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How To Care For Your Omega

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The first thing she notices, when she wakes, is the burning.

Rey thought she already knew what this part was like. The itchy heat crawling over her skin. When she returned home the day before (and god, how far away that feels now, as distant as a stranger's secondhand memory) — she recognized the changes coming over her. Whether she acknowledged them is another story, but deep in her heart, at least, she understood. The clammy face. The fever like a furnace stuttering to life; the steady click-click-click of hot metal, slowly making room for new warmth.

Rey sees now that was only smoke, smoldering in a forest of ripe tinder. Poised to ignite.

There is no doubt within her, when she finally wakes.

She is ignited.

The fire in her body is everywhere. Flames lick at every inch of her, inside-outside-in. Mindless, she clutches her arms, her face, her torso, but her fingers are slippery on too-humid skin — the vain efforts of her body's perspiration, attempting to squeeze out all the (Alpha) need straight from her pores. It's not working. A geyser has been struck open deep within her, at the heart of her molten core, and there's simply too much to expel. A bottomless supply of high-toxicity fuel, waiting to erupt.

She's in bed. She knows this, because she can no longer bear the suffocating sensation of the top sheet on her body. It takes tremendous effort to tear it off; she must have tangled herself in the night, and it sticks now to her kicking legs, the dampness of her skin.

Everything hurts.

The thin amber tendrils of dawn have begun to creep through her curtains. Rey squints at the window, struggling through the pounding haze to remember what led her to this moment.

There had been a dream. A dream so lovely, she wishes she might fall back asleep to return to it. Might dreams be capable of throwing a person into heat? If so, she thinks, this one would do the trick. Her Alpha had been here with her. In her bed, and whispering such hot, filthy endearments in her ear. Guiding her with steady patience toward delirium.

But... no. That wasn't right. Rey screws up her face, trying to remember. She… she doesn't have an Alpha. Does she? Her Omega protests mightily at this — (you do, you do, you have the strongest, biggest most fearless Alpha to care for you) — but Rey remembers this much, at least. She doesn’t have an Alpha — not truly — and he wasn't here in bed with her, either. Only his voice, reaching for her through the speaker of her phone.

Her phone.

Rey sits up so quickly she nearly yelps at the resulting flood of sensation, the wash of new air across over-sensitive skin.

She called him.

Shit. Shit, shit shit.

She called Ben Solo last night.

His name is like an injection of lucidity, yanking the world into sharp, sudden focus. Just long enough for her to remember. She doesremember. She called him last night, in a desperation-fueled stupor. She... oh god. She told him she was going into heat, didn't she? She interrupted his evening to plead with him, that he might help her finally come.

And he didn't disappoint.

The memory makes her stomach cramp, a charge of oxygen to the fire beating inside her. He made her come so hard she could barely move afterward. He might have even promised (and here, her eyes squeeze shut, her entire body vibrating at the possibility) to see her through the rest of it.

She should feel shame. Disgust, even, with how easily she crumpled. Instead, there is only deep, tingling satisfaction spreading over her as she remembers. The way he spoke to her with such tenderness. How much it pleased him, when she came. She pleased him. She worked and work and worked so hard to get there for him, to be good, so that Alpha might be pleased (and yes he was yes he was groaning his pleasure for her, raw and guttural in her ear) — so that he might come and find her. The way he said he would.

So that she might please him.

But then...

Rey's chest constricts.

Then where is he now?

Struck with sudden desperation, she begins digging through her blankets, searching. When she finally finds it, stuffed beneath her pillow, she almost cries with relief — then with aching, infinite frustration.

The screen of her phone remains black as she mashes the buttons at its side.

It's dead.

Her eyes are wet, and she scrubs at them furiously. There's no time for her to charge it. There's certainly no time for her to get all weepy. Rey may not have many previous heats to compare this to, but staring down the vast and terrifying abyss of what awaits her, she can already see how different this will be from the others.

She will need to keep her head clear, if she's going to find him in time.

And she needs to find him.

As soon as humanly possible.

It's the most difficult thing she's ever done, climbing out of bed. Rubbing a towel between her thighs, damp and shivery. She ends up needing two, she’s gotten so messy (and this would please him too, she thinks, his messy Omega, she wants him to positively ruin her).

Somehow, she manages to pull on a shirt and a pair of joggers – the least likely items in her closet to make her feel like she's going to suffocate in their fabric prison. But the discomfort of scratchy cloth rubbing all her skin is still excruciating. It goes against every instinct she has. She should be naked (because how will Alpha get to her through all these clothes when he told her, he told her to take off all of it Omega) — not dressing her aching body with shaking fingers. She should be in bed, the easiest place by far for him to fuck her, knot her, fill her god yes please — not walking away from it.

Her Omega nearly refuses to allow her such atrocities, kicking and thrashing within her chest. But Rey knows the only thing more important than following these vital instincts is making sure her Alpha is here to watch her do it, too.

Her useless pack of suppressants sits on her kitchen counter, right near the laptop that started this whole mess. Rey puts a pill under her tongue, then a second for good measure.

As she unlocks her apartment door, she prays they will take the edge off long enough for her to find him.

------

The street in front of the school is completely empty when Ben's car whips around the corner.

It's already half past seven, but the winter sky has only just begun to stir, the beginnings of a frosty yellow-orange dawn. The street lamps still glow and flicker overhead as the car brakes, a little too abruptly, right in front of the school.

Ben does not bother reaching for the jacket in his rear seat before he climbs out. He is not cold. His blood pounds hot and roaring through his body, a current driving him urgently forward.

He might be grateful that it's kept him awake these last many hours, if it had brought him any nearer to her.

As it is, he has not slept since he hung up the phone in that fluorescent bathroom. He has not rested since he began pacing the streets of her neighborhood.

And he is still no closer to being with her than when she first called him.

The car door slams behind him with such force that it shudders in its frame.

She has not answered the text he sent after hanging up, nor any of his increasingly frantic messages in the early morning hours after. When he finally attempted to call her again, a little after two, it delivered him straight to her voicemail. This was both deeply soothing, these few stolen moments of her soft, lilting accent in his ear — and also more fuel for the growing apprehension within him. Fear begins to gnaw at him with tiny, vicious teeth, that perhaps (and please, god, no, he can barely stand to think of it) — perhaps she’s changed her mind.

He spends the entire night in such turmoil. The dark creep of uncertainty wages a constant battle with his supreme confidence in his mission. The longer he spends sleepless and searching, the fiercer both of these things become. Self-doubt clouds each moment, each breath, each heartbeat spent without her — and is then eclipsed by that bone-deep, crazy-making urgency to find his heat-struck Omega and give her the fucking she so desperately needs.

Because she needs it. God, she needs it. The way her voice broke on that call (please Alpha, please, I thought I was dying) — Ben thinks he might crawl straight out of his skin, his agitation is so unbearable. She is desperate with heat that he planted inside her, and it is his obligation, his right, to tend to it.

The thought of her desperation is intolerable to him. The idea that she may be immersed in such bottomless need, with no one there to pull her out again — it makes his palms itch and sweat. When he finds her (and he must find her), he will plunge her so deep into that ocean she can no longer see the surface. So that every direction only looks like a black and endless more.

But such indulgence must be at his whim alone. Not just because he should possess every shimmering ounce of his Omega’s pleasure (of course he should) — but because she will also need him to return her to the gasping surface when she’s ready for more air.

These are the thoughts that ultimately drown his insecurities. They are what propels him tearing through every street, every corner, every alley of the northern neighborhoods of the city; and then, hours later, back across town to the school, where the arrival of dawn means his answer might soon be here instead.

It is the very last place Ben would typically go for help. But he is long past caring.

He punches the code in the door and walks inside.

------

His uncle arrives at eight each morning. Today, Luke is whistling as he rounds the corner to his office. His step falters only slightly when he sees Ben standing outside of it.

“Yikes.” He gives Ben a top-to-bottom, raised-brow appraisal as he passes. “You’re looking fresh today.”

“We need to talk.”

“And here I was just thinking I didn’t see enough of you yesterday.” Luke’s keys jangle as he unlocks his office door. “Afraid it’ll have to wait. My schedule is already booked full.”

“You never have anything on your schedule.”

“I am a busy man, Benjamin.” The door swings open, and Luke flips the switch on the wall, flooding the cramped office with light. Ben follows close behind, hardly two paces away. “My morning mantras. A loving-kindness meditation. We have an energy therapist coming at eleven, you know.”

“An energy therapist.”

“A parent from the open house yesterday. Not that you would know. Since you were too busy, you know. Throwing a temper tantrum in my storage room.” Luke begins unloading his bag onto the chaos of his desk. “She’ll be cleaning out all the negative energy cluttering up this place. I’ve got to tell you, I was shocked to hear how much has been hanging around here.”

Ben’s jaw aches from clenching it so hard. “A disturbing amount, I’m sure.”

Luke glances up to look over him again, frowning. “If she’s finished early, we’ll have her take a look at you too. Lots of bad juju coming off you today, nephew.”

“If you’re so concerned about my juju,” Ben snarls, “you’ll give me five minutes to talk.”

“Maybe sometime this afternoon."

“This afternoon will be too late.”

Slowly, Luke sits behind his desk. He leans back in his chair, examining Ben with a cryptic expression. “You know, I think I'd like to tell you a little story."

“I thought you had no time.”

“Oh, it’s a quick one.” Luke waves his hand dismissively. “You see that open space on my wall right there?”

“No.”

“Next to the ribbon-cutting photo.”

“You’ve covered every inch of this room in motivational paraphernalia, Luke. There is not a single bit of open space in here.”

“Oh ho ho, not if you know where to look.“

His uncle hops to his feet, so that he can jab his finger at a few scarce inches of naked wall between the framed photograph (in which Ben stands at the furthest corner, glaring), and a whiteboard so cramped with Luke's scribbles it gives Ben heartburn just to look at it.

“The other day, it hit me.” Luke rubs his chin as he examines the wall. “What might best fit this space?”

“Not very much,” Ben says, impatience rising. “A small bookmark, perhaps. A very short receipt.”

“No, no, after I rearrange, of course.” Luke continues to consider the wall. “What would truly capture the aura of my workspace?”

“If you’re looking for decorating advice, I believe there are irrevocable differences in our tastes on this subject.”

“That won’t be a problem. The answer already came to me during my vinyasa practice. It was a poster. A poster that found its way to me through a catalogue last week. Do you want to know what it said?”

Ben does not trust himself to answer this question.

“It said —“ and here, Luke spreads his hands through the air, as though picturing the letters following his fingers, “cooperation.”

“Profound.”

“Exactly what I thought!” Luke returns to his chair, nodding. “I thought it would serve as the perfect reminder for our future builders on the meaning of this very important value. But tragically, it will never fulfill its unifying destiny on my wall here.”

“Because it’s physically impossible for you to cram another piece of decor into this office?”

“Because someone had a tantrum in my storage room.” Luke finally meets his eye again and shrugs. “I have to say, I just don’t know if I’m feeling very cooperative without it.”

“Is that what this is about?” Ben didn’t realize it was possible for him to feel any more murderous than he’s been the past several hours, but he clearly has not spent any of those hours with Luke Skyewalker. “I will personally replace every poster in that box if you just answer my fucking question.”

Luke’s mouth curls into a smug little smile. He leans back in the chair. “And?”

And? Is he fucking kidding? “And… we can add that second staff meeting to the weekly schedule.”

Luke tilts his head, eyebrows raised expectantly. Ben clenches his fingers into fists to keep them from wrapping around his uncle’s throat.

And I’ll participate in your stupid fucking commercial. That’s it. That’s all you’re getting.”

“Well I’ll be damned.” Luke shakes his head with a shit-eating grin. “I had no idea you could be such a team player. Go ahead and ask your question, Ben. It must be pretty important.”

Ben has to take several long breaths before he can remember how to speak without shouting. “Rey Niima’s address.” His voice is dangerously soft around the precious shape of her name. “Give it to me.”

His uncle frowns. “Now, we both know I can’t just go giving out our employees personal —“

“I’m not fucking around, Luke.” Ben takes a step toward the desk. “This is urgent.”

“I see.” Luke’s frown deepens. “Well, unfortunately, I’m not going to be much help there. Rose Tico should have that in her file, but — whoa, hold on a second! She doesn’t come in until noon today.”

Ben, who is already halfway out Luke’s door, whips around at the second half of this sentence. “Until noon–?!”

“Yes, but — look, I’m gonna need you to calm down, all right? The timing of this couldn’t be any better. You can teach your class at nine, cleanse your energy at 11, and deal with your little emergency at 12. Wait — Ben — you’ll still do the commercial, right?”

Luke shouts this last part out into the hallway, because Ben is already rounding the corner in long strides.

He doesn’t bother answering.

His class. How could he have forgotten about his class? He’s now wasted almost an hour, between waiting outside Luke’s office and then being strong-armed into more of Luke’s goddamn group meditations. His students will begin arriving any minute. It's too late for him to send an email to cancel.

And Rey is still waiting for him.

Starting her heat.

Alone.

When he finally bursts into his lecture hall, the noise that escapes his throat… it’s not quite a whine, but it’s closer than he’d like. The raw, anguished sound of a limping animal. It still smells like her in here. The things they did Friday. He stripped the bed afterward, but her scent must have penetrated the mattress, the floorboards. Or maybe it’s just that he carries it with him everywhere now, leaking out his pores, and just the slightest ghost of her, the tiniest suggestion of her presence, will incapacitate him this way.

The classroom is still empty, so he doesn’t hesitate to head straight toward the bed on the stage, snatching a pillow there. He presses it to his nose, inhaling, before he is able to stop himself. Fuck. Eyes falling shut, he allows himself to cherish the memory of her flushed little face, scrunched up and thrashing (here, right here) while he made her come on his fingers.

This is fine. Everything is fine. He will wait for his students to get here, and then he will dismiss them. He will muster the courage to call her again and pray her phone rings this time. He will extract the number of Rose Tico from his useless uncle and require her to report to the school immediately, so that she may deliver Rey’s address to him.

It is harrowing, all this waiting. The most difficult thing he’s ever had to do. But he will endure it, so that he might be with her.

The students wandering in don’t engage in their usual chatter today. They throw him fleeting, nervous glances as he fights the urge to pace back and forth across the stage. He must look a bit mad, even without the pacing. He’s still wearing yesterday’s clothes. His hair is a little wild from how often he’s been running his hands through it.

At a minute to nine, Ben crosses to the front of the stage, unable to wait any longer. The room, already quiet, falls into immediate silence.

“Today’s lecture will be abbreviated. Since you all did the reading, there should not be much to discuss.” He sweeps a stern glance across the room. “I’ll return your essays from last week, and then you will go. If you have any questions, ask them now.”

One of the young men raises his hands.

“Where's Miss Niima?”

It smells so strongly of her, and it only gets worse, hearing someone else speak her name. Ben takes a slow breath, fighting to banish a fresh onslaught of (please Alpha I’m trying so hard but it’s ahhh it’s not the same as when you did it please please please I need —)

A muscle in his temple twitches. “Miss Niima is indisposed.”

“Is she… all right?”

(– want that Alpha I want to satisfy you I want to please let me please you let me –)

“I don’t how she is,” he snaps, too harshly. The students shrink visibly in their seats. Ben runs a hand over his face. “Your concern is unnecessary. She will be fine.”

“But… with all due respect, sir…” And here is the brave one, the young man in the front row who always speaks out of turn, looking up at him with plain confusion. “Isn’t it her mate’s job to make sure of that?”

It's awful, considering this question. His chest throbs sharply, a knife twisting between his ribs. “That’s correct.” Ben’s mouth feels numb as he attempts to answer. “But sometimes... when an Alpha is…” Fuck. He needs to look away. “Inadequate. When an Alpha is inadequate… he may fail her. Even when he doesn’t intend to.”

Even when he’s doing everything, every single possible goddamn thing in his power, to try not to.

He still fails her.

“Any other questions?”

At the back of the classroom, the door creaks open.

Ben feels every part of his body snap to buzzing, single-minded attention.

He breathes. Her scent rushes into his lungs again (his poor Omega, craving, crying, begging him to knot her) — but he realizes this time that it’s not the wishful trappings of his imagination, not a reaction to her name or her memory arching naked beneath his hands.

She is here.

She is actually, truly here.

For a long, dumbstruck moment, Ben only stares across the room at her, a small, shivery thing in the doorway. It can’t be possible — how on earth did she get here? — but she is. She really is. Her hair is knotty and damp. Her skin — all that he can see of it anyway, which is not nearly enough — glows pink, everywhere, with fever.

She is the most beautiful thing that has ever stumbled into Ben's entire world.

Rey stares back at him with wide eyes, watery and pink — but even from here, he can see how her pupils have grown fat and dark. She looks intoxicated, heat-drunk with need for him.

It is suddenly intolerable, the amount of space between them. Ben moves swiftly, a direct path across the room, and then he is before her, breathing her, smelling her, drinking in the sight of her. His unsteady hands gravitate to her face, a tiny, blazing sun in the cradle of his palms, and he doesn’t care if the students are staring. He has never felt such giddy euphoria in his life.

“You’re here," he says, sounding broken.

“Couldn't wait anymore,” she tells him wetly. “I... I was — trying to be patient, Ben, the way you told me, but I — I couldn’t.”

“You shouldn’t have had to.” He feels completely wrecked with awe for her. “You did so good, coming here. My good, clever Omega. I should have known you’d find me.”

Rey blinks up at him, eyes full of shining vulnerability. “I woke up and it was… the way it’s burning, Alpha… I — I need—”

“Shhh.” With aching tenderness, his thumbs touch the dampness at the corners of her eyes. “I know, little one. We’ll get you what you need now. No more waiting.”

The shiver of this promise trembles across her entire body. It snaps his attention to the way her thighs are rubbing together — tiny, restless movements that immediately lodge themselves in the deepest parts of his hindbrain.

“Yes,” Rey whispers brokenly, “please,” and she sounds so afraid that his chest starts to ache with the nonsensical wish that he might burrow her deep inside it, nestled safe and warm beside his heart.

The Alpha inside him is near-delirious with the pleasure of the moment. She’s here. His Omega is here. She’s found him. She didn’t change her mind. The reality of her, standing here before him, is almost too much for him to process. Rey Niima, beautiful and stubborn and fiercely witty, the loveliest person he’s ever known — pleading to spend her heat with him. With him. To pass every moment of some several sprawling resplendent days, spread open for his pleasure. For him (she chose him) to lick and fuck and fill and knot and oh god, he’s going to knot her, he’s going to make her sweet little Omega-womb fucking messy with his cum —

It’s unimaginable, the size of all the things she makes him feel. It’s obscene.

Behind him, the students are whispering, ogling openly at them both. It floods him with a dark, hissing fury. He longs to scoop her in his arms, to clutch her tight to his chest and snarl at any other who dares to look at her like this. He wants to tie her to his bed, board up all his doors and windows so there is no other world for her but the one he spins from her pleasure.

With an unsteady hand, Ben reaches into his pocket. He finds her wrist and presses the key flat to her palm, curling her delicate fingers around it.

“Look at me,” he says, and Rey’s eyes immediately find his face. His sweet, obedient girl. “My car is parked out front. I want you to walk straight there. Speak to no one. Once you're inside, you will lock the door and wait for your Alpha with your hands at your sides. Is that clear?”

Her eyes quiver as she pouts. “You said no more waiting.”

“Class is almost finished.” Ben strokes her cheek, warm and smooth against his thumb. “They can’t see you like this. Just another minute, little one. You can give me that. Then we’ll get you somewhere I can knot you.”

She looks, for a moment, like she might argue with him, that familiar flash of obstinance brightening her eyes. But then she closes them and lolls her head, blindly searching, into his hand.

The movement brings her throat dangerously close to his wrist. But that seems to be her intention. The realization is like a dizzying punch of arousal to his gut, so overwhelming that he doesn’t trust himself to do anything more than stand there, watching. Rey presses to her toes, eyes closed, as she rubs her slender throat (her gland, her swollen, precious little gland) along the raised patch of skin beneath his palm. Ben can feel his own pulsate beneath her attention. He experiences another mind-melting flood of her heat-scent; not from the air this time, but injected directly into his veins from the place where she rubs and rubs and rubs against him.

A deep, shuddering breath is released from his lungs. “Omega.”

“Just one more minute,” Rey murmurs, and god, he can feel her breath spilling across his skin, his wrist, his furious throbbing fucking gland. “You can give me that, can’t you?”

His fingers find her hair, tightening, in a desperate attempt to halt her teasing — but she only shivers delightfully. Ben bares his teeth. “One more minute, and I won’t be able to stop myself from fucking you in front of this entire classroom.”

Her eyes fly open, black and wide as they find his face. “Here?” she breathes. “You would do it here? Right now?”

She’s going to give him a fucking heart attack.

“In the car,” he says, and his voice is a low, dangerous growl behind gritted teeth. “Lock the door. Hands at your sides, understand? No touching. Now.”

Rey bites her lip. Very slowly, he loosens his fist in her hair. With a final smoldering glance at him, she turns once more to his wrist; but this time, it’s the tip of her nose that nudges at his gland. The softness of his Omega’s sharp little mouth, pressing a slow, chaste kiss there.

He will not be nearly so gentle with hers, once they’re alone together.

“Fine.”

Rey is shivering, as she slips from his grasp. He takes an instinctive step to follow her — he needs to follow her — then clenches his fists at his sides, as hard as he can, to stop himself.

“One more minute,” he promises, very softly.

Rey nods.

And then she leaves.

Ben needs to close his eyes for a long moment to get control of his breathing again.

When he turns back to face his class, they are completely silent. Several have their mouths dangling open.

“The essays.” His students straighten in their seats as he passes, strides purposeful and long. “You will retrieve them in alphabetical order, and then you will leave. No more questions today.”

And no more waiting, he thinks, the promise settling hot and deep in his stomach.

------

When she leaves the lecture hall, Rey does not go to his car.

She fully intends to, when he first tells her. She burns with her desire to please him right now. Even before her heat settled over her, smothering any trace of rational thought, Rey has always experienced a deep, resonant satisfaction in obeying his instructions — though it is at constant odds with the electric thrill that courses through her whenever she succeeds at defying him.

Most days, she struggles to decide which she likes better: Ben Solo, dark and menacing and nostrils flaring with agitation she caused him; or crooning in her ear about how fucking good she is.

The decision is often made more difficult by how easily he vacillates between the two, and how each seems to feed off the other.

This might explain why she walks not toward the lobby, but instead follows the indulgent path of his scent, wandering down the corridor. Perhaps he will be pleased, that she is able to find it so easily through the stench of all the other human bodies in this building. A clean, vibrant line of Ben, traveling from the air to her windpipe straight to her racing heart.

She will go to his car afterward, she thinks.

If he can ask her to wait a minute, he can wait a damn minute himself.

His musky scent leads her to a part of the school she’s never been to before. The hallway is smaller back here, with a line of closed offices at either side. Including, it turns out, the one she’s headed toward, located at the very end.

Ben Solo, reads the plaque on the door. Dean of Curriculum and Instruction.

Fancy, Rey thinks, with great amusement — but it’s almost immediately crowded out by the voice of her Omega, babbling with pride: Her Alpha is so powerful, with his important, commanding title — how well he will provide for her, guide her, keep her safe and fed and full and fucked and —

Rey pushes into his office. The scent waiting for her within, more potent for how long it’s been trapped in such a small space, is the only thing significant enough to cut off her Omega’s incessant pining.

But only because it robs her of her capacity to think of anything other than how good he smells.

Her mouth positively waters with it. Usually, Rey would be fleeing as quickly as possible to recover some shred of coherent thought — but this idea is repugnant to her right now. She needs more of him. As much as she can possibly fill herself with. Until there’s no part of her left untouched by her Alpha’s perfect, delectable, bone-tingling scent.

Rey shuts the door behind her and leans back against the wall, inhaling deeply. Yes. Her fingers reach, unsteadily, to find a light switch, and a floor lamp in the corner switches on.

Even if she didn’t know this was his office from the plaque on the door — or from the smell of him, permeating every inch of this place — she would be able to guess from its contents. It's offensively sparse. The only furniture is a spotless desk and its high-backed, broad chair, clearly designed for wide bodies. There are no other chairs, as though he wants to discourage visitors from lingering any longer than the length of a standing conversation. The only personal touch he has allowed the walls is a set of shelves lined with books from end to end, arranged by content and then author. Rey removes one at random and slides it beside another, just to imagine how it will make his fingers twitch with irritation later.

She likes imagining him here. Filling this space. Everything suddenly feels much smaller, when she pictures him moving about the room. Breathing the air. Here is where he paces, the way he does when he’s thinking or teaching or saying something important. This is the chair that holds him while he sits; the desk where he drums his fingers and grades his papers. Here is where he escapes between meetings, where he reads all these books (has he truly read all these books?), where perhaps — her breath catches — perhaps he even thinks about her.

Does he think about her? Rey sinks into his chair, big enough to hold at least two of her, and ponders this. Does he think of her often, the way she thinks of him — a constant, urgent whisper in the back of her head, wondering where he is, what he’s doing, all the different ways she might please him? And if he thinks of these things, does he try to crush them the way she does, the moment they rise to her conscious awareness? But this thought makes her chest squeeze unpleasantly, and there are so many more pleasurable feelings arising right now, here in the chair that holds him while he maybe, possibly thinks about her.

For once, Rey chooses to focus on the pleasure.

Does he think about pleasure here, too? She wonders, suddenly, what he did the night he sent her away (Alpha said he regretted sending her away), after he’d wrung her body of every pleasurable feeling it had to offer him. She wonders if he returned to this little room, reeking of his glorious scent, and touched himself. The possibility feels dangerous, too exquisite to imagine — but it’s too late, because she’s already imagining it in colorful, precise detail. His body filling the chair she’s sitting in, his hand (so large) wrapped around himself. Remembering how he touched her.

There is a high-pitched noise Rey vaguely understands is coming from her throat. She is so hot, and although his scent is soothing — god, it’s soothing — it’s not nearly enough to combat the cramping arousal that washes over her at the thought of Ben (Alpha) sitting here too. Pleasuring himself. His shoulders would heave, she thinks, the same way they did that night when he climbed atop her on the bed. Except this time, he would be thinking about doing all the things he denied her.

She’s touching herself too, she realizes. And only because her fingers feel so inadequate, pushing desperately into her body. Rey shucks her joggers down her thighs for better access, her foot finding the edge of his desk. She tries a little harder, imagining him struggling this same way in this same chair. Maybe — just maybe — she can eke out one small, tiny orgasm, drowning in the scent of this room, before she joins him in the car. Yes. That would be good, wouldn’t it? He doesn’t even have to know. It will help her be good for him, she thinks wildly, the way he told her to — yes — with her hands at her sides in his passenger seat. Obedient.

The smell of him is so heavy in here, the image of his pleasure so vivid, that she might even succeed — if the door didn’t swing open at that very moment.

Rey freezes, the deep-rooted instinct of a prey caught, frozen, in high-beams.

If she thought his scent was potent in here before, it absolutely deluges the room when the door opens, a great Alpha flood that saturates every molecule of air full to bursting.

Only now, it’s cut through with the deep, sulfurous roar of his wrath.

Ben Solo fills the entire doorway. He stares across the room at her, breathing raggedly. The tip of his large nose is a little rosy with cold — he must have gone outside to the car, she thinks. Where he instructed her to wait for him.

Oh.

Oh, shit.

He does not take his eyes off her as he steps inside. A backward nudge of his heel, and the door swings shut behind him with a gentle click.

Trapping her.

“I told you,” he says quietly, “to wait in the car.”

“Must have gotten lost,” Rey says, but it comes out false and trembling instead of the cool, casual observation she was aiming for.

“I did not give you permission to move yet, Omega."

Rey, who is shifting to close her legs, goes completely still at the danger woven in his tone.

His eyes slide down her body, settling heavily between her thighs. She feels paralyzed under the weight of them, a small, trembling creature pinned beneath a burning bulb for his inspection.

“How else will I see what a mess you've made without me?”

She tries to remember how to breathe as he slowly walks around the desk, his eyes never leaving the space between her legs. When he reaches her, he nudges the chair so that it rotates, slowly, to face him. Her foot trembles on the edge of the desk, thighs spreading even wider for him.

“You ruined my chair.”

Fuck. Her heart lurches; she shifts to get up — but his hand flies to her ankle and keeps it firm against the desk. Stopping her.

“I just told you,” he says, “not to move.”

“But your chair,” she blurts out, “I don’t want to — to ruin it even more.”

“How considerate.” For the first time, Ben’s eyes travel back up to her face, which burns hotter than she’s ever felt it. “Strange, how that didn’t occur to you when you decided to come to my office. Instead of the car, like I told you.”

A whoosh of air as he crouches between her legs, and Rey’s head starts to whirl with how close it brings him to her sex, her incriminating fingers still trembling at its edges.

“If I didn’t know better," he says softly, "I'd almost think you don't really care. At least, not until you know it’s going to get you in trouble.”

The air feels very thin. She tries to remember what he said would happen, if she were in trouble. He told her this — she knows he did — but it's hard to recall the specifics, when his eyes and breath are washing over all her wet, needy places.

“I couldn’t help it,” she says, a little weakly. “Smelled so good in here. Just wanted to see, and I — I couldn’t stop thinking about you.”

“Yet you still failed to listen. Perhaps I haven’t given you enough to think about.”

There is a threat hidden in this message, but Rey can’t quite figure out what it is. It’s so hard, when he is just sitting there. Studying her. Her fingers twitch along their resting place at the perimeter of her cunt, and oh, the way he breathes out so sharply in response — a puff of warm, unintentional air across throbbing skin — it makes her brave enough to start to rub.

His next exhale is more forceful. Ben's eyes remain fixed on her, pupils dilating rapidly.

“I didn’t say you could keep touching, either.” His voice is so soft. “In fact, I remember saying exactly the opposite.”

But he looks utterly spellbound, the way he’s staring between her legs. He certainly doesn’t look like he wants her to take her hand away.

Watching him beneath hooded eyes, Rey continues her tiny, breathless touches. “Don’t wanna stop.”

“The longer you keep touching, Omega, the more you’re going to regret it later.”

He sits patiently between her legs like this, waiting, for many long moments. The tension builds within her, along with a rising sense of danger — the Omega in the back of her head sounding an alarm that quickly becomes impossible for her to ignore: Alpha is displeased, he is so displeased, something very very bad will happen soon if she doesn’t listen —

With a furious, snarling moan, Rey rips her hand away.

“Fine,” she bites out, and she grasps at the armrests to keep her fingers from gravitating back to where he’s forbidden her.

“There we are.” His shoulders roll, oozing satisfaction. “See? That wasn’t so difficult.”

“It was, actually,” she snaps, but she refuses to let the frustration welling in her eyes roll down her cheeks. She is stronger than that.

Ben notices anyway. Clicking his tongue, he wipes at her eyes, ignoring how she yanks her face furiously away from him.

“Poor little Omega.” His voice is crooning, a sing-song mimicry of tenderness. “Only wants to do whatever she feels like. Thinks that consequences don’t apply to her.”

He strokes her cheek, eyes roaming over her face.

“You’ll understand soon, little one. I am your consequences now.”

The shudder that passes over her is unwilling. Her fingers grasp restlessly at the armrests of his chair. “Can’t we do consequences — later?” Rey can barely recognize the sound of her voice, whining and strained. “The way it… it burns, Ben. It feels so empty.”

“But those are exactly the consequences.” He leans back to look down her body again. “Your poor little hole needs a knot. If you had only gone to the car like a good girl, I'd have you in bed already. You’d have one inside you at this very moment.”

With a single finger, he pulls the straining waistband of her joggers back even further, as if she weren't already spread and visible for him.

“But now you’ve gone and worked yourself up like this. No, angel. I can't bring you anywhere now. Not until you’re taken care of first."

She doesn't need to be taken care of. She needs to be knotted. Rey tips her head back in frustration. "Why do we need a bed? I could — I could bend over the desk. We could do it that way."

His single finger turns to a white-knuckled fist around her waistband, clenching the fabric so hard it digs into the soft skin above her knees. "If I bend you over this desk, Rey, I'll start thinking about some very different kinds of consequences." The words sound like a warning, low and dangerous, but she can smell the dark pleasure undulating from him at the thought. "We need to get you home before there's time for that."

He releases her waistband — Rey squirms in his seat — but it's only so he can smooth one large palm over her hip. Holding her still, while he leans in for a closer look.

"And we need to get you home very soon, don't we? Your heat is getting stronger. Look at all this slick you've made."

Rey's eyes find the ceiling as she tries to remember how to breathe properly. "Was because of you... The way it smelled in here. Made it worse."

"I know, baby. We'll make it better. Just need to squeeze a quick little orgasm out of you, and then we'll get you in the car."

As he speaks, Ben is gently lifting each of her feet, one from the floor and the other from the desk, so that he can roll her joggers methodically down her calves and over her trainers. As if he has undressed her a thousand times before this way.

"There we go. Bend your knee for me. Good."

Once she is naked from the waist down, he moves each foot back to its previous place with precise care, the way she's been spread since he walked in here. His eyes are positively wild as they fix between her legs, as he settles on his knees between them.

"That's better, isn't it?" His voice is raw, like it's been scraped out from the deepest part of his chest. "Now I can see how messy you are."

He spreads her, wide, with two blunt thumbs.

"Very messy. Such a shame. All this slick, and nothing to do with it."

Rey feels another warm, thick dribble trickle out of her at his attention, cooling quickly against the naked air. Ben swears.

"Wasteful little Omega." He leans closer, transfixed. "This is supposed to be for my knot."

"It is for your knot," she hears herself say, quivering, mindless agreement. "Made it so you can knot me."

"If only you had listened, I already would be. But perhaps we can find another use for it yet."

One of his thumbs cuts a long, slow glide through her wetness, bottom to top. Rey's breathing is very loud while she watches him raise it before his face for his inspection. He dips his thumbnail into his mouth, testing, and releases a long, shuddering sigh around it.

"Fuck. Rey. That tastes..."

His eyes close as he brings it directly beneath his nose, inhaling deeply.

"Tastes like heat." When his eyes open again, they are blown out, wild and full of wonder. "My Omega's tasty heat-slick. I'm going to milk so much of this from you. Every last drop I can find."

Rey thinks she might pass out, her head is spinning so quickly with her arousal. Or maybe it's from his own, thick and fat in each breath she sucks into her lungs. She makes an incoherent, whining noise that he seems to take for agreement, because he leans forward again, vibrating with anticipation.

"That's right. Just sit still while I clean up this mess, and then we'll get you home. Can you do that for me?"

Ben doesn't wait for her answer this time.

He starts at her thigh. His nose drags through all her stickiness, followed by the wet heat of his mouth, slow, torturous kisses that burn a searing straight line pointing directly to her cunt. But when he (finally, yes, finally) arrives, he only grasps her other knee with one large hand and moves his mouth there instead.

"Ben," she whines, "I need —" but he pinches her under-thigh with two fingers, a sharp warning that causes her back to arch and jerk.

"I said to sit still, Rey."

The sight of his dark eyes, glaring up at her from between her legs, makes her Omega shudder with desire to please him.

She bites her lip and tries to count the breaths until he returns to kissing her.

He does. He gives her his kisses, higher and higher, until Rey is whimpering with each huff of air and he is hovering over her sex again.

"Wanted to do this so badly, the other night," he murmurs. And then he begins to lick.

Rey cries out, the sensation like a streak of fire across all her waiting flesh. There is no time to recover; he is lapping at her hungrily now, hands wrapped around her waist to hold her down and open for him. Firm, broad strokes of his tongue, and she can't keep herself from babbling, a nonsensical stream of pleas pouring from her mouth.

It is at once everything she needed and not nearly enough. Her Alpha, groaning deep against her clit, gorging himself on her – but she is now ablaze again with that empty ache inside her, further inflamed by how near her Alpha finally is to where she needs him. God, how she needs him. Her whole body prickles with it. She wants to open herself as wide as possible for him. She wants to clamp her legs around his head and never let him go.

Before she knows what she's doing, she slides her hands into his hair, pressing down.

Teeth sink sharp into her thigh, and Rey cries out, spasming in the chair. Large, strong fingers come for her wrists, pinning them forcefully back to the armrests.

"Tell me what I said before."

Rey can't remember how to form words herself, never mind putting together pieces of his own. She thrashes, whining, aching for his mouth.

His hand releases her wrist, but only so that it can slap, a stinging shock of pleasure, directly over her cunt. Rey arches, her mouth dropping open in a soundless shout.

"Where do we put our hands, Omega?"

"Wherever you tell me," she gasps out desperately, as he begins to rub her with the heel of his palm.

"And where – did your Alpha – tell you?"

She struggles, frantic, to remember. "At my — ahhh — at my sides, Alpha. My sides."

"Good girl." He croons the words, leaning into each one for her, and Rey thinks she's going to die from how good it feels, to hear him say that. To have pleased him. "So willful. You just need a little direction."

Direction has never sounded so intensely appealing before. It usually makes Rey bristle with indignation, when he tells her what to do – but like this, pinned beneath his hands, his lips red and glistening with her slick – the Omega currently occupying her brain quakes with eagerness at the thought. Her Alpha will show her what he needs from her, she thinks deliriously. He will help her be the very best Omega, he will shape and coax and mold each part of her body until she is remade for his satisfaction. An existence entirely to please him.

Large hands slide beneath her bottom, and suddenly he is lifting her straight off the chair, weightless. The sharp edge of the desk digs briefly against her thighs as he slides her onto it.

Ben looms over her, his expression fierce and wild. "You must understand some things, Omega, over the next few days."

Two of those large, magnificent fingers enter her so swiftly she can't find the breath to answer him: anything, Alpha, all of it. Rey only prays he notices her nodding before he begins to pump them in and out of her, and she can no longer even do that.

"We are not pretending anymore, while you are in heat," he tells her, as he begins to fuck his fingers in and out of her body. "I will be your Alpha. You come when I tell you. You spread your legs when I tell you. You keep your hands at your sides or above your head or in your cunt when I tell you. While you are in heat, I am your pleasure, your consequences and everything in between. Do I make myself clear?"

Rey can't speak. Each time she tries, the words get tangled up in her whimpers, her gasps, as the sweet burn of his fingers fill some of that vast, throbbing emptiness within her. His palm smacks the desk beside her, making the drawers rattle, and Ben leans forward on it, surging over her.

"Answer me."

By some miracle, she manages to find her voice again. "Yes, god yes, Alpha, whatever you want, I’ll do it –"

A third finger pushes in, sliding beside the other two, and that's all it takes.

Rey comes apart with a cry, shaking on his desk – the room constricting to the bright-white blistering flood of her pleasure.

Of sweet, mind-numbing relief.

She feels a little boneless, coming down from it. Her entire body sags against the desk, like her skeleton has forgotten all the usual ways it keeps her solid and has left her, exposed, in this liquid puddle of sensation.

The fist beside her head has softened, fingers stroking through her hair with aching tenderness.

When her eyelashes finally find the strength to open, she finds him staring right back down at her.

His eyes hold so many things, as they roam across her face. Wonder. Arousal. That guarded flicker of his uncertainty, increasingly familiar to her now.

When they drop to her mouth, they seem to get stuck there. Lingering.

For a long, heart-stopping moment, Rey wonders if he's going to kiss her.

A sharp cramp wracks her stomach, and her eyes squeeze shut, damp at the edges. The anguish in his scent is immediate, followed by his knuckles, stroking her cheek. Soothing.

"You're hurting." The sound of his voice like that is painful to her, teeming with distress. "I should have been quicker. We need to get you home." He falters, jaw tightening. "That is, if you... still want to do this. With me."

Rey can't help it. She starts to laugh, a broken, wheezy sound. "Ben Solo," she says, when she can speak again. "Do you honestly believe I dragged my heat-drunk ass out of bed, took a bus across the city –"

"You did what?!"

"– got kicked off the bus, then walked eight blocks to this school... so that I could spend my heat alone?"

His body is very still, looming over her. "Tell me the name of the bus driver."

"You're missing the point."

"That's a very important point."

"I could barely remember my own name, Ben. Never mind the bus driver."

"I should have driven you myself." He looks so distraught. "I looked for you, Rey. All night long. I haven't slept." His fingers are shaking, she realizes, as they trace her face. "You're really here."

A warm, tingling sensation starts to spread across her chest. She is struck with longing to smooth the agony from his expression, but she doesn't know how to reach for him, where to start.

"I wasn't about to try this on my own," she says, a little weakly. "You did this to me, don't forget."

"I'll never forget it, Rey."

Oh. Her throat suddenly feels too tight to swallow the sincerity in his expression. "Wouldn't be very professional, I guess, to leave your mate by herself to deal with something like this."

Ben's jaw starts to work again. He exhales a sharp breath. "Of course not."

"Then we should probably get going." She chews her lip. "Unless you really do plan to knot me over this desk. Or... whatever else it was you were talking about."

The air between them shifts suddenly back to safer ground – even if there's nothing safe about the look he gives her, black and scorching.

"Careful, Omega."

"I think you like when I'm not careful."

His hands slide under her back, the room tilts, and she is suddenly hauled into the air again, back onto his chair. "I may," he says, eyes glinting, "but you certainly won't, if you keep testing me."

She sits and watches as he retrieves her damp, crumpled joggers from the floor, observing with muttered disapproval how cold they'll be; as he tenderly guides her feet into each leg and rolls them up her thighs again.

When they walk out into the winter morning together a few minutes later, through the building's back entrance, Rey lets him open the door for her.