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Human nature.

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I was nervously tapping on the car's upholstery, looking for the first time at the city from outside that tower's windows. How many years had passed since I was confined in that place? Long enough to make my sanity waver, right under the feet of my anxiety. Performing acrobatics to the beat of my heart. 

"Calm down" a hand covered mine. My gaze turned to the wrinkled, age-spotted complexion between gold rings "I need to attend a few meetings, then I'll bring you home” 

Home. What an arbitrary term was given to that glass tower. Cold and systemic.

"I thought I couldn't get out of..." He took out his cell phone to start typing, leaving my hand, completely ignoring me. I let go of a breath of frustration as I watched him turn on his hands-free microphone to start talking about business and shit.

There was no point in getting angry, no point in fighting. Every day that passed I became smaller, more insignificant amidst those mountains of frivolity and numbers. I was bathed in gold, burning with the glowing substance my essence as a human being.  

And it had been nearly three years since I left that dock in Algiers. 

"How are your German classes going?" asked the man hanging up, I looked at him. Even though that was his native language, he was speaking to me in mine. 

"Good" he nodded contentedly. 

Not many minutes passed before the car was parked in one of the many buildings in the office area. He came down and ordered me to follow him, I obeyed.

Amidst bows and condescending murmurs, the figure in front of me advanced among men dressed in black with this elitist air as if he owned the world. I followed in his footsteps, still unable to bow my head as I had been forced to do for three years now. 

My sense of smell always ran up in search of something. A trail of hope, or misery. That shade of cocoa bathed in alcohol, in an aged whiskey. 

Cartman. 

I breathed in again, assuming that that feeling had been nothing more than a memory at a bad time. It didn't go away. 

We entered an elevator, exclusive for executives. I continued in silence. 

And the place was bathed in the essence of a thousand alphas, some omegas... and Cartman's. He had been here. So fucking unmistakable. 

I felt my stomach churn at the thought. I could not see myself standing up to that treacherous animal, and not giving in to the desire to let down my guard in a moment of shared tragedy. 

When the doors opened once more I followed this man. The aroma was still there, dancing in the air with miserable haughtiness. Even if it were actually him, even if it were really him, why should I look for it?

"Turn around" spoke my avowed owner, pulling a small jewelry box out of his inside coat pocket. I let go of a gentle breath while following his command, feeling fingers move along my neck as he placed a small tracking device "The place is quite big, you can walk around a bit while I finish a couple of things here. Right on the left is a small lounge-bar if you want to wait there, ask for something if you like" he muttered before returning to the door and getting lost behind the fine wood. 

I touched the precious stones on the necklace looking around. Without my consent my lungs absorbed air, unconsciously searching for that scent. I bit my lip in tedium because of that bias of weakness as I felt my heart rush to find it once more.  

I began my drift between wooden doors and glass offices, his aroma my only guide among a thousand corridors, among a thousand looks that at the sight of the necklace were warned away. 

Why did I look for him? I wondered somewhere in the depths of my psyche, why was I looking for him? He would probably turn his back on me one more time, and I would sink and mock and be outraged and hurt and... 

I stopped my walk feeling the scent gathering in a large room, probably the lounge-bar that I had been told about before. 

I let go of a shaky breath, once again inhaling the aroma that instigated my more animal side as usual. With each breath I gradually stopped caring if I was hurt, if I was damaged. There was a certain sense of calm, as I savored the well-known torment he was giving me.  So unpleasant.

I advanced driven by desire into the room, looking around almost desperately for his image, finding absolutely nothing but one or two unknown alphas. 

Frustration overwhelmed my desire. I walked in the direction where I assumed the bathrooms should be. What kind of ridiculousness was this? How could I let goddamn hormones guide my actions? I was not a fucking animal!

I wanted to scream it out, but I would be silenced immediately. 

I detailed my perfect reflection in the mirror. I had my hair perfectly arranged, my complexion cared for, like a doll's. And for the thousandth time I felt disgusted with myself. For the thousandth time I felt myself shrinking into golden chains. For the thousandth time I wanted to simply... rest from it all. 

I roughly wiped away some tears that had been lost among the hundreds I had already spilled walking to one of the cubicles in search of false privacy. I closed behind me and leaned my back against the door breathing in search of calm, momentary calm amidst the nonsense of even feeling in this context. 

I fixed my suit and touched the necklace a second time before I felt that aroma approaching me again. It was approaching at frantic speed, my stomach turned over, my heart began to race again. 

He was on the other side of the door. 

Without thinking twice, I unlocked it. 

"I knew I felt you" he muttered as he entered the cubicle, closing behind us to turn me around and slamming me against the door in a beast-like fluidity. 

My breath got stuck as if out of nowhere breathing implied inhaling poison, and my chest began a race of disbelief to my hands. I raised them to his face, so familiar. Orbs like hell, skin like sin, scent like the rope around my neck, always ready to hang me a few feet from the ground. 

"Cartman" 

"Kahl" and his face sank against my neck "God, I missed your smell" and mine on his, allowing me to breathe in a display of real freedom. 

I could never find a more accurate metaphor for him than a drug itself. I buried my hands behind his back, his hands widened at my hip and we were only there for a couple of seconds appreciating the most addictive essence we could ever feel in our lives. 

"What are you doing here?" I murmured against his neck. 

"I will take you out... I will make you mine" he spoke as he stepped back, searching for my gaze. I corresponded by finding that dilation in pupils proper to the thirsty one... probably not much different from mine. I smiled at the words. 

"How?" 

"It's complicated, I just know it will take time" 

"How much?" he was silent for a few seconds. 

"Quite a lot. But if you help me..." I snorted at the words with amusement. 

"The last time I helped you, we ended up here"

"Last time you decided not to trust. Trust me now..." there was this sort of almost childish decision in his eyes; so typical of him in the midst of his obstinacy; but still... 

"You will only use me" he smiled at the words, leaning his face over me, his forehead touching mine. 

"But I will use you much better than they do" and that tone alone was enough to succumb like any ordinary Omega to his command. My breath escaped and his lips caught it in a chaste kiss that seemed to give meaning, for a split second, to my entire life. Just holding the contact of mouths, not moving an inch, eyelids slowly lowering as we filled our senses with each other's scent.   

And this... this was hell. 

We had come a really long way since then. Seven years. 

Seven years later, and here we were again.

"The auction will be on Friday"  

I closed my eyes, keeping silent in my seat, crossing my hands over my lap patiently while murmurs floated in the air between names, between figures. 

Numbers danced proudly, for this was the testimony by excellence, of the power of money over human life. 

"If you lose that auction, Cartman. I will bring you down, do you understand?" 

"And to close the evening's auction, one of the most extravagant possessions in recent years. One of the most valuable Omegas on the market today, fluent in at least four languages, ten years of experience in the famous..." 

"Fuck you. I never lose." 

And I raised my eyelids for the first time in a while, finding hundreds of eyes embedded in me; surely thousands in this wide circular amphitheater, the ceiling a dome from which descended rows of lights, leaving no living shadow between balconies around the stage, or the seats at the base.   

But those who would bet on me were probably in the central area, on this second floor with a few seats set aside in advance for buyers who aspired to spend more than anyone else.  

I found his face.

My gaze fell on this hell, because at this point, for me, even though in my religion we did not conceive such a place, I conceived it in the blue of his eyes. 

And yes, jade immersed itself in the very hades, in its briefly bored expression, fingers around the small auction palette disdainfully detailing the crowd while throwing a deliberately rude yawn into the air. 

I took a deep breath and felt my heartbeat descend strangely relaxed. Just now, when my fantasy of freedom was hanging from a really thin silk thread, I felt I could trust him. Not entirely in him perhaps, simply in his inability to lose, to lose to the world. I knew, I had faith that he would be victorious, at least today... and part of me hated to embrace that trust as the last foundation of my hope for change. 

I closed my orbs again, listening to words fly, numbers and prices, his voice not rising once, too many bidders. 

"Sold to the two hundred and three at one..." that was not the number on Cartman's paddle. 

My heart skipped a beat when I saw the hammer hit the pedestal a second time. I looked anxiously for his stupid smile in the crowd, to see him raise the offer a few thousand just before the hostess pronounced three. I stared at him in annoyance for that stupid stunt, only to be greeted by his stupid laugh. 

A woman raised the offer and I saw an almost scornful bias in Cartman's gaze. It was the lady next to him. 

And a heated demonstration of purchasing power began... the numbers became ridiculous at a certain point; but to my fortune, Cartman won in the end. 

I released a breath of relief that I didn't know I was holding in, my back lifting soon freeing itself from one of the most stressful situations I had ever been in. 

I guess I wasn't so confident after all. And how could I lie? A part of me almost expected the son of a bitch to leave me in the hands of some sextarian 'in the prime of his sexuality' just for fun. 

God. I smiled softly at the idea as I was urged to stand and be guided to the 'warehouse', listening to the auction close after my departure, amidst applause, amidst surprising murmurs about the specimen they had managed to see today, and would never see again. 

I was taken to this waiting room while everything was being formalized I guess, among these events there were always boring lapses of nothing. Not that they really bothered me. 

I advanced into a small living room, listening to the sound of the door being shut behind me, footsteps walking away, whispers about myself, all good, sexual in some cases. Well, in most cases. 

What was next? 

Now he was where he wanted to be, and I had finally escaped from that horrible tower... to fall into his hands. Which would be worse? 

I had so many ways to make him fall, so many secrets, so many ties with people who would love to see him suffer as much as I do. Years of collaboration opened up a variety of options for stabbing him in the back, but it worked both ways unfortunately, making me question if there was something else than just business that brought us together. Uncertainty, mistrust, hate are not exactly useful in the long run when trying to get to the top. 

So what was next? We had what we wanted, that was enough. What if he tried to leave me behind? Sell me? throw me away? I was still an Omega, still a fucking Omega. 

A distant sound caught my attention. Boots... 

Most, if not all, of the men here wore oxford or similar style shoes, and the women wore heels. The sound of footsteps was like a constant soft clicking. The sound of those heavy boots was out of tune, like a drum between small bells. 

The alarming thing was not so much that, it was simply something curious; the alarming thing was that it was heading for this particular room. 

I gazed at the door in anticipation of the noisy guest whose footsteps did not cease, nor did they falter at all. My gaze then traveled to the doorknob being forced, not legally of course, to see a picturesque character cross the threshold and close behind him. 

I silently detailed him. From the obvious military boots, to an attempt at a formal suit turned to shit in his... in his process of getting here I suppose. Brown, dishevelled hair, terrible dark circles under his eyes, and an unlit cigarette between his lips. 

"It was... complicated," he said after a while, pointing at the door. I nodded cautiously. 

"I can see that," he flashed a clearly forced smile as he reached into his pockets for something, hurriedly, anxiously. A lighter.

He lit the cigarette to inhale and let a puff of smoke go, a relaxed breath that seemed to chase away any trace of nervousness from his existence. 

"The sons of bitches had dogs, dogs. Fucking mutts, they're such a pain in the ass" I shrugged my eyes, still too confused by the visit to... I don't know, I really didn't know what kind of reaction to have. 

"Then... to what do I owe the honor" he snorted at my choice of words, I couldn't help but frown at it. 

"So... bought by Eric T. Cartman, the same person who initially put you up for auction, the same person who became CEO of the company that initially owned you" I arched one of my eyebrows at the sudden verbiage in his distinctive French accent. Well, this was quite colorful.   

"Two plus two makes four, congratulations," he smiled softly, only one of his corners rising. 

"Look, I'm an Omega, just like you," I nodded, catching a glimpse of the mark on his neck barely hidden by a half-wrapped scarf "And I must admit, therefore, that I am impressed" I smirked looking towards the window, curtains half drawn, leaving behind a translucent veil, then a window on a third floor... no way to escape.  

"It's not a mutual feeling. Who are you" his breath flowed wearily, exhaling smoke through his nostrils. 

"I have a name, and an invitation," I arched one of my eyebrows in curiosity. 

"An email would have been easier, maybe a letter"

"Easy to ignore. Yes" 

"Give me the name first, because you're tempting me to call security" he took out a small envelope from between his pockets.

"My name is Christophe, my alpha is Gregory of Yardale, president of the Yardale group. Right now he's working with an acquaintance of yours... Wendy Testaburger" he extended the envelope in my direction. My interest in the conversation was finally shown by the name. It was like the ghost of a completely different reality, like dead memories of a life that even if I wanted to, I could never get back. 

"What do you want?" 

"Revolution," he said with an almost comical seriousness. I laughed softly, wondering what kind of reality this character was living in.

"Look at the context before you say such absurd words, you are French, but you are not an idiot." He did not seem to be bothered, he just kept silent, sucking on his cigarette. "And what kind of participation do you intend to get from me? I am just a mere omega"

"You and that alpha of yours would be an important, but not essential, acquisition. A change will come even without your participation. The margin of error is as great as the change that is planned to be made, and strategy is the art of planning within that margin to reduce it, to make it non-existent if possible. A wide margin of error, among other things, implies collateral damage, lost lives and... I know you are the type of person who really abhors that kind of thing" I narrowed my gaze reticently "It's up to you to help us reduce the margin of error and its implications, in an event that I promise you, will be unavoidable" 

"Is that a threat?"

"An invitation and a warning" he shrugged, lighting a second cigarette. I was silent for a few seconds processing the information. What was the plan? I felt the paper in my hands asking myself if I should open it now. 

"We'll wait for an answer," he said before leaving. The hurried pace of boots was lost in the distance. 

I breathed in the remaining smell in the room. His alpha's... He was marked. 

A bond, a tie. Was that next? A leash that, unlike what was generally believed, worked in both directions. The alpha was as imprisoned as the omega, and if not by biological means, I would make it happen by less orthodox means. 

I observed the invitation in my hands once again. 

We were just getting started. 


It has been so many years since I returned to this country. The foreigner became like a distant dream in which I had been stuck for more than half a decade, and the absence of the smell of war, the silence, the lightness in the clothes, the itch in my neck were not welcome. 

As I was transported between buildings in perfect condition, chain stores, crowded restaurants, as vain conversations reached my ears, perfumes addressed my taste, the smog concentrated in the air came down my throat, I felt more and more like a wild animal being sent to a kindergarten. 

This was not my place. It was no longer my place, they took it away from me... I was no longer a human like the others. 

"This way" the discomfort in the eyes of those who saw me was new to me. They knew I was a wild animal in a kindergarten, but Mommy had told them not to mess with me. They had no choice but to obey. 

"Come in" a huge wooden door opened, this strong smell of alpha overpowered me so distinctly. My body tensed up waiting for that voice commanding to kill, but nothing came but silence. I stood there, confused for a few seconds, without the slightest idea what to do. 

"Come closer" the female voice guided my next three steps, the doors were closed behind me. I breathed in again the aroma of alpha, one I had not been ordered to remove because it lay on first world soil, an aroma of alpha that deserved to be shot through the air with freedom, freedom founded on blood. However, what freedom is not founded on blood? "Remember me?" I raised my gaze towards blue eyes, black hair, military uniform, soldier's bearing, woman's body. 

How much she had grown. 

I did not answer. 

"I asked a question, Kenneth McCormick, give me an answer," I smiled distantly, remembering how much she loved to restrain herself from using her alpha voice. It seemed to be a habit that had remained over time. 

I had heard her name from time to time between reports, between high commands, between whispers and secrets in the heat of battle. I had forgotten, many memories were scattered among the sand and dust. 

"Does it matter? The outcome of this conversation does not depend on whether I remember you or not'' I inhaled, and beyond the tone of alpha, the distantly familiar tone of surgery flooded in. The mixture of various antiseptic substances, the tone to latex, to antibacterial soap. 

"It matters that you remember the nature of my ideals" she stood up, away from that huge chair, the mahogany desk, documents, a cup of coffee, and the notable absence of photos or decorations. 

"And how would that nature differ from any other alpha, Wendy," her mouth curled in displeasure at the sneer in my voice. "The pleasure that ruling brings to your kind, knows no ideology," she smiled distantly, a trace of sadness creeping into her eyes, but she did not look away from me. 

"You are right" I bit the inside of my cheek at my words, a freedom I had taken without paying attention to the voice of that alpha who always seemed to whisper to me from somewhere. Every minute without a command only made me feel more and more disoriented, cornered. 

Her steps came slowly and measured, she sniffed close to me finding nothing but her own essence in the air. I remained unchanged in my position, her scent setting off alarms that I tried to silence with sudden despair. She stopped behind me. 

"The Omegas also sin from thirst, does your thirst know how to distinguish between ideologies?" Her fingers went up to my neck, moving shortly the cloth of my diver to feel a scar close to my cervical vertebrae "It does not. Nor does it distinguish between morality or ethics; washing one's hands in the voice of an alpha must be liberating." Rage began to dance in my chest, emotions that I rarely contemplated long enough to let them boil. 

"I had no choice," she moved her hand away, her boots took a couple more steps, soon she was in front of me. 

"I know" that strange and sad smile came back to her lips "I know" she repeated looking down for a second. 

"Why am I here?" 

"I need you" the smell of the operating room came back to my nose. The distant sound of glove slides, metal shakes and soft steps reached me. 

I looked around. It was offices like these, where history happened. 

"This office and your place in it gives me the opposite idea"

"Help me change the system, Kenny" a distant feeling came from my chest when I heard my name said that way. 

"I can feel the O.R. being prepared, you're not waiting for my approval, so cut the fucking game"

"We need to reverse the artificial bonding and..."  

"Just that?" 

"And try an experimental treatment to eliminate the reproduction instinct, and everything that it represents... including the hierarchy of alpha and omega. As far as hormones go, we'll set you free" she breathed in once again the absence of aroma in my body "You no longer have gonads, aromas or the ability or need to reproduce. Let me finish the process that they started, let me remove any trace of the omega that nature forced you to accept" her gaze observed me decisively, painfully determined.

I lowered my gaze, exhausted from her aroma. Heavy and dominant, unlike any scent extinct under my yoke. I watched in awe as my hand was wrapped in bandages, still in the process of healing from the last mission.

I had given up fighting years ago.  It was tiring and futile. 

As one of the many sick people I met in the slaughterhouse said. It was like fucking a corpse and hoping it would have an orgasm.  It was a unilateral act that would only be reciprocated with silence and the constant image of death. 

How fucking disgusting. 

Was it worth fighting the inevitable? Ideals guided with such conviction in the hands of an alpha were dangerous. And the option of dying on the way existed. 

I let go a sigh as heavy as my shoulders. 

"I do not have the strength, or the interest to refuse. I will not pretend to have autonomy after living as a slave. I'm still waiting for a voice to tell me what the fuck to do," she kept silent as I finished processing the end of the estate. "But that's not the Kenneth you knew," she raised one of her eyebrows in interest." What would the Kenneth you knew say?" Her gaze softened for a moment. My stomach turned in sudden terror from a clear gesture of vulnerability.  

"The Kenny I knew would have asked about his little sister" I watched her for a couple of seconds in complete silence. We both knew the answer to that question, because it was also the answer to how she would control me when the surgeon removed my natural leash. "I've taken care of her, she's beta"

Nostalgia tangled in absolute adoration devoured my heart between its warm jaws. Crossing the barrier of disdain, of weariness. 

"Fine..." she watched me searching for some emotion in my face. My warm bowels dissent greatly with my insipid expression "I will follow you'' one of her mouth corners went up in triumph. She nodded solemnly, and I felt for a second that I had sold my soul to the devil... But what the hell, it had never been mine anyway.


 

I silently looked at the documents in my hands. My signature on a proof of purchase for a million euro piece. My phone was vibrating, but I still couldn't let go of this feeling of satisfaction and desire that reading his name as something of my own was provoking. 

Kyle Broflovski, owned by Eric. T. Cartman.  

I drank the last sip from the wine glass as I walked out of the hotel where the auction had taken place. The driver was waiting with the car door open. 

"Let's go to the central offices" he nodded and started off. I still had a job to do, I always had a damn job to do. My phone was still vibrating, reality was still knocking on the fucking door every second... but my only dilemma right now was the idea of marking him.

I didn't remember marking anyone, and if I did, its irrelevance was inescapable, because I didn't have a single memory of it. It was one of the many banalities of the system that I finally took into account now that I had something in front of me that was worth marking. 

He would let himself be marked? The consent between alphas and omegas was an act of extreme romanticism, to the point of being considered vulgar or improper in certain circles. In addition, not marking him was a sign of a clear lack of authority in an elitist and tedious society. I didn't care much about the social strata in this community, but maybe I could use it as an excuse. 

I got out of the car as soon as it stopped in front of the building.  A dozen floors up, the smell of that alpha covered my nose. The offices were lifeless at this hour, with only the occasional security guard slipping through empty hallways. 

I opened the door to my office without any light of its own. My movement turned on the lighting in the huge room, her figure was lying on my chair. I heard the lipstick on her lips as they parted, her nails clashing against each other, an exhalation of disgust.

"You bought him" although we were close to our thirties, her voice still sounded like that ten-year-old girl who once ruined me. Unbearable. 

"And you're in my chair. Luckily one of the two things can be reversed" a slight chardonnay tone seemed to dance in the air, the dust from a cork after being pierced. I looked for the bottle of wine, I didn't find anything.

"What are you trying to do?" she murmured, knowing that I would hear her.

"Trying to... Heidi, I was just trying to satisfy a somewhat repressed desire for my hard and traumatic childhood" I cleared my throat, moving in her direction. "It's a particularly hard conversation for me, it makes me a little sensitive. That you'll get your damn attempt of vagina out of my chair would make me feel a lot better" she spun around in the chair, approaching my desk. I stopped, watching, listening to her fingernails groping for papers scattered on the wood.

"You shouldn't leave these documents out in the open" her green eyes searched for me amidst the light makeup, still keeping her hair short and this haughty bitch vibe.  

"You shouldn't sit in my damn chair" we had met again at a united nations' conference on sustainable development in my last semester at the university. She was one of the many speakers at the event. If I had known, I wouldn't have gone, but who the hell reads the damn brochures. 

"I heard that one of the new internal policies you're going to promote calls for the welfare of the Omegas marketed by the subsidiaries of your small empire, but it calls into question the sustainability of production costs.  I wonder if the shareholders will see this direct blow to profits as something…wise". 

"Small? When you get your ass out of my chair, please do us both a favor and get the hell out of my office while you're at it"

"And looking at these documents, something tells me that this is just the beginning, the beginning of something big, now with Kyle in your hands"

"I told you already..." she clicked her tongue with complete annoyance.  At last my attacks were beginning to break through her solid barrier of indifferent drunkenness.

"You can fool them..." she pointed to the window, to the endless buildings on the horizon, and what each represented "... But not me, Eric" I let go a sigh of fatigue ending my way to the desk. 

"Always so smart" she snorted with renewed annoyance giving a last glance at the documents. 

"Let me correct what I said before. You don't have Kyle in your hands, Kyle has you in his hands"

"And so funny" she smiled distantly. 

"Change the world? That's what he wants..." I couldn't help but roll my eyes as a breath of pure annoyance left my lips. It was still just as tedious to talk to her. Women "Improve the conditions of the Omegas in the long run? Release them?" She finally stood up. I was silent as she circled the table in my direction " You are doing it wrong. You know he' s doing it wrong" 

"Why did you want to see me?" She smiled again, this tone of deceptive politeness on her pink lips. 

"I just wanted to give you a little advance on what's coming up." 

"Oh, now you see the future too? I always knew you had something of a witch in you." 

"You and Kyle are predictable, on an almost satirical level. He has a pronounced tendency to take struggles for his ideals to somewhat... unhealthy levels". I knew I wasn't the only one who had noticed. "That tendency will be reflected in your actions on this company, a national oligopoly of the omega industry. You know that the living conditions Kyle intends for his kind are unattainable in a system that puts profit before human life. How long do you think you can fool the world? The numbers will eventually show the truth" her smile grew as mine descended "You haven't even marked him, and that in itself is outrageous".

"What's your point? To fuck up my fucking night? Oh, you knew how good I'd feel after I bought him so you decided to come and fuck up my week. Is that it?" She laughed softly. The smell of wine hit me harder than ever. 

"I just came to confirm that you know he's doing it wrong."

"And you can do it right?" She shrugged, now half sitting at my desk. Was she planning to leave her ass mark all over my office?

"Not right... but at least better."

"And why would you do that?" I moved to my chair. This was my chance. I took my seat and let go of a grunt of victory, followed by a groan of disgust at her essence in it. 

"You are so childish" She whispered following my movements with that cold, calculating look of hers. The eyes of an abuser. I was her victim. 

"Will you answer?" Her gaze wandered around the office for a couple of seconds. Her lips seemed to hesitate about the words that would come out.

"A couple of months ago, I got this request signed by at least fifty somewhat impromptu textile factory workers' unions in Bangladesh. It was a petition made to various human rights organizations that for some reason ended up in the hands of an alpha, my hands"

"Impressive" She agreed, those requests never came so high. "What was it about?"

"It was a petition to improve the working conditions of the Omegas tapped in those factories as slaves. Of course, along with it came this letter from an alpha belonging to this textile conglomerate and owner of a large part of the factories in the area, asking to please ignore the request, as it was an attempt to hurt the profits, the company and all those who depended on it, including customers and shareholders" I nodded "What do you think I did?"

"I don't know, but I'm sure a glass of wine was involved in the decision" she let out a smile at the comment. 

"Even if I'm an alpha, I'm part of the system. I ignored the request, it wasn't the first time anyway." She played once more with the papers on the table, her eyes fixed on the movement of her own hands. "You know that in third world areas, due to the high birth rate, Omegas are not that rare. They are easily replaceable". 

“¿So?” 

"Days later I attended this fashion show in Milan, of one of the brands that hired services from developing countries such as Bangladesh or India" she took a deep breath "Two sides of the same coin" and closed her eyes showing nothing but tranquility in her face "And I thought as I watched those models, beautiful omegas on the verge of inanity, with an expiration date already marked and the smell of alpha sperm between their legs... What if we destroyed everything..." well, I didn't expect that.

"What?" Her eyes searched for me.

"Everything is too broken to be fixed. There's really no solution, or right answer"

"What is yours? To send it all to hell? Pretty realistic Heidi, as ambitious as ever. Why the fuck did you come to tell me this?"

"An economic crisis, a second great recession" She bit her lip in an act of concentration, I watched her fascinated by such evil machinations. To see her fall on her ever present dirty side was interesting. "The neoliberal model does not have a solution for the next economic crisis, nobody would know how to face it. From Marx to Keynes, the theory of the crisis is sufficiently well defined to know how to initiate one with enough participation in the market"

"Why the fuck would I do that?"

"You are the CEO of an oligopoly, of an industry on which others depend such as pornography, sex tourism, modeling, various branches of the arts and more business difficult to name. If you fall, they will all fall, and in turn, those who depend on them. The sudden stop of such a large money flow in the system would cause a stir on Wall Street... No one wants to drive Wall Street crazy" she mumbled without looking away from the documents on the table. 

"Again, why the fuck would I do that?" she smiled. 

"I think I said it from the beginning. The business system that Kyle plans to make you implement is not viable, it will affect the numbers eventually... Unless that's your intention from the start. "

I wasn't planning on agreeing with her in a thousand fucking years; but the situation seemed to deserve it. Kyle's ideals often overlapped with reality itself; they became dangerous. 

"Think about it," she finally said, adjusting her cardigan, and took one last look around the office. "And congratulations. You don't deserve any of this, but you've played the puppet role pretty well so far"

"Fuck you." She started her way to the door. The sound of her heels rivaled her voice in terms of irritability. 

"And you should make your bond with him as soon as you can. You don't want the rumors to start running. Right?" That was the last thing she said before leaving the room. Her scent, on the other hand, would remain locked up in the place for a couple more days. Bitch. 

Mark him. Mark him.

Little did I know about the implications of a bond, but I had read enough. I would be able to feel and smell him all the time, even if the fucking ocean were to separate us.  The emotions would cross the boundaries of the individual and be mutually familiar. The gestures, the touch, the caresses... the slightest approach would feel a thousand times stronger. Or so they said, to me that was bullshit, I had seen alphas undo bonds with a laughable ease. It affected them, but it was nothing that the necessary sedation could not calm. It was almost like plastic surgery, including anesthesia and everything.

I watched the office one last time before I left. I took my cell phone reading the name on the incoming call. 

Kyle.

"I' ve been thinking about something. But I hate to make things so easy for you " it was weird for him to call me. It felt like years.

"What the fuck are you talking about?" 

For an Omega to have a phone, or a way to contact the outside world without the intervention of its Alpha was rare, very rare. But, lucky for him, someone as benevolent and amazing as me owned that glass tower. When I gave him the phone a couple of weeks ago, his first reaction was to take it and lock himself in his room. I know he tried to contact people from the past, he tried to dial phone numbers that he could barely remember by changing one or two digits with each wrong dialing message. 

No one answered. At the end of that day I knew he hated me a little more, and I couldn't care less. 

"They already took you to my apartment? I paid extra for quick delivery"

" Fast, not efficient. I've been thinking about whether or not I should let you mark me" The lascivious tone that crossed the line drove a current into my pelvis. The soft smile I heard next triggered a small flash of hate in my chest. Fucking bitch. 

"I didn't know it was a decision you could make" We both knew it was, but I wasn't planning on saying that. 

" So I wasn't the only one thinking about it. Were you thinking of marking me against my will? " The distant sound of cars and music made it clear that he wasn't in my damn apartment. I looked at the time on my rolex, he definitely had to be in my fucking apartment already. 

"Where are you?"

" Answer my question " I got into my car. I had dispatched the driver because I was going straight home after meeting Heidi. Of course, that bitch Kyle had to ruin everything. 

"No. You answer my fucking question” 

“Find me and I'll let you mark me” And he was gone. I took the road.

I tried to dial him. Of course he didn't answer. I dialed the beta that was supposed to make sure Kyle got into my fucking apartment.

I waited one, two... 

" Yes, Mr. Cartman " I let go of a really heavy breath when I noticed the clear nervousness in his voice. 

"Did you at least make sure he came in?" 

" Sorry? " my index finger and thumb looked for the bridge of my septum to lessen even a little the stress that was starting to flow. 

"Did you see the omega, the one who probably gave you a hard-on with his dirty little Jewish bitch tricks, go into the fucking apartment?" he was silent for a few fucking seconds... god. 

" I left him in the lobby, I thought that... " I hung up without hearing any further explanation, raising my nose to the air to look for the direction of his scent when I was near my residential area.

I knew he would do some shit like this. Damn it. I started my ride looking for its essence in the direction of the main road, among a thousand shits in the air. It was difficult, but not impossible. 

A few meters south on the avenue, its aroma was flowing towards an area rarely frequented by unmarked omegas with a minimum sense of pure decency.

I parked on a platform where his essence seemed to grow, following him among the thousand and one more that seemed to join; arriving at this establishment in the center of the area, a particularly congested area of nightclubs. 

His aroma stood out like a lady in a carmine dress, among virginal white tones. Dirty, sinful, so proud of its very invitation to temptation. 

Other aromas were intermingled with his, like beasts groping his neck, his complexion, his gaze, looking for even the slightest opportunity to possess that provocative creature in the most obscene ways possible.

Snow was falling, but the heat that emanated from my complexion was increasing, threats to my property instigated this pressure on my chest that made my pace increase rapidly, among omegas, among alphas. I was only looking for the carmine prey that was starting to drive me crazy with its simple display of hormones. 

He was deliberately playing with the hunter. Oh, but he was used to hunters without fangs, without claws. Playing with me wasn't the same game that he played with whichever imbecile bought his time. 

I breathed in again, a small flake brushed my nose evaporating in a short time, his aroma dispersing among a thousand establishments brimming with life, music playing among bricks, neon lights, tall buildings and I was close, I could feel it. 

Everything seemed to get lost when I looked for him. It wasn't the first time, it definitely wasn't the first time. I had looked for him so many times years ago. 

The first time our eyes met after leaving him on that ship in Algiers, the surprise in his eyes, the little move of his nose recognizing my scent so far away. And when I had him in my sight a wild part of me wanted him so damn close. I really thought, for a second, that I wanted to eat him alive. 

But back then there were barriers of ownership, of hierarchy, of interest. This time he was mine, and as soon as I could see him, I really had no idea what kind of impulse would come out of me. I was curious about my actions, and curious as to whether I would be able to stop myself. 

The noises became dissonant between footsteps and murmurs, to the point that, as soon as his voice entered my listening radius, it would be absolutely everything I would hear; the aromas would break through and his would superimpose itself, overwhelming, unique, so damned addictive that I really did not blame the fucking driver for succumbing to something so easy to appreciate as his aroma was; and everything seemed to be reduced to a tunnel vision whose center had to be him, had to be him. 

I advanced to a club that was too congested for the hour; it was about three o'clock and people seemed desperate to get in. Maybe they felt it too... the smell of the most expensive whore on the market, there must have been a reason for the price. 

I snorted, making my way through a really tedious crowd, alphas and omegas behind them, a few betas out of tune; but it didn't matter, right now his being was my top priority. 

Among a swarming crowd, neon lights running down the walls, ceiling, contouring the shadows on the floor like snakes, smoke dancing at ankle height and music resonating at a frequency arranged for the sensitive ear of alphas and omegas, I felt his aroma caressing my face like the muse playing amusingly with his artist. 

I was close. 

So close that my heart seemed to dictate the pace of my steps, increasing both at the same time with each breath closer to it. 

It had been so long since I felt this... it was like succumbing to nature, a part of us as mere beings pretending to be gods that bordered on the earthly, thus remembering our dirty belonging to the equivalent of quadrupeds in heat. 

But it was difficult, really difficult to ignore that part that was pounding and tearing to get out, begging for a moment of debauchery, of control, of submission, of something that would make us feel human once again. 

And there he was. 

He kept the three-piece suit from the previous evening, although the jacket was nowhere to be found. The shirt had its collar undone next to the half-down tie, and the vest, already completely unbuttoned, left its white collar exposed completely free of any mark, inviting each alpha around him to observe with their dirty eyes his clean jugular. 

He was leaning over the bar, vinotinto glass in hand, a sneaky Jewish smile on his face, and a posture of complete freedom. Chin raised, back straight, neck deliberately exposed in a tilted position to show how little fear the multiple alphas around him inspired in him. So arrogant, so Kyle.  

As soon as I got close enough, the tension was palpable, threats ran rampant among a large number of predators disguised as gods; keeping them at bay with the latent promise of great, great consequences. 

He played with fire, but was so damned used to getting his hands on it that he knew he could manipulate it without getting even a little burned. 

I stopped to watch one of the alphas slide his hand tentatively around his wrist. The other alphas noticed, and this really heavy atmosphere took over, like a storm that seemed to be coming. 

Kyle only looked away from the contact, pushing his hand aside with the delicacy of a prostitute. He breathed calmly and said something that was lost in the bustle, and his gaze searched for mine to smile in victory, a victory I did not understand; because this really irrational part of me knew that I could completely destroy him right now. 

Anger that I did not recognize as my own swayed through my chest, irremediably translating into this display of hormones that did nothing but add more weight to the already suffocating environment. Omegas began to move away, and not a single beta dared to come near this area. The gaze of alphas, at least those who wanted a chance with Kyle, traveled in my direction, initially threatening. 

A heat came down my back, unmistakable... my rut was close; after all, his heat had been over a month ago, our cycle was not far off. 

That became evident as a statement, my reason took a step backwards terrified by that growing anger, and I didn't even know whether to classify that feeling as anger, because it could well go to euphoria in one second, and to an act of brutal violence the next. 

Every alpha took a step back from the situation, from Kyle's almost automatic submission to my presence. He stopped exposing his neck, and even though his back was kept straight, his chin dropped below mine with his gaze only on me. He would not push it away like an ordinary Omega would; he would not give in, Kyle would never give in. 

Part of me tried to stop myself, that slight trace of distant reason knowing that this was probably nothing more than a Jewish trick, dirty and sneaky on his part; but then, the predominant one right now, made me walk until I was inches away from him, and in movements that seemed to be mere reflexes one of my hands moved towards his neck, burying my fingers between his red curls in order to hurt him as I drew him towards me. 

"You took your time" he muttered against my lips, the smell of alcohol reaching me. I pulled his hair forcing him to raise his chin, breathing down his neck. 

Without further ado, like a beast marking ground, I buried my teeth in his lower lip, pulled and caught his open mouth in an almost immediate brush of tongues exploring the other's cavity. A guttural groan left his throat and my hand left his hair to go down with the other to his hip, holding him against the bar, I raised him to sit him on it throwing some glasses in the process, without separating more than a millimeter. 

"You are mine" I murmured between the exchange and felt him laugh at me, raising his arms to my neck, surrounding me, his chest pulsing against mine, heat running between the two like rivers of opposing streams colliding, melting. 

"Not yet." Those words came out as a command to follow, and I was fascinated. 

I walked away to let my nose feel his, his lips, his chin. 

"Up" I ordered and he rose, exposing his trachea, moving up and down by saliva that slipped in feigned nervousness; playing the prey, believing in his blind and sinuous pride that he was not.

My lips groped the area. I had no fucking idea how to do this. 

Despite the loud music I could hear his heartbeat, blood rushing at an erratic pace through his jugular. 

My tongue slipped, eagerly inspecting the incision site that would make him my property, and my own heart swirled in a flutter that propelled me to his as everything around us faded away like the meaningless reality that it was. Right now, the only thing worth appreciating was his haughty face, jade orbs fixed on my actions, lips half open in anxiety that he didn't bother to hide... and his smell, his damn smell. 

And it only took one last breath of submission on his part to sink my teeth into his almost virginal complexion; after all, the last person who had marked him had died by his own hand; and damn it, the memory alone only turned me on even more. 

A moan of pain pierced his lips, his fingers buried themselves in the back of my neck, and for a second each sense tripled his feeling. 

Like an overdose of reality, each beat pierced my eardrum and a dizziness came up between my eyebrows too focused on the thousand and one aromas around us, but his always prevailed, now deeper than ever. And the touch, his fingers seemed to burn, my hands on his hip buried themselves as if I wanted to pierce him, the fabric, the clothes felt like a bloody mortal enemy. 

The noose ran like a leash around our necks, and our heartbeats seemed to synchronize from now until the end of... of this, of whatever this was.

For a second I felt complete, as if my entire existence had been but a fragment of a whole; and right in front of me was the other part, complementing me. It was only a fleeting feeling, which I almost tried to pursue before seeing it vanish before me... leaving behind this strange sensation of a void to be filled, where he somehow fit, wrongly and at the same time... perfectly. Contradictory, strange... it was the first time in my life that... 

"And now?" I asked against his neck. 

He trembled under my touch and I walked away seeing the red mark of teeth on a pale complexion illuminated between fleeting flashes of neon carmine, my shadow overshadowing his face, animal desire consuming his gaze. 

"Perhaps" his words made the whole context come back to life. Glances were felt again, and the noise at its average level spread out again to every damn corner... I could see beyond his dilated pupils; but I cared so little that I just stepped back. 

God, all this was so annoying. 

"Satisfied?" I spoke loudly enough turning around, starting my way to the entrance of this cursed place as whispers reached us; several recognizing him, recognizing me.

“I am”