention.
Sensing the tension in the room and knowing his omega had issued a command, even though it had sounded more like a request, Jared moved to remove his shirt. Raising his arms, he brought his right hand to his shoulder blades, grabbed at the fabric, and pulled the shirt up and over his head. Folding his shirt, he lay it neatly in his lap, waiting for the next command.
DJ pointed again at the second area he had chosen. “Write your name here.”
With a nod, Jensen stepped forward, crouched down, and wrote his name. Recapping the marker, he handed it back to DJ and stood, looking down at the black letters scrawled across Jared’s skin. Without another thought, Jensen pulled the other chair closer to Jared and sat down. He wasn’t sure if his presence would be a comfort to the alpha but he hoped so. Reaching out, he placed his hand on Jared’s shoulder, feeling the muscle tense under his fingers before Jared seemed to relax into his touch. When DJ turned the gun back on both he and Jared jumped from the sound.
“Try to keep from tensing up, and don’t move,” DJ warned as he hunched over Jared and pressed the tip of the needle to Jared’s skin. He worked fast and silently as he completed the tattoo of Jensen’s name on Jared's skin, making sure to pack in the black ink so it wouldn’t fade to a blurry mess over time. Pulling back to admire his work, he smiled and then looked over at Jensen. “All set.” He grabbed a paper towel from his case and wiped away the extra ink and blood from Jared’s skin. “Looks good,” he commented as he admired his work. Pushing himself away from Jared, he urged Jensen to see his name inked across the alpha’s skin. “Whaddya think?”
Jensen forced himself up as he returned the chair to its rightful place before turning to see the tattoo. He stood there, staring at his name - which was now permanently inked on Jared’s body - as was his claiming bite. He couldn’t take his eyes off what he was looking at.
“Looks good, doesn’t it?” DJ commented, pride clearly in his voice as he looked over his work and then turned to finish packing up his case.
“It certainly does,” Alan agreed. “What do you think?” Alan asked, turning to look at Jensen.
“Yeah…” Jensen agreed non-committedly, nodding as he continued to stare at the tattooed skin bearing his name.
Returning to Jared, DJ rubbed a jelly-like substance over the swollen and broken skin before placing a square of plastic wrap and medical tape over the area. “Keep the area dry for the next few days. Tonight, you can remove the temporary covering when it’s time for the alpha to sleep. For the next week, rub this over the area to keep it from drying out.” He handed a tube of Tattoo Gel to Jensen. “Call me if you have any concerns. If the area feels hot to the touch, swells, or looks infected, get him to a doctor. In some cases, very few, the area can become infected. It’s never happened with anyone I’ve tattooed, but it can happen.”
“Thanks,” Jensen mumbled looking down at the tube in his hands. “Can… Is… Will it irritate the area if Jared puts his shirt back on?”
“No, it’s fine for him to redress.”
“Jared, please put your shirt on.” Jensen watched as Jared moved stiffly, wincing as he pulled the shirt on his back. He grimaced at the sight and turned away, not able to watch more.
“Let me show you out.” Alan ushered DJ out of the room.
“Well, now that’s all out of the way, why don’t we move into the dining room so we can eat?” Donna started for the door but stopped and turned back to Jensen. “But first, put that collar back on him. I won’t have an alpha roaming my home without a collar.” She stood waiting for Jensen to comply, not moving until Jensen had replaced the collar around Jared’s neck.
“I’m sorry about all of this,” Jensen said sadly once his mother had left them alone. “I never expected this… or you.” Jensen took a step back from Jared. “Please stand. I don’t like speaking to you with you at my feet.”
Jared complied with the command, coming to stand to his full height. He stood with his feet together, his hands clasped behind his back and his eyes downcast. He listened as the omega continued to speak to him.
Jensen rubbed at the back of his neck. It was a nervous habit he had developed as a child, one he could never seem to break. “I’m not sure if you’ll be happy with me but I’ll try to do right by you. I never… wanted this. You’re probably not thrilled with being claimed or being a… slave. Seems my parents thought it was time I produced pups.” He sighed heavily as he looked at the alpha standing next to him, the one not making eye contact with him or saying a word. He realized at that moment he had yet to hear Jared’s voice, making him wonder if Jared was capable of speaking. He had heard of stories where alphas had been rendered speechless so they wouldn’t be able to complain about what was being done to them. He prayed that hadn’t happened to Jared. “Are you able to speak?”
“Yes, master,” Jared responded in a rich, baritone voice.
Hearing the alpha’s voice had Jensen going weak in the knees. He was already attracted to Jared but he had already vowed to himself that he would do nothing with the alpha but offer him a home. One Jared would be welcome in where he would never have to fear that he would be sold from or forced into performing an unwanted knotting. He’d continue to deal with his heats on his own as he had been doing all along. Owning an alpha wouldn’t change that. “It’s Jensen. My name is Jensen and I’d like you to call me that, not master.”
“Of course, mas… Jensen,” Jared corrected himself, hoping that little slip wouldn’t earn him any type of punishment.
Jensen chuckled. “We’ll figure this out as we go along.” He turned back to the table and grabbed the folder his mother had given him. As he picked it up, a key suspended from a leather cord slipped out and fell to the floor, hitting the polished wooden floor with a clunking sound. “What the hell is this for?” he asked more to himself than to Jared as he bent down to retrieve the key. He already knew it wasn’t for unlocking Jared’s collar so he had no idea what the key would go to or why it was mixed in with the paperwork.
“Jensen, dinner is ready,” Donna announced as she walked into the room.
Holding the leather cord in his hand, Jensen held it out to his mother. “This was mixed in with the paperwork. Do you have any idea what it’s for?”
Donna’s cheeks began to heat as she looked at the key. She was certainly aware of its existence and what it was for. Nervously she coughed before answering Jensen’s question. “It’s to keep him locked up. You honestly didn’t think we or any self-respecting member of society would allow an alpha to run around free did you?”
“What?” Jensen looked at his mother, blinking owlishly as he tried to make sense of her words.
“It’s for his…” Donna’s words trail off as she swept a hand toward Jared’s lower half.
Jensen groaned as he clued into what his mother was trying to explain. Jared was locked into a cock cage. While he had never worn one, he had a suspicious feeling that it wasn’t comfortable having one’s cock locked away in a cage. “Oh my god,” he mumbled and looked over at Jared.
Jared remained where he was, not daring to look up at either omega but he could feel their eyes on him as his cheeks began to burn from embarrassment. He shouldn’t feel embarrassment, his body wasn’t his own; it was Jensen’s to do with as he pleased. He was owned by Jensen and had no say in what would happen to him, not that he’d had much to say in his life before being bought.
Any appetite Jensen had dwindled with learning this new piece of information. He knew he wouldn’t be able to eat dinner, not with everything that had just transpired and certainly not with the thought that Jared was wearing a cock cage and most likely uncomfortable from that as well as in pain from the claiming bite and being tattooed. “I think… I think it’s best if I take Jared home.” He was hit with another thought. He hadn’t been prepared for taking Jared home with him. Pushing that thought aside, he’d deal with that when he got Jared out of his parents’ home.
“Oh, are you sure? I mean I had your favorites prepared.”
“What’s taking everyone so long? I’m starving!” Alan called out as he joined the others.
“Well, it seems that Jensen is in favor of taking his alpha home rather than having dinner with us.”
“Is that so?”
“Yes, I think it’s best if we leave. It’s been… been a lot to take in tonight.”
“Wait!” Donna held up her hands. “Just wait while I wrap up some food for you. It’ll only take a moment.” Without waiting for Jensen to answer, she turned and disappeared from the room, leaving Jensen to stare after her in dismay.
“You know how your mother is,” Alan chuckled, clasping Jensen’s shoulder.
Before Jensen could say more, his mother came rushing back into the room, holding a bag full of packed food. “Here you are.” She thrust the bag at Jared and huffed in irritation when he didn’t move. “Honestly, Jensen, you’ll need to work on this one. His manners are atrocious. Maybe you should use that shock feature now to teach him his place.”
“I will not use that on Jared. It’s barbaric.” Jensen grabbed the bag from his mother. “Jared is my alpha and I will deal with this. He has no idea what’s expected of him.” He gave his mother a stern look making sure to get his point across.
“I was only trying to help,” Donna stated, looking at her mate as she wrung her hands together.
“I know dear,” Alan assured her. “But let’s give our son some time to navigate this new situation he’s in.”
“Jared, it’s time for us to leave.” Jensen turned, hoping that Jared would follow him, and started for the front door.
“The alpha will need his belongings and his shoes.” Alan followed Jensen out, stopping at the hall closet to retrieve a duffle bag. Holding it out he waited for Jensen to direct Jared to take the bag.
“Jared, please take your bag,” Jensen instructed. “Where are his shoes?”
“By the front door,” Alan told him, pointing to a pair of flip-flops Jensen hadn’t noticed when he had arrived.
With Jared holding his bag and his shoes on, Jensen bid goodbye to his parents. “Uhm, thank you for the birthday gift,” he said to his parents before leading Jared out to his SUV. Fishing out his key fob, he unlocked the doors and started to get in, only stopping to right himself when Jared remained standing by the passenger door. “I need you to get in so we can go home.” He pointed to the door and then realized that Jared wasn’t looking at him. “Jared, look at me.”
“I’m not permitted to sit in the front seat, mas… Jensen,” Jared stated as he raised his head to meet Jensen’s eyes.
Jensen sighed. “Sorry, guess I have a lot to learn. Are you permitted in the backseat?”
“Yes,” Jared answered, waiting for permission to access the vehicle.
“Please get in the backseat with your bag,” Jensen said and then slid into the front seat, placed the bag of food on the floor of the passenger's seat, the tube of gel, the file, and key on the seat next to him, and started the SUV. He adjusted the rearview mirror so he was able to see Jared and then pulled away from the curb, driving them home in silence. During the drive, he tried not to let his mind wander but it was difficult. He had so many thoughts of how his life would change now that he had Jared. How would his life change? How difficult would it be to now have Jared living with him? He had the room for Jared to live with him, that wasn’t the issue. He owned a three-bedroom, two-story home. But he had never considered having a mate and here he was, now mated with an alpha, one he had never planned for. When he pulled the SUV into his garage, he cut the engine and leaned back against his seat. Looking into the rearview mirror he found that Jared was watching him. He gave Jared a tight smile. “Well, we’re home. Let’s get out and get you settled.” Pushing open the door, he climbed out of the SUV, carrying the bag with him. “Let me put this away and then I’ll show you around.” He led Jared into the kitchen, placed the packed food in the refrigerator, and turned to find Jared standing in the doorway, seeming to fill the entire space.
“This is the kitchen as you can see. Tomorrow we can go through what you like. We’ll make a list so we can go grocery shopping. But if you’re hungry, there’s plenty of food so feel free to help yourself.” Jensen placed the file down on the counter, his fingers running over it as he tried to figure out what to say. “You can put your bag down if you want.” Jensen watched as Jared lowered the bag to the floor, setting it down by his feet, and then clasped his hand behind his back, lowering his head in submission, and averting his eyes. As the silence grew between them, Jensen spoke. “Are you hungry? Would you like something to eat?” Jensen waited for Jared to answer him. When the alpha didn’t he sighed. He refused to get frustrated with Jared knowing this was as new for him as it was for Jared. “Maybe you’d like to just go to bed,” Jensen surmised. “I know I would.” Taking a step toward the doorway he waited for Jared to move out of his way.
Jared forced himself not to flinch when Jensen mentioned going to bed. He knew he had been purchased for the omega. He had been claimed by the omega and was now mated to Jensen. He knew that as an omega, Jensen had needs only an alpha could fulfill and tonight Jensen would be taking him into his bed. He had hoped with the way the omega had acted earlier that maybe he wouldn’t be forced into knotting the omega. It wasn’t like he didn’t find Jensen attractive, he did. He had just hoped for more from the omega. Apparently, he had been wrong. As he followed Jensen, he barely heard what was being said to him over the rush of his own blood in his ears. Nervously he played with the strap of his bag as he forced himself to climb the stairs after the omega who was leading him upstairs.
“This is the shared bathroom,” Jensen explained as he led Jared down the hallway, pointing to a door to his left before walking to another door to his right. “I think you’ll be happy in this bedroom; it’s the bigger of the two.” He chattered on, not noticing that Jared wasn’t really paying attention to what he had been saying. Stepping into the bedroom he flicked the light on so Jared would be able to look around his room and settle in. He moved off to the side to allow Jared entry into the room. “I’m hoping you’ll be comfortable in the bed.” Jensen glanced over at the full-sized bed and then back at Jared. He hadn’t had anyone stay with him in a while and certainly not someone as large as Jared, but he knew the bed was comfortable. He had made sure of that when he had purchased the mattress, wanting anyone who visited to enjoy their stay with him. “I’ll let you get settled. There should be fresh towels in the linen closet in the bathroom. I’m not sure what you brought with you… What they gave you… If you need anything we can add it to the list we make tomorrow.”
He stopped speaking, watching Jared as the alpha looked around the room. He had no idea what was going on in Jared’s mind, what he might be thinking or feeling. This had to be just as awkward for Jared as it was for him. “I just want you to know that I’ll do my best to care for you. This is your home now and I hope you’ll make the best of it, of being claimed by me. You have nothing to worry about.” He pulled the key he had pocketed when he had placed the file down on the kitchen counter and offered it to Jared. When Jared didn’t move to take it from him he placed it down on the dresser. “I’ll just leave this here for you to deal with your, ah… situation.”
Jared stood just inside the door listening to Jensen as he spoke to him. At first, nothing the omega was saying registered with him. He couldn’t hear Jensen’s words over the hammering of his heart. To him, it sounded so loud and he was sure the omega could hear it as well. He swallowed several times in an attempt to calm himself, gripping the strap of his bag as he forced himself to hear what was being said to him. Nothing was making sense. Raising his eyes, he dared to look at Jensen and saw that Jensen was offering him the key to his cock cage. He didn’t move fearing it was a test, one he would fail and then be punished for his actions. When Jensen placed the key down, his eyes ticked to it in longing and then he forced his eyes back to the floor.
Jensen moved to leave and then remembered that he needed to check Jared’s tattoo. “Why don’t you put your bag down and come sit on the bed?”
Stiffly Jared did as Jensen had ordered. Taking a seat on the edge of the bed, he waited for the omega to give him his next command. He felt the bed dip and tried not to react when he felt Jensen next to him.
Climbing onto the bed, Jensen positioned himself behind Jared on his knees and unclasped the leash, letting it drop onto the bed with a slight plop. “I just need to take a look at the tattoo; make sure the area isn’t getting red or swollen and remove the covering.” Gently he placed his hand on Jared’s shoulder. “I’m just going to move your shirt out of the way. I’ll try not to hurt you.” Sliding his hands up under Jared’s shirt he felt the alpha’s warm skin against his fingers as he pushed the material out of his way so he was able to look at the tattooed skin. Gingerly he removed the tape and plastic wrap, exposing the area so he could examine it. He touched the area to feel Jared’s skin temperature. It didn’t feel hot to the touch and the area didn’t look swollen. “Okay, everything looks good,” he said as he lowered the material so Jared’s back was covered. Leaning in closer, he peered at the area where he had placed his claiming bite. The bandage was still covering the bite and he fought the desire to rip it off, exposing his claiming bite for everyone to see. Forcing himself away from Jared he pushed off the bed and took a few steps back. “Are you in any pain?”
Sensing that he actually had to answer the omega’s question, Jared shook his head and then spoke, “No, thank you for your concern… Jensen.”
“Well, if you are, let me know. I have pain medication in my bathroom. My room is the last one at the end of the hall. If you need something, just knock,” Jensen told Jared before walking out of the room and closing the door behind him to give Jared his privacy. Once in the hallway, he stood outside the door he took a deep breath and scrubbed a hand down his face. He was completely out of his element and had no idea what to do but he knew he wouldn’t be able to figure things out that night. With that in mind, he retraced his steps, descending the stairs, to make his way over to the front door and the keypad to the house alarm system where he punched in his code to lock the house up for the night.
He made a final sweep through the kitchen, eyeing the folder he had left on the counter. He knew he should pick it up and read through it but he was suddenly overcome with exhaustion. He felt the pounding in his head intensify and the need to deal with that superseded the desire to read through Jared’s file. It wasn’t like the file wouldn’t be there in the morning he thought to himself as he turned away and made his way back upstairs. He thought about checking on Jared but decided against that in favor of giving the alpha time to himself that night.
Once inside his bedroom, he tossed the fob to Jared’s collar on his nightstand, and then made his way into his en suite to strip out of his clothing and ready himself for bed. Pulling on an old t-shirt and his sleep pants he dropped his dirty clothes into the hamper and then stood at the sink. Looking at himself in the mirror he didn’t see anything he hadn’t seen that morning but so much had changed since he had woken that morning. He was now mated to an alpha, one he had claimed and now owned. The last thing he did before taking out his contacts for the night was to search in his medicine cabinet for the pain medication he kept there.
After taking that, he made his way to his bed and crawled under the covers. With a heavy sigh, he reached over to turn off the lamp on the nightstand he had left on before leaving for his parents’ home that night. He grabbed the fob and rubbed at it with his fingers. He hoped Jared didn’t do anything like trying to leave in the middle of the night. He was confident that he would hear the alarm sounding if any of the doors and windows were open without the code being entered into the alarm control panel. Still fearful of what could happen during the night, Jensen slept with the fob tucked safely under his pillow.
Jared turned to watch the omega as Jensen disappeared from the bedroom leaving him alone. He was stunned by the turn of events, having been sure that the omega wanted to be knotted. That hadn’t happened, nothing he had expected had happened, and he had no idea what to make of that. The female omega that had first purchased him hadn’t wanted him. That was surprising to him; to be bought by one omega only to find out that he was apparently a birthday gift for her omega son. He was actually thankful for that, having no desire to mate with the female; his preference was for a male omega if he had his way, which he knew as an alpha, he had no say in his life.
When he had been brought to the female’s home and met her mate, a male beta, he was still confused as to what they had in store for him. It wasn’t until the female began to drone on about her son and how he would be the perfect birthday gift did he understand that this mated couple wasn’t interested in him for themselves. Then he had feared what plans they had set in place and how their son would react to their surprise. He was sure by Jensen’s reaction that Jensen would reject him and he would be returned to the auction house. That was a fate he hadn’t been looking forward to. A rejected alpha didn’t fare well. But Jensen hadn’t rejected him. Jensen had claimed him, and then rather than take him into his bed as he had expected, Jensen had given him his own bedroom. He had been left the key to unlock the cock cage he was forced to wear. Aside from the claiming bite and being tattooed, Jensen had been kind to him. Jensen had done his best to make the claiming as painless as possible and had even offered him comfort when he had been tattooed. Jensen had offered him food and had actually taken the time to inspect the tattoo to make sure it wasn’t becoming infected. Jensen had even offered to purchase anything that he might need. His head was spinning from all of the events that had transpired in less than twenty-four hours.
As Jared attempted to process all he’d been through, he finally allowed his mind to drift to his parents, uninterrupted for the first time in years. He missed them terribly, but he was thankful for the time he’d been able to have with them. His omega mother, Sharon, had claimed his alpha father in an arranged ceremony soon after they’d presented. Their relationship was also different from the status quo because they’d mated for love. Their families had known each other a long time and to their fortunes, they’d each had children who had grown up compatible as friends. It had already been assumed that no matter their presentations, little Jerry and Sherri were going to end up together. Even when Gerald presented as alpha, Sharon and her family still accepted him.
Sharon had always told Jared that she’d been extremely lucky to have known such an amazing alpha. She never quite believed in the “way things were” because to her, two wrongs didn’t cancel each other out and make things right. The enslavement of alphas was far too extreme in her eyes, knowing the history of what omegas had suffered through when they were the marginalized part of the population.
Jared’s parents raised him to be sweet, fair, open-minded, and generous. He was naturally caring, gentle, and protective, so they had hopes he would present as omega if only so he wouldn’t be subjected to the harsh treatment that alphas were now. They had no individual rights, they were treated as though they were nothing more than dangerous, violently aggressive knotheads that required strict control. They were thought of as mindless brutes that were only good for manual labor, heat assistance, and breeding stock. Jared’s parents didn’t see the point of treating anyone that way, let alone their own son.
When Jared presented as alpha at age thirteen, Sharon and Gerald had made the decision to hide his status and protect him as much as they could. Mostly, it was to make sure Jared had consistency in his life as long as possible. Jared thrived in school and they couldn’t bear to see that taken from him. They educated him like every other kid, admitting him in high school as a beta. There must have been others out in the world doing the same thing because they managed to get black market scent blockers that fooled everyone. Sharon and Gerald were excited and proud when Jared graduated and got accepted to college.
Jared excelled in his studies and was planning to graduate after his final semester. He’d been at home for the winter holiday break when he received a letter informing him that he had been expelled. His roommate had filed a complaint that he had discovered he’d been sharing his dorm room with an alpha in hiding. Apparently, the young man had been cleaning their room with Jared before leaving for the holidays and he’d found an empty packet of the scent blockers Jared was using. Normally, Jared was better at discarding the packages, but semester finals must have had him distracted. His roommate hadn’t even bothered confronting him to ask if the black market contraband was his.
The university had barely investigated the accusation and inconspicuously closed the matter; the decision to expel him was made without giving him a chance to defend himself. The college admissions and administration board filed a report to the authorities. The school did not want itself associated with any scandal, especially in relation to one of its most successful students. Nor did they want to have to admit that there was an alpha that had outdone a majority of their omega student body. It was advised that he prepare to be taken into custody to be committed to their local Alpha Training Center without incident. This was as much of a warning as he would receive.
His parents were devastated about losing their only son. They wanted to hide him away from the authorities, grateful that the school had sent notice if only because Jared’s grades helped to increase the school’s statistics. Jared was so bright and intelligent, he deserved a chance at a life where he wasn’t automatically indentured just because of his biology. While they began to plan for a life on the run, Jared’s mind was also working on overdrive.
Jared’s primary motivation was to protect his parents. The scent blockers they’d given him to shield him from detection at school were extremely illegal. He didn’t want to have to worry about them being imprisoned or punished, even if he may never get to see them again. He helped them to clear away any evidence that they were accomplices in hiding his status, and then they spent as much of the holiday as a family as they could. He let them think that they would escape with him to a new place and new opportunities.
He made sure his parents’ smiles were the last things he saw and his was theirs when they all departed for bed. It was a bittersweet time for Jared, but he would rather die than see his parents suffer for trying to give him a chance at a life where he would be treated as a person. He knew he would put up a hell of a fight if he waited to be taken. He had to make sure his parents were not subjected to watching while he was taken away to be trained to be a pack mule, a human dildo, or an insemination machine.
He had no idea other than the research he’d done at school what awaited him, but he was young and strong. He could accept his station in life as a man as long as he had the memory of his parents’ smiles.
Late in the night, when the house was still and Sharon and Gerald were well asleep, Jared slipped away. He knew where the nearest ATC was and he knew it would take him all night on foot, but he decided the run would help him settle his mind. It would feel like closing the book on this life and doing it his way for the last time.
Jared arrived at the ATC just as the sun was rising at his back. He stopped to watch the sky light afire with blinding reds and golds before he turned toward the massive, stark, sterile-looking building. As he approached, he was met by a couple of serious-looking beta orderlies. They stopped short as they scented the air, pulled out tasers, and yelled at Jared to freeze, get down on his knees, and clasp his hands together behind his head. That meant that the blockers he’d last taken had worn off, probably sweated out faster since he’d run most of the way. He’d made certain not to bring any of his belongings aside from his identification and a bottle of water. He’d assumed that anything that brought him comfort would be confiscated anyway. His parents would hopefully keep all of his stuff. He was tired, achy, and hungry and did his best to make himself look smaller and non-combative as he complied.
One of the orderlies came forward while the other spoke into a radio, “Inform the staff we have incoming… An alpha, sir… Looks like it just walked here on its own… Yes, sir, we’re checking its identification… Yes, sir, we have a collar ready… Yes, sir, we will approach with caution and will prep it for check-in.”
The orderly closest to Jared said, “State your name, alpha.”
“Jared, Jared Padalecki, sir.” He slowly reached one hand into his pocket and pulled out his ID card to give to the man, Isaac according to his name tag.
“Padalecki, alpha male, age twenty-two, six-foot-five,” Isaac read from the ID to the man with the radio, Oscar. It droned back. Oscar stated, “Late discovery, was set to be remanded into custody January fifth. Looks like he’s a couple of days early. Too bad, apparently the collection officers were really looking forward to a chase. Especially with a specimen like this; I can imagine the fight he could put up.” He looked at Jared. “So what happened? Was pretending to be civilized a bit too much for you, knothead? Did you finally get caught attacking an omega?”
“Os, easy, man. I haven’t collared it yet. Don’t go making it angry,” Isaac said, exasperated. “Alright, let’s get you checked in.” He set the collar about Jared’s neck and locked in the security code. The collar had a loop on the front, the coded lock on the back, and a barcode on the side. He scanned the barcode and activated it. This was just a generic intake collar, usually placed after a bit of a struggle and at worst, the need to use a cattle prod or a taser. The security staff had these, but they were more often used by collection agents. Jared just stayed still until told to move. Isaac instructed him that the intake collar did have a remote corrective shock that would be used if there was any trouble.
As they escorted him into the building, they led him to the intake desk where they tethered him by the loop on the collar. Oscar also attached shackles to his wrists and ankles. The desk was fortified with plexiglass and bars and had just a small round metal screen to speak through and a small space to pass papers. They reported their information to the intake nurse, and once they were finished, they left to go back to their stations. As a file was created for Jared, he received what looked like a hospital bracelet with a code on it. He noticed his name was nowhere to be seen. He realized that at this point, he was just a numbered alpha to anyone he came in contact with.
A plainly dressed man in a lab coat approached Jared and the intake desk. The nurse handed him Jared’s paperwork on a clipboard. Then, he unclipped the tether from the desk and started walking, tugging Jared behind him like a dog on a leash. He led Jared down a long secluded hall and they passed by a room where there were some menacing chairs with straps and strange machinery attached. They ended up in a room that looked like the shower room he avoided in high school. It was empty, but Jared knew from history books that rooms like this were often full of the collection officers’ quota roundups. They were often newly presented alpha teens. Jared was relieved he had not been placed with children; he couldn’t bear the thought. The man removed the metal shackles and the leash and spoke for the first time.
“Wha-” Jared began but then was brought to his knees by a blinding pain in his neck. Apparently, there was no room for questions. The man pulled a pair of razor-sharp scissors from his lab coat pocket.
“Strip or the clothing will be cut away.”
Jared caught his breath and then tried to move as quickly as possible to conform. Once he was done, he was ordered to place his hands on two round panels on the wall. He stood, naked, as water jets pelted him from seemingly every angle. The water was barely lukewarm, but heat flared throughout his face when he felt soapy sponges cursorily and clinically cleaning his body. He tried not to think too much about why alphas were not even allowed the dignity of cleansing themselves.
Once every bit of him was washed and rinsed, including his hair, the water jets were replaced by fans to help him dry faster. He was given a medical gown and instructed to wear it with the ties in front. Then, the shackles and leash were replaced and he was led into the room with the chairs. They reminded Jared of dental examination chairs, but there was much more attached to them. He saw straps on the headrest, armrests, and for the torso and legs. He saw an assortment of lights and machines. He also noticed some equipment on a tray that made his blood freeze in his veins. Jared was weighed, measured, palpated, and examined. Then he was ordered to remove the gown as the man removed his shackles.
“Sit.” The man ordered. For the first time, Jared felt fear instead of the conviction that had carried him here. He sat in the chair and was unable to control his trembling as he was strapped in and sensors were placed on his skin to monitor his vital signs. He had goosebumps from the chill of the paper-like covering on the leather chair. The man with the lab coat then went out of Jared’s sight. That was when he decided to say more than a one-word order.
He advised Jared that he would be receiving an alpha brand via Thermal Cauterization. He explained that prior to that, he would take a sample of Jared’s blood and he would administer a series of shots; antibiotics, anti-virals, and a tetanus shot to speed the healing and prevent infection of his branding. He was also going to place a chastity apparatus on Jared which would allow regular bodily functions, but prevent erections. Once that was locked into place, a semen sample would also be taken.
“You will wear it at all times, until and unless you are tasked with heat relief and/or breeding.” The man finally placed himself within Jared’s field of vision to ask, “Do you understand the procedures I have explained to you?”
It was not a question of consent, it was merely procedural to make sure there was as little stress placed on the alpha as possible. Thrashing while strapped to the chair could be harmful to both the alpha and the technician. Jared’s mind was reeling. He’d known about the branding from teachings at school and from his father. But since Gerald hadn’t been taken into a training center, there was plenty Jared hadn’t been prepared for. His body convulsed and he grunted in pain as he received yet another shock from the collar around his neck.
“Y-yes, sir,” he shuddered out when he was able to speak.
“One of the things you will learn in your training is better timing and manners. You will only speak when addressed, and you will respond promptly.”
“Yes, sir.” Jared wasn’t chancing getting shocked again for thinking longer than a couple of seconds. He wasn’t being asked questions that required thought. He was being tested on his comprehension, acquiescence, and promptness to comply.
“Let’s begin. You may lose consciousness during the branding.”
The blood sample was taken from Jared’s right arm first and his forearm was shaved and sterilized. Then injections were administered on his left. Then the Thermal Cautery Unit was programmed to place the alpha brand on his forearm. The pain was excruciating and he was thankful that he did pass out. When he regained consciousness, his right forearm was bandaged, both arms were sore, and he’d been caged. Jared considered it a small blessing for him that he hadn’t been required to be awake for that.
He was finally unstrapped from the hideous chair, re-dressed in the medical gown, and led to a room with a cot and a toilet. He was brought something to eat by an orderly and allowed to rest. The next day, he was brought back to the room with the chairs because they hadn’t been able to collect the final sample while he was unconscious and they couldn’t risk doing it when he woke up due to his heart rate being too high.
The procedure was done as clinically as possible with minimal physical contact. Alphas were thought to be extremely volatile during ruts, so the advances of medical science discovered that TENS electro-stimulation was the least invasive way to gather a small sample from an alpha without throwing the subject into a rut. It was also least traumatic to the younger, newly presented alphas brought in for training. The sample was tested to determine fertility. It was one of the selling points for omegas looking to mate or breed.
Once the procedure was complete for Jared, he was brought back to his cell to rest. The coming days would be spent in training to be a proper, civilized servant in whatever role for which he ended up being purchased. Jared spent the next three months learning to be attentive and complicit to omegas and also training to be a heavy laborer just in case he ended up being sold to one of the factories, corporations, or knot-houses. A marketing file had been created for him with photos showing the assets and physical attributes that the Center had hoped would get him sold quickly. Due to his age, there was the stigma that he would be a difficult and belligerent alpha, and therefore hard to sell. Jared hadn’t ever wanted to be sold into sexual slavery. It seemed that he was fortunate enough to have been purchased by the Ackles for their son; he appeared to be kind, different.
Slowly, Jensen shifted under the familiar weight of his comforter, not wanting to let go of the relaxing sleep he was waking from. All too soon reality hit him as the remembrance of what transpired the night before crashed in on him. With his eyes popping open, he sat up quickly, heart hammering in his chest at the thought that he now owned an alpha. Scrubbing his hands down his face he groaned. Just what the hell was he going to do? He didn’t know the first thing about owning an alpha. Sure, he knew the basics of their biology. Every child was taught that in class; the difference between omegas, betas, and alphas, but no one taught the subject of owning another human being in school. It wasn’t a pleasant subject as far as he was concerned. He didn’t like the way society treated alphas, and couldn’t seem to fathom the role society had all but shoved an alpha into. He definitely didn’t like the idea of slavery - in any fashion. You could dress it up and call it what you wanted but in the end, it all boiled down to one thing - slavery. And now, for lack of anything better to actually call it, he had his own alpha slave. No, he would not treat Jared as a slave. He would do his best to treat Jared as his equal. This was his home and his rules, and they would live like that under his roof, society be damned!
With that thought in mind, he pushed aside the warmth of his bed and forced himself up. With a longing look to his bed which beckoned for his return, he wandered into the en suite to freshen up before making his way downstairs for a much-needed cup of coffee. Passing by Jared’s bedroom door, he paused for a moment outside the closed door wondering if he should knock and check to see how the alpha was settling in. Thinking better of disturbing Jared, he padded quietly down the hall, descending the stairs, and walked into the kitchen to set about brewing his first of what he supposed would be a couple of cups of the strong, black brew he drank.
Owning his own coffee shop, he was able to set his own schedule which he was thankful for. Being an omega who had to deal with heats wasn’t always pleasant. He was able to work his schedule around them so as to not inconvenience his staff. Now, he would have to figure out how to adjust to having Jared in tow since apparently, he couldn’t leave Jared home alone. Things were definitely going to change for him now.
He had always shied away from being around alphas, having seen how other omegas treated them. He didn’t particularly care for the way an alpha was led around by a leash. No one he knew had an alpha slave. What would his friends think of him, he wondered when they discovered he had an alpha. He was pulled from his thoughts when he heard the coffee maker beeping indicating that he could have his first cup of the dark roasted brew he loved. Grabbing a mug, he poured himself a steaming cup and placed it on the table. He was about to sit down when he eyed the folder still on the counter where he had left it last night. Drawing in a breath, he let it out before making his way over to grab the file. Feeling apprehensive, he sat down, with the file in front of himself, not wanting to open it but knew he needed to. He needed to know what or who he was dealing with. He had no background information on Jared aside from the fact that Jared was an alpha. Did Jared have a criminal record? Did the auction house disclose that information? Had his parents, in their haste to procure an alpha for him, even asked about Jared’s history? He raised his gaze to the ceiling trying to determine if Jared was up and moving around. Not hearing any movement from above him, he returned his gaze to the file still sitting in front of him. “I guess it’s now or never,” he muttered to himself. Grabbing his coffee to take a sip, he flipped the file open and began to read:
Jared Tristan Padalecki, age: 22. Date of birth: July 19. Designation: Alpha. Taken into custody: December 28th.
Born to Sharon (omega) and Gerald (alpha) Padalecki.
So Jared hadn’t been taken into custody when he had first presented. That was interesting, Jensen thought to himself. He flipped through a few more pages, stopping when he noticed that Jared was college-educated. That was extremely rare. In fact, it was almost never heard of. He couldn’t recall hearing of an alpha-friendly college.
Inside the file folder was an envelope that was taped closed. Frowning at it, he turned it over and pulled the tape off. Opening the flap, he peered inside to see what looked like pictures. Dumping them out he stared at what had fallen out - pictures of Jared. Each picture depicted Jared in various states of being undressed. These were clearly used to entice an omega into purchasing Jared. He blushed and quickly replaced the pictures in the envelope when he came to the last picture of Jared. The alpha was completely naked and on display. The only thought that crossed his mind was that Jared was definitely an alpha. Before he could give more thought to the pictures and what he had just viewed, his cell phone beeped, blessedly pulling his attention away from the images of Jared, if only for a moment.
He gave an eye roll when he saw Christian’s name flash across the screen. Christian Kane was not only the manager of Perk Up, the coffee shop he owned but also an omega and his best friend. “Chris,” he said into the phone. His voice sounded rough from sleep.
“Morning, so how did last night with the family go?” Chris inquired. Jensen had invited him to go along but he had wisely declined. Jensen's parents were loving and kind, if not a bit overbearing at times. Well, Jensen's mother was overbearing. She meant well like all mothers did but she had a tendency to forget that the cord had been cut when Jensen had been born.
“Ugh,” was Jensen's first response.
“That good, huh?” Chris responded with a chuckle.
“Were you in on it? Did you know… Is that why you oh so ever politely refused to come…”
“What are you talking about?”
“Last night… Did you know what my parents were planning to do? So help me Chris, if you knew, not only will I fire you, I'll kick your ass!”
“Whoa there, Jensen, you need to settle down and start making sense,” Chris responded hotly. “What are you talking about?”
“My parents… What they got me for my birthday. You didn't know? You weren't in on it?”
“I have no idea what you're talking about.”
“They got me an alpha…”
“Shit… No, wait, you're fucking with me.” When Jensen didn't respond to him, Chris piped up, “Are you serious? Man, that's… that’s fucked up is what that is.”
“Tell me about it.” Jensen gave a humorless laugh. “They were so pleased with themselves. You should have seen their smiles. My mother was practically bouncing with joy.”
“What did you do?” Chris knew how Jensen felt about owning an alpha. Jensen bristled whenever he saw an omega with a leashed alpha in tow in the shop. At first, when Jensen had opened Perk Up, he had wanted to ban any omega from entering who had an alpha slave with them. He had reasoned with Jensen; it was how their society was, and while they might not like it, they weren't likely to change the status quo anytime soon. Plus, in order to run a successful business, Jensen needed as many paying customers to walk through his door as possible. Jensen had relented on the idea of banning in favor of keeping the shop open and retreated to the back to “check on the inventory” or his office whenever an omega with his or her alpha slave came in. He did make sure that while an alpha was in his shop, they were treated fairly and were allowed to sit on a chair instead of being made to kneel on the hard floor or even a cushion. Jensen was unrelenting with that decision, one that was adhered to by his staff which consisted of omegas and betas.
“What could I do?” Jensen sighed heavily, running his free hand down his face. “I'm now the proud owner of my very own alpha slave,” he said sarcastically and then fought down the bile threatening to rise from his stomach.
“Holy shit!” Chris blurted out. “So, what's this alpha like?”
“I have no idea. It wasn't like Jared and I really got a chance to know each other.”
“What, too busy getting knotted by him?” Chris chuckled at his own joke.
“No!” Jensen barked into the phone. “I claimed him, that's all. It was either that or return him to the auction house. I couldn't do that to him. You know how an alpha gets treated. He was slated to be sold to an alpha-for-hire service if no one purchased him. At least with me claiming him he doesn't have to worry about being forced into a life of servitude. My mother apparently thought he was perfect for me and that he can not only help me through my heats but he can sire my future pups. Can you believe it?”
“So what, you're not gonna…”
“Use him? No. I'm going to give him a home. One he won't be turned away from or have to fear that all he's here for is to service an omega. He deserves to be safe. Did you know that those collars can be used to shock an alpha into compliance?”
“Yeah, there's all kinds of fun facts I'm learning now that I have my own alpha slave.”
“Really, do I want to know?” Chris was intrigued, being unmated himself.
“No, no you don’t,” Jensen sighed and took a sip of his coffee. “I’ll spare you the details right now.”
“Will you be in today or are you still planning on taking the day off? I can always stop over after I close the shop today.”
“I appreciate the offer but I think it’s best if I take the time to get to know Jared.”
“What do you know about him?”
“Just that he’s four years younger than me.” Jensen didn’t elaborate any more than that. He had a suspicion that there was more to Jared’s story than what was in his file and he wanted to hear it from Jared rather than reading anymore. “I’m gonna let you go. I’ve got a few things to take care of…”
“If you need me, I’m just a call away. Take care of yourself.”
“Thanks, I’ll talk to you later.” Ending the call, Jensen placed his phone down on the table and gathered up the file together. Jensen closed the file and realized with how silent the house was that Jared still hadn’t made a move from his room. Jensen figured out with a jolt that he would probably think he needed permission to come and get breakfast. The man was probably starved. He put Jared’s file away and went back upstairs to see if he could tell whether he was finally at least awake. If he was, then Jared could join him for breakfast. He was determined to treat the man as an equal in his home.
He reached Jared’s room and listened for a moment. He thought he heard signs of movement, so he softly knocked on the door. “Jared? Are you awake?”
Jared replied from behind the closed door, “Yes, Jensen.”
Jensen opened the door. As he walked in, the scent of sleep-warm alpha wafted by him out into the hall. Jensen found it pleasant, if also strange. He hadn’t often had people stay overnight, but when he did, there was never anything stronger than his scent in his home. In fact, when he went to work and saw omegas with their alphas there was never anything noticeably overpowering about their scents. Maybe it was just the fact that the room had been closed all night.
“I noticed you hadn’t come down to eat, are you hungry?”
Before Jared could reply his stomach answered the question for him. “I’m sorry. I was trained that alphas are summoned to meals, especially if they’re not assigned to prepare them.”
“My, uhm, my parents…” Jared studied his hands with a sad look, then made a quick effort to recover. “Yes, I can. The training at the ATC was very thorough.”
Jensen caught the correction and was glad that he decided to spend the day figuring things out. He had a lot of questions for the alpha. But first, he didn’t want him to just sit here hungry. “Well, I only had coffee. Let’s head downstairs and have some breakfast.”
“Yes, Jensen. Is there anything in particular that you want to eat?”
“Oh, Jared no, I mean, you don’t have to cook. It wasn’t an order.” Jensen walked out of the room with Jared right on his heels.
As they descended the stairs, Jared said, “I understand, if you prefer I can kneel next to the table and wait.”
Jensen nearly tripped over his own feet when he heard that. “What?! No! That’s not what I meant and I, uh, don’t have the equipment for that type of thing. You know what? If you want to make breakfast, that’s great. While we’re eating, it’ll give us a chance to talk about things.”
Jensen showed Jared around the kitchen and then sat down at the table as the alpha gathered what he needed to make french toast, scrambled eggs, bacon, and he even pulled some oranges and whipping cream out of the fridge.
As Jared worked, moving as if he had the layout of the kitchen memorized already, Jensen couldn’t help being captivated. Jared looked confident, yet still fuzzy from sleep with his long, dark mane unkempt and a bit fluffy. He was graceful in his movements and his threadbare t-shirt hid nothing as it stretched over his large frame. He must have grown into it because Jensen could see just about every muscle in Jared’s back and shoulders.
Watching the powerful muscle shift under Jared’s skin, Jensen had to force his eyes off of the alpha but not before his mind wandered, if only for a moment, wondering what it would be like to latch onto Jared’s muscular body. Would Jared let him dig his fingers into his shoulders while Jared held him down? Would Jared take him in the traditional breeding style - with him on his hands and knees? And where the hell had that thought come from? There was no way that would ever happen. No, that could never happen. He wouldn’t allow that. He had a way to take the edge off if and when he needed it, and he would continue to make do with using the inflatable knot he had purchased to help get him through his heats. Besides, he was taking his suppressants faithfully. They didn’t stop his heats from coming, not completely, but they did help take the edge off them.
Jensen cleared his throat, trying to refocus as Jared finished preparing the food and brought their plates to the table. “Uh, so how did you sleep? I know that the first night in a strange place isn’t easy.” The food looked and smelled amazing and there was fresh orange juice and Jared made whipped cream. He waited for Jensen to start eating first despite Jensen remembering hearing his stomach growl moments ago.
“I slept very well. Thank you.” He was still so quiet. Jensen guessed it must have been a result of his time at the alpha center. He hoped he wasn’t going to have to order Jared to speak to him just so he could get to know him better. Jensen knew it might take some time, but he really wanted the alpha to feel as free as he could, at least in this house.
As they ate, Jensen asked Jared about simple things like his favorite color, what kinds of foods he liked. He complimented him on how good breakfast was and told him that he wasn’t expecting Jared to cook all the time, but he looked forward to seeing what else he could cook. This ended up both making Jared more comfortable and giving Jensen the opening he needed to start asking the more personal questions he was curious about.
“Listen, Jared, I heard you start to mention your parents when we were upstairs, and I know from your file that your case was pretty rare. Were you close to them?”
Jared looked down at his nearly empty plate. “We were close. They protected me as long as they could and then, I had to protect them. I didn’t allow myself to say goodbye. I miss them so much.”
“What do you mean, you didn’t allow yourself to say goodbye? Jared, how did you end up at the ATC after making it all the way to college?”
Jared cleared his throat. “That’s… a long story, Jensen.”
“Well, I do need to check your tattoo and change the bandage. Why don’t we clean up in here, and take care of that while you take as much time as you need? And you can ask me questions too. I think we should get to know each other since we’re living together.” Jared nodded with a contemplative look.
Cleanup didn’t take long because Jared cleaned as he cooked. He told Jensen his story, peppering in questions of his own now and then when something got a bit too painful. The more Jared talked, the more he relaxed and the stronger Jensen felt about Jared’s situation. “Jared, if you could, would you want to see your parents again?”
“I…” a look of hope crossed his face for a split second, then vanished. “No, I can’t let them see what I became. It would break their hearts. I’m so ashamed-”
“No, don’t be ashamed. You protected your parents, not only from them being on the run for the rest of their lives or having to witness you being taken, you saved them from the penalties they would have had to face for what they did for you. That was brave.”
“I just can’t, Jensen. I am grateful that your parents brought me to you. I know where I would be if not for that, and I know you mean well, but please don’t…” He made a quick dash for his bathroom and closed himself in. Jensen sighed but decided to give him some space for the rest of the day. Later, Jensen made both lunch and dinner and brought Jared’s up to his room before going about his business. He wanted to apologize but honestly was afraid of making things worse somehow and alienating Jared even more. Plus, he started feeling fatigued and decided to turn in early.
The next morning, Jensen awoke to amazing smells coming from his kitchen. He made it downstairs just in time to see Jared pouring coffee for the both of them at the fully set and loaded table. Jared had his back to him and Jensen was frozen for a moment taking in the broad expanse of well-worked muscle. As loose and comfortable as Jared’s t-shirt was, the threadbare fabric was still straining at his shoulders. Jensen felt his mouth water, deciding to blame it on the delicious-looking spread on the table.
Jared had stalled in his movements as well, waiting to see if his apologetic gesture would be praised or if maybe he’d angered Jensen by coming down before him. Not only had he heard him coming down the steps, but he’d also smelled Jensen’s sleep-warm, woodsy scent. There was an almost caramelized hint to it, like the deep, rich aroma of bourbon. It was calm but had an edge to it that Jared wasn’t sure whether it was nervousness or agitation.
Jared had been trained on many rules of etiquette, but those were generalizations and Jensen so far hadn’t really been acting the way he’d feared, the way a typical omega would be likely to act toward him. Jensen had given him his own room, and the key to his cage. So far, he’d been extremely careful to only remove it at night for comfort while he slept. He’d gotten so used to wearing it, and really hadn’t had any issues with uncontrolled arousal since the Center had stopped “testing” him, that he’d been able to replace it each morning.
Them taking samples from him on a consistent basis was one of the worst experiences, but they always stopped taking them the week before Market Day, or so he’d been told. When the Ackles had discovered him, it was the day before he was going to be put out on Market Day with other potentials. He’d been terrified of the thought of being put up with much younger alphas and inspected, then not chosen and possibly sold to a workhouse or worse, to a heat relief station.
As afraid as he’d been to go home with the Ackles and whatever fate awaited him there, he was relieved to have missed Market Day. Now, he finds himself living with an omega that surprises him daily with his actions, his polite nature, and his desire to actually talk to Jared and find out about him. He felt awful when he asked Jensen not to seek out his parents. He just couldn’t help the flood of emotions that came with Jensen giving him hope that he’d see them again. Then he remembered his situation and felt so ashamed. How would his parents ever want to see him again? He’d snuck out on them and gave himself up to so much invasive humiliation, there was no way he’d be able to look into his parent’s eyes, especially his father’s.
Jensen broke the silence and Jared’s reverie. “Wow, Jared this is a really beautiful table spread; the food looks delicious.”
Jared’s shoulders relaxed, minutely, but Jensen noticed. “Thank you, Jensen.” As he pulled out Jensen’s chair for him, he said, “I thought maybe I should apologize for my behavior yesterday. If my omega desires to reunite me with my parents, I can, and should, do nothing but acquiesce. It just hadn’t occurred to me that maybe you wanted me to wait to be summoned.”
Jensen understood the reason for Jared’s tension and he relaxed as well as he sat down. “Okay, first, you have nothing to apologize for, I overstepped on a sensitive subject and maybe it’s just too soon. Second, this house is your home too now, so you don’t have to wait for me to summon you. You are not a slave, not in this house.”
Jared, seated and listening, lowered his head and studied his hands. He wasn’t sure what to do with that information. While relieved that he didn’t do anything wrong, he was still required to wear a behavior collar, and he made sure that his cage was on despite Jensen leaving him with the key because he hadn’t yet made his stance clear about whether or not he wanted him to provide heat assistance. Jared was relieved that he wasn’t being forced to do anything, but just what was Jensen keeping him around for if he wasn’t expecting him to do some kind of work? How could Jensen expect him to feel like an equal when that wasn’t very realistic with the way the world was for alphas?
“Alright, then. Uhm, thank you, Jensen.” He began to slowly eat, and then looked cautiously at the man across from him. “Can I ask you something?”
Focusing on his food, Jensen swallowed and replied, “Of course. This is gonna be an adjustment for us both, so it will be better if we can communicate. I’m hoping we can be comfortable with each other.”
“Well, I really appreciate your charity. I just… I’m trying to make sure I do my part here. You were very kind to claim me and allow me to stay here, and I just feel a little lost since you don’t seem to have any expectations of me. I understand that you weren’t… that your parents… that I’m not what you...” Jared took a deep breath and cleared his throat, trying to find the right words, “that this is an unexpected situation for us both, but what exactly do you expect from me? From this arrangement?”
Jensen looked confused for a moment, and then he gasped and hung his head in his hands as he groaned. “Aw man, I am such an idiot. I never really thought about any of this from your point of view. Jared, this isn’t charity. I just… I really don’t see things the way most people see them. I think the way alphas are treated is cruel, and it’s not that you aren’t what I wanted. I never wanted to have an alpha as a slave, period. I just thought maybe you’d be better off with me than wherever you might end up if you got returned. I want you to know that I don’t expect anything from you. I only intend to treat you like a person.”
Jared looked on, effectively speechless. He never thought he would meet someone aside from his parents who felt this way about the way alphas were treated, and definitely not as strongly as Jensen seemed to feel. And he didn’t stop there.
“I hate that collar on you, you know that? I’ve wanted to remove it since we got home, but -and I’m ashamed to admit it- I guess I’m not exempt from the stigmas my parents tried to raise me with. I know it’s the law in public, but seriously, I don’t get it. I realized that you’re not anywhere near the unpredictable, aggressive, or violent animal that society paints alphas to be pretty quick. I doubt you’re gonna be tearing the house up trying to mount me or anything. Plus, it’s not exactly like you expected to be paired with me either. I mean, you had almost a whole other life before the Center; there could be someone special that you never got the chance to be with-”
“Jensen?” Jared caught Jensen’s gaze and that seemed to break him out of whatever track he was on. As he looked into Jensen’s eyes, he noticed they were glassy, a bit unfocused. Jensen quickly looked down at his plate.
“Sorry, I’m rambling. I guess what I’m trying to say is you and the Center, that’s done. I don’t expect you to wait for me to summon you like some dog. I would never force you to service me in any way. I certainly will never use any kind of archaic, medieval torture to punish you. Okay?”
“Uh, yeah... yes. Alright, Jensen.” Jared couldn’t put his finger on it, but something was off with Jensen. Even though they’d both calmed down, Jensen’s scent still had an undercurrent of discomfort.
He finished his last bite and stood up. “Alright, great. I, um, I’m gonna go hit the shower and try to get ready for work.” He gestured toward Jared’s neck. “I could remove the collar for you before I go, at least while we’re in the house.”
“Oh, uh you know what? It’s fine for now. I understand how you feel about it and I appreciate that so much, but I just think maybe I should keep it on for now. Go ahead, I’ll take care of the dishes.” Jared had noticed earlier that the remote trigger for the collar had remained on the counter in the same spot as it was yesterday, so he was pretty sure Jensen had no intention to use it. He also didn’t want to take any chances of messing up and maybe not having the collar on when Jensen had company.
“Well, as long as you’re comfortable. See? You’re already making choices for yourself.” He gave a quick smile that didn’t meet his eyes and disappeared up the stairs.
Jared felt a warring urge to both give Jensen some space and also investigate the hint of discomfort he sensed. The Center had instilled in him that he was never to pursue an omega master, that he was only to tend to one’s needs when summoned. But Jared had also been taught by his parents to care about the wellbeing of others. That was something that hadn’t ever been beaten or indoctrinated out of him. And the more he got to know Jensen and trust him, the more protective of him he felt.
After a few moments of hesitation, he found himself heading up the stairs. He got to the top when he could hear Jensen’s voice sounding desperate. He went closer to the door to knock and ask Jensen if there was something wrong and if he could help him, but he stopped in his tracks when he heard Jensen say his name.
Jensen was talking to someone named Chris about him. About the promise he’d made him to never force Jared into servicing him. Jared felt himself bristle at the thought of Jensen speaking to another, wondering if this was someone Jensen was intimate with before his mind settled, reminding him that he’d briefly met Chris the one time Jensen had left the house with him. Jensen had taken him shopping, as he’d offered, and to the coffee shop, Jensen owned. Chris was an omega and Jensen’s best friend if he was remembering correctly. The last thing he heard before tearing himself away from the door was, “Look, I appreciate your unsolicited advice but I won’t put that on Jared. We may be mated but…”
Jared quickly and silently backed away and went back down the stairs. He shouldn’t be eavesdropping anyway. But why was Jensen’s decision causing him so much distress? “We may be mated but…” Did that mean Jensen didn’t want him? Was that the reason for him making such a promise? The strain in Jensen’s voice was making Jared nervous.
Jared decided to try to wait for Jensen to come back down. Maybe he just needed some time to himself and he was just venting to a friend. It definitely wouldn’t be good if he barged in without permission and started asking questions. It was bad enough that alphas carried the stigma of being uncontrollable beasts. Jared would be devastated if this man who basically was trying to separate Jared from the world of alpha slavery as much as possible had any reason to associate him with that stigma.
He needed to do something else and redirect his focus. As his breathing settled to an even in and out succession, and his mind cleared from any thoughts, he realized he’d remembered right, Chris was Jensen’s friend and employee. He still felt an underlying current of possession over Jensen, as unfamiliar and unwarranted as it was, because Jensen wasn’t his, not really. After cleaning up the kitchen, Jared went to the living room where Jensen had a couple of bookshelves with some interesting titles that he’d collected. Jensen had told him before that he was free to read whatever he wanted, so Jared grabbed one and went back to the kitchen to pour himself a fresh cup of coffee.
After a few moments, Jared heard Jensen's footsteps descending the stairs. He wasn’t in the same clothes he had on when he came down for breakfast, but he wasn’t dressed up either. Had he decided that he wasn’t going to work after all?
Jensen made it to his room and closed the door before he was panting, flushed, and beginning to ache. He shut his eyes and leaned against the door, taking several deep breaths. He recognized the symptoms, but things were progressing much faster than usual. This wasn’t good. He couldn’t focus. This was why he was rambling on about things Jared didn’t need to worry about, and why he’d been so fatigued the night before. He didn’t mean to be short with Jared, but he had to distance himself before his scent altered any further. There was no way he was going to burden Jared with this after he just promised him he wouldn’t.
Jensen whimpered and then bit down on his bottom lip to stop any more noises from slipping past his lips. He could feel his skin beginning to tingle. Soon, there would be an uncontrollable burning; one he wouldn't be able to stop. He wasn’t due for his heat to hit for at least another week if not two but apparently having an alpha living with him, 24/7, had disrupted his cycle. He splashed cold water on his face and then looked at himself in the mirror. He could see the flush on his normally pale cheeks making his freckles more pronounced. His eyes were red-rimmed and bloodshot, belying his burgeoning heat. He raised a hand to his forehead, rubbing the skin between his eyes as he sighed. “This can’t be happening,” he muttered to his reflection. What was he going to do? Really, there was only one thing he could do. He’d need to make arrangements for Chris to take over the coverage of his shop and he’d need to lock himself away in his room. It wasn’t like he hadn’t suffered through a heat alone before; he had the means to take care of himself, he just wasn’t sure how this heat was going to play out with having an alpha in his home. The one thing he knew for sure was there was no way in hell he was going to ask Jared to help him through his heat. He had made the promise to Jared that he had a home, one where he would be safe and not expected to service him or any other omega. He wouldn’t go back on that promise, not even if it was to alleviate his own heat symptoms.
He made his way from the bathroom to his bed. Eyeing it, he desperately wanted to crawl back under the covers and sleep until his heat passed. Knowing that wasn’t an option he grabbed his phone from his nightstand and pulled up Chris’ contact information and hit the call button. He paced back and forth as he waited for Chris to pick up his call. “Come on, answer,” he muttered, annoyed that Chris hadn’t picked up on the first ring. He was about to hang up when he heard Chris’ groggy-sounding voice. “It’s about time!” he barked out.
“Well, someone’s cranky. And good morning to you, sunshine,” Chris snarked. “What crawled up your ass and died?”
“Jared,” Jensen croaked out.
“What?! What happened? Did he touch you or maybe not touch you?”
Jensen rolled his eyes, imagining that Chris was most likely wiggling his eyebrows in a suggestive manner at the moment. “No… Would you just stop and listen to me?” Jensen scrubbed his free hand down his face, trying to figure out what to say to Chris. “This is serious.”
“Okay, sorry. You know you can talk to me.” Chris could hear the desperation in Jensen’s voice.
“My heat is hitting me early.”
“Shit,” Chris interjected.
“Yeah. I don’t know if my suppressants failed or it’s because of having an alpha. It could be both. I need you to fill in for me. I can’t come in under the circumstances.”
“Yeah, sure, I can do that. Question is, what are you gonna do?”
“The only thing I can do, lock myself in my room, and deal with my heat on my own.”
Chris sighed, showing his irritation with his friend. “Jensen, you’re mated to Jared. He is an alpha. When two plus two equals four why not go with it?”
“No!” Jensen blurted out. “He was forced into this with me. I won’t use him just to ease my heat. He deserves to be treated like a human being, not some alpha-for-hire.”
“No, Chris. I made him a promise that this was his home. This is supposed to be somewhere he’s safe and doesn’t have to worry about being forced into serving an omega. I won’t do that to him.”
“Have you tried talking to him? Maybe he’d consider helping you if you asked,” Chris reasoned.
“Look, I appreciate your unsolicited advice but I won’t put that on Jared. We may be mated but…” Jensen stopped speaking, trying to find the right words to explain himself.
“But what?” Chris coaxed.
“But nothing, it doesn’t matter. Look, can I count on you or not?”
“Of course you can, you know that. I just wish you’d talk to me.”
“There’s nothing more to say.”
“Yes, there is. There’s plenty to say, you just won’t man up.”
“Fuck you,” Jensen pushed out from behind gritted teeth but there was no heat to his words.
“Oh my god! You want him. You want Jared to knot you. You want Jared to actually go alpha on you!” Chris accused Jensen.
“You do and you’ve developed feelings for him.” Chris waited for Jensen to protest. When Jensen didn’t, he tried a different tactic. “Would it be so wrong to give in to your feelings?”
“Yes,” Jensen whispered into the phone. “Yes, it would.”
“Why? Because Jared was thrust into my life. My parents bought him as a birthday gift for me. He’s been forced into a mating with me. He was tattooed with my actual signature on his body to show my ownership of him. Do you really think after all that, after everything he’s had to live through that he’d want me?” Jensen sank down onto his bed, suddenly feeling weary. “I can tell you the answer is a resounding no. So, I’ll continue to take care of my heats on my own.”
“Yeah, and what about when you finally decide you want pups? And don’t give me the ‘I don’t want pups’ crap because I know you do. You told me yourself that you’ve wanted a pup since you presented.”
“Well, things have changed,” Jensen spat out.
“What’s changed?” Chris cut in. “You’re mated now. It’s alright to actually want something for yourself. It’s okay to actually allow yourself to feel something for Jared. It’s not a sin to forge a mateship with Jared if you want one. I think if you actually talk to him, you might be pleasantly surprised.”
Jensen chuckled a dry laugh. “Sure, and just how do you propose I start that conversation? Hey, I know you were given to me as a gift. I know I pretty much claimed you against your will but how do you feel about actually being my mate? Oh, did I mention I’m going into heat? How about stripping out of your clothing and knotting me? That wouldn’t be too much trouble for you, would it?” Jensen placed his free hand on his stomach, rubbing circles attempting to soothe away the cramps that were starting to hit him again. “That would make me a fucking hypocrite. Thanks, but no thanks.”
“I think you’re being an idiot, my friend.” There was no malice behind Chris’ words, only sadness. He had seen the way Jared had looked at Jensen when Jared thought no one was watching him. The look in Jared’s eyes held heat behind it. He was sure that Jared wanted Jensen the way Jensen obviously wanted Jared but refused to admit it. Jensen was an upstanding guy; treating everyone fairly. Jensen always put everyone else’s needs before his own and this instance was no exception. Jensen had an alpha, one he was sure would gladly help Jensen through his heats if Jensen bothered to ask Jared. Jensen was just being a stubborn bastard by sticking to his promise to Jared. It was admirable but stupid.
Jensen grunted in pain, sucking in a breath as he was hit with another cramp. Shit. He had a feeling this was going to be a difficult heat for him to deal with. He heard Chris calling to him, Chris’ voice was filled with worry.
“Jensen… answer me…”
“I’m okay. Just think this is gonna be more difficult to handle than I thought. I gotta go.” Jensen didn’t give Chris time to respond before ending the call. Letting the phone drop from his hand, he doubled over in pain as he was hit with an excruciatingly painful cramp, one that left him panting as he tried to get through it. He wrapped his arms around his waist in an attempt to comfort himself. A moment later he was pushing himself up from his bed and stumbling into the bathroom. He crashed painfully down onto his knees, hitting the hard cold tiles, just barely making it to the toilet before he was throwing up. Once he was sure his stomach was empty and wasn’t trying to turn in on itself he forced himself up onto shaking legs and over to the sink where he brushed his teeth and splashed cold water on his face.
When he felt he could move without falling he made his way back to his bed in search of his phone. He needed to call his doctor. There was something wrong with him. His heat was hitting much earlier than it should be, especially since he had been taking his suppressants. And his heats had never come on this strong before. They had been mild compared to what he was dealing with now. This was just beyond intense. Finding his phone on the floor, he reached down for it only to lose his balance and crashed against his bed, hitting his left arm in the process against the frame. He needed to stop moving or he was going to end up knocking himself out he thought as he allowed himself to lie on the cold hardwood floor of his room. The coldness of the floor felt good against his overheated skin. Blinking to get his blurry vision in focus he pulled up his doctor’s contact information and hit the call button.
“Doctor Morgan’s office. This is Alona, how may I help you?”
Thankfully, Doctor Jeffrey Dean Morgan, a beta, had a small practice catering exclusively to omegas. Jensen had counted himself lucky that JD, as he insisted his patients call him, had agreed to take him on as a patient a few years ago. “Hi Alona, it’s Jensen Ackles. I really need to speak to JD. Is he available?” He said a silent prayer hoping that JD wasn’t with a patient and that he wouldn’t be asked to leave a message.
“Let me check.” Alona placed Jensen on hold, resuming the call a few moments later. “You’re in luck. He just finished up with a patient. I’ll just put you through to him.”
Before Jensen could thank her, he heard the call being placed on hold and then JD’s gravelly voice calling his name.
“Jensen, what can I do for you?”
“Something’s wrong,” Jensen rasped out.
“What do you mean? Tell me what’s going on.”
“I’m going into heat. It’s at least a week earlier than normal.” Jensen sucked in a pain-laced breath as he was hit with another cramp. “The cramping is bad. It’s never been like this before.”
“Okay, take a deep breath,” JD urged. “Has anything changed recently? Have you been under a great deal of stress? More so than usual?” He knew Jensen owned and ran his own business which wasn’t easy for anyone to do in the best of times.
“I… I claimed an alpha. My parents got him as a gift for me,” Jensen forced himself to admit.
“Jesus Christ…” JD muttered and then caught himself before he said anything derogatory. “Sorry, that wasn’t professional of me.”
“Yeah, that wasn’t what I was expecting for my twenty-seventh birthday.” Jensen groaned as another cramp hit him. “I think my suppressants failed or something.”
“Describe your symptoms to me,” JD softly urged.
“My eyes are red-rimmed and bloodshot looking. My vision is blurry. My skin feels like it’s on fire. I’m sweating but I’m cold. I’ve thrown up and the cramps have me doubled over and I’m starting to leak slick.”
“Sounds like heat sickness.”
“What… what does that mean?”
“This alpha you claimed. Is he sharing your bed?”
“No… no, Jared has his own room. I claimed him but he’s not my alpha.”
“So he hasn’t knotted you? Do you intend to have him knot you?”
“No. I can’t… do that to Jared. Promised him…” Jensen closed his eyes trying to stop the tears that were pricking at the backs of his eyes.
“Jensen, this is happening to you because your body recognizes that you’re mated. The only thing that will help lessen your symptoms is for your alpha to knot you.”
Jensen groaned in frustration this time at JD’s words. “Can I… get by using other means?”
JD sighed. “Yes, but it won’t be easy. Your symptoms will only intensify the longer you’re around your alpha and you refuse to let him knot you.”
“But I can do this, get through my heat with Jared here even if he doesn’t knot me?”
“With how fast this came on you? It won’t be easy for you but yes, you can.”
“Okay… okay, that’s good.”
“Jensen, I’ve got to warn you, you can become very ill if you make contact with this alpha but refuse to mate with him.”
“I won’t. I’ll stay in my room…”
“I don’t like this…”
“I’ll be alright. Jared doesn’t come into my bedroom. There’s no trace of his scent in here.”
“Still, I need to advise you against this. Your body needs…”
“No,” Jensen cut in. “No, I just need to get through this alone.”
JD sighed in frustration but knew if he forced the issue further Jensen would do what he wanted no matter what he advised. The only thing he could do was make a few suggestions to help the omega be more comfortable while Jensen rode out his heat alone. “Make sure to keep yourself hydrated. Eat small meals, that way you’re less likely to throw the food back up. Even if you don’t feel like eating, you have to in order to keep up your strength. Take cold showers or submerge yourself in a cold bath to bring your temperature down. But honestly, Jensen, the best way to make it through this is to mate with your alpha,” he advised.
“Can’t do that.”
“What about an alpha-for-hire? I don’t make that suggestion very often. I can recommend a reputable company…”
“No!” Jensen sucked in a sharp breath. “Sorry… sorry but no.”
“Alright, if that’s how you feel about it. I can’t push you. I’ve given you all the facts, what you choose to do with them is up to you. Call if anything changes.”
“Thanks, JD,” Jensen murmured and then ended the call. Letting go of his phone, he rolled onto his side, pulled his legs up to his chest, and wrapped his arms around his knees, blissfully letting himself sink into unconsciousness as he was wracked with another wave of searing cramps.
Jensen wasn’t sure how long he had been on the floor when he finally opened his eyes. He groaned in pain when he tried to move his stiff limbs. He must have been lying in the fetal position for a while judging by how much it hurt to untangle himself and get to his unsteady feet. Moving slowly as to not tip over, he made his way into his bathroom where he slowly stripped off his sweat and slick soiled clothing. Tossing them into the hamper, he blindly searched for the shower knob and turned it on to let the water start to warm as he stood naked and shivering. When the water was lukewarm, he stepped under the spray, letting the water rain down over him. He placed both hands on the shower wall to steady himself when his legs threatened to give out on him. The last thing he needed was to end up in the emergency room from a slip and fall in the shower. That would only add insult to injury. Maybe if he did fall and hit his head he’d be knocked unconscious and he’d be saved from having to deal with what he was going through. That thought brought a smile to his face for a split second before he remembered who would most likely be the one to find him naked and unconscious in his bathroom - Jared.
Apparently, just the thought of Jared had his traitorous body showing interest. He felt slick trickling from his body and his cock had begun to fill. This wasn’t what he had been planning on happening he thought to himself as he closed his eyes, imagining Jared’s larger body looming over him. He wondered what Jared’s naked body would feel like against his, crowding him against the shower wall. What would Jared’s lips feel like against his wet skin? Would they be smooth? Would Jared bite the back of his neck? He moaned wantonly, pulling his right hand away from the wall to trail it down his chest imagining that it was Jared’s larger hand running over his body, Jared’s fingers tweaking his nipples, Jared’s fingers pushing insistently at his slick rim. He worked his fingers into his body hoping to alleviate the need coursing through his body but it wasn’t enough. He needed more. He wanted more. With three of his fingers splitting him open, he took his hard cock in his left hand and began to fist himself using his precome and the water running down his body to ease the slide of his own hand. He felt that familiar tingle at the base of his spine. He was so close. His breaths were coming in hard and sharp pants as he worked himself to completion. “Jared,” he moaned as his balls drew up against his body. He threw his head back, squeezed his eyes closed with his bottom lip caught between his teeth as he came, spilling over his fist. He waited until his body had stopped spasming from his orgasm before he dared to move. He needed to clean himself and as hard as moving would be, he forced himself through the motions until he felt more like himself. When he was done, he turned off the shower, grabbed a towel, and slung it low on his hips before stepping out onto the tiled bathroom floor.
He curled his fingers into the palms of his hands, digging his blunt nails into the skin as he tried to center himself. He needed to focus on what he needed to do next; getting dressed so he could make his way downstairs to find something to eat. His stomach gurgled at that thought. If he was going to make it through his heat and deal with the heat sickness he was suffering from, he needed to follow JD’s orders of eating small meals and staying hydrated. He could take a few bottles of water and snacks back to his room so he wouldn’t have to traipse back and forth from his room to the kitchen and possibly run into Jared in the process. With that in mind and dressed in a t-shirt and pair of sweatpants he made his way from his room and down the hall to the stairs. He stood at the top of the stairs with his hand gripping the railing as he tried to force his wobbly legs to work and not give out on him sending him crashing to the bottom of the stairs. When he had his feet firmly planted on the floor at the bottom of the stairs, he slowly made his way into the kitchen to find Jared sitting at the kitchen table, a cup of coffee in front of him, and Jared was reading the book he had asked permission to read. Of course, he had readily given Jared permission to read any book he found of interest that he had in their home.
Jared looked up from the book in his hands when he heard movement to see Jensen standing in the doorway to the kitchen. He watched as Jensen silently made his way over to the stainless steel refrigerator only to stop and turn back to him. He met Jensen’s normally bright green eyes only to see that they appeared clouded and unfocused. His brows furrowed in confusion at seeing that. Something was definitely off with Jensen; he wasn’t himself. Jensen’s movements were jerky as if he was forcing himself to move when all he wanted to do was crash to the floor. Setting the book aside he pushed himself away from the table and scented the air. Jensen’s sweet scent smelled different to him, more enticing.
Jensen raised his hand and rubbed at the back of his neck. He had come into the kitchen for something but was having a hard time figuring out what that was. His mind was muddled and the tantalizing scent of a virile alpha sitting only a few feet away from him wasn’t helping. He could feel his skin starting to tingle and he knew he needed to get away from Jared before he did something stupid like either throwing himself at the alpha or begging Jared to knot him. While both options would result in not only his ultimate humiliation they would also serve to alienate Jared from him. Neither of those results was appealing to him. “I just came in for something…” Letting his words trail off, he pointed to the refrigerator. Turning he started to take another step toward his goal of getting a bottle of water when he was hit with a wave of dizziness. Blindly he reached out trying to steady himself. He thought he would be able to lean against the hard, cold surface of the refrigerator but was met with the hard feel of sculpted muscle when his hand hit against Jared’s body. “Jared,” Jensen managed to gasp out when he felt his legs give out from underneath him. He was sure he was going to crash to the floor but he didn’t. He found himself cradled in Jared’s arms with his head resting against Jared’s shoulder taking in Jared’s scent.
Standing to his full height, Jared stepped forward when it looked like Jensen was about to fall, to offer him assistance. He watched as Jensen swayed on his feet and then pitched forward. Reaching out with both hands, he grabbed onto Jensen, pulling him into his arms before Jensen crashed into the unforgiving refrigerator. Fearing Jensen was sick, he was about to help Jensen to sit when he was hit with the scent of an omega in heat. Jensen was in heat! He felt himself beginning to react to being so close to Jensen. He was torn between letting Jensen go and wrapping himself around the omega he was mated to.
In a moment of clarity, Jensen attempted to push himself away from Jared despite Jared’s strong arms being wrapped around him. Once Jared let go of him, he backed away with an apology on his lips. His skin was no longer tingling but burning and he felt as if he was about to burst into flames with his desire to feel Jared’s skin against his. “I… I just came in here…” He shook his head trying to clear his thoughts as to why he had come into the kitchen. It was difficult to think being around Jared. The alpha smelled so good to him. Jared smelled of mate, of everything he wanted and he couldn’t allow himself to give in to that want. He took another step back in an attempt to get some distance between them and stumbled over his own feet.
Jared reached out to Jensen when Jensen stumbled wanting to help him. His hand connected with Jensen’s bicep and he felt the heat of Jensen’s skin against his fingers. “You’re in heat,” he blurted out and he took a step toward Jensen. He wanted to feel more of Jensen’s skin. He wanted to know what it would feel like to have Jensen’s naked and overheated body against his own naked body. For a split second, he found himself wondering what Jensen would look like writhing underneath him taking his knot. Would Jensen moan his name when he breached him? Would Jensen scream for him when Jensen took his knot? What would Jensen look like swollen with his pup? He shook his head trying to clear his mind. Those thoughts… he couldn’t allow himself to think like that. Jensen had claimed him. They were mated to each other but Jensen clearly didn’t want him. Jensen had never taken him into his bed. Hell, he had never even stepped foot inside Jensen’s bedroom. These crazy thoughts were only forming in his mind because of how close he was to Jensen who happened to be in heat.
Jensen pulled back from Jared’s touch. His skin burned hotter from the feel of Jared’s fingers wrapped around his flesh. He wanted nothing more than to let Jared touch every inch of his body but he wouldn’t allow himself to give in to that desire. He was in heat and he wanted Jared but he would keep his word even if that meant he would suffer through his heat and deal with this heat sickness on his own. He owed at least that much to Jared. He would never use Jared for his own means. “It’s nothing… nothing you have to worry about.” Turning he fled from the room and from Jared before he begged Jared to take him to bed.
In confusion, Jared watched as Jensen ran from the kitchen, nearly slamming into the doorframe in his haste to leave. With the need to make sure Jensen was alright flooding his brain, he followed after the omega. He reached the top of the stairs and stopped when he heard a loud thud and a cry of pain coming from behind Jensen’s closed bedroom door.
Jensen managed to make it up the stairs and into his bedroom. Closing the door, he turned to take the few steps toward his bed needing to lie down but his legs gave out from underneath him. He fell to the floor with a loud crash and a yelp of pain. He lay there trying to fight back his tears of frustration before he attempted to get up onto his wobbly legs. He wasn’t sure if they would even support him and was about to crawl to his bed when he heard Jared’s voice calling to him from the other side of the door.
“Jensen!” Jared called. When he didn’t hear Jensen answering him, he pushed open the door to Jensen’s bedroom to find Jensen sprawled across the floor. “Jensen! Jensen, are you alright? Answer me!” He could feel his breathing quickening as his heart began to hammer in his chest. He sank down onto his knees to kneel next to Jensen. His hands hovered over Jensen’s prone body wanting to reach out, to help Jensen but he was too afraid to touch the omega. He warred with himself for a moment before giving in to the need to touch and protect Jensen and let his hands rest on Jensen’s arm. “Jensen, what can I do?”
Jensen felt Jared’s hands on him and he wanted to move closer, wanting to melt into Jared’s touch. He was hit with another cramp causing him to grunt in pain, roll onto his side, and then curl in on himself. As soon as one cramp subsided he was hit with another one. Reaching out, he latched onto Jared’s arm, finding comfort in the solid body next to him. “Alpha, please,” he whimpered.
“What? What can I do, omega?” Jared husked out. The need to protect Jensen, to curl around the omega’s body was rising within him. And if he did that, if he let himself give in to the alpha in him, he would end up doing more than comforting and protecting Jensen.
“Please… please just help me to my bed. I don’t think… I can make it by myself,” Jensen managed to say and then he closed his eyes. He felt himself being lifted off the cold floor and then being gently placed on his bed. He did his best to get comfortable, letting his head fall back into his pillows and pulling at the blanket to cover himself. Even though he was dressed, having Jared in his bedroom, made him feel exposed. His hands curled into fists, clutching at the blanket in his hands when he was hit with another cramp.
Jared watched as Jensen scrunched his face up in pain. “This isn’t right,” Jared commented, searching Jensen’s flushed face. There was something wrong with Jensen. Jensen wasn’t dealing with a normal heat cycle.
“Heat sickness,” Jensen managed to say before everything went black.
Heat sickness? Jared turned the words over in his mind trying to make sense of things. In his training , he had learned a lot about an omega’s biology, and how to satisfy an omega, how to be a good alpha, one who would be able to please an omega. There was something about the term heat sickness that was nagging at him, he just couldn’t bring it to the forefront of his mind. Damn it! What was it about heat sickness that was important? Looking at Jensen lying unconscious in his bed made Jared fearful. If something happened to the omega, would he be blamed? Seeing the sheen of sweat on Jensen’s brow, Jared forced himself to his feet. He knew he needed to bring Jensen’s body temperature down; he recalled that much.
He hadn’t blocked out all of the things he had to endure while in custody. Plus, his own mother was an omega. She had taught him the basics at an early age, thinking he would present as either a beta or an omega, on how to help an overheated omega. Turning, he made his way into the bathroom, forcing down the thought that he was invading Jensen’s privacy in favor of doing what he could to help Jensen recover. He rummaged through the linen closet until he found a washcloth to run under cold water. He could use that as a cold compress to hopefully bring down Jensen’s temperature. The other thing he remembered was that an omega needed to stay hydrated.
After wiping down Jensen’s arms, face and neck, he ran the cloth under the faucet, wetting it again, folded it lengthwise, and placed the wet cold cloth against Jensen’s forehead. Hoping that what little he had done would help Jensen, he left the bedroom long enough to make his way to the kitchen and back, retrieving a few bottles of water and his book; his coffee had long been forgotten and left on the table. He’d deal with that once he knew Jensen’s temperature was no longer spiking. As he grabbed the bottles from the refrigerator he tried to recall some of the tips his mother had imparted to him years ago. Making sure an omega’s temperature didn’t spike out of control was one. Making sure the omega was comfortable was another. Keeping the omega hydrated was the third thing he remembered. So far, he had done those or was about to. Staying with the omega was another thing he could recall his mother telling him. He would do that, at least until Jensen was coherent enough to tell him otherwise.
He stopped dead in his tracks when he thought of his training - did Jensen have a way to help himself through his heats? Did Jensen use toys or did he use an alpha-for-hire service? He heard the low predatory growl emanating from within himself before he could even stop it. His hindbrain and his body were recognizing Jensen as his even though Jensen really wasn’t, not in the sense of a true mating. Doing his best to calm down, he had to force himself to not crush the water bottles he was carrying.
Stopping at the top of the stairs, he took a moment to collect himself before making his way back into Jensen’s room. When he returned to Jensen, he dropped the bottles and the book that had been wedged under his arm when he saw that Jensen was having a seizure. While he had been gone, Jensen had shifted so he was again lying on his back. The washcloth had slipped off Jensen’s forehead. Jensen’s skin was flushed red and he was covered in sweat. His hands were curled into fists, the muscles in his arms and neck were taught and his body was jerking uncontrollably. “Shit! Jensen!” he yelled and then he was slammed with the thought he had been trying to recall from his training. Heat sickness could be fatal for an omega who was experiencing it. He racked his brain trying to remember what he had been taught, what he could do to help Jensen. Another thought came to mind, heat sickness happened to an omega when the omega had claimed an alpha but refused to allow their alpha to mate with them. One thing that helped lessen the symptoms the omega was experiencing, aside from lowering an omega’s temperature, was skin-to-skin contact between the omega and an alpha. It didn’t necessarily have to be the omega’s alpha mate.
Grabbing the washcloth from the floor, he brought it into the bathroom and tossed it into the hamper he had seen earlier before grabbing a fresh one to soak with cold water. Returning to Jensen, he climbed onto the bed next to Jensen. He did his best not to jostle Jensen who had finally stopped having a seizure as he settled himself next to Jensen. He checked Jensen’s breathing; it was labored but slowly returning to normal. “I don’t know if you can hear me but I’m going to try to lower your temperature.” He brought the wet cloth to Jensen’s skin, wiping down Jensen’s arms first before moving to Jensen’s neck, and face before placing the cloth against Jensen’s forehead. “I know you probably don’t want me to touch you but it’ll help with your heat sickness if I do,” he explained as he molded himself against Jensen’s body. “I’m just gonna lay here with you until you open your eyes.” Draping his left arm over Jensen’s chest, he settled his head against the pillows, getting as comfortable as he could while he kept watch over Jensen. He could feel a slight change in Jensen as he lay there with him. Jensen’s breathing evened out, the scorching heat radiating off him seemed to leach from his body, and Jensen seemed to relax into his touch. He was afraid to move away from Jensen when Jensen rolled onto his side so that Jensen was lying with his back to him and his ass pressed up against his pelvis. He wasn’t sure how Jensen would react to finding him lying in bed with him and at that moment he didn’t care. If he couldn’t mate with Jensen and knot him, he would at least offer this slight comfort until Jensen refused him.
Jensen awoke to the sensory overload of a thick, passionate, mysterious scent. He was still feeling disoriented and dizzy, but the severity of his cramps had decreased. He was warm, but his skin was no longer scorching. In fact, the warmth he felt was extremely comforting, wrapping around him from a solid wall extending completely down his back. He opened his eyes and recognized elements of his room, and he noticed that the last traces of light from the sunset were filtering in. It was apparently much later and he was all set to close them again and settle in for a restful sleep. It was as though the last few moments were just a nightmare.
Then he felt the gentle thumping between his shoulders and realized he wasn’t alone. His body stiffened as his senses sharpened and focused, preparing for flight. Instinct stopped him when he took a cautious breath and recognized the scent from the kitchen. Spicy, floral, mossy, and musky yet fresh like fertile earth. It was this scent that he had been wanting to overtake him and meld with his own.
“Jared,” he breathed out. But it was impossible unless everything he thought had been a nightmare really did happen. Jared was there and had helped him to bed and tried to cool down his fever.
“I couldn’t leave you like that. I know how dangerous heat sickness can be. I’m sorry for invading your space, I know that you don’t really want me, but I had to try to help you. At least to the point where you were able to handle this the way you want to.” Jared spoke softly in order to keep Jensen calm. If he got stressed again his condition could re-escalate. “If you want me to go, I will.”
Jensen was trying to concentrate on what Jared was saying, and he heard him, but all he could think about was how bad everything had gotten. Now, he was at least able to think a bit more clearly even though his body still hurt and skin felt prickly and there was still a pulsing current of need that ebbed and flowed within him. Everything seemed slower, more tolerable. Jared’s scent was calming, which surprised Jensen. He didn’t know what he was expecting right now, but it definitely wasn’t the serene and composed alpha plastered to him. He rasped out, “No, Jared, this is helping. Stay with me, please.”
After a moment, Jensen shifted just slightly and asked, “Can we sit up a bit? I’m thirsty.”
Jared maneuvered them both so that his back was resting against a pillow pressed up to the headboard, and Jensen was tucked comfortably by his side. He leaned his head onto Jared’s shoulder as Jared reached for one of the bottles of water he’d placed on Jensen’s nightstand once he realized Jensen was deeply asleep and he was able to move without disturbing him.
“I’m sure you are probably exhausted too. Seizures are no joke.”
Jensen took a drink, the still cool water soothing his parched throat. “I had a seizure?” So it wasn’t just a fever dream. Jensen shivered as he realized just how much trouble he’d been in.
“Yes. A minor one that stopped on its own, but even minor ones are scary. I just didn’t want it to get worse.”
“I’m sorry for worrying you, Jared. I thought I could handle this, but it’s more serious than I thought. I never meant to burden you with any of this. I mean, first, you get your freedom stolen from you, then you get stuck with a mate you don’t want who thinks he’s some omega savior, but who can’t even keep a simple promise.”
Jared tilted his head to look at Jensen in shock. “Wait, is that what you see wrong here? I’m the one who overstepped this time. Maybe I should have stayed in my room this morning, your symptoms might not have been so bad. Plus, you’re stressed out being saddled with me . Like you said, we’re mated but…” He shrugged his free shoulder, not sure what should go at the end of that sentence. He just admitted to listening in on Jensen’s phone call.
“You heard that huh?”
“I’m sorry. I couldn’t help it. You were already in some distress and before I could think about it, I was following behind you like an imprinted puppy as if you were actually mine. I remembered my place, though, when I heard that. It doesn’t matter what I want. This collar and some papers are the only things that make me yours.”
Hearing that made Jensen’s hackles rise. Maybe it was the haze of his heat beginning to ramp back up, or maybe it was Jared’s scent changing from calming and reassuring to uncertain and sad. Jensen didn’t like that and certainly didn’t want to be the cause of it especially when it wasn’t true. Jared was his and not just on paper. Earlier, his scent had saturated his mind with the word, the image, the very idea of MATE. Now, even the irrational notion that some collar or contract had made claim to Jared had his tingling skin heating. He wanted to make Jared his completely.
Crushing the empty water bottle in his hand, he rose onto his knees and straddled Jared. “Actually, it does matter what you want. Because I want nothing less than all of you. I just didn’t want to force you into doing something if you didn’t want to.”
Jensen could feel himself getting lightheaded and feverish and he wanted Jared’s confirmation before he lost himself again. He looked directly into his wide, multi-toned eyes and asked, “Do you want me, Jared?”
Jared matched his gaze and answered, “Yes.” Their lips collided in a heated kiss. Jensen tugged at Jared’s t-shirt and he sat up so Jensen could pull it up and over his head. He threw it behind him without care and pushed Jared’s arms above his head, holding them there with one hand. He dipped his head low and dove right in, inhaling where Jared’s rich scent was bound to be strong. Running his free hand up Jared’s rib cage, he gripped behind Jared’s muscled shoulder, tugging him even closer.
Jared grunted, as his arousal hit in an instant. His cage had just become a major challenge. Jensen leaned up near Jared’s ear. “Then get your key, and be quick about it. I’m burning up. I need you.”
Jared wrapped his powerful arms around Jensen turning their bodies until he was on top of Jensen, claiming his lips again. He moved quickly, but gently from the bed, shushing Jensen’s protests from the loss of contact. He’d never run so fast in his life.
In his room, he grabbed the key and removed the cage. His knees buckled with the simultaneous relief of freedom and stimulation from the rush of his filling cock. He had to hold himself as he rushed back to Jensen. Jensen, who wanted him, who needed him, ALL of him.
When Jared got back to Jensen’s room, he found him naked on the bed and presenting for him. The rumble of appreciation that echoed from deep in his chest made Jensen tremble. Jared walked up to the treasure splayed before him and ran his hands over every inch of skin he could reach, eliciting moans from them both. Jensen was so hot, but the more Jared touched him the better he felt. Jensen melted into the sensations as slick and precome dripped onto the sheets.
Jared wanted to taste his mate, but there was no more time to waste. That would have to be something they shared another time. Jensen was babbling incoherent pleas as Jared manhandled him to the edge of the bed and teased his ass with his massive length, covering it in Jensen’s wetness. When Jared made the smooth glide into Jensen the omega shouted with a resounding, “YES!!” The first thrusts were slow but forceful as Jared carved his claim inside Jensen. When Jensen began to writhe and squirm Jared grabbed his hips and sped up.
Jensen was enthralled. His eyes rolled back in his head before he closed them in bliss. He never imagined that it could be like this. This wasn’t reluctant, unenthusiastic knotting for the sake of it. Jared was claiming him, showing him he was worthy of the bite Jensen had given him. And Jensen was reveling in his acceptance of that claim as he took everything Jared gave.
Jensen could feel Jared’s knot increasing in size as he held onto the sheets and rode the waves of ecstasy. He hoped Jared would stake his claim even further by biting him. He wanted nothing more at that moment than to feel the alpha’s canines penetrate his skin as his knot hit its mark. As if reading his mind, Jared pulled Jensen up fully onto his knees and braced him against the solid planes of his chest with his hand over Jensen’s heart. With his free hand, he cupped Jensen’s jaw, tilting his face and exposing his neck. As Jared’s knot caught and held, locking the lovers together, he sank his fangs in. Jensen seemed to enter another realm and roared as his climax hit.
The tight, rhythmic squeeze of Jensen’s muscles surrounding Jared’s length threw his brain into a tailspin. He cried out Jensen’s name as he filled the omega with his seed and that triggered another orgasm in him.
Jared was able to fling the sheet over uncovering the bed before Jensen went limp in his arms. He held his mate close as he laid them both down to settle in a comfortable position while they were tied together. Jensen was asleep, his skin was cool, and his breathing steady. Jared was in awe and couldn’t keep from petting and stroking Jensen’s fair, freckled skin. He was beautiful. He couldn’t believe he had someone who loved him and didn’t just see him as a living sex toy or slave. They belonged to each other.
When Jensen woke again, Jared had prepared him breakfast in bed. He made sure Jensen was well hydrated and his strength had come back just in case his heat wasn’t over. They ended up going two more rounds and were finally able to completely explore each other. Later, after Jensen’s fever abruptly vanished, Jared noticed a change in Jensen’s scent.
Jensen was pregnant.
Four months. It had taken Jensen four months to find Jared’s parents and to convince Jared to see them. Finding Sharon and Gerald Padalecki had been the easy part; convincing Jared to reunite with them had been harder.
“Jensen, I can’t,” Jared whispered with a shake of his head, the motion causing his bangs to fall and cover his eyes.
“Why?” Jensen questioned softly as he sat next to Jared on the couch.
“Because… because they must hate me for what I did… for running off…”
“They don’t. They miss you terribly.”
Jared’s head snapped up, a look of disbelief was reflected in his eyes. “How would you know?”
“Because I spoke with them. They desperately want to see you again. They’ve been so worried about you.”
“You spoke to them? Why?”
“I had to know how they felt… If they would accept the fact that I claimed you. That we claimed each other.” Jensen grabbed Jared’s larger hand and placed it so it was covering his growing belly. He was just beginning to show with their pup and could make out the faint fluttering of its movements. “Because our pup deserves to be loved by your parents as well as us and even my parents.”
His parents had been thrilled when Jensen announced that he had caught with his first pup. The excitement had dimmed when he’d informed them that Jared had claimed him as well. While he could conceal Jared’s claiming bite if he chose to, he found that he didn’t want to. He wore it proudly, not caring what others thought. He had a mate who loved him. It didn’t matter to him that Jared happened to be an alpha. In their own home, they weren’t alpha and omega. They weren’t ruled by their designations. They were Jensen and Jared. They were mates to each other and in love.
“What were you thinking?” Alan demanded.
“That… that alpha forced himself on you! He forced a claiming bite on you,” Donna accused, pointing a finger at Jared who sat in a chair next to Jensen, against her wishes. “We’ll fix this. I’ll make some calls… have him remanded…”
“You will do no such thing,” Jensen said in an even tone as he stood to his full height, letting his parents know he was not to be taken lightly. He placed his hands, palms down on the table, and leaned forward. “Jared is my alpha, in every sense of the word. He’s my mate. I love him. He loves me. You can either accept that or not. If you choose not to, then we’re done here. You won’t ever see me again. And you definitely won’t ever be around the pup I’m carrying once it's born.”
Donna gasped. “Jensen, you can’t mean that.”
“You wouldn’t dare…”
“Watch me,” Jensen responded in a cold voice, cutting off his father. He stood there, staring his parents down, not moving or relenting until he felt the familiar weight and warmth of Jared’s hand on his back. “I love you both but Jared is my mate and I will do whatever it takes to protect him and our pup. If that means cutting you out of our lives, then so be it. The decision is yours.” Pulling himself up, he turned and extended a hand to Jared. “We’re done here. Let’s go home.” He didn’t give his parents a chance to react. With Jared’s hand in his, they walked out of his parents’ home. A day later he’d received a call from his parents. While they didn’t necessarily understand his choices, they would accept them. They didn’t want to lose him or miss out on getting to know their grandpup. And they would work on accepting Jared into their family, acknowledging Jared as Jensen’s mate.
Reuniting Jared with his parents had Jensen on edge. Despite speaking with them, and their assurances that they were thrilled their son had been claimed by someone who not only cared for him and about him but loved him, Jensen still feared they would resent him. His fear had been unfounded. The moment he opened the door to his and Jared’s home he found himself enveloped in Sharon’s tight embrace.
“Thank you,” Sharon whispered tearfully as she clung to Jensen. “We never thought we’d see our son again. We hoped…”
“Why don’t you come inside,” Jensen offered once Sharon let go of him. No sooner were the Padaleckis standing just inside the door when he heard a choked-off sound and he turned to see Jared standing there, his multi-toned eyes set on his parents. Stepping aside, he quietly watched as Jared reunited with his parents. He was about to retreat from the room feeling he should give Jared some privacy when he felt Jared entwining their fingers together and then Jared was softly kissing the side of his face.
“Thank you,” Jared whispered and then pulled Jensen closer to him. “Mom, Dad, this is my mate, Jensen,” Jared said proudly.
“It’s nice to finally meet you,” Gerald said, tentatively offering his hand to Jensen who readily accepted.
“Welcome to our home,” Jensen beamed up at Jared, happy just to see the love in his mate's eyes directed not only at Jared’s parents but at him as well.
“We have something to tell you,” Jared announced happily once they were seated in the living room, the initial introductions done and everyone was feeling happy and at ease. He moved closer to Jensen so there was no space between their bodies.
Sharon sat forward, set her drink down on the table, letting her eyes flick from her son to Jensen and then back again. “There’s more to tell us?” She had marveled at how Jensen and Jared had met and eventually claimed each other as mates.
Jared placed a hand protectively over Jensen’s stomach and heard his parents’ gasps. “Jensen is carrying our first pup.” As soon as the words were out of his mouth, his parents were congratulating them.
The rest of the evening was spent with Jared getting reacquainted with his parents, drawing Jensen in so everyone was familiar with each other. By the time Jared’s parents left, with the promise to visit again soon, they were exhausted but happy.
With the kitchen cleaned and the house locked up for the night, Jared pulled Jensen into his arms. “Thank you, for everything.” He kissed Jensen softly on the lips, deepening the kiss until they were both panting for air when the kiss ended. “I’m so lucky to have you. You’ve reunited me with my parents. You’ve given me a home, and a family.” He let his hand drop to gently rest against Jensen’s stomach. “I never thought this was a possibility…”
“Hey, that’s in the past. Let’s live in the now. Nothing else matters except us and our growing family.”
“Yeah… yeah, you’re right,” Jared agreed, a smile spreading over his face, one displaying his dimples.
Jared found himself smiling more as Jensen’s stomach grew, rounding with their growing pup, and he couldn’t seem to keep his hands to himself, not that Jensen was bothered by his touch. Jensen sought out his touch claiming it soothed their active pup. Secretly he knew otherwise. The scent Jensen gave off was one of a contented and happily mated omega whenever Jared touched him.
The only time that changed was when Jensen had given birth. “Jared… Jared,” Jensen panted out in between the pain he was in. He hardly slept now that he was so close to whelping their pup. He couldn’t seem to find a comfortable position to lie in long enough to fall asleep let alone stay asleep. He’d been lightly dozing when he had been hit with pain that wrapped around his stomach. Reaching out, he grabbed onto Jared’s arm, shaking Jared until he woke.
“Jensen?” Jared said in a sleepy voice wondering what Jensen was doing awake. Jensen had been so exhausted that day, needing his help with everything from getting dressed to making his way up the stairs and into what was once Jensen’s bedroom. Since the night he had mated with Jensen, they had never slept apart. Hearing Jensen’s labored breathing had Jared waking fully and on alert. “Jensen, what’s wrong?”
“It’s time… our pup,” Jensen managed to gasp out before he was groaning in pain from the next contraction.
Despite that initial spike of fear that he’d been hit with, Jared had remained calm, helping Jensen through the whelping of their pup - a boy - they named Asher. The name was fitting, meaning blessed, and both felt they were to have each other and now their pup.
Jared stood watching his sleeping mate. Jensen had been exhausted after whelping Asher and caring for him the first few hours of their pup’s life. A fond smile graced his lips as he took in the sight of his sleeping mate still cradling their pup against his chest. Hearing Asher stir, he gently plucked their pup from Jensen’s arms before Jensen woke. “Let your daddy sleep a little longer,” he murmured, raising Asher to his shoulder and slipping silently from their bedroom.
Waking and realizing that Jared and Asher were no longer in the bedroom with him, Jensen slowly made his way from the bed and out of the room in search of his mate and their pup. He stopped short upon entering the living room, his breath catching in his throat at the sight before him. Jared lay on their couch with a few pillows propping him up. His shirt had been stripped off and discarded and Jared was cradling their pup to his bare chest, gently stroking Asher’s back through the blue and white blanket Jared had draped over their pup.
Hearing movement Jared looked up to see Jensen standing there watching him with their pup. Their eyes met and he offered Jensen a soft smile. “You were sleeping when he woke. I wanted you to rest, you needed it,” he explained.
Jensen returned the smile as he walked over to join Jared on the couch, slotting himself in between the pillows and Jared. “Thank you,” he murmured, kissing Jared’s cheek.
Whatever took place outside of their home, they were determined not to let it affect them and the life they had created for themselves. Society had its own rules, rules they didn’t subscribe to. To them, they were just Jensen and Jared; two men, not an alpha or an omega, who loved each other, who had created a life together despite how they had been thrown together. Whatever else happened, they would deal with it as equals.
The End -