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One Bright Day (in the Middle of the Night)

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 “The hormone therapy isn’t working for you anymore,” said the doctor. “You should start preparing for your next heat.”

Danny Williams was, as he found himself only on very rare occasions, completely devoid of words. He was sitting on the doctor’s examining table in one of those paper dresses that didn’t close all the way, his ass sticking uncomfortably to the vinyl padding, and he’d just been through an even more uncomfortable physical exam, during which the doctor had imperturbably probed in unmentionable places while scolding him for being behind on his OB/GYN visits.

“I – what?” He finally managed to answer. “No, Doc – sorry, but you don’t understand. That’s not really an option right now.”

Now was a two-week nightmare of a case that they were finally, finally, making headway on: a string of drug overdoses in which the victims had all been male, alpha, and under the age of twenty-five.

“I’m afraid the body waits for no man,” the doctor said patiently. “I assume at your age I don’t need to give you the talk about birth control, so, you’ll probably start showing signs in the next 6-12 hours. Tell your alpha, take off work, and after it’s over, call us to set up an appointment about switching to a new drug regime. Some very good second-line heat suppressants have been approved by the FDA in the past few years, and one of them may turn out to work even better for you than the Prosevore did.”

 

He shuffled back into his clothing, finished up his paperwork with the nurse and left the doctor’s office all in a daze, stumbling through the sunny, palm-tree studded parking lot to his car and then just sitting there in the front seat as some DJ jabbered on the radio. He’d known something was wrong, ok, yeah – his appetite had been off,  he hadn’t been sleeping well,  cramps in his gut that, ok, he probably should have recognized - but cut him a break, it had been seven years since his last heat, practically to the day, since Gracie’s birthday was in August and it was now mid-November.  And he had figured it out eventually, or at least, unconsciously he must have been working around to figuring it out, since he had gone and made the appointment with the OB/GYN.  And what was the big deal, anyway? Yeah, the timing was bad, but the timing was always going to be bad while he was working for Steve, since the Five-0 was pretty much just a continual stream of crazy all the time.  He could get the time off, and it wasn’t like he hadn’t done this before.

He was just starting to feel like his pulse has slowed enough that he could turn the car on and swing it out of the parking lot, when his phone rang. Steve.

Danny let himself breath in and out three times and then put the cell to his ear.

“Yeah?”

“Danno? Where are you?”

“Doctor’s appointment ran a little bit over, I’m heading back to the office now.”

“Meet us on Fontaine instead. 3454. We’ll be there in 10. Wait if you get there first.”

Steve hung up, so Danny didn’t have time to ask, wait for what?

 That was the Five-0 all over, so much crazy that it didn’t even give him fifteen minutes to worry about some personal crisis. Danny smiled in spite of himself at the thought as he typed the address Steve had given him into the GPS. By the time he had swung out into traffic, he was even tapping his hand in time to the radio music.

 

It was only a few blocks from the doctor’s office: the GPS directed him to one of a set of shabby, sixties-style block apartment buildings crouched behind a strip mall.  Danny pulled up at the corner to the block and hunkered down to do what Steve had said and wait, because unlike his partner he wasn’t a damn cowboy and also he wasn’t sure exactly who or what they were hoping to catch there anyway.

It wasn’t two minutes after pulling up that he saw two men coming out of the building. One of them, shit, he recognized almost immediately as Jake Fraser, who was the second in command to the one of the larger drug cartels that used the islands as a distribution point. There was a young man with him, although not someone Danny recognized.

In another second they would be headed around the far corner of the building and out of Danny’s line of sight. He hesitated, trying to decide if he should let them go or follow them. Then he realized that Fraser was crowding in on the younger guy, like there might be a gun pressed between them. Shit, Danny thought.  That made up his mind. He got out of the car, and started trailing them, trying to look casual.

Now would be a good time for Steve to get here, he decided as Fraser had started to walk faster. He and his hostage passed into the back parking lot behind the strip mall, towards a white Chevy parked behind a couple of overflowing dumpsters.  Danny cursed and followed, fumbling for his side holster, but his hand passed through the place where his gun should have been. He remembered then that it was still sitting in the trunk, where he’d left it when he’d gone for his appointment.

He started to back away, but Fraser twisted his head, spotted Danny, and cursed. The backdoor of the Chevy opened and Fraser pushed the kid into it, his hand guiding the back of his head the way cops did. 

Danny hesitated, and Fraser had time to slam the door violently shut and turn around to face him.

“Who the fuck are you?”  Fraser barked, and, crap, yeah, he was armed.

“No one,” said Danny, thinking fast, “I mean, I just saw you guys, and, I don’t know, shit, man, it’s none of my business. It’s none of my business, ok?” He took a couple of steps back.

“Don’t move,” said Fraser sharply, and then he narrowed his gaze. “I know you. You’re that cop that came round a couple weeks ago.” He raised his gun sharply, aiming right at Danny’s chest.  “You get in the car too.”

“I can’t really...” Danny started. Fraser cut him off just by flicking the gun at him. “Now, asshole.”

 

The guy in the driver’s seat looked surprised to see Danny getting shoved into the back next to the kid. Fraser got in the front, keeping his gun trained on Danny as best he could the whole time.  The kid next to him was still shaking, but now Danny realized he was high, or sick. He was staring at Fraser and looked freaked out of his mind. Fraser sighed and smirked and cocked the gun at him, and the kid froze and stuttered.

“What’s wrong with him?” Danny asked.

Fraser shrugged.

It didn’t look like any high Danny was immediately familiar with, and given the number of druggies he’d busted over his illustrious career with the NJPD, his expertise wasn’t trivial. He said as much to Fraser, who just grunted again.

He discretely tested the child safety locks at the first stop light, with no luck. Then, with Fraser continuing to refuse to engage in conversation and the still discretely aimed at them from low between the front seats, there seemed to be nothing to do but wait. The car slipped through the city and then away, and they drove in silence a long distance, thirty or forty minutes. Danny calculated the odds that the Five-0 was tailing them, and watched hopefully for signs of Steve’s erratic driving disrupting traffic behind them.  But the minutes ticked by, and the longer they drove, the lower the chances were of that Steve was tailing them.

After forty minutes or more the car pulled up to a private dock. Fraser and the driver both pulled out their guns and motioned Danny out of the car. His fellow passenger had fallen into a shaky half-sleep, slumped in his seat. Fraser’s goon shook him until he woke up enough to move, although he seemed blearily confused about what was happening.

They were frog-marched to the end of the dock, where a long, low boat (anyone else on the Five-0 would have been able to identify it by make and model, but to Danny it was just a boat) waited. Danny and the driver helped the kid up into the boat, while Fraser still keeping the gun tracked on them. Danny took a minute to think about what a nice guy he was: if he’d been a mean one, he could have maneuvered the kid in between himself and Fraser and been over the side before either of them had a chance to stop him. The risk that Fraser would shoot the kid was too high, though, and although Danny was pretty sure now that their plan was to get them out to sea and then shoot them there quietly, he also hoped Steve would get their first.  All he had to do was buy time, keeping them both alive.

Once aboard, they were corralled quickly below deck, down a short corridor and into a small, empty room.  

“Hold still,” said Fraser.  He had got a length of plastic-coated wire from somewhere, which Danny eyed. “Turn around.”

Danny decided to try his luck a little. “Come on, guys, is this really -”

“Shut up.” The driver pointed at him with his gun, and Danny sighed and let himself be turned around.  He felt Fraser looping the wire tight around his wrists, tight enough that it was taut against the skin. Then a firm hand on his back pushed him. Without the use of his hands, Danny just managed to hit the wall with his shoulder, and slide down into a seated position on the floor.

The kid, meanwhile, had passed out next to him. Danny saw Fraser and the driver look at each other and apparently decide that he wasn’t worth tying up. Then they turned and left, the click of a deadbolt sliding into place behind them.

Danny squirmed until he’d adjusted into a more comfortable sitting position with his back against the wall. The kid, whose name he still didn’t know, roused himself for a minute, crawled into a the corner and threw up there, and then, almost like a guilty puppy, crawled forward until his back was pressed against Danny’s leg and fell asleep. 

He had dark hair, a straight nose and high cheekbones. He was probably an alpha, based on the profile of the other victims. It wasn’t clear yet what drug had killed them, although forensics was working on that, but it seemed to be something that affected alphas differently, or at least they had an increased chance of a bad reaction to it.  Whatever it was had caused at least four deaths so far: one at a frat party, an alpha who had died surrounded by friends too wasted or self-involved to realize that he was more than passed out, a second whose friends had apparently been more observant, since they had called 911 before abandoning the dying boy before the ambulance arrived, apparently afraid of being caught themselves. Two others had been dumped, and there were few leads on whom had seen them last. Out of the four, three had been fairly typical junkies, but the frat boy had been on the studious side, an chemistry major whose friends and family had been disbelieving when they heard about the death, a guy who everyone swore hardly went out, and never drank.   

It occurred to Danny to wonder if the kid had any identification on him. He twisted and squirmed, trying to see if he could loosen his hands, but discovered instead that Fraser knew his knots: his wrists were well tied. Steve had a trick for that involving a razor blade that he kept tucked beneath a bootlace that Danny had made fun of him for it on several occasions. Once he got out of this, he decided, he’d stop laughing and finally get Steve to show it to him.

The kid, thankfully, seemed to be getting better rather than worse. At least, his breathing was evening out and he twitched, in apparently bad dreams, less frequently.  The rumble of the boat motor kicked in beneath them, then, after a few minutes, evened out to a low background vibration. Danny’s bladder was starting to feel a little full.  There was probably something wrong with his life that even been kidnapped by a criminal organization wasn’t enough to distract him, anymore, from his bladder or his stomach. Speaking of which, he was hungry too.

When he got out of this, Danny decided, he was going to eat a cheese steak, even though he still didn’t know a single decent place to get one on the island. He’d buy a flight back to Newark and get it with his brothers, if that was the only way. He’d eat himself sick and then get Steve to teach him the razor-trick and then have a long weekend, floating in the pool with Gracie, not thinking about anything criminally-related for once in his life.

And oh, yeah, he reminded himself – because the Doctor’s visit that had freaked him out that morning now seemed like a distant, manageable detail, one of many – he had a heat to get through, too. 

Danny hated those.

He’d had a bunch as a teenager, before getting his first prescription for Prosevore at twenty-one.  Prosevore had been pretty new at the time, and his parents were kind of old-fashioned and had been reluctant to put him on medication, which was something Danny still slightly resented them for, although it wasn’t totally their fault because they hadn’t really understood how bad it was. His Dad was an alpha and his Mom an unusually fertile beta, and Danny was the only one of their kids to turn up omega. 

After that he’d never suffered through another one, until he met Rachel, and that had been only a few times, the first few as a part of an experiment in the bedroom that mostly failed, and then later when they decided to have Gracie. Going through heat with a partner with immeasurably better than a heat alone, but it still sucked, at least for Danny. The overwhelming feeling of need and over-stimulation brought an edge of discomfort even to the pleasantest parts of heat. Worse, there was the psychological element: you were only about forty percent with it, you couldn’t really stop yourself from doing things that you would never consider otherwise, and you were entirely under the alpha’s control.  Danny’s brother’s first wife had been bipolar, and the feelings that she had described of swinging wildly to extremes wasn’t far from how heat had felt to him. Supposedly, a stable bond with a good alpha evened things out, made heat enjoyable, but personally, Danny wasn’t sure that wasn’t a load of BS. He’d loved Rachel and trusted her wholeheartedly, and that still hadn’t turned his heats into anything like pleasurable experience.   

This time, Danny decided, he would lock himself up in his apartment with the deadbolts on, so that none of the scuzzy neighbors could come sniffing around. Or maybe he’d get Chin, who was beta and less likely to rouse Danny’s instincts, to check on him and make sure he didn’t embarrass himself somehow.  It would suck no matter which way he rounded it.  And he wasn’t looking forward to having the team see. Everyone knew he was omega, obviously, but knowing it intellectually was a lot different than running up against physical evidence of the fact, in the form of a teammate horny and half out of his mind.

 

 

The first time they met, Steve thought Danny was a beta.

It probably hadn’t taken him very long to figure out his mistake: it was on record with the Honolulu PD, of course, so Steve must have known as soon as they’d transferred Danny’s paperwork.  As little as Danny had wanted to work with Steve initially, he appreciated that Steve hadn’t changed his mind about Danny right then.

Then Steve had immediately gone and lost that respect by doing exactly what almost everybody did when they started to get an idea of Danny’s backstory, i.e., assume that he and Rachel were just on the outs: that they, together with Stan, formed one of those unstable packs where the members circled each other like planets and moons, caught in each other’s gravitational pull but unable get too close without imploding. He knew, because Danny told him, that Danny was an adult who was legally divorced and his own legal guardian.  It didn’t stop him from offering to call Rachel the first time Danny got injured on the job, or from ignoring Danny and doing it anyway, after he told Steve not too.

Rachel had shown up in his hospital room (it had been a fractured rib, nothing too serious) with a look that was half pissed, half triumphant, and half insincerely protective, if it was possible to be three halves of anything at once.  Steve had been standing in the door when she’d arrived, and maybe it was the dark look on Danny’s face that had finally clued him to what Danny had been trying to tell him all along: that as far as Danny was concerned, and despite the fact that he and Rachel communicated over Grace, their relationship was really and truly over.

She had entered the room and gone to lean against the side of his bed. For a moment, it looked as though she would try to stroke his hair, a calming gesture Danny definitely did not appreciate. He’d given her a look of warning and she’d backed off instead, probably eager to make their relationship look less of a failure than it was in front of Steve, who at that point she hadn’t known well but already regarded as something of a threat.

“Why are you here, Rach?” Danny, too tired to play nice. “Go home.”

She ignored him.  “Your partner called. I thought maybe you’d let me take care of you for once.”

“By expecting me to bare my neck to any decision you make?”

“Danny.” God, he hated that condescending, falsely concerned tone. “Gracie misses you.”

Danny wondered why he bothered to argue with her at all, when he’d said his piece a hundred times by then and she just wouldn’t, or didn’t want to, take him seriously.

“Get out,” he said again, “or I’ll tell the hospital to kick you out.” He paused, “I still get Gracie this Saturday. It’s still my weekend.”

“Danny,” her voice slid down the register from patronizing to warning, in a way that caused Steve, who had been trying giving them a semblance of privacy by keeping his gaze fixed towards the hospital hallway, to snap his head towards them in surprise. Danny shrugged at him, trying to explain, this is how it is.

“I’m sorry,” Steve said, awkwardly. “I should go.”

“No, it’s fine,” Danny said, calmly, “you can see Rachel out.”

He caught the challenge that passed between the two alphas for just an instant: a second of eye contact. Rachel broke the gaze first, and turned and brushed out the door.  Danny breathed a sigh of relief.

He could still feel Steve looking at him, clearing asking for answers.

 

The next day when he was discharged, Steve came to drive him home.

They didn’t speak at first. The car pulled away from the hospital, and headed into a suburban warren of small houses with impossibly bright, sunny gardens. What had happened the day before hung between them, until finally Danny broke and said, “you think I should go back to her.”

“No!” Steve said explosively, jolting Danny from his painkiller-induced haze.  He stared at Steve until he added. “No. It’s just, you guys always argued on the phone, but in a way it seemed like you were still married. And she’s Grace’s sire. I just figured, I don’t know.”

“You thought it was just a thing and that I’d go back with my tail between my legs, if she whistled loud enough.”

Steve shrugged helplessly. “Yeah, Danny, I guess.”

Danny could respect him for admitting it.

“No.”

The short word hung in the air between them, and after a moment Steve nodded.  “So you’re really on your own then,” he said wonderingly.

Danny snorted. “I can take care of myself.”

Steve didn’t answer, and Danny knew what he was thinking: the usual ideas about how alphas often thrived in solitude, betas could handle alone time but preferred companions, but that an omega needed a pack structure, an alpha to direct them and preferably cubs to take up their attention, or they would be miserable.

“You don’t have anybody here.”

“Officially I’m registered with my parent's pack. But look who’s talking, Mr. Lone Wolf-Seal.”

“That’s different. I-“

“You’re an alpha? Is that what you were going to say?”

Steve shrugged.

“It’s exactly the same,” Danny argued. “Look, I tried being part of a pack. You know where that got me? A paternalistic ex who doesn’t know the meaning of divorce, and a pup I can’t even see more than twice a month because apparently the omega that actually gave birth to her is legally less fit as a parent than her sire and the beta she replaced me with! How’s that for fair? I believed Rachel when she said that she wanted to the same things I did, and it was bullshit.”

Steve stared at him. Danny could feel the questions ticker-taping through his brain.

“Gracie’s the best thing in my life and I’ve never regretted her,” Danny said, “But when I was twenty-two I wanted to be a cop, right, and then maybe have kids somewhere down the line? When we were dating, Rachel told me she wanted that too.”

“But you had Gracie.”

“Right, so, we got married and Rachel changed her mind about kids.” He shrugged, “and I loved her and so I let her change my mind too. We got pregnant, and then it was, you know, now you’re going to have a pup now, you ought to quit the PD.”

Steve nodded as if that actually made sense. Danny rolled his eyes. “I could have gotten transferred to a desk job, you know? Lots of omegas work after they have kids.”

“So you –“

“I thought, she’s right, gotta think about the pup now. We were still pretty happy then. Gracie came along and I told the PD I wasn’t coming back. Fulfilling ever chauvinistic comment about the waste of taxpayer money that comes from training omegas, by the way. Then it was three years, basically, where I stayed home, kept the house clean, cooked Rachel dinner most nights since she was still out there working, and you know, I was mostly ok with it, because I thought, even if I look like some house-omega to the outside world, Rachel doesn’t see me that way; in her eyes we’re still equals.  And then, bam! Stan.”

“So that’s it, then,” Steve said, quietly, as the truck pulled to a soft stop in front of Danny’s apartment building. “She decided she wanted Stan as a beta, and you left?”

Danny flushed. “I flat out told her no way, and she went ahead and moved him in anyway. Can you believe I actually tried, I lasted a month before -” he stopped, the words leaving a bitter taste in his mouth. “Rachel’s a lawyer. She’s even done family law where the plaintiffs were omega.  I used to think that she liked the fact that I wanted an equal say in things, that I wanted a job as well as a family. But once it came down to it, I think she just saw that stuff as a challenge.”

“That’s wrong,” Steve said, flatly. “She shouldn’t have done that to you.”

“No shit.”

 

 

Danny was jolted from his memories when the boat engine cut off abruptly, leaving the little room where he had been left tied up eerily silent. Crap, he thought, and tensed, waiting for footsteps. None came. The kid, who’d managed to maneuver his head half into Danny’s lap, turned over and began to wake up, bleary eyes blinking groggily up at Danny.

“Who are you?” He asked.

“I could ask the same thing,” said Danny, dryly. With his hands tied he had to wait until the kid roused himself enough to crawl into a sitting position. “Danny Williams. I’m with the Honolulu Five-0 Special Investigations Unit. I’m a cop,” he added, after a moment where the kid looked confused.

“Oh!” The kid’s face turned anxious.

“Don’t worry, I’m not going to arrest you,” Danny rolled his eyes, “I'm not exactly in a position to, even if I wanted to.”

“Oh, right.” The kid took a shaky breath. “I’m Eric. Um… Eric Kormick.”

“Nice to meet you, Eric,” Danny said.  He waited, but the kid still seemed confused.  “So what happened?” he prompted.

“Last thing I remember Fraser was at my apartment, we were talking-” the kid said, and then opened his eyes wide. “Shit!” 

 “So Fraser is after you because?”

“Well.  It’s… um. It’s complicated.  I’m in a fraternity at UH. We were … shit,” the kid said again, his voice cracking. “It’s kind of…”

“Just tell me,” said Danny. “And while you do that, help me with these.” He twisted around so that Eric could see the wire binding his hands. “I need to get free.”

He felt Eric’s hands plucking at the wire. “I’m a biochem major, yeah? A couple months ago some of the guys in my lab… um.  We do research in synthetic hormones. I mean, I’ve only been there a few months doing my senior thesis, but there are a bunch of PhD students. So they had this stuff we were making, that, I don’t know.  We sort of figured out that you can get high off of it.”

“So…?”

“So, I don’t know. We took it back to the frat and had a couple parties. A few days later, these guys were coming around, asking questions. Not cops, but, like…”  He shrugged towards the door.

“Fraser?”

 “At first it we just figured probably some people had told some people. It didn’t seem like that big a deal. Someone sold them a couple of grams…”  Eric sniffed again. “Next thing you know they were in our face, asking us how to make the stuff, saying they were going to mess us up if we didn’t, I don’t know.”  He shrugged hopelessly and tugged again on Danny’s wire, Danny felt the loop holding his wrists loosen fractionally.  He wiggled his wrists a little bit to test the new freedom and then the kid, Eric, said, “Hold on, you’re making it tighter.”

“So what happened?”

 “I don’t know,” Eric snuffled. “There are, like, four of us, basically, who know how to do it. The one guy who was the best at it disappeared, and a few days later the police showed up and told us he was dead. We started flipping out. Half of the guys thought Fraser had killed him and wanted to give him the recipe and the other half of us wanted to go to the police. Trey – he’s another guy from the lab– just split, he told the school he had a family emergency and went back to Florida. So then there’s me and Martin left who have the recipe, and Martin’s not… I mean, he got high with us once or twice but he’s never been to the frat and I don’t think the guys really know about him.”

“What did you do?”

“I saw in the paper that some guy I didn’t know, that I’d never given any too, was dead, and they were saying he was an alpha too and that it was a new drug that had hit the market. I told my buddies, that was it, I was going to the cops, and then this morning, I was going to go.” He looked embarrassed, “but I was freaking out. I got high,” he admitted, looking apologetic. “Just a little to calm down before I went.”

“On that stuff?”

“Yeah. And then the next thing I knew…”

The sounds of footsteps outside the door caused them both to stop and look up. Eric sprung away him, and Danny just had time to lean back against the wall, before the door opened.

 “Oh good, you’re awake,” Fraser said, waving his gun at the kid.  “Cop,” he turned to Danny, “What the fuck were you doing there this morning?”

“Just gathering the last pieces of evidence,” Danny replied lazily, hoping in his head that it was true. The Five-0 hadn’t been aware of any links between Fraser’s syndicate and the overdoses as of yesterday afternoon, but clearly something had developed since Steve had called him. “We got an anonymous tip from a University hotline,” he improvised. “The description led us back to you. My team is already closing in.”

Fraser looked at him narrowly, weighing Danny’s words. “Well, it won’t make any difference to you, since you’re going right to the bottom of the ocean.” Eric moaned fearfully and Fraser turned. “Don’t worry. You’re not getting shot. You’re coming with us. We need you to show us how to fix that secret sauce you guys have been spreading around.”

“Don’t – don’t hurt him,” the kid chocked out. “I won’t help you if you do.”

“Well, isn’t that chivalrous,” Fraser said. “And stupid.  Hey, Mike, come here and help me with this guy!”

They heard footsteps and the driver from before came into view. He inhaled deeply when he entered, his attention fixing on Danny.

 

“Omega,” he said.

“What?” Fraser said, sounding annoyed. It suddenly became clear to Danny that Fraser was a beta, not an alpha as he had assumed.

“The cop. He’s an omega. He’s,” the driver inhaled again, looking at Danny speculatively now, “in heat, I’d say. Like the early stages.”

“Shit,” said Fraser. He grinned at Eric, who cowered in response. “So that’s why you were ready to play the superhero, huh?”

 “You can’t kill him,” the driver said, and smiled, shark-like, at Danny. “Come on, Fraser. I’ll take care of him.”

“He’s still a cop,” Fraser said, looking annoyed. “You alphas think with your dicks.  Every second he’s on the boat with us is a risk.”

“No,” the driver said, and Eric whined it too, low under his breath. Danny drew back as much as he could, until his back was flat against the wall. He didn’t think he was very far into the heat yet, but he still knew what it meant, when alphas started to get needy and demanding at the same time.

“No,” the driver whined again. “I’ll take care of him, Jake. Leave him to me.”

“What, you’re going to knot him?” Fraser said crudely. “Then you’ll never want to get rid of him. If you knock him up, fuck, worse. You can’t stash him in some safe house or something. No,” he said, seeming to decide, raising his gun and pointing it at Danny’s head. “Let me take care of this now. You’ll thank me for it later.”

Danny looked at the gun, not ten feet from his face, and wondered wildly for a second if this was the moment when Steve McGarrett was going to burst in, guns blazing. He was trying to decide whether or not to close his eyes when the driver guy jumped at Fraser and even Eric, on the floor, made an abortive kind of lunge towards him.

“Don’t do it,” snarled the driver.  “I’ll rip your fucking head off.” In his grab for the gun it got wrenched upwards, and then for a moment towards Fraser and then towards the floor. “Even if you kill him and throw him overboard, I’ll still rip your fucking head off afterwards.”

“Shit,” said Fraser, holding his hands up defensively once the driver had control of the gun. “Shit, fine, we’ll do it your way. Come on. Fuck.” Both of them were panting.  Fraser must have decided to try to at least pretend to have control of the situation, because he straightened his back and said, “fine. Whatever,” before stalking out of the room. The driver spared one long leer towards Danny and then a warning glance at Eric before following him out. They heard the lock slotting into place behind them.

Eric was breathing like a marathon runner.

“You’re an omega,” he said after a minute,  “I didn’t even know omegas could be cops.”

Danny spared him a look. “There are a few,” he said shortly.

“I guess not many omegas would want to be.”

“Why not?” Danny looked at him and then sighed. “I like my job, as a matter of fact. Most days.”

“Your alpha doesn’t mind?”

“My alpha?” Danny thoughts swung wildly to Steve for a moment before skittering back to Rachel.  “I don’t have an alpha,” he said, “I’m divorced.”

Eric was scooting carefully closer to him, near enough that his hand was only inches from Danny’s thigh.

“Don’t worry,” he said, “I’ll tell them that… that I won’t show them how to make the stuff, won’t teach them anything, unless they stay away from you.  I’ll protect you, ok?”

Danny refrained from rolling his eyes. More than a decade working as a police officer and he was supposed to be protected by an eighteen year old with a knot?

“No offense,” he said, “but we need a better plan that that.”

Then they shut up fast, because they heard footsteps again.  The two of them, Fraser and the driver, were back with more wire.  Fraser kept his gun pointed at Eric while the driver tied his arms tightly behind him.  He leered at Danny while he did so.

“Wouldn’t want this little guy bothering you.” 

Danny refrained from rolling his eyes.

“I’m Mike, by the way. Thought we should be properly introduced, since we’ll be getting to know each other better later.” His brought his face close to Danny’s. “What’s your name, sweetheart?”

“Fuck you,” Danny said, pleasantly.

“Oh, don’t be like that.” He leaned back and patted Danny on the cheek. “You’ll be gagging for it soon enough. Be nice to me now so I don’t have to punish you later.”

Danny just looked at him, trying to communicate just how unimpressed he was.

“Check his wallet,” said Fraser, sounding bored.

“Oh yeah,” crooned the driver, and slipped a hand behind Danny, leisurely digging for the wallet in his back pocket. He pulled it out and found Danny’s driver’s license. “Daniel Williams, 5’5, blue eyes. Nice to meet you, Daniel.”

“Come on,” said Fraser impatiently. “This is disgusting. I really don’t need to watch you flirting with him, Jesus.”

“Sorry about the accommodations,” said Mike, still looking at Danny. “Unfortunately space is limited.  I’ll come back when you’re feeling a little friendlier, yeah?”

Danny ignored him. But just before the guy went out the door he changed his mind and said, “Wait.”

Mike turned to look at him.

Danny looked at the floor. “I gotta pee.”

Mike looked at Fraser, who shrugged. “Your problem.”

“Fine,” Mike said, and came back over. He helped Danny to his feet, and led him down the narrow galley corridor toward a small bathroom, propping the door open. Then he pushed Danny forward.

Danny twitched his hands, still tied behind his back. “Gonna need some help here.”

To his disgust, the driver smiled. “Sure thing,” he said, and got up into Danny’s space, until their bodies inches apart. He grabbed the waistline of Danny’s pants, unbuttoning and working his fly open.

“Seriously?” asked Danny. “Could you seriously not just untie my hands for a minute?”

“Don’t know that I want to,” said Mike, and leaned in further. Danny pulled away in response, but the bathroom was tiny, and he ended up just leaning against the wall.  With Danny’s pants half-open, Mike stuck a hand down, rubbing over Danny’s boxer-covered dick as he did so. Danny held back a shudder of disgust.

“Not quite there yet, are you?” Mike said, regretfully. “Lucky for you, I prefer participation from my omegas.”

Almost gently, he flipped Danny around, so that his chest and head were smashed up against the wall. Danny felt him use something sharp cut through the layers of wire on Danny’s wrists, and then Mike took a step back.

“Go,” He said.

Danny glared at him, still feeling the cold wall against his cheek. He turned around and stood straight, determined not to show that he was shaken. “Can I get some privacy?”

“I don’t think so.”

“I can’t pee unless you get the fuck out of here.”

Mike smiled again. Danny hated that smug look. Finally Mike stepped back, holding both hands, one still clutching the box cutter, up in mock-defeat.

“Have it your way,” he said, and took a step back, allowing Danny to shut the door.

Once alone, Danny took a second to look at his face in the small mirror above the sink. Then he growled, peed quickly, washed his hands, ran water over his face and dried it with a paper towel, and stepped out again.

“I thought you were going try to lock yourself in there,” Mike drawled.

In response, Danny stuck his hands out in front of him, and watched as Mike looped another long piece of wire around Danny’s wrists. He rubbed Danny’s wrists a bit as he did so, testing the soft skin there.  Danny stood stone still and tried not to project the minor victory he was feeling: Mike was tying his wrists in the front, not behind him this time: a mistake.

And he wasn’t as good with knots as Fraser.

When Mike was finished, he put a hand to Danny’s forehead, testing it. Danny tensed again but refused to flinch.

“You don’t feel warm,” Mike said, disappointed. “How long you got- another couple of hours, maybe?”

Danny didn’t answer. But as Mike shoved him back into the makeshift prison cell, and slammed the door shut behind him, he thought to himself that the room felt hotter than it had before – and Mike’s hand had felt cooler than it should have. 

He didn’t have a couple of hours. He had more like one or two.

 

 

Instead of taking him back to his apartment, Steve had changed routes quietly, without saying anything to Danny. They were most of the way to his house before Danny, looking out the window, noticed what he had done.

 “Turn around, now.”

Steve had looked at him guiltily. “You’re still recovering,” he said. “You can stay with me until you’re feeling better.”

“It’s just a cracked rib,” Danny said. “And I feel fine, thanks for asking.”

Steve didn’t say anything, but he didn’t turn the car around either. His knuckles were white, tightly gripping the steering wheel. Danny exploded.

“Steve, you can’t do this. You can’t decide just because I’m an omega that you’re going to ignore my wishes, take me home with you, tell me what to do and-”

“Jesus, Danny, it’s not like I’m going to do anything to you,” Steve’s voice scrapped soft.

Logically, Danny knew that – and it was exactly what he wanted – but for some reason, it still hurt to hear.  Looking at Steve’s hands, tightly gripped around the steering wheel, and the way that his jaw was set as he stared forward, stubbornly not looking at Danny, he realized that maybe some part of him had hoped or thought that Steve would, when he realized Danny and Rachel were really no longer together, look at Danny differently.

How stupid. Steve was pretty much the epitome of an alpha – tough, handsome, effortlessly at the top of an elite military pecking order – and he could have had any beta or omega he wanted. The kind of omegas guys like Steve went for were pretty, delicate, and well-put-together. Not scruffy, beat-up, middle aged guys like Danny, who didn’t even look much like an omega (he was usually glad) except for his height.

“I know you wouldn’t,” he said finally, bringing himself under control with effort. “I appreciate that you’ve never treated me any differently, Steve. Don’t start now.”

Steve glanced at him, his green eyes inscrutable.  “Fine,” he said, curtly. “If that’s what you want.”

Steve swung the car around at the next intersection, heading back to Danny’s apartment complex. He went so far as to help Danny carry his duffel bag in the door, and then he looked around the shitty rat hole apartment once, angrily, and left abruptly without repeating his invitation.

If he had asked again, maybe Danny would have given in and accepted it. Just looking at the peeling linoleum on the floor, the peeling paint on the wall, and the discolored plasterboard of the ceiling, he couldn’t help thinking, this is my life, and wishing it wasn’t.

It took him a long time to get his sofa bed unfolded, with his rib twinging every time he bent even a little, but finally he managed. He cranked up his window AC, crawled in between the sheets that hadn’t been washed since at least two weeks before he went to the hospital, and looked at Gracie’s picture, sitting on the side table that doubled as a night stand, until finally he fell asleep.

 

 

“Are you alright?” Eric asked in a small voice.

Mike’s shove had caused Danny to half lose his balance, and he had let himself fall against the wall and slid down, to keep from toppling over entirely. He had ended up in a heap on the floor. He cast an incredulous look at the kid.

“I’m fine.” He said, roughly.

“Good,” said Eric, “good. I thought maybe….” he flushed.

“Not quite there yet,” Danny said, rolling himself over and back up into a sitting position. “God, it smells awful in here.”

“Sorry,” Eric avoided looking at the puddle of vomit on the floor. “What are they going to us?”

Danny looked at him and sighed. “I don’t know,” he said. “They said they needed your help making the drugs. Any idea what the problem is?”

“It isn’t that hard. The ingredients are all available through lab supply companies, only one of them is kind of expensive. You basically just mix some stuff and heat it and do some extractions,” Eric paused, “I think they might be having trouble with the purity. I was getting, I don’t know, maybe 82% of the original stuff I put in converted to the end product? Some of the grad students could get it like 94 or 95% pure. We would test it before giving it to people, because it isn’t clean it could fuck people up, right?”

While Eric talked, Danny looked at the wire tying his hands, carefully twisting his wrists back and forth to test its strength. That little bit of wire at the end: if he could push it backward, it might loosen the knot? He brought his wrists to his mouth, feeling for the bit of wire with his tongue.  No luck. Eric had stopped talking and was looking at him nervously.

“Ok,” Danny said, pulling his hands away, “yeah, that sounds right.  They’re probably doing something wrong, leaving something out or skipping a step. You need to tell them it’s more than that. Tell them there’s some extra ingredient they’re missing, I don’t know. Make it sound good. If it’s too easy they have no incentive to keep you alive.”

“I’m just an undergrad!” Eric said frantically, “I’ve only been working there for like, a couple months! I don’t know how to make stuff up!”

“It doesn’t matter,” Danny said, “just - I don’t know – what’s that expensive ingredient you mentioned? Tell them they aren’t using enough of that.”

“Ok,” Eric nodded rapidly. “Ok, I can do that.”

“Good. Now, turn around.”

 

He got Eric to scoot enough that his back was to Danny, his tied hands at the level of Danny’s, and started to work at getting Eric’s hands untied. Lucky that Mike had done that too. It was slow going, because he could only pick at the knot with one hand at a time, but after about twenty minutes he was sure he was making progress.  Eric kept fidgeting, making it harder.

“I think I can smell you, now,” Eric said.

Danny frowned but didn’t reply.

“I mean, it was hard at first ‘cause it smells bad in here, but you smell kind of good. Nice.”

Shut up, Danny thought, irritated.

“I’ve never been around an omega in heat before… except my mom, and obviously, she doesn’t count…”

Danny pushed a little loop of wire free, a small triumph.

“Look,” he said. “I’m like your mom, ok?”

“You aren’t, though.”

“I am. I’m an adult and I’m a cop and I’m going to get us out of this.”

“You say that now,” Eric’s voice sounded sulky.

Danny grit his teeth. “Just hold still, ok?”

 

 

Danny had gone back to the Five-0 the next Monday with a knot in his throat, feeling like he was waiting for the other shoe to drop. Steve had already known he was an omega, but now he probably thought Danny was damaged somehow (he could admit privately to himself that he probably was) or that he needed more protection or guidance (he definitely didn’t).

But Steve didn’t treat him any differently. He might have been stiff when he asked Danny how his ribs were feeling, but he still sent him out on a stake-out right away, with a follow-up visit the house of a potentially dangerous suspect.  Not that Danny necessarily approved of the unnecessarily risk, but he did appreciated that Steve wasn’t treating him with kid gloves.

If he felt Steve’s eyes on his back – or even caught Steve watching him, looking as if there was something he wanted to say – Danny pretended he didn’t see it. Chin and Kono helped, although they had to be aware of the tension, they blithely pretended not to notice. Danny had no idea what they thought was going on, and he wasn’t going to ask.

When Friday came around and Kono suggested dinner and drinks at a place down by the beach, Danny gratefully accepted.  A noisy pub, with rounds of unhealthy appetizers and beer passed around, was just what he had needed: was just what Steve had needed too, apparently, since finally he seemed relaxed around Danny again, drinking his beer and smiling at Chin’s dry humor and Kono’s wisecracks. When Danny made a comment that left Steve gasping with laughter, and he grinned at Steve and Steve’s handsome face cracked in a wide smile, Danny felt himself finally starting to relax again.  Steve was getting over it.

That good feeling lasted until they left the bar. Danny stepped carefully over the curb into the parking lot: he wasn’t drunk, but he didn’t want to stumble and give anyone an excuse to rag him at work for the next week, either. Steve was behind him and they waved goodbye to Chin and Kono as they got into Chin’s car.

“I’ll drive you home,” Steve said.

“No thanks,” Danny answered. His apartment was only a short walk away, and his ribs had finally stopped aching enough that he thought he could handle it. The cooling night air felt good against his arms, too. “I’ll walk.”

“I’ll walk with you,” Steve said.

“What are you talking about? Your truck's right there.”

Steve set his jaw in his distinctly Steve-ish stubborn look, which made Danny throw his hands up, not wanting to get into an argument in the parking lot. “Fine,” he said, “but we are walking.”

They set off down the street, moving away from the beach. Danny still had to take it a little slow with his ribs.

“You don’t have Grace this weekend,” Steve observed.

“No.”

“Why don’t you come over to my place tomorrow? We’ll do some steaks and watch the game.”

Danny felt his radar going up. “You know, Steve,” he started to say, but Steve interrupted him.

“I mean, not like a date,” Steve said quickly. “I’m not trying to make a move or anything.”   

“Right,” Danny said. “Right. Of course not. Um, sure. That sounds great.”

 

And then Steve stuck to his word. He treated Danny exactly like he was another alpha – or a beta, probably – one that he had absolutely no interest in. He grilled steaks. They slouched in front of the couch, watching tv, until Danny looked out the window and saw it was already nine o’clock. When he got up and said “I’d better go,” Steve grunted but didn’t try to walk him to the door.

If Danny had thought as he sat there about leaning over and kissing Steve… Danny didn’t like to start something that he couldn’t see ending well.  Steve was demanding and crazy and had taken years off Danny’s life just through the stress of having him for a boss, and as an alpha he’d probably be pushy and handsy and Danny would never, ever, have been able to balance his life between Steve and Grace.  And that was the best case scenario: in the worst, Steve wasn’t even interested, pushed Danny away from him with a gentle ‘no’,  and work got even more awkward than it had been. Since the Five-0 was basically the only thing in Danny’s life which still seemed to be going pretty well, it wasn’t an easy thing to risk.

So he didn’t.

 

 

It took Danny another twenty minutes of careful, slow work on Eric’s hands, before the wires slipped into loose coils that he could pull his wrists between.

“Finally,” Danny hissed. “Come on, do mine. We need to be fast here.”

Eric quivered as he bent over Danny’s hands, biting his lip in concentration as he picked at Danny’s wires. It would go faster since he had both hands free. Danny could see his nostrils twitching, knew that Eric was scenting him. The more serious issue was that he didn’t mind as much as he should have. He shifted his legs beneath him, trying not to brush against the slightly swollen gland underneath.

Eric was young, but he had nice eyes. His fingers felt good when they touched Danny’s wrists, the feeling of them lingered afterwards.

“You smell nice,” Eric murmured, “you know that, don’t you?”

Danny shook his head. “You’re a kid,” he said stubbornly.  He was a kid. He was a kid and Danny wasn’t going to think about - he needed something else, someone else, to think about. Steve’s eyes, Steve’s hands- Danny could remember the scent of him, could imagine rubbing it into his skin. Steve always smelled good, that faint musky-clean alpha scent that Danny tried never to breathe in too deeply, because it had a way of traveling straight to his dick.   

 

Steve grinning at him, dirty and bloody – probably not his blood, it usually wasn’t, and he didn’t appear to have any gaping wounds – after he came down from three days in the mountains. Calming informing Danny that he’d smoked a terrorist cell out of the cave they’d been using as a base.

Steve on nights when they worked late, doing paperwork, stoically keeping his mouth shut about how much he hated it until Danny’s bitching made him bite his lip, to keep from laughing.

Steve surfing with Kono, all long lines, his lean chest wet, water running over his tattoos in a way that made Danny, watching from the beach, wrench his gaze away.


“No,” Danny said, not speaking to Eric so much as himself.  He wasn’t doing this right now: he couldn’t.  He rubbed his freed wrists and looked about the room for anything that might be usable as a weapon. “Here’s how we’re going to do it.”

 

It was, Danny was willing to admit, not the best plan he had ever come up with. But it was the best he could come up with on short notice, especially with a brain increasingly distracted by things as simple as the feeling of his jeans scraping against his thighs. He stood flat against the wall next to the door and whined: it took him a second to get the right sound to come out, and then his body took over, and he thought of Steve and whined again.  It was the kind of sound that would instinctively drive itself like a spike deep into an alpha’s brain: Danny didn’t even have to look at Eric to see the way it made the kid clench his whole body, focusing entirely on Danny.

He heard the footsteps a second before the door swung open: Danny came around hard, and managed to get one good, clean strike to Mike’s neck, just at the point where it could knock a guy out. The driver slid boneless down to the floor.

“Stay here,” he told Eric.

A minute ago he’d been horny. Now he didn’t feel it anymore. Instead his heart was racing, he felt nauseous, and his skin was hot. The alpha on the floor by his toes didn’t smell appealing but it was still hard to pull himself away. He needed to keep moving, push through this. He tied Mike's hands behind his back (and he did it right) and picked up his gun. He slipped the safety off.

Danny crept cautiously into the hallway and up the short flight of stairs. Eric followed. Danny gave him a dirty look, Eric, stubbornly, shook his head.  Just perfect.

 

He heard Fraser before he saw him, arguing on his cell phone. Danny crept low around the side of the boat to what seemed like a control room, and got off two quick shots, both to the shoulder. Fraser dropped the phone with a yell.

“How many guys on the boat, Fraser?” Danny shouted, “where are we?”

“Son of a bitch!” Fraser yelled, “I knew we should have killed you!”

Danny growled, turned sharply and got one more guy. Another clean shot to the shoulder, those hours on the range were paying off after all.

“Find some more wire,” he told Eric, “I’m going to make sure of this.”

He did a quick sweep of the boat, but beside the three guys that was it.

“I’ve got wire,” Eric said, offering it to him like a puppy, “I can tie them up.”

“Thanks, but no thanks.” He wasn’t going to take any more chances with that: he used his best boy scout knots and manhandled them into the room where Mike was still unconscious, Fraser bleeding and glaring.

 “You know how to steer a boat?” He asked Eric, and sighed when he said no.  “Well, at least I know how to use a radio.”

Luckily the coast guard dispatcher was quick to respond, once Danny gave him his badge number and summarized the situation. He explained to Danny how to extract the ship’s coordinates from the read outs in front of him, and then promised that help was on its way.

 

He was still breathing hard. The adrenaline had done it, kicked him into high gear, but now with the heat he wasn’t coming down again. He was on fire, his clothes felt wrong against his skin. He needed something to drink, but he couldn’t think – where – there had to be water on this ship somewhere. 

“Are you ok?” Eric said, looking both nervous and excited.  Danny looked at the gun in his hand, the one he’d taken off Mike. Should he keep it on him? Or was he going to hurt somebody with it?

Groaning, he got up, and went to the small ship’s bathroom. He wasn’t sure the water was good to drink – it probably wasn’t – but he filled his hands at the tap anyway, and took deep, messy gulps.  One. Two. Three. Four. He could do this.  He just needed to calm down, he needed to think, he needed to relax.  He needed to get away from the kid, somehow: just because he had a knot, the idea of fucking him shouldn’t seem appealing- it wasn’t appealing. It wasn’t, Danny told himself, firmly.  And then, because it was the only thing that seemed to be working so far, he let himself think of Steve, which made him wetter, but also made the thought of turning around, walking out the bathroom door, and jumping an eighteen-year old fade in desirability, until his mind was able to let the idea go.

The bathroom didn’t have a lock.  Fuck.  What was Danny supposed to do? The bathroom didn’t have a lock and the only secure room on the boat was filled with criminals. 

Eric knocked on the door. “Are you alright in there?”

The deck, Danny thought. Maybe the fresh air on the deck would be better.

He staggered out, brushing past Eric, until he was out on the clean wooden surface, looking out at the endless, sparkling ocean. It was a nice day. Eric was still on his heels, right behind him.

It wouldn’t be so bad, Danny thought. It happened all the time. Every omega has a couple of those embarrassing, “people I let fuck me, when I was in heat” stories: the kind you joke about with your friends, later, the best way to scrape the feeling out of your skin being to laugh about it later.  So what if his mistake was going to be a teenaged druggie-come-chemist: at least it wasn’t the greasy man tied up in the hold below them, with his unhygienic, pointy-toothed smile.

“Um, you’re ok, right?” said Eric, for what, the one millionth time, and Danny could hear in his voice that he was just waiting, waiting for the moment when Danny finally took leave of his senses and said yes.

Instead of answering, he pulled himself into the shade on one side of the boat, resisted loosening his tie, and looked out to sea.

 

 

It was precisely twenty seven minutes and forty-seven seconds later that Steve, Chin and Kono pulled up beside them in a coast guard speed boat.

“Danny!” Kono said, swinging herself up over the side of the boat with an athleticism that never failed to secretly impress him a little. “You’re alright? Whoa,” her eyes and nostrils widened and Danny knew his scent had hit her. “You… you’re-”

“Having a bad day, yeah,” Danny said, weakly.  He watched Chin and then Steve come up onto the deck.

Steve looked at him and then looked at Kono and did something that sounded like a snarl that came from the back of his throat. Kono backed up a step and looked at him with wide eyes.

“Jesus, Chief!” She said. “He’s yours, ok? Everybody knows he’s yours,” she added, sotto voce.

Danny felt too distracted, too slick, too over-stimulated, to argue. Instead he got shakily to his feet. Eric tried to follow him up and Steve turned and made the same sound again, which should have been ridiculous but instead made Danny’s knees weak.

“Who’s that?” Steve barked, and Danny looked at him blearily, wondering who he meant.

“Eric,” said the kid beside him. “I’m Eric.”

“Oh yeah,” Danny said, waving his hand, “He’s the, ah… the witness.” The words felt funny in his mouth. He wondered if he had gotten them right. Steve’s presence had hit him like a ton of bricks. He tottered towards the team, and stood, and tried to look like he wasn’t a hairs breath away from dripping all over the deck. “Can we go home, now?”

Chin and Kono looked at each other, and then at Steve. They avoided looking at Danny. Only Steve looked: his eyes were locked on Danny’s face, like he couldn’t tear them away.

“You take him back, boss,” Kono said, “Chin and I can wrap up here.”

“Fine,” Steve growled. He stood, hovering and twitching, watching as Danny lowered himself over the side of the boat and into the waiting speed boat below. 

The coast guard patrol man looked at him and gulped, as he stepped into the boat.  Danny went to the back and seated himself gingerly. He debated for a moment curling up into a ball as best he could on the thin bench, but decided against it. He wedged himself into the corner instead.

Steve came down a moment later. “Back to Honolulu,” he told the patrol man, who nodded and began pulling away from the side of the ship.

“There are some, uh, guys,” Danny remembered, “locked up underneath. I wouldn’t let them out.”

“I’ll tell Chin,” Steve said, and got out his cell phone.

Danny half-listened as Steve barked orders into the phone: more to the sound and the cadence of his voice than the actual words. He wanted to get up and wrap himself in that sound, but moving just them, beyond lightly pressing himself against the metal bench, seemed far too much to seriously attempt. Softly he whined: not fully aware what he’d done until Steve’s head snapped towards him. Danny felt his face growing even redder than it already was. He couldn’t help himself, he whined again.

Steve was in the back of the boat like a shot, but instead of pressing himself against Danny, as he’d hoped, he chose to sit across from him, tucking his knees under the bench so they didn’t brush Danny’s.

“Listen,” he said, “you have to tell me, ok? I can take you to Rachel’s. Or I can take you to that rat hole apartment of yours, although so help me, I don’t know if I can make myself leave you there. You need to tell me what you want, now, before this gets any worse, do you understand?”

Danny looked at him. Steve’s eyes were green. He loved the feeling of Steve’s eyes on him, and he shivered in response.

Steve was so stupid.  Like he thought Danny would say anything, now, other than yes, and please, and now.  It didn’t matter. He would have said anything. 

But his heat-stroked brain was sly enough to recognize that somehow this still mattered, at least to Steve, and that Danny needed to be convincing if this was going to happen.

So he managed to look Steve in the eye, and say calmly, “take me to your place, ok?”

Steve's face broke into a wide, genuine smile. He pivoted himself from his seat into the one next to Danny’s, pressing his leg against Danny’s. It was a warm, good feeling, that seeped through two layers of cargo pants, modulating the fire in Danny’s blood, promising Alpha and mine, assuring him that he was safe.

They stayed like that for what seemed like a long time. If Danny’s skin felt red-hot, the ocean around them was blue and endless. The occasional spray from the boat felt good against his skin. When he moaned, Steve put his hand on his shoulder, and rubbed small circles there, that left Danny boneless.

By the time they made it back to the island he was having trouble making his legs work the way they were supposed to.  “Come on, come on,” Steve said, half-guiding, half-carrying him out of the boat, into the parking lot and towards his truck.  He put Danny in the back and rolled all the windows down.

Danny freed himself from his tie, which felt like a noose around his neck, and then he unbuttoned the seat belt and lay down across the back seat, looking up at the sky and at the tops of trees as Steve drove. Having him so far away, in the front seat, seemed wrong, and he reached out a hand to try and touch –

The car lurched and skidded to a stop in front of Steve’s house. Steve opened the back door and reached in, half-hugging Danny to pull him out. Danny buried his head in Steve’s shoulder and sighed, and then, experimentally, licked the skin there.  Steve nearly dropped him, but managed to get them both to the front door. He fumbled for his key. 

As soon as they were inside, Steve turned around, pushed him flat against the wall, and kissed Danny. It hurt, Steve was kissing him so hard, and Danny kissed back enthusiastically, and rutted against Steve, hooking a leg over him to drag him in closer.

“Gotta get that,” Steve said, smiling, pulling at Danny’s collar. His eyes were dancing, he looked like a kid who’d just been given the best birthday present ever. “Let me help you with-” half the buttons on Danny’s shirt skittered to the floor when Steve overshot, wrenching it open. He laughed, but Danny just threw his head back against the wall and moaned. Steve was already moving on to Danny’s pants, but he felt too uncoordinated to manage a buckle just then, so he hooked his hands over Steve’s shoulders and let his head fall forward and kicked and toed at his shoes until they were off, and then he just focused on the feeling of Steve’s hands, fumbling at his zipper, Steve opening his pants and pushing them down, with his underwear, all at once, working them down to Danny’s ankles and then urging him to step out of them.

“Oh, God, Danny,” Steve whispered, like it was a joy, looking up at him from where he knelt on the floor. Danny’s cock was jutting out in front of him and he was wet, slick sliding all the way down his thighs. At any other time he would have been embarrassed but now he almost didn’t notice, he only saw Steve, his green eyes dilated until they were nearly black holes, staring up at him. He started to move towards the floor, towards Steve’s mouth, but Steve stood up instead, running his hands along the back of Danny’s legs, his back, as he did so, until he was eye-level with Danny again and smiling.

“You’re so amazing,” he said, and kissed Danny quick and sweet, and then dragged him towards the back of the house. Danny didn’t care, Danny would have rutted anywhere, but once they were in Steve’s bedroom and he was stretched out on the mattress, he had to admit, it was better. Steve knelt between his legs, shucking his shirt and his pants with easy athleticism, and Danny keened when Steve’s dick, larger, perfect, dark, the bulb at the base just visibly starting to swell, sprung free. He tried to raise himself enough to get at it, and Steve caught him easily, and laid him back down again, saying, “easy, easy now… we’re just getting started”.

He just wanted Steve now, he felt empty, dripping, uncomfortably, undesirably, empty. He whined again, trying to convey to Steve how urgently he needed this, and when Steve kept kissing him through the whines he managed to bring up words from the depth of his memory.

“Please,” he said, “please, Steve – please. Please.”

Steve kissed him again, then pulled away and kissed the side of his forehead, his cheekbone, and his hands roamed all over Danny’s shoulders and chest, brushing over his pecs, his nipples, his belly, like he still couldn’t believe he was touching, or what was happening.

Danny tried to flip himself over, but Steve resisted, so he tried to push his legs up instead, canting his hips to give Steve better access.

“You really can’t wait, can you?” Steve said, and his voice sounded affectionate, but also regretful, and Danny didn’t understand at all, and didn’t particularly care.  He watched as Steve ran a hand over his cock, that throbbed desperately into his touch, and then leaned away to get something from the bedside table; one of those alpha condoms, with enough width to go over the knot and not slip behind.

And finally Steve was getting with the program, helping Danny get his legs up on his shoulders, working his cock as he looked down at Danny, his eyes nearly black, before lining himself up and sinking into him, quickly, because there was no resistance, because Danny was open and slick and ready and had been waiting for this forever. He pushed himself back as hard as he could on Steve’s cock, and panted, trying to take him in deeper.

And then Steve put his hands on Danny’s hips, steadying him, and set up a sharp pace, pushing in and pulling out with tight, coordinated thrusts, that were both just right and not enough, and Danny could feel Steve inside, hitting him just at the point that felt tenderest, that made him whine and curl his fingers and his toes in delight and curl in towards Steve and then flop flat on his back again, fingers working in the sheets.

He felt it the first time Steve pushed past the knot, which slipped in and slipped out again, the feeling of it pulling free of him intensifying the pleasure when it pushed immediately back in. Steve lost his rhythm and then thrust again, this time not so deep that the knot entered, and Danny wanted it back again, and tried to say so. 

“It’s not quite,” Steve said, panting, “there yet”, and he pushed in again and this time the knot was bigger, and stuck for a moment before Steve pulled it out again, and Danny loved that he could feel it growing, the feeling of it leaving him, and the feeling of it being forced back inside.

Then Steve gave a final, deep, push, that Danny didn’t realize was the last one until he felt the knot finishing its expansion inside of him, too large pressing against him, and too deep inside, overwhelming all at once, and he realized that Steve was coming, and Steve’s face, looking down at him, was open, his lips red, breathing hard, looking down at Danny and still smiling for some reason, smiling and leaning down and kissing Danny, his thrusts turned to shallow spasms that he seemed unable to prevent himself from making, and Danny, for some reason, felt a wave of compassion, a desire to protect him, and he reached up with his hands and took Steve’s face and kissed him as best as he could, uncoordinated on the chin and then on the lips, before leaning back and coming himself.

 

After a while Steve managed, somehow, to turn them around. It took a long time and Danny mostly grumbled throughout, only half-interested in the proceedings except when they caused Steve’s knot to tug against him uncomfortably. Eventually he was tucked in place, Steve spooning behind him. Then he felt Steve’s breath quicken, and he gave another series of the shallow attempts at thrusting that told Danny he was coming again.  It felt good to him, right, to have Steve like this, to have Steve’s chest behind him and his arms covering him, and he felt sated but not so much that he could have slept- instead he pushed back on Steve’s knot, more lazily than he had before, still trying to milk it, clenching around it as best he could, in a way that made Steve moan and lean in and finally bite Danny’s shoulder, lightly, his teeth pressing in, sending shivers out from the bite down Danny’s arms, and spine, making him arch back against Steve and arch his neck until Steve bit there, too, once, at the nape.

Steve’s knot didn’t feel any smaller than before, which made Danny satisfied, in some part of his hind-brain: tired but triumphant.  He let Steve bite him again and come again, and then he must have drifted off.

When he woke the first time, it was to the feeling of Steve pulling out of him: carefully, gingerly, and there was a lot of tacky and tenderly stuck-together skin between them. When Steve pulled away Danny whined, wanting the warm body, the scent and the security of it, back again, and then he felt Steve slipping back into the bed behind him and was able to sleep again.

 

 

When he woke again, he had no idea where he was at first.  There was a clock on the table beside him that said it was five thirty am.  His mouth tasted like he had swallowed fistfuls of sand.  There was a body next to him, too large and too warm to be Rachel. He turned and saw Steve’s face, droopy and peaceful in sleep, and everything came back to Danny with a jolt that sent blood rushing to his face.

The bed smelled terrible, full of the funk of sex, sheets stiff with sweat and dried slick and come, probably both of theirs mixed together.  He wanted to shower, and he could see the door of Steve’s bathroom from where he was lying. But he also didn’t want to move away from Steve. He was comfortable where he was, and the thought of putting even a few feet them was disagreeable. He was full of bonding hormones, probably, the kind designed to keep alphas and omegas paired after a heat and through a pregnancy.  Which, thankfully, Steve had been using condoms. At least one of them still had some sense.

He turned himself onto his back and lay there, his head on the pillow, looking up at Steve’s ceiling, until the room began to lighten incrementally, turning a dim gray before the first rays of golden sunlight breached the window.  Of course Steve was the kind of guy who would have an open window facing east, Danny reflected: any sensible human being would have thrown a blackout curtain over it.

Steve seemed to be waking up in slow motion, first turning away from the sun, then towards it, stretching his whole body out. Finally he opened his eyes and looked at Danny.

“Hey,” he said softly.

“Oh my God,” Danny spoke without thinking, “you’re one of those.”

“One of those?” Steve asked, sounded confused and sleep-blurred, but also affectionate.

Danny didn’t answer. Instead, he sat up, a task which was both burdensome and painful, and looked down at Steve, who seemed to stretch out further under Danny’s gaze, naked, sun-lit, warm, smiling up at him.

“Hey,” he said back, resting a hand lightly on Steve’s chest, “I’m not going to kiss you. My mouth tastes like bat guano. I need a shower.”

Steve sat and then stood up in a smooth kind of curling and uncurling motion. “I’ll join you,” he said.

Danny got off the bed, feeling Steve’s eyes on him, feeling Steve coming up behind him, until he was only a inches away, his skin warm, and he brought his hands to rest on Danny’s waist.

“So,” Danny said, “it’s going to be like this?”

“Like what?” he lowered his head to Danny’s shoulder, running his lips over the mark he had made the night before.

Danny turned towards him.

“What are you now? My partner? My friend who helped me out during an inconvenient heat? My alpha?”

Steve looked at him carefully, in a way that Danny knew meant he was trying to read him. He kept his expression as neutral as he could.

“All of those,” said Steve, “if you’ll let me.”

Danny shook his head incredulously.

“What?” demanded Steve.

“You’re one of those post-coitally sappy types, aren’t you?”

Steve laughed, and stroked his hands lightly down Danny’s sides. “So what if I am?”

“Ok,” said Danny, throwing his hands up, but then bringing them down to rest on Steve’s shoulders.  Steve was smiling, and Danny found himself grinning back. “Ok, let’s do it.”