The sand was silk between Megumi’s toes. One foot at a time he stepped out of his geta into the receding waves. The grains were cold as they were pulled back oceanbound, as was the air between night and dawn. It was that odd fuzzy blue, all there was were the crashing of waves and sleeping silence somewhat ethereal but still visible was the seafoam’s froth, stark in all the murkiness before daybreak.
The water penetrated through his clothes and clung cold to his skin with the persistence of leeches. He shouldn’t have been so surprised by it but he was. Once the sea lapped above his knees Megumi began to wade against the resistance.
‘...Sorry…’ He absently touched his stomach apologising for the cold. He clenched his jaw so his teeth didn't chatter and braced against the hard knock of waves trying to push him back inland, but he was already up to his thighs and to get out soaked would be much more uncomfortable.
A stroll on the beach with a gourd of sake to watch the sunrise was always good company. There was an omega in a pale kimono, dressed quite formally for a suicide. A little melodrama never hurt. Sukuna kept walking his straight line across the sand with no intention to interfere or aid.
He kept watching though, the closer his path led him the clearer he could see. A young male omega by the lithe figure and style of dress, but what was striking was his paleness, skin as white as seafoam and cotton. Sukuna thought he had a nice neck, long and slender. A shame to let beauty perish at the cusp of maturity, and greater shame to lose another male omega when there were so few and the demand was so high. Who knew if he was bonded to an alpha that beat him or maybe he was sold into slavery by his sire, it was hard to say but fun to guess. Sukuna was in a good mood with good company and good wine.
The fresh scent of mint and sweetness of dew and honey, they were carried over in the breeze. The wind whistled suddenly and a wave heeled stiff and high before crashing down all at once wrangling a cry from the omega, he was smothered immediately and submerged.
‘Shit.’ Sukuna swore and dropped his drink. That scent was intoxicating however mute, such a damp morsel and so sad latched on through his nostrils and hooked the alpha like nothing ever before. It dragged him so hard into the water by his nose his frontal lobe throbbed.
Sukuna ripped off his scarf and kicked off his sandals as he found himself charging with great splashes erupting from every step into the tide. He had always had his alpha on a trained leash, it was more decadent and depraved than the man was- More of a hindrance than anything else at times, only rarely he allowed his fangs to descend and lash out like a feral dog-- This time his instincts viscerally ripped through all autonomy and gripped him with a frenzy of pure panic he had never felt for himself nevermind for a stranger.
The omega was battered by the sudden surf, lost under the water much too light to stay upright and dragged by the backwash further into the sea. The alpha was solid and far larger, hardly inconvenienced by the waves crashing over him like a boulder being splashed with a mere pail of water. Sukuna knew how to swim in all weather, to know how came second to walking where he was from. Before the tide fell over his head a fourth time he had grabbed the omega by the collar and pulled him out of the cyclic churning of the current and began to wade back.
Megumi was tossed back onto shore, back hitting the hard sand compact with water, he gasped and turned quickly to his side, hacking and shaking violently. His collar was splayed and disheveled where Sukuna had almost torn when dragging him out. The elegant column of his neck was bare without even a modest collar and unblemished with claim. His furisode signified he was from the upper class and unmarried.
Sukuna stood between the omega on the ground and the horizon collecting his breath and studying the little whelp with his eyebrows furrowed. The saline washed away their scents and filled their senses with only salt, he only saw a skinny shivering boy pitifully choke up his lungs.
Maybe he was just the crazy type without an alpha bullying him at home.
‘Go home little omega, your kind will be snatched up into a cushy life above all the other bitches no matter what hole you crawled out of.’ Well, he was already here, may as well finish up the saviour thing with some comforting words.
The glare that was tossed at him was something else, Sukuna’s eyebrows raised into his hairline. The little thing actually glowered and growled when he turned, most unbecoming of a highborn omega. Feisty little bitch. The utter rudeness aside, those had to be the longest eyelashes Sukuna had ever seen, laden with heavy droplets of tears and seawater as if wronged. His eyes were a clear green like willow leaves, absolutely fair head to toe and only framed beautifully by jet hair and lashes dripping like ink in the slow rising sun.
Megumi gathered his collars and pulled them tight, scrambling to his feet to leave without the intent to spare the alpha a second glance. He quite frankly had enough of their kind. The one in front of him was the type of alpha that could be picked out at a glance, with a frame so large and voice so deep.
‘Oi, oi, that’s the thanks I get for saving your life, little omega?’
Megumi clenched his hands and resolutely stomped himself in the opposite direction trying not to shiver or fall over in only his tabi. It would be too humiliating to go back for his sandals.
‘That’s not the direction of your home!’ Sukuna called after him.
‘How would you know!?’ Megumi spat back venomously.
The alpha merely pointed in the direction of the footprints he had left and his geta in a pile.
They glared at each other in stalemate for a few beats until the omega lifted the sopping wet hem of his robes and took off sprinting back into the sea.
‘-Oh, you little bitch...’
Megumi found himself bound up in the brutish alpha’s scarf and thrown over his shoulder. ‘Put me down!’ He kicked and squirmed all gangly long limbs and tight muscle, hard enough he should have been long dropped by any other man- But he was massive, twice the size of any other alpha he had ever seen and just by flexing his grip Megumi’s limbs numbed between muscles denser than brick. Not to mention, the heavy musk caked onto the well worn scarf he was being smothered in was making him lightheaded. He couldn’t smell the alpha having been equally washed out by saltwater but the dry sash stank with the most potent pheromones he had ever experienced, this had to be a prime alpha, the savagely violent type and threatening enough to cow other alphas. The prison tattoos binding his arms weren’t doing much to comfort the omega either. Megumi became even more frantic at the whiff of burning ash, putrid iron and danger . He had to get away before his limbs softened and he was submerged in terror until he couldn’t move in submission.
But Megumi was so tired, running away since yesterday evening, not having eaten since that morning and he was so damn cold . He struggled until he ran out of energy and went limp. ‘Agghhh!’ He slumped in frustration. He dreaded whatever would become of him in this behemoth of a man’s grasp and hoped he would die by the end of it.
Sukuna didn’t really have much reason to drag the omega back to his current hideout. Probably spite. You want to die so bad? Too bad, you’ve pissed me off, I’m going to make you live. I’ll kill you with kindness, hah . He might've had a bit to drink. Sukuna dropped him onto the old wooden floor of the fishing hut. A smallpox outbreak was rampant in the area at the moment, being quite convenient for a squatter. The charcoal in the hearth was still hot, burning embers from his earlier use.
Megumi kicked himself into a corner, the four walls weren’t far apart enough and he didn’t even have his hard wooden sandals to throw at the menacing looking alpha. He tossed the scarf away repulsed, the most terrifying thing about that scent was the hint of sandalwood incense which threatened to relax him. Megumi cursed his secondary gender and his eyes darted around looking for an opening, a weapon, anything.
‘Tch- I’m really not cut out for this hero thing…’ Sukuna muttered and tossed something Megumi’s way. His sandals clacked across the wood.
Megumi froze. Why did he stop and pick up his shoes for him?
The alpha shook off his belt and kimono and Megumi tensed again, he watched him wring it out and toss it next to the hearth with intense scrutiny. More prison tattoos, all over his body even leading down under his trousers.
‘Do what you want but I’ve decided you’re not dying anymore little bitch, you’re raking up a debt with me.’ Sukuna threw something directly at Megumi and this time he caught it.
A gourd. As humiliating as it was, his numb lips had started to peel with how dry and caked they were with salt. Megumi hadn’t even had a sip of water since yesterday.
It’s another stalemate until Sukuna dropped down onto crossed legs and began to poke the charcoal with a stick, throwing more wood in to revive the heat. This alpha is fucking deranged, Megumi thought. A criminal with his extensive record etched onto his skin so excessively he looked like he enjoyed prison food, scarred deeply on his face, built like a brute who would want to save his life? And picked up his shoes for him. If he had wanted to rape him he had plenty of opportunity to do so already and yet he sat across the room looking bored to high hell.
What did it even matter? Megumi ripped off the top of the bottle and tipped it back. To almost spit it out. Alcohol.
The stranger scoffed, ‘It’ll warm you up better than water, little bitch.’ Sukuna’s canines peaked out when he smirked wide and sinister at the omega bristling. Megumi’s lip jerked as if resisting to growl again. He did think the kid was cute, in that pathetic way feral kittens hiss and bite when you pick them up by the scruff. Quite uncommon for a high birth omega, usually just by the sight of Sukuna betas and omegas alike cowered, even after smelling him the scrawny thing still dared to glare daggers at him.
Intriguing if anything else, maybe he was crazy. Or broken.
‘You can leave in the morning, I find that people usually aren’t in the mood for suicide when the suns up.’ Sukuna rested his head on his knuckles.
Megumi studied him from the corner, lips tight. His hair was standing on end on the back of his neck but there was no hostility nor any threatening or friendly pheromones in the air. Upon closer inspection he decided the outlaw looks every bit like a stereotype, all sharp lines and a hard jaw. There’s a scar curved like a grim smile on his stomach that stood out amongst them all, it looked so deep he should’ve died by it. His face was marred on both cheeks, someone must have really hated him but loved symmetry to stab him so particularly. The recessed lines made him look somewhat as if permanently grinning. He was oddly not unpleasant to look at, he had lips that should have belonged to a kind man and big clear eyes like he should have been handsome.
Megumi looked as if he had reached some sort of inner conclusion and began to pull off his wet clothes and wring them in his white inner robes. Megumi laid his wet clothes out next to him, still not wanting to share proximity with the criminal. The heavy fabric of his furisode and long sleeves were too weighted and uncomfortable after his near death experience, propriety be damned. Even if he did have ulterior motives it wasn’t like a few layers gave him much protection when he could be so easily overpowered by the alpha’s pheromones alone. Hell, the night would probably pass faster if the alpha did something.
Megumi rolled the sealed gourd back to Sukuna across the floor. The hollow roll and sloshing of little liquid was the only sound apart from cracking embers.
Sukuna swiped the dried calabash from the floor and took a swig. ‘If you’re being bullied just kill whoever’s tormenting you, you don’t act like you want to die.’ There was nothing in his world but hedonism and indulging in beauty. Megumi was prettier than all the supposedly irresistible but definitely expensive omega oiran Sukuna had known and bedded. It was a shame that what was beautiful should suffer. Though that was often the case with those born too lovely. ‘You struggle like a cornered animal, even a little bitch like you can stab a few people.’
‘My name isn’t little bitch.’ Megumi snapped. He sat seiza naturally out of habit, back straight, knees perfectly tucked. Sukuna would have laughed if not for noticing the small, almost missable bump through the wet fabric sticking to his stomach; he was physically too skinny to naturally have a belly. A pregnant unbonded omega. That explained the melodrama.
‘What might it be, ojou-chan?’
Cute. Suited him. ‘Do you want to know this venerable one’s name?’
‘Suit yourself.’ Still a fucking bitch.
‘Sukuna.’ If Megumi hadn’t been locked behind the clan’s estate walls his whole life like a slave he would have recognised the name of the most wanted criminal of their era.
‘You’re a fugitive.’ The tattoos on his upper arms were much darker, still fresh.
‘So are you, blessing.’
Sukuna spoke with a twang, Megumi had noticed since the first time he spoke, the alpha evidently spoke a different dialect natively. He wasn’t from around here nor would he be staying.
‘Where are you going?’
‘It wouldn’t be very wise on my part to answer that question would it?’
‘It wasn’t wise to pull me out, or to let me go after telling me your name.’
‘Alright. I’m going far, is that good enough?’
‘Travel between territories is prohibited.’
‘I’m a criminal, sweetheart.’
‘Unless it is for religious pilgrimage or local sightseeing.’
Sukuna raised an eyebrow and jutted out his bottom lip at whatever the kid was getting at.
‘I need to leave the region, I was trained as an exorcist so I am afforded free travel under the pretense of work but I can’t leave without a husband or a keeper.’ An omega was prohibited from traveling alone, especially not a pregnant one.
‘Hah, you want to marry a murderer? Go home little omega.’
Megumi didn’t even flinch. ‘I can’t go home, I’m pregnant.’ He was thankful the alpha didn’t react to the fact.
‘I can’t bring a bitch and a bastard with me.’ Sukuna was amused if anything, this omega was out of his mind.
‘If I go home I will still die. Even if they let me carry the pup to term and allow it the family name they will make me die in childbirth. I will die here or there, if you bring me with you I will help you travel without suspicion, and you don’t regret letting me live. We pose as a normal family and you can walk out in plain daylight. After we are far enough, we leave our separate ways. You said yourself, I am indebted to you.’
‘You do see the tattoo penalties right?’ Sukuna made a circular gesture to his face and body. ‘Ojou-chan, you can see I’m not a very nice guy can’t you?’
‘I can help you cover the scars and tattoos, you don’t know much about makeup do you?’
‘I’m not bringing you with me.’
Sukuna huffed, the crazy little bitch was actually persistent. Persistent enough to make him go grave robbing… He also smelled very nice out of the sea. Distressingly good.
‘Swap clothes.’ Sukuna crossed his arms and nodded at the female beta he had fished out of a mass grave. They stood hidden on a rocky section of the shoreline.
As determined as Megumi was, he was still apprehensive about looting a dead girl’s clothes and putting them on.
‘If you’re that shy I won’t look.’ Sukuna snorted. He turned and heard fabric rustling and the heavy thud of a corpse being rolled. When Sukuna turned back Megumi wore the dead girl’s kimono, it wasn’t hideous, commoner indigo with a simple pattern, a little bit washed out but fine. He looked more natural in casual dress.
Sukuna tossed him a dagger. He knelt for long enough for his feet to numb, cutting the corpse’s hair to match his own but Megumi still wasn’t particularly confident.
‘It doesn’t even look like me.’
‘The height and skin match, it must’ve died of hunger rather than disease. You don’t know how lucky you are. Put it in the sea long enough and it’ll bloat so big the details won't matter.’
‘But the face isn’t right.’
Sukuna inhaled deeply irritatedly, he grabbed the dead girl’s ankle and stood square.
Megumi couldn’t even come to describe the sound it made, between a cut of meat being slammed onto a cutting block and a hard apple being smashed by a mallet. The criminal had whipped the entire human body with such force into the stone face that the skull cracked and face minced. ‘Now?’ A chunk of brain slid out and plopped onto the rock with a squelch when he held it out like a big fish.
Megumi turned and heaved, he hadn’t felt so sick since the first months of morning sickness. He waved for Sukuna to get rid of it as he hurled. The alpha hmph’d self-satisfied and tossed the body between the crag and the sea, the tide would wash it up and leave it to be found in the coming morning.