Bjorn knocks, and the following silence stretches on for so long that he begins to wonder if their leader is even still occupying the little hut at the edge of the village.
Of course, he knows he must be -- they would have heard the piercing sounds of an omega's wailing if not. And then there would have been a bloodbath at the doorway where he's standing, a herd of alphas coming for the sole purpose of giving that omega a very different reason to wail.
Just as he's about to knock again, there's the sound of sluggish movement within. With a long blanket lazily wrapped around himself, Askeladd opens the door no more than a few inches and runs a hand along his face as he peers out.
He looks like shit.
Bjorn is nearly taken aback with the sight of him, but composes himself once the half-asleep expression on Askeladd's face hardens. "What is it?"
"The men are anxious to leave," Bjorn says with a sigh, "They want to know when you'll be done."
"It isn't me who needs to finish up," there's a chuckle there, and Bjorn is so grateful that he's never had such an interest in omegas. It seems like an awful lot of work.
Perhaps because he knows this, Askeladd ushers him inside.
It should feel like more of an honor than it does, Bjorn knows -- being allowed into the nest of a pair during a heat is a rare occurrence, a privilege only allowed to the few who are trusted above and beyond the territorial paranoia the condition tends to inflict on both parties. Askeladd, of course, is a smart man used to restraining himself (and though it's never been spoken he knows Bjorn's preferences, or lack thereof; omegas and alphas alike have been ripe for the taking many times in their years together, and always he has responded with a sneer and a turned back).
Thorfinn, however, does not share Askeladd's trust. He sits up from their stinking mess of a blankets and furs, takes one whiff of the air and goes from calm and cum-drunk to his usual, snarling self. Though he doesn't bear a mark, his instincts scream at him that he has already been claimed this heat, and the stranger alpha had better not come any closer.
Askeladd, his eyes weary but his smile affectionate, kneels on the bed and runs a thumb along the scent gland behind Thorfinn's jaw. It's mildly swollen from the heat, a pink dot the mere touch of which has the omega leaning in and purring loudly. From lion cub to happy kitten, in an instant.
"It's amazing what a heat will do, isn't it?"
Bjorn nods -- the boy who threatened very earnestly to remove the testicles of the last alpha who touched him without welcome is now lapping at Askeladd's wrist, questing for the gland there to soothe him further. He still eyes Bjorn carefully, unsure of his presence there, but when his alpha scratches the back of his head he is content to recline against the pillows once more, closing his eyes to the light from the window. His belly has the slightest swell to it just above where there's a bit of pubic fuzz; not a pregnancy, no, but evidence that his womb has greedily swallowed up all of the seed Askeladd has offered it and is holding it inside with all the conviction of a Christian clutching his cross.
Askeladd doesn't seem to mind his second in command staring at his omega -- he waits for their gazes to meet again. "Anyway. You were saying?"
"The men don't want to stay here long. What should I tell them?"
"If they're bored there should be a pair of fishing villages down the river. They can stray that far, but only for a night."
Bjorn nods again. That should be sufficient for them, and give them something to do while the heat resolves. Then, perhaps, everything will go back to normal.
"What is it?" Askeladd cocks his head. "You look confused."
"It's just strange," he finally says. "To see, I mean." The furious five foot tall hurricane suddenly purring again, urging his alpha to rub him. The wily fox of a captain he's followed for over a decade obliging him without complaint. It is amazing what a heat can do.
"It should just be another day or so," and Askeladd lays on his back, extending his arm -- which Thorfinn places his head on. "Then we can march again."
With information to satisfy the men and keep them off his ass, Bjorn sets to retreat from the stinking hut. He reaches the doorway again before he hears a shifting on the bed, the two moving to prepare for yet another coupling, Thorfinn mutters, "I guess it's a damn good thing boy omegas can't get pregnant."
A thoughtful "hm," is all Askeladd says in return.
Bjorn shuts the door and prays to Odin he isn't the one who will have to correct Thorfinn on that someday (and likely sooner, rather than later).