His little sister landed on him with a shriek of laughter, twin pig tails flying around her face, and feet lost in massive purple boots. A tutu jutted out from her hips, a plastic crown was jammed down onto her head, and a towel was knotted around her neck; the main body flying behind her like a cape.
“I’m Super-Milagro!” The ten year old declared, grabbed the thin sheet bundled around his body, and tore it free. “Verses Blue Beetle!”
“I’m sleeping,” he told her, snatched back the bed cover, and yanked it back over his body.
“I’m playing,” she said as if that fact negated all else and jumped on the mattress beside him. “Jaime! Jaime! Come on! I want to verse Blue Beetle!”
The human child is interfering with required rest. Recommend immediate termin—
Milagro pouted. “Why not?”
He glared up at her from the pillow. “What part of summer vacation sleep ins don’t you understand?” And what part of not murdering my family don’t you understand? He venomously tried to think the question at the AI in his head. As usual the beetle – Khaji Da – didn’t respond. If it even got the message or not he didn’t know.
It had been a little over five months since the sentient alien technology had burst into his life, chosen him out of nothing but an urgent need for a host, and attached itself high between his shoulder blades. The royal blue shell was cool to the touch and impervious to all damage. He had felt the pain as it locked into place - cutting into and connecting with his spinal cord – and then the world had gone dark with horrific speed. Like someone had switched off the lights. When he woke his skin had been encased in blue and black, a pair of massive wings were humming behind his back, and the ground had been decidedly too far away.
After an initial freak out it hadn’t taken long to decide what he wanted to do with his new powers.
And now he was part of the Teen Titans. The same team Robin started, the most famous superhero team affiliated with the Justice League, and now they even had their own – admittedly still slightly shorter than he had been expecting – Super. A Kryptonian! Or close enough anyway. Whatever he was it was exciting to have Superboy on the team let alone three other sidekicks from core Justice Leagers.
He had met all but one of the new members yesterday – greedily passing off the ‘newbie’ title onto them – and watched as the younger heroes began to messily integrate themselves into the team. Robin and Superboy stuck close together triggering several layered looks from existing team-mates and Wonder Girl had done her best to meet and remember everyone’s name.
The speedster had left before he returned from a mission.
“Jaime,” Milagro nudged his side with the pointed purple toe of her boot. “Get up. I want to verse Blue Beetle.”
“No you don’t.”
“It’ll be awesome! One on one! Battle to the death just like last week!”
“Dad can do it,” he mumbled.
“It’s not the same,” she insisted. “I want the real Blue Beetle.”
He didn’t move.
“You’re the worst brother ever!” She huffed, kicked him one more time, and bounded off the mattress to frolic out of the room with a clatter of stubby heels on the shaved thin carpet.
He watched her go, tried to settle back in his bed, but groaned as he realised he was well and truly awake now. The brat. He stayed lying down on principle until his back began to ache. When he couldn’t take it anymore he pushed upright with a groan of defeat, changed, and shuffled down towards the living room.
“Mijo!” His mother saw him. “I’m making brownies. Do you want to take some to your friends?”
“We’re a superhero team, mum. We don’t bring in brownies.”
She patted his cheek fondly. “I’ll just pack them for you then.”
A pause. “Gracias,” he gave in as the rich chocolaty smell spiced with cinnamon and what could have been a dash of chilli powder wafted from the kitchen.
She smiled. “Bueno.”
His working family unit was not large. His mum, dad, sister, and self. They were a fringe group hanging off the edge of a larger family pack spread across near a dozen households. He doubted they would even be a part of the pack if it wasn’t for the strong family ties. Both his parents were betas and had never been able to conceive. Biologically Milagro and he were products of the pack leader and her omega – his mother’s sister – who had produced all the children they personally wanted to raise but, as was expected of a traditional viable couple, had continued to breed.
There were always non-viable couples – not likely or unable to reproduce – eager to adopt children. Beta beta pairs were the most common but alpha beta couples weren’t rare, and alpha on alpha relationships were also starting to line up at the adoption agencies. The fact that his parents had been given two children spoke to the lead alpha’s natural desire to strengthen weaker pack bonds, keep the extended family together, and also his mother’s unspoken closeness with her sibling; the first pack omega. His bearer.
Evade! Khaji Da thrust the order into his skull.
He hadn’t lived this long by disobeying the beetle’s instructions but had never received them in this setting. In a fit of alarm he threw himself in front of his mother as the blue and black armour unfolded over his skin with sickening speed.
A nerf dart bounced off the back of his head.
“Hah!” Milagro combat rolled out of her hiding spot and fired three more shots at him; her tongue poking out the side of her mouth the way it did when she concentrated.
He let them knock into the blue shield of he had already constructed on his arm. “Milagro,” he growled.
He hurled himself after her, still encased in the armour, and she bounded back with a gleeful fit of laughter. The battle that ensued lasted the better part of the hour and only ended when he let her beat him into couch with a pillow.
“I win! I win! I win!”
“Why are you fighting Blue Beetle?” his mother called from the other room. “He’s a good guy.”
“No, he’s evil,” she declared and sat down triumphantly on his defeated form. “He was trying to take over the world. I stopped him.”
He decided the game was over and sat up, knocking her back onto the sofa. “If I was taking over the world you wouldn’t be able to stop me.”
She giggled. “That’s what all the bad guys say.” She frowned as she realised what he said. “Who could stop you then?”
His mother gave him the wrapped box of brownies and smoothed his hair as his armour retreated down his face so he could taste one unhindered. Milagro took a handful, slumped down on her makeshift cape, and started flicking though the channels on TV.
“…weather today is…”
“…can’t believe what I’m…”
“…may the Force…”
“…an omega on the…”
“…Hey kids! Want to learn to…”
“…super cell storm hits with devastating…”
“…first on the team was the quote…”
“…that’s tonight on…”
“…for only nine ninety…”
“…his very superhero name has sexual…!”
“…the female turtle hurtles…”
“…promotes nothing but equality in…”
“…in cinemas now…”
“…kind of behaviour from a team that teenagers look up to…”
She stopped on a wrestling channel and snuggled down with starry eyes to watch the star spangled men fling themselves across the ring with costumes that had colour schemes suspiciously simular to some superheroes. A dark haired man in blue with red boxers was winning over the crowd against a bald man in green and purple.
He watched until the end of the match, showered, and took the brownies in a backpack he wore on his front to allow his wings to fly to the Teen Titans tower. Or, at least, fly him to the teleporter pad set up in the nearby desert that would project him from Texas and onto the West Coast. Once in San Francisco he wove through the now familiar streets earning waves from the people below until he came up to the glittering T shaped building overlooking the bay.
To his surprise he noticed a small crowd of civilians gathered outside protesting.
Someone had probably done a little too much property damage during a fight again.
He swooped over them and went in the top floor entrance. Arsenal was leaning against the railing looking down at the gathering; cap pulled low over his eyes.
“They here for you, Harper?”
The red head snorted. “They’re here for the newbie.”
“No, man. The little fast one with the stripper superhero name.”
“Says the guy with a name containing the word ‘arse’,” Gar’s voice rang out as a massive eagle swooped in the open entrance with a flash of moss coloured wings. He didn't slow his flight as he entered the building and a loud crash from inside suggested the bold move hadn’t paid off in the narrow corridors. "I'm okay!"
Jaime frowned. “Why are they protesting him?”
“Because he shouldn’t be on the team,” Roy responded sourly. “Neither of them should.”
He had a sickening feeling he knew what the other man was talking about. Both Impulse and Robin’s shared sexual caste had been communicated to them all at length well in advance of their arrival. They had cleared out an old room for them, ripped down all the omega pin up posters, and cleaned until everything shone and didn’t smell like anything they didn’t want an omega’s superior sense of smell to pick up. Some members hadn’t liked dismantling the ‘alpha cave’ but the betas insisted upon it; some gleefully.
He guessed it had left some hard feelings.
“Ey, amigo, just because they’re omegas…”
“Yeah, man, they’re omegas and they’re working as superheroes,” the man interrupted him. “It’s not fai—” he stopped looked away, and scratched at the old track marks up his forearm. “It’s not right,” he amended. “Omegas fighting like we do. I’m telling you – I don’t even care about this stuff and I’m telling you – this gig blows. Fucking big time.”
“I thought you said it would be hot?” He asked, walking across the balcony towards the door. “Finally got some real chulo around, you know?”
“Yeah, I thought it was; then I remembered they were, like, ten years old there-abouts and this whole thing is a stupid idea anyway. Big time. Lian ran to the little one the other day, man. Ran to him.” He glared across the harbour. “I can’t believe she ran to him.”
“My little sister ran at me this morning and I got bruises,” Jaime told him.
He pulled his cap down over his eyes and didn’t respond.
Jaime sighed, swung his backpack onto his back as his wings folded away, and left the other alpha. Inside Beast Boy was putting crates of stealth kits back together. The beta looked up and then down.
“Real chulo, huh?” He muttered. His fingers were tipped with small slight claws and ears had grown from delicate points to the short round shape of a great cat.
Jaime stopped. “Eh? What did you say?”
“Nothing,” Gar mumbled.
Realisation struck. “Hey, you know I didn’t mean…”
“Yeah,” the other man finished assembling the last kit and stood. “I know. No one likes those fakes, right? ‘specially not those fake ‘beauties’." His teeth were pointed and neck started to develop a mane. "All those betas that pretend to be beautiful? They're real annoying. Everyone knows only real bitches can be beautiful.”
"I'm so sorry I didn't mean..."
Gar turned into a bright green cheetah with dark mossy spots and dashed down the hall with a dismissive swish of his tail.
Jaime stared after the departing beta. “Why didn’t you tell me he was listening?”
It was not tactfully rele—
“Next time.” He told Khaji. “Tell me when I’m about to insult my friends, okay?”
The scarab was sullenly silent.
He texted an apology to the beta making a point of projecting how tactfully inconvenient such a delay was and then walked towards the dorms. The rooms were empty though smelt like they had been recently lived in. Beds were unmade, bags lay open on the floor, and towels hung from a ridiculous number of surfaces. The lockers stood against the far wall in stern straight lines. He ate another brownie, pushed his backpack into his locker, and walked back into the main part of the tower. Gar was no where to be seen but Kori had sectioned off the main training area and was hurling fireballs into the ring where a collection of members including the three newbies he had already met were training.
As he watched Superboy heroically caught Red Robin midway through a maynover theoretically saving him from a bit of heat but earning a frustrated baterang bouncing off his indestructible jaw in response. Wonder Girl was nothing but sinuous muscle, face shining with a savage satisfied look, and lasso snaking out like the glittering gold tail of a demon.
He debated joining them but the heat radiating out of Kori as she casually flicked another spark into the ring changed his mind. She was a brutal but brilliant teacher when she wanted to be but he had already versed one spitfire today. Instead he retreated down to one of the lower floors to help with inventory until a small mission drew him away where he blasted rubble away while Kid Flash darted in and saved people in a collapsed building. It wasn’t a complicated job but it took a surprising amount of time. When they finished Wally raced ahead to get dinner at the tower and he followed wondering if any would be left for him by the time he arrived at the glittering reflective glass T.
He found a few stray slices of pizza left over from what was evidentially a feeding frenzy of young heroes. Wally lay asleep in a pile of empty boxes with a lazy smile on his face, Superboy and Red Robin were beside each other on one of the couches, and Wonder Girl was practising a move with her sword.
He approached them.
“Hi,” Tim greeted.
A boy smelling of freshly washed flesh and omega appeared in a blur of movement wearing nothing but a towel over his head and a pair of cotton briefs hanging low off his hips.
“The showers here are so crash! This is Bart Allen reporting on the water pressure from Heav—” he broke off with a gasp and dashed away from Jaime.
He realised he was still in his armour and quickly retracted it with a stammering apology.
The boy had already dismissed him with what looked strangely like a conscious effort and was drying his face talking to the other young heroes who seemed completely used to and comfortable with his near nakedness.
Jaime stared in disbelief. He had never seen an omega in so little clothes before let alone in public. Even at the beach omegas usually wore some kind of shirt to cover their chest. It wasn’t that omega men had a lot to hide there or anything but… it was proper. Bart’s chest was fully exposed now; all smooth pale planes of lean muscle, near invisible golden freckles, and only the barest wisp of copper blonde body hair. But it’s wasn’t his chest that was interesting. The flare of his hips was obvious and seemed to spear out from his waist at a sharp, inexplicably fascinating, angle. Below them his arse was pert, round, and filled out the white underwear. The cotton was damp where he hadn’t dried himself properly; a patch on his left hip, another on his right cheek, and a bit more lower between the gap of his thighs.
Jaime started and looked up to see the speedster looking at him from under the towel; hazel gold green eyes sparkling around long curling lashes and fringe flopping across his brow in a damp cascade. His mouth was slightly too large and tugging upward in a mischievous grin.
“See something you like, Blue?”
“My eyes are up here.”
“I, eh, sorry, ese.” He had never apologised for looking at an omega before. It wasn’t polite, he supposed, but alphas always looked at omegas. When he had presented as an alpha his two younger alpha cousins had taken him out, given him a shot of what he imagined petrol tasted like, and stopped their awkward conversation whenever an omega walked by to call out to them and stare. It was the same in high school though the things they would call out usually weren’t so bad and sometimes the omegas would look up and smile back. He’d even kissed one once behind the gym during a basket ball game.
That was as far as he’d ever got with an omega. He thought kissing an omega would be really different from kissing a beta; spark some deep alpha instinct in him. It had. But, despite the raw animalistic feeling of having an omega it hadn’t been a very interesting kiss. The two betas he’d been with he’d gone all the way and they were a lot more fun than that omega had been; they weren’t shy, spoke back, and…
A loud laugh. “Ese? That’s so crash! Don’t apologise, hermano. I used to have one of those super sexy omegas on my wall until I figured out it was a mirror.” He started drying his hair and wriggled his hips; the motion shifting the briefs on him in a strangely hypnotic way.
“I…” Jaime had never not known what to say to an omega before. Swallowed as a particular movement hiked the thin white fabric slightly further up the other boy’s leg.
The omega’s eyes flashed and grin grew wider. “Are you drooling over me?”
“No,” he lied quickly; eyes flashing to the unconscious Kid Flash on the floor. The alpha saliva in his mouth a rapidly mounting arid tang.
“Really?” In an instant the boy was in front of him; face less than an inch from him. “Want to prove it? You know; because I make betas drool and you sure look like you got something in there to share.”
Bart sucked in a slow breath, inhaling Jaime’s question, and purred. “No need, Blue. This thing on the front of my face ain’t just for good looks, you know. I can smell that spicy saliva.” His smile was rakish, bottom lip pinch playfully between his teeth, and eyes shining under heavy lids. “You know, you don’t look half bad now that you’re out of costume.” Flecks of golden brown spilt across the murky green of his iris; the intricate details suddenly inexplicably obvious.
“I got to go on a mission, hermano, but you should totally have some food for me when I get back. I like those treats you got in your locker.”
“My locker?” A realisation. “You stole my mum’s brownies?”
“Hey, when I’m from it’s not stealing. It’s scavenger rights. Besides, look on the bright side. Now you can get me more.”
Jaime stared at the spot he had left, shuffled forward a step, and almost ran into Wonder Girl standing with her arms crossed and lasso looped around her fist. This, at least, he was used to. Alphas always appeared to deliver the same speech after he chatted with an omega.
“I’m not going to touch him,” he said before she could start.
The girl snorted. “He’s going to chew you up and spit you out.”
He blinked. “Eh?”
She walked around him and slumped down beside Tim and Conner. Tim was looking between him and Cassie with wide eyes, Cassie looked smug, and Conner gazed at him with a strange kind of sympathy.
“Okay,” he muttered; unsure of what to say and painfully aware that his mouth still tasted bitter. “I… I got to…” he began walking away.
“But if you do somehow manage to hurt him,” Cassie called at his retreating back. “I’ll rip your cock off.”
He walked stiffly out, took his backpack from of his locker, and opened it to find the brownies gone. The spot where they had been bore the tell tale scent of omega. How had he even known they were in there? Had he been going through his locker? Why would he go through his particular locker before he even knew him? The brownies had been in a container so their scent wouldn’t have been detectable even to an omega. He did open the container once but before it got into the locker. Even so it didn’t make sense… Had he gone through everyone’s locker? Or had he just gone through his? Why would he just go through his? Why would he risk his place in the team to go through everyone’s? Why had he…?
You should totally have food for me when I get back.
An alpha giving an omega food. Proof of ability to hunt. To provide. Flirting. Bart was asking him to… was… It didn’t make sense…
He was a low level alpha in a country with almost three times more alphas than omegas. On a planet where that statistic was pretty common. And that boy, Impulse, Bart Allen, had smelt like he was something between a mid and high level omega. Despite his obviously fully formed omega body shape he didn’t yet look sixteen.
And what was worse was that a part of his brain was already counting the money in his wallet and thinking about that bakery in the centre of town.
Jaime’s insides tumbled as if in a dyer as Wally walked into the room, yawned, and stretched.
“What I miss?”
“Ey,” he forced his shoulders into a small shrug. “Nothing much, hermano.”