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Secret Future

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Bart had never in his entire life seen a clock move so slow before. In the length of time it took for the second hand to click heavily onto the next notch he ran upstairs to reconfirm the time with the digital in his bedroom, checked to make sure the living room clock had the right amount of batteries in the back, and slowly dragged his finger along his phone to swipe and unlock. It seemed to take an age for the screen to light up but when it did it declared the same time as last he had checked; what seemed like hours ago.

 

He sighed in frustration, slumped back onto the sofa, and stared at the second hand on the clock. Still. Then finally moving ponderously one more notch.

 

“Totally. Not. Crash.”

 

A voice. Slowed and distorted beyond comprehension. Bart looked up in shock, saw the figure in the doorway, and the movement of her lips. It took a moment for his speeding brain to consume what he was seeing, trip, and reel back to sync in time so he could understand what was being said.

 

“—nd down the stairs sixteen times in the last two minutes.”

 

He blinked, forced his voice into a playful laugh, and rolled onto his back. “Sorry, nana.”

 

Iris lifted an eyebrow at the nickname but didn’t comment. “You don’t need to be sorry, Bart. I’m just trying to stop you from wearing out the carpet in boredom.” She was a discreetly beautiful woman with ruddy red brown hair, coppery eyes, and the neat non-obstructive curves of a female beta. Between her hips her belly was just starting to protrude; the result of IVF and reason why she was staying off her feet for most of the day. Pregnant betas were becoming more and more common but it was still a riskier process than if the bearer was an omega. Bart wasn’t worried. One of the two babies inside her was, after all, his father.

 

He himself was evidence towards the survival of the twins.

 

“Barry is coming," Iris reminded him. "You running around isn’t going to make him arrive any sooner.” Sympathetically. “Have you figured out the remotes yet? Do you want me to put on the TV?”

 

“Can’t I just go myself? San Francisco isn’t really that fa—”

 

Barry appeared in full Flash regalia with a blur through the front door. “Sorry I’m l—”

 

“You’re late!” Bart leapt to his feet and threw off his casual clothes in a whirlwind to reveal the sleek shape of his Impulse costume beneath. “What if we miss it? Come on!” He grabbed his grandfather’s hand and dragged him back out the door at super speed.

 

“Bart! Hol—”

 

“This is going to be so totally crash!” He cried as he started running in earnest; body singing as he finally got the chance to move. “Did you go online last night? We’re trending. Or, well, Superboy’s trending but wait until all those Teen Titan fans go there to see him and get us. Cassie’s even got this sexy new costume.” Realised his mistake as the man’s head snapped around to look at him. “Not that I find her – it – sexy,” he amended quickly. “I mean, really, it’s not sexy at all. What’s so sexy about an alpha showing all that muscle? Or leaving all that hair out? Like, wow she’s got a lot of hair. But, really, I didn’t even notice. No no, totally good chaste omega here. No alphas for me.”

 

Barry’s look through the mask wasn’t convinced. “If you’re no—”

 

“No no no! I’m ready! It’s been three months and I haven’t skipped school, stolen anything, or done any superhero stuff. That was the deal. Now I’m going to be a Teen Titan!” He beamed up at the man running beside him. “Today’s the day.”

 

“And Wally’s going to be looking out for you,” Barry told him sternly as he lengthened his stride. “Go to him if you have any trouble.”

 

He laughed and saluted. “Sure thing, leader.”

 

“I mean it, Bart.”

 

“I know, and I will.” He smiled; wide, earnest, and excited. “I’m not going to let the pack down. I promise.”

 

They arrived at the zeta tube hidden under the Flash Museum moments later and transported to the city they needed. San Francisco wasn’t large when you could move faster than sound and it didn’t take them long to weave between the stacks of multicoloured cars and dash across the bridge to get to the new Titan Tower overlooking the bay. Bart saw the small collection of assembled reporters and people – a large portion teenagers in red and black Super shirts – and his friends already standing on the threshold of the building before them.

 

“Oh man, we’re late!” He bolted ahead, zipped through the crowd, and appeared beside the line up. Tim in his Red Robin costume stood with Batman; both looking intrinsically out of place under the pristine blue skies, Cassie had bundled her golden hair back into warlike braids, and Conner looked a lot smaller standing between Wonder Woman and Superman.

 

“—formally acknowledge these young heroes,” Superman was saying, “and place them with the Teen Titans – a team fully recognised by the Justice League and deputised by this great city – to learn, grow, and help the SFPD and SFFD to keep this city safe.”

 

It was the end of a speech. Once he finished the reporters all started talking at once, a few of the teenagers called out to a blushing Conner, and one of the bloggers near him turned to him.

 

“Digging the costume, bro! Are you the new Kid Flash? How does it fe—” he blinked, and his eyes went wide. “Are you an omega?”

 

Unlike the Bats already moving towards the Titan Tower none of the speedsters completely removed their scent in costume. They didn’t, however, go completely unmasked like the Supers did either. There was a spray they wore that took the defining edge off a scent and made it harder to read and identify. For Bart, it had never been enough to entirely hold off the sweet scent of his omegahood.

 

“Yeah,” he replied flippantly. “I’m going to be the team’s first. Ain’t it cool?” He grinned at the startled man, relished the sight as a few more people turned towards him, and was promptly dragged back towards the tower by Barry.

 

“Are you sure you’re ready for this?” The man hissed once they were safely inside and out of sight. “You can’t go talking to the press like that! You can’t just tell people your caste!”

 

“I didn’t say anything they didn’t know,” he protested. “Or were going to find out.”

 

The man opened his mouth to reply, stopped, and scowled. “You do not talk to the press,” he said again.

 

Conner walked in the doorway behind him; an unhappy frown plastered onto his face. “Tim’s an omega,” he reminded him. “You’re not the first. You both are.”

 

He rolled his eyes. “I know, big guy, but he’s a secret omega. Ain’t that right Red!”

 

Tim was talking with Batman who was in the process of scraping the cowl off his face. It peeled off revealing someone far younger than the bulk of the costume made him look. “Oh God,” he groaned. “Batsuits do not do good in the sun. I swear when I take this off you guys are all going to need gas masks. I’m sweating like a Kryptonian on Apokolips.”

 

Superman raised an eyebrow but didn’t comment.

 

“But,” Batman continued lightly, “I think that went well apart from some late arrivals,” a look at Bart and Barry. “So, thanks mentors but the Titans will take it from here.”

 

“Wait,” Cassie mumbled in confusion. “Aren’t you a mentor?”

 

Batman laughed. “Don’t let the threads fool you; I’m a founding Titan. Just working the suit while the boss takes some ‘me time’.” He mimed inverted commas around the last two words. “You won’t be on the field with me so just call me Dick.”

 

“Dick,” Cassie tried out the name. “Alright.”

 

“And you’re the wonderful wonder girl, Cassie,” the man replied. “Awesome.” He clapped his hands together. “The rest of the team can’t wait to meet you guys; Young Justice may have been disbanded but it was a hell of a resume, let me tell you, so I’ll send you mentors on your way and you lot into that elevator.” He motioned towards the sleek metallic door. “It’ll recognise you now. Top floor; common room.”

 

“Wai—” Barry started.

 

“This is so awesome!” Bart flung his arms around his grandfather’s shoulders. “Titan with a capital T! Coming back in time was so worth it! I love this century!”

 

“Bar—” the man tried again.

 

“Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you! I won’t scavenge anything else ever!” He hugged him tighter, smiled, and bolted into the waiting elevator before his grandfather could protest. Tim followed, then Conner suspiciously close behind, and finally Cassie. The moment the lift doors were closed they all turned to each other. It was the first time they had all been together in the three months since Young Justice was disbanded.

 

“Man,” Conner began, “I missed you guys.”

 

“I’m surprised you didn’t all die without me,” Cassie said with a laugh.

 

“He almost did,” Tim accused with a nod towards Conner. “Several times.”

 

“Your pack is scary,” was the alpha’s only response.

 

Bart snorted. “His pack? Try my pack. One and only omega in pack of betas; might I remind you. Here are normal levels of protectiveness,” he held a hand at his hip, “this is your era’s level of protectiveness,” he lifted his palm, “and my pack is somewhere up there,” he pointed at the ceiling. “They’re awesome and all but it would be nice to be allowed to have someone around during a heat or two. I’m not dum; I’m not going to get pregnant.” An old idea sprung to his mind. “Man, did I tell you grandma is pregnant? It’s going to be weird when my dad and auntie are born. Do babies even have the same scents as adults? Like will I recognise them? Should I tell grandpa their castes? Cause, my dad was, is, will be, an alpha and auntie Dawn a beta.”

 

“Bart,” Cassie put her hand on his head. “Breathe.”

 

“I’m breathing. Totally breathing. In out in out in out. Like a pro. What makes you think I’m not breathing? I’m superfast! I can breathe all the air in this elevator before we get to the top.”

 

Tim. “Please don’t.”

 

“Won’t, but hey; were you worried about me?” Bart pressed himself against Cassie’s side. “That’s so hot. Just saying. I know you like alphas and everything but if my sheer sexiness ever makes you change your mind no one would blame you.”

 

“Yeah,” she replied wearily with a fond smile. “I know. What’s a gay alpha without an eccentric infatuated omega following them around anyway?”

 

He grinned. “Exactly.”

 

Tim was frowning through the shape of his mask. “I thought it was the other way around. An eccentric infatuated alpha follows around the gay om—”

 

“Dude!” He stared at him incredulously. “Since when did you become so moded, man? Not cool.”

 

The boy smiled. “Sorry.”

 

“We’re there, guys,” Conner spoke softly.

 

The elevator arrived at the top floor like a dancer moving into a final step and the doors slid elegantly open. Bart didn’t know what he thought the inside of the Titan tower would look like or who would be occupying the space but it hadn’t been what lay before them. The room beyond was wide, strangely sparse, and spotted with small signs of habitation; the most interesting being a Playstation hooked up to the massive JL monitor screen hanging against the far wall. The closest person to the elevator and the only one that rushed to greet them with a shrill cry of delight was a baby in a stained dress who seemed to have just mastered the art of walking.

 

She ran straight to Bart, sat at his feet, and waved her arms above her head; asking to be picked up.

 

Cassie snorted with laughter. “They did say this was the Teen Titans, right? That’s what I heard.”

 

“Me too,” Tim said as the two left the lift followed by Conner.

 

“Wait,” Bart looked down at the girl and up at his retreating friends. “What do I do with her?”

 

The baby yelled at him – a long wordless sound – and waved her fists above her head. He took the hint, nervously stooped forward to pluck her uncertainly off the ground, and dashed after his old team.

 

“Seriously guys; I’m holding a baby, what do I do?”

 

“Lian!”

 

The girl laughed as an alpha appeared; scent agitated, and an alarming amount of guns hanging off his belt. He stopped when he saw Bart, quickly scented the air, and paused.

 

“You got my kid.”

 

“Your kid?” A surge or relief. “Oh awesome, here, take the kid. She just ran to me.”

 

“Yeah,” the alpha’s lips were thin as he accepted the squirming creature. “She’s been doing that.”

 

From one of the Titans lurking nearby. “Maybe she’s telling you to find a mate, Harper. Running at an omega like that.”

 

Threateningly low. “Shut your mouth, Lagoon.”

 

“I’m just saying; a kid that age should have…”

 

“I said shut your God damned mouth before I put an arrow between your fucking fish eyes,” he snarled, spun on his heel, and disappeared into the tower with the babbling baby.

 

“Yeah, fuck you too,” the other man made a face at the alpha’s retreating back.

 

“Bart!”

 

He looked up in shock and saw the rest of the team assembled in the middle of the room in front of what looked like a welcome party of Titans.

 

“Wait!” He zipped over to stand in the line.

 

Cassie. “Why are you the one that’s always late?”

 

“It is a speedster trait,” he informed her with a grin.

 

“It’s…”

 

“Endearing? Adorable?”

 

“Ironic.”

 

A woman stood before them, red hair around her calves, and purple costume contrasting sharply with the extraterrestrial orange of her skin and glowing green of her eyes. The scent flowing off her was that of an alpha, a mid level leaning towards high, and coloured with an undeniable exotic inhuman sting.

 

“Greetings,” she spoke with a light implacable accent. “My name in these walls is Starfire but you may know me as the Princess Koriand’r, second daughter of the prevailing and peaceful Queen Luand’r and her chosen the consort King Myand’r of Tamaran; home of the kingdom that may bloom forever.” A small secretive smile. “Kori for short.”

 

“Hey,” Conner said; sounding relived.

 

“I will be your mentor during your induction into this team.”

 

Bart’s stomach dropped. “Our mentor? But I thought…”

 

“I will train you,” she went onto explain, “teach you to work as part of this team, and assign you missions. Outside of such times you are free to take recreation and refuge at this tower though until you turn eighteen we ask that you receive your pack’s permission to do so.” A pointed look at each of them in turn. “Come, I will show you the dorms we have set aside and introduce you to some of our members you’ll likely be working with.” As they moved off into one of the corridors her eerily pupil-less eyes turned to him. “I noticed you, young speedster, have already met Arsenal and Lagoon Boy and know you are acquitted with our current Kid Flash.”

 

“Wally?” He fidgeted with the glove on his costume. “Oh yeah, he’s pack. But, um, I was just wondering why we need a, well, a ment…?”

 

“He’s a very old and dear friend of mine,” Kori continued sagely. “You are lucky to have a member of your pack actively involved with the Titans looking out for you.” She looked over her shoulder at the others walking abreast. “I’m afraid we’ve never had a Super through our door before, Dick isn’t currently active now he’s taken on the mantle of the cowl, and after Donna’s death you are our first Amazon, Cassie.”

 

She bowed her head. “It is an honour.”

 

Bart twitched unhappily. “He won’t really need to look out for me, though. I mean, I’ve superheroed before; I know what I’m doing. Plus, when I’m from we all lived together a lot anyway. Well, sort of. Ever been camping? It’s kind of like that but the technology is better.”

 

Kori smiled softly down at him. “I’m sure you will be fine.”

 

He bit the inside of his cheek. “I know. That’s what I’m saying.”

 

“Don’t worry about him,” Cassie told the older woman. “He looks scrawny…”

 

“Hey!”

 

“… but I’ve seen him unbuild a giant killer robot in a millisecond and still have time left over to… find some food.”

 

Bart sent her a betrayed look. “What are you implying? I did find that food. I learnt my lesson and I don’t steal anymore.” A hand on his chest. “Scavenger’s honour.”

 

Kori lifted a long eyebrow. “Impressive.”

 

They arrived at a room and Kori opened it and beckoned them inside. “This is the new alpha dorm. Currently it’s mostly older Titans but now that we have a younger division I’m hoping we can find some others your age to fill up the beds.”

 

Conner. “We sleep with the alphas?” He asked miserably and looked at Tim.

 

“What a terrible shame,” Cassie said; her features assembled into a resolute poker face.

 

“Yes,” she told them. “Bart and Tim. You two are our first ever omegas and are getting your own shared room at the end.” She strode off and Bart followed with Tim at his heel. The room itself was compact and clean with pristine walls, a window overlooking the bay, and two militaristic beds.

 

“What we, ahem,” Kori cleared her throat; nervous for the first time, “we weren’t able to supply was a private bathroom for you guys. Don’t worry; we’re all very nice here and hopefully we’re going to get some more fundraising soon but until then…”

 

“Don’t worry about it,” Tim said as he moved towards the bed at the window.

 

Bart zipped in and stole it before he got the chance. Smiled innocently up at him.

 

Tim sighed. “We’re not puppies; we’ve showered communally before.” He moved towards the other bed. “Spend the money where it needs to be spent.”

 

She regarded him; her gaze distinctly respectful. “I’ll let the team know that’s how you feel. Thank you.” She stepped out the doorway. “I’ll let you get comfortable and decide if you want to stay here tonight. If you’re free I’m training tomorrow from three thirty till dinnertime. Meet in the common area.”

 

Tim nodded.

 

Kori left.

 

“Man,” Bart rolled around until the bed was a mess and smelling of him. “Not really Young Justice, is it? I mean all the rules.”

 

Worriedly. “What did you expect?”

 

“I don’t know. But it wasn’t a mentor, training, and assigned rooms. Kori seems nice though.”

 

“I think it’ll be alright,” Tim declared and sat down on his bed. “I mean, the fact that we’re allowed to join means they’ve forgiven us for sneaking out and forming Young Justice. That’s a big step.”

 

“Talking about big steps,” Bart grinned. “You still haven’t told me what happened with you and Conner. He sure seems protective of you.” He wriggled his eyebrows.

 

Tim blushed; the colour visible under the edge of his mask. “I—eh—it was—um—just…”

 

“Just once?”

 

A tell tale pause. “…not exactly.”

 

Bart laughed. “Oh, more than once?" Playfully. "Wow. You slut."

 

A small smile.

 

“Did he bona fide it?”

 

Tim frowned. “What?”

 

Bart snapped his teeth together in answer.

 

Tim’s recoiled. “No! No way, my pack would kill me. No bites.”

 

“Oh man, I hear you. I once picked up one from this cute alpha in school and I had to wear a hoodie for a week.”

 

The other omega stared at him. “You had a bite?”

 

“I’ve had a few,” he replied. “It’s not that big a deal. As long as you don’t keep it up it doesn’t mean a bond.” A bite was the mark an alpha left on an omega’s neck when they sunk their teeth into and tasted an omega gland. Omega glands were typically near invisible, highly addictive, and output a large portion of the omega’s unique sexual allure especially in heat. If an alpha kept biting an omega, kept marking them, it would eventually create the two way hormonal addiction – mutual dependency and understanding – that meant a mate bond.

 

“Did you get away with it?” Tim asked.

 

“I… well… mostly. Wally saw but I made him not tell.”

 

Suspiciously. “How?”

 

“Usual. Pretended I had been dumped; learnt my lesson; cried for a bit.”

 

Tim stared at him. “You’re terrible.”

 

He grinned. “Jealous?”

 

“Yeah. If I did that with my pack my brother would murder all the alphas in school. And Kon. Especially Kon. He would probably torture Kon. Defiantly torture Kon.”

 

He pouted. “I wish I had an alpha brother.”

 

Tim snorted. “No, you don’t.”

 

Conner poked his head in the door with a discreet knock. “Hey guys.”

 

Tim. “Kon. We were just talking about… people.”

 

Bart. “Where’s Cas?”

 

“She’s, um, made some friends.”

 

Wretchedly. “She has?”

 

A pause.

 

“Oh I…” Bart stood. “I’ll go check on her then.”

 

Tim sent him a thankful look as he walked out of the room.

 

“Just so you know,” he spoke through the door as it swung shut behind him. “I can still hear you two really well so if you’re thinking of having fun I wouldn’t recommend it unless you want all the Titans bursting in to watch.”

 

“We’re not…” Tim began.

 

“We’re not?” He heard Conner ask.

 

“I… thank you, Bart.” The other omega said through the door. “We’ll be fine.”

 

“Anytime, Red.”

 

He found Cassie deep in conversation with an alpha and a beta in costumes he didn’t recognise, decided not to disturb her, and walked back into the common room to be introduced to a collection of other heroes; all of them at least four years older than him. It seemed the word Teen before Titan was a pretty loose one. Cassie was seventeen so it wasn’t too strange to see her chatting with people in their early to mid twenties, Tim and Conner were both – biologically – sixteen and seemed to bounce off each other, but he was fifteen. The last Titan who was fifteen, he learnt, was Beast Boy back when he went by the name Changeling.

 

Bart had never really felt young before.

 

Beast Boy – Gar Logan he insisted on being called – was nineteen now, had a very wide white smile, and when they shook hands his green skin was warm to the touch. He was a mid level beta, a down time TV star before he became a superhero, and was striking in a decidedly a-typical way for someone of his sexual caste. Bart chatted happily with him, warming to the quirky shape shifter after he transformed into a grass green cheetah and raced him around the common room.

 

Hours later they were interrupted from a wrestling game on the Playstation by a team of Titans coming back from a mission. Wally was among them, so was a black cloaked woman who Gar jumped up to greet, and a fully armoured Reach Warrior. Bart stared, his stomach knotting and heart racing as the jarringly familiar lethal soft hum of the alien wings filled the air.

 

It was just Blue Beetle, he tried to remind himself; he knew there was a strong chance he would bump into the hero once he joined the Titans. The man – whoever he was – was a hero… even if the armour looked like the exact same armour Reach One would wear. That didn’t prove anything. That didn’t mean…

 

“Hey, Bart-man,” Wally appeared beside him. “How was your first day as a Titan?”

 

“Fine…”

 

“Fine? Just fine? That’s it?” He looked at him. “You okay? You look greener than Gar.”

 

“I’m okay,” he forced himself to say and smile. He was being stupid. Even in the worst case scenario nothing was due to happen in the timeline for years and even if it did he was in the best place to try and stop it; to save it. This was what he wanted. This was good.

 

Wally looked at him; concern shining through his mask like torchlight through the skin of a tent. “Sure, okay… are you staying here tonight?”

 

“I… was…”

 

A pause. “Or, you could go back to Barry’s tonight. Linda and I are coming over and Joan is going to cook.”

 

He sat up. “She is?”

 

“I’ll give her a call, hey?”

 

He hesitated. “If I have too…?”

 

Wally read between the lines. “Oh, you have to. I have to win back my dignity after that last cake eating contest. Come on; let’s ditch these losers. Race you to the transporter.”

 

He laughed. “I’m so much faster than you.”

 

“Yeah, but you still have to say goodbye to your friends. Ready, set, see you at the finish line.” He vanished.

 

“Hey! No fair!” He bolted around the tower. “My pack says I have to sleep at home tonight," he told Cassie. "I begged - hands and knees - but it didn't work. Have to go. You know how it is; anything for the pack, right? Knew you would understand.” He yelled the same thing through the still closed door at Conner and Tim, and practically flew back into the common room. He saw the Blue Beetle one more time before he left and froze; the warrior’s wings were folded into the gleaming blue shell on his back, feet planted on the ground, and plates of armour around his face sliding back in slow motion. He was young – or as young as anyone was in the Titans – looked undeniably like an alpha, and had stern, simple, yet fiercely expressive features. His skin was dark, hair darker, and eyes even darker still. A fathomless reflective black.

 

Oh.

 

Those eyes started turning towards him; the movement agonisingly slow. Bart spun on his heel and bolted for the emergency stairs. By the time he managed to frantically piece his brain back together and make his way back towards the zeta tubes Wally was waiting for him with his arms crossed and a broad, victorious, smile on his face.

 

“That’s one for the Wall-man.”

 

“You’re going down at dinner,” Bart told him and stepped onto the teleporter pad. “I’m going to win that cake eating contest by so much you’ll be begging for mercy.”

 

He didn’t. Cake eating contests in a family full of speedsters wasn’t about eating the most cake – they weren’t billionaires – but who could eat their cake the quickest and then how much they could steal from the other speedsters at the table. As one of the fastest of the pack and the only semi accomplished thief among them it was a game he usually excelled at. He didn’t that night.

 

His mind was far away. In a future he left behind.

 

Despite everything he wasn’t arrogant enough to believe he could single handily change what was going to happen. He had clung to that fantasy as he built the time machine but, the truth was, it has been an escape. A selfish one way trip that meant he could live his life in a better time and hope somehow the timeline went down a different road.

 

What could he do? The history books had been scrubbed clean of any reference to how the invaders had come. He didn’t know how the war started. He didn’t know how to stop it. Didn’t even know the dates it was meant to begin. He was too afraid to even tell anyone in case the League finding out was the event that started everything. He wasn’t responsible… he didn’t want to be responsible… he didn’t know how to feel like he wasn’t responsible. Like it was his duty to somehow save everything.

 

He hadn’t expected to see signs of its approach after only a few months living in this era.

 

Blue Beetle wore the armour of the enemy… did that mean he was the enemy? Should he stop him? Kill him? No. He wouldn’t… couldn’t… the armour didn’t mean anything. Blue Beetle was a Titan, a hero, and a good guy. Wearing a lab coat didn’t make someone a doctor and wearing the scarab didn’t make him Reach. He wasn’t. He was human. He was... hot.

 

And now he’s crushing on the not-enemy. Bad. That’s totally bad. But was it really? He’s the not-enemy, after all. Were not-enemies really taboo to crush on? Besides, he flirted with most attractive inappropriate alphas when his family wasn’t paying attention; that was part of his hopelessly adorable charm. It wouldn’t be too strange if he flirted with this one too. He should act normal around him either way; what if Blue Beetle did know something, what if Bart figured something out, what if he really could change the future?

 

Fix it?

 

Somehow rewrite a history he didn’t know? Figure out what was going to happen and lead people to change it; all as an omega in a time when – despite the wave of liberating new law – still didn’t have half the influence or power as the oral histories of this time suggested.

 

It was an impossible task but – Bart realised grimly – he was already setting it for himself. He’d been trying to give up the future since he arrived but no matter what some part in him still told him he had to try to do the right thing. Now, at least he had a place to start; a possible point of information. Or, at worst, a trigger that may be waiting to be pulled; something he may be able to stop.

 

It was a slim chance, a desperate grasp at a distant salvation, but it was all he had.

 

And he was going to take it.

Chapter Text

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.

 

“Milagro!”

 

“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—

 

“No!”

 

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.”

 

“You sure?”

 

“Sí.”

 

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.

 

“Super-Milagro!”

 

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?”

 

“Not you.”

 

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.”

 

“Superboy?”

 

“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.

 

“Hey newbies.”

 

“Hi,” Tim greeted.

 

“Are y—?”

 

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.

 

“Yo.”

 

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?”

 

“What?”

 

“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.”

 

Hoarsely. “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…”

 

“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.”

 

He vanished.

 

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.

 

“Wazup.”

 

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.”

Chapter Text

Tim peeled off his gloves and rubbed his damp palms on the red thighs of his costume. The scent of his own sweat was sharp and sweet; the tell tale aroma of anxious excitement spiced with the eager high of victory. It seeped through his long broken scent mask and flowed into the sterile air hand in hand with his own invigorated omega aroma.

 

Beside him Kon coughed.

 

His cape was in tatters, face hurt where he had been hit with a scaly Gordianian tail, and belt half empty. It didn’t matter. He had succeeded in his first mission with the Teen Titans and Dick had already texted him a gif of a dancing cat to celebrate. Now they were crammed hip to hip into one of the old Titan’s ships on the way back to the tower and he had fist bumped everyone on the squad; Conner, Wally, Lagoon Boy, and even the bemused Kori.

 

Starfire shifted uncomfortably in her seat and recrossed her legs.

 

Fighting with the Teen Titans didn’t have the same wild close knit friendship as Young Justice but there was an assurance and strategy into the way the squads were constructed that was brutally satisfying. Despite being formed and reformed out of a group of rag tag teenagers years ago the Titans had bloomed to become an informal but still sharp and refined version of the Justice League. Fun but fierce and dedicated when it needed to be. It was a system he enjoyed more than he ever thought he would.

 

Lagoon Boy looked towards him and smiled without showing his teeth.

 

It was also nice to be in a recognised team and not have to steal or scavenge what they needed. Even though the Titans didn’t have the funding of the Batcave or the Justice League they had enough sponsors both in the superhero industry and out that they had all they needed. This small airship was a good example. Fast, functional, and fully equipped with everything it could ever require. It was not in the same league as a Batmobile let alone the Batwing but it certainly was not bad either despite the crowded interior.

 

Kon deliberately took his hand in his and interwove their fingers.

 

Tim blushed and pulled their palms apart.

 

 Lagoon’s eyes flashed and he seemed to inflate slightly.

 

Starfire bit her bottom lip.

 

“Oh thank God,” Wally said earnestly as the Titan Tower came into view and Kori guided the vehicle into the hanger. The moment it landed the speedster had opened the door and taken his hand. “Come on, Timmy, let’s get you some fresh air.”

 

He frowned. “I’m fine. I actually feel really good. We did great, huh?”

 

“Yeah,” Wally toed him out of the ship and into the main hanger. “You look like Dick used to but less, you know, upside down and more,” he waved his hands searching for a word, “…staff-y?”

 

He frowned and fingered the collapsed staff on the side of his belt. “That’s good, right?”

 

Wally blinked. “Yeah! Yeah, kiddo, that’s great,” he looked over to where the alphas were making their way off the ship. “Just, wow, what a time for your dampening to wear off, huh?”

 

Tim frowned. “All the civilians were gone. It doesn’t matter does it? Yours wore off too.”

 

Wally’s scent flowed from him – bold, brazen, beta – just like it had been for over half the battle. Tim’s had only started to break down near the end when they had piled into the ship to head back to the tower. It wouldn’t have broken down at all if he had re-dampened – chemically removed his scent for a time – before the emergency call came in but in the heat of the moment and driven on by panicked news reports he had piled onto the transport with everyone else.

 

“Yeah,” the red head acknowledged and chewed unhappily at his bottom lip. “But, you know, it broke just as we loaded up to come back. All those scents really made that cabin stuffy right?”

 

Tim frowned. “It did?”

 

Hesitantly. “Yeah. I mean for the alp—”

 

“You would be used to it, though, right?” Tim asked. “There were some seats not even filled.”

 

The beta looked down at him in confusion. “Used to it?”

 

“You’ve been flying in that for years sometimes with even more people,” he tried to explain with a small shrug. “Even more scents.”

 

“I suppose,” Wally scratched the back of his neck. “But, Timmy, you know omegas have much stronger scents than alphas or betas.”

 

He hesitated. “Not that much stronger.”

 

“But stronger,” Wally pushed. “I’m just saying,” he held up his hands; palms forward as if presenting him with something, “maybe you should be more careful to dampen better before missions.”

 

“I didn’t have time,” he protested. “It was an emergency call.”

 

Wally looked at him.

 

“Your scent mask wore off too,” he muttered the accusation.

 

“I’m different,” the speedster said simply.

 

“Why?”

 

Wally looked awkward. “I… this is going to sound really bad… but I don’t distract the alphas, you know?” A stark silence. “But,” Wally hurried to fill it. “You fight like a demon possessed. Seriously, I reckon you’re even better than Dick was when it comes to pulling crazy surprises out of that belt. Especially with the way you use that grapple gun. I never saw Dick do anything like that. Totally awesome, man.”

 

“Agreed,” Kori called, having caught the end of the conversation. “You fight well, Tim.” The rest of the squad had finished securing the ship in the hanger and walked towards them and the elevator beyond.

 

“Thanks,” he mumbled as she moved by. Wally fell into step beside her and the two immediately started talking with an ease and simple slang that spoke of their years of friendship.

 

Both Lagoon Boy and Kon drew to a stop at his side; seemingly waiting for him to proceed first. When he didn’t Lagoon plucked softly at the tattered hem of his cape; webbed fingers ghosting against the small of Tim’s back.

 

“You got hit hard there. Those alien freaks didn’t get you did they?”

 

“He’s fine,” Kon growled. “I looked after him.”

 

“What?” Tim turned to him. “Kon, I told you! I’ve been doing this longer than you. You don’t need to take care of me.”

 

The young Kryptonian sucked unhappily at his bottom lip but didn’t reply.

 

“But you are okay, right?” Lagoon Boy addressed him directly; large red eyes shining with a strange light. “Tell me you are.”

 

“I’m fine…”

 

“Sure, Tim?”

 

“Yeah, um, La’gaan?” He tried the Atlantean name awkwardly; speaking it like a question. “It’s fine. They didn’t get me bad.”

 

Lagoon Boy smiled; the action private and forced.

 

Tim grimaced. “I didn’t get it right, did I? Your name?”

 

“No, but you were closer than most surface dwellers.” The alpha’s smile grew genuine; his green lips surprisingly human in shape and texture. “No one has ever got it right first try. You’ll get it after a bit of practice.” His teeth were only slightly sharper than usual.

 

Conner shouldered the other alpha aside, grabbed Tim’s hand, and began to haul him towards the elevator. “I hate the Titans,” he muttered under his breath as he pulled them both into the recently vacated lift and pressed a random button.

 

“You looked after me?” Tim muttered as the metallic doors slid closed behind them, a touch of anger seeping into his voice; anger he hadn’t had time to summon for Wally but was turning to tar in the back of his brain now.

 

“Yeah,” the alpha responded bitterly. “I’m not going to let a giant alien lizard chop your head off.”

 

“I could handle it,” he insisted.

 

“I didn’t know that,” Kon relied; voice low and reserved. “I’m your boyfriend. I’m an alpha. I’m meant to take care of you.”

 

He clawed his mask off his face. “I can fight you know. Just because you’re an al—”

 

“How come I’m not allowed to be an alpha by stopping you dying but La-gah-whatever can tell you what to do?” He interrupted.

 

A pause. “He didn’t tell me what to do.”

 

“He told you to tell him if you were okay.”

 

Tim stared at him incredulously and shoved his mask into his belt. “Come on, Kon; he was just asking if I had been hurt.”

 

“He told you,” Conner emphasised angrily. “He can’t tell you what to do. It isn’t right.”

 

“Why?” Tim said as the elevator drew to a stop. “Because you’re my alpha?”

 

The boy looked away. “I’m not your alpha. I never bite you.”

 

“I never let you bite me,” Tim corrected him; the words hurried, hostile, and leaving a hot wretched hollow inside him. “Even if you tell me you want to.”

 

An alpha’s bite was considered the first stage to a mate bond and upon its delivery the couple would refer to each other as ‘my alpha’ or ‘my omega’. It was an intimacy that came at a price. Bites would one day mean a full bond and a mate bond wasn’t something taken on lightly. But, more immediately, Tim had no desire to wade through the shit storm walking into Wayne Manor with an alpha’s mark on his neck would start.

 

He was sixteen and his pack was still very protective. Especially Jason. Especially when it came to Kon.

 

The elevator doors opened.

 

“I never tell you what to do,” Kon said, hands flexing towards fists at his side. “Not like he does.”

 

Tim stepped out of the lift and stopped as he realised they were on a floor he hadn’t visited before. It was small and packed full of old weapons, commandeered equipment, and a bizarre assortment of items he couldn’t begin to guess at the story that brought them into the tower. Several boxes had N.Y stamped across them and he presumed they came from the old Titan Tower on the East Coast. A built in safe sat at the back of the room behind a small assortment of Amazonian looking swords and a stack of aging DVDs.

 

Tim approached hesitantly, eyes on the blades, and noticed several of the DVDs were crowned with the same jarring logo. Space Trek: 2020. The covers looked like Vegas versions of Star Wars, were by all appearances rotoscoped in less than five minutes, and featured an assembly of bizarrely clad science fiction fantasy heroes. One of these characters, Tim noticed with a start, was Beast Boy. The green beta was young, wore none of the scruff or facial hair he did now, and was hanging elegantly off the leg of a muscle bound hero. The pose screamed submissive down to the partly lowered eyelids and slightly thrown back head and was mirrored by a second ‘omega’ on the protagonist’s other leg. This one female with a blonde mess of hair and a flamboyant barely-there slave girl costume.

 

“Tim,” Kon approached behind him, all the anger melting from his voice. “Sorry I… I hate the way that guy looks at you.”

 

“He doesn’t look at me any different.”

 

“He looks at you different,” the young Kryptonian promised and wrapped his arms around him from behind. “And, um, I know I can’t be your alpha yet but I want to be. I want to be yours.” His lips, as always, were warm against Tim’s cheek. “I want you to be mine. Really mine. So everyone knows.”

 

Tim felt his eyelids flutter involuntarily as the alpha’s scent embraced him a moment after his body; hot, sticky, and drawn up to the urgent notes of a high level. An alpha with more potency of hormones than most that shared his sexual caste. Musk, heat, power.

 

Kon pressed the advantage the sheer sexual beauty of his scent bought him and showered Tim’s cheek in kisses until he somehow coaxed his face around so their lips met.

 

He arched over his shoulder and opened his mouth; hating how easily the other boy had won his surrender but drinking more strength and assurance from the simple connection of lip on lip for it to matter. Kon’s hands were hot and firm against his body, his chest an indomitable force behind him, and the movement of his mouth was starting to develop that fiercer edge that told Tim he wanted control of the situation… which meant he wanted to sexualise it. Because while Conner seemed happy to follow in most situations sex was not one of them. In sex he was pure alpha.

 

Tim’s scent spiked again; this time the anxious excitement slightly stronger, slightly sweeter, and sending a nervous shiver down his spine. They had only managed to steel a handful of brief sexual encounters since they first had sex around the watchful eyes of his pack mates. All of them fierce, fast, and forbidden. All of them hard enough to leave him feeling it throughout him for days. All of them dictated by the other boy.

 

Conner had been hunting this since they joined the Titans a few days ago.

 

“I thought we were having a fight,” he muttered uncertainly as their kiss broke. He let his head fall back against Kon’s shoulder; ‘accidentally’ showing his throat in a affirmative submissive gesture and giving the other boy a stronger smell of his scent.

 

The alpha’s eyes flicked to his neck and back to his face. “We were?”

 

“Y-yeah.”

 

This kiss was harder, hungrier, and tasted of alpha saliva; the sex hormones that filled an alpha’s mouth when aroused; as involuntary as an erection and a sure indicator that one wasn’t far behind. It was dizzying, delicious, and terrifying. But it also stirred something heavy and hot inside him. Something greedy and wet that uncoiled between his hips and sent a shock of blood to his limp cock.

 

He was hard and a moist trickle was starting to seep out of his entrance into his underwear when Kon spun him around and kissed him face to face. His back hit the safe before he realised the alpha was walking him backwards. A stack of DVDs toppled to the ground, a stand of swords crashed over beside them, and Kon wedged himself between his legs. Lifted him off the ground with frightening ease.

 

He loved that. Loved the casual exhibition of power, the sudden streak of sexual assertion, and the feeling of being used, cherished, and taken by someone he trusted as unreservedly as Kon. The boy with sparkling alien eyes he had found in an underground super villain lab, who he had given his virginity to even as the young alpha gave him his in return, and who had told him he loved him. Who he couldn’t help but love back despite the irrationality of it. They hadn’t known each other long enough to use that word – love – but they did; more secret than sex; whispered it in each other’s ears when no one else was near.

 

Tim wasn’t Kon’s omega. But he was his no matter what the alpha thought. They already belonged to each other in every way that mattered.

 

If only Kon could see that and stop trying to protec—ah. Tim’s fingers dug into Kon’s shoulders as the alpha reached into the seam of his uniform under his belt and slipped a hot dry palm between his thighs.

 

Conner groaned and kissed him again; the motion full off need and one hand still holding him against the wall off the ground while he pulled Tim’s pants down around his knees. He felt his still growing erection spring free and blood flush into his cheeks as the smell of his own slick shot out into the air with all the subtlety of gunfire.

 

Sweet like an omega but grounded with the musky bodily scent of arousal.

 

“You smell so good. So good. You’re so good,” Kon husked. “So good.”

 

He reached down and folded Tim’s legs back.

 

A surge of need muddied with panic shot through Tim as he realised the position the other boy was manipulating him into. He was being folded in half. Booted calves thrown over Kon’s shoulders, now naked arse pressed to the alpha's still covered groin, and back pressed against the wall. Kon stood comfortably, moved Tim until he felt the pressure of his clothed erection against his entrance, and leant forward to merge their mouths together in an open mouthed kiss that turned into a messy share of tongue.

 

It had happened so fast. It was happening so fast. But Tim didn’t want to slow it down despite the frayed edge of terror burning raw inside him. They had never done it like this before, they had never done it in such a public place before, and they had never moved from a fight into sex so fast before. This was new, this was untested, but this was what Kon wanted. And what Kon wanted - his master plan - never failed to make him feel like he was about to have an orgasm induced heart attack.

 

He trusted him. Wanted him. Wanted it.

 

The mass low in his stomach tingled and clenched with need as Kon’s lips moved down his neck and found all the sweet spots he could nip at other than his omega gland; the near invisible scent gland just under his jawbone that an alpha could mark to print a primal claim onto the flesh of their desired mate. The only piece of him he hadn’t given Kon.

 

A small rule he reluctantly held onto.

 

It would be impractical, stupid, and irrational to allow an alpha – any alpha – to bite him. Not when he had an older alpha brother who would lock him in a dragon guarded tower if he saw so much as hickey on his neck let alone a preliminary bond mark. Not when he and Kon were still so new, so secret, and so…young. But Bart had said he had gotten a bite from high school and had been able to hide it until it faded. He was spending so much time at the Titan Tower lately… would his pack even notice? He could wear makeup, high necked clothing… he could get away with it.

 

He moaned out loud as the alpha dry humped against him and gnawed at the muscle join between shoulder and neck.

 

It could make sense, a needy part of his brain desperately tried to rationalise. It could help settle Kon’s over protectiveness. It could show the alpha that – even if it was just one bite – he really did intend for this stupid teenage love affair to last forever. Fuck anyone who says it won’t. He wasn’t going to leave him for any of the Titans in the tower or the prejudices of his pack. He loved him… and he knew Kon knew that but… it would be nice… just to give into the raw instinct inside him that wanted to arch against the surface he was being held against and tilt head to the side. Just to wear a small reminder of their relationship for a few days. Just to know what it was like being bitten and bearing a mark. Just so he could...

 

His mind snapped to the present as he felt Kon shift against him. He was yanking open the front of his jeans and fumbling in his back pocket for a condom. Oh… oh God. Tim scrambled for a hold. One arm wrapped around the alpha’s shoulders and his other hand tangled in his hair.

 

“Shh,” Kon kissed him again. The taste of his mouth a blitz of mind bending hormones. “It’s gonna be good. Yeah? I love you. I really love you.”

 

He kissed Kon back and choked out a broken cry as the other boy began pushing into him. It hurt. The stretch was painful; the young alpha’s size near assured that and the brutal uncomfortable position didn’t make it any easier. But, as always, Kon’s scent alone was enough to leave him raw with need, the attention the boy showed him feeding the tingling pleasurable pressure in his belly, and the burning heat of their connection sparking with agonising stings of want deep inside him.

 

Conner paused and caught Tim’s hips – holding him still – as he whined in pain.

 

He had less than half of him in him and he was already shaking, writhing, and gasping as he was held on the shaft impaling him. The heavy sensation of it in him undeniable.

 

“You okay?”

 

“I…” Tim arched against him. “I… uh… kay… just…” the feeling in his belly clenched and slick trickled out of him around the other boy’s cock. He felt his insides shiver, adjust, and open. “Come on…”

 

Kon kissed him and pulled him down onto his cock. He was an utter wreck by the time their bodies finally met; sweat dripping from his face, sides twitching, and fingers clawing at nigh on indestructible flesh. Alarms could have sounded and he wouldn’t have heard it over the broken sounds coming out of his throat, the intoxicating deep purrs of pleasure Kon responded with, and the feel of the alpha’s cock reaching deeper inside him than he ever had before. Deep enough to spark pleasure centres he didn’t know he had.

 

Conner’s hands were still on his hips. Holding him still. Stopping him from humping against him with a lazy abuse of super strength.

 

“K-Kon. I want… ah!”

 

The alpha shifted inside him. “I’ll take care of it,” he said softly. “I'll do it. It'll do it all. Just... man... You're so tight.”

 

He tried to respond with something witty but ended up yelping in surprise as Kon lifted him and brought him back down again. Seating him squarely on his cock before hoisting him up a second time. He carried him. Moved him. Fucked him like a toy. And Tim took it. Craved it. Cried out in an ugly assortment of sound as he was helplessly taken – squirming, shivering, and sweating – by the alpha. This alpha. The boy looking at him like he loved him, using him like a living flesh-light, and making him love every agonised second of it. 

 

Now, a part of him insisted. He could hide it. It’ll be good. Just…

 

He clenched his fist in the back of the alpha’s head and leant forward – opening himself up further – and pressed his throat against the other boy’s face in an explicit invitation. “J-just… I wouldn’t mind… just once…”

 

Kon froze. “I can?”

 

“Yeah. If it’s okay for…”

 

Tortured. “You sure?”

 

“Ah-huh,” he grunted in messy confirmation. “Just a bi—”

 

Kon lurched forward like a dog let off the lead.

 

In the movies when an alpha bit an omega for the first time it always happened in slow motion. The alpha would tilt their chosen partner’s head up and to the side, lean in, and deliver the mark in a single precise motion. The omega’s eyes would then flutter closed and their brows pull together with the barest flicker of pain before they too apparently blissed out on the sensation. All of it elegant, romantic, and shot with a shallow depth of field; the image tantalisingly teetering on the edge of focus as if to emphasise the softness of the intimate moment.

 

He couldn’t understand why.

 

Because, he realised as Kon nosed greedily around the side of his neck and buried his teeth in the correct spot, there was nothing soft about a bite.

 

An omega gland was naturally tenderer than the flesh around it and alphas as a general rule weren’t known for being gentle. Kon was also in the middle of sex – his hormones high – and in no mood to defy the stereotype.

 

Tim bit his bottom lip and made a face; enduring the discomfort of the boy’s teeth and reaching down to tug at his own cock. Masturbating was something Conner usually stopped. The alpha seemed to think he should be the only one doing any work in a sexual situation especially when it came to giving Tim pleasure. But at that moment he seemed oblivious to all but the taste of Tim’s neck.

 

Kon groaned – low and savage – as he drank up the addictive omega pheromones pouring off Tim’s neck and pushed him hard against the wall; thrusting into his body with new-found hunger.

 

“Ah! Kon I… I…” the heat in his stomach built with frightening speed, feet tingled, and pleasure flared like wildfire up his spine. The sensation spilt over inside him, washed through is limbs, and burst out of his throat in a pitching cry. His hand spasmed around his suddenly supersensitive cock giving him just enough traction in the moment to tip him over the edge a second time. He came onto Kon’s shirt and groaned as a second flush of pleasure overlapped the first. The world was eclipsed by a few fleeting seconds of agonised ecstasy and then slowly started to piece itself back together.

 

Male omegas had duel pleasure centres; the one found in their manhood and a second in their omegahood. Anal orgasms were always more intense than penile ones but nothing beat an overlap of the two.

 

Kon thrust a few more times, shuddered, and pulled off and out of him. The lack after such extreme pressure and pleasure was gutting. He whimpered, sagged against the wall, and watched as the alpha snapped off the condom and squeezed his shaft. It was all that he needed to catapult him over the edge and spray an obscene amount of semen onto the floor. When he removed his hand his cock stayed hard but was crowned with a single bulbous knot at his base.

 

It made sense considering their situation and location not to tie themselves together. Still something low inside him flipped over and his entrance clenched unhappily at the sight of the knot trapped outside his body.

 

Kon was saying something and smiling. He heard none of it. His fingers were still tingling and head hazy from the fading throes of his double barreled orgasm.

 

“H-huh?”

 

The alpha stopped, looked thoughtful for a moment, and swooped forward to gather him up in his embrace. Tim sank gratefully into the boy’s arms and breathed in the wild earthy and yet subtly alien scent of his skin.

 

“… you’re fine?” Kon was saying.

 

“What?” Tim muttered sleepily as they both collapsed clumsily down onto the floor. They didn’t have the energy or will in that moment to set their semi devastated costumes to rights.

 

“Does it hurt?”

 

He frowned. “What?” He said again.

 

Kon’s smile flickered. “You know. The bite.”

 

Reason hit him like a bullet to the gut. He jerked awake with a gasp and groped the side of his neck. The mark was tender and hurt as his fingers ghosted over it. He gently felt the imprinted shape of the alpha’s teeth branded just under his jawbone. Fuck. That was big. He might be able to hide it with disguise makeup for a little while as long as no one looked too closely but it would be tricky. For some stupid reason he had thought it would be like the bite Bruce wore. But the bite on Bruce’s neck was from a bond mate. It was small and faint. The product of the older omega’s addiction, recognition, and acceptance of his mate’s specific alpha hormones. Tim’s body, on the other hand, wasn’t used to Kon’s hormones. They weren’t bonded and so the bite was large, obvious, and probably already starting to purple into a toothy bruise.

 

The alpha beside him leant forward and licked the bite with obvious satisfaction. “Thank you.”

 

“You know I got to hide it,” Tim said with more confidence than he felt. “And you can’t re-bite or anything. I don’t want to bond.” In his head all the options for obscuring the mark were already tangling together into a thick convoluted web that still couldn’t overcome the looming likelihood of someone spotting it over the next few days. He just prayed that someone would be Cassie or Bart and not Bruce or Jason.

 

“Yeah,” Kon responded. Wet lips against his cheek. “You have no idea what you taste like there. I mean it. I thought I knew what it would be like but I was so wrong.” A deep, shuddering, breath. “Wow,” he muttered breathlessly. “I mean it… wow.”

 

“I’m sorry,” Tim whispered.

 

Kon frowned. “Why?”

 

“I wasn’t angry at you. I mean, I hate that you try to take care of me like a kid or something...”

 

His frown grew.

 

“… but it wasn’t you. Not really. I was angry at Wally. He’s alright I suppose. He just… I don’t know.” Tim sighed. “I love you too.”

 

Kon. “What did Wally do?”

 

“Nothing really. Just forget it.” He ran his thumb over the shape of the mark on his neck and felt a flutter of fear in his gut as he again tried to imagine how he would hide it. “I’m fine.”

 

As long as this stays a secret.

Chapter Text

It was a game. A game he enjoyed, a game he was good at, and a game that excited a whole lot of somethings between his legs. It was also, Bart realised, a game his opponent hadn’t played before.

 

Jaime Reyes as it turned out was a lot of things but experienced with omegas was not one of them. He could blast away bad guys seemingly without even trying, was more confident flying than Conner, and had a special gift for finding all the best food from across San Francisco. Food he left in his locker. A locker he had failed to change the combination on. But whatever else the alpha could or could not do, he was always half a step behind Bart. Always fumbling for a moment before figuring out what he was meant to be doing in their covert carnal courtship.

 

Jaime was quirky, clever, and confident until he noticed Bart was listening or leaning in. He could lead in battle – unlike some alphas wasn’t upset when he didn’t – but always seemed deliciously distracted whenever he fell into formation behind Bart. And, most satisfying of all, he was loud and brazen until Bart bent innocently over somewhere in the background after which he would stop mid sentence, stutter, and turn away to lick his lips.

 

His attempts to try and keep up were even more fun and slowly growing bolder; better. The predatory look in those bewitchingly black eyes as they followed him across the room, the husky way he would murmur to himself in Spanish whenever Bart leant in too close, and the almost unbearably soft touches; a hand on his shoulder after a battle, an arm against his back in training, and fingers ghosting around his wrist during a conversation as if to stop him disappearing at any moment. All of it a little more forward, a little less shy, than what came before.

 

It was a frightening and thrilling concept. Frightening because, unlike Cassie, this was an alpha that looked at him a burning spark of raw sexual interest. Thrilling because that interest seemed to be teetering on the edge of intent. This wasn’t the game of happily unfulfilled flirting he had teased Cassie with. This game had stakes. This game had consequences. And as much as Bart loved teasing him a small treacherous part of him wanted this hopeless chase to turn into a hunt. A dance between two parties wherein the alpha might yet have a chance at success; to take, ravage, and cherish Bart for a stolen half hour or so wherever they could find it.

 

Just like alphas and omegas in the future. There they had come together hard, fast, and frantic. All of it both soured and sweetened by the knowledge that they would likely never see each other again. The rebels would die, the scavengers would move on, and the smart go underground. Sex in the future was common and had been all about the moment, the feeling, and what they could do to each other with those weapons.

 

Pleasure. Animalistic, wild, and yet still secretly fun. Just like it should be. Just like he liked it.

 

Despite his obvious uncertainty and inexperience that seemed something Jaime wanted as much as Bart. Because Bart did want that. It hadn’t been a week and he couldn’t keep clinging to the idea that his interest in the other boy was purely his role – or the role of his armour – in the possible future. That was still part of it. He wanted to find out who Jaime Reyes was, wanted to find out how the armour worked, and if there was anything he could do to divert the world he lived in now away from the one he had come from. But on top of that he wanted to find out what that alpha was made out of and exactly how good whatever it was might feel inside him.

 

Not just for the future but for those eyes, that voice, and that lithe limber way he moved. Not the usual heavy gait of an alpha but smooth with almost lethal precision of every step beautifully mismatched with a flashing white smile.

 

Bart sighed. Oh yeah. Jaime Reyes got sexier every time he saw him.

 

He unlocked the alpha’s locker, found the box left on the top shelf for him, and flicked it open. Cupcakes. Six of them. Chocolate with blue icing that wasn’t neat enough to have come from a shop and smelt of a seductive selection of spices.

 

Oh this should be good.

 

He ate the first five in a blur, took the last one out into the common area, and seated himself in Jaime’s line of sight as he lounged back and lazily licked the icing. He saw the alpha’s shift in posture that told him he was having the desired effect.

 

Jaime was talking to Wally – the other speedster’s back towards Bart – by the windows. Whatever the conversation was Wally was too engrossed in it to notice the person he was talking to was suddenly struggling to pay attention.

 

“Hey, Bart.”

 

“Hey Red,” Bart greeted Tim without looking up. “I’m in the middle of a secret stealth seduction mission so I can’t—what the hell are you wearing?” He broke off as he saw the other omega.

 

Tim’s lips pulled into a nervous smile under the shape of his low flung mask. “It’s a new costume. Do you like it?” He swished the cape experimentally around his shoulders as if that were the difference in the new design.

 

Bart pretended to consider for a moment before carefully articulating his sentiment. “Burn it.”

 

Somehow Tim looked hurt through his new mask; a black cowl swept back into the red body of the uniform and melting with the fabric of his cape. “You don’t like it?”

 

“No.”

 

“Dick said it looked okay,” the young Robin muttered defensively and scratched at his covered head. “It’s just like Batman but without the ears, you know.”

 

“Dick as in the first Robin?” Bart asked. “That Dick?” He shook his head. “I’ve seen the photos hanging on the wall around here. Trust me, Red, you don’t want to take fashion advice from him. Have you seen his first Nightwing outfit?”

 

Tim made a face; still somehow detectable through the cowl. “Yeah. I don’t know what happened to it but there are photos in the batcave.” A pause. “It wasn’t that bad.”

 

A long pause. “I’m afraid,” Bart told him solemnly. “We can no longer be friends.”

 

Hurt. “Because of a mask?”

 

“Because of what the mask signifies,” he explained sagely. “Seriously, why are you wearing that? Did you burn off all your hair in a lab experiment or something?”

 

Tim chewed his bottom lip and sat down beside him; cape bundled onto his lap. “My hair’s fine. Where did you get the cupcake?”

 

“Scavenged it. Hey! No!” Bart threw up his free hand. “It’s okay. I swear. It was left for me to scavenge. So really it’s a gift. Long story. But, hey, I’ll let you have some if you kiss me.”

 

Tim reeled back in shock. “What?”

 

“Secret seduction mission, remember?” Bart reminded him and jerked his head subtly towards the nearby alpha still struggling through a conversation with Wally; gaze flicking his way. “I haven’t met an alpha yet who didn’t mind a little omega on omega action. I’m sure even this new can’t-let-anyone-look-at-my-boyfriend version of Conner would think it was hot if he saw.”

 

Tim looked between him and Jaime and shook his head. “No I… no.”

 

“Suit yourself,” he licked the cupcake again; eyes fixed on the alpha across the room.

 

“You think Kon’s been a bit too protective recently then too?” Tim asked hesitantly. “It’s not just me.”

 

“Oh yeah,” Bart nodded. “I reckon it’s all the new alphas around. He doesn’t trust them not to move in on you and since you won’t let him bite you he’s not leaving your side so he ward them away personally. This is seriously the first time I’ve seen you without him since we joined the…” Bart trailed off and his eyes went wide as he looked at the cowl. “Wait, you didn’t…?”

 

Tim looked like a deer in the headlights; his blush sneaking beneath his mask.

 

“You did!” Bart laughed happily. “Thank God you didn’t actually think that cowl looked good.”

 

Tim. “I do thi—”

 

“Can I see it?”

 

“What?”

 

Bart rolled his eyes and tapped the side of his neck.

 

“No,” Tim hissed; voice suddenly almost inaudibly quiet. “People can see here.”

 

Bart glanced back over to Jaime, saw Gar sitting on the floor – a green tail curled around him – trying to choose a game, and Wally who had turned around for a moment, caught his eye, and smiled. Well, if Wally was facing this direction that was the end of the secret seduction anyway.

 

“Fine, come on,” he ate the cupcake in a blur of motion, grabbed Tim’s arm, and dragged him off the sofa and towards the door. Cassie and Conner came in as they left; both alphas acknowledging them as they swept by. Cassie with a warm, open, smile. Conner with a strange determined look.

 

Bart grinned at Cassie and sent Conner a knowing look before hauling Tim down the hallway and into their shared bedroom.

 

“Well?” He locked the door and leant against it.

 

Tim hesitated for a moment before peeling off his cowl and pulling it down at his neck. The bite seemed slightly too large, had discoloured an angry purple red, and stood out like the yolk of an egg on his pale skin.

 

“Oh man,” Bart clasped his hands together and brought them up to his face to hide his smile. “It’s so beautiful.”

 

In surprise. “It is?”

 

“Ah-huh,” he confirmed. “I can’t believe you actually did it, Red. Like, seriously, wow. That’s not a nip or nothing. That’s a bite. Like, a big proper bite. Not a you’re-so-sweet but a I’m-going-to-eat-you-you-taste-so-good.”

 

Tim was bright red. “Y-you think?”

 

“Oh yeah. If Conner wasn’t crazy about you before he’s mad about you now.” He titled his head to the side and analysed the direction and shape of the crescent imprinted into the other omega’s neck. “Oh la la,” he sung out. “You guys like to do it face to face do you?”

 

“What?” Tim reeled back in shock and reached up to touch his neck. “No! I mean… I… you can tell that?”

 

Bart laughed. “Um, yeah. You were facing him and he was drooling. No the you’re-sexy kind of drooling but the I’m-in-the-process-of-fu—”

 

“Okay,” Tim interrupted him quickly. “Okay. Just… Don’t talk about it.”

 

Bart grinned coyly. “Why? No one’s listening.”

 

“That doesn’t mean someone might not hear,” the other omega promised in a low whisper.

 

He laughed. “Wow you’re paranoid.”

 

A flat stare. “My dad’s Batman.”

 

“So?”

 

So, he didn’t get the ‘World’s Greatest Detective’ title for nothing, you know.” Tim shifted uncomfortably from foot to foot and looked around. “I just have to make sure no one sees it until it goes away. It’s just a few days and my family won’t think it too strange if I stay here for a few more nights now that I’m a Titan, right?”

 

“You could pretend you got whiplash and put your neck in a brace,” Bart suggested. “At least that would be better than the cowl.”

 

“The cowl is fine.”

 

“Is it? Is it really?”

 

 A crash at the door followed by a rapid knock. “Guy? Guys!”

 

“Hey Gar,” Bart called as Tim frantically wrestled with his cowl; struggling to pull it on and keep his fringe swept back at the same time. “You’re going to have to hold on a sec. Tim’s naked.”

 

“I am not!”

 

“—fighting with Wally.” Gar called through the door.

 

“Wait, what?” Bart raced to the door and pulled it open. Gar stood on the other side looking greener than usual. “Who?”

 

“I, um, I forget his name. The newbie alp—”

 

Jaime. He had attacked Wally. Somehow the beautiful boy he had been bewildering was the traitor his alien armour suggested and he was starting the war. Here. Now. All because Bart hadn’t said anything. He hadn’t told anyone the danger and now Jaime had turned those built in weapons – those deadly weapons – against his pack. The first real pack he had ever had. No no no! He had been flirting with him. Flirting and now he…

 

Bart hurtled into the common room before he realised he was running and hurled himself at Jaime Reyes.

 

“Don’t hurt him!”

 

The alpha fell back against the wall with a gasp and blinked down at him. “Que?”

 

“I-I won’t let you…” he trailed off as he realised Jaime was wearing the grey shirt and jeans he had been in when Bart left the room. There wasn’t a scrap of Blue Beetle’s armour visible covering his flesh. Nothing that suggested battle.

 

He heard the raised voices and realised his mistake. Spun around.

 

Wally and Conner were fighting. Verbally.

 

“—just a misunderstanding,” the beta was saying; palms forward.

 

“You told him he had to cover his scent!”

 

“We do cover our scents.”

 

“For the team,” the alpha yelled. “What gives you the right to change the rules of him?”

 

Cassie stood beside Conner uncertainly; eyes flicking between him and Wally. Jaime had backed off but not so far that he couldn’t intervene if needed and Gar was entering with Tim in toe.

 

“Kon!” The other omega called. “What’s happening?”

 

“He told you to cover your scent.”

 

Tim froze. “Kon…”

 

“That’s not right,” the alpha said. Lips thin. Eyes trained on Wally. “He can’t say you’re not allowed to smell like yourself but everyone else is.”

 

“Hey,” Wally tried to redeem himself. “I was just… I guess… I thought he would distract the alphas, you know.”

 

Cassie. “Seriously?”

 

“Alphas can control themselves,” Kon snarled. “Dogs can’t. Which do you have on this team, huh?”

 

“Kon!” Tim pushed in front of him. “Stop. Just stop.”

 

The alpha staggered back as if he had been hit. “But… I’m helping you.”

 

“No you're not!” Tim yelled. “I didn’t tell you about this because I knew you would do this!”

 

“But…”

 

Tim turned to Wally; the alpha looking sorry, sick, and confused behind him. “Sorry. I didn’t tell him to do this.”

 

“I, um,” the red head licked his lips uncertainly. “I guess I…”

 

“Did he tell you to cover your scent?” Cassie stepped up to the battlefront. “To keep the alpha’s comfortable?”

 

“I… my scent mask broke on the field. I can’t let that happen,” Tim tried to explain. “It risks everything. Wally just told me that. He was right.”

 

“That’s not what he told us he said,” she growled; eyes locked on the beta.

 

“Hey guys,” Gar started. “It’s not that bad is it? Tim made a mistake. He doesn’t want you to fight. Seriously.”

 

“Wally’s scent mask had broken as well,” Kon accused under his breath; face turned away from Tim.

 

“Really?” Cassie processed this new information; her gaze condemning and locked onto Wally. “Funny that. Why are you allowed to break your scent mask and Tim’s not?”

 

“Cass,” Tim hissed. “Back off. Please. This isn’t a big deal. Really. Don’t fuck us up over this.”

 

Bart dashed forward to stand beside Wally. “So it’s all settled!” He cried with forced happiness and threw his arm over the other speedster’s shoulders. “Everyone’s scent masks broke and that’s equally bad for everyone.” He looked at the man beside him. “Right?”

 

“Yeah,” Wally muttered seemingly happy just to see an end to the fight. “That’s right.”

 

Tim looked from Bart, to Wally, and back at Kon and Cassie. Despite the cowl covering more than half his face Bart could see he was upset. Lips thin, cheeks white, and hands fisted in his cape. He could guess why. He had only known the other omega for less than a year but already he knew that Tim didn’t need to always be in command but he hated being taken care of.

 

This was his fight to have or not have. Losing that authority was a piece of control he hadn’t expected to be stolen from him. Conner and Cassie meant nothing but to make his world a bit more just in their own confrontational alpha way. It didn’t matter. Not to Tim. Not just then.

 

“It’s settled,” Tim said, turned, and left the room without another word.

 

Bart watched him go and sighed. “Geez guys.” He wasn’t sure who he was talking to. Decided it didn’t matter. “That was so not crash. I totally freaked out for a second there. Like, seriously. Big time. I thought it was something serious.”

 

“This is serious,” Conner muttered as if through a muzzle.

 

“Dude,” Bart threw up his hands. “He’s obviously staying with you. You don’t need to proactively over alpha him like that. It’s moding him out.” He puffed up his cheeks and looked back at Jaime. “And this had been such a fun day too.”

 

“Thanks Bart-man,” Wally muttered as Cassie and Conner moved stiffly away. “Who would have thought you would be helping me in this team, huh? I owe you one.”

 

“…ton of ice cream,” Bart finished the sentence for him.

 

Wally frowned. “Okay, I guess that’s fair.”

 

Joan’s ice cream,” he pressed his advantage. “Homemade. The one with lots of different colours.”

 

The beta sighed and nodded in defeat. “Done.” Gar fell into step beside him as the other speedster made his way towards the doors and the two began talking wearily about keeping the team together. Betas did that a lot, Bart was learning. It was in their instinct to be the diplomats in any team setting and resolve situations like these that arose. Wally was clearly out of his element being the one to accidentally start and stumble into a confrontation rather than step in to solve it.

 

“Hey, eh, you got a moment, ese?” Jaime’s voice was hoarse, softly accented, and slightly breathless.

 

A collection of different responses sprung up his throat and got stuck there. The first was flirty. For you? Anytime. The second distant. Not right now, Blue. The third purposeful. If you show me how that armour works. The fourth jarringly honest. I don’t know. I don’t know what I’m doing with you.

 

“Yeah,” was the only word that came out. “Yeah. Okay.”

 

Jaime looked at him and seemed surprised that was all he was going to say. “I, uh, well…” the alpha frowned. “You thought I was going to hurt someone?”

 

A hollow laugh. “Nah, amigo that was just… um…” he struggled to think up an excuse. “You know, Gar said someone was fighting with Wally and you’ve got those big gun things for hands. Stupid thought. Really. It just threw me into the mode, you know. ‘cause you’re pretty scary when you’re all suited up.” He realised what he had just said and threw a wanton smile onto his lips. “Bare is so much better.” A quick cover up.

 

A hungry restrained look filtered across Jaime’s dark eyes. “This is, uh,” he husked, “the first time we’ve really spoken.”

 

“It’s also the first time we’ve been alone,” Bart said; realising it was true a moment before the words left his lips. Conner and Cassie had left together and Wally and Gar had followed suit. They were alone in the cavernous space of the common room. But, it was okay. He had been wrong. Whatever was going to happen to the future wasn’t going to happen tonight. It was Jaime Reyes who stood before him – the dumb, beautiful, alpha – and not an agent of the Reach. The alpha that had been stumbling along after in him in this game, who was starting to pick up the steps, and who somehow made his low level smell spicier if not meatier than a high level. “You really wanna spend this time talking?” He asked with a grin.

 

“I… do,” Jaime decided.

 

“Hm. This should be good.”

 

The alpha twitched and stepped forward. “You’re teasing me.”

 

“I am.”

 

Huskily. “You’re so fucking hot.” Another step.

 

A surge of aching greed. “I am.”

 

Jaime looked tortured. “You’re fifteen.”

 

Disappointment. “I… am. But I totally am turning sixteen in, like, a month and a half. And when did you turn nineteen? I bet it was really recently.”

 

“I…” Jaime raked his fingers through his hair. “Will your friend be okay? Tim?”

 

Stunned. “You noticed that he wasn’t okay?”

 

“Yeah.”

 

He shook his head. “Man, it took me months before I could tell that kind of stuff looking at him. And that’s him out of that… cowl thing.” He cocked his head to the side. “You’re a weird alpha.”

 

Jaime scowled.

 

“But,” Bart agreed hesitantly. “I should go check on him. Best bros and all that. That’s what you say in this century right?” He moved a couple of steps away. Stopped. “But hey, before I go…” he zipped up, stood in front of Jaime, and balanced on his toes. Bodies unbearably close but not touching, breath shared, and lips less than a centimetre apart.

 

Jaime shuddered in shock.

 

Bart grinned. “Made you blink.” Ran away fast enough that the movement would be lost to the alpha’s eyes.

Chapter Text

Jaime was hard.

 

It was the middle of a battle – people’s lives were in danger – and he was hard. His throbbing member crushed against the unyielding inner shell of his armour, balls aching, and untended unformed knot heavy and sensitive around his base.

 

Below him Bart Allen was zipping in zigzag lines through the mess of superheroes and rock monsters; casually hamstringing bad guys, saluting good guys, and carrying civilians out – admittedly with some difficulty – while regaling them with stories of how popular they would be now that they’ve been rescued by the Teen – well, mostly Teen, somewhat Teen, perhaps a little bit Teen – Titans. His voice was light and lyrical, hair windswept, and cheeks red around the edges of a wide earnest grin.

 

Damn him if it wasn’t a damn sight sexier than all the splayed leg sitting, cupcake licking, and bending over put together.

 

“Beetle!”

 

He turned to answer the call and saw one of the spell caster’s rock golems hurtling through the air towards him, stony limbs flailing, and carved expression changed from menacing to oddly perplexed. Khaji Da poured a massive torrent of instruction into his brain as he hurled himself back and tried to aim despite the poorly thought out evasive manoeuvre with his sonic cannon. His first blast missed, second blew off the monster’s arm, and third sent it hurtling in the wrong direction down towards a civilian building.

 

“No!”

 

A red arrow flew up, buried itself in the rocky body of the falling golem, and exploded; reducing the body of rock to a rain of pebbles that showered down harmlessly on the slanted cement ceiling.

 

Jaime paused, hovered, and finally spotted Roy crouching on the edge of a fire escape with a red recurve bow and a baseball cap pulled down so low it left his whole face in shadow. The man irritably waved him back towards the battle and he guiltily obeyed.

 

He only got to annulate a couple more rock monsters before the spell caster surrendered and started concocting a wild story about how the government, aliens, and mystic forces had made him do it. A quick remote analysis of his physical state indicated several elicit substances and the smell of his breath suggested serval more. Jaime could have guessed that. Stories about extraterrestrial mind control had gone out of fashion the moment an alien had put his hands on his hip and made a speech about truth, justice, and the American way.

 

Heck, he used alien techno—

 

Bart appeared in front of him. The omega had a smear of cement dust across his cheek, was picking bits of rubble out of his hair, and had torn his costume off one shoulder.

 

To Wonder Girl. “Who would have known magic would be so messy, huh?” He plucked at the skin tight cling of the costume around his thighs. “Seriously, it’s everywhere.”

 

If his erection had shrunk at all during that battle it raged back into full agonising life now. Jesús, María y José… He supposed he should be grateful his armour wouldn’t let it show either physically or in his scent but all he could do in that moment was curse the fact that this frustrating, skilled, gorgeous, boy had chosen to come back in time when he was fifteen and not eighteen.

 

If time travel was possible surely he could just jump forward for a bit… and even if he couldn’t they weren’t that far apart. If he was a couple months younger and Bart a couple older they would be eighteen and sixteen. That wasn’t so bad. That was legal in most states. This state included. At sixteen – with permission from his pack – Bart could even marry.

 

“Load up!” Gar called as the two transport ships settled down among the wreckage of their victory. Roy was shaking hands with a police officer, Raven was discreetly turning her face away from photographers, and Cyborg – an old Teen Titan member now officially part of the Justice League but who had been visiting at the time the call went out – was loading the criminal into the back of a police cruiser. It was time for them to go.

 

Jaime saw Bart zip into the left of the two ships and – refusing to think about what he was doing – moved to follow. The transport ships were snug and slightly old fashioned but functional. Usually Jaime flew himself and skipped the ride preferring the open air. He wasn’t the only one. Raven had already disappeared into the night with the intention of making her own way back to the tower. But, it seemed, Bart preferred the social—

 

He caught that thought.

 

“…need to have a shower,” Bart was telling Gar. “This rock stuff is going places rock stuff shouldn’t go.”

 

“You’re going ahead on foot,” the shape shifter concluded. “And you’re telling me because…?”

 

“Well,” the omega grinned. “I hear you’re a betting man, Green, and since these babies can clock in—”

 

“No,” Gar cut him off with a pointed flick of his tail. “I’m not stupid. I know how fast you speedsters go. No way could one of these beat one of you.”

 

Bart laughed. The sound high, variable, and strangely captivating. “No, Green, I’m not saying you bet on these to win. No way, man. I’m suggesting we bet on what margin you think they’re going to lose. Come on. Ten minutes?”

 

“I can get one of these back faster than ten minutes,” Gar declared.

 

Bart’s smile was sharp. “The last caramel chocolate says otherwise.”

 

Gar’s ears pricked up and he quickly started flicking buttons on the dashboard. “You’re on.”

 

The speedster clapped a hand on the changling’s shoulder. “Done! See you in, well, more than ten minutes.” He looked up, saw Jaime, and with a playful hungry smile disappeared in a blur of motion. Jaime tried to follow and the door slammed closed.

 

“Hey,” he looked at Gar. “I was going to fly.”

 

“You’re not flying now; I got a race to win.”

 

“But…”

 

A hard look. “FYI, I’m still angry at you, real-chulo, so get on my good side and sit down.”

 

They were off the ground in a terrifying little amount of time. Despite his nigh on indestructible armour Jaime clambered to put a seatbelt on and immediately regretted leaping for the seat right over the engine. The vibrations penetrated through his armour; torturing his tight balls no matter how he sat. The stray thought – I wonder if Bart can vibrate like this? – hand in hand with the recent memory of the boy’s greedy grin was almost enough to undo him.

 

He was shaking within the confines of the suit, regulating his breathing, and mind doing nothing but desperately trying to think of anything other than Bart Allen. The sharp explicit angle of his hips; not even omegas in porn had hips like that, the too large mouth; devilishly expressive and in his mind a breath away from his, and his crooked flushed earnest way he smiled as he saved people; somehow sexier than everything else. By the time they finally touched down with a mortified ‘twelve minutes’ from Gar his cock was practically leaking.

 

This Impulse is proving to be an unacceptable distraction, Khaji Da took the time to inject.

 

“Let me guess,” Jaime said as he tried to walk as normally as possible off the ship into the hanger. “Kill him?” It was the scarab’s response to every question.

 

It is the fastest course of action that will provide optimal results. Khaji said pointedly.

 

Firmly. “I’m not killing him.”

 

With a touch of irritation an AI shouldn’t have the right to possess. Then it is tactually advised to mate with the omega and return to optimal fighting capability as soon as possible.

 

He almost walked into a wall. “Eh?”

 

Biologically, this is not an error. The scarab ploughed on. Impulse is the first omega you have met with superpowers, he is just entering prime breeding age, and is well suited to bear your offspring. Suggested action upon refusal to terminate: impregnate Impulse at earliest possibility.

 

“Beetle!” Roy stormed through the disembarking Titans, his Arsenal costume powdered with patches of grey rubble, and orange hair knotted behind his head where it overspilt the confines of his cap. Through tight lips. “I want to talk to you for a sec.”

 

Arsenal approaches with weapon at ready. Khaji Da said and highlighted Roy’s bow on the red lens over Jaime’s eyes. Suggested action: pre-emptive assault. The other alpha’s weak points lit up like lights on a Christmas tree.

 

“No way,” he snapped at the AI, regaining some control over his motor functions.

 

Roy didn’t pause, grabbed Jaime’s arm, and hauled him back the way an alpha pack leader might do to a newly presented alpha who hadn’t yet learnt their place in the pecking order; namely, below him. “You don’t got much choice in the matter, bug.” He let got of him once they were out of earshot of the other Titans who didn’t seem to have noticed them step aside. “We’re having this talk.”

 

The last thing Jaime wanted to do was fight with an alpha with the insistent and unrelenting tightness still hot between his legs and the scarab’s terrifying suggestion circling through his skull. “Sorry, amigo,” he held up his hands, “I just messed up, you know.”

 

Face unreadable. “You just messed up?”

 

Sí.

 

Roy yanked his cap off. “For fucks sake, bug, don’t give me that shit! You weren’t watching the fight; you were drooling over the bitch.”

 

A prickle of protective anger stirred inside him. “He’s not a bitch.”

 

“Don’t get fucking politically correct on me now,” Roy growled. “I’m not blind. He’s a bitch. He’s a fucking sexy bitch, a really fucking sexy bitch, and he’s been asking for it. ‘specially from you. I can see that. But he’s also, like, twelve and you’re meant to be one of our powerhouses here.”

 

Trying to keep the growl out of his voice. “He’s fifteen.”

 

“I don’t give a shit!” Roy shoved him.

 

Defend and stri—!

 

“Fuck him or don’t fuck him,” the other man continued. “I don’t care, but don’t ‘mess up’ on the field, got it? Or I’ll make sure he’s benched.”

 

In disbelief. “He’s benched?”

 

A flat look. “Like I said. You’re the powerhouse and we already got a speedster.”

 

“I’m not really a—”

 

“Get real, bug, you’re an alpha,” the man told him. “We’re fighters and as much as we’re trying to kid ourselves here these kids aren’t Batman. They’re not the exception. ‘specially not Impulse who’s been fucking up our family friendly rep as it is.” He gripped his bow; knuckles white. The tattoos Jaime knew were originally there to cover old track mark scars extended up and around his biceps were tight. “Yeah, sure, it’s rock’n to get something that hot on the team but they can’t do this like us. Omegas can’t do this as good as us just like alphas are fucking shit at taking care of…” he trailed off. “We’re just…”

 

Jaime stared at him. “You know, hermano, that kid of yours is fine.”

 

Hoarsely. “This isn’t about her.”

 

“I’m just saying; you’re a good dad and…”

 

“This isn’t about her,” Roy snapped. “Just, deal with it, bug. You almost fucked up big time there. I’m not going to save your arse again.”

 

He spun on his heel and marched away to join those talking to the beaming Cyborg about what it was like to graduate to the League. Jaime took in a deep breath, tried to wrangle some satisfaction out of the realisation that Roy’s talk had done what ‘not-thinking-about-Bart-Allen’s-hips’ hadn’t managed to accomplish, and started making his way towards the lift with the final destination being the bathroom to see if he couldn’t steal some privacy to relieve the little amount of lingering ache between his legs.

 

No luck.

 

To get to the showers the Titans had to walk through the bathrooms and after that fight a lot of people were showering. While each cubical was walled in he didn’t want to walk out into such a busy area smelling like he had just jerked himself off. He retracted the armour from his face and stuck his head under the tap instead. The water was icy but helped.

 

“Showers are in here, Jaime,” Kori said as she walked out, literally steaming, and with a mountain of towels wrapped around her hair bundled high on her head. She was otherwise naked. The Tamaranian had never had much time for human concepts of modesty despite her slightly a-typical female alpha anatomy. Jaime still hadn’t quite gotten used to it but managed a small smile.

 

“Just… cooling off.”

 

The door behind her burst open and Jaime savagely repressed a shudder as Bart walked out, dripping wet, with a towel loosely wrapped around his middle. A handful of alphas followed close behind pretending not to look at Bart and some looking like they had barely washed.

 

He felt the omega’s eyes on him, felt his gaze rake up and down his body, and then Bart noticed Kori – muscle bound, big breasted, and golden skinned – standing uncovered beside him.

 

Whoa! No body told me this was fan service week.” A look at Jaime. “Well, how do they say it in this century? When in Rome…” he let go of the towel.

 

Jaime spun around before he could see anything, tried to splutter a goodbye which may or may not have been in English, and fled the room.

 

Fifteen. Fifteen. Fifteen.

 

But - ay dios - his face had been exposed, which meant his mouth had been exposed, which meant Bart probably could smell how much he was getting to him. He wasn’t sure what game they were playing but he was sure he was losing. Every step he made Bart would there be reeling him in but, unlike a fish battling a fisherman, he wasn’t sure he didn’t want to allow himself to be pulled in. To allow himself to chase and claim the creature dancing beneath his nose. A wolfhound resisting a rabbit. Because he knew from every time he surrendered an inch and stepped forward that when he – if he – started perusing Bart the boy would spin around and run teasingly the other way. He would allow their alpha omega instincts to win out and satisfy the unspoken need inside Jaime to hunt and win his prize.

 

Fifteen!

 

Roy’s and Khaji Da’s suggestions circled in his head as he quickly snapped the armour back in position and took off from the tower. It took him almost half an hour transport back to his house – should totally move out already – and clamber in his bedroom window with a flutter of wings. He locked the door, hauled a dresser in front of it for good measure, and finally let his amour retract fully. His cock was almost painful to touch and sent a debilitating surge of need through him.

 

He knelt on his bed, the waistband of his pants snapped down below his penis, and thrust into his fist. His left hand was planted on the mattress as he leant forward; mounting an imaginary Bar—partner. A fantasy partner who just happened to be a white, male, omega. A partner with the legs of a runner, a voice that would cry out in the same musical way he laughed, and who had a firm tight arse below erotically explicit hips.

 

He closed his eyes and tried not to think of the way Bart Allen would look on his cock. Sides shaking, skin sweaty, and probably still smiling up at Jaime over his shoulder. Smiling earnestly with cheeks that too sexy shade of hot pink. What if his fantasy not-Bart was also in heat? That smile crooked and trembling, hazel eyes fogged with need, and all that control he used to drive him loco gone. Open. Writhing. His.

 

The idea was beyond tempting. It awoke an animalistic fire in him that shot down his spine, flared hot in his balls, and lunched from his cock.

 

He almost didn’t reach the tissues in time.

 

Jaime slumped down onto the bed, falling through the imagined omega, and cradling his knot. It was tender and still sent sparks of pleasure through him as it bumped against the crook of his palm. It was a poor imitation to what he had been told the inside of an omega felt against a fully inflated knot but it was enough. More than enough, he thought guiltily, as his recalled his fantasy. An unmistakable Bart Allen.

 

He’s fifteen…

 

Half an hour later he rolled of his bed, snuck into the shower, and flushed the used tissues down the toilet. Once downstairs Milagro sprang up and sat him down on the sofa to watch news footage of himself failing to destroy a falling rock golem. She retold it again in detail when the family sat down for dinner. His mother patted him on the shoulder and father gave a long speech in eloquent Spanglish about how proud he was of him for trying.

 

Jaime finished his dinner before anyone else was halfway through, excused himself, and was washing up when the doorbell rung. This late it was probably a pack mate looking to sleep on the couch after a party.

 

“I’ll get it,” he told his still seated family and walked through the small assembly of rooms to open the door. Once he did he stared in shock at the person on the other side.

 

Bart wore his full Impulse gear, hair curling around the goggles in his mask, and fists planted proudly on his hips. “Miss me?”

 

“What are you doing here?” Jaime hissed.

 

“Oh, just doing my thang running through state lines like lines on a sidewalk. You know how it is. Speedster and all. Thought I would come and chill with my bro Blue. The big Black and Blue. B.B. Blue Beet-tahl. The party bug – part-tay bug – if you know what I mean,” a heavy wink.

 

A pause. “What?”

 

“I’m here to hang,” the omega articulated. “I would totally usually be doing that in the Titan Tower but, you wouldn’t believe this, I accidentally took off all my clothes – it happens – to try and impress this alpha but, funny thing, I may have impressed all the alphas I didn’t want to impress and scare off the one I did. So, eh, sorry if I came on too strong there. I won't be doing that in the tower again. No sir.”

 

An icy prickle ran down his spine. “What did they do?”

 

“Them? Nothing interesting.” His smile grew. “Are you feeling protective of me? That’s so h—hello.”

 

“It’s a superhero!” Milagro darted out under his arm. “Mum! Dad!”

 

Jaime thought of his parents seeing the currently-hot-in-gossip-scandal first known omega superhero standing on their doorstep and quickly suited up; armour snapping into place over his body.

 

“Got to go,” he told his little sister. “Titan business.”

 

Bart laughed. “So crash.”

 

Milagro pouted but watched with barely concealed delight as Bart disappeared down the street in a blur of movement and a shower of stray yellow lighting bolts. “He’s so much cooler than you.”

 

“Yeah,” he took off. “I know.”

 

The speedster ran down the road and he followed from the air until they came to a deserted patch of desert. Bart created a small storm of dust devils as he skidded to a stop and propped himself against a rock. His pose was jaunty and casual, eyes shining in the darkness, and hair freshly dishevelled.

 

Wow…

 

“How do you know where I live?” Jaime forced irritation into his voice a he landed and folded his wings away.

 

“Duh. My best friend is totally the future Batman. It took him, like, two minutes. Not even.” His smile flickered. “I had to give him the last caramel chocolate though.”

 

“You can’t just come to my house like that,” Jaime snapped. “What if someone sees? I got a secret identity.”

 

“You know,” Bart flicked dust off his costume. “I never understood that whole secret identity thing. What’s wrong with telling the world how crash we are? I mean, did you see me today? Fighting those rock monsters?”

 

Low. “Yeah… I saw you.”

 

“Awesome right? I’m like the Grey Ghost but with powers and in a better costume!”

 

“You watch that old TV show?”

 

Bart blinked. “TV show? No. The movie re-make. You know, with the lizards and…” realisation. “That famous guy that hasn’t been born yet playing the lead.” An apologetic giggle. “Spoilers.”

 

Jaime tried not to listen to the slightly breathless quality of that laugh. “So they’re still making movies where-eh-when you’re from?”

 

Bart’s smile vanished. “Eh… not really making but there are still some lying around.”

 

“They make something better?”

 

The omega stood still for a moment. “No.”

 

He had never heard the boy say so little before. “No?”

 

“You know what,” Bart straightened. “I always wanted to see how those hand canons of yours work. Show me?”

 

He shouldn’t have relished the chance to show off his power to the omega so much. He blew up the rocks with much more success than he had the golem and Bart assembled the shattered pieces into a mosaic of himself. All the while the air was filled with the time traveller’s chirpy cheerful commentary. It was the most fun he had in a long time and, wretchedly, he realised it was because Bart seemed to have suspended their game of cat and mouse for a moment and, in the break, Jaime was pretending he had already given in and taken the irritating gorgeous little omega. That Bart Allen was his boyfriend, maybe even his mate, and this was them just hanging out after that change. Getting to know each other; him enamoured by his first omega and Bart equally captivated by his new alpha. Talking, teasing, and a couple of times even winning the smile that brought a dash of colour into the omega’s cheeks.

 

It was a strange game of house that not even Khaji Da’s complaining could ruin but came to an end when he picked up Bart to show him what El Paso, Texas looked like from the air. Bart hung awkwardly in his arms clearly unhappy to have nothing under him until Jaime let him stand on his feet. The feel of having the omega in his arms, against him, and supported by him awoke a wolf in his belly. A savage tug of instinct that drove him in a moment of sweet madness to fold back the armour over his face, hook a hand behind Bart’s neck, and drag him in.

 

Bart saw the kiss coming. His eyes fluttered closed, hips rolled up to meet his, and lips parted and twitched towards a smile.

 

Jaime stopped. Their lips apart. “You’re fifteen,” he uttered the ugly reminder.

 

Bart let out a tortured whine; the sound doing strange and unspeakable things to him. “What is it with this century? Will I really be so different in a couple of months? A couple of years? I’ve met fifteen year olds that a more adult than some twenty five year olds – it’s what you do not when you’re born – that’s what the rebels always used to say. They had ten year olds fighting for them. Ten year olds. And it’s not like I haven’t done this before.” He reached up and put a hand on each side of Jamie’s face. “It’s a number. A stupid moded number that means I can risk my life, die, but I can’t vote or drink or feel you inside me.” A wild desperate look. “I want you inside me. You want it too. I know you…” He tried to kiss him.

 

Jaime turned his head aside. “No, ese, I… you’re so… I’m sorry.”

 

Bart sagged, rejected, in his arms and sighed. “I’ll be honest, Blue. I’m not used to hard to get.”

 

“What are you used to?” Jaime muttered, too afraid if he landed, if he let him go, Bart would disappear. “What’s the future like?” A pause. “It seems really strange like you can do whatever you want. Lawless,” he tasted the word like it was a delicacy.

 

Bart wriggled unhappily in his arms. “Oh, there are laws, Blue. Crazy laws. Just now our laws.”

 

The meaning of those words settled on him like ice. “Who’s laws?”

 

“Look I…” Bart looked up at him and seemed to come to a decision. “I’ll tell you about the future,” he promised. “I will just… not right now, kay?” He twisted in his embrace. “Just, um, put me down. I got some running to do. And when I say running what I really mean is frustrated masturb—”

 

“Okay,” Jaime dropped out of the sky and released him. “I’ll see y—”

 

“Later,” Bart chimed in and disappeared leaving nothing but the swirling sand and lingering scent behind him.

Chapter Text

The water hit him where shoulder joined neck, ran down his body, and burnt as it reached his calves. Tim moved his face into the pressurised stream and groaned in relief as the hot spray flowed over him; loosening up abused muscles, washing away dried sweat, and relaxing the stiffness in his shoulders. It also awakened all the bruises his light armour hadn’t managed to protect him from, the soon-to-be blisters his new boots were promising on the back of each heel, and the still fading bite on the side of his neck.

 

His boyfriend’s damning mark.

 

It had been days. Days. He couldn’t avoid going back to the manor much longer. He was starting to doubt Bruce had ever bought his raving review of the Teen Titans or ‘need for a different identity’ as the excuse for his costume change. It wouldn’t be long before he was summoned back to the batcave and asked to take off his cowl.

 

Dick was in the tower tonight to catch up with Cyborg and even he had to be getting suspicious of Tim’s sudden attachment to his hoodie despite the summer heat.

 

He needed the mark gone and, while it was fading, it was not fading fast enough. Over the counter creams hadn’t made any visible difference nor would makeup be enough to fool Bruce. No. There were only two things that could remove an alpha’s bite. One he was already using and the other left him sick to his stomach. Time and the saliva – and likely subsequent second mark – of another alpha. He’d seen it in movies countless times; an alpha licking off another alpha’s bite mark like it was chocolate on the omega’s neck. Of course it wasn’t so neat in real life. Another alpha’s saliva would quicken the fade but it still wasn’t instantaneous. He’d seen photos of omegas sporting two, three, and sometimes even more bites all overlapping and softening the one below it. In some pornographic films omegas would proudly flourish a ‘flower’ of bite marks after a group sex session.

 

Asking for alpha-hormone-saliva would be like asking for sperm. He couldn’t just do it even with someone like Cassie and the only thing worse than showing up to the batcave with a bite on is neck would be showing up with two. Which meant the only way he was going to get rid of the bite was time. He leant against the stall wall with a defeated groan and wished it were Kon. Easy, understanding, and with a bold beautiful streak of cheeky wit. His boyfriend. His best friend. The person he had willingly given his neck to. An action, despite everything, he couldn’t bring himself to regret. Even if he still hadn’t forgiven Kon for screwing things up with Wally and the team he wished he could just wear his mark and for it to be no big deal. Wished they could just… be. And for that to be okay.

 

His fingers were pruning by the time he turned off the water, rubbed himself dry, and wriggled into a pair of sweatpants. They were damp at the hem despite his best effort to keep them out of the spray but he put them on regardless. His towel he hugged around his shoulders and neck; tucked just under his chin. It was a flimsy cover but it should be enough to get him to his room and into a hoodie.

 

He stepped out of the shower.

 

“Boy Wonder.”

 

He stiffened. “Oh, hi.”

 

Lagoon Boy – La’gann – stood in the open doorway still in costume. His chest was bare and light green, fingers webbed, and thick bands of tattoo looped around his shoulders. Beneath of a crown of streamlined fins his eyes were a solid red and lips pulled into a small, purposeful, smile. “Hi.”

 

“I’m, um, not really the Boy Wonder,” Tim told him. “Not anymore.”

 

His expression didn’t change. “I thought you were Robin.”

 

Red Robin. I… I know it’s not a very creative name but someone else is Robin now.” Tim hugged the towel tighter around his shoulders but, secretly, was grateful someone was talking to him. Really talking to him. After Kon confronted Wally the team were being careful speaking around him; conversations confined to strategy and the weather. It left most of his interaction stiff, formal, and alienating. Everyone inoffensive to a sterile degree least they be accused of omegaphobia. Bart, on the other hand, was rapidly winning himself a very different reputation.

 

Tim had everyone walking on eggshells. Bart had them crowing like roosters.

 

The speedster was scandalous, troublesome, and all kinds of politically incorrect. Everyone had something to say about him and none of it was neutral. Tim heard – from a distance – outraged observations as frequently as ribald remarks. Bitter tirades as often as adoring speeches. Cutting comments as commonly as giddy retellings of the omega’s latest adventure. And they weren’t shy about saying it in Bart’s presence either. The omega soaked it up – the good and the bad – like a diva drinking in praise before a big performance; confirming the ridiculous lies with a kind of playful dry sarcasm that was lost on his audience.

 

For the most part the team was about as informed as the gossip media though the fact that Bart had taken off his clothes a couple of days ago had certainly built on his legend.

 

A legend Wally still somehow knew nothing about.

 

“Red Robin’s nice,” La’gaan told him. “At least you got to pick. Lagoon Boy was given to me by Superhero Insider.”

 

He arranged his face into something he hoped resembled pity. “Really?”

 

“Yeah. I was hoping to be another Aqualad but,” the alpha shrugged. “This is better. I like Lagoon Boy. It’s my own thing.”

 

Tim looked down at the puddle he was standing in. “Yeah. I guess it is.”

 

“You get that, right?” La’gaan continued and advanced slowly into the room. “Being your own thing? Doing things by yourself? I reckon you do. That’s why you don’t like Superboy getting all over you in battle like that.”

 

Tim looked up in surprise. “You’ve seen it too? He does do that. I mean, I tell him not to and he’s got better,” since the bite, “but he’s still really protective.” He shifted from foot to foot. “He’ll get it once we’ve been in the Titans a bit longer.”

 

“Will he?”

 

“Yeah, he’s ju—”

 

“You two have been fighting a lot lately,” La’gaan interrupted him. “And he’s been such a prick about it.”

 

Tim frowned. “He has?”

 

“Yeah.” Another step forward. “He’s stopping you doing your thing in battle and then not taking care of you like he should. Like an alpha should.” A pale green hand picked up his to show Tim a mottled bruise on his forearm. “You got hit pretty bad there.”

 

“It’s just a bruise,” Tim told him. The hand around his was warm, dry, and the skin oddly rough. “I don’t need him to take care of me,” he back peddled their conversation. “That’s the problem. I need him to take care of me less.”

 

“No, you don’t understand.” La’gaan continued coolly. “You’re an omega. You’re rare. Special.” He didn’t release his hand. “A good alpha would make you feel special.”

 

“I don’t need an alpha to make me feel special.”

 

“But don’t you want that?”

 

“Um,” he edged back. “La’gaan…”

 

“La’gaan.” He growled.

 

“S-sorry. I…”

 

“Hey, shh…” The alpha’s thumb slid across his palm. “I love the way you do that.”

 

Unhappily. “What?”

 

“I can see the way you fight side by side with Impulse; you’re dominant over him. You would be the lead omega if we were a pack. But you still defer so well to alphas. You’re so good.”

 

Tim stared at him. “Hold on a se—”

 

“I hate bratty omegas,” La’gaan articulated with a soft anger and leant forward.

 

It was fast, hard, and hungry. Tim recoiled as the Atlantian’s lips crushed against his, body blocked him back against a shower stall, and claws dug into the flesh of his palm. For a brief moment the pungent taste of the alpha filled Tim’s mouth, washed down his throat, and sent a numbing sensation through his limbs. Alpha… alpha but… wrong.

 

He pressed his back against the stall wall, brought his legs up, and pushed the Atlantian off him with a solid kick. Kon. He wanted Kon. He loved Kon. The taste of Kon made him tingle, made him wet, and always came with unearthly blue eyes that looked on him like he was the most fascinating thing in the world. Eyes that belonged to the most fascinating thing in the world.

 

La’gaan’s eyes were red, glowing like the skin of a tent, and set into a furious frown. “What?!”

 

Kon didn’t taste like La’gaan. The core flavour of the two alphas was simular but the differences intrinsically repulsive; the difference between fresh milk and that just past its peak.

 

“D-don’t touch me,” Tim tried. Wiped his mouth on his forearm before he could think about what he was doing.

 

Webbed fingers rolled into fists. “Why?!”

 

He stared at him and felt his shock reshape into a hot froth of anger. “Why? I just told you not to! What the heck do you mean why?

 

“It’s because I’m just a mid level, right? Not like that high level prick Superboy.”

 

“No!” Tim yelled, hands shaking. “You just…”

 

“It’s because I’m not some blue eyed white super god then,” the alpha concluded bitterly. “You only do white dogs just like your little friend likes Latin—Neptune’s Beard!”

 

Tim realised his neck and shoulders were bare. His chest exposed, skin cool, and bite mark brazenly visible just below his jaw. He slammed a hand onto the side of his neck and dropped to grope for the dropped towel. “It’s nothing,” he said quickly. “Just another bruise. I got it fighting.”

 

“You let him bite you?” La’gaan hissed. “Your pack let you do that? You’re sixteen.”

 

“It’s nothing,” Tim promised feverishly and bundled the towel around his neck. It had soaked up water from the floor and released icy droplets down his back. “I swear. Don’t say anything. It’s no big deal.”

 

Realisation. “Your pack doesn’t know.”

 

“It’s no big deal,” Tim croaked. “It’s not.”

 

“That’s a huge d—”.

 

“It’s none of your business!” Tim yelled. “You just…” he could still taste him, “fuck, you just…”

 

“Nah,” La’gaan muttered and turned towards the door. “It ain’t my business but I reckon it’s your packs, fucking breeder.”

 

“La—Lagoon!” Tim cried. “Wait I…”

 

The alpha charged out the door leaving Tim shivering with a wet towel around him and the arid taste of the forceful kiss permeating his mouth. Ugly, thick, and fouled further by the raw touch of panic permeating his belly. La’gaan was going to tell his pack. His pack. Bruce would ground him, Jason would attack Kon, and – perhaps worst of all – Alfred would give him that look. The look that could trigger enough guilt to kill. We’re so disappointed in you, Master Timothy.

 

He was out of time. Dick was in the tower. He could have minutes before his secret was out.

 

There was only one thing he could do. Wretched, wrong, but the only possible way out he could think of.

 

Desperately, he spat the lingering flavour of the alpha’s saliva onto his palm and smeared it across his neck. Repeated the process until he couldn’t taste La’gaan anymore and jogged out to the bathroom mirror to inspect his work. The strange alpha hormones had helped. It took away the toothy definition of Kon’s bite and left it murky; a dark red stain on his skin almost like a bruise. A bruise. He could sell this as a bruise. He needed to sell this as a bruise. A very awkwardly placed bruise.

 

Please work.

 

He abandoned the bathroom, hurried through the tower, and darted into the omega dorm like a baseball player reaching home base. Bart lay on his bed flicking through messages on his phone. He looked utterly miserable.

 

In a sigh. “Hey Red.”

 

“H-hey.” Tim dropped the towel and dug under hid bed for his hoodie. His palms were sweating and fingers trembling.

 

“I got a dilemma to which the solution may or may not require your ninja skills,” the other omega continued. “How hard do you think it would be, in your professional bat-person opinion, to fake a sixteenth birthday without Wally noticing? I’m thinking you could use some crazy bat tech to make the cake change from ‘sweet sixteen’ to ‘this-is-just-a-random-party-with-no—’”

 

“Jaime knows your birthday,” Tim interrupted him hoarsely.

 

The other omega looked up. “He knows? How could he know? I was born in 2054 and, whoops, I forgot to pack a birth certificate.”

 

“He asked me.” Tim pulled out the massive jumper and yanked it over his head. “I told him.”

 

Despondently. “You told him?”

 

“Yeah.” He wriggled his arms through the sleeves.

 

Bart considered this and brightened. “He asked you?”

 

“Y-yeah.”

 

How did he ask you?”

 

“Look, I… I don’t know okay.” He cried and raked his hand through his hair; trying to get it off his face. “I-I guess he was…man, I don’t know. He’s mad about you. Like, seriously, mad. How does it matter how he asked it?”

 

Bart’s brow pleated and eyes turned to study him. “Dude, you’re freaking out.” It was the slowest Tim had ever heard him speak. “You cool?”

 

“No,” he sighed and pulled the drawstrings of his hood tight. “I’m sorry. Lagoon Boy is such an arse and I just… this bite…”

 

“Hey,” Bart vanished from the bed and appeared before him with a rush of air. “The bite looks totally crash. I know you got to keep it under wraps but Conner knows what it means and that you have to go through all this shit for it. Not lying. He loves it more than I love peanuts and choco—”

 

A soft, almost apologetic, knock at the door. “Hey, Timmy. Can I talk to you for a sec?” It was Dick.

 

Bart’s eyes widened. “Are you?” He whispered.

 

“In trouble? Yeah.” Tim promised; voice low enough to be inaudible through the walls. “Big time.”

 

Whispered. “Lagoon told? Let me guess; because you didn’t want to have sex with him right?”

 

“Don’t do anything,” Tim hissed. “I’m tired to people doing stuff for me just…”

 

Dick. “Timmy?”

 

“…give us a second, okay?”

 

“All yours bro,” Bart straightened and saluted. “Good luck.” Quieter. “Remember; cry and apologise. Worked wonders on Wally.”

 

Go Bart.”

 

“Gone,” the speedster promised and vanished in a blur that bolted from the room and left the door hanging open.

 

Dick blinked at the suddenly open path before him and stepped hesitantly inside. “Hey…” He wore casual clothes deigned to blend in with the brighter fashions on the West Coast, wore a backpack, and had cut his hair at some point in the last few days. The slightly odd appearance did nothing to settle the coiling threads of dread in his gut.

 

“Hi,” Tim forced a smile. “What’s up?” His arms shook within the too large body of the hoodie.

 

“I hear you might have something to tell me?”

 

“No. Not really.” His voice sounded false to his own ears.

 

Dick looked at him, sighed, and pushed the door closed behind him. “ ‘The bite looks totally crash’, Tim? Come on. I heard.”

 

His stomach rolled. “Bart was talking about…”

 

“I know exactly what Bart was talking about,” Dick promised and sat down on the edge of his bed. “Are you going to show me?”

 

A pause.

 

“Come on,” Dick said. “I’m not going to tell the boss. Not yet anyway.”

 

A surge of hope. “You’re not?”

 

“Not yet.” The beta stressed the word. “If you tell me bites are totally hot right now or all the cool kids have one then, yeah, I’ll tell Bruce. But I’ve got a feeling that’s not the story I’m going to hear, is it?” Dick shook his head. “Especially not with the Romeo and Juliet thing you and Conner have been doing these last few months.”

 

“We’re not doing a Romeo Juliet thing,” Tim mumbled.

 

“Really?” His pack mate watched him levelly across the room. “I’ve seen him fly up to your window to kiss you goodnight.”

 

Defensively. “He doesn’t do that very often.”

 

An eyebrow arched. “Very often? Here I was thinking that might have been a one time thing.”

 

“No. He doesn’t. It was one…” Tim let the lie die with a broken sigh of defeat and moved to sit on the bed beside the man. He threw back the hood of his jumper and kept his eyes locked on the floor. “I’m sorry. Don’t lecture me. I know what a bite means. I’m not going to maintain it. I don’t want a bond yet. I just like being together with him and I wanted to show him…”

 

“You instigated?” Dick asked.

 

“Yeah.” Eyes fixed on the floor.

 

“Good. Wait, no; I mean, not good. You shouldn’t have done that but at least Conner didn’t bully you into it.” Dick said clumsily. “So it’s bad but not bad bad.”

 

“I messed up,” Tim simplified.

 

“Oh yeah, I know you did.” Dick threw an arm around his shoulder. “But, you know, you’re not the first teenage omega to have a bite on them. Not close. Teens screw up. Heck, people screw up. It’s okay.”

 

“I wish I was a beta,” Tim heard himself say. “Then bites wouldn’t be a thing.”

 

A low laugh. “Oh, we manage to screw up too even without having an omega gland or alpha teeth. Did you know I proposed to Kori when I was eighteen?”

 

Tim looked up in shock. “What?”

 

“Oh yeah,” Dick smiled; warm, open, comforting. The last thing he had expected from this talk. “I bought a ring and everything. Wally was in on it. The whole nine yards.”

 

“What did you do when she said no?”

 

“She didn’t.” Dick replied as if offended. “She said yes before I could finish asking her. We were engaged for almost three months.”

 

Tim stared. “Seriously?”

 

“Yeah,” Dick grimaced. “But, you know. It was a mistake. Jason had just died and I guess I was looking for a way out. A life where nothing reminded me of him. An escape. Really I was a wreck and, well, those are all the wrong reasons to get married. It was making us both miserable so she gave the ring back and I moved to Bludhaven instead.”

 

“Where you got over it.”

 

A long look. “Honestly, baby bird, the moment I got over Jason’s death was the moment he stopped being dead.”

 

A long pause.

 

“But,” Dick cleared his throat. “What I’m saying is consider yourself busted but I’m letting you off the hook. No big daddy bats as long as you promise to keep your neck clean until you’re eighteen. Even I didn’t propose twice.”

 

Eagerly. “I promise.”

 

“Good.” Dick studied him. “So,” his voice dropped into low, playful, tone. “Face to face, huh?”

 

His face heated with impossible speed. “Please don’t…”

 

“No way,” the beta said with a sharp grin. “This is your punishment. Death by embarrassment. Unless you tell me what you did to piss off Lagoon Boy so bad. Because, boy, does he have an axe to grind with you. And, you know, he’s Atlantian so that might be a literal axe.”

 

Silence.

 

“Oh come on.” Dick leant forward. “I gave you an easy out.”

 

“I… I don’t want to talk about Lagoon.”

 

Dick’s smile vanished. “Why? He didn’t do anything to you did he?”

 

“No.” He hugged his shoulders. “I… I messed up with Lagoon. But I can manage it. I don’t want you or Bart or Kon doing what Kon did before with Bart and making everything think I’m this petty politically correct little omega that recruits others to fight my battles for me.” He looked up. “Let me handle it, okay? I want to handle it.”

 

“Okay,” the beta agreed slowly. “As long as this is nothing serious. Because, it’s okay to ask for help if this is something serious.”

 

“No,” he said the word with a firmness and assurance he wished he felt. “Nothing serious.” He wasn’t sure if it was a lie or not. Wasn’t sure if he was being brave by tackling this issue alone or cowardly for considering not to. He wasn’t sure how big a deal the ugly kiss was but, whatever the case, he would make sure it never happened again. That much he knew.

 

The next morning he woke with Bart in his bed – sleepwalking was the excuse – and the mark faded to a murky, almost invisible, smear under his jawbone. It was a bored god’s ironic game that La’gaan’s unintended donation had removed the bite just as the damage was done. But, Tim thought, now at least he had the power to walk around the tower and try to combat whatever diaster awaited him.

Chapter Text

It was the hottest day in San Francisco on record for five years. The Teen Titan tower winked and sparkled in the sun like a cartoon diamond, the air above the cement walkway distorted and quaked, and somehow Jaime Reyes hung above it all in pristine alien armour; sleek, blue, and full of lethal grace. The sound of his wings a soft monotonous drone that filled the stagnant humid air.

 

Bart crouched under a nearby tree and wriggled his toes in the baking earth. His boots were propped against the truck but otherwise his costume was intact. Sweat creeped beneath the shape of his mask and his costume was sticking to his skin but he couldn’t for the sake of his identity risk removing anything else. The road was nearby, the Tower was on the tourist map, and he’d already had his photo taken three times by red cheeked travellers and once by someone who might have been a superhero blogger. He would find out in a few hours if the picture went viral which his seemed to have a tendency to do right now. Even more than Superboy's. Hence the mask staying strictly on. Secret Identities was a concept he had never really understood but it was something he promised he would uphold. That at least was a promise he planned on keeping. If he didn’t the consequences wouldn’t belong to just himself. If the world knew he was Impulse it wouldn’t take them long to figure out Barry was Flash and Wally Kid Flash. That wasn’t something he was willing to have on his shoulders.

 

Jaime was arguing with himself.

 

He did that. He came out of the tower from time to time to do it in private. Bart tried not to think about what that might mean. He just watched the young alpha hover out of earshot in the armour he still couldn’t bring himself to see the beauty in. His lips were moving, then not, then moving again. His hands accenting and articulating the words with forceful jabs. His shoulders were hunched. It looked like an argument.

 

He wished he could hear what he was saying. Then, at least, the threat of the costume would be smothered by the husky accented stumbling sound of the alpha’s voice. Then, at least, there might be some strategic value to this overheated stake out and some excuse for it other than that alpha.

 

An alpha that made an otherwise ordinarily handsome face attractive through his fierce expressive use of it, who looked at him with eyes as dark as a lake at night, and who’d forced himself not to have sex with Bart no matter how much he threw himself at him. Forced himself. Bart had never met an alpha who wanted him more than Jaime Reyes… nor one that would ever deny themselves sexual satisfaction when it was offered. It didn’t make any sense. He didn’t make sense. That simple fact had him thinking about Jaime Reyes more than he had ever thought about any other alpha. It had been a game. A fun game. But when he took off his towel Jaime had stepped back instead of forward. The game had ended. So they talked. He’d never had such fun talking to an alpha before. Not even Cassie or Kon. Now he was wondering if he wouldn’t rather talk than continue the game. If he wouldn’t rather just be honest and… for that to be it.

 

He wanted to tell him. He needed to tell him. He needed to tell someone. It was something he had been holding on so long it felt like a massive blister beneath his ribs slowly swelling with puss. A blister he had to will up the courage to burst.

 

If he could just convince Jaime to have sex with him – satisfy the fluttering desperate need low between his hips – then it would be easier. Because he might like Jaime. Really like him in a way he had never liked an alpha before. But he still wanted sex to cement that like. Perhaps even turn it from like into something closer to like like. Perhaps like liking him would make telling Jaime the truth about his past – the future – and Jaime’s apparent role in it easier… somehow. Or perhaps that was just a selfish stupid idea born of the desperate need to satisfy his own lingering arousal.

 

Jaime seemed to reach some conclusion to his argument, hunched his shoulders unhappily, and started to drop out of the sky.

 

Now, Bart thought. Just say it. Tell him everything. Say it like it’s no big deal. Then there really would be nothing between them but his age. No more secrets. He straightened, tucked his boots purposefully under one arm, and stepped towards the alpha like a man walking towards an electric chair. Or, a fully armed Reach Warrior.

 

“Yo, Blue. I, eh, got to talk to you about something. Like, an actual something. I’m not trying to be cheeky or anything I just really need to talk about some stuff. Scary stuff. You hear me?”

 

Jaime looked up in shock, stared at him, and scratched the back of his neck uncertainly. “Ah, okay. What is it, ese?”

 

He hadn’t noticed him watching, Bart realised with an odd pang of guilt. Swallowed it. “Well, you see, you know the other night when…” he began.

 

The future arrived. It happened suddenly with a sound. The deadly soft drone of wings.

 

Jaime frowned, the expression visible through the shifting plates of black and blue, and turned to see the source of the disturbance.

 

A second Blue Beetle approached. Sunlight absorbing into the blue black panels, wings glittering gold, and body poised with unnatural perfection. Slicing through the heat of the day like an icy wind. It flew low over the trees, swooped into the space before the Titan Tower, and landed with terrifying inhuman elegance.

 

Jaime muttered something in Spanish.

 

Bart stared and shook. It was a Reach Warrior. It had to be. It was here. It had begun. This early. How could it have begun this early? How could the invasion begin so many years before it was recorded in history?

 

It spoke. The language exotic and filled with curt ugly sounds.

 

“I don’t…” Jaime interrupted it after a while. “I don’t understand.”

 

The Reach Warrior tilted its head, studied them both, and uttered two words. “Khaji Da.”

 

To Bart’s shock Jaime seemed to know what that meant.

 

Sí,” he muttered.

 

“What’s Khaji Da?” Bart asked desperately. “What do you know about this? What is it?”

 

“Khaji Da,” the strange set of armour said again. “You have been compromised. You are damaged.” Its English was heavily accented and carefully articulated.

 

Jaime. “It is?”

 

“I am Khaji Kai,” the armour said. For the first time Bart noticed it only had four fingers on each hand and each one was longer and sharper than a human’s. The shape of the head was also wrong and the abdomen tucked in with the aggressive clear cut figure of a bull ant. “My current primary command priority is to repair the scarab Khaji Da so it can connect correctly with its organic host.”

 

“Your primary command priority?!” Bart yelled. “That’s from the Reach isn’t it?! You want to fix the bug so it…” realisation. “So it controls him.” Jaime doesn’t betray Earth. The thing on his back does. Reach Armour was sentient. That had to be it. That had to be why Jaime argued with himself, why he knew the name of it, and why this second bug suit moved like no living thing should. It was on him. In him. In his brain. But it wasn’t hooked up properly. It was damaged. So it wasn’t in control. And this thing had come to put it in control so it – Khaji Da – could start to prepare the way for the Reach. Could start the invasion.

 

The alien – Khaji Kai – snapped its wings and folded them into its back. “This terra is aware of the mission?”

 

“You know about the mission?” Jaime asked the alien.

 

“You know about the mission?” Bart croaked in dismay. Jaime knew?

 

“No,” the alpha shook his head. “Bug Suit just won’t shut up about ‘the mission’. Won’t tell me a thing.” To the other Beatle. “What’s the mission?”

 

“The mission will not be discussed.” Spoken like learnt rhetoric. “Organic host. Will you comply for repair?”

 

Jaime scowled. “Not until you tell me about the mi—”

 

The Reach Warrior attacked. Bart saw it all happen in slow, sickening, motion. The armour around the alien’s fists morphed, its feet moved into a brace position, and burst of energy snaked out and struck Jaime in the chest. The alpha was thrown back and pinned against the tree. A band of blue stapling him into the wood.

 

Bart saw him reach up and tap the side of his head. “Titans. Fr—” Another blast of energy cut him off and blasted him halfway through the obese trunk.

 

“Front of the Tower!” Bart caught on and yelled into his receiver. “We’re under attack out here!”

 

The response was immediate. Wally arrived first and took in the scene with disbelief, Kori burst out of the building from the top floor and swooped down in a Kiss the Cook apron, and Conner leapt out a window halfway up the tower to drop like a stone and straighten in the crater he made upon his landing.

 

“Evil Beetle,” was all Bart said, jabbing a finger at the Reach Warrior not swearing in Spanish.

 

Kori didn’t waste anymore time and sent a bright pink starbolt straight at the attacking Beetle. It danced out of the way with mathematical precision and flicked its wings from its shell.

 

Bart had seen this before. The way the Reach Warriors fought. As if they could see and sense everything around them, were never scared or excited, and delivered each blow with fatal purpose. On top of this he had never found a weakness in their armour. He saw Wally rediscovering that fact as he punched, kicked, and pried at every blue black plate. Even the eyes seemed as unrelenting as diamond.

 

Jaime was in identical armour but he - a human - was in control. He would make mistakes, couldn’t calculate everything, and even reacted in shock and fear. He was vulnerable especially if his armour tried to sabotage him during the battle which, judging by the lack of return fire, looked to be the case. But, Bart desperately tried to rationalise, they had the numbers.

 

Cassie, Roy, and Raven were running out of the tower and Gar had swooped in from the skies and turned into a massive green elephant with a triumphant trumpet.

 

The attacker sent the beast flying with a sonic beam, stepped around Kori’s blasts, and knocked Roy’s arrows aside midair. It ignored entirely anything Wally or Bart could serve out, kept Conner and Cassie at a distance, and advanced on the retreating Jaime with terrifying purpose.

 

Then Conner released a burst of heat vision. That seemed to hurt it. No. Not hurt. Damage. It didn’t look like it was in pain but it registered the wound in its side and the threat as Conner’s eyes glowed red a second time.

 

God bless Kryptonians.

 

The Reach Warrior brought up its shield to absorb the next attack but was left open to Kori and Cassie as they raced in to deepen the gap Conner had burnt in its armour. Bart desperately searched for something to do to help. The powerhouses were attacking, Roy was firing a ceaseless stream of arrows to distract it, Gar had freed the handicapped Jaime, and Raven was tending to wounds. He needed to help. He needed to do something. Anything...

 

Wally tapped him in the shoulder and pointed to a tourist group dangerously close to the battle. It wasn't a glamorous job but speedsters were good at it. They set to the task of carrying them back out to their tour bus. As always carrying people was hard work but if he moved fast enough they wouldn’t notice they had been put down twenty times in the split second it took for him to transport them out of harms way. Wally was better and could move most in a bridal carry. They worked together to move some of the larger people and wheeled a granddad in a chair out just in time.

 

A series of explosions from misdirected arrows, a green tyrannosaurus rex toppled over and tried to wriggle its way back up, and Cassie finally managed to lasso their attacker down.

 

It was bleeding black from a number of holes in its armour, one wing was torn off, and Cassie’s lasso was wrapped around its arms. Through the blood Bart could see the armour trying to repair itself and its organic host body. It was working fast. How could they stop it if could fix itself so fast? Already most of the wounds were closed and the armour snapping back into place. A brand new wing sprouted from under its shell.

 

God...

 

Tim leapt – seemingly out of nowhere – and landed on the blue black creature. He snapped a single charge onto the scarab on the alien’s back and rolled away. There was no explosion, no flash of light, or burst of electricity. But, somehow, it worked. The alien slumped unconscious to the grass and the armour ceased its repair.

 

“What?” Bart rasped. “W-what did you do?”

 

Tim straightened. “EMP.”

 

"What?!" Wally peeled back the sleeve and checked his watch. "Damn it..."

 

“No,” Bart shook his head. “That can't be it. We tried that…” in the future. "It didn't stop them."

 

The Robin pondered this for a moment. “Must only work when there is damage to the armour exposing the workings,” he concluded and developed a hungry look as he turned back to the fallen alien. “I wonder what that shell is made of.”

 

“Oh man!” Gar wrapped back into human shape. “Okay, one thing I absolutely hate is evil twins. Please tell me another me isn’t going to come around the corner. Because, you know, two of me is too much of a good thing and last time that happened he was red. Red! Who would want a red Beast Boy?”

 

Jaime stood under the ruined tree and stared at his fallen duplicate. “I… I don’t… no, shut up, shut up… you didn’t tell me… What mission? What is…? I thought we were together on this…”

 

“Blue,” Bart approached.

 

Jaime’s eyes snapped to him. “You know something about it.” He said and pointed to the armour on his chest. “Something bad.” It wasn’t a question.

 

“Well…” he looked around at the arguing Titans hauling their captive back towards the tower. “I kind of…”

 

“Something future,” Jaime articulated. “That’s why you wouldn’t tell me about it.”

 

“Well, it’s complicated,” Bart started lamely. “See, in the future you, your armour, your kind, sort of, well…”

 

“Takes over,” Jaime guessed. “That's it. That's who you were talking about when you said the future laws weren't our laws. That’s the mission. Isn’t it?”

 

Bart wasn’t sure if the question was directed at him or the scarab. “I… guess…”

 

A tortured look. “That’s why you noticed me.”

 

Bart blinked. “Huh?"

 

“You wanted to know how to stop me,” Jaime muttered. “That’s why you came back in time. That’s why you noticed me. That’s why you… Dios… That's why you did everything. To find out about me.”

 

“I…” he couldn’t deny it. It was true. But, Bart tried to reason, it wasn’t the whole truth. It wasn’t the truth that mattered in that moment. It wasn't even the largest piece of the piebald puzzle that was the truth of why he was trying to seduce Jaime Reyes. But, for the first time in his life, Bart was out of time.

 

“I should have…” Jaime slipped into Spanish for a moment… “…low level.” He finished in English. “I’m just a low level. A mutt. Why would an omega like you want an alpha like me? I should have known you were just after something else.”

 

Bart’s heart lurched up into his throat. “Hey! No! Okay, totally not crash. I was going to tell you. I was – cross my heart and hope to die – about to tell you. I swear.”

 

“But you didn’t, ese.” A pause. “You didn’t.”

 

His wings snapped out of his shell and he kicked into the air.

 

He shouldn’t feel the way he did. Like a snake had slithered down his throat and laid a million monster eggs in his stomach. Heavy, squirming, wrong. Threatening to hatch at any moment and eat him from the inside out. A painful slow death his superspeed would stretch out for what felt like an eternity.

 

An eternity of watching Jaime Reyes fly away.

 

He shouldn’t feel like that. He might have saved the world today. His presence had meant Jaime didn’t mindlessly allow the alien to reconfigure the scarab on his back, had bought the word a chance, and had even allowed Tim to stumble across the first hint of a weakness he had ever seen a Reach Warrior exhibit. Today, if anything, was his first victory against the future. He should be skipping over his feet with happiness, daring Tim to take his first taste of vodka, and flirting with Cassie like he used to. He didn’t do any of those things.

 

Instead he ran back to Central City the long way, sat in a cold shower, and stared at a massive plate of food at dinner. Barry, Wally, and Jay all ate a corned beef each and ploughed through their own tubs of ice cream. Bart barely managed to choke down a bean.

 

“I’m okay, nana.”

 

“No you’re not,” Iris insisted. “Last time Barry wouldn’t eat he was sick for days afterwards. Do you feel something coming on? How’s your stomach? Throat?" She felt his glands and forehead. "I knew spending so much time with the Titans meant you would pick up something sooner or later. Oh, you’re cold. You didn’t dry your hair properly! No wonder you’re sick.”

 

“Sickness comes from germs, not wet hair,” Wally spoke up as he stole a bit of Bart’s untouched dinner.

 

“You know,” Linda pointed out. “He’s probably got a whole bunch of vaccinations that don’t exist yet. Maybe he can’t get the flu or cold anymore. Is that right, Bart?”

 

“I’m not sick,” he promised. “Just not hungry.”

 

Iris. “You sure?”

 

“Yeah…” he forced a smile, “yeah I’m crash.”

Chapter Text

Jaime sat on the stiff cot and stared across the room at the other Blue Beetle. It was still enclosed in its blue black shell, unconscious, and floating in a pod of gently bubbling liquid designed to keep it that way. Monitors either side of it displayed steady signs of life in accommodating silence.

 

Khaji Da was keeping that silence.

 

A silence that was broken by Tim Drake as he rigged the intercom up to the computer.

 

“…get the samples I sent through to you?” Tim he said as he flicked through readouts on a Wayne Tech tablet. “What do you think?”

 

A disembodied voice replied in a low gravely base. “Extraterrestrial. Both the suit and the organic matter beneath. Though it is doubtful the suit and the body come from the same planet.”

 

“The parasite flies around space looking for a host,” Tim realised.

 

“So it would seem.” The voice agreed with a low growl. “This was not a factor with the former Blue Beetle whose entire arsenal was manmade. Interestingly, I have found a lead elsewhere. The Green Lanterns appear to have encountered something that broadly translates to ‘the Minions of the Hive Masters’ which match the descriptions of the scarabs both those with and without a host.”

 

“Minions of the Hive Masters,” Tim tested the name uncertainly. “But, that suggests there are a lot of them out there?”

 

“It does.”

 

“And,” the young omega added worriedly. “They want to take over the planet?”

 

“If Impulse can be believed.”

 

Without a moment’s hesitation. “He can.”

 

“Perhaps.”

 

“He can,” Tim promised.

 

Jaime studied Tim’s earnest open face as he backed up his absent friend and grimly wondered if he could ever will up that kind of blind faith in the young speedster again. Bart had used him, seduced him, and done so all for a chance to get a closer look at his armour. That was why he had been interested in him in the first place despite their mismatched levels, why he wanted Jaime to show him how his weapons worked in the desert, and why he’d been watching him yesterday as the other Beetle swooped down to rewire the scarab implanted in his spine.

 

Bart was an agent of Earth escaped from an apocalyptic future and sent back in time to stop him. It all sounded like a terrible Terminator rip off… or perhaps a porn parody. Only this time the omega was the one coming back in time and the alpha the one sitting alone feeling used.

 

“Can I show him?” Tim was looking towards him with a pleated brow. “It’s his body, boss.”

 

“Yes. Reconnect when you’re ready.” The line went dead with a soft distorted pop.

 

Tim approached him and held out the tablet. It was an x-ray that showed the head and upper shoulders in profile. Highlighted on it were the contours of the scarab sinking greedy roots into the brain stem and two that forked up into the brain itself.

 

“Is that…?” Jaime squeaked in horror.

 

“That’s it,” Tim nodded at the alien Beetle behind them. “This is you.” He flicked the screen and a second x-ray moved to replace the first. In this one the scarab was locked lower and the upper tendrils had only just managed to thread into the brainstem but not permeate the brain.

 

“That’s not too bad,” he tried to convince himself.

 

“That’s why I showed you the correctly connected one first,” Tim told him. “So yeah, good news is it’s not into your brain’s higher function or in a position of control or where it might manipulate thoughts but, bad news, it’s on your brain stem which means we can’t operate to try and untangle it and it may have influence over bodily functions.”

 

“It made me throw up once to protect ‘the mission’.”

 

Tim blinked. “That’s… wow. Okay. Um, it could also probably kill you really easily but with the amount of damage it has sustained that would probably kill it too. Based on the other one your scarab is actually really badly damaged. Almost seventy percent of systems are non-functioning. I’m amazed it can give you a fully armoured suit. It hasn’t connected properly, hasn’t been able to repair it’s inner workings, and it’s not attempting to scramble our communications or send signals off world like the other one is. I don’t think it can.”

 

“The other one is doing that?” Jaime looked at the drifting bug suit. “I thought it was unconscious.”

 

“The host body is unconscious,” Tim corrected. “The scarab is working at full capacity.” A pause. “Scary, huh?”

 

“I have an evil alien bug in my head. You have no idea, hermano. I’m just glad it didn’t get in any deeper.”

 

It is the deepest connection possible given the functionality of available systems. Khaji Da finally spoke up with a minute hint of something that sounded oddly like offence. It is unlikely the scarab Khaji Kai could have achieved as optimal a result if it was as damaged as I.

 

“At least it managed to take control over its host,” Jaime pointed out bitterly.

 

If I had Khaji Kai’s level of functionality and command priority I would have repaired the damaged scarab, avoided capture, and failing that would at minimum be able to contact the Reach.

 

“You’re jealous, huh?” He sneered. “Great. I got a petty evil alien bug in my head.”

 

I am not subject to organic emotions. Khaji Da insisted stonily.

 

“Keep telling yourself that.”

 

Tim gazed at him in wonder. “You’re talking to it now, aren’t you?”

 

“It’s talking to me,” Jaime muttered angrily.

 

Tim. “What does it say?”

 

He hugged his sides and stared at the other Blue Beetle. “Usually it just tells me if I’m about to be attacked, you know. Sometimes it talks about ‘the mission’ which I guess means take over the world. Right bug?”

 

The mission will not be discussed.

 

“And sometimes it tells me I’m a useless organic host,” Jaime continued through gritted teeth. “It thinks I should kill my family, kill Roy, and mate Bart.”

 

Tim stared at him, fringe flopping down across raised eyebrows. “The scarab tells you to mate Bart?” He sounded unconvinced and a little embarrassed.

 

Jaime realised what he said and tried to reel back the conversation. “I, eh, well you see el mano it was… No. Bart was a mistake anyway.”

 

His eyebrows plummeted. “You think Bart’s a mistake?”

 

“Well, eh, you know…” he didn’t want to finish that sentence but Tim’s unwavering look forced the words from his mouth. “…it’s not like Bart really likes me. It’s just because of this.” He let the armour snake up his arm and coat it in the familiar black and blue. “He wanted to find out my weakness to try and stop me from taking over the world.” Retracted the shell.

 

“You don’t know that,” Tim told him. “He, um,” a bloom of red across his cheeks, “thinks you’re really hot, actually. I bet he will more now that there’s a chance you won’t take over the world.”

 

“You don’t know that, amigo.”

 

“No, it’s true,” Tim swore feverishly. “He always tells me how hot you are and, you know, the future isn’t set in stone. Have you heard of Booster Gold or the Legion of Superheroes? They come from a time after Bart and there’s no Blue Beetle apocalypse in their history. See,” his eyes lit, “Bart came from a possible future but there are lots of possible futures simultaneously existing until something happens to make them impossible. Maybe they go on existing even after that. Maybe there is no future and no past just lots of slightly different worlds in slightly different timeframes like… elseworlds.” Tim penned the phrase carefully. “Perhaps there are an infinite number of Earths in an infinite number of universes or maybe they’re limited but feeding into each other. An interactive multiverse.” His face was sparkling with excitement. “It’s exciting isn’t it? The possibility? I mean, time itself and perhaps all of existence may not be liner, singular, or even constant. Isn’t that fascinating?”

 

Jaime stared. “Yeah, eh, you really think he thinks I’m hot?”

 

Tim’s features fluttered unhappily but he maintained his smile; abet stiffly. “On this Earth? Yeah.”

 

Jaime wished he could believe it. His mind kept returning to the desert and the unfulfilled kiss hanging in the air between them. Over the last week he hadn’t touched himself without thinking of Bart, hadn’t seen him without wanting to steal him back to that night in the desert, or smelt the lingering allure of the omega and not thought about kissing every speckled inch of him. Then the other Blue Beetle had attacked and he’d learnt the truth.

 

Bart was using him. Of course he was using him.

 

Bart could get any alpha he wanted. He smelt like a high level, was gorgeous, and had a raw fun loving spark no other omega Jaime met had ever possessed; not even Tim. Tim was traditionally pretty with long dark lashes and clear pale skin. But, what should have been appealing appeared insipid and boring juxtaposed with the sharp angles, bold design, and wild atypical beauty of Bart Allen.

 

It is observed my shortcomings come from system failure, not a denial of base biological function. The scarab somehow managed to inject an inhuman amount of accusal into its robotic voice. We continue to suffer a reduction in basic functioning and fighting efficiency. Suggested action remains: impregnate the omega Im— .

 

“You know, none of this ‘reduction in efficiency’ would matter if you’d managed to stab my brain.” Jaime hissed.

 

Yes. The scarab replied crisply.

 

Tim stared at him with a scientist’s hunger and tapped the control panel by the computers. “Cave?”

 

The disembodied voice returned. “Here.”

 

“The scarab can communicate telepathically with the host.”

 

“And it choses to? Interesting.”

 

“But the host can’t respond telepathically. Ja—eh—Blue Beetle has to talk out loud to reply.”

 

“A one way connection. No doubt a defensive measure against telepathic attacks,” the voice concluded. “It’s using its host as a shield. This with the non-organic nature of the scarab will protect against the likes of the Manhunter. A virus may be the better offensive if…”

 

Jaime tuned out. Khaji Da filled his head with enough talk on defensive measures, offensive strikes, and recently had even started dropping remarks on the virtue of non-organics. He didn’t need to hear it again from someone he feared may be the original Batman; the man he had met once before Dick took over the cowl. It wasn’t a meeting he liked to relive.

 

But, if he wasn’t listening then he was thinking about Bart and thinking about Bart made him feel wretched, abused and – pathetically – still aroused. He wished he could travel back in time – or to another universe – and not let Bart go as he held him in the desert. He would hold on, make Bart tell him the truth, and then when the omega admitted both the future and the fact that he didn’t really like him they could part without this gnawing sense of uncertainty eating at his gut. Without the lingering longing. Without the irrational childish hope that maybe Bart hadn’t been lying when he said ‘I want you inside me’ with a desperation in his voice hot enough to melt Antarctica.

 

“...seems there is a two way connection of sorts.” The voice muttered. “The scarab is aware of emotions if not thoughts. Perhaps through physical changes in the body or perhaps – due to its poor connection – it is receiving electronic feedback of emotions from its host down the brainstem. In which case its internal processor would interpret and perhaps even learn how to recuperate certain emotions which would explain the stranger electronic signature of the damaged scarab.”

 

Jaime realised what that meant. “You’re scanning me now?

 

Tim blushed. “It’s really very interesting. How it works and how it reads your body.”

 

“I, eh…” his hands were sweaty, heart beating too fast, and groin tingling with the threat of an erection. All of it happening around the gut churning uncertainty Bart had left him with and the bitter heavy part of him that had already accepted that Bart never liked him. “…really don’t want to be scanned right now,” he staggered to his feet. “Gracias, but… I got to go.”

 

“But…”

 

“Red Robin,” the voice spoke to Tim. Low. Authoritative. Menacing. “This gives us a chance to discuss the changes to your costume… and the reasoning behind them.”

 

Tim looked like a deer in the headlights. “Um…d-do you like it?”

 

Jaime left him to it and staggered out of the Titan lab without another word. He scratched the back of his neck the moment he was out of sight. Reaching further down he felt the cool swell of Khaji Da’s shell extending from his skin. The scarab’s presence didn’t revolt him anymore but, in light of this new information, he couldn’t like it either. It was a parasite, an enemy, and it was the only reason Bart Allen had ever looked at him twice.

 

The only piece of him that wasn’t him.

 

“I hate you.”

 

Nothing.

 

He sighed “Do you even know what hate is? Is what they were saying in there right? Are you starting to feel things?”

 

Again. I am not subject to organic emotions.

 

“You sure?” He removed his hand from the shell and rubbed his face. “You didn’t suggest I terminate Bart. Just mate.”

 

Silence.

 

“Fine. I wish I wasn’t subject to organic emotions,” Jaime muttered and walked deeper into the tower. The other occupants either avoided him as he passed or plastered on fake smiles. He supposed finding out your friend was an evil overlording alien enforcer in the future might put a damper on the relationship.

 

He made it into the main room and took command of the vacant seat in front of the Playstation. There was a new FiFa game and he spent the next half hour wrestling with the controls as the AI kicked his arse at every game he played. That sealed the deal. He hated AIs. All of them. And why not? He was the porn parody Sara Conner after all. Instead of killer robots he got blue bugs.

 

“Dude,” Gar slunk over the arm of the sofa beside him. “For a Latino you suck at this.”

 

“For a green guy you don’t have a lot of layers,” he jabbed back.

 

“Ow,” Gar folded himself on the cushion beside him. “Racist. And just when I forgive you for the chulo statement.”

 

He grunted another apology as he tried to organise the ant like players running around on the screen.

 

“So,” the shape shifter spoke up after another goal stacked up against him. “I’m a beta so I have to ask; how are you dealing with it?”

 

“What?” Jaime avoided.

 

“You know…” Gar persisted. “The future, the bug, the boyfriend.”

 

Quickly. “Bart’s not my boyfriend.”

 

His ears pricked up with genuine surprise. “Seriously?”

 

“We never even kissed.”

 

“Wow.” Gar blinked. “He seemed really into you.”

 

“Yeah.” Another missed goal. “He did.”

 

A telling pause. “You know,” Gar cleared his throat. “The reason why that chulo thing got to me so bad was because I used to be an actor.”

 

Jaime turned to him in shock. “Que?”

 

“Yeah.” A proud toothy smile. “And, back when I shaved everywhere I used to play omega roles. Well, I had one role because being green kind of inhibits a serious career but it was an omega role. Ever hear of Space Trek: 2020?”

 

“Sorry I—”

 

“Of course you have!” The beta interrupted. “Now, I know it was a little regressive when it comes to omega rights and got sued by Star Wars, Star Trek, and 2001: A Space Odyssey but it had me in it so it wasn’t all bad.” Gar puffed up his chest. “I played Tork; intrepid explorer, sole prince to a far away kingdom, meta-morph, and alien omega. Saved them millions on special effects.”

 

Jaime paused his game. “I thought you said it was regressive?”

 

“Ah, well,” he waved the words away. “I tried to tell the writers an intrepid explorer wouldn’t get captured and need rescuing so much but,” he shrugged. “It was fun being the sexy prince in a space-tower so I didn’t worry too much. The main drama for my character was there was this other omega – a rescued slave girl – that was the hero’s main squeeze but I wanted to mate the main hero because I wanted him to rule over my kingdom.”

 

“Now I see the regressive,” Jaime muttered.

 

“And I told the writers Tork would never have sex with his rival but apparently omega on omega action is hot so, that happened.”

 

A pause as Jaime’s imagination created the vivid scene. “Ay Dios.”

 

“Yeah,” Gar agreed. “Ay-whatever. But, my long belaboured point is I used to pretend to be an omega for a living. And I really had to pretend. Twenty four seven. We actors were almost all betas but we had to pretend to be our character’s caste because that makes the show sell more. People pay if they think they’re watching real alphas fight, or real omegas kiss, but no one’s going to buy a poster of a beta pretending to be an omega.” His smile was distant and oddly sad. “I had to sell Garfield Logan as an omega and, well, I’ll be honest it was fun. Make up. Clothes that gave me hips. Everything but the waxing. Man, I hated the waxing.” His smile faded. “But, then, I was doing some superhero work on the side to gain some fame. Green is pretty conspicuous so I was outed as a beta and couldn’t get employed as an actor again.” He hugged his legs against his chest and rested his chin on his folded knees. “You called me a fake beauty for not being a real omega and I guess that hit pretty close to home. That’s what my fans seemed to think when I was outed. Not that there were ever a lot of them anyway but, you know.”

 

Jaime stared at the beta, everything else forgotten for a moment, and tried to see the omega in his face .To his shock, he could. He had long fine eyebrows, large eyes, and a jaw that looked more pointed than square when the light was right. Unlike a lot of betas, with some grooming, he could look like an omega. Not that all omegas conformed to an omega ‘look’ of course. There were lots of famous omegas that verged from the stereotype. But they generally weren’t movie stars. With the sense of smell removed from TV viewing it was more important the actors filled in the missing information visually. An ‘omega look’ he had learnt from his sister’s recent obsession with America’s Next Top Model was something heavily sort after in entrainment industries.

 

Gar, with some grooming, had it. Tim had it. Bart… had his own version of it. Creative, unique, fun.

 

“Okay,” the beta broke off his thoughts. “Now I’ve had my deep and meaningful confession, tell me about Bart.”

 

His stomach flipped. “Huh?”

 

He rolled his eyes. “I’m a beta. I get itchy when people in my team aren’t okay. I talked to you now you got to talk to me.”

 

“You want to talk about the scarab?” Jaime asked hopefully.

 

“No. I asked about the future, the bug, and the boyfriend. You jumped on the boyfriend so I’m guessing that’s what’s got you moping.” Gar shuffled around; getting himself comfortable. “Come on; I told you a big story.”

 

“Bart’s not my boyfriend,” Jaime said again. “He never wanted to be my boyfriend.”

 

“Oh, so you’re upset because he just wanted sex?”

 

“No he just wanted it,” Jaime jerked a thumb over his shoulder at the alien AI embedded into his spine. “He wanted me to show him how all my weapons worked. He didn’t want sex.”

 

Gar didn’t look convinced. “Really? Because he was all over you like Tork on Captain Kurl.”

 

“Captain Kurl? Really?”

 

“Don’t change the subject.”

 

Jaime raked his hand through his hair. “I don’t know, hermano. So what if he did want sex? He didn’t tell me about the future. About the scarab. I can’t exactly trust him now can I?”

 

“Can you?”

 

“I… I don’t know.”

 

“Okay,” Gar threw up his hands. “You need to talk to him. Like now.”

 

“No! He’s not even here.”

 

“It’s not the future yet but it is the twenty first century,” Gar pointed out and fished his phone from his back pocket. “We have means of contact other than smoke signals.”

 

Jaime’s heart shot up into his mouth as he saw Gar flick through his contacts, tap onto the omega’s name, and call. To his relief the shape changer didn’t pass the receiver to him but held it up to his own ear. The conversation was remarkably short.

 

“Hey Bart it’s Gar. Want to hang out? … That’s fine we don’t need to hang at the tower if Jaime’s too mad at you.” A pointed look. “What about the Flash museum? Half an hour?” He waited for a response and then morphed his face into that of a cat. “Purrrrfect.”

 

Jaime was about to deny participation in this crazy plan. He was going to throw up his hands and storm out with what little bit of dignity he had left. He was going to fly home, watch whatever girly show his sister had on, and actually eat some of the sweet things his mum baked for him. He was going to forget Bart and their almost-kiss.

 

But, a moment before Gar hung up, he heard the omega’s laugh… light, sexy, fun... and he knew he was doomed.

Chapter Text

“This gives us a chance to discuss the changes to your costume… and the reasoning behind them.”

 

Tim felt the bottom drop out of his stomach as Jaime bowed his head and scuttled out the door. “Um…” he almost told him. Almost dropped defeated under the weight of his pack leader’s voice and confessed everything. But he didn’t. He didn’t because a small part of him wormed its way through the panic and seized control of his lips. “D-do you like it?”

 

Bruce knew.

 

He knew about the bite, about Kon, and he knew why Tim had been postponing his return to Wayne Manor.

 

But, Tim realised, he didn’t have any evidence to substantiate that knowledge. For Bruce, evidence was everything, and if he had any he would have laid it down the moment he made the accusation. Each damning piece being brought out and examined until the truth was utterly undeniable. If Bruce had evidence the allegation would have been delivered upfront, would be cemented in place by a string of flawless deductive work, and would finish with an order for Tim’s immediate return to the cave. But he didn’t. He had suspicions, clues, and ideas. He didn’t have facts.

 

And so he was fishing for a confession. That’s what this was. A simple intimidation tactic that would have worked on Tim not that long ago; that came dangerously close to working on him now. But one he managed to see through before he gave himself away.

 

Still, he was balancing on a fragile thread of wool and he knew it. Bruce had all the power to act as judge, jury, and executioner and it was only Bruce’s own unwillingness to take action without physical confirmation of a crime that had saved him this far.

 

He stood in the Teen Titan lab beside a parasite enforcer on an alien host and tried to keep his voice light and casual. “I know it’s a little different but, you know, I thought I would try it out.”

 

Low. “Why?”

 

“Just for something new.”

 

“That’s not what Dick said,” the disembodied voice said darkly.

 

Tim’s insides worked themselves into a series of knots. Dick. What had Dick said? Had Bruce got to Dick? No. Dick was on his side. Dick wouldn’t give him up. Not under torture.

 

Or would he?

 

Out of the whole pack Dick was probably one of the biggest gossips and had never quite been able to master Alfred’s unshakable poker face. What if Dick had just let off a stray remark not even intended for Bruce’s ears? What if he hadn’t done a convincing enough job lying over the dinner table? What if he had done that nervous tell when he pulled at his thumb while Bruce was interrogating him?

 

Play it safe. Likelihood was Bruce knew Dick knew something but hadn’t confirmed despite suspicions what exactly that something was. “W-what did Dick say?”

 

Bruce growled through his teeth in frustration. “Did Conner bite you?”

 

The direct approach. Okay. He could do that. “Huh? No.” A quick lie.

 

“So it was someone else.”

 

“No! Bruce, I would never…” he trailed off. Bruce was trying to provoke him now. That meant he had nothing on him. This was good. “Dick changed his costume when he came to the Titans,” Tim said. “I was just trying to do the same.”

 

“By covering your neck?”

 

“By wearing a cowl like yours,” he stressed. “I wanted people to remember that I had something to do with you.” Flattery spiced with a bit of guilt.

 

Bruce saw straight through it and finally started stacking up what little evidence he did have. “You were covering your neck. You’ve been avoiding returning to the cave. You are sexually active with Conner.”

 

He felt his cheeks redden. “I am not.”

 

The older man made a sound somewhere between a snort and a growl. “You are.” Spoken low and without a hint of doubt.

 

He decided to give a little. “Look, Kon and I… he’s my boyfriend. We kiss.” A very little.

 

“You don’t need condoms to kiss.”

 

Tim’s cheeks were burning red. Bruce had evidence for this, he realised. He knew and could substantiate this.

 

“I… I don’t have any bite on my neck!” He staggered over to the panel, flicked the video on, and showed the camera his neck. It was against protocol to use video out of costume but he needed to prove this and, if any line was safe, it was the one to the batcave. “If I was bitten I would still have a mark.”

 

Bruce’s video feed remained stubbornly non-responsive as he growled. “There are ways to remove a mark.”

 

“You really think I’m going to let another alpha neck me just to remove a mark?”

 

“Alpha shots speed up the removal of a mark.”

 

Tim blinked in genuine surprise. “They do?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“I… I don’t have any alpha shots.” That much was true. An alpha shot was a cocktail of different donor alpha’s hormones that could be used to neutralise a peaking omega’s hormones if injected into the bloodstream; usually during panic attacks or in heat. It was acquired on prescription but there was some in the batcave. If he had known that would speed up the removal of the bite he might have tried to take some. Emphasis on might. He, unlike Bruce, was never fond of using drugs to deal with his caste. He hated suppressants, refused anything high grade enough to have to come into his body via a needle, and didn’t even like too many painkillers during an untended heat. “You think I used alpha shots?”

 

A long pause. “No.”

 

“Then how could I have had a bite and not have it now?” He rubbed at his neck to prove no makeup.

 

Bruce sighed. “Well played. Be back here tonight.”

 

“But I didn’t do anything!” He protested.

 

“Huh,” voice dripping with disbelief. “Be back here tonight. Six o’clock.”

 

The line went dead.

 

It was a victory. Despite the quick dismissal, despite Bruce's instruction, and despite what the man knew; Bruce hadn't been able to prove he wore a mark on his neck. He'd gotten away with it. He'd won. It was the first ever victory he had ever really had over Bruce. He wondered how long it would last.

 

Aware that he may still be monitored in some way he packed up the lab stiffly, stared at the face of the captive Beetle, and walked into the corridor. The moment he was away from any potentially bat-hacked security cameras he sagged against the wall. Kon appeared a moment later with an odd kind of look on his face.

 

“You were listening,” Tim guessed; reading the stiff look of the lines around the boy’s mouth.

 

“How’d you get rid of the bite so fast?”

 

He rolled his shoulders in a clumsy shrug. “Just lucky I guess.”

 

Kon’s frown grew deeper. “Did you find an alpha shot?”

 

“No.”

 

“Then how?”

 

“It just faded. It’s okay. I was just,” he rubbed at his neck. “Lucky.” He hated the lie but he hated the idea of Kon swooping in to save the day even more. He already had a reputation for that in the Titans, as well as crying omegaphobia, and he didn’t want to alienate himself further by living up to that image. It wasn’t that having a powerful and protective alpha boyfriend or being progressive were bad aspects but they weren’t casual ones nor were they really him. He wanted to be known for his personality like Bart was; even if Bart’s personality had become somewhat more of an outrageous exaggeration with most of the team. He didn’t want to be unapproachable in that way.

 

“Look, Kon, I’ll tell you but not right now and you have to promise not to…”

 

“Did you kiss Lagoon Boy?”

 

The knots just starting to untangle inside him clenched tight. “What?” He rasped.

 

Kon wasn’t looking him in the eye. “Did you kiss him?”

 

“W-why would you ask that?”

 

A small shrug.

 

“Kon…” he took a deep breath. “Look, it’s not what you think.”

 

He twitched. “You did.”

 

“No! Why would you just think that? About him?”

 

“He liked you. Then he didn’t. And I looked. My—the mark was gone after that. I didn’t get it.” He nodded towards the room. “But then you said that thing about necking.”

 

“I didn’t kiss him.”

 

“Did you have sex with him?”

 

“No! I would never.”

 

The look in his eye shifted. “Did he kiss you?”

 

Tim knew the silence was incriminating but he seemed to have reached his lie limit for the day. He couldn’t bring his mouth to work the denial. Couldn’t bring his voice to sound it.

 

“Did he?”

 

“Kon…” his voice didn’t sound like his own. “He didn’t do anything. Not really.”

 

A spark of deadly anger. “Not really?”

 

Tim felt his own hackles raise. “I can look after myself, you know. I pushed him off before anything happened.”

 

A pause. “I’m gonna kill him,” Kon said it with a terrifying amount of simple assurance. It wasn’t a threat. It was a fact.

 

“Kon no!” He grabbed his arm as he started to move away. “Don’t! I don’t want you to.”

 

“I’m the alpha. I’m meant to look after you,” Kon snarled and walked another step, effortlessly hauling Tim along at his side.

 

“Sometimes looking after me means letting me sort things out myself,” he said as he clung resolutely to his side. “Giving me support so I can handle things. What about that, huh?”

 

“I’m not going to let that fucker treat you like—”

 

“Like what? Property?” A traitorous sting of tears quickly swallowed down. “What do you think you’re doing now? You’re not letting me handle it because you want to go punch him up for touching your omega. For touching your stuff.”

 

“That’s not what it’s like!”

 

“That’s what it feels like!”

 

Kon stopped and stared at him. “That’s not what it’s like,” he said again. Softer. Confused. Hurt. “You know that’s not what it’s like. You’re my…” he fished for a word, “…everything. I got to protect you.”

 

“Why? I don’t need it. I want to be your partner not what you protect.” He gestured numbly at his naked neck. “I let you bite to show you that. I’m yours already so you don’t need to… do this.”

 

Kon made a sound like a groan and a whine of pain, took hold of Tim’s arm, and pulled them together face to face. “I fucked up. I just wanted… I shouldn’t have bitten you. It was too soon. It got you in trouble. You had to hide. You just let me and I thought…” An agonised look. “I thought you wanted it…”

 

“I did want it.”

 

“You just said you did it to make me stop treating you badly,” Kon muttered. “Fucked up… just wanted to keep you safe…”

 

“Hey,” Tim held either side of his face and directed it down towards him. Finally found eye contact. “Just let me handle this, okay? Let me take care of it. I promise you I can.” A deep breath. “I just need you to believe in me,” a pause. “Okay?”

 

Without hesitation. “Always.”

 

The surge of relief that rocketed through him almost robbed him of all strength. He felt weak at the knees and clumsy as he leant forward, rocked up onto his toes, and pushed a kiss onto Kon’s lips. A kiss Kon tentatively responded to.

 

“Love you,” he whispered as Tim leant back. “I’m sorry. I love you.”

 

“Love you too,” Tim replied softly. “Don’t be sorry just let me do this.”

 

A nod.

 

“Thank you.” He gently untangled himself from the suddenly fragile seeming alpha and made his way down the hall. When Kon trailed he threaded their fingers together and became keenly aware he had to deal with La’gaan now. This wasn’t an issue he could sweep under the matt or pretend never happened anymore. This was something he had to confront if not for himself but to show Kon that he could. Grimly he supposed it was always something he was going to have to confront. Kon just meant he would have to do so sooner rather than later.

 

As usual there was a mismatched collection of team members in the main common room including Jaime and Gar talking on the sofa in front of a paused Playstation game with an absurd amount of branding involving soccer balls. La’gaan wasn’t among them but it wasn’t hard to hack into the system and see when he had last checked into the tower. Half an hour ago which means he probably hadn’t left. If he wasn’t in the common room the only other likely place was – Tim repressed a groan – the alpha dorm.

 

“Hey guys.” Cassie strode across the space towards them in glittering red and gold. "Whacha doing? Have you seen Bart? He didn’t come in today.”

 

“Then why would we have seen him?” Tim muttered distractedly.

 

“I just hope he’s dealing with this scary stuff with the bug in brain over there,” she nodded towards Jaime he seemed entirely wrapped up in a story Gar was telling. “Plus I feel really bad. He used to scavenge for Hera’s sake and I didn’t for one second think ‘hey, that doesn’t sound like a flying cars, gaga fashions, or a nice non-apocalyptic kind of future I always thought he was from’.” She shook her head. “So, yeah, I’m kind of feeling like the worst friend ever.”

 

Tim stepped away from the control panel he was using, took a deep breath, and started towards the alpha dorm. “Catch up with you guys later,” he called out to make sure Kon didn’t follow. It was a short walk but by the time he made it his chest was tight and mind reeling. He didn’t know what he was going to do or what he was going to say. It seemed disastrously inappropriate to march in there and say something as simple as ‘don’t do it again’ but what else was left available to him? The only thing worse than not facing La’gaan was having someone else face La’gaan and the only other option was to let him get away with what he did which was… wrong. However easy it might have been just to pretend it never happened he knew it was wrong.

 

He couldn’t put this off anymore either because, as far as he knew, his new curfew might also mandate he stay at home for another few days. Perhaps even longer. And Bruce could justify that. He knew Tim and Kon were sexually active and had evidence. As mortifying as that was it meant Bruce had all the excuse he needed to keep him at home.

 

Tim reached the dorm, wrapped his knuckles across without allowing himself to pause, and pushed into the bedroom. There were three occupants. Two of them were quietly fighting. One was crying. The first was La’gaan who was standing by the windows hurling stiff insults over his shoulder at Roy who was digging under his bad for a bag. The archer snapped bitterly back and noticed Tim. In the middle of the room Roy’s little girl stopped sobbing to run over to him and fist at his jeans.

 

“Ha,” La’gaan barked. “She’s still running at omegas.”

 

“Shut up,” Roy growled dangerously as he found a bulbous diaper bag and threw it over one shoulder. “Lian, come here. We’re going.”

 

She ignored him and spoke an urgent string of nonsense up at Tim. Her cheeks were the glossy red of glazed cherries and running with water.

 

“Eh,” Tim picked her up uncertainly. “I just need to talk to La’gaan.”

 

“La’gaan!” The Atlantean yelled at him.

 

Roy looked pained, angry, and hurt as he approached and transferred her from Tim’s arms to his. “I told you not to yell,” he hissed at the other alpha. “You fucking prick. She’s already crying. You got to make it worse?”

 

“Know why she’s crying? She’s got a dad who’s an alpha, who’s in his mid twenties, but still hangs out in the Teen Titans because he isn’t good enough to be a superhero anywhere else, doesn’t have a job, and can’t even find an omega to take proper care of her when he’s meant to be on duty.” Lips peeled back around pointed teeth. “I would cry too if you were my dad.”

 

Face white with anger. “As far as you know I am,” he snarled and turned to Tim. “Get out of my way, omega.”

 

Tim frowned. There was something about the way he said his caste. Almost like an insult but also almost like he wanted to define him and also like he was an adversary he had to overcome. In Roy’s eyes in that moment, Tim realised, he was a single representative of omega kind and he was standing in his way. In his way to what? Leaving? Taking his daughter? Taking care of his daughter? A flash of understanding. Omega kind standing in the way of open acceptance to his role as a single alpha father. It was a common prejudice alpha couples and single alpha parents faced.

 

Can you really look after that kid without an omega? Are you sure you know what you’re doing with that kid?

 

That kid needs an omega.

 

Tim lowered his gaze and stepped out of his way.

 

“Oh,” La’gaan called out. “You obey that one. Because he’s white, right?”

 

Tim felt his hand ball into a fist. “Because he’s got a kid that’s crying.”

 

“What would you care?” Roy muttered defensively. “She’s not your kid.”

 

“No, she’s yours.” He said it with all the forthright assurance he could muster. “She only ran to me because I don’t smell like fish and sweat.”

 

La’gaan gaped at the insult and something shifted on Roy’s face; lips threatening towards a smile before he wrestled them back down. “Suppose that’d be about right, ay,” he agreed quietly.

 

“What the hell are you even doing here?” La’gaan called out to Tim.

 

“I want to talk to you.”

 

“Eh? ‘Bout what?”

 

He felt a twitch of anger flick down his spine. “What do you think?”

 

Roy wasn’t moving, holding his quietening girl, and watching them both with a fierce eyed interest.

 

La’gaan’s eyes flicked to Roy and back to him. “You want to bitch about being a bitch?”

 

Bitch?” He hissed. “You’re the one that whined to my pack after you pleaded with me to let you get fucked. You think that makes you an alpha?”

 

Roy looked very interested now.

 

“I did not!” La’gaan yelled.

 

“Whine to my pack after I kicked you off me? Yes you did.”

 

“I…”

 

His anger was a sick mess inside of him which was teetering towards a wretched humiliation. Whatever this confrontation was it already felt like it had lasted too long. After being catapulted from a conflict with Bruce, to Kon, and now La’gaan he felt fraught like something winding up without being given the time to release and after two wins he still somehow had to reel in a third. It was a heavy ask. He wished he was in a physical battle. Physical battles were easier. Physical battles were maths. An evaluation of odds, of weaknesses, and of physical capacity.

 

At least that was how he saw them. Dick saw battle as a performance, Damian as a change to exhibit and practise his skill, and Jason as an opportunity to dominate. Bruce, he thought, saw battle as all of those things together. Plus the maths. He knew Bruce saw the maths.

 

He wished verbal battles had maths.

 

A deep breath. “Look, La—goon Boy. You’re a superhero without a secret identity. There are omegas out there that want you. You just—”

 

“No,” Roy interrupted. “Don’t give him that shit.”

 

“Huh?”

 

“You were doing better before. That guy groped you. Put him down. Like you did the evil-bug if you gotta.”

 

“That was an EMP.”

 

Green eyes rolled. “You know what I mean.”

 

“I… oh…” Tim bit down the stinging prickle of embarrassment and nodded.

 

La’gaan looked like he knew he was in trouble. He was desperately searching for something to say. Some defence. Or some counterattack he could put into play. He was coming up short. Hopelessly so. Clearly, Tim held all the cards if he could play them right.

 

“I don’t need to,” he realised. “He’s already down. What’s he going to do? Say that I wanted it? Say I deserved to be groped?” A hard look. “Nah. Nothing he can say will put him in the right. He’s done.”

 

La’gaan. “I could say I didn’t do it,” he snarled.

 

“Now you’re cringing away from the truth?”

 

Big alpha,” Roy muttered.

 

“My pack is insane when it comes to this kind of stuff,” Tim told him, “so I don’t want to start shit. But I could. And I will if you’re stupid enough to try anything like this again. With anyone. Because…” he rubbed at his hair above his ears, “you know what? Fuck it man. I don’t know how I’m meant to school you here when I don’t even understand it; why the hell do you want to waste time bitching and being a fucking dog instead of being an alpha and showing some omegas some damn respect? Seriously, I don’t get it. It’s just… no. I really don’t get it.”

 

La’gaan’s lips were narrowed to a thin white line, skin an oddly different shade of green, and throat working as if he were constantly swallowing. “You fucking…” he started forward.

 

Tim almost sighed in relief when he registered the attack. Maths. An equation. And a simple one at that. He slipped under his grab, kicked up the alpha’s feet, and rode his back all the way to the floor; letting his weight land on him hard. He held the alpha down long enough that the Atlantean knew it and them rolled off and straightened.

 

He didn’t want to overdo this. He was worried he already had. If he humiliated La’gaan too much then they would be enemies and nothing he would say would have carried any weight. It would be ‘that bitch’ rather than ‘that time I fucked up’. So he offered a hand up, let La’gaan slap it away, and gave him room to walk out. Perhaps it was a mistake. Perhaps it would have been better avoided, or dealt with officially, or perhaps simply better – and bloodier – just to unleash Kon on him. But he couldn’t regret it just then because Roy was looking at him like he hadn’t looked at him before. Like a team mate.

 

“You’re just like Dick,” he muttered as he rocked the now dozing girl back and forth in his arms. “He must be a good Batman because it’s all that bastard I’ll kill him when it comes to other people but if someone wrongs him he’ll take a road so high he’ll get lost in the clouds.” He shook his head. “Just like you. You can take down that evil Blue Beetle god like a ninja James Bond with something to prove but a guy gropes you and that’s all you do? Wag your finger and help him up? You’re too good. Too damn good. It’s going to kill you one day.”

 

He shifted from foot to foot. “Thanks.”

 

“You’re a different sort of omega.”

 

“No,” he shook his head. “Not really.” Started towards the door.

 

“Hey,” Roy called.

 

He stopped.

 

“You really think Lian’s just been running at omegas because you smell sweeter?” He sounded wildly hopeful. “It would make sense, right? You omegas are the only halfway decent smelling thing round here.”

 

“Maybe. It could just be a scent she’s not used to,” Tim suggested. “Children explore unknown scents. It’s how they learn. If you gave her a chicken she would probably chase that too.”

 

A bemused look. “Yeah… okay… that makes sense…”

 

A pause. “I’m glad you think Dick’s a good Batman,” Tim said. “He thinks you hate him.”

 

Roy puffed out his cheeks. “Yeah. Reckon he does think that. We, eh, didn’t exactly part best of friends.”

 

“I remember.” It hadn’t been a pretty thing to hear through the walls of Wayne Manor but Alfred had made sure he stayed out of it. Still, that place echoed if you were in the wrong room and it was hard to ignore what was happening.

 

Roy blinked. “Oh, right, you were the kid running around weren’t you? Man, you were little.” A breath. “Yeah, wasn’t the best break up. I was hurt. I was angry. We both fucked up with that. Should have ended it better. But, you know, if I hadn’t broken up with Dick I wouldn't have this,” he bounced the now sleeping girl in his arms. “Things figure themselves out sometimes.”

 

“Okay,” he nodded and this time made it through the door out of the room and the lingering muggy smell of too many alphas in one place.

 

“Hey,” Roy called out as he stepped out and started retreating down the hall towards the elevators. “I’m serious, man. You’re a different sort of omega.”

 

“I’m serious,” Tim replied. “I’m not.”

 

He felt his muscles unravel as he walked back into the common room and sagged down on a sofa exhausted without having exerted any physical energy. He wasn’t good at any of this people stuff. Not really. Not when it became confrontational. Perhaps he should have been born a beta; a nice inoffensive caste that seemed to get away with everything and solved problems just by being who they were.

 

Kon and Cassie landed either side of him and Kon pulled him almost shyly into his lap. Tim sank gratefully into his warmth, not caring who saw, and watched as a green chimpanzee walked out the lifts with a bundle of familiar looking DVDs in its arms.

 

“Jaime made me nostalgic,” Gar declared. “So it’s his fault that I’m putting dibs on the TV for the next nineteen hours while we watch Space Trek: 2020 featuring the masterpiece that is me.”

 

He didn’t have the energy to move just then and watched as the ape happily set up the first episodes while older Titans promptly made themselves scarce. Four hours later Cassie was arching her eyebrow at the dialogue, Kon pointing out all the plot holes, and Tim was secretly sorely wishing he didn’t have to leave so he could find out how Captain Kurl was going to save Tork and stop the alien warlock’s army.

 

When he whispered to Gar if he could borrow the next season the beta grinned like a hyena. Literally.

Chapter Text

Bart liked The Flash Museum. That probably said something less than complementary about his ego. Especially since his favourite part was the brand new Impulse exhibit to which he had kindly donated a spare costume and officially clocked in a speed of 2115 mph. He studied that uniform now as he leant against the barrier rope , popped his gum, and secretly hoped one of the passing people would recognise him in his civvies. He had even ‘accidentally’ brushed his hair back into something closer resembling the windswept half curls on the photo of him standing before the Titan Tower with Flash.

 

Ironically, the text below the picture read, Impulse (right) was late to his own initiation into the Teen Titans and missed all but the end of Superman’s speech.

 

“Which was totally not my fault,” he muttered under his breath and let his eyes skim over the other photos. He hadn’t yet been in the public eye for a month and it was only due to his admittedly false title of ‘first officially deputised omega superhero’ that he had enough interest and coverage to construct an exhibit at all. He saw a photo of Impulse kissing the cheek of a policeman which he had no memory of but he didn’t mind because whoever the eager impersonator was they had a really nice arse. Heck yes. I am SO okay with the world thinking that’s my arse. Done. You can wear that costume whenever you want, random person. Beside it stood an old photo of him with the Young Justice team after defeating some killer robots. It was followed by a photo of him hugging a red faced fan with an omega rights sticker on her cheek. Finishing the set was a hazy picture of him standing with the Teen Titans after a battle. That photo he wanted gone. Jeez he was picking a wedgie while Cassie looked a freaking billion dollars beside him. Why had they even put that up there? Look kids! Superheroes are awkward too! Totally not cra—oh. His stomach flipped. Jaime was in that picture. The blue black of his armour almost made him invisible in the grain and low light of the image. But he was there and the direction of his gaze was undeniable.

 

He should have laughed at that. He may be trying to fix a very awkward costume malfunction but at least he hadn’t been caught perving on the guy trying to fix the very awkward costume malfunction. But he didn’t laugh. He suddenly couldn’t find the sound within him.

 

Because there was nothing funny about how much Jaime Reyes had wanted him partnered with the burning fresh memory of how he’d looked when he’d flown away from him. Only painful. A wretched, small, ache that nipped at the bottom of his lungs like a fish picking away at a dead body. He should have talked to Jaime, should have told him the truth, and done it before he had started to feel that thirsty nervous flutter in his gut at the idea of the alpha. A feeling he couldn’t quite seem to remember ever feeling with any of the other alphas he had been with. The beautiful scavenger girl who bit her bottom lip as she smiled, the green eyed rebel who tried to convince him to fight with him, and the alpha builder who had stolen the last pieces needed for his time machine; delivered with a kiss and a broken whisper. Go. Get out of here. Stop them, Speeder. I love you.

 

He didn’t even remember that alpha’s name or the shape of his eyes but he had said he loved him and given him the key to his escape. Because it was an escape. He hadn’t known if he could stop the Reach invasion. He hadn’t cared. He just wanted to get out. To live. So he had kissed the alpha that called him Speeder one last time and run away.

 

Maybe that alpha’s lungs had tightened when he saw him just like Bart’s lungs tightened when he saw Jaime; dark skin, darker hair, and even darker eyes. Maybe that alpha’s insides had hurt seeing him leave the way his insides hurt when he thought about Jaime flying away. Or maybe that alpha had only said that to try and make him fix the past. Maybe he had lied just to save the future… just like he had lied to Jaime.

 

Because he had. He’d let Jaime believe there was nothing but raw sexual desire between them. No secret missions, no sworn enemies, and no future in the balance. He’d been attracted to Jaime. That was raw, real, and wanton. But he had used that to try and find his weaknesses. To try and construct the false belief that he hadn’t run away. That somehow he was going to save the future from a fate he was trying to forget.

 

He sighed and popped his gum. He should have told Jaime. He should have told everyone. But, Jaime had been the first person to seriously ask as he held him up in the desert. He should have told him in that moment. Told him everything. Then, perhaps, Jaime would understand. Then perhaps Jaime…was here.

 

Bart stared in shock at the alpha standing in the hall with a conflicted kind of concentration on his face. Jaime hadn’t seen him but swung his head from side to side; the telltale motion of someone trying to determine the direction of a scent. There was a split second wherein he could have run. Disappeared out of the building fast enough not even the security cameras would see. But then Jaime’s eyes found him with a spark of recognition and that split second was gone.

 

He didn’t move as Jaime approached. “Hey.” His voice was even huskier than usual.

 

“Hi,” Bart greeted. “Where’s Gar?”

 

“He, um, didn’t come.”

 

Bart nodded. “Okay.” Not okay! Totally not okay! Gar, you traitor! You meddling beta! This was meant to be a forget-about-everything kind of day not an apologise-and-sort-stuff-out kind of day! He had gum. You can’t apologise with gum in your mouth. God, he was in totally un-sexy clothes too which shouldn’t matter but this was Jaime Reyes and he was wearing a thin baggy T shirt cut into a Y back and rolled up shorts. The fingernails on his left hand were also painted green which was going to be the start of a funny joke with Gar but would probably only bring up some awkward questions if Jaime saw them. He was an omega so he could get away with those kinds of eccentricities but he was also a dude and so it might not go down well if Jaime was more conservative. Was Jaime conservative? He was a superhero but he also came from a house just down the street from a Catholic Church. Was Jaime Catholic? Did the Pope not like nail polish? Or was it condoms? Who was even the Pope in this era? Is that what the Catholics believed? The Father, The Son, The Holy Spirit, and defiantly no nail polish for dudes even if they’re omegas and it’s a joke.

 

Jaime was frowning at him. “Are you okay? You look a bit blue.”

 

He gasped for breath. He hadn’t even realised he’d been holding it. “Fine! I’m fine. Just, you know,” he shoved his hand into his pocket. “I’m surprised to see you is all.”

 

“Yeah,” Jaime muttered.

 

“Because, I thought you were really angry at me.”

 

“I am a bit.”

 

“I… oh. Okay.” Bart rocked from foot to foot and tried to remember all the amazing apologies he had made to his mirror that morning. “I, eh, know I messed up with you. I should have told you everything. Heck, I should have told lots of people everything but I guess you most of all. Once I figured out you were a good guy, that is.”

 

Jaime’s brow pleated. “When was that?”

 

“Huh?”

 

“When did you work out I was a good guy?” A pause. “Was if before you took the brownies from my locker?”

 

“No,” he admitted hesitantly. “Not then.”

 

“So you were flirting with me even though you thought I was a future alien enforcer?”

 

“I… I thought you had the armour of…”

 

“No, ese,” Jaime stopped him. “When you heard Wally was fighting you thought I attacked him. You thought I was evil then.”

 

“I…” He had. What defence could he construct against that? He had. Jaime was right.

 

“Why did you want to see what my armour could do in the desert? Was it so you could get some idea about how to take me down? Why would you do that? Did you still think I was a bad guy? Even then? We almost kissed that night. You asked me for sex. Did you still think I was a bad guy?”

 

“I didn’t think,” he mumbled. “I didn’t.”

 

“But was I a bad guy to you? Was I still bad?”

 

“No,” he answered. “Not really. I thought you were good then.”

 

“Then why didn’t you tell me, ese? I asked you about the future that night. I asked.”

 

He stared guiltily at his shoes.

 

Por favor,” Jaime groaned. “Just talk to me.”

 

Bart gnawed unhappily at his bottom lip and looked at the alpha. The hallway around him was bathed in sunlight and glittering white and gold from the overhead windows. An assembly of parents and nannies had brought an army of kids that raced each other in Flash onesies towards a cosmic treadmill replica, some returning superhero enthusiasts strode purposefully between new exhibits, and the usual tide of summertime tourists walked in ones, twos, and massive groups lead by cheery faced guides. One of those groups was approaching and soon surrounded them with a happy chatter of Japanese. He heard the word ‘Impulse’ repeated over and over again in the guide’s speech.

 

“I messed up,” Bart began. “It was… fun, Blue. When I was flirting with you it was fun and afterwards I wouldn’t feel like shit because I could pretend I was saving the world and not just some refugee that had run away.” A deep breath. “I was going to tell. I swear. I was going to tell you. I know I lied by not talking to you sooner. I know. I’m sorry. Really.”

 

The tour group took their photos and moved on. He noticed Jaime shift slightly to block him and make sure none of the pictures would contain both him and the Impulse exhibit.

 

“You had me loco for a while there, ese,” Jaime muttered. Voice sad, defeated. “Really.”

 

 He laughed. The sound tight and painful. “That was the idea.”

 

Jaime flinched as if he had been struck. “I…” he stepped back. “I’m sorry. I’ll tell Gar…”

 

“Hey,” Bart held out a hand and caught him as an idea flowered – bitter and black – inside him. “You know I wasn’t just jerking you around for that bug in your back. That wasn’t all of it. That wasn’t all of it by a half.”

 

Ese…” Jaime muttered as if he wanted to stop him but didn’t have the breath to say anymore.

 

“No, you got it wrong,” Bart said, voice rising with a hint of urgency. “I wasn’t just flirting with you because of that. I wanted you. I want you. You’re the sexiest damn alpha on the team and then in the desert we talked and now I…” he trailed off. “I guess I like you, Jaime Reyes. A lot.” It wasn’t the speech he had made in front of the mirror. It wasn’t close. But it seemed to change something on the alpha’s face. Something important.

 

Jamie spoke. Voice low, broken, and beautiful. Words slurred and Spanish. It sounded like a question, like a curse, and like an admittance of love all at once.

 

Another tour group came. This one speaking Dutch. He waited till they were gone before he thrust his palm forward. “Hi, I’m Bart Allen and I’m from a future where your armour – and heaps of others just like it – oppressed humanity. I am not a virgin, I don’t know who the Pope is, and that,” he nodded towards the speed on display over his uniform, “is not as fast as I can run but my grandad won’t let us go full speed. I also think you’re hot as hell.”

 

Jaime raised an eyebrow, looked at the mph on the wall, and reluctantly took his hand. “I’m…”

 

“Wait,” Bart interrupted him. “One more secret.” He pulled his left hand out of his pocket and showed it to him. The nails glittered a baby grass green in the golden sunlight. “This was going to be really funny if you were Gar and I swear it’s the only nail polish I own.”

 

Jaime opened his mouth.

 

“Wait! Okay, I confess. I have a bit more nail polish than this but it’s not a lot. Five or six tops. Most of it stolen from nana.” A pause. “Oh!” He interrupted again before Jaime could start. “And my dad is going to be born in a few months. How freaky is that? I don’t know how I feel about it. And Tim’s house is huge. It was why I wanted to be friends with him before I worked out he was cool. You should totally become friends with him too so we can go and find the pool because they have to have at least one in there somewhere. And, I steal; bad habit but I’m working on it. The only thing I’ve taken recently is nail polish and the stuff in your locker. And some chips. And a few other things. Including these shoes. I know I’ve got a problem. Plus – I’m almost done – I really do want you to forgive me because it’s literally eating at me knowing that I hurt you and if I have any chance at saving the future I need your help. I can’t keep it a secret anymore. I can’t.” He was still shaking Jaime’s hand like a water pump. He hoped the alpha hadn’t noticed the sudden sweat of his palm. “I can’t…”

 

A pause. “Okay,” Jaime said slowly as if struggling to digest everything Bart had just said. “Okay.”

 

“That’s all of it. Fresh start,” he told him, still holding his hand, and feeling oddly lighter as he saw the alpha process the new information. “You know everything. No more secret future.” A deep breath. “Your turn now.”

 

A long pause. “Hi,” Jaime shook the hand still clasped in his. “I’m Jaime Reyes and, uh, I have a bug in my brainstem and you’re the only person it doesn’t want me to kill.”

 

Bart felt his eyebrows shoot up. “It talks to you?”

 

Simply. “Sí.”

 

He thought of all the times he saw Jaime arguing with himself and grimly thought he knew that already. It was disarming having confirmation. “What’s that like?”

 

Jaime’s lips twisted and he looked around to make sure they were more or less alone. “Like a radio constantly saying ‘kill your family’. It’s getting better though, ese. Batman thinks it might be learning emotion through me because it’s so damaged it couldn’t wire up properly.” A small shrug that said he wasn’t sure if this was true but who was he to disagree with Batman? “The other scarab came to fix it and failed.” A layered look. Dark. Deep. Suddenly unbearably warm. “Because of you.”

 

“Does it speak in English or Spanish?”

 

Jaime blinked. “I… don’t know. Both? Neither? I never thought about it.”

 

He frowned. “What’s the scarab want to do to me if it doesn’t want to kill me?”

 

“I…” Jaime coughed and muttered a long string of Spanish.

 

It was slight. An almost undetectable shift in the alpha’s scent that he wouldn’t have picked up weeks earlier. But he knew Jaime’s scent now. He knew that shift in his scent. So slight he wouldn’t have believed it if he didn’t also see the alpha consciously swallow.

 

“The scarab wants you to do me?” Bart realised. “Wow. Kinky evil alien bug.”

 

The alpha swallowed again. Harder this time.

 

“Why would it want that? Isn’t it just programmed to take over the world? It shouldn’t want that unless…” A smile tugged at his lips. “What kind of emotions have you been teaching this bug, huh? Deep and meaningful ones? Or just the want to go deep make it mean something?”

 

Jaime visibly gathered himself. “You’re fifteen.” The statement didn’t have as much resolve as Bart was expecting. Not close.

 

A gaggle of teenagers rounded the corner and walked towards the Impulse exhibit. They stood, right hands held awkwardly between them as the horde approached. Bart stepped closer, threaded their fingers together and whispered in the alpha’s ear. “You know my heat is due on my sixteenth birthday. Oh, one more secret, being a speedster in heat is actually really intense. Like really. I need a lot of TLC. And alpha hormone. Mostly alpha hormone. Lots and lots and lots.” Administered in inhumanly high doses via an IV drip. But that wasn’t part of the sexy scene he was trying to set in Jaime’s mind and was one secret he wasn’t ready to share. “Care to donate?”

 

Jaime groaned. “No.”

 

“So you’re just going to sit at home while I’m writhing, wet, and so totally legal for four whole days?”

 

“Four days?” Jaime croaked.

 

“Whoops. Yeah. Better add that to your countdown. Because you are counting down, aren’t you? I know you are. You asked Tim when my birthday was. And, you know what? My sixteenth birthday is actually in 2070 so the wait is going to be even longer again. Just sayin’.”

 

“2070?” The alpha’s voice was rapidly failing.

 

“Get a room!” One of the teenagers called out.

 

Bart looked directly at Jaime and lifted an eyebrow at the suggestion. “What do you say? Want to skip the wait?” In a whisper. “Open me up just a few months early?”

 

The alpha growled and started walking away from the group, towing Bart behind him. “Don’t tease me.”

 

“Oh,” Bart felt a nervous wet shiver inside him. “Was that a no? That didn’t sound like a no.”

 

“No.”

 

“No?” He echoed coyly. “No as in it wasn’t a no?”

 

“I mean yes.”

 

“Yes? Yes as in yes?”

 

Jaime shot a dark look over his shoulder as he pulled him away from his own exhibit and into the main foyer. A massive Flash symbol overlooked the crowded room; gleaming in the sun pouring in from a glass ceiling. Looped around its base was a round reception desk manned by red suited attendants handing out maps and audio tours. A pair of revolving doors were in near constant use.

 

“Why do you want to have sex so bad?” Jaime husked. “Ay, Dios, you’re so… I thought you’d used me a second ago, ese. I’m still not sure you’re not using me.”

 

The alpha’s hand tightened on his and for the first time Bart realised it was a method of holding him there. Of keeping him. While Jaime was gripping him he couldn’t run away. It was possessive. It was hungry. It was alpha. The most alpha he had managed to tease out of the other man since he first smelt the arousal in his breath. And it was enough to make the nervous excited tremble in him mount to a noticeable shake. His whole body vibrating with greedy hope.

 

As they walked through the revolving door Bart took the opportunity to crowd against the other superhero in the narrow space. Let him smell and feel him. “I’m not using you. I have used alphas before.” Stop them, Speeder. I love you. He wrestled down the wave of guilt and forced himself to go on. “Trust me, Blue. I’m not.” A deep steadying breath. “Besides, why would I lie about being attracted to you? There is not reason to lie anymore. Not if you’re going to help me stop the Reach invasion.”

 

“I’ll help.”

 

“Good,” they stepped out into the street and Bart thrilled at the fact that the other boy still didn’t release his hand. Jaime anchored him to him. The right-hand-to-right-hand hold was awkward as they moved abreast; forcing him to walk with his arm across his chest. But it was worth it. So worth it to feel the other hero’s tether and instinctual need to claim… to possess. To be trapped close to that deliciously spicy scent singing with sexual promise. “You’ll help me and I still think you’re hot. There. I’m not using you.” He kept talking. “But, you know, I might not be so hot for you in 2070. Unless you’re planning on seeking out young me which, by the way, I don’t care about your stupid legal rules but that would be cree—”

 

“This is the kind of thing people go to jail for, ese.”

 

He fluttered his eyelashes. “Mm. Think they’d let us share a cell?”

 

Growled. “This is the kind of thing people go to hell for.”

 

“Hey,” he danced around in front of him, stopping them as they reached the edge of the car park. “I’m not trying to pressure you or anything but, you know; I’d make it worth hell.”

 

Impossibly, Jaime’s eyes grew darker. “Diablo,” he accused, the scent of his breath awakening something warm and urgent between his legs, and Bart knew he had won.

Chapter Text

Jaime hated the Flash Museum. That probably said something less than complementary about his ego. But there was something ugly and unwelcoming in the spotless golden halls and towering monuments to generation after generation after generation of speedsters. It was an insistent angry reminder that Bart came from a pack that dated back to the first caped and cowled crusaders. An elite superhero family. He, in contrast, was an accident that’d never meant to inherit the Blue Beetle persona, never met his predecessor, nor had any serious kind of reputation despite being on the Teen Titans. He was a peasant walking into a castle to beg the hand of a prince.

 

A prince lazily popping blue bubblegum, wearing a sleeveless shirt that gaped scandalously open under the arms, and brandishing bright green nails on his left hand. A prince that admitted he was a kleptomaniac. A prince that was literally buzzing with sweet smelling sexual excitement as he sensed Jaime’s crumbling resolve. A prince that was cheeky, sexy, overwhelming, fun, gorgeous, frustrating, wild, perfect, and wanted him. He really wanted him. Bart wanted him. It hadn’t been a lie.

 

Walking out of the building had been like walking along the edge of a knife; every moment teetering towards a decision he knew he should be putting the breaks on and stopping rather than leaning greedily toward. It was only the last feeble shred of his sanity clinging at a ridiculous notion of nobility that stopped him from kissing Bart then and there. So he walked out and pretended he wasn’t putting off the inevitable. Because it was inevitable. He knew how this would end. He had known he would let this omega reel him in right to the damning end the moment he saw the stolen brownies in his locker. He’d been doomed from the start. And he’d known it.

 

But he hadn’t known what it would be like to feel the omega wriggle between him and the wall. Skin hot and vibrating. Lips salty sweet. Hair soft and tangled. Body slim but firm. Hips… ay Dios those hips. He hoisted the omega up higher so he could better feel the flare of bone cantering out to runner’s thighs and a small sculpted arse. Tight, hot, and quivering through the shape of Bart’s shorts. Squirming. Bart was squirming and gasping in delight as he deepened the kiss and tongued ravenously at the inside of Jaime’s mouth. Whatever he tasted there he evidently liked. A lot.

 

Just that knowledge had Jaime ripping at the omega’s clothes, grasping flesh, and groping greedily lower under the rim of his shorts.

 

“Wait!” Bart pulled his face away from him with a messy giggle. His hair was a mess, cheeks burning red, and the contours of his body out of focus as shivered at super speed. So fucking gorg— “I think I swallowed my gum.”

 

A ragged breath. “No you didn’t,” Jaime told him, voice little more than a needy scrape of sound.

 

“Huh? How do you know?”

 

He blew and burst a bright blue bubble of gum in answer.

 

“Oh, that’s hot,” Bart screwed up his face. “Or is it gross? Yeah, actually I’m going to go with gross. That’s gross. But in the hot kind of way.”

 

“If you didn’t want gross gum why’d you pick this flavour?” Jaime accused. His hands were still on Bart’s hips; fingers snaking below the line of his shorts. The skin he found there was hot, soft, and tight over lean muscle.

 

“Why?” The omega tilted his head back teasingly. “I, uh, was going at like mach seven. I wasn’t going to slow down to read a label, Blue.”

 

He tried not to smile at that. “You stole it, ese?”

 

Quickly. “You stole it. From me.”

 

“Where did you steal it from?”

 

“The Flash Museum Kiosk,” the speedster admitted and pressed his pelvis against Jaime. “Which, by the way, would totally thank me for taking a tiny portion of the un-sellable bubblegum off their shelf. Think of it like a liberation. Scavenging. I’m offsetting the waste. Mother Teresa would probably agree with me. Gandhi defiantly would. Superman… might?” A lingering pause as Jaime felt the omega’s erection hard against his own. “I have a problem. With stealing that is.”

 

Jaime growled in agreement, voice husky as he yanked Bart’s shorts off his hips and stepped back. Bart dropped from where he’d been pinned against the wall. Jaime kept a hold of him. Wasn’t willing to break that hold for even a second least Bart disappear. Couldn’t seem to stop exploring the planes of pale flesh even if he wanted to. Even if a small voice in his head was telling him he shouldn’t.

 

Bart took the chance to kick off his shorts and Jaime’s eyes raked down over newly exposed territory. All Bart wore now was his shirt. Flimsy, light, and twisted so far one nipple poked from the hem-less fabric. Below that his bottom half was completely bare. He hadn’t been wearing underwear, Jaime realised with a jolt of heat that went straight to his already aching cock. This omega is going to be the death of me.

 

He’d paid for the cheapest nearby hotel room in cash and Bart had run up the side of the building and wriggling through an impossibly narrow window with a brand new box of condoms held between his teeth. It all felt tacky and low grade for his stolen forbidden prince but Bart had already eaten everything in the mini fridge and bounced on the bed hard enough to hit the ceiling with a loud thump and a whoop of delight. All of it in the seconds before Jaime caught him again.

 

Bart rocked up onto his toes to reconnect the kiss, stole back the gum, and spat it into a bin as Jaime walked them towards the bed. They didn’t make it. Somehow they stopped, stumbled, and then Bart was on his knees before him. He looked down in amazement as the omega folded his arms behind his back and threw back his head with a knowing devilish grin on his face. Oh. He was kneeling. The submitting kind of kneeling. The take me kind of kneeling. The kind of kneeling omegas did to alphas.

 

Jaime was suddenly very aware that he’d never done this with an omega before. Or a boy. He was sixteen when he first had sex with Brenda; a beta and a girl. When they broke up he only had one other fling; another female beta. With betas the dynamic was different. With girls the anatomy was different. It hadn’t occurred to him before but suddenly he felt grossly inexperienced.

 

Bart had done this before. With male alphas. He had experience and, more terrifying, had expectations. He was kneeling and expecting something from Jaime. Something dominant. Something alpha.

 

Bart whined and Jaime heard himself growl – the sound drenched with animalistic approval – in response. That seemed to be enough. Bart shuddered with delight, looped his fingers in the waist of Jaime’s pants, and mouthed at him hungrily through the fabric as his yanked at the clothing.

 

“Ah, no,” he gasped and pushed Bart off him. He was too hard. If Bart did that he would come, knot, and that would be it. He would end this before they even really had a chance to start. His cock was already throbbing and leaking between his legs, balls painfully tight, and bulge embarrassingly obvious through his jeans. No matter what happened he wasn’t going to last long once he got any kind of friction. And the place he wanted to find that friction was not the omega’s mouth.

 

Bart’s brow pleated. “No?”

 

“Present yourself.” He gave the order without thinking and realised how grossly forward it was. Just because Bart had chosen to kneel didn’t mean he would be willing to assemble more sexual submissive postures let alone be happy to be told—Bart made a desperate beautiful sound, pulled his own shirt over his head, and obeyed.

 

The sight was beyond comparison. Bart Allen naked was an arched artistic masterpiece of shape and form. Thin enough the cage of his ribs was visible on every exhale, fit enough lean corded muscle pressed against pale flesh, and aroused enough that his cock stood sharp and pink between his legs. He was on his knees and forearms, back arched, and legs apart; assuming a more explicit submissive posture. The devilish grin was back, body buzzing, and the scent. Unbridled of all garments Bart’s sweet spicy omega allure filled the air unchecked. Coloured with the explicit almost muggy aroma of his opening glittering wet with slick.

 

All of it invited – demanded – he mount him.

 

I felt oddly old fashioned for the time traveller but Jaime couldn’t help but groan at the idea. Of being over, around, inside the small shaking speedster. He was shedding his clothes before he realised what he was doing, rolling on a condom the next instant, and climbing on top of the shuddering body a moment later.

 

The condom saved him.

 

If he had entered the hot, tight, vibrating boy bare he would have come instantly. As it was the thin latex skin lent him just enough control to bury himself in him in one long thrust.

 

Green nails dug into the carpet, knees shifted further apart, and mouth opened to let out a pained whine that melted into a needy purr.

 

He thrust into him again. Skin slapped sharply on skin. Bart rewarded him with another ragged wonderful sound. Soon he was humping mindlessly into the warm wetness, clutching that perfect narrow waist, and sinking his teeth into Bart’s shoulder in a desperate bid to keep his nose and mouth away from the forbidden spot on his neck. All the while Bart gasped, whined, and even giggled as he arched to kiss him over his shoulder.

 

“I think I…” he was telling Bart too soon. He knew it was too soon. Way too soon. But… “I’m…”

 

“Hold on,” the omega hissed. “Just hold on a sec…”

 

Bart thrust back. Once. Twice. Jaime could just make out the third time before the movement was lost to his eyes. Bart was rocking back, impaling himself on him, and doing it so fast all Jaime could see was a blur of motion.

 

Yes… Khaji Da said. So softly he couldn’t be sure he really heard it or if it was just his imagination. A fleck of madness as his cock was used, worked, and stimulated to agonising pleasure. Yes…

 

Bart slammed back into him seconds later with a cry loud enough and shake fierce enough it could only mean orgasm. His cheeks redder, skin sweatier, and breathing leagues more wrecked than it had been a moment before. He’d brought himself off, Jaime realised. He’d brought himself off on him. He’d done it in more than one way too because he could smell semen. How long had that second been for Bart? A minute? Five? Thirty? Jaime couldn’t find it in himself to care as he pushed once more into the omega – winning a final wanton cry – and came.

 

He’d only ever knotted someone once before. It had taken him months to talk Brenda into the suggestion but once they were tied she spent the better part of it loudly informing him what a terrible idea this had been. Afterwards – in a more polite tone of voice – she had told him it wasn’t something she enjoyed. He’d accepted that. He liked betas and accepted that the price of a relationship with one was likely no knots. Most betas didn’t like the sensation of being tied. Omegas, on the other hand, were in possession of the opposite aligned pleasure centre and were decorated with instincts that would make them as well as their bodies receptive to a knot. Unlike Brenda when he knotted Bart, for the first time since he’d known the omega, he didn’t say a word. The boy groaned, eyelids fluttered, and body slumped. Jaime caught him and rolled them onto their sides. Found himself kissing Bart’s cheek as the omega blinked wearily out at the world with gaping pupils.

 

“Are you okay, ese?”

 

A flutter of a smile. “So…” his eyes drifted closed. “…crash.” Shoulders shivered with prolonged pleasure.

 

He let the omega sleepily relish the feel of their tie and started gently exploring the lean little body locked onto his shaft. Bart made a soft purring sound when he threaded fingers through his hair, arched and squeaked as he touched and pinched pert pebbled pink nipples, and moaned in unbridled delight as Jaime found his cock.

 

When his knot went down a little over half an hour later Bart rolled off him and sat up; shifting his weight uncomfortably until he settled on his side.

 

“Sorry, el mano,” Jaime muttered guiltily. “That wasn’t…”

 

Bart’s eyebrow arched toward the mattered hair slumped across his face. “Seriously? Wasn’t it?” A breathless laugh. “God, I would love to see it when it is. Mm. Good thing I brought a whole box of condoms then. Real good I got the large size ‘cuz, Blue, you are hung. Like, really, I’m not just saying that. I’m still feeling it and with as fast as I heal that’s… God that was good. I am officially in love with your cock. Once I turn sixteen I’m going to go get myself onto something so I can bareback that thing because fuck.”

 

Jaime felt his cock twitch back towards life at the mere idea.

 

“But, you know, please don’t tell any of my pack about this. Not even Wally.”

 

“Eh, ese,” he sat up slowly, almost nervously. “What exactly is this?”

 

“Sex,” Bart answered.

 

“Oh…”

 

“Unless you want to ask me out.” His smile was sharp, playful, and slightly earnestly hopeful. “You could fly me around, I could eat your food, and we could talk about the future. Maybe not even talk about the bad future. Just, you know, our future.” He shuffled towards him. Slim, softly speckled, and smelling of sex. “What do you say? Want to do couple-y stuff with me?”

 

“Yeah,” Jaime said, reached forward, and pulled the omega onto his lap. “I want that. I want you.” Kissed him.

 

Bart groaned in his mouth. Whispered as their lips separated. “And sex. Sex I really want to keep having sex with you. A lot of sex. Even if I am still fifteen.”

 

“Okay,” Jaime heard himself promise. He’d already damned himself. Already bought this ticket to hell. “But we got to keep it a secret, ese. From everyone.” Didn’t want that ticket to jail.

 

“I though we were done with secrets,” Bart teased.

 

A hoarse bark of laughter. “No. You’re my dirty little secret until you turn sixteen.”

 

“Am I?”

 

“Sí.” He grabbed Bart’s hair and pulled him possessively against him so he could whisper in the omega’s ear. “I’m going to take you out where no one knows us, I’m going give you everything you want, and then I’m going to fuck you.”

 

Bart shuddered. “Fuck that’s h—”

 

“I’m going to fuck you so hard you’re going to forget about all those other alphas and I’m going to do it every time your pack’s not looking. And no one will know. Not your pack, not the team, and not your friends. They’ll all wonder where you are all the time but never guess I’m fucking you.”

 

When he let go Bart was shaking again, staring at him with fierce sparkling excitement, and showing his neck. Submitting greedily to the idea. “Oh boy,” a tight, eager, whisper. “I got you, Jaime Reyes. I got you.” Breathless. “I thought you’d slipped through my fingers for a while there but I got you. I got you good.”

 

He smiled. “Sí, cariño. And I got you back.”