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Big White Lie

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Hollywire Hot Minute: Did ALL of 1D Just Go Off the Market?!

Breaking the hearts of fans everywhere, 1DHQ finally confirmed the rumors that during the break from their tour, the 1D alphas put a ring on their omega!

“The band is happy to announce the engagement of four of its members. Liam, Harry, and Zayn have asked Niall to marry them, and as Harry’s ecstatically revealed via tweet, ‘He said yes!’ Louis and the soon-to-be pack’s family members are delighted with the news.”

The band has returned to work juggling the remainder of their jam-packed tour and the making of their album, which is due out this fall. It looks as if they’ll now add wedding planning to the list!

Also rumored to be out of the dating scene—at least for now—is the group’s sole beta. While his band mates were getting engaged, Louis Tomlinson was spotted multiple times with model Jac Jagaciak, who is tapped to be one of Victoria’s Secret’s new angels. Could the beta finally be settling down after the on-again-off-again relationship with Little Mix’s Perrie Edwards, the romance with Taylor Swift and the ill-fated love triangle with Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez? As his band mates settle down, perhaps so is he!

“Out of the dating scene, huh?” Ed joined Louis on the outskirts of the star-studded engagement party. They watched the alphas and their omega accepting congratulations, absolutely glowing.

“Sheers,” Louis turned his back on the happy scene, toasting to the beta before taking a long drag of his cigarette. He leaned on the stone barrier of the poorly lit balcony and blew his smoke to the night. “What about you?”

“You know me.”

Louis leered playfully, “Quite biblically in fact.”

“Betas just want to have fu-un,” Ed let his push linger as he sang. Breaking their gaze, Ed sighed, “Incoming.”

“This ass. This ass is wasted on a beta. It needs an alpha and a knot inside it,” two hands cupped Louis’ behind.

The singer shoved the alpha away, “Fuck off, Grimshaw.”

Harry’s friend laughed and lit a cigarette. “Thought you had a thing for alphas. Or, no, omegas. Or is that just the models? Singers? Or actors? She was all three at the same time once, right?”

Louis rolled his eyes. “Don’t believe everything you hear, Grimmy.”

“I hear that the big, bad Biebs is coming tonight.”

“Ask Megan—“

“The cute management beta?”

“She’d know about his RSVP. Besides, he’s a friend of Niall and Zayn’s. Why wouldn’t he show?”

“Was Miss Gomez invited?”

“She was.”

“What did go on between you and Selena, Louis? Can I call you Loulou like she did? And was it a publicity setup? I think it was. C'mon Lou, I’d even take an answer off the record,” Nick pried.

“What happened between us is our business.”

“And mine. Showbiz is my business.”

“I thought being a pretentious fuck was your business.”

“Careful, Tommo. I don’t care if you’re a beta, I’ll take you over my knee. I’d savor spanking this ass,” he reached for it again.

“Bitch, please,” Louis looped his eyes again. “Like you could handle me.”

With that challenge, the alpha’s eyes flared with darkness. He snatched the Doncaster boy by his lapels, barking at Ed before the ginger could intervene, “Stay out of this beta. You wanna say that again, Tomlinson?”

Unperturbed, the singer took a final pull of his fag and puffed it into Nick’s snarling face. “What’s wrong, Grimmy? Your alpha hearing failing you?”

“Is everything all right out here?” Maura, the Alpha leader of Niall’s three parents appeared in the doorway.

“Yes ma’am. Everything’s fine, Grimmy here was just checking out my jacket. Yes, it is Burberry and you’re wrinkling it,” Louis whacked the alpha’s hands away and smoothed out the fabric.

“Lovely,” she waved him over. “My boy’s looking for you, dear.”

“His wish is my command,” Louis offered the lady Alpha his arm; she smiled and allowed him to escort her back in.

“Lou! Thanks Da! Dad and Mum are looking for you,” he kissed her cheek and she disappeared after her alpha mate and their omega. “A couple of the ol’boys want to take me out for drinks!” Niall motioned to his friends by the door—two betas from Mullingar, Louis remembered.

“Shouldn’t you be telling your alphas that, Sunshine?”

Niall lit up at the nickname. His alphas tried to call him that, but it only ever sounded right from Louis. He disregarded—as he usually did—that the beta shied away from affection and kissed his cheek. “And that’s why I need you.”

“Oh, no. No, no. No, no, no, no, no!” Louis backed up, hands raised. But then, Niall turned on his omega charm, batting his big blue eyes.

“Please, Lou? The boys are insanely protective since we got engaged. This is the furthest I’ve been from all three of them since, and I want a couple hours with my mates to just shoot the shit,” he reached for Louis’ jacket and picked at the bottom seam. He looked up through his eyelashes and pouted. “I’ll be safe, you know I will. They’re good lads.”

They were a couple of Niall’s oldest friends. They could be trusted, right? Reasoning aside, those blue eyes had him beat. “You take Alberto with you, Niall Horan, and you stick to him like cum on a bathhouse floor.”

“Ok, ew. Just give me a ten minute window while the party winds down, yeah?” Niall grinned. “Thanks, Lou!”

“That boy’s trouble,” a sultry voice said once the Irishman disappeared into the crowd again.

Louis grinned and spun around. “Hello, love.”

“Hello, ex,” Selena pressed dos besos dangerously close to his lips.

“Now that is a mark if I’ve ever seen one,” he brushed her curls off the bonding scar on her shoulder. “Where is your alpha? I’d like a bit of warning before I died.”

“He’s not going to kill you.”

Eyebrows raised, Louis snorted, “Did you tell him?”

“He knows.”

“Does he?” he questioned knowingly.

“Does he need to?” Selena crossed her arms.

“It’d make my life easier,” he walked them over to one of the bars and ordered a couple strong drinks.

“Trying to get my omega drunk?” the Canadian alpha growled, low and dangerous.

“Hello, Justin. No, this one’s for you. Cheers,” he pushed the whiskey neat into the singer’s hand and toasted the tumblers, taking his like a shot. “Besides, I wouldn’t need to get her drunk, mate.” Why did Louis need to keep talking? That sounded like a challenge and causing a scene with Justin Bieber was the opposite of what Louis wanted to do (Zayn and Liam would have him drawn and quartered, and he couldn’t ruin tonight for Niall). “I mean, I don’t need to get her drunk. She’s claimed. Why would I even try to get her drunk?” he followed up quickly. “And, what purpose would Selena being drunk serve me? I’d never take advantage of a drunk omega.” He spun around and tapped his glass against the bar. “And white wine for the lady. Or not, I don’t know. I’m not her partner,” he took another shot. “I have to go.”

“Yeah, you do,” the alpha warned. The glass crumbled in his fist.

“Good to see you, Selena,” Louis gave her hand a squeeze and Justin, a respectful nod before escaping into the crowd. During the next couple hours, he alternated between mingling like he’d been told to and chain smoking on the balcony.

Finally, Niall glanced at him then looked to the alphas.

“That your cue?” Ed had a laugh at the omega’s lack of subtly.

“Apparently so. I’ve tried to teach him better, Ed, I have.”

“Come find me after?”

“The room at your ready and you still want me, huh?”

“I like them easy?” the beta teased with a soft smile.

“Ah, is that why you and Taylor are still skirting around each other?”

“That doesn’t concern you.”

“It doesn’t indeed for I am not a nosy little twat,” Louis grasped his hip and avoided Nick’s return. Standing in the doorway, Louis watched Niall slip out, finally displaying his well-taught, mischievous stealth. Waiting a few, he sought out one of Niall’s alphas. “Z?” he excused himself into the Urdu conversation.

“Hey,” Zayn grabbed his hand and took a deep whiff across his knuckles. “How were they? Marlboros, right? Or are you smoking the Davidoffs again?”

“The gum isn’t working for you then? Here, have a smoke,” Louis offered him the half empty pack.

“Can’t,” he patted the nicotine patches beneath his sleeve. “Told Niall I’d quit and I meant it.”

“Ni’s leaving anyway. Headed out with Eoghan and Patrick.”

“Wait, what?” the alpha’s alert immediately went up. He knew something was off, he felt Niall go, but he thought it was only to the bathroom! “Does Liam know?!”

“No, but Alberto went with him. He’ll be fine.”

Zayn scanned the party and grumbled, stomping off towards the Alpha of their pack.

“That is definitely your cue,” Ed tugged Louis away.

“I think so, yeah,” Louis motioned to Niall’s bodyguard and followed Basil out. “Alberto went with Ni?”

“Yep,” the beta nodded. He didn’t like sending his charge off with another bodyguard, but he’d conceded that it was for the best to send their only alpha with the omega. An alpha could keep Niall’s scent better than he could. “Ed coming?”

“Not yet,” the beta appeared, mumbling in Louis’ ear.

Later that night, an obnoxious and persistent buzzing roused Louis from the oft-elusive comfort of sleep. He managed to ignore it the first few times before he gave in. Leaving the warmth of his bed—and his friend asleep in it—he easily found the mobile lighting up the pocket of his trousers.

“What?” he righted his pants, whispering as he sat down.

“Louis? Louis Tomlinson?”

“Yes,” he replied warily. Please don’t be a fan. He’d just gotten this phone!

“Hey, Tommo, it’s Kane. The bartender from Chinawhite.”

Louis questioned his life and the fact that he was on a first name basis with the bartender, “Yeah, yeah, I remember.”

“I have your friend here. The omega from your band? He’s had a pint too many. He’s insisting that I not call his alphas, so I figured I’d phone you since I had your number.”

He sat up, “Is his bodyguard there? Where are his boys?”

“No, it was just him.”

“Fuck’s sake, Niall. I’ll be right there.”

“He’s in the office. He’s thrice marked, but you know how sleazy alphas can get when drunk.”

“Yeah. Mind if I come in through the back again?”

“I’ll let the guard know.”

As Louis turned off the phone he saw the myriad of missed calls from Alberto, Liam, Harry, Zayn, Basil and Paul. “I’m so fucked.”

“That was the point,” Ed mumbled.

Louis’ eyes greedily scanned the warm body in his bed, “Yeah, for you it was. Gotta go get, Niall, babe. I’ll be back,” he kissed the ginger head against the white pillow and pulled on some clothes.

Racing across London, he parked behind the nightclub before exchanging a familiar handshake with the guard. Moving onto the office, he grumbled at the sloppy drunk on the couch, “You little shit. You snuck away from Alberto!?”

“Louis! I’m engaged!” Niall’s words overlapped in his happy inebriation, but Louis had long become fluent in Irish Drunkenese. “I’m engaged!”

“Yes. Yes, you are. And, your fiancés are very worried-”

Niall turned an awful shade of green. “They can’t see me like this, Lou! They won’t want to marry me and I’ll have to find new alphas. I don’t want new alphas, Lou, please don’t tell them! I don’t wanna lose them and I—oh god, what if they hate me? What if they take it back?” he started to twist his ring in a nervous panic.

“Relax, Sunshine. They’d be stupid to let you go. Now, let’s get you home—“

“No! Liam’ll be so mad at me!”

“Where’s your phone?”

Niall glanced over both his shoulders, patted his pockets, twirled around and then lit up, “I left it with Alberto!”

Louis pinched the bridge of his nose. “Ok. We have to go.”

“I don’t wanna go home. I’m gonna get spanked, Lou. I don’t wanna get spanked,” Niall rambled while Louis put the omega’s arm around him and lugged him towards his car.

“Shoulda thought of that before you snuck off,” Louis struggled with the fumbling mass of Irishman.

“Why didn’t you warn me?!”

“Yes, just blame me. Your alphas will, too.”

“Please, Lou, please don’t take me home,” Niall refused to move his feet any further.

“Ok, ok. You can come to mine. Will you just hold yourself up a bit?” Beaming, Niall slapped a slobbery kiss on Louis’ cheek. “Yeah, yeah. Just, c’mon. Come back to mine, we’ll sort it all out.” Louis shoved him into the front seat and rounded the car in time to see Niall fold over, puking. “Well. This is going to be fun…” Louis opened the windows and still gagged as he drove.

At the next red light, he stuck his head out the window to breathe and sent a quick text to Liam: Have Ni. Bringing him to mine. He’s drunk, but in one piece.

Unsurprised, he pulled into his house where Niall’s angry alphas loomed in the driveway.

"Well, shit."

Chapter Text

Louis woke at another ungodly hour that same morning, wondering what the world had against him. So many things, he reminded himself. After he’d been slammed against the unforgiving metal of his car not once, but twice, yelled at so long and loud that it left his ears aching and hair windswept, he’d returned to an empty bed that sparked a worry in his gut.

Loumiere
Make it home all right?

Sheers
Just got in. You know how I am
with confrontations. How’d it go?

Loumiere
How’d you know?

Sheers
Like you don’t do whatever Niall
wants. I wouldn’t want you calling
my alphas if I was battered. But
you would.

Loumiere
Went as well as you thought. Glad
you’re safe. Thanks for the company.

Sheers
No problem. See you on the continent
maybe?

Loumiere
Definitely

Louis had tossed his phone aside and curled into the remnants of Ed’s warmth. Until of course, the doorbell started to ring.

“You’re punishing me, aren’t you Paul?! You’re not supposed to be here until—Rick?” Louis stretched his sore back. “What are you doing here?”

“Paul called, said you’re riding the fun bus,” the crew head—a mated alpha with black hair and kind brown eyes—motioned to the duffle and skateboard by the door. “Yours?”

“Yeah…”

“I’ll put it in your usual bunk. Go take a shower and change. We got a bit of time.”

“Uh, yeah. Yeah, thanks,” Louis rubbed his eyes in an attempt to stop the sudden rush of tears. “Sorry, I hate to burden you like this.”

“Don’t be. You’re always welcome, boss.”

***

Niall on the other hand, stirred halfway through the midlands and sometime before lunch. The soft blankets that smelt of his alphas’ love cocooned him into the pack sized bed in what had been the upper lounge of the band’s travelling den.

His stomach turned at his mental cheesiness, and he raced to the bathroom, his sore ass still smarting from the spanking he’d gotten.

Niall really did think he’d purged his body of everything he’d had since the engagement party the night before. But, his body laughed at him and took its revenge for the last three rounds Eoghan had talked him in to.

“Shh, it’s ok,” Harry drawled, rubbing his back.

“Ugh…”

“I could kill Louis for letting you drink so much,” a growl rumbled behind him.

“Louis?” Louis wasn’t there last night. He’d asked his band mate to cover for him while he went out with his buddies. No. Louis wasn’t there…until the very end. “Wait, no-you think Louis—oh Lou, oh god,” he broke out of Harry’s embrace and stumbled up the stairs.

Louis had the front to himself. A thick curtain blocked off the front window, two bunks and the couch opposite them.

“Lou?”

“He’s riding with the crew today,” Zayn followed him up with a bottle of ginger ale. “Liam thought it’d be best.”

“Bullshit,” he hissed, shoving his way to the stairs and stomping down to the lower lounge. “LIAM JAMES PAYNE!”

“Ni, you’re still in trouble so you’d better check your attitude right there,” the Alpha didn’t bother looking up from his magazine.

“My parents warned me, Mum especially, that engagements twisted with alphas more than bonding did. Made them more protective, possessive, whatever. But I thought, hmm, my alphas are reasonable. They’re pragmatic and level-headed—”

“Ni,” Harry offered a hug to calm him, only to be shoved away.

“Don’t you dare,” he barked. “Don’t any of you dare touch me. This is Louis’ den, too. This is his band, too. You’re as much his friends are you are my alphas—at least, you’re supposed to be!”

“We are, Niall,” Zayn reached for him, hoping to bring him down a notch.

Niall rejected his touch, too. “If you were, you’d know that I asked him to cover for me, so I could go out with the boys without the three of you hovering. That he told me to stay with Alberto. Than you’d know that Louis didn’t show up until the bartender and the bouncer brought me to the office, and called him for me, to come get me. And he did. In the middle of the fucking night, he came to get me because I didn’t want to call you!” Yelling wasn’t so good for his hangover, but the rage he felt made it inconsequential. He was an omega, not a pushover, and his alphas were going to remember that. “I was too embarrassed to, thinking you wouldn’t want to marry me if you saw me such a mess—”

“Niall—“

“Yes! That’s dumb, I know! But I get dumb after seventeen rounds! And that’s not the point!” Niall slapped at Harry’s re-extended arms. “My point is you’re damn lucky I still want to marry you! Kicking my best friend out of his own den, treating him like that when all he did was help your omega. Shame on all of you! And, I meant it,” he glared at each of them. “Don’t you dare touch me. Not until my best friend is back in his den where he belongs!”

With that, the blonde stormed back to the upstairs lounge turned bedroom, slamming the thin door as hard as he could.

When the omega’s anger stopped radiating through the bus, Liam knocked and entered their bedroom.

“Niall?” the Alpha of their soon-to-be official pack sat down on the edge of the bed; the omega glared from the cushions below the back window. “I know you’re upset. And you were right. This is his den, his home, too and sending him to another was harsh. But you also need to trust that we have our reasons. Betas don’t understand how special you are. There are stories in the news everyday of beta parents—parents, Niall—neglecting or abusing their omega kids because they just don’t understand their needs. Or beta friends like Eoghan and Patrick who leave omegas for bimbos in crowded clubs full of unmated alphas. You’re a famous male omega, Niall Horan. You’re a target, whether you like it or not. And the three of us cannot lose you.”

“I ditched Alberto. I did that. After Louis specifically told me not to. I snuck out of the party. It was my idea. Mine. I bought the shots and the pints. If you want to hold anyone responsible for last night, it’s me. And, I don’t know how you think this marriage is going to go, but you’re not keeping me under lock and key. I’m not some naïve little who doesn’t know how the world works.”

“I know you’re not.”

“Are you sure about that? And stop underestimating the betas around us. It was the beta behind the bar that cut me off and got me away from all the alphas. It was Louis who got up in the middle of the night to get me. It’s Dale and Paul and Preston and Paddy who protect all of us. Get your head out of your ass, Li, because you don’t have to be an alpha to have instincts.”

“Ok. Ok. I over reacted,” Liam crawled onto the bed.

Niall snarled, “I told you that none of you were touching me until my best friend is back home.”

“He’s our best friend, too.”

The Irishman looked incredulous. “Hell of a way to treat him then. Now get out, I’m watching a movie.”

“I can’t watch with you?”

“No.”

“Not even if I do the thing you like? To your back?” his advance was slapped away again.

“Out.”

“Niall.”

“OUT!”

Huffing, Liam skulked out, tail between his legs.

Once at their venue, Niall leapt off the bus in search of Louis. “Which den did you banish him to?”

“Uh…Paul?” the Alpha sheepishly motioned to the security team whose bus had pulled in next to theirs. Niall punched Liam’s arm as hard as he could.

“Is he even here? Did he make it to Newcastle or did we leave him in London?! He hasn’t been answering his phone.”

“The crew got here early,” Paul explained after talking with the crew’s second in charge. “Sarah’s set up for lunch. He might be there?”

Niall turned on his bond mates. “I don’t give a shit if you’re the alphas and I’m the omega. You will go apologize to him right now so he can come eat.” When the alphas didn’t move, he stomped, “Now!”

Stay with Alberto,” Liam used his alpha voice before the three of them headed into the Stadium of Light and found Louis smoking and skateboarding near the loading docks.

“Louis?”

“What?” he didn’t bother turning around, just pushed off harder towards the edge.

“Louis!”

“Stop!”

“Don’t!”

But, Louis flew off the ramp. He attempted a kick flip, but couldn’t quite turn it and tumbled to the ground.

“God damn it, Louis,” Harry grabbed his chest, heart racing, even as the blue eyed brunette climbed to his feet and then the stairs.

“What do you want?” he lit a cigarette as he skated back towards his band mates.

“We want to apologize—“

Louis cut him off. “Wanted? Past tense?” he circled around them, wheels scraping.

Bristling, Harry restrained himself. We can’t punish him. He’s a beta, and it’s not an alpha’s place to discipline him. “Want to. We want to apologize.”

“Because Niall’s making you?” Louis blew smoke in their general direction. “Well, go ahead. I’m not stopping you.”

“Would you stop?” Harry started to get dizzy watching him go around them. “We’re sorry. We jumped to—“

“Leapt off a bridge into crazy town, you mean?”

Zayn stifled the growl in his throat. Cannot. Spank. The. Beta. Even if he’s being a right prat. “Are you going to let us apologize or not?”

“Maybe I shouldn’t. You’re doing a piss poor job of it so far.”

“We rushed to judgment, Louis, but we just—“

“Justifying your actions to me isn’t apologizing. I know the three of you are crazy about Ni and I’ve never wanted an apology for getting caught in the middle of that. And, while I’m telling you how to apologize, I’m just going to throw in: don’t give that ‘I’m a beta and wouldn’t get you’ bull. Because that’s not apologizing, it’s just condescending. So, go on, alphas. Try it again.”

“We’re sorry, Louis. We overreacted last night.”

“Ding, ding, ding! And Alpha’s got it by a nose. Johnny, tell him what he’s won!” he pointed at a man unloading a truck. The aforementioned roadie just laughed and went about his business.

“How dare the three of you,” Louis took on a more serious—and hurt tone. “How dare you even think I’d ever do anything to even remotely endanger Niall. He is my best friend. You all are. And I’d never, ever—“

Harry grabbed the hand poking angrily at his chest. “We’re sorry, Louis. Please. We’re sorry.”

Like Niall’s, Harry’s big pleading eyes did him in (they always did, from the moment they met). “Damn you and your face, Harry Styles. You’re lucky I like the three of you. All’s forgiven and whatnot,” Louis started away.

“Wa-hey!” Liam grabbed him. “C’mon. It’s going to be a long day. And, you need to eat, too.”

The affectionate-wary brunette shoved himself away from the Alpha of the pack. “I’m fine.”

“Yeah, that’s not an option. Let’s go,” Zayn took hold of Louis’ waist and started rolling him back towards their catering set up.

“Z, stop!” Louis laughed all the way back to the table, where Niall was waiting, skimming his social media feeds and nursing his own cup of tea.

“Aw, babe, thanks,” Liam and the alphas knew which cuppa was for whom, and the one on Niall’s right was Louis’.

“Thanks, Sunshine,” Louis plopped down next to him.

Niall grinned and kissed his cheek. The alphas took to the buffet, and as they sat down, their travelling chef put a stack of blueberry pancakes in front of Louis.

“Oh, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways,” he smirked at her; Sarah playfully smacked his head.

“Wait, why do you get blueberry pancakes!?”

“It’s a beta thing, you wouldn’t understand,” he teased, mocking the usual alpha arrogance Niall’s mates just couldn’t help sometimes. Niall laughed harder than he would have if he weren’t still miffed at his fiancés. Then, before the alphas could even try to convince their chef to make their omega a stack, Louis cut into it and shoved more than half onto Niall’s plate.

“You’re the bestest in the whole world,” Niall tucked in. Liam, Harry and Zayn smiled at the two of them, and just like that the last day was water under the bridge.

At least, it was to the happily engaged pack.

Louis picked at his pancakes before subtly discarding the plate; the alphas were too besotted with their new fiancé to notice. He skated off, headed back to his own den and his own bunk. He slipped in, curling up beneath the sheets, trying to ward off the on-coming panic attack.

You don’t talk to alphas like that.

You know better.

He wasn’t thinking about their anger and disappointment. He wasn’t. Really. He wasn’t thinking about how he could make it up to them. He wasn’t thinking about Niall’s warm lips or how they were soft and just a bit wet or the little damp dot they left on his cheekbone.

Stop thinking about it. Stop. Stop. Stop.

Louis scraped his jaggedly bitten nails down his hip, where no one would see, punishing himself for being such a loud mouth little shit, for wanting what he couldn’t have, for misbehaving and upsetting the alphas.

You’re bad.

Bad. Bad. Bad.

This is why you have to be a beta.

You’re a bad omega, Louis Tomlinson.

Chapter Text

After he’d been banished to Den Five with some of the roadies, Louis had spent the first couple hours hiding his tears in the unfamiliar bunk in the unfamiliar bus that smelt nothing like the boys he adored. And just as he did manage a kip, the roadies woke him and he had to put his game face on—figuratively and literally. They played poker, laughing raucously until they reached Newcastle.

“Hey,” Julian stopped him from heading back up to his borrowed bunk. “John and I were hoping to get some recording in since you’re here. Also, Caroline says she needs you for some fitting adjustments or something.”

“And, you wouldn’t happen to have the roster of localcrewmen, would you?” Rick popped into the conversation, sliding into his heavy work boots.

Louis tried to blink away the last of the hangover. “Yeah. Yeah ok,” he rubbed his eyes, wincing when an eye booger scraped him. “I do have it,” he pulled over the backpack at the foot of his bunk, “Ow! Mother--" he cursed when his mobile fell out and onto his little toe before he handed Rick a folder. "Let me deal with Caroline? Then I’ll go record.”

“Sounds like a plan,” the long-haired alpha threw two thumbs up and chatted with Johnny as they walked out.

“All right, kid?” Rick asked, taking a longer look at the boy.

“Been better. Drank too much at the party, I think,” Louis more carefully cleared the weariness from his face; he could feel a headache set in.

“You can say no to him if you just want to get to sleep.”

“No, no, um, Caroline has family up here, if I can get whatever done now she and Brooklyn can go spend some time with them and Julian, well, he works on his own schedule, so…” he shrugged.

“All right, well, thanks for this. And get more rest when you can, Louis,” Rick’s work boots were the last to clunk off the bus. All in the clear, Louis hopped down. The pretend beta massaged his temples before he grabbed the scent neutralizer hidden in his bag. With another glance around, he gave a quick spray to himself and the bunk before dressing and heading out.

The sun was high in the sky by the time he’d gotten back to Five. After being poked with sewing needles so Caroline could alter his clothes, recording a few parts with Julian, and dealing with a few stadium issues with their roadies (including doing sound check on his own so the crew could have the full afternoon off) Louis finally made it back to the borrowed bunk.

It was that time of day. He listened for any unwanted company before he grabbed his backpack. Lifting the binding on the laptop sleeve, he slipped his fingers into the slit in the padding for his suppressant stash.

Shoulda been a spy.

He never wanted this. And, it certainly was never supposed to go on for so long, but once it had started there was no getting out of it.

“Louis,” his mother yelled—she was always yelling at him after the divorce. But, he could never really blame her. She was a divorced thirty something in a world that mated for life in their as early as their teens. He just got in the way of that, from the moment he was born and ran off his biological father as she so often reminded him.

He checked on his sleeping sisters before shuffling into her room. “Mum?”

“Lift up your sleeve.”

“What?”

“You heard me!”

Louis scrambled to lift his tee; he was still young and stupid enough to hope for a ‘good boy’ from her. Instead all he got was a needle dug into his arm.

“It’s a suppressant. We’re moving. You’ll tell no one that you’re an omega, do you understand?”

“But,” Louis’ voice felt different all of a sudden. “But, why?”

“My daughters deserve to have a man around, they deserve an alpha to protect them since you ran off their father. Mark must have known you’d be an omega.” Louis felt her disappointment stab at him. She didn’t need to remind him. He was a bad son, a loud mouth little shit and that’s why his stepfather left. “This will stop you from smelling so terrible. And your arse from leaking like a whore.”

Louis cleared his throat to object, but couldn’t. He tried again and again, but either his tongue was getting bigger or his airway we getting smaller. Either way, he whimpered in a panic; his skin was crawling and he couldn't get air to his lungs as tears burnt at his eyes. He grabbed his mum for help.

“Oh stop your pathetic crying—damn it. Of course you’re doing this, you little shit.” She forced something down his throat and Louis waited what had to be ages for it to take effect, struggling to breathe, holding his stomach and scratching until he bled. All the while, his mother berated him.

You were supposed to be an alpha. A beta at least.

This was a mistake, but I’m going to fix it.

You were supposed to make things better for us, not worse.

Just another of your problems I have to fix.

I have four little girls. I don’t have time for you to be an omega.

They couldn’t go to the hospital, of course. The UK had the strictest regulations on suppressant use, and she wouldn’t be going to jail for him. He couldn’t do that to his little sisters anyway.

He‘d learned though. If he took a double dose of antihistamines before the injection every month, he only had the hives for a couple hours and his throat didn't swell at all. If he washed his face in the morning, afternoon, evening then once before bed the acne wasn't so bad. If he stayed on the tanner side, his skin didn't look uneven and yellow. If he drank Pepto Bismol like strawberry milk, his belly wouldn’t ache so much.

He’d always told himself this was temporary, even when he failed his A-levels the first time. But, then the X-factor happened and life spiraled into more than everything he’d ever hoped for—sort of.

No, don’t. Don’t go there. You’d never be good enough for them anyway. You’re better use to them as a beta.

With a sigh, he knew he had no other choice. He couldn’t just be an omega now. Alphas, typical to their gender, presented first, before thirteen. Omegas presented somewhere between thirteen and fifteen. A beta’s puberty wasn’t called a presentation as it happened gradually, sometime in between. While there were sporadic cases of late bloomers in their middle teens, no one had ever presented after eighteen.

The fans wouldn’t understand. That's what Jones had said. Ninety percent of omegas were female to begin with, so two exceedingly rare male omegas just happen into the same group at random? The fans could suspend belief, but not to that extent. And Jones had said if his this leaked, they’d throw him to the wolves, and the media would be unforgiving, not only to him, but to the entire band.

He couldn’t do that to his best friends. He had to continue the charade.

He popped a little pill out and hoped this new one didn’t have the same weird side effects as the last ones. He swallowed it dry and tucked them away carefully before he dropped back onto the mattress. He tossed and turned for all of twenty minutes, nearly descending into dreamland when Johnny knocked. “Your boys are almost here.”

“Great,” Louis sighed. He didn’t feel like dealing with angry alphas and their hung over omega, not right now.

“Did Rick tell you? We have one of your skateboards. Found it at the last venue. How in the world did you get it on top of a forklift?"

He laughed—half-hearted, but he had appearances to keep up. “Talent.”

***

“Hey Lou?” Niall ran onto the bus, full after a big lunch—brunch, really, as he’d had those delicious pancakes. Seriously, Sarah really had to make those more often. “Lou, you wanna watch a movie?” he yelled.

“C’mon, Louis. Ni insisted on waiting for you,” Liam called upstairs.

Because the alphas didn’t care if you watch it or not. You’re just a ‘beta’, after all. (Even if you weren’t, they could never love you, but that’s beside the point)

“C’mon, Lou,” Niall ripped open the curtain and ruffled his hair.

“No,” Louis tried to shove him off before he could climb onto him completely.

The blonde’s elbow smacked the wall and Niall yipped, “Ow.”

Before Louis could even think the words are you ok, the omega’s three alphas appeared. Zayn ripped Louis from his bunk while Harry and Liam rushed in. “Are you ok?”

“Where does it hurt?”

“What did you do?!” Zayn growled at Louis; it took every ounce of energy he had not to bear his neck and submit. But immediately Zayn released him, eyes wide, “I’m sorry, Louis, I—“

“I just slipped! Relax, guys,” Niall laughed to cut the tension. “But, thanks for getting Louis up,” he kissed Zayn’s cheek, hoping to stem the oncoming guilt, and grabbed Louis’ hand and led the way to the downstairs lounge. He put the movie in while Louis nestled into the couch’s corner.

As the pack became engrossed in the movie, snacking on various goodies from the kitchenette, Louis tried in vain to nod off. But, Lou popped her head in. “Hey, we need you in hair and wardrobe before your interviews. Louis first?”

“C’mon, he looks fine,” Niall pouted. “He’s rocking bed head!”

Louis was already trudging off the bus. He absolutely knew what Captain America was up to anyway, because Niall’s ‘ow’ didn’t haunt him and he certainly hadn’t been thinking about Zayn’s anger and his body’s need to make it up to the alpha.

Nope. Not at all.

Because you’re a beta. You’re a beta.

He didn’t want to drop to his knees until he was forgiven. Nope. Beta’s don’t act like that.

And you’re a beta.

His empty stomach wasn’t churning with his body need for discipline (and love, but who needs that?). Nope, not him.

Because you’re a beta.

He returned to the bus after Lou saw to the dark circles under his skin, intent on grabbing his football for a kick about. He should have (though he never did) expected to find the alphas on top of Niall and the smell of lust wafting from the door.

“Um, Lou, erm, wants someone else,” he muttered, averting his eyes.

“All right. Sorry, Lou. Newly engaged and all,” always the first to excuse their constant horniness, Harry kissed Niall and jogged past him. Louis’ stomach twisted at the thick scent of the alpha arousal.

“C’mon Tommo,” Niall patted the couch, still pink cheeked.

“I need a smoke,” he shook his head.

“Wait for me, Lou,” Zayn’s words stopped him in his tracks.

Niall whined, “You promised, Z.”

“I’m cutting back, I swear!” Zayn nuzzled into Niall’s neck and the bonding mark he’d left there. Niall’s moan didn’t cut into Louis like a knife. Nope.

“If you’re going, and Haz is gone,” Liam’s heady growl nearly made Louis buckle. He really should have walked away sooner.

No. Stay and punish yourself. You deserve it.

Louis made it to the clearing in front of the row of buses and wiped his eyes, carefully avoiding the make up. He sucked in the tobacco until it burned painfully in his chest.

That's right. Punish yourself. You deserve it. Liar. Burden. Whore.

He held out his pack when he could smell the alpha pheromones start to tingle against his skin.

“Thanks,” Zayn’s fingers brushed Louis’. The small bit of contact was uncomfortably close, and Louis fought off a whine. Touch me. Hold me. Love me—no. No I don’t need that. I don’t. I’m a beta. I’m a beta. “About earlier…and then, I—“

“He’s your fiancé. It’s fine,” Louis tormented his lungs with another too long drag.

You made alpha second-guess himself. Bad omega.

“Yeah, but you’re—“

“Hey, don’t forget to get your bags ready for the hotel, yeah?” Paul called to them.

“Will do,” Zayn nodded. “Louis—“

“I said it’s fine, Z, really,” Louis didn’t want to hear it. Everything was fine. Except for him. Because he was bad.

“Lou—is your nose bleeding?” Zayn grabbed Louis’ arm.

Louis felt his knees tremble at the touch and he beat down his omega’s need for more. “I’m fine. Fuck, I…shit,” he tossed away his cigarette and headed back into the bus for tissues, grateful to get away from Zayn. The omega in him wanted (needed) so badly to make it up to the alpha, to apologize. The last thing Zayn should be doing was apologizing to him. That just made everything worse.

His nose bled on and off for the rest of the day, but he managed to hide it. He didn’t mind anyway. Worrying about his nose took his mind off the headache that wouldn’t go away, and the dull repetition of the same fucking question.

“So Louis—“

“What’s it like being the only beta in the group?” Louis tiredly cut the omega interviewer off before he could get the question out. He snapped to his senses and plastered on a shit-eating grin until he passed it off as sass and charmed the frown off the woman’s face. He could feel the alphas glaring at him and it sent his nails digging for self-discipline. Their alpha protectiveness usually extended to the omegas that interview them, even to the fans that get pushed around by the paps.

But not to you. You’re a beta, remember?

Louis managed to behave himself through the next interview, didn’t whimper or submit when Liam reprimanded him for being rude. By the time the show breezed by, Louis was absolutely ready for the hotel—they preferred staying in their travelling dens, but two shows in the same city meant fans would camp out and no one would get sleep. So the band always made sure to be seen going to a nearby hotel.

The pack couldn’t keep their hands off Niall, adrenaline from another show still coursing through them. “Don’t break another bed, boys,” Paul teased as the four of them piled in.

Louis hung back for the next one unnoticed by his busy band mates. He didn’t mind. It didn’t hurt.

Repeat it until you believe it, Louis.

Seriously, right now, all he cared about was the bath tub in his hotel room, the king size bed and the roll of the pack’s shirts he'd stowed in his overnight bag that he’d be cuddling with later.

That is, until he saw Megan, their management’s rep waiting for him in his room with a pile of name brand clothes from under the table sponsors. “Get dressed, you’re going clubbing. Did you start the new suppressants?”

“No,” Louis dropped against the wall. “I mean, yeah, yesterday, I started them yesterday, but can’t I go out tomorrow? I’m exhausted and my head—”

“You’re doing it again tomorrow. You need the exposure. I’ll get you more sleeping pills, just get dressed and meet me in the lobby,” she ordered. “And reapply the make up under your eyes, you look like shit.”

Louis didn’t spent the next fifteen minutes huddled alone in the bathroom crying. Really. He didn’t.

One Addiction?

Louis Tomlinson of One Direction went club hopping yet again, this time hitting both China White Manchester and Eden. He was spotted leaving the latter looking worse for wear. Is 1D’s Beta drinking too much or is it something more serious?

Sources in the club reported seeing Tomlinson repeatedly checking his nose, which bled on and off during the night…

Chapter Text

Zayn hooked a towel around his bare shoulders, plopping his denim-covered ass at the table, “Did you order me—“

“The turkey sausage,” Liam motioned to the plate next to him.

“Don’t say it, Li,” the older alpha smiled when he felt the brown eyes on him.

“Just once more: you’d make a beautiful omega,” he leaned over and kissed his cheek.

“It’s never ‘just once more’ with you. Besides, I’m yours either way, Li,” Zayn replied softly. And he meant it. He loved Liam and Harry just as much as he loved Niall. They weren’t just going to marry the omega. They were going to marry each other, too. That’s how packs worked.

Pulling out his phone, he skimmed through his social media pages. “Louis went out last night?”

“Again?” Liam darkened.

“Mmmm,” Zayn handed over the phone. “We should go out with him. We haven’t spent a lot of time with him this tour.” They were so preoccupied with planning their proposal during the South American leg. What had Louis been doing again?

“I doubt he wants us there. Says he’s pulling,” and Liam certainly didn’t want to see that.

“Who’s pulling?” Harry, naked as they day he was born, flopped into a chair.

“Just a friend of Zayn’s showing off,” Liam replied coolly, handing the phone back; Zayn nonchalantly shoved some eggs in his mouth, not keen to lie, even less to tell the truth.

Things had always run deeper between Harry and Louis, much deeper than anyone had wanted to admit. The attraction during X-Factor had been palpable from the start, but Harry—sweet and protective Harry—would never risk the relationship, no matter how desperately he had wanted to. Of all the combinations of secondary genders, the alpha/beta pairing was the one that notoriously didn’t work; there was always an expiration date. Sure, they’d fall in love fast and hard, but the beta’s inherent need for independence would wane on the protective alpha. And, they couldn’t risk the band, could they? Not for a relationship that would never last. Besides, Louis had all but set him up with Niall, Liam and Zayn.

Nevertheless, Harry still saw Louis through rose-colored glasses, and the older alphas wanted to keep it that way. For Harry’s sake.

Niall grumbled and stumbled into one of the alpha’s laps. “Hungry.”

“I got you, love,” Liam waved over the plate; both Zayn and Harry dropped everything to grab it.

“So,” Niall woke up after a few bites. “Who’s going to tell Paul we broke another bed?”

***

Louis curled up on the floor of the bathroom, quite sure that he was dying. He hadn’t even had that much to drink. He’d literally sipped at one tumbler of whisky all night. He’d gone on benders with less of a hangover.

“Louis?” Paul knocked.

“Go away! I’m busy dying,” he found a cool tile to press his forehead to and sighed in relief, snuggling the lump of the pack’s shirts like they were his lifeline.

Stop wishing they were here. They wouldn’t want to be around you like this anyway.

“C’mon, to make up and hair in ten! Get your ass in gear,” Paul had the key, but the door caught on the closed latch. “I told you not to use this, Louis!”

“And I told you I’m busy dying.”

“Then you shouldn’t have gone out last night. You knew you had an early morning. Let’s go.”

Louis crawled over and turned on the shower. “10 minutes!”

“Don’t make me break down another door for you, Louis,” Paul called.

The secret omega heard the lock and sighed, resting against the tile again.

“Jones,” Louis sat on the edge of his bed, their management rep staring at him judgmentally while he pleaded on her phone for the night off, “I went out last night. Ed and I partied after the engagement party, too. Hell, Niall got seen out on the town. I’m exhausted and coming down with something, I—“

“Ok.”

“I have this headache that—wait, what?”

“We’ve been meaning to start a new romance for you with a model. We’ll fly her out to you—“

“No, I don’t—why do I need a girlfriend? Why is it clubbing or fake girlfriend?”

“Would you like a fake boyfriend instead?”

“No, I’d like to not do this anymore.”

“Oh. I see.” Louis could hear the conniving from a million miles away. “Well. All right. I suppose it’s about time the pack stepped up. Let me ask you, Louis. Who should the love rat be? Zayn or Harry? I don’t think anyone would believe Liam—“

“Stop threatening the pack. You wouldn’t dare.”

“Do you remember the Take Me Home Tour, Louis? That night you and Zayn went out together? What happened the next day?”

Of course he remembered. The guilt still made him sick. He should have just agreed to the stupid plan, no matter how humiliating it would have been. Better him than Z.

“They just got engaged, Jones,” he let out his final plea, but they all knew he’d lost.

“All the more reason to run the cheating angle now. It’ll die down long before the wedding.”

“Never mind. Just—I’m going. What club was it?” Louis conceded and trudged to the bathroom to get ready.

“Good boy.”

That didn’t make Louis feel dirty. Not at all.

By the time the boys filtered into Lou's, she had Louis' hair done.

The “beta” laid on the bed, completely still so as not to ruin his hair or wake the child toddler on his chest. He winced when an alpha—and he knew it was an alpha because Julian had mentioned that Niall was behind on his recording and would be stealing him and Harry for the morning—flicked his head.

“What is this?” Liam held the screen in his face.

The flick sent a ripple of pain through his skull. “A mobile?”

“Louis,” Liam growled.

Louis rubbed Lux’s back when she whimpered. “Don’t wake the little one. It’s an article from some rag,” he almost went cross-eyed trying to read it, but he got the gist. Yet another chapter in the saga of Louis Tomlinson: drunk, womanizing party-boy. He sat up to put Lux back in the travelling cot. “What would you like me to say, Liam?” Louis sighed. “I went out last night. But, I didn’t bring her back. I don’t control the media.”

“What’s her name?”

“What?”

“What was her name?”

“Hell if I know, nothing—“

“You can’t keep doing this, Louis,” Liam pulled the brunette into the foyer of the room. “We are not that kind of band.”

“Yeah, ok, next time I’ll just go to church and then we’ll head to our Scouts meeting, yeah?” Louis rolled his eyes.

The alpha growled in his face and Louis fought his omega instinct to submit. What would a beta do, what would a beta do, what would a beta do?

I don’t know. I’m not a fucking beta!

Liam grabbed his jaw and pushed it back, peering up Louis’ nose. “Are you on coke?”

“No!” he slapped those giant paws away.

“Don’t lie to me, Louis Tomlinson.”

“I’m not lying, let me go!” Louis squirmed.

“Enough, Liam,” Zayn said from Lou’s chair.

“The partying, the drinking, the whoring. It all stops, Louis.”

The whoring. Louis’ shove didn’t move the alpha much, but got him away; he hoped he didn’t have tears in his eyes, “I’m not your omega, Liam.”

“No, but I am Alpha,” he snarled.

Louis stumbled back—on purpose. “Sorry, your ego just exploded in my face a little, but I’m fine,” he assured Lou and Zayn. Their band mate’s snort of suppressed laughter cut the tension. “Fuck you, Liam,” he shook his head and stormed off.

“That was harsh, Li.”

“Maybe he needs harsh. He needs to get his shit together.” Liam pouted, still tense.

Zayn backed off, but only because knew what this was really about. He was dealing with the same thing. Harry hadn’t been the only one drawn to Louis. And, the beta with one person—another beta, maybe an omega, that was nature after all—they could have dealt with. But, Louis hooking up with a string of random alphas, betas and omegas when the four of them couldn’t have him was beyond what their alpha possessiveness could handle. Zayn had trouble with the jealousy, too. But, unlike the Alpha, who’d had Niall from the beginning, Zayn, who didn’t gravitate to the two of them until well through the X-Factor, knew how to contain it.

“You should go see Niall, Li. Watch him record for a bit. It’s not like your hair needs much doing.”

“Unlike you and Haz.”

“Harry’s hair is lovely,” Lou warned.

“It’s beautiful, and you keep it that way,” Liam kissed her cheek and got dressed.

***

Bad

Alpha thinks you’re a whore.

Bad

You dirty, coke-sniffing whore.

Bad

Louis rocked back and forth on the bathroom floor, scraping at his side and leaving the only white lines he was familiar with.

Bad omega. Bad. Bad. Bad.

This is why you don’t deserve them.

Why you’ll never deserve them.

Alpha thinks you’re bad.

“Louis! You better not be sleeping again!” Paul knocked on the door.

“I’m in the bathroom, I have a…stomach thing!” one has to eat to have a stomach thing, but Louis yelled it anyway, hoping it didn’t sound as shaky as he felt.

Bad, bad, bad—pull yourself together.

“Downstairs in two minutes!”

“Coming!” he reluctantly crawled out from under the counter and took a minute to compose himself. He considered his reflection in the mirror and all the make up he needed on his face. Omegas were supposed to be beautiful. Like Niall. His beautiful sunshine. Not this. He patted his face with a wet towel, popped a couple pills for his headache, and geared himself up for the day.

You’re not running on three hours of sleep.

You don’t have a headache.

You’re not an omega.

You’re Louis Tomlinson: Beta.

Chapter Text

“How does it feel to be engaged, Niall?” the Scottish accent followed the beep of the recorder.

“Fantastic,” Niall’s smile lit up the room as he sat in the middle of his alphas, all three of them beaming at their fiancée.

“How did they do it? Did they ask together?” the heavily made up beta asked, leaning in with her recorder.

“Yes, they asked together, but that’s as much as you’ll get from—“ Niall faltered in sentiment he’d given to every other interviewer that morning. Alberto hustled into the room looking frazzled; a worrying sign for an alpha. He whispered to Paul, who motioned to their management rep and Dale before the first two hurried out of the room. Niall felt Zayn and Harry bristle on either side of him, and he had to force himself to continue, “But that’s as much as you’ll get from me. It’s a personal memory.”

With a reassuring squeeze to Niall’s good knee, Liam, as Alpha of the pack, excused himself, “Dale?”

“Stay here, Liam,” the bodyguard listened intently to his earpiece.

“Is it Louis?”

It had to be.

“No,” Niall said stubbornly whenever Megan and Paul tried to pair Louis with one of the alphas after their initial plan was shot down.

“Then do you want to stay with Louis—“

“No,” the alphas said immediately. They were all coming to understand what the engagement did to the alphas. It was like that tense purgatory between deciding to bond and actually doing it—only worse. Their wedding was the final seal on their promise of forever and waiting on it had them so focused on their fiancé that they were having trouble really seeing the things around him—like the embarrassment that crossed Louis’ face.

Besides, a beta would have shrugged it off.

“I just want all of us to stay together,” Niall pouted at Harry, his voice softer—more omega—than usual.

“There isn’t enough time, Niall,” management insisted before the alpha could break, “We have to split you in two.”

As the pout deepened and the alphas were seriously considering cancelling half the interviews, Louis intervened, “Then how about you just keep all your boys? I can handle working on my own for a day. That works, right?”

“That was our first plan,” Paul sighed.

“Ok, Ni?” Zayn brushed at his hair, still so smitten after putting a ring on him.

“No,” Niall shook his head. “I just…I want Louis to stay with us.”

“It’s fine, babe. Lou’s a big boy. He’ll be fine,” Liam chuckled.

But, Liam was wrong. He’d jinxed it, hadn’t he?

“Dale, is it Louis?” and when the Alpha didn’t get a response this time, he stormed out of the room, well aware that the bodyguard wouldn’t leave his three mates alone for fear of the combined wrath of Liam and Paul.

Once in the stadium hallway, he took a deep breath and focused his extra sensitive ears—the jangle of metal axels—a wheelchair? Not a stretcher…please god, not a stretcher. The smell of blood hit his nose and his feet pounded quicker down the concrete hall.

“Liam, stop,” Paul caught him before he could turn the corner to the dressing rooms.

“Is that blood!? Is it Louis? Where is he? What happened?”

“I’m still not sure yet, Liam. One of the interviewers attacked Paddy and Louis—“

“Where is he?!” frustrating as he might be, Louis was still their beta, and Paddy, not Paddy; Liam’s heart leapt into his throat.

“Turn around, he’s with Rick and Johnny—“

“Who?!”

“Crewmen,” Paul guided him through the maze of hallways, past roadies and police officers littered the hallway, giving and getting statements. “I was coming to get you. Rick and Johnny have Louis, they won’t leave his side right now, I couldn’t get the whole story.”

“Where’s Paddy?”

“On his way to hospital,” Paul replied and pointed to a hallway.

“End that interview, get Niall and my boys.” Louis needed them.

Amongst the chaos all, Louis curled up on one of the sound system’s rolling crates, back to the wall, knees to his chest while a roadie wiped down his blood covered arms with a wet towel. Blossoming bruises darkened the skin above the crook of his elbow and the curve of his cheekbone, the only color on Louis’ otherwise pale face. A paramedic and a police officer stood around him, trying to get him to talk or move, but Louis just sat there, too still for their larger than life beta.

“May I?” Liam motioned for the towel. The roadie (Johnny, if Liam remembered correctly) nodded and handed it over; Louis didn’t even look up. “Tommo?” he stroked his arm with the warm flannel.

Louis stared blankly at a spot on the floor.

“Louis?” Zayn and Harry appeared, hands on either of Niall’s arms. Zayn hopped onto the trunk and wrapped an arm around his shoulder.

“Lou?” Niall choked while Harry pulled him close.

“You’re ok, Louis, you’re ok,” Zayn squeezed the curve of his shoulder and Louis keened, the daze broken. “What is it?” he unfolded his best friend’s legs, easing them from his chest; the alphas gasped and Harry turned Niall around when they saw the blood stained shirt and ripped zipper.

“Most of it’s Paddy’s,” if one was Johnny from earlier, then Rick, the alpha, squeezed Louis’ knee.

“Hi, Louis,” a beta paramedic eased into the conversation. “I’m here to help. Can I look at you now?” at Louis’ nod, Johnny, Rick and Liam stepped aside enough for her to get in. She asked Zayn, “Where did you touch him?”

The alpha lifted his hand from Louis’ shoulder blade to point. The beta reached for Louis’ collar, but the boy flinched away, pulling his hands away from Liam’s so he could fold back into a ball.

“It’s ok, Lou,” Zayn rubbed his back, gut wrenching when he felt the trembling beneath his palm. Zayn couldn’t help himself. He pulled his friend between his legs and molded around him. Had Louis always been this small? “Shhh, Lou, we’re here.”

The warmth and the smell of alpha surrounded him and Louis gave in to it. Just this once. Just this once.

Zayn nodded at the EMT, who slowly re-reached for the collar and edged it back.

Bursts of anger flared through the hallway. A set of teeth had broken the skin around Louis’ collarbone, leaving it bruised and bloodied. The pack’s eyes scanned the hallway with purpose; if that bastard was here, he was a dead man.

“He’s gone,” Rick shook his head. “In an ambulance. Cuffed and escorted by police officers.”

“In it?” Niall asked between grit teeth.

Something positively lethal flashed in Johnny’s eyes. “In it.”

“Do you think we can take this shirt off?” the paramedic asked.

Louis shook his head, hair wildly flying about.

“Ok, that’s ok. Zayn, right? My daughter’s a fan,” she explained only because confusion crossed the alpha's face, “Can you just hold this aside then?”

“Absolutely. I’m here, Lou. I’m right here. You’re safe,” Zayn rubbed his side while she reassured them that the bite should heal quickly. He was a beta, after all, so he couldn’t be marked.

His bearings returning, Louis caught the curiosity in the lady beta’s eyes and reluctantly pulled away from the alpha’s soft soothing. The omega in him felt the shock of hurt from Zayn, but he had to ignore it—at least for now. He turned away as much as he could, hiding the tears in his eyes while the officers snapped pictures of the hand shaped bruise on his arm, the bite and the blooming black eye.

“Can I…” Louis finally spoke; the rawness in his voice wasn’t his natural rasp, just grated by screaming. “Can I go change now?” the blood on his clothes was making him nauseous.

“I think a trip to hospital is in order,” the paramedic suggested, though she knew what the answer would be.

“No. I’m fine,” Louis jumped down; his knees buckled, but Liam caught him. “Thanks.”

“C’mon, let’s get you changed,” Zayn, Harry and Niall escorted him away; Paul needed a quick word with Liam hanging back a bit as they followed.

“They haven’t gotten a full statement from Louis, the police still need to talk to him.”

“Ok, I’m on it. Hey Lou?” Liam walked in and gasped, “Christ almighty, did she look at your back? They need to—“

“Stop!” Louis had just stopped the others from fretting over the bruises on the back of his ribcage.

“Those are old bruises, Liam,” Caroline raised her eyebrows at the Alpha.

“Where did you get them?”

“It’s not important, really.”

“Zayn, go get the cop, they need to—“

“No, Li-“

“They need to know what he did, Lou-“

He didn’t do it! You did!” Louis snapped; his mind was still a whirl of emotion.

“What!? When?”

With all eyes on him, Louis flushed under all the attention. “The other morning, I guess. After the engagement party,” he mumbled, pulling on fresh clothing. He’d been so good about not changing in front of anyone the last few days. How could he be so stupid!?

A memory hazy with anger flashed through the Alpha’s mind. A text. A growl. Louis’ car pulling into the drive. His omega, drunk and smelling like club full of alphas. Throwing Louis against unforgiving metal and squeezing his neck.

“Tommo…” Liam paled. “Louis, I—“

“I need a smoke,” barefoot, Louis rushed out of the room, leaving his ripped and bloody clothes for the police to take into evidence.

“Lou, the cops still—“ Paul’s words went unheard.

Louis winced on some gravel that stuck to his foot, but undeterred, hurried through the parking lot and past inquiring eyes. Niall trailed after him, meaning the alphas weren’t far behind. Louis stumbled into their den and returned with his cigarettes.

He paced back and forth, chain-smoking through three before Harry intervened.

“Stop, Louis. Stop, just stop,” he stepped in front of him. With all the grace of Bambi learning to walk, Harry bundled Louis into his arms.

After a slight hesitation—during which the omega struggled to keep from preening under Harry’s touch—Louis sneaked his nose to the crook of the alpha’s neck and let the smell of bergamot and Harry’s new coconut shampoo soothe him.

The smell of stale coffee interrupted the moment of peace. “Mr. Tomlinson? Can you tell us what happened?” an officer asked.

Reluctantly pulling away, Louis lit another cigarette and stepped away from the tallest alpha. “He…I just…he came in. Introduced himself. Called himself Mike something or another. The usual…” he dragged the tobacco and let the nicotine soothe the last of his shakes. “He sat down next to me, which was weird. Um, we started the interview—he recorded it on his phone—erm… seemed a bit off I guess.”

“How so?”

Louis shuddered. “He laughed too hard at my jokes. I’m funny, not that funny,” he cleared his raspy throat. “And...he kept touching our knees together. I’d move mine away and he’d just get closer. I think Paddy could tell that I was uncomfortable. He told me to come get some water because I sounded parched. He was telling me not to sit back down on the couch, but then…” Louis shook his head. “Then it happened really fast… I know that’s cliché. But…I got up, I grabbed some water and then Paddy had a knife in his chest…” he tried to rub the image from his eyes, but it returned with the fresh tears.

“What happened next, Lou?” Niall wanted this to stop, he wanted to take this away from his friend, his best friend; he needed this to be over for Louis already.

The sound of Niall’s voice wrapped around Louis like a security blanket and all he wanted was a hug from his sunshine blonde. But, he smelt like burnt tobacco, and Niall hated that.

“Um…Paddy told me to run and I tried…but, I… he grabbed me…” Louis lit another cigarette. “He…tossed me onto the couch…got on top of me…” he cut the panic off with another deep puff. “I screamed and the crew heard, I guess, and pulled him off. I tried to help Paddy…that was it…”

“Did he say anything?” the uniform asked.

Louis’ pale face went even whiter. “…said he’d…that he didn’t care if I was a beta. He was going to try and mark me anyway.”

The officer closed his notebook, “Thank you, Mr. Tomlinson. He’ll be processed and charged within the night.”

Louis reached into the empty carton and sighed. “Damn it.”

“Lou, enough,” Zayn took the lighter away and tried to hug him, but the brunette dodged him, not quite sure if he could contain his omega right now.

“How are you feeling for tonight, Louis?” Paul asked.

“Fine,” he needed to hear the fans tonight. He needed to zone out and perform for them and forget this mess.

“You don’t want to sit this one out? Maybe stay in a hotel?”

“No,” Louis shook his head; the bus smelt comfortingly like the alphas and Niall and everything he wanted home to be and he needed the positivity of the fans. “I’ll be fine.”

“Then just go relax, ok?”

“He will,” Niall laced his fingers into Louis’ and walked him back to the bright red bus, intent on taking care of him. He put Louis on the u shaped couch in the downstairs lounge, and sat in his lap, stroking his hair. “You smell like cigarettes,” he said after a several long minutes.

“Sorry,” Louis held Niall like he would a giant teddy bear. He loved his sunshine, and he thanked his lucky stars that his attacker hadn’t been sent to the pack instead. Niall was everything he’d always wanted to be and Louis would jump in front of a train before letting something bad happen to the omega.

“It’s ok. Kinda nice in a way. Reminds me of Zayn in the early days,” Niall kept petting his hair. “Will you spin your hair into a cinnamon roll?”

The alphas stood back, not quite sure they wanted to interrupt the two of them. Their bright bouncy Irish boy was never like this with them unless he wanted something. It was usually them petting him, stroking his hair, getting him calm and relaxed. But, Niall was so tender with Louis. So pliant. So omega.

“A cinnamon roll?” Louis closed his eyes to Niall’s touch and let his relief overwhelm the fear.

“Yeah. That’s what the fans call it when you do the thing. It’s not a quiff, but like… you know…a cinnamon roll.”

“Are you sure you’re not just hungry, sunshine?” Louis finally smiled lazily, completely focused on the omega in his lap and the way Niall twirled a finger against his forehead.

“Do you guys want something to eat? Sandwiches? Cinnamon rolls?” Liam was ready to offer the world. “Cupcakes? Biscuits? I think Sarah made sticky toffee pudding today.”

“You wanna share a piece of pudding with me?” Niall played with Louis’ fringe. “And watch some Sherlock?”

“Ok,” Louis wanted Niall to have whatever he wanted. The Irishman looked at his alphas expectantly.

“Well?”

“I’ll get it!” Harry with the longest legs ran off.

“I’ll start Sherlock,” Liam grabbed the remote. He and Zayn sat on either side of the boys, lacing their arms together over Louis’ shoulders.

Zayn replayed the last twenty or so minutes in his head. Tiny Louis. The way he leaned into the alpha’s touch—until the lady beta noticed. And, he was almost sure he’d seen Louis scent Harry. Like an omega. No. What a ridiculous thought. Louis didn’t smell like an omega, he certainly didn’t act like one—

“Best Louis in the whole world,” Zayn’s omega pressed kisses to Louis’s crown; the brunette responded to Niall’s fond acclaim with the tiniest laugh in his throat; he giggled like a little omega.

Stop it, Zayn. You can’t. You have to be strong for Harry, he decided. Still, something didn’t settle quite right, but Liam’s voice interrupted his thoughts.

“Tommo?” the Alpha said softly. “I’m sorry I hurt you.”

The weight of Liam’s guilt broke Louis’ trance and Niall smacked the Alpha’s arm and returned to playing with Louis’ hair.

“It’s fine. Really, it’s fine,” he stiffened and gulped and tried to move Niall into Zayn’s lap. “I’m going to lie down. Have a kip before the show.”

“Noooooo,” Niall whined. “You said pudding and Sherlock.”

“Ok,” Louis relented immediately; Niall and his happiness were always top priority. “Ok.”

The Irishman beamed and kissed his cheek. After what just happened, he wasn’t letting Louis out of his sight. No way, no how.

Chapter Text

Niall stayed in Louis’ lap while they ate their pudding and then well through “The Blind Banker.” The alphas sat nearby, worriedly watching. Don’t get any of them wrong, they were happy that Louis was so responsive to Niall’s tenderness, especially after what happened.

But, that didn’t change the fact that he was a beta, and betas didn’t like this kind of attention or affection.

They weren’t jealous. Not of their own omega. Not at all.

Just, curious. Maybe.

And jealous. Fine. Jealous. Every bit of their alphas wanted to cuddle Louis, damn it.

Harry sat on Liam until the Alpha moved, then scooted in closer to the two omegas, his thigh brushing against Louis’. “You ok?” the youngest alpha questioned softly, running his fingers into the chestnut shag; his heart beat a little faster when Louis smiled lazily at him, the way Niall does when he’s falling asleep.

His fiancé bit Harry’s hand, a challenge in his eyes. Harry could feel the possessiveness through their bond.

“Ni,” Zayn tugged him into his lap. Or at least, he tried.

“No,” Niall wrestled himself back onto Louis and pouted. Mine, the feeling reverberated through all three alphas.

“Sunshine,” Louis’ hum sounded far away, “I’m ok now.”

“That’s nice,” Niall just rested his cheek against Louis’ head.

With Harry petting him and Niall holding him like he was something precious and Liam and Zayn next to them, close and protective, the last of the adrenaline and the fear seeped out of his body, and Louis felt himself drift off wearily, head lolling onto Harry’s arm.

This was nice. Could it be like this all the time? Harry grinned at the thought. Is this what having Louis would be like? This serene and tender and beautiful.

“Hazza,” Liam warned, under his breath. Louis and their omega couldn’t hear, but the other alpha picked up the tone.

No. Beta. Louis was a beta. He belonged in a couple, not a pack. Harry couldn’t, and the older alphas wouldn’t let their baby alpha go down that road.

The door opened and it jarred them all out of that peace.

“We’ve managed to keep this all quiet,” in other words, away from the media, “Lou wants to see the swelling. See if she can’t cover it up for the show tonight. Unless you don’t feel up to performing, Tommo.”

“No, no, I’m ok,” Louis shook his head, suddenly tense and awake. “Have you heard about Paddy yet, Paul?”

“Still in surgery. One of the crewmen went to hospital with him. You know Smudge. He’s keeping me updated. I’ll let you know as soon as I find out anything.”

Louis nodded and followed him out, with Niall hot on his heels. “Ni, go watch Sherlock, babe.”

“I paused. That’s the beauty of video streaming,” the omega’s grin soothed him; Louis knew he should insist. That’s what a beta would do after all. But Niall was sunshine and Louis just couldn’t right now.

The stadium felt colder around them as they made their way to Lou; Niall grabbed for Louis’ hand for the warmth. The build up to the show dragged on beneath the tension. While it helped that Paul got word a couple hours later that Paddy would recover and return to work for the American leg, and they did put on a great show for awesome fans, nobody could wait to get out of there.

Louis flopped onto his bunk, exhaustion worn into his bones.

“Scoot over,” Niall expectantly waited for Louis to make room.

“Ni,” Louis laughed. “I’m fine. I’m just going to sleep. Go on to your bedroom, babe. I’m ok.”

“Ok. Well you’ll be extra ok then with me around,” Niall pushed him to the wall. They had to spoon tight to fit, but they managed.

“Niall?” the alphas found him in there.

“Shhh. We’re sleeping,” Niall mumbled into Louis’ hair.

“Ni, I swear, I’m ok,” he tried weakly; he didn’t really want sunshine to let him go.

“Hush,” the omega ordered. “Goodnight boys.”

Reluctantly, Liam fixed the blanket over them and motioned the alphas away. “Goodnight, Ni. Love you, babe.” They each kissed the back of Niall’s head and Zayn closed the curtain.

“I um, I just need a drink. Just a second,” Louis stood.

Paddy met him by the water and whispered, “Do not sit on that couch again.”

Then there a knife flashed through the air, literally cutting off Paddy’s growl and leaving Louis shell-shocked.

“Run,” the bodyguard stammered, blood gushing from the wound.

Louis ran towards the door, but the burly alpha who’d called himself Mike, had a longer, bigger stride and prevailed. Steel clattering to the floor, hand over Louis’ mouth while Mike manhandled him back to the couch, backhanding him after Louis tried scratching his way free.

“I hoped I’d get you alone today. This had to be fate. You’re too pretty to be a beta, you know that?” he licked at Louis’ neck. “Mmmm, you taste so good.”

“Shhh, Lou.”

That’s not what he’d said. He’d said, “So pretty. My pretty little whore,” and bit down on his collarbone.

“It’s ok, Louis,” was that sleepy voice Niall? No, Niall couldn’t be near that alpha, no, he had to get away!

“It’s ok, Lou. It’s ok.”

Was that Niall? Did Mike have him? Why was it so dark? Where were the alphas? Why weren’t they protecting Niall?!

He whimpered and clung to the warm body in his bunk.

“Easy, Louis, it’s ok,” the firm touch of an alpha and the thick Bradford accent stroked along his back, “Open your eyes, bro, it’s all right.”

“Louis, lovey, it’s ok,” Niall kissed his forehead pleadingly. “You’re safe now. You’re safe.”

Louis finally got his eyes to obey and snapped them open. He pulled the blonde close, grateful that Niall hadn’t been around that horrible alpha.

Harry and Liam stood against the bunk helplessly while Zayn balanced on the very edge, reaching over Niall so he could rub his best friend’s back.

“It’s ok,” Niall rocked him gently. “It’s ok.”

“Sorry,” he mumbled into the omega’s neck.

“It’s ok, Lou. Liam grabbed you some water. Sit up and have some,” Zayn gave his hand a squeeze.

Louis wiped the wet from his face and complied, shaking the tremors from his hand before reaching for the bottle.

“Sorry,” he said again after a few gulp.

“It’s ok, Tommo. You went through something terrible today,” Liam squeezed his foot.

“Thanks for letting me borrow Niall,” he rasped, his voice tired from the show and his nightmare.

The alphas laughed. “Our omega wouldn’t have it any other way.”

“You’re my favorite,” Niall’s shirt rode up while he sat up; Louis’ breath didn’t hitch between jealousy and want. Nope. Not at all.

“Why don’t you guys stay in the big bed tonight? There’ll be more room,” Harry suggested.

“I’m good. I like how close we have to be,” Niall wiggled his eyebrows playfully.

Louis giggled his sniffles away. “Cad.”

Niall smirked, “Get used to it.”

Yes. Harry grinned. Get used to it. We can make this work with a beta. We can.

“All right, babes,” Liam could see the hope building in his alpha partner’s eyes and he needed to squash it. Louis needed them right now, but he was still a beta. He wouldn’t need them for long. “Get back to sleep, ok? We’ve still got a ways to go before we get to Glasgow.”

“C’mon, Lou,” Niall patted the bed.

After being tucked back in by his alphas, Niall rested his forehead on Louis’. “Wanna talk about it?”

“Just wanna sleep.”

“Ok,” he yawned; Louis was so warm, like his own private hearth, “I’m here. If you change your mind and all.”

“Thanks, Sunshine,” Louis kissed his nose and watched the omega doze off. It took him a little longer, but eventually succumbed to Niall’s softness.

Down the isle, Liam grabbed the youngest alpha’s hand. “Hazza…”

“But-” the boy—yes, he’d always be his baby alpha, even though Liam only had a few months seniority—looked so hopeful, Liam hated to dash that (again).

“He’s still a beta, Harry. No matter how much you love him, it won’t be enough. You’ll destroy each other.”

“You’ve been watching too many superhero movies,” Harry scuffed the floor and jumped into his bunk mumbling, “Destroy each other. The only thing I’d destroy is that ass.”

Liam and Zayn exchanged a weary sigh and a kiss before sliding into their own bunks, pretending like Harry wasn’t rubbing one off while they tried to sleep.

***

“Louis!” the parked bus dulled the scream, but the alphas bristled into wakefulness, each of them ripping open their curtains.

“What is that?” Harry muttered, pulling his pants on.

“Louis!”

“Wha—“ Louis stirred. He expected to feel exhausted, but that was the best night’s sleep he’d had in—possibly ever. Niall hushed him and spooned tighter. Just as Louis drifted back down, another cry pierced the den wall.

“Louis, please! I’m too young to die!”

“Oh, damn it,” Louis groaned, and toppled himself reluctantly over Niall, halfway off the bus before the alphas even thought to follow.

“Noah!?” Louis traipsed out. The rising sun woke a pounding in his head.

As Harry, Liam and Zayn stepped into the isle between buses, Niall following after them, they glanced into the open parking lot in time to see a man grab Louis.

“Louis!” they followed in a rush of protective panic, but with a few members of their crew looking on in amusement the danger seemed low.

“It’s fine! It’s fine!” Louis assured them, trying to get a look at Noah, “What the hell is the matter with you?”

“Talk him down, he’ll listen to you! He likes you!”

“What did you do this time?” Louis looked back as Johnny—looking more threatening and frightening than any omega had a right to—rounded the busses. “Johnny, what did he—“

“Jonathan, stop it!” a woman—omega, maybe 20—followed, trying to grab the big guy.

“Oh fuck you, Noah, his sister!?” Louis sighed. “Johnny, I can’t let you kill him. I want to, but you know I can’t.”

“Louis, you’re a great guy and I’m not dumb enough to threaten you in front of your security team, but move or I will move you.”

“I know how you feel, Johnny. Age trumps gender,” he tried his hardest not to glance at the pack. “Age trumps gender every time, and if it were my little sister, I’d kill him, too. Because she’ll always be that little girl whose hand you held when it was stormy, who you walked to and from school, who you probably had tea parties with. Did you do the full on fancy dress with the pearls and tiara because I did and my sister gets whatever she wants so long as those pictures don’t end up on twitter,” Louis got the omega to stop. “She’s not a baby anymore though, man. And, they mean something to each other if A) he’s willing to risk his reputation in front of all the people you work with and B) she’s already here with him when we’ve been in Glasgow less than, what? Six hours? So, with all that in mind, plus the fact that he’s our pyro guy and he makes the fun explosions at our shows, I can’t let you kill him. BUT, what I can do, is hand over the slap bet I won during our poker game.”

“Wait, what?!” Noah exclaimed.

“I’m listening,” Johnny smiled.

“You can’t do that!”

“I can’t, but remember, in the spirit of How I Met Your Mother, we appointed a slap bet commissioner. Ricky! Ruling, please. Given the circumstances, can I hand over the rest of the slap bet?” he asked the head of the road crew.

Amused, the alpha nodded, “I’ll allow it.”

“All right then. You can’t kill him, but now the angry older brother in you can slap him three times between now and the end of the tour,” Louis shook Johnny’s hand.

“Deal.”

“Wait, three?” Noah asked, just before Louis took an almighty swing at him. It echoed and put the beta on the ground.

“Yup. Three,” Louis closed his eyes until the world stopped spinning. “The rest of you go back to work, you slackers!” he said as playfully as he could with an alien apparently trying to break out of his skull. “Rick, you’re looking at me like you need something.”

“You have my paper work?”

“Yeah,” Louis trudged past the pack to the bus and returned with a stack of papers, which he handed off. “How’s Travis doing?”

“Still ill; he’s taking the morning off.”

“Let him take the day, yeah? Can you just shift your personnel as need be? Hey, Paul? See if we can’t get someone in to clean the buses. I mean, like, disinfect all of them from top to bottom, I don’t want any more people getting sick. Then get the lovely ladies in catering to go out and get the crew another round of that vitamin water stuff and those immune booster things. You know what I’m talking about? Good. Um. If Travis isn’t better at all tomorrow, make him see a doctor. He’s a stubborn bastard, he probably won’t go on his own. Um…there was something else…OH! Harry’s getting new boots in today so DHL should be here. If they’re here before noon though, don’t bother Caroline, just give it to Paul and he’ll give it to Caroline later. Brooklyn and Lux have been peaky, too, so let them all have a lie in. I’m forgetting something…OH! Paul when you head over to Sarah remind her that it’s Smudge’s birthday, see if they can’t whip up a cake for him or go pick one up when she gets the water and when you get a chance, shoot me in the forehead because this headache came out of no where, holy hell on a cracker,” Louis buckled at the waist and braced himself against the bus next to theirs.

“What the heck was that?” Liam rubbed his back.

“Work,” Louis swallowed the pre-vomit saliva filling his mouth.

Harry rubbed circles just below Liam. “Why are you doing it all?”

“Because the four of you are divas and Paul doesn’t want anymore alpha tantrums! I felt fine when I woke up, what the hell?”

“After Ni’s run in with that alpha back on the South American leg, you wanted the locals allowed backstage vetted by the band,” Paul explained; his ears still rung from the tongue lashing Liam had given him after finding some bastard hitting on his omega.

“And you didn’t have me do it because…” Liam asked their tour manager.

“Because you four are usually cloistered in your back room, and, unlike Noah, I know better than to approach alphas while their omega is sleeping. Louis was easy to get to.”

“Hey Lou—“ Julian popped out.

“No, no, no! They’re all up, take one of them to record, you early morning sadist, I need an aspirin,” and his suppressant, “And to go back to sleep,” Louis stumbled back to the door before it spun away.

With the guilt of those bruises still plaguing him, Liam’s heart sank. Not only had they left Louis vulnerable, but he’d had to juggle so much because of it. “Z? You go record. Ni, go back to bed with Louis. Haz, let’s get breakfast, bring it back? Don’t leave the door until we’re back,” he told Paul.

Even sick, Louis had the presence of mind to grab a suppressant pill before anyone saw. As he excused himself to the bathroom, he reminded his stomach that he needed to hold this down. He ran the sink, scooping some water to drown the pill with.

It felt different from the last one, but it didn’t bother him that it kept him from sleeping. He never could rest after popping his pills. They put too much on his mind. What were they doing to his body? Though some suppressants were legal in other countries, most studies showed an array of weird side effects. Rubbing his hand a little lower than his stomach, he wondered: would he still be able to carry pups? He wanted children. He wanted to be the mother he never had. But, could he? Would he have heats when this was done? And when would it be done? He’d wanted to end it ages ago, but Jones made it clear: he had to stay a beta, or else he’d use the pack.

With a resigned sigh, Louis splashed some water on his face and the thought that haunted him the most came to the forefront of his mind: would his friends be able to forgive him for all his lies?

He toweled off a bit rougher than he should have, unsure of the answer. Some days he thought no, no way, they’d shun him when they found out, how could they not? How could they even like him, let alone love him? Other days, like today, he hoped yes, even if he’d never be a part of them, they might still stay friends.

Looking in the mirror, the swelling had gone down on the bruise as had the one on his arm. Both should fade fully in a few days. Edging his shirt away, he peeled back the bandage and checked the bite mark. Not a bonding mark, he could have skipped the scabbing over and slow healing in place of a weeklong welt—if the alpha had licked it shut. Louis shuddered at the thought; he’d take the scab and longer recovery over that. Prodding it gently, the image of his attacker flashed through his mind.

Niall heard the gasp from the hall and knocked worriedly, “Tommo? All right?”

Louis called back, “Yeah. Fine. Sorry, just stubbed my toe.” He grabbed the aspirin from the drawer and popped a couple before heading out to his sunshine.

“No problem. Let’s just get back to sleep, yeah?”

The secret omega put his game face on. You’re Louis Tomlinson: Beta.

Niall pushed him back into the tiny bunk and climbed in with him and murmured, “Sorry your bed smells like an omega.”

Louis tried his hardest not to tense.

Should have used the neutralizing spray.

There wasn’t enough time. He’d smell that.

Better than him smelling your omega-ness.

No. He thinks it’s his. It’s fine.

Just shower as soon as Niall’s up and hit yourself with the spray then.

Yup. That’s the plan.

But, he was definitely not getting back to sleep now.

“I don’t mind,” Louis squeezed the arm around him. “It’s just you, sunshine. I’d never mind that.”

At least that was true.

***

Later that day, as their trainer squeezed in time for the pack's workout, Liam left Louis with strict instructions not to wander off, something he agreed to, still a bit too traumatized to do otherwise.

“I don’t need to work out, I’ll stay with you, Louis,” Harry smiled and dragged his bandmate to the kitchen so he could feed him, maybe even while Louis was sitting in his lap; Liam grabbed his arm and raised an eyebrow. Harry’s alpha sighed. He’d have to settle for feeding him while Louis was sitting across the table then.

Zayn and the Alpha were taking the long way back towards the bus, cooling down after their session with Mark, one of the few people they trusted alone with Niall. “Have you ever noticed…like…” he considered how best to phrase this. “How small Louis is?”

“Don’t let Tommo hear you say that, mate,” Liam chuckled.

Zayn nodded, “Yeah, of course, but…he’s smaller than Niall.”

“His dad’s a smaller beta. It happens,” Liam shrugged. Secondary gender wasn’t always an indicator of size. One of his bullies in school had been a beta nearly twice his size!

“Is he? We’ve never met his real father, not in person,” the older alpha mumbled, still not quite sure where he was going with this.

“Zayn.”

“Are we sure he’s a beta?!” Zayn finally blurted the words. “I mean, he’s just so…and yesterday, he was so…” So omega...

Liam stopped, full focus on his alpha partner, “Yes, Zayn. No matter how much we may want otherwise, he’s still a beta. Small or not.”

“But…”

“Think about it, Z. Yesterday, Louis went through something terrible, so his behavior wasn’t natural. And besides that, he doesn’t smell like anything, let alone a sweet, little omega. He sees the same doctor we do, has the same blood tests done—Dr. Black’s a alpha, he’d never let him get away with pretending to be a beta. And, how in the world could he hide years upon years of heats from us? I mean, we've had to plan tours and appearances around ruts and heats since the X Factor tour. When would Louis get his in? We’re around him all the time, Zayn. We’d have noticed. I mean, it’s Tommo, he’s…he’s the Tommo.”

“What if he doesn’t get heats? What if he’s like…”

“Like a dormant omega? Those are a myth. There’s never been a proven presentation after eighteen.”

“No, but, what if like…he’s using suppressants or something?”

“C’mon, Zayn. You took the Alpha-Health GSCE, same as me. There are no suppressants meant to be long term. They’re all for terminal patients or omegas whose—”

“Whose mature heats start too early, yeah, I remember.” But, he’d felt so right with Louis curled up against him!

“Besides, why would he hide that from us?” Liam stepped into Zayn, hands sliding behind his neck. As Alpha, he needed to protect his pack from disappointment and that's all they'd be left with when Louis finally settled into a relationship. “We’re good alphas. Who wouldn’t want us?” he kissed him softly. “With baby alpha right now, I need you,” he used the nickname Zayn had given Harry, trying to get him on the same page.

Though not entirely convinced, Zayn conceded, “Yeah. Yeah, I get it. I was just…yeah. Yesterday. It was just…yesterday, I guess.”

Returning to the den, they found Louis and Harry draped across the u-shaped lounge couch, entirely pressed together from head to toe and giggling as they tried throwing goldfish crackers into each other’s mouths.

With that look of deep, soulful fondness growing in Harry’s eyes again, Zayn patted Liam’s back and went to chaperone baby alpha.

Chapter Text

By the time they were checked into their next hotel a couple shows later, Louis was exhausted.

Since the incident, the pack had been by his side nearly every moment—Zayn and Harry especially— and he constantly had to battle his omega given the extra attention.

The beta act was much harder to maintain like this and he wasn’t sleeping well, even with a prescription sleep aid—and by well, he meant at all, most nights since Niall had returned to his bedroom. Louis’ nightmares when he did manage some shut eye were getting worse and weirder and he was still waking up with a headache and nausea so bad he needed Megan to get him something stronger than ibuprofen, but he didn’t want to worry the pack by telling them so he spent most of his days pretending to eat (he’d become a master at pushing his food around and hiding it in napkins), pretending to be well rested, pretending like everything was ok, and still pretending to be a beta.

Add in the fact that he’d called home, forgetting that the twins were spending the week with Mark…

“Hey Mum,” Louis double-checked that the noise-reducing curtain was drawn on his part of the bus when he realized his mistake. He always called his older younger sisters on their mobiles, but the twins were too young to have their own. “Are the girls around?”

“You know they’re not. Why don’t you ever call to talk to me?”

Because the emotional smack down was typically a bit much to handle. “I’m sorry, Mum, I’ll call more—“

“And why did my credit card get declined?”

Louis pinched the bridge of his nose, “I’ve told you this before—“

“Don’t you dare take that tone of voice with me, Louis Tomlinson.”

Her son forged through with his sentence, “—the card I gave you has a credit limit.” One she shouldn't ever need to hit given that Louis covered her major bills, let alone do it almost every other month, yet somehow…

“And why can’t you get me one without that? You can afford it. After all I’ve done for you, all I had to put up with, the least you can do is contribute since you do fuck all for a living. How hard can singing really be? I have four little girls, your sisters, to take care of, Louis. Do you have any idea how expensive they can get? And since his omega had their mutts, your father barely helps—well, not your father, your father was as worthless are you are—“

The pretend-beta grabbed for the bottle of oxycodone Megan had gotten him and popped an extra dose; he could feel his headache getting worse.

“—You wouldn’t have all that if it wasn’t for me covering your ass. You think you could do what you do as an omega? No, you were a needy, pathetic piece of shit, but I fixed that—”

“Nice to talk to you too, Mum. Miss you,” he said when he heard his band mates approaching. “I’ll call you again soon.”

…exhausted was an understatement. The last thing he wanted to find was Megan waiting in his hotel room with that expectant look on her face.

“No,” he didn’t care right now. He just wanted a quick shower and a comfortable bed and the roll of the pack’s tops to cuddle with.

“Should we call Jones again?”

“I don’t even care. Tell him to do whatever he wants,” Louis slammed the bathroom door shut.

But then.

“Liam!”

Louis dropped against the wood and banged it for good measure. They gave him a room next to the pack, and Niall’s moaning pierced the thin hotel wall. He gave the shower a glance, an itch in his right hand.

No. He wasn’t going to wank to his best friends’ sex sounds. Nope. Not going to perv on them like that (this time at least.)

Might be safer to go out then. Popping his head out, he sighed, “Give me ten minutes to get ready.”

***

Harry was the only reason Liam came without knotting. He knew that the last few days at Louis’ side had baby alpha wound tight—despite Liam and Zayn finding any reason to pull him away. But Harry needed a knot and now.

Panting as hard as he would on an exercise bike, Liam drove deeper into Niall one last time, fingertips dug into his backside—no, the thought of what Louis’s luscious ass would feel like in this same position didn’t cross his mind as he filled his omega. Not at all.

Zayn leaned forward, driving himself deeper between Niall’s lips to kiss Liam’s. The Alpha was gorgeous when he came; Zayn couldn’t help himself.

Niall, on the other hand, hated when they did this. He choked when the alpha pulled out, gagging a little. He loved being the base of their Eiffel tower, but they were going so fast the omega could hardly keep up. This happened whenever one or two or all three of his alphas felt needy or tense. He knew it was Harry this time—he could feel the youngest’s eyes like lasers on his skin—but Liam’s relentlessness pounding already had him on the edge of subspace.

The Alpha pulled out with a kiss to dip in his back. “Color, Ni?” he asked, warily.

“Yellow,” he grunted, grabbing Zayn’s lithe hips and twisting him to the bed for a better angle, bobbing his head in the alpha’s lap when he found it.

“Niall,” Zayn laced a tattooed hand into the blond hair, guiding his head up and down. The omega ran his fingers against the insides of his thighs, trailing them towards the alpha’s balls. Cupping the heavy sack, he brushed a thumb down the seam of it, releasing Zayn’s cock so he could pull them into his mouth, nursing while he edged away from omega space. Niall could feel himself getting wetter, the slick mixing with Liam’s cum inside him. He twisted his fist up and down Zayn’s spit soaked length, rubbing the tip on every upstroke.

He switched his mouth and hands twice more before changing to, “Green,” and taking Zayn deep into his throat.

The alpha thrust his hips and gripped the sheets, eyes crinkled, mouth gaping, “Ni, I’m—“ his cry dissolved into a moan that trembled deep in his belly.

Niall suctioned his cheeks in around the head, sucking every spurt down and then some.

“Don’t swallow,” Harry’s deep voice flowed through the room.

Liam, who’d gone for a quick shower, smirked as he flopped onto the chair nearby to watch his pack.

Harry would have smiled back under any other circumstances. But the frustration begotten by years of wanting what nature would never let him have had him on edge.

Leaving Zayn a gasping puddle, Niall crawled across the bed, kissing Harry with a mouthful of the oldest alpha. The youngest one lifted the omega’s knees around him, reaching between them to align his cock.

The sweet smell and sound of slick, the smacking of their lips and Harry’s lewd swallow filled the sweat soaked air.

“Ride me,” Harry, who rarely used his alpha voice, ordered.

“Yes, alpha,” Niall gulped and started to move, clenching his muscles around the thick erection re-stretching him. His body tingled from head to toe with that floaty feeling. It’s not that he didn’t like omega space, of course he did. He just wanted to be here for longer, to be able to orgasm in this moment with Harry without needing to fall into his safe place. He always thought he’d get used to it, but having three alphas all to himself was too much sometimes.

***

The next morning, Paul waited impatiently, tapping his foot, “Alberto, go grab Louis,” he sighed. The band alphas were already antsy being ten floors away from their omega, who had needed a few minutes to finish up some recording. Their beta was running late after keeping Paul’s only alpha out all night at that. The crowd outside had doubled, already breaking the police barriers once. To make matters worse, the alphas refused to go further than the lift lobby without Niall, so Paul couldn’t even get them out to the bus. He checked his watch; they were officially six minutes late and counting.

At least Andy had finally arrived to serve as Paddy’s temporary replacement.

Five minutes later, a heavy, metallic creak demanded their attention, and the numbers above the center shaft flickered.

“Oh please don’t be them. Please, please don’t be them,” Paul whipped out his phone. But the alphas didn’t need confirmation. They could feel their omega’s terror like ice in their veins.

Liam raced to the front desk, “What floor are they on!?”

The manager paled at the dangerous alpha tone, “I…I don’t know!”

***

Niall was having a laugh with Julian and one very hungover Louis when he let his mind wander. Louis seemed better with the alphas watching over him, and Niall wondered if he and Harry had been right since day one. Louis could have a place not just with the band, but with them, and not one at arm’s length. Could he be theirs? Could they make it work with a beta?

Suddenly, the elevator lurched beneath their feet and he stumbled into the wall and felt it give way, it gave way, didn’t it?! What was going on!? He tried to get as far away as he could, but bumped into the other wall and then the others all got closer, they were getting closer, the walls they were, weren’t they? Niall wanted his alphas, he screamed for them and banged on the door. A hand touched his shoulder, but it wasn’t Liam or Harry or Zayn, because he knew their touch. “Get away!” he swung at its owner and kept hammering on the door. “Li! Z! Haz! Please! Please!”

He needed his alphas, his fiancées, their safety and their scent, he’d even taken one of their bites to calm down, and air, holy shit, he couldn’t breathe, oh god, he couldn’t breathe, he couldn’t breathe, he was freaking out and couldn’t stop, his mind was racing too hard, he was going to sub drop alone and die, the walls were going to crush him and he wasn’t going to ever see—

“Hey sunshine,” a voice drifted in, calm and familiar.

“L-L-Louis?!” Niall spun around on shaky feet.

“I got you, I got you, sunny, come here,” Louis reached for his hand and Niall clung to it like a lifeline, focusing on the divots in his knuckles, the softness of his fingers, and the way they stopped his own from shaking.

Louis pulled him into the center of the elevator, pressing the omega’s hand to his chest and stroking his back with the other. “I got you, Niall. Stay with me. Stop thinking and focus on my voice. Can you feel me breathing? Can you match my breathing?”

This wasn’t loud, brash, fun loving Louis. His voice was soft and warm, like a baby blanket putting all the bad thoughts to bed. Niall nodded, still trembling on the edge of a panic attack.

“Focus on me, ok and just breathe with me. C’mon, sunshine,” Louis stroked his back and started to hum. He could feel the Irishman start to calm a bit against him and sang for him. “Baby, please try to forgive me. Stay here, don’t put out the glow. Hold me now, don’t bother. If every minute, it makes me weaker, you can save me, from the man that I’ve become…”

Niall even gave a chuckle (breathy and panicked but still, a chuckle) with Julian, Alberto and Andy when they all realized Louis was singing a Backstreet Boys song to him. Eyes closed, he clung to his Tommo, because the more he focused on Louis, the less fear he felt.

Louis wasn’t an alpha, but Louis meant he was safe.

“Looking back on the things I’ve done, I was trying to be someone, I played my part, kept you in the dark. Now let me show you the shape of my heart…”

***

“How much longer?!” Liam growled at the firefighters.

Paul mediated between them, getting the three alphas back a few steps. “Do not call to him. Alberto’s text just got to me. I can't get him on the phone, but Louis has Niall calm right now, if you call to him, we’re afraid he’ll rush the door and get worked up again, understand? For his own good, do not call to him when those doors open.”

It didn’t sit well with the three of them, but for the good of their omega, they agreed and returned to pacing the eighth floor’s elevator foyer, eyes on those heavy, steel doors.

The firefighters wrenched the outer doors open and Louis’ voice drifted out to them. He’d been singing to their boy! That’s why Niall was calm! They felt a rush of love for their beta and their anxiety eased just a little. Louis had him. He’d be ok.

The locking mechanisms in the inner door were trickier and they could only be opened half way. The space wasn’t ideal, but they would all be able to fit through.

“Ni,” Louis stopped singing when the firefighters waved them to the door. He dislodged Niall as he spoke, “Stay calm, sunshine. Ok? We’re gonna climb out now? You first. Your alphas are waiting, baby,” Louis gently turned him around.

“O-out? We can, we can go?” Niall turned around in the tiny space, and the panic started to return; he grabbed Louis, trembling.

“I’m still here, sunshine. I’m still here. We’re walking, we’re walking, there we go,” Louis rubbed his back.

Andy offered his knee for the omega. “C’mon, buddy.”

“You’re doing so good, Sunshine, we’re almost there,” Louis guided him. Niall climbed onto the bodyguard and braced both hands on the eighth floor. All of a sudden, the lights flickered around them again and the metal groaned. Louis yanked the Irishman back just as the elevator dropped again.

“NIALL!” the alphas lunged, but the car was gone.

“It’s on seven!” the firefighters led the hurry down. While two men struggled with another set of outer doors, the one in charge banged on it.

“Everyone ok in there?”

“No! He’s, he’s out, he-he hit his head on the rail! You gotta hurry, he’s bleeding!” they heard Julian yell.

“Niall!? Niall!” it took the entire security team to hold back the alphas.

“No! It’s Louis, please hurry! Please Louis, please open your eyes, please! Wake up, Louis, c’mon!” Niall begged.

The relief the alphas felt disgusted them, because that was Louis they were talking about. The “thank god it’s not Niall” moment was despicable and wrong and horrible, and only lasted a second before their fears turned to their beta.

Louis had to be ok. Things were returning to normal after everything that had happened. Their beta was laughing and playing pranks, staying up late with Zayn, teasing Liam mercilessly, watching football with Harry. He had color and life in his face. He was their Louis again, and he had to stay that way. He had to be ok, he just had to be.

The wait seemed even longer than before, despite it lasting only a few minutes. With the elevator in the proper position, the firefighters weren’t working against safety locks. They only had to force open the outer doors, then the inner doors and there they were.

Niall gripped Louis’ hand, Alberto braced his head with Julian’s flannel shirt pressed to his forehead, blood running into his hair.

The firefighters hurried them out—or tried to.

“No, Julian, I’m not leaving him!” Niall refused to let go. “C’mon Tommo, wake up, please wake up!”

“Guys, go, I’ll—“ Alberto nodded to Niall; the songwriter and Irish guard reluctantly left them.

“Ni, baby, come here,” Zayn pleaded. “Paul, let me go get him, he’ll listen to us!” Liam and Harry were having equally as hard a time trying to reason with Preston and Dale.

With more room, the paramedics descended. Once they had Louis neck stabilized, Alberto tried to follow, but Niall wouldn’t leave.

“No! No! I’m not leaving him! Stop!” the Irishman had tears running down his red cheeks and he shook like a leaf in a hurricane, but he wouldn’t let go.

“Niall, out of the elevator, right now,” Liam delivered an alpha command.

“No!”

“Niall!” his disobedience stunned all three of them; he’d never been able to defy an order like that.

The emergency crews wouldn’t let them through and they watched their omega’s heartbreaking pleas while the paramedics eased their unconscious friend onto a backboard. Finally when they brought Louis out, Liam and the alphas grabbed Niall.

“No! Let me go! I’m not leaving him! I’m not leaving him!” Niall held fast, “No! Please, please let me go with him, please, Louis! Louis!”

“Zayn’s going to go with him, we’re going to follow right away. Just relax for us, love,” Harry struggled with the frantic omega while Zayn pried his fingers off Louis’.

“No! No, I have to, he kept me, he, safe, Louis!” Niall stammered until Liam grabbed the back of his neck just right, sending him to the tranquility of omega space.

His last thought before sinking was Louis’ gentle voice keeping the walls away.

 ***

Sky News: One Direction Cancels Show, Member Taken to Hospital

Louis Tomlinson, One Direction’s beta, has been taken to hospital just hours before the band is slated to perform their second night at the Etihad Stadium. Secured in a cervical collar and oxygen mask, the X Factor finalist was unconscious, presumably a result of a the head wound…

Chapter Text

When Niall came up, he was surrounded by his family.

“Easy, love,” alpha whispered. “Come up all the way for us, baby.”

“You’re ok, Nialler. C’mon.”

“Good boy. You’re being such a good boy.”

Blue eyes fluttered open. In the corner of a sterile waiting room, he and his alphas cuddled together on a bed of their hoodies. Their security team stood in the doorways and their parents sat around them, reading magazines and watching the television out of distraction, not interest.

But, they were their parents—the alphas’ parents, who were probably keeping his own updated in Ireland. Despite their kids being in their early twenties already, the moment they’d heard One Direction and hospital in the same sentence, the omega parents needed to be with their children; Niall knew he’d feel the same way when he had pups. Their management rep and Lou and Caroline were also around. But, not Louis’ mum. Was it a beta thing? Why wasn’t she bringing Louis’ sisters here? If the Maliks and the Paynes and the Styles triad could get here already, surely she could, too. They were just in Manchester and the Paynes were already here. Doncaster was closer than Wolverhampton, wasn’t it? It was her son, after all. That’s why they were here, because Louis…

He snapped his eyes shut when the lift incident flashed through his head.

Flickering lights, closing walls.

Louis' voice keeping them away.

The ice stabbing at his veins melting against his own personal hearth.

"Out...we can go out..."

His hands on cold marble, about to pull himself up.

The elevator groaning.

Hands grabbing him, pulling him back.

One foot hit the floor, the other pinned his friend’s to it.

The sound of Louis’ head smacking the railing.

Niall whimpered. Harry held him and Liam stroked his hair and Zayn rubbed his back, all three closing in tighter, their scents enveloping him in safety and warmth.

“Louis? Want Louis.”

“He’s with the people who can help him, babe,” Harry reassured himself as much as Niall.

“How long?”

“They’ll give us an update soon,” Zayn hoped.

Despite their words of comfort, he could feel their worry and the tension; scary as it was to feel that from his alphas, it made him feel less alone in his own.

“His mum. Why isn’t she here?”

“We can’t get a hold of her. Got Mark’s wife though; she’s trying to reach him on the base. And Lottie. My mum’s keep them up to date,” Liam explained.

“Your parents want you to call them when you’re ready,” Zayn kissed his forehead.

“Not yet,” Niall buried his face in Liam’s neck for his scent. As the oceany smell of his Alpha filled him, he realized that he’d been so far out of his head that he’d disobeyed an alpha command. “I’m sorry, Li,” he nuzzled sweetly just under his beard. "I'm sorry I didn't listen to you."

“It’s fine, love, you weren’t quite yourself,” Liam rubbed his back; there were few reasons that an omega could disobey an alpha in full voice, fear and panic among them.

“Want my Louis…”

“Family of Tomlinson?” a hurried doctor appeared. She didn’t have to ask. Paul had worked with hospital security to block off this private waiting room and had prepped them for the crowds gathering outside.

“Yes,” they all—parents included—got to their feet.

"I'm Dr. Amos," she explained quickly, “The head injury isn’t life threatening, he’ll need stitches to the gash on his forehead, there’s no swelling to the brain. But, he is on something I need to know what it is.”

“Excuse me?”

“I need to know what drugs are in his system. He was given medication for the fever, and it’s set him off, which means it’s interacting badly with something he’s taken. You didn’t write anything on his paperwork, we are rushing his tests, but if you know something this will go a lot faster.”

“Did he take anything at the club yesterday?” Paul asked.

“No,” Alberto shook his head. “I had my eyes on him all last night. He didn’t take anything and he barely finished one drink! He didn’t even smoke last night.”

“He might have taken something for a headache…” Niall offered, biting his nails.

“We’ve had aspirin on hand for him, he hasn’t asked for it today though,” Paul stated, “He’s had a headache for a few days. He said he caught whatever’s gone around the crew. I wrote that on the paper.”

But Liam caught the shifty look from across the room and his instincts flared. “Megan? Megan, if you know something, tell her!” he pleaded.

The doctor followed the Alpha’s eyes, “Whatever he’s taken in combination with the medication we needed to give him has made Louis’ fever spike. He is already dehydrated and exhausted. Now, he is agitated and hallucinating. If we can’t bring it down, he’s going to die.”

Their management rep looked away from the piercing gaze, as if she had to think about this.

“Megan,” the Alpha took a warning step towards her. Liam’s parents taught him never to hit a female no matter her secondary gender, but neither alpha nor omega was stopping his advance. If her silence cost them Louis, there wasn’t a person in the room who wouldn’t kill her.

“He’s on oxycodone for his headaches…and zaleplon to help him sleep…and he’s on a suppressant,” she all but whispered. “He was on styfilitol until last week. I’m not sure what the new one is called.”

“He’s omega?” the doctor asked, eyes wide. “Are the pills circles, green circles in a white blister pack?”

She nodded and the doctor rushed and all but ran out of the stunned room.

“Suppressant. He’s on a suppressant. So he’s…Louis’…” Harry didn’t even want to say it, and he certainly didn’t want hear what he knew was coming, because he’d already failed to keep Louis the beta safe but…

Megan gulped, looking the definition of a deer in headlights. “An omega.”

Liam roared with such vehemence that all the omegas around the room submitted immediately, “Did you put him on those pills?!” it took his father and Zayn’s to hold him back; no one else would dare try right now.

“Yes,” the woman cringed. “NO, I mean, I didn’t put him on them! He was on them to begin with! It was Jones’ idea!” she folded beneath the anger in the alphas’ glares.

“Tell. Us. Everything,” the Alpha ordered through gritted teeth.

“Megan, if you don’t start talking, I’m going to kill you,” Zayn could feel the agony in Harry’s alpha reflected in his own. He knew it, too. He fucking knew it, why didn’t he do anything, why did he let Liam talk him out of it, why didn’t he notice before—

“It—it started after X-Factor,” as the word vomit started, the beta looked so relieved to finally be getting this out, “When we met with you each individually and asked if there anything we needed to know about in your past, any skeletons, Louis had that he was an omega and his mother had him on suppressants. He never told us why, but I don’t think Jones ever cared. He saw the opportunity. Louis was already eighteen and didn’t need a parent in the meeting, wouldn’t need to renegotiate the contract when he came of age…and Jones convinced him to stay on the suppressants.”

“I knew I should have gone in with him,” Harry’s Alpha father, muttered, shaking his head.

“He said Louis’ mother would go to prison for putting him on them, and what would happen to his sisters with him busy with the band and their father often deployed with the army? And he said…it’d be better for you all if you had…if you had a beta to seem available to all the fans, that you might not succeed without it. He dangled your success in front of him and scared him into silence.

After What Makes You Beautiful, and his sister's last presentation as alpha—he wanted to come clean. He wanted to stop the lies and the pills, and he knew he could support his sisters if it came to that, but mostly…I think he just wanted a chance to love you all…but…but Jones wouldn’t let him. He said you were more marketable with him as a party boy beta because everyone loved a scandal. Unless, maybe that fell on Liam, Zayn, and Harry—even if it risked your relationship with Niall. When Jones realized that you were key to keeping Louis obedient, he used that. He convinced him the fans would never accept him, because, not only would he be the one who lied to all of them, but it would reflect badly on the four of you. Because how could you not notice another omega? And…” she gulped heavily, “And he said…even if the fans could…the four of you wouldn’t. Because… because Louis’ own mother couldn’t love him as an omega, why would you…” she cringed because saying it aloud made it sound as awful as it was.

“You—you-” Harry couldn’t find words loathsome enough as he seethed eyes a blood read, because he did love Louis, he’d always loved him, been drawn to him, wanted him. This couldn’t be happening.

“After things ended with Selena and we had that meeting in November, Jones saw how close to losing it Louis was. He had me switch him from reprezamine to styfiitol because it…” she sighed, “it typically causes depression and anxiety…and we ruined him. Jones wanted Louis away from the four of you as often as possible, so you wouldn’t notice a change in him. We had him clubbing more often then not, threw him into shorter relationships with a string of alphas, betas and omegas, we leaked fake cheating stories, started all the womanizing rumors. And when he was on tour, we made him sure he had extra sessions with your vocal coach, always had someone looking over his shoulder when he wrote music. We convinced him he wasn’t good because…because the lower we kept his confidence, the more compliant he was.”

“I’m gonna be sick,” Niall couldn’t. To take a word so ingrained into the fiber of every omega and use it against one—against Louis—was beyond what the Irishman could stomach anymore. This couldn’t have happened, not to their Louis, not to their friend, not right under their noses. They couldn’t have another omega around and not know that this was happening to him!

“Last week, we couldn’t…I couldn’t…the suppressant contact couldn’t get me styfilitol. Only the new one…I didn’t even know what it was called, but I gave it to him anyway…” she sighed, relieved that it was finally over, “…I’m so sorry.”

Eyes a dark black and his entire body poised on the verge of a murderous rage, Liam said with an unnervingly sinister composure, “Paul, if you don’t get her out, I’m going to kill her.”

“We’ll head to Doncaster and look after his sisters,” Anne said, motioning to her husbands; she also wanted a crack at the woman who put that sweet boy on suppressants.

“They should know before it hits the press,” Liam nodded tensely. “In case this leaks.”

As Paul escorted Megan away—intent on keeping a close eye on her until Alberto could get the police—Niall whimpered, “Louis’ an omega?”

Their minds raced in the heavy silence, confused growls under every harsh breath, trying to process the bomb that had just rocked their world.

This made no sense.

Why…just why?

Most omegas these days, male or female, were expected to have jobs and lives outside their households. There were no social boundaries for them anymore, not in first world countries at the very least. They got to choose whether they had pups, they could walk down streets without fear of being harassed, they could run for office, run companies, they were actors and CEOs and doctors and lawyers and cops and soldiers. Use of traditional collars and leashes in public only made the alpha look weak given the growing philosophy of willful submission: that the truly strong alpha needs a firm presence, not a tight leather or quick hand. There was little reason for an omega to hide!

This made no sense.

Sure there were still the archaic families who looked down on omegas for being so submissive, yet judged ones like Niall for having a backbone, but they were a dying breed. Discrimination based on primary or secondary gender was often a jail-able offense. The alpha dominated sports world had a growing number of omegas, particularly males. And the entertainment world had always been welcoming to male omegas, which just made the pack all the more confused. Why would Louis do this to himself?

Louis. An omega?

Their Louis?

Sure, it had occurred to them that Louis was small for a beta, physically. Zayn had even said so the other day. Except he always had a bit of a tummy, this adorable little pouch just below his waist. And his ass, well—and that’s where they’d always ended the thought; they couldn’t get too fond of a beta they couldn’t have. But, more to the point, Louis had told them his birth father was a smaller beta, and they let it go…

Because Louis hated talking about the man who’d left when he was a toddler.

Because it was difficult to remember how tiny he was when his personality was colossal.

But, how did he hide it?

Suppressants. They had that answer already.

But why would he take them? Why would he hide it? Why wouldn’t he tell them?

For them. Megan had just answered all those, too. Jones had threatened the pack and Louis had stepped in to protect them. Age trumps gender, just like he had said and Louis had always been a big brother before he was beta—no, before he was an omega. Management had used that to force this whole charade on him.

Well, no. To continue it.

“He was already on them to begin with.”

Who put him on them and why? Was it his mother? Is that why she wasn’t here? What did she do? Why did she do it?

While parents always said they’d be happy with any secondary gender, a lot admitted that they wanted omegas, particularly the mothers. Omegas tended to stay closer to their carrier-parent than alphas or betas, even after mating.

He was her only son, why would she do this to him?

Louis would have to tell them. If he could…if he made it.

Louis was an omega.

“Boys…” Karen snapped them back to reality. “He lied to you.”

Niall and the alphas, her son especially, darkened.

But she continued, “You took him at his word, and Louis lied to you.”

“This isn’t his fault,” Liam growled; his father stepped forward in warning.

“I know, my darling. But, do you know that it’s not yours either? You’ve all come from alphas and omegas and none of us knew. He hid it and he hid it well.”

The doctor chose that moment to reappear and, as quickly as she could, cut to the chase. Long story short: his body was already overloaded with drugs, a sedative, pain killers, remnants of sleep aids, suppressants and fever reducers, and there was nothing they could do.

“Are we going to lose him?” Niall whimpered. They couldn’t, not now. They just found out he was an omega!

“We’re trying everything we can. That’s why I’m out here. The drug interaction is raising his body temperature and causing him to hallucinate, so he won’t rest, which he needs to do. He’s not responding to the sedative, and quite frankly, he has too much in his system to try anything else. The nurses and I make him anxious. He’s exhausted, he’s dehydrated, he’s running on empty. If you’re willing, we’re hoping the four of you can calm him down.”

“Take us to him,” Liam ordered in pure Alpha tone. It didn’t matter if it made sense or not. The fact remained: they had an omega to take care of.

Chapter Text

The doctor led them down the hall as she talked, “Being an omega is actually a relief; to a certain extent his body can physically endure the fever better than he could if he was beta. The bad news is that mentally, it’s a different story. Because he’s not in heat, the fever is making him delirious.

He’s pulled two IV ports out, so when he’s lucid enough, get him to drink water. He may not hold it down so there are bins around the room. Because it’s drug induced, we have to manage it manually, as his body won’t regulate his temperature. So, there are cold compresses on the table for under his arms and behind his neck when he’s still enough, but don’t leave them on too long, it’ll give him the shivers. And there are flannels in a tub to cool his skin. Our last resort is an ice bath,” the doctor walked them towards the room. “Hold him if that what you need to do to calm him down, but you can’t for too long because your body heat will also cause his to rise.”

Louis’ cries echoed into the hall, and the four of them were running before they even realized it.

“Louis?” Harry with the longest legs made it in first, and his heart crashed into his stomach.

Curled into the corner of the room, Louis cowered away from the nurse, pain and fear radiating off of him, “I don’t want to! Please don’t make me!”

The nurse looked at them helplessly, relieved when the doctor waved her out.

“Lou, it’s me. It’s Harry,” he crossed the room and reached for his shoulder, but the omega flinched violently, hiding his face behind his arms; the alpha recoiled with a sad whine.

“No, I want Dad! I want my dad, he won’t hate me, he won’t! You’re wrong, Mum, he won’t hate me! He won't, he won't!”

“Babe, please, calm down,” Zayn tried next, approaching him like a hurt, wild animal. “Lou, it’s Zayn, look at me, love, c’mon.”

Shivering on the cold floor, nails dragging through his hair, Louis rocked back and forth, “I don’t want it, mum, please. I don’t want to pretend anymore, I can’t be a beta, I’m sorry—please, don’t, please…”

Liam motioned to Zayn and mouthed 'omega space' to him. It wouldn't have occurred to betas to try and send him under, but the oldest alpha reached for his neck.

Louis damn near leapt out of his skin, slamming into the wall and clawing at it trying to get away.

"No! No! Not again not again not again! Don't let him, mum, please! I'm sorry, I'll be good, I'm sorry!"

"Shhh, Louis," the Alpha held both hands up as he approached them again. "You don’t have to be sorry, you’re safe, love,” Liam pleaded. “C’mon, Tommo, where are you right now?”

“I…” bluey-greeny-blue eyes blinked, the cloudiness receding. As it did, the pack could feel the pain fluctuating from alarms blazing in code red alert, to nothing. Like Louis was caging it. Internalizing it. Controlling it. “I… I’m I…”

“You’re in hospital, lovey,” Niall knelt in their semicircle around him.

The Irish accent broke through the delirium. “Ni…are you ok…are you hurt?” coming out of the haze, Louis’ mind couldn’t focus. But he had to make sure Niall was ok. Because…well…because…he didn’t really remember why, but he had to find him. He had to keep his sunshine safe. “Ni…”

Niall moved into his line of sight, “Yeah, I’m fine, Louis, I’m fine. Let’s get off the floor though, yeah? Can we do that?”

“Yeah…o-ok,” Louis shivered. Harry offered him a hand, but the beta—no, the omega was shaking from his fingertips to his wobbly knees; Zayn and Harry practically carried him to the bed.

Liam asked, “Louis love, can you drink a bit?” when he nodded, the Alpha lifted the cup to his lips.

Louis coughed; the cold water shocked him. Liam quickly grabbed a flannel and dabbed the dribble away while Zayn rubbed his back. “Slowly, Tommo.”

“Where’d my mum go?” he croaked. “How…how’d…” his entire body wavered on the edge of exhaustion, and he was so confused. Why was he so cold? Why was the pack paying so much attention to him? And why was mum trying to give him his shots in front of them? She didn’t give him his suppressants anymore, did she?

Harry gave his hand a squeeze, “Shhh, just rest, Lou, we’ll explain everything when you wake up.”

Niall patted the bed behind him, “C’mon, drink up and we’ll get some rest.”

“Sunshine…” Louis tried to find him in the room, but moving his eyes made the dark edges creeping into his vision blur nauseatingly.

“I’m still here,” the blonde stroked his arm.

“You’re ok?”

“I’m fine. Drink a bit more water,” Niall nudged him softly.

Louis turned back to Liam, trying to focus on raising a shaky hand to one of Liam’s two right ones. Wait…

“I got it, Louis love,” the Alpha gently batted the hand away.

He drank again slowly as everything muddled around him. His eyes alternated between fading and focusing and his head weighed a ton, his neck barely able to hold it. “What’s going on?”

“You’re sick, Lou,” Harry squeezed his arm. “Let’s get you in bed, yeah?”

Bed. Where things would stop moving. Louis nodded and leaned forward to his feet, not at all registering that they’d sat him on the bed already. “Let’s go…” he teetered, unsure of whether he even got the words out before darkness claimed him.

Harry swept him up before he collapsed to the ground. Zayn and Niall righted the sheets while Liam called into the hall, “Hey, Paul, are you out there?”

“What do you guys need?” the security team leader popped in as soon as they called.

“You brought in his overnight bag, didn’t you?” Liam asked. “He’s sweated through the gown, he needs a change of clothes.”

“Yeah, yeah, Al has it,” Paul nodded the oldest boy’s bodyguard away from the window where all five of them stood; Alberto returned shortly with said backpack. Harry held him steady while Liam and Zayn eased the pants and adidas shorts onto the omega. The omega. That was going to take a bit of getting used to. Niall undid the gown’s ties and exposed the yellowing bruises on his back, a reminder of their failures.

“I’m so sorry, Louis,” Liam put a t-shirt on him; it stuck to his shoulders, but it would do better than another flimsy hospital gown.

After another couple hours of quiet, Louis started squirming, sweat beading on his forehead again.

“I’m…” he whined. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” tears flooded through his eyelashes. “I’m sorry, I won’t do it again!”

“Hush, baby, it’s ok,” the pack soothed him.

“I didn’t want to, I swear. I’m not, I swear …” he trembled on the bed, starting to cry so hard his words weren’t clear. “I’m not, I’m not, I’m not,” as his arms knocked the blanket down, they saw his nails scraping down his side.

“Stop, stop, Lou!” Niall grabbed his one hand and Liam grabbed the other. They’d all taken alpha or omega courses in school. They knew what this was. Omegas had a biological need for discipline, and, left unattended, they saw to it themselves. The more experienced could rein it in. The young ones tended to get carried away.

Louis’ eyes opened to the delirium, “I’m sorry, Liam, I didn’t want to, not a whore, I swear! I’m not a whore…”

A cold sweat ran down Liam’s spine and the guilt stabbed him through the heart. In the silence of the last hour, he’d gone over every scolding he’d dished out at Louis. His words were harsh to a beta, but to an omega, they were torture and this only confirmed it. Not only had he failed his friend but also he was one of Louis’ nightmares.

“Li?” Zayn nudged him, snapping him from his guilt trip.

“It’s ok, Tommo,” his voice wavered with emotion, but he quickly got a hold of it. “There’s no need to be sorry, I know you’re not, love, it’s ok.”

The moment Liam perched on the bed, Louis burrowed his face on his thigh, nuzzling and submitting so very sweetly; Liam’s alpha purred. “I’m sorry I’m bad—“

“No, no! You’re not!” Liam petted him gently. “You’re a good boy, love. You’re a good boy.”

“Bad. Bad," one of Louis' hands went for his scrapes again, but Liam grabbed it first.

“No, no you’re not. You're not bad."

“I can be better though, I swear, please,” Louis’ voice trailed off, but he got the message loud and clear, “Don’t go…”

“We won’t, love. We’ll be right here. I’m right here. We’re not going anywhere, we’re not leaving you,” Liam kept whispering long after Louis had relaxed again, his nose buried in the crook of the alpha’s hip.

When a couple hours passed in quiet, Liam told Niall to get some sleep, pointing him and baby alpha to the second bed in the room. It took more convincing than Liam wanted to do and he eventually used his alpha voice.

After Harry and Niall settled on the other bed—making the older two alphas promise multiple times to wake them if Louis needed them—Zayn slid his arms under Louis; Liam snarled at him.

“Easy, Li. Just making you both comfortable,” the oldest alpha waited until the younger one nodded. Liam aired out the sheets before sinking against the upturned half of the bed. He happily accepted the omega back into his lap, but Zayn stayed on the edge, wiping Louis' forehead with a cold washcloth. “It could have been any of us, you know. None of us have been there for him. None of us saw how much he was hurting. You’re not alone in this. But, now, neither is he. And that’s what has to matter now.”

“I gave him nightmares, Z. I…I was too hard on him. Beta or omega. I was too hard on him. Did you see what I did to him? I belong in jail,” Liam hated himself. Because of their rarity, bullying or hurting a male omega meant immediate prison time, but bruises aside, he knew he’d never get Louis’ pleas out of his head.

“We were hard on an omega. A beta would have been ok.”

“He should have—we should have…”

“We will fix this.”

“You even said, Z, you said the other day he might not be a beta and I—”

“It doesn’t matter now,” Zayn wrapped a dry cloth around an ice pack and eased it between Liam’s arm and Louis’s neck.

“Maybe you should lead us,” Liam sighed.

“I don’t have your strength,” Zayn shook his head. “You put the three of us first, Li. Like you were supposed to. Harry and I wanted you to be Alpha because we knew you always would. We knew you’d take care of us. That you’d be strong enough to do what we couldn’t. Not seeing this, not seeing him…it was a mistake, but we can fix it. We have to and we will.”

The older alpha’s faith in him buoyed his sinking heart. Liam pulled him forward and kissed him softly. “Thanks.”

Louis drew their attention back to him with a pitiful little mewl. Both alphas responded with a low comforting whispers, and Louis nuzzling into Liam’s chest.

If falling for him had been in question before, Liam had the answer. Louis had him toppling. But he always had, hadn’t he? Liam always had loved him—or wanted to, but pushing him away was always easier than not being able to have him. They could never risking breaking the wildly independent beta. But, it wasn’t a risk. Louis had needed them, and they had unknowingly failed him.

***

When Zayn said it could have been any of them, he didn’t realize that a couple hours later, it would be. He cooed softly while Louis fell apart, calling for him even though he was right there cradling him.

“I’m sorry, Z, I’m sorry, please don’t be mad…I know…should have just done it, I’m sorry, it’s all my fault,” he sobbed, his eyes glassy and unfocused. “Should have just done it, don’t hate me.”

“Hush, baby, hush,” Zayn held a cold, damp cloth to his forehead with one hand and kept the other arm tightly around the omega to keep him from scratching. “It’s ok, Louis.”

“No, no, it’s not,” he cried. “It’s not, it’s all my fault!”

“What is, love?”

“If I’d just let them, those pictures, that woman, everyone thought, but you didn’t, you didn’t cheat, you wouldn’t, but Ni’s upset, everyone’s fighting and it’s all my fault…” he rambled into Zayn’s chest. “Please, don’t hate me, please…”

Then, it clicked. Those pictures of Zayn sleeping. That blonde’s claims that he’d bedded her. Everyone thought he’d cheated. For the briefest of moments, Niall had doubted him, and they’d all four of them fought. Looking back, Louis had wanted to get a word in, had tried almost desperately but they’d dismissed him, calling it pack business and went about screaming at each other; their poor beta-who’s-actually-an-omega had watched, distraught. Zayn had thought he’d felt responsible because it had been his idea to go out on the town. But, Louis must not have played along with one of Jones’ schemes, and the fake rumor of Zayn’s infidelity hit the papers instead.

Louis knowing the truth had only left him with all the guilt.

“Should have just let them, better me than you, should’ve let them—“

“What did they want you to do?”

He whined sadly, his already flushed cheeks deepened with shame, and he shook his head into Zayn’s shoulder.

“Let them what, Louis?” he tried again. “It’s ok, you can tell me.”

Louis’ shaky reply was so low that only Zayn heard it; he darkened and held the crying omega tighter, lulling him with soft promises that he did the right thing and that everything would be ok.

“But it’s not,” Louis sobbed so hard they could barely understand him. “Ni’s upset and it’s all my fault!”

“I’m not upset, love,” Niall kissed his head and grabbed another compress when he felt the heat beneath his lips; the distress in the air had the blond omega unsettled and he needed to do something. “I’m not mad. It’s ok,” he pressed it to the back of Louis’ neck. “Everything’s ok.”

“See, Lou?” Zayn wiped away his tears. “You didn’t want to do it. You should have never been asked to, and it’s good that you said no. Ni and I are ok, you’re ok, everything’s going to be fine,” he whispered over and over, rocking him gently.

“What is it?” Harry asked when they knew Louis had slipped back into either sleep or unconsciousness.

“Jones wanted him to hook up with some guy, some model,” Zayn scorned, positively seething. “And they were going to ‘leak’ the video.”

Harry stormed out of the room in a rage, and Liam almost hesitated in chasing after him. The Alpha knew their youngest was going on the hunt, and as much as Liam wanted to let him kill Jones, he loved Harry too much to lose him to prison. Justifiable as the homicide might be.

Niall squeezed Zayn’s hand, guilt sullying his blue eyes. “I’m sorry, Z. I should have never doubted you.”

“It’s ok, babe,” Zayn shook his head and kissed him. “We’re all sorry for enough right now.” He returned his focus to Louis and adjusted the ice packs around him. “You’re wrong, Louis love. Better me than you this time.”

***

“Haz,” Louis’ whispered sobs were weak. He was weak. After another bout with a nurse Louis thought was his mother, he fought pleadingly with an invisible Jones, not once but twice, begging not to go out, for a night off, that he was too tired, his head hurt. Liam nearly chained Harry to the bed to keep him from leaving.

"Haz please..."

Louis had stopped sweating so much, and while the pack thought that was a good thing, the doctor told them otherwise. It just meant the dehydration had gotten worse. Even so agitated, he was too exhausted to do much, so she hooked up a heart monitor and started another IV in his arm, wrapping it with a bandage and medical tape to keep it safe.

“I’m here. I’m not leaving,” Harry brushed at his hair. “It’s ok, Louis, I’m—“

“No,” Louis pushed him away—well, he tried to, but the effort sent the monitor into frenzy. His face scrunched and he batted at the alpha, but he couldn’t barely open his eyes let alone push Harry away. “No you… should…go. To Niall, you should…” he gulped at the air.

Louis had begged Liam not to leave and Zayn for forgiveness, but Harry had to go? His green eyes flooded, but he couldn’t bring himself to move. The omega needed him, didn’t he? His omega, his, he was always supposed to be his…

“I’m not leaving you,” not now, he couldn’t, not when he could finally, finally have him. “I’m not.”

“No, Ni’ll be good for you…they’ll love you…who wouldn’t...”

Harry’s chest tightened. That’s what Louis had told him when he was seventeen and too afraid to approach Niall, Liam and Zayn.

“He’ll love’u more’n I could…m’not good enough…gotta go…”

“Oh, but you are,” baby alpha pulled him into his lap and held him.

“I’ll ruin you, ruin ev’ry’ng,” Louis squirmed, his breathing harsh and labored. “Go’az, go.”

“No, I’m not leaving you. I don’t have to now,” Harry’s tears dripped onto Louis’ head. “Shhh.”

“Please, Haz…go…”

Liam wasn’t sure why this had to stop more, because of Harry crying or Louis struggling. “Harry…”

Their baby alpha’s growl faltered because he knew what was coming, and logically, he knew he should step away, that this was the fever talking, but the part of Harry that had wanted Louis for years just wouldn’t let him.

“Liam, please, don’t…”

“Harry,” the Alpha spoke softly. “He’s not strong enough to fight with you.”

“No,” Harry snarled, burying his tears in Louis’ hair. “Not going. I don’t have to, Liam I don’t, not anymore.”

“For Louis, babe. You have to,” Liam hated this; it was killing him to do it, that he’d done it all along, that he’d kept them apart. To separate them now.... But the heart monitor racing was the opposite of what Louis needed and Zayn couldn't do it. Liam had to. “We can’t reason with him right now. He’s too sick. C’mon, Hazza. Just for a little,” the Alpha fought to control his wavering voice. “For Louis and for Ni. Can you please? Can you please take Niall out of the room for a bit?”

The silently crying blond wanted to object, but one look from Liam had him quiet.

For his fiancé. His fiancé that wasn’t Louis. His fiancé that loved him so much despite this longing that would never go away. Reluctantly, Harry eased the distraught boy into Liam’s arms. “If you need me to go, I’ll go…”

“Have to…” Louis sobbed. “Have to…better this way…could never be good’nough…”

“It’s ok, Haz,” Niall took the shaken alpha out of the room. “It’s ok.”

Harry’s legs wouldn’t take him further than the door and he crumpled to the ground. The security team gave them room, monitoring the empty hallway around them. Niall wrestled himself into his lap and cocooned around his alpha.

Baby alpha buried his nose in his fiancé’s neck, caught between crying and scenting him to calm down. “I’m sorry, Ni,” he choked on a sob. He was engaged, how could he—

“You love him,” Niall kissed his head.

“I love you. I proposed to you.” But, he couldn’t deny it. Good god, yes, did Harry love Louis.

“I’ve never doubted that, Hazza,” the omega kissed his nose. “But, you’ve always loved him. And I need you to know that we do, too.”

“What?”

“You think you’re the only one? Whose wanted him? It wasn’t as immediate for us, but we love him, too. I want to kiss him and hold him and love him and make all of this ok. We just have to convince him to let us.” Niall played with his hair. “And we will. We will.”

Liam had Louis asleep on the bed when they returned. Zayn offered Harry the damp cloth he’d been wiping Louis’ face with. Neither of them would ever tell baby alpha about the hurt in the air or the inconsolable look on Louis’ face or how the omega had wept his name.

“He’ll be ok, Harry,” Zayn pressed a kiss to his cheek. “We’ll make sure of it.”

“I want him,” Niall said aloud and determined. “If he’ll have us. I want him.”

“He’s ours,” Zayn nodded.

“He always was. C’mon Hazza,” Liam eased himself off the bed and offered the spot to the youngest of them.

“Please, let us love you, Louis,” Harry sniffled. “Please let us love you.”

Chapter Text

Trouble in Direction-dom
Following the lift accident that put band member, Louis Tomlinson in hospital, more unrest has plagued the One Direction camp. Just hours after the band’s management rep, Megan Lucas was removed from the hospital in handcuffs, authorities have also taken into custody Modest! Management executive, Simon Jones. Rumors abound as to the reasons behind both arrests, but sources in Scotland Yard have said both Lucas and Jones have been charged with illegal suppressant distribution, omega abuse in the first degree and blackmail. The One Direction alphas have not commented on the arrests, the health of the beta or that of the trio’s omega, Niall Horan. Horan, though, was carried into hospital by supposed Alpha of the pack, Liam Payne, and has not been seen since.

But, to add to the speculation, an insider at the hospital has said that Horan was never admitted and that Tomlinson’s condition has yet to stabilize. Could the suppressant distribution and omega abuse be connected to his declining health? Is the 1D beta actually omega?

Twelve hours after his admission, Louis’ fever finally broke. Stable with a decreasingly low temperature, the doctor moved them to a private room in the intensive care ward. And by them, the staff meant all five of them, because nurses tried to take Louis out of the room only to face three obstinate alphas and an omega that wouldn’t let go of his best friend’s hand.

Paul and Alberto took their places by the door while the pack hovered around the medical staff as they finished.

“Please, don’t hurt him,” Niall winced when he saw the doctor easing the sweat soaked bandage from his forehead.

Dr. Amos smiled softly at the blond omega. “I won’t.” And, if there was a way to stitch gently, she found it.

Once they left, Harry decidedly pulled a chair up to Louis’ bedside and took the omega’s hand while Zayn pulled Niall onto the extra bed and all but wrestled him to sleep. But, exhausted as he was Liam’s mind moved to the next item on his to do list: get his boys away from Modest.

“Have Pres get me if he wakes up,” he squeezed Harry’s shoulder before he left. With Paul behind him, he found a quiet, empty waiting area.

Paul informed him that Anne and her alphas had gone to Doncaster while his and Zayn’s parents were staying at a hotel nearby until things settled. He’d handled Megan and Jones, and fielded no less than a seventy-seven phone calls from news outlets, friends, and most importantly, Louis’ oldest younger sister.

“Lottie first,” Liam turned on his phone for the first time since this all started. He swiped away the literal hundred missed call notifications and dialed her number.

It took a minute to calm the younger alpha down, but he eventually filled her in on everything—almost everything. She didn’t need to know about the deliriums. While he promised to look after Louis and tell her when he was well enough for the younger ones to, at the very least, talk to him, she promised not to kill her mother if she showed her face again. She’d leave that to the police—or her brother’s pack, which ever came first.

“And where’s Mark? Louis was asking about him.”

“He’s on a training mission; they can’t be reached. We left word with his commanding officer and a few messages on his mobile.”

“And things are good?” Liam knew Louis would want to ask. While the Tomlinson girls adored their stepmother of nearly two years now while on their weekends and visits with their father, having her at theirs was entirely different. It was uncommon for re-bonded omegas to care for another mother’s children long term (unless an adoption was in motion), and the last thing the girls needed was a Cinderella situation. Not to mention, Lottie and Fizzy had presented as alphas, so anyone unfamiliar trying to run their home might cause problems.

“Yeah, the big twins are having a ball with the baby twins,” Lottie sounded honestly happy, which put Liam at ease. He’d take the breaks where he could get them.

“And Jay?”

Louis’ sister gave it some thought before replying, “She’s been lovely. She’s trying to fit, not take over, so it’s working. It’s better, even. She and Anne get along like they were lifelong friends.”

“That’s good to hear,” the Alpha got to cross something off his list of worries.

“And Liam?” the young alpha’s voice quivered, “I’m sorry. I should have known. I was here with him, I mean, maybe not when he presented, but I should have—“

“Don’t do that, sweetheart,” he cut her off. “Louis wouldn’t want you to, and besides, age trumps gender. Those are your brother’s words. And, take it from me: you don’t get to pull the alpha card on your siblings. I’ve tried.”

After soothing Lottie’s woes and promising again to call later, Liam thought carefully. He’d never trust anyone in Modest around his pack, and that included Louis until the omega said otherwise. So what to do…

Fingers tapping his phone, he knew they had their futures in his hands and it terrified him. Sometimes, he wished he, Zayn and Harry had discussed this more. That it hadn’t come down to the two alphas trusting him more than each other with their submission. And what had that led to? Louis getting royally screwed on his watch.

How could he have missed this? How did he miss how much Louis had suffered? Though, his curve for the Louis-suffering scale was apparently skewed given the omega had gone into X Factor already on suppressants.

That woman. His fucking mother had come to their shows, their premieres and played the martyr single mom like an Oscar winner. But, Liam cut off his internal rage. He would figure out what to do with her in time. For now, he had to take care of his pack.

He scrolled down his contact list, wishing that deleting Modest! phone numbers was as satisfying as snapping necks. Screwing—or suing them out of one of their biggest moneymakers would have to do. He got to the one he needed and dialed.

“Mr. Azoff,” Liam replied to the man’s greeting. “You must have heard the rumors...yes, well, it’s why I’m calling. If they were true, could you use them to get us out of our contracts with our current management team?...Lovely. Let’s get that started then.”

The rest of the conversation was short and concise. Irving had calls to make and Liam had a sick omega to get back to. But first, he had one more person who deserved to know.

“What in the hell is going on?” Simon greeted him.

“Did you know?” Liam didn’t growl out of respect for the man who put them together.

“Did I know—no. No, it’s true? Louis’ an omega? And Jones…god damn it. Liam, I had no idea. I’ve done things I’m not proud of, sure, but I would never, never do that to an omega, especially to Louis.”

The Alpha could hear genuine shock and regret in his voice, and he took it as the truth. “I wanted you to be the first to know we’re switching management. I’ve already made the calls and it’s being handled. ”

“Of course,” Simon, maybe for the first time, realized that this wasn’t the fourteen-year-old alpha he’d sent home. Liam was a pack leader. He was an Alpha.

Returning to the room, Liam kept his phone on and, within the hour, Irving had his personal PR team announce One Direction’s split from Modest with “immediate effect and no further comment at this time,” started to build a management team for the band and had lawyers working out all the details. Over the course of the day, Liam received multiple messages to assure him that rearranging the rest of the tour’s British leg would be handled, the next album wasn’t in jeopardy and the paperwork would wait until they were ready.

On one of his last trips out of the room, Harry tracked him to the waiting room, waiting until he was done with his call to interject, “Hey, Li?”

“Is everything all right? Is it Louis? Did he wake? Do we need the doctor?” Liam wanted to rush back to the room, but Harry pulled him back. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing. Well, not nothing obviously, but nothing else. It’s just something me and Zayn wanted to tell you,” Harry laced his fingers into Liam’s. “Being an alpha, even being the Alpha, doesn’t make you infallible. We know that. And, being a pack leader, your job isn’t to keep all the bad things from happening to us. It’s to get us through it when it does. And there’s no one Ni, Z and I trust more to get Louis and us through this,” he gave Liam’s hand a squeeze.

The pack bond flared with trust and love and mushy crap that alphas rarely said to each other. Well, not so much new age, ‘all the love’ Harry, but Liam and Zayn were less forthcoming with this.

Liam let vulnerability out, just to keep the guilt from festering too much, “I should have let you…with Louis. I should have trusted your instincts towards him.”

“You were trying to protect me like a good Alpha.”

“At what cost?” he huffed.

“You didn’t put him on suppressants. You didn’t keep him on them. I don’t blame you. And, I don’t think Louis will either.”

Comforted by his baby alpha, Liam grabbed his chin and kissed him. “You need to shave,” he slapped it playfully.

“You need to shave,” Harry mumbled, rubbing his chin; and just like that the sweet alpha moment was over.

Irving informed him the second morning at Louis’ bedside that the official charges against both Jones and Megan hit the press. Over the course of the day, many assumed at first that the omega abuse and suppressant distribution had to do with Niall, but then the leak of Louis’ name soon followed (it had to do with trying to find his mother). Directioners took over social media, with #WeLoveYouLouis, Louis, and ‘Louis is an omega’ trending worldwide. Everyone, fans and otherwise, had their say, pointing to the oldest in the group saying, “Of course, he’s an omega. He’s too small/too pretty/too adorable/too sweet to be a beta.”

Their newly established PR team declined to comment past the management split, as they wanted to speak to Louis before releasing anything official about him. They at no point contradicted the rumors, though, and did drop subtle hints that some of the pack’s parents were with Louis’ sisters and that his mother and her boyfriend were missing.

Throughout it all, Louis slept on.

“His body is recovering. It’s been through a lot. I’ll go into more detail when he’s awake,” the doctor assured them. “But, the fever is gone, his vitamin levels are up. This isn’t a coma, it’s just…rest.”

Three days of living in that hospital room—to be honest, the tiny bathroom, the tiny extra bed and cot, the constant flow of takeout, living in the same clothes; it was just like being on the road, but without the moving—and finally, a little groan brought the pack to their feet.

“Dale, get the doctor!” Harry called into the hall.

“Louis love,” Zayn squeezed his hand, “Come on up for us.”

“Z…” the dryness of Louis’ throat crackled his voice and the pounding in his head kept it down to a whisper. Did he try that spoonful of cinnamon thing again? Why was his mouth so dry? What the hell was going on? Wait? Come up?! Did he drop into omega space?! In front of the alphas? Did he—

“Calm down, Louis,” Liam squeezed his knee. “You’re ok. Just open your eyes for us. It’s ok, Lou. Just calm down. That’s it,” he said as the beeping heart monitor slowed. “Good boy...”

All four of them saw the involuntary softening of his face before it disappeared into a grimace, witnessing firsthand the walls he’d put up around his omega instincts. The flinch of muscle and the subtle self-disciplining nails dug into the heal of his hand weren’t noticeable unless you were focused on him, and for the first time in a long time they were.

“Open your eyes, baby, can you do that for us?” Harry gave Louis’ fisted hand a squeeze, hoping to relax it.

Oh. Yeah. He should do that.

Bluey-greeny-blue eyes fluttered open and the pack nearly cried in relief.

“Hey, you,” Niall did tear up a little, hand squeezing Louis’ leg.

“…the fuck happened?” he coughed and the alphas were beside themselves trying to get him water.

Zayn lifted it to his lips and he instructed, “Slow sips, ok?” Louis raised a hand to the cup only for Niall to grab it.

“We got it, Lou.”

“Where are we?” he croaked, despite the soothing water.

“Hospital,” Zayn said gently.

“But…show, don’t we have a show?”

“Not tonight, Louis. Don’t worry about it,” Harry replied.

Trying to regain some semblance of, well, everything, Louis finally noted the heart monitor. “Did I have a heart attack?”

“No,” Liam clipped, unsure of how to approach the subject even after three days of thinking about it.

“Huh. Coulda put Heart Attack back on the set list,” Louis rubbed at the itch on his forehead, disconcerted when his fingers brushed against a bandage. “Seriously, what the fuck?”

“Careful, Tommo,” Niall glanced to the opening door.

“How long have I been here?” his head ached heavily, like he’d slept for too long or hadn’t showered in days.

“Three days.”

Three days…?

“I hear the patient finally decided to join us,” the doctor smiled. “Hello, I’m Dr. Amos. I’ve been your attending physician.”

“Hi…”

She stood at the end of the bed and asked him his full name and age; he replied a little stiffly because hospital? He’d been in the hospital for three days!?

Then it dawned on him: he’d been off his suppressants for three days! Was the ammonia smelling hospital covering his scent?! Did he have a scent? What was going to happen to him? Was he going to go straight into a heat? He’d never really had one of those before, not a mature one at least.

“How does your head feel?”

Louis focused; answer now, worry later, “…bit fuzzy…” The pack smiled at his word choice.

“Um…” Louis let his mind clear up, giving his head a bit of a turn; he winced at the soreness in his neck, but he couldn’t knead it out. “Um, lads, I need a hand. Preferably one of my own?” he asked Harry and Niall.

The youngest two exchanged a glance, expecting the other to drop Louis’ hand.

Meanwhile, the doctor walked over and checked his neck for any swelling. “Can you tell me the last thing you remember? Where were you before this?”

That was a good question, too. How did he get here? Had he been out? Was this a night at a club gone bad? No, Liam would be more disappointed, “…I…the hotel? I think…with…the Backstreet Boys? That doesn’t…” his entire body tensed quickly, “Niall!” his eyes shot over to the blond. “Are you—the lift, we got stuck in the lift, did it fall? Are you ok?”

“I’m fine. You made sure of that,” the Irishman smiled; his fiancés looked fondly at him. Louis ignored the jealousy and reveled in the accomplishment of it; that look on their faces was why he put up with all the shit for after all. Then Niall squeezed his hand and he winced, sucking in a sharp breath as his brain caught up with the aches in his body.

“What’s the matter, Louis?”

“Hand hurts.”

“Which one?”

He lifted Niall’s into the air and the doctor slipped over to the other side, asking, “May I?”

The omega pouted but gently handed the limb over. She had him play a piano scale on her hand—or try to, but the last two sent a sharp stab up his arm. “We’ll schedule you for an X-ray.”

As a nurse disappeared, the doctor looked at Liam pointedly and he shook his head. But not even a fuzzy brained Louis missed the loaded silence between them.

“What’s wrong?”

The doctor took a step back and Liam took his good hand from Harry. “Tommo, we love you. That hasn’t changed. That won’t change.”

The words started Louis’ adrenaline. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing. Things are right for the first time since we met. Because… because we know, Louis. We know the truth. We know you’re an omega and we know about the suppressants and—”

The blood rushed out of Louis’ face and his eyes filled with tears, “No-you-you can’t know-you’re-it’s-the-not allowed-I,” too many sentences tried to pass through Louis’ one mouth. His heart monitor spiked, the beeps and alarms adding to the franticness.

“Breathe, Louis,” Harry demanded.

“I-not allowed to be-you can’t-no, you know?-Jones, he’ll—“ Louis pulled at the blankets; he didn’t know where he planned on going, but he had to go, he couldn’t be here.

Zayn put a hand on his knee, “You’re safe, Lou, I promise. Jones can’t hurt you—“

“I don’t care if he hurts me, he’ll hurt you! And I-no, I can’t-where-I need- how long have I been,” Louis’ panic edged hysterical because they couldn’t know, they weren’t allowed to know, he was in so much trouble, fuck, three days he’d gone without suppressants, this was bad, he was bad and they’d finally realized that and they were going to leave him or kick him out or hate him because they couldn’t, it was over, the dream was over.

Instinctively, Zayn reached for his omega spot, hoping to calm him, but Louis jerked away, nearly falling off the bed—would have if not for Liam keeping him on it. But the touch of the Alpha just set him off and he knocked over the IV stand trying to get away, but three days of disuse made his feet flop and his knees gelatin. He crumpled against the wall hyperventilating, still rambling in unfinished sentences.

“Out. All of you, out,” the doctor ordered.

The alphas darkened possessively.

“Growl all you want, but this is my hospital, he is my patient, I’m the doctor and that trumps status every time. Now go,” the beta pointed them to the door.

As the ‘should have, would have, could have’s careened through their minds, Harry needed to take a lap around the corridor. Zayn punched the closest wall. Liam scraped a hand through his hair and Niall sank down next to the door, head between his knees.

That could have gone better.

They hadn’t expected him to take the news well. Louis had been keeping this secret for as long as they’d known him, he’d been led to believe their entire world would come crashing down if it was revealed.

But still, they’d hoped for better.

‘I don’t care if he hurts me, he’ll hurt you!’ the one full sentiment Louis managed broke them. They were the alphas. They were the ones who should have protected him. One look among them and they knew they had the same thought: they would be protecting him.

Turning their eyes to their omega, they weren’t entirely surprised to see him crying. But Liam did suspect it wasn’t entirely over Louis’ panic attack, but the accumulation of failures.

“Babe,” Liam took his hands. “You hurt Louis’ hand.”

“I didn’t mean to!” yes, it was the hand, Niall knew he hurt Louis’ hand, he must have been the one to hurt it, squeezing as hard as he did in the elevator but it was more than that. He hadn’t meant to, and it was tearing him apart. Louis, who’d always listened to him bitch about the alphas being over protective, who’d picked him up from a club and taken the heat for him, who’d sung boy band songs to him and kept the walls away, who’d saved him in that elevator, didn’t deserve this kind of hurt. How did Louis live with the heightened emotions of an omega without friends and family to help rein him in? How could he not notice? How could he call himself Louis’ friend and miss something so obvious?! “I didn’t mean to, Li, I’d never hurt him.”

“We know, Nialler,” Liam stroked his head. “But, you did. You’re going to apologize to him. And when we can get back to the hotel or somewhere private, I’ll handle your punishment. Understand?”

“I understand, Alpha,” Niall breathed easier at the promise and the weight of guilt lifted a bit; Louis had never felt that, had he? He’d lived with it and let it eat at him, until he scratched himself so hard there were scars on his hips. How could someone do this? His own mother at that! How could anyone hurt his Louis? How could they let this happen? How could they?

Niall made a silent demand, extending his arms; Liam wrapped him into his lap and let him cry for their best friend.

Chapter Text

Dr. Amos emerged some time later and shut the door gently.

“Is he ok?”

“How is he?”

“Did he hurt himself?”

“He’s a bit shook up, as to be expected,” the beta spoke over the rush of voices. “But, there was no easy way to deliver that news to him. I’m going to take him for an x-ray. Hopefully that will give him enough time to gather himself—“

“He’s omega, he has us for that,” Harry interrupted.

“But, he’s trained to act like a beta and compose himself. There isn’t an on/off switch, Mr. Styles, and he’s been doing this a long time. As much as you want to, you won’t break the habit in an evening. So clear the hallway, alphas. What that omega needs right now is some room to breathe.”

“We’ll be in the waiting room just down the hall,” Liam replied with a terse reluctance, and gave Zayn and Harry nods over; he slung his arm around a hesitant Niall.

“But my Louis…” he pouted.

Exactly sixty-two minutes later—because they were all counting—hospital security jogged down the hall and the scramble of nurses set off their internal alarms.

“Al—no, Paul?” Liam nodded; he didn’t need many words with his bodyguard.

“I’ll find him,” the beta exchanged a look with the only alpha in the team before heading off.

“Alberto, if you and Dale can switch Harry and Louis for the time being, we’d appreciate it.”

“Understood,” though the burly alpha was a little unsettled by the change (leaving a new omega with a beta, really now?), he knew it wasn’t his call.

Paul returned, a grim look on his face. “Louis slipped away from the doctor. She can’t find him. They call a soft lock down, so as not to alert anyone who doesn’t need alerting, but he’s not with her.”

As Alpha, Liam didn’t let the panic slip in; he couldn’t. “He can’t leave the hospital without attracting attention. Where would Louis go?”

“The roof?” Alberto offered after a beat of silence. “He likes it up on the bus roof.”

Paul confirmed, “And he’s found his way onto a couple hotel roofs, too.”

The band alphas said nothing about how their security team knew Louis’ whereabouts better than they did, though their inattention remained at the forefront of their minds. They raced to the top floor and then the stairs to the roof. Finding the lock on the ground was a good sign—that the self-locking door hadn’t been propped open? Not so much.

“Louis?” they called, trying to sniff him out among the whirling fans and huge vents.

“Louis!” Harry yelled in pure terror when he saw the omega standing on the ledge, the wind billowing dangerously strong around him. Just before he could deliver an alpha command, Liam slapped a hand over his mouth.

“If he tries to pull away from your voice, he may fall,” he hissed.

“Stop! Just stop,” Louis didn’t move, just stayed still, eyes on the long drop down. “Take Niall inside, Harry. Please. You shouldn’t…he shouldn’t see this.”

He was eerily calm considering last they saw him—and that he was twelve stories in the air.

Because he wasn’t waiting for the ground to crumble beneath him anymore. It was over. This was rock bottom and he should be down there. Because why should he stay?

Bad

Liar

Burden

“Lou, please, come down from there,” Zayn pleaded, trying a different tactic. He’d get on his knees and beg if he had to. “Babe, please come down. Please.”

“It’s finally over,” Louis turned the stars in the sky. He'd always wondered if he could join them when he died. But, he wasn't bright enough. Not like his sunshine.

Worthless

Party boy

Drunk

Coke head

“Please, take Niall inside," Louis repeated. That's all that was stopping him. He didn't want Ni to see this. He didn't want to tarnish his sunshine.

“Please, Louis,” Niall stopped Liam before he could have a go. He had a whole new understanding of his best friend. Louis wasn’t the mysterious beta that none of them could relate to anymore. Niall knew Louis had been locked his inner omega away so long that the alphas wouldn’t get through those walls, not right now at least. But, Louis softened for Niall, always had and the Irishman knew he had the best chance of getting him down. “Please. Let me apologize for making you hate me.”

That turned Louis a deep shade of pale, “Wh—no, Ni, no! I don’t hate, Ni, I don’t!” he turned away from the drop down, though he didn’t climb off the ledge like Niall had hoped.

“Why wouldn’t you? I have everything you wanted. If I was you, I’d hate me!”

“I don’t hate you, Niall. I never hated you,” Louis shook his head.

“Then why, Lou? Why would you hide this from me? Why would you hide…well, you from me?”

Louis visibly sighed, lifting his burdened shoulders in a world weary shrug, “I’m sorry, Niall. I really am. It was the worst part of it all: lying to you.”

“Then why did you do it, Lou? Is it so bad being omega? Am I bad?”

“Don’t be an idiot,” Louis snipped, barely audible over the alphas’, “No!”

“Then for god’s sake, why?”

“You don’t get it, Ni! You don’t get it and you don’t have to, you shouldn’t...”

“Just fucking tell me you tosser! I deserve to know why my best friend’s about to throw himself off a fucking roof!”

“Because I’m the bad one!” Louis snapped. “I’m the liar and the whore and the coke head. Just a drunk, partying, fuck boy like all the papers say! The headlines are all I’m good for,” tears blurred the view to the ground. “But that’s over—“

“Yeah, but that’s a good thing, Louis,” Niall said. “You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do, not anymore! You can come off the suppressants—“

Louis dug the heels of his hands into his eyes so hard that spots dotted his vision. “You don’t understand!”

“Make me understand then, please, Louis!”

“It’s too late, Niall,” he tried to hold back the tears because this isn’t how he wanted to go out; it had always been a blaze of glory or like that old guy on the Notebook. “It’s too late, too late. I’m nothing without them, I had to be a beta!” he raked his fingers through his hair. “I had to, Niall, it was the only way I’d be good!”

“Good for who? For us? You’ve always been good for us! You’re more than your gender, Louis! So much more! Please, Louis, please, I need you! Get down from there, I fucking need you!” Niall’s cries tore at his throat.

“You won’t!” Louis hated knowing he was leaving Niall so distraught, but it was only for a little and he had his alphas to get him through it. They’d move on. They’d be all right. “It was the only way, Ni, being a beta, I had to. It was all I had…”

“Why? Why Louis!? Why is it the only way? Jones is gone, he’s out of the picture, he’s not going to hurt you ever again!”

“Not Jones, fuck Jones!”

“What’s the problem then? You can be an omega, you can be ours!”

“No, no, no,” Louis flirted dangerously with the ledge; he couldn’t have everything he’d ever wanted, no, this wasn’t real, this couldn’t be real, he could never be good enough to hear that in real life. “I can’t be, I can’t be, I can’t be an omega, I can’t—“

“Why?!” Niall pleaded.

“Because no one will want me!” Louis broke. “I’m worthless as an omega, I’m just another problem to fix, a burden, another bill she could hardly afford! I need too much, she didn't have time—I shouldn’t have been an omega,” he screamed it until his voice went raw, his knees weak and shaky. “I just wanted her to love me again…I just wanted someone to love me,” tears ran down his face as he purged the secret behind the secrets; he scraped his hands angrily through his hair, his head spinning, dizzy from it all.

Nails dug into his skin, Louis couldn’t find the handle he’d kept on his emotions and it was out there for the world to feel. His beaten omega was finally showing and he couldn’t contain it anymore. He was useless, just another problem someone was going to have to clean off the road.

Every one of Niall’s words had allowed him closer and closer to his friend. He’d wanted to let Louis take his hand, to let it be his choice to come down, to come to them, but the older omega teetered dangerously between safety and a hundred foot drop, and Niall had no choice. He yanked Louis off the ledge, collapsing into a pile of limbs.

Weak as he was after three days unconscious, Louis was never going to break out of Niall’s arms.

“You listen to me, Louis Tomlinson,” Niall said, a warmth right against his ear, “You are loved. You are so loved and wanted and adored. We love you, Louis. I love you. You are good and whoever made you feel like you weren’t, that you were wrong had no right! Absolutely no right, because that is the furthest from what you are. Louis, you are so much more than your gender. So much more than beta or omega, understand?”

Louis just wept, finally broken by the weight of the lies and neglect.

“Just let it out. Good boy,” Niall praised him, rambling to keep Louis’ mind from running away with him, like Louis had done for him in the lift. “Just let it out, love. We’re going to make this ok. You took care of everyone, of all of us. It’s our turn to take care of you. Just be a good boy and let us make everything ok, all right? Just be our good boy, lovey. You’re ours and we love you and you’re not allowed to leave us, Louis. Don’t ever think of leaving me again, I need you. You’re so important and I’m sorry that you don’t understand that and I’m sorry that we didn’t know that you don’t understand that and didn’t do anything about it, but that’s going to change and it’s going to be ok. It’s going to be ok.”

“Shhh, shhh, shhh,” Liam, Zayn and Harry wrapped around them, trying to absorb the torrents of pain and loneliness that had filled the air. It killed them to think that Louis had bottled up all this agony for so long.

“No, I can’t, he needs to hear it,” Niall lost the plot a little, overwhelmed by it all.

“We know, Nialler. We’ve got it,” Liam rubbed his back, cradling both him and Louis.

“It’s gonna be ok, Lou. We’re going to take care of you,” Harry didn’t dare pull them apart for fear that Niall was the only thing holding Louis together. He folded himself around the omegas, half in Liam’s lap himself.

Zayn enclosed the circle the three of them made around them. When Louis’ cries didn’t stop, Liam mouthed ‘omega space’ to him; Zayn was easily the best at that. The oldest alpha reached forward and grasped Louis’ neck, only for the newly revealed omega to turn violent, swinging his elbows and squirming to get away.

“No! NO!”

Niall knocked Zayn’s hand away with a growl, and hugged Louis to himself tighter.

“Easy, Lou, easy. I got you. We love you, baby. We love you.”

Zayn, who’d all but fallen away after that rejection, ran his hand into Louis’ hair. “I’m sorry, love, I’m sorry. It’s ok,” he whispered, sharing a surprised, worried look with their Alpha.

All of them took turns crooning soft things, so that their words stopped Louis’ own inner monologue from driving him further into a downward spiral.

When Louis was calm enough (read: cried himself into unconsciousness), Liam tried to ease Niall’s arms off, but the blonde fought tooth and nail to keep them there.

“No! No! Mine!” his teary eyes flared with a dark possessiveness.

“Niall, calm down, baby, calm down,” Harry rubbed his back.

“Mine,” his tone was decidedly softer, more like a plea than a demand.

“Ours,” Zayn kissed his head, massaging his omega spot, just to bring him down a bit; at least he could calm one of them.

“Mine,” under his alpha’s touch, he pouted, eyes returning to their baby blue.

“Ours,” Liam brushed his fingers into his blond tips.

Niall eventually loosened his hold on Louis, who whimpered at the loss and snapped the Irishman back.

They had to start over twice, coaxing Niall to get Louis out of his arms and into Liam’s so they could make their way back towards the hospital room. Alberto had left earlier to inform security that they had found him, leaving the betas to secure the way back where the doctor was waiting.

“I have to—“ she began.

“Have to what?” Liam growled, softening and hushing when Louis shuddered in his arms. “Hazza,” he carefully handed him over.

“Shhh, love, shhh,” Harry carried him into the room.

Zayn, who had Niall tucked under his arm, followed, leaving the beta doctor to their pissed off Alpha and none-the-happier security team.

“Louis needs space—“ the doctor tried to tell him again.

“Louis is not a beta, and trying to be is what got him here. He is my omega, and you lost the right to pull the doctor card when you lost him. You’re not taking him anywhere. He doesn’t leave this room without us.”

“He isn’t your omega,” the beta tried to turn back to the room so she could reattach all the machines, but Liam’s growl stopped her.

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“I mean that he probably doesn’t know what it means to be an omega, not to himself and definitely not to you. Claiming him isn’t fair to him,” she brushed by him and went to reattach the IV port and brace for his hand.

“Thank you, Doctor,” Liam remained stiff but polite; her words stuck in his head.

“I won’t ask what went on or where you found him,” she decided carefully. “But, he won’t be leaving here without speaking to a psychiatrist.”

The flood of Louis’ pain and loneliness, the one wrought from years of his needs being neglected and then exploited by a team that should have helped him finally caught up with Niall. Once his omega—and fuck yeah was Louis his omega—was safely in bed between Liam and Harry, Niall tugged Zayn out of the room and broke down.

“…another bill she could hardly afford…just wanted her to love me again…”

She did this to him. Louis’ own mother started all of this. If Niall hadn’t heard the words himself, he wouldn’t believe it. How could she?

His oldest alpha had put the same two pieces together; he knew what Niall needed. With the blonde bundled against his chest, he pulled out his phone and hit the proper speed dial button.

“Hello, Zayn?” the firm Irish accent greeted him. “Is everything all right? Is it Louis?”

“Da? I think Niall has something he needs to say to you,” Zayn said softly.

It took both alphas to get the omega calm enough to speak. “Thank you,” the blonde sniffled. He knew that it wasn’t easy to have an omega son, but he had never felt that, not at home, not from his parents or his brother. Their love had never been a bargaining chip. They had never been too tired to hold him or too busy for a hug. Niall had never felt anything but normal. He knew that there were people who hurt omegas--traffickers, bullies, archaic bastards who just wanted to breed him--he’d been warned and taught that, but his family kept him so safe, then his alphas after, that that had never been a part of his reality. But that’s all Louis knew. “Thank you, Da. For everything…” he tucked himself back into the safety of his alpha.

“Oh, my little one,” Maura sighed.

“Da?” Zayn asked when Niall refused to talk anymore.

“It’s bad then, is it? Whatever’s happening to Louis?”

Bad was an understatement, but sure. “Yes, ma’am.”

“You’re great alphas, Zayn. The three of you. You’ll get him through this. The both of them.”

The Horan Alpha always knew what to say. Zayn rubbed Niall’s back with his free hand. “We will.”

“Don’t let him go for a little while.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“And what have I told you about calling me that?”

“Sorry, Da. Habit,” he smiled; he spoke with her a little longer before hanging up. “Let’s go back to Lou, ok, blondie?” he pressed kisses to Niall’s temple.

The Irishman nodded, plastered himself to his alpha’s side instead of his front until Zayn pulled him into his lap.

“You want to drop, babe?” Liam asked from his perch on Louis' bed; Harry had climbed in, Louis and all and settled with the omega in his arms.

This was all too much. Niall needed to shut off and nodded against his alpha’s shoulder. Zayn gently grasped the back of his neck and increased the pressure on his omega spot, until everything went quiet.

Chapter Text

It was only an hour or two, but Louis woke better rested than he’d ever been. It wasn’t until he realized that he was still in the hospital—still in the hospital and in a ball against Harry—that he jolted as everything came rushing back to him.

They knew. It was over. He was going to have to leave the band.

“Easy, Lou, it’s ok,” Harry was ready to catch him if he fell off the bed. Zayn had to hold Niall in his lap to keep him from climbing into Louis’s. Meanwhile, Liam filled a cup of water.

Taking the blanket with him, he settled against the footboard away from the youngest alpha. “For what it’s worth…” he croaked.

“Hush, for a second, Louis, and just have a drink,” Liam held the cup to his lips.

After three greedy gulps, Louis wiped his mouth and tried again, “For what it’s worth, I never wanted to hurt any of you. And I didn’t mean to ruin everything…I just have that effect.”

He couldn’t look at them. He sounded so different from the vibrant and boisterous band mate that they were used to. Was this hollow defeat the omega he never let them see?

“You didn’t ruin anything, Louis,” Liam perched on the side of the bed.

“Well, we are supposed to be on tour…”

“We won’t do this without you,” Niall wanted so badly to hold him again.

“You’re better off, you know? Or I can go back on them—the suppressants, I mean,” Louis rubbed his face, hoping they’d let him even though he didn’t know why when all he’d ever wanted was to be free of those damn pills and—

“No,” Liam said sternly, “You can’t do that. I won’t let you.”

“Then…I guess, just let Jones spin it against me, it’s fine. Media will have a field day, but I’m sure management can get you the four out of it.”

“We’d never do that to you, Lou,” Zayn darkened at the thought of them. “And Jones and Modest won’t be coming anywhere near you ever again.”

“It’s not like it’s a lie. You really didn’t know. And like I said, you’d be better—“

“Bull. And, don’t even pretend like you don’t love us because why the hell would you put up with all this shit if you didn’t?” Niall’s growl sounded frustrated, not vicious.

“Then what’s the plan? We just tell everyone I’m an omega?”

“Yes.”

“That’s it? Just like that.” It couldn’t be that easy. Not after all the shit he put up with.

“We’ll have PR draft something more explanatory, but essentially, yes,” Liam nodded. “You don’t have to hide, not anymore.”

“Oh,” and into a heavy silence they went.

Then nervously, like he’d be asked to leave again, Harry asked, “How long were you on suppressants, Louis?”

The not-so-secret omega sighed, “Mum put me on them a couple months after I presented. I was fourteen.”

After a sharp, collective intake of breath, Niall exclaimed, “But why!? She’s a nurse, she knows—why would she do that do you?”

“Because she wanted…” a man around. “She always wanted an alpha around. A strong role model to protect her girls, especially after she and Dad broke up.”

“You could have done that. You did do that—” Liam tried to reason with him now that he wasn’t about to fall off a roof.

“No…I mean, I was supposed to,” he said, matter-of-factly. “I was supposed to help things get better not make them worse, and I certainly wasn’t supposed to need so much, not when she had so much to worry about already,” he couldn’t hang his head any lower. The anger and disappointment in his words wasn’t his own. The boys had to wonder how often he’d heard that those years between presenting and the show. “Add in the fact that I was, well, me…I always ran off her boyfriends to begin with. Mum didn’t want the smell of an omega to add to the burden,” he picked at the blanket. “So, I had to start the suppressants. I had to be a beta.”

“You didn’t have to. She didn’t have to do what she did, Louis. She had no right to make you feel like that! It’s illegal to force us to do anything unsafe or unhealthy, much less take suppressants,” Niall tried not to cry; he hated that this had gone uncorrected for so long.

“Why didn’t you stop during X-Factor? When you were eighteen?” Zayn asked, rubbing Niall’s back.

“What if we didn’t win or get signed or even stay together? What if we broke up after the tour? I’d have to go home and her friends, my friends, they’d all know about…me. And…we were in too deep. Mum’d get arrested. I’d already run off my sisters’ father, I couldn’t be the reason they lost their mother, too.”

“Louis, you didn’t cost anyone anything. The odds were always against any alpha and your mum. An alpha/beta pairing is tenuous even with the best of them. Not to mention, her relationships weren’t your responsibility,” Liam reasoned. “The fault doesn’t belong to one of your sisters either, does it?”

“Of course not,” he snipped; his sisters were angels.

“Exactly. If she blamed you for her relationships failing, that wasn’t fair. But, it wasn’t your fault. And, if you had been an alpha or a beta, what would have changed, Louis?”

“You didn’t choose to be an omega, Lou. You presented. You did nothing wrong,” Harry added. “Where was Mark during all this? Where was your dad?”

“They divorced before I presented. He never knew and Mum kept me away from him. Said I wasn’t his kid so he had no right to see me. He tried, but he was already fighting to see his actual kids,” Louis sniffled; losing his dad he had was the worst part of their split.

“Why didn’t you ever tell us?” Liam asked.

Louis tried to lift his eyes, but focused on the cross around Harry’s neck. He couldn’t look the youngest alpha in the eyes, not with what he’d always needed Harry to hear and know and understand, but couldn’t ever say before, “It was never, ever because I didn’t trust you.” Because he had and he’d wanted to and he’d come so close so many times with Harry. The cross-legged alpha reached out for his hand pressed a kiss to the back it in reply. The last of Louis’ resistance crumbled, “…but, there wasn’t a good time while we were on the show or the tour and I was afraid that I’d get kicked off, I wasn’t singing much anyway, and then Jones came along and said I couldn’t, that I wasn’t allowed to—I wanted to tell you, I did! But…but he said it…he said it so I had to listen…” they could feel the shame rolling off of him. “He said if I didn’t, we’d lose everything and I couldn’t do that to any of you!”

“Louis, you have to know we wouldn’t have let him hurt you or us! You could have told us!” Zayn asked, hurt in his amber eyes.

“No! I couldn’t! He’s…he’s an alpha…I had to listen,” Louis curled his knees to his chest.

The realization made Niall seethe, “He gave you an alpha command.”

“And…I know I was unclaimed, and I didn’t have to submit to it if I tried hard enough and maybe it was just an excuse, maybe…I could have…but he…” he was older, more experienced, and used to getting his way so Jones had a better grasp on his alpha voice than any five teenagers did. An unclaimed, eighteen-year-old omega so accustomed to the abuse, who’d only had the sporadic alpha around after presenting stood no chance to that. “I had to be a beta.”

“Louis,” instead of returning to the ‘I had to, no you didn’t’ game, Liam asked, “Do you want to be an omega?”

“What?” Louis was caught completely off guard. He’d always had a script in his head in case he got caught. All the questions they’d asked, all the answers he’d give. He’d always known how he’d explain himself before they decided he was too much trouble. But, that wasn’t a question he’d ever foreseen—ever been given, really.

And that’s why Liam asked. Because all the Alpha had heard was that Louis’s mum told him he had to be a beta, that Jones had forced him to be, that he felt he had to be. But did he want to be?

Liam shrugged, “There are other options now if you really do want to be beta. Or, did you take the suppressants, the orders from management, all the bullshit from your mother because...because, you just wanted to be a good boy?”

“I…I’m not though…I was wrong, I shouldn’t have been… it… I was a…”

Problem, mistake, and burden hung heavily in the air. And, it dawned the rest of them what Liam had already figured out: being an omega had never been a choice left for him.

He didn’t want to, but Liam pushed, “That didn’t answer my question, Louis. Do you want to be an omega?”

With the ocean in his eyes drowning his voice and his lip caught beneath his teeth, Louis nodded, revealing a part of himself he’d buried under a mountain of secrets and lies. “Yes,” he whimpered, his body curling tighter beneath his blanket. It’s all he’d ever wanted, to be accepted as himself, to be a good boy because he knew he could be. But, he wasn’t supposed to be omega. He wasn’t good because he was one. The logical part of Louis that saw the cruel circle—the one that saw him punishing himself for something he never had control of. But, he’d never been one for logic.

Zayn saw Liam’s nose twitch and he scented the air.

Metallic. Iron, copper, maybe?

No.

Blood.

“Louis, stop!” Liam ripped the blanket away and pulled Louis’s hands away from his scratched thighs.

“No! No,” Louis struggled so hard to regain control of his hands, he hardly noticed the Alpha licking and closing the wound his bitten nails opened up. “No! I-I have to-I-bad, I can’t.”

“No, baby,” Harry grabbed them from Alpha, pulling Louis into his lap to try and still him. “Lou, you’re not bad because you’re an omega!”

“I am, I am, I am, I am—“

“Louis, please,” Liam cupped his face so he could meet those eyes.

“Badbadbadbadbad—“ Louis shook his head to break his grasp. He couldn’t look at Alpha, couldn’t face him, no, he didn’t deserve to be comforted, he didn’t deserve them, he never did, he never did, he never—

“Am I?” Niall asked. “Am I bad because I’m an omega? Did I get a choice?”

Niall’s hurt voice snapped Louis back to them. “No, Niall, we went over this! You’re-you’re Niall,” he blurted, as if that explained everything. Because to Louis, it did. How could he do that to him? How could he make Niall feel bad for being an omega? Oh he was bad, he was so bad, bad, bad, bad, bad.

It tore Niall’s heart to pieces seeing Louis like this again. He had Zayn let him go and climbed onto the bed. He slipped his hands into Louis’s, voice soft with compassion. “Then why are you?”

“I…I wasn’t supposed to be, I was supposed to—“

“You can’t pick, Louis. You can’t pick how you present. It doesn’t work like that and you know it. I know you know it,” Niall kissed his fingers, his own tears dripping onto the wrist brace as he pleaded, “You’re not wrong. You’re not bad and you don’t have to hurt yourself anymore. You don’t have to hurt anymore.”

“But-but I can’t be an omega, I can’t, the fans, the police and my mum, they’ll know, and everything’ll be ruined, I can’t do that to you, I can’t—”

“Nothing’s ruined, lovey,” Niall brushed at his fringe. “Nothing.”

“Whatever happens to your mother, she brought upon herself,” Liam said, with no love loss for the woman who’d twisted his entire frame of mind like this. “She had no right to do that to you.”

“She was just—“

“No,” Liam cut him off. “No, she was your mother. She was supposed to protect you, not hurt you and that’s all she did.”

“And, the fans know—sort of. You know how clever they are and with everything in the news, they’ve assumed you’re an omega, they’re just waiting for the conformation, because they’re ready to love you as one,” Harry rubbed his sides. “They love you for the same reasons we do. Because you’re sweet and beautiful and talented and you make us laugh when we don’t think we can, and your smile lights up the world. Being an omega doesn’t change that. Not for our real fans and not for us. Lou, we love you. We love you so much. We always have.”

“But, I messed up the tour! We’re supposed to be on tour!”

“Our new management team has everything sorted,” Liam pressed a kiss to his head and then another because he could now. Because Louis wasn't a stubborn, affection wary beta.

“But—new management team?” a cold wave of relief swept him out of the building panic attack, at least momentarily.

“We weren’t staying with Modest! after what Jones and Megan did,” Niall said softly.

“It wasn’t—“

“A big deal? How would you feel if it’d been me?” the younger omega asked.

Outraged,’ Louis thought.

“Because that’s how I feel because it was you,” Niall said when he saw the answer across Louis’s face.

“But, I lied!” And, the panic was back; it was like he was trying to get them to hate him like he always thought they would. Why couldn’t he just accept that they were ok with this? Why was he trying to ruin this?!

“I lied to everyone!”

“Because you thought you were protecting us, and you were,” Niall kept brushing at his hair.

“Everyone’ll hate me!”

“No, they won’t. You lied to us the most, and we don’t hate you. Why would anyone else?” Harry squeezed him gently.

“Because I’m bad!”

“You’re not, you’re good and we’ll prove it to you,” Harry drawled softly. “Please, Louis, just let us love you and we’ll prove that to you.”

“No, you can’t,” Louis shook his head. This had to be a dream, this couldn’t be real, they couldn’t know and still want him in the band, let alone to…to love him, no, this couldn’t be real and he whimpered, “I’ll ruin everything. I’ll make you leave. I make everyone leave.”

“You’ll ruin nothing,” Zayn squeezed his knee, “You protected us, Louis. Give us a chance to do the same.”

“Nothing you could do could make us leave,” Liam did the same to his other arm. “Don’t you trust us, Louis?”

Of course he did. Didn’t he? “I…”

“Just let us in,” Harry kissed his head. “Please, Lou.”

Don’t make alpha ask again, his omega purred beneath the alphas’ gentleness, shutting off the part of him he'd trained to push them away.

“I…I’m sorry…” they heard Louis’s whisper loud and clear. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t want to lie, I didn’t, I didn’t want to take them, I’m sorry,” he rambled. The tears started slowly, as a snuffle and wet smudges on his cheeks. “I’m so sorry.”

“It’s ok, Louis. Just let it out. We’re here,” Harry turned the little ball that was Louis into his chest. They wanted to apologize to him for missing all this, but right now was about Louis, not themselves. “We’re not going anywhere. You’ve been holding it in for so long. Just let it out. Everything’s going to be ok.”

Another whimper set off another round of sobbing. Years of pent up tears, of denying his omega needs, of forcing himself into a mold that didn’t fit and hating himself for it poured out of him in nonsensical cries.

“I’m sorry.”

“I ruin everything.”

“I was wrong, I was a mistake.”

But the pack was there for him at every turn, answering with a soothing rumbles and saying all the things he’d always wanted to hear. All the things he’d always needed to hear.

“You don’t need to be sorry,” alpha assured him.

“You’ve ruined nothing,” alpha told him.

“You’re not wrong, and you’re certainly not a mistake,” Alpha said. “You’re a good boy, baby. Good boy.”

“Just let it out, love. It’s over. You’re safe now,” they promised.

At one point, Louis’s body shook so hard he was sure he’d fall apart, but his friends held him tight.

When his sobs finally rescinded into hiccups and quivers, Harry encouraged him to sit up a bit. Before he could wipe his face, Niall’s hands did it for him while Liam gently rubbed his back.

“Everything’s going to be ok, Louis. We promise,” Zayn kissed his head.

Louis really wanted to believe him.

He just wasn’t sure if he could…

Chapter Text

The pack held him long after the omega ran out of tears, Harry against one side of him, Liam at his back, Zayn at his legs and Niall on the bed at his hip. Their hands stroked him through the worst of it and shaky hiccups that followed.

“I—I,” the last of the tremors shook Louis’ voice, “I’m sorry.”

“Hush, baby. It’s all right. No more apologizing,” Harry kissed his head as the omega rubbed his nose against the alpha’s wet shoulder.

“Not to any of us,” Liam rubbed his back. “In fact, we should be sorry and we are. We’re so sorry we didn’t see this sooner. That we didn’t see how much you were hiding and how much you were hurting.”

Niall nodded, “We’re so sorry, Louis.”

Louis shook his head. “No, it’s fine, it was my fault, you don’t have to be sorry. I…” don’t apologize, Alpha said. “It’s…it’s…” how did he do this? How—what does he say now? His entire world, his intricately spun web of lies just collapsed on itself. Spectacularly so. “It’s fine…” it’s not, well, they were, but he wasn’t…but he could pretend. He’d gotten this far by pretending to be something he wasn’t, he might as well pretend to be fine for them. The last thing they needed now was his complications, anyway. So, yeah. Pretend. That was it. He’d be fine. Ok. He was fine.

“You don’t have to say that right now. I know this is a lot to process,” Liam stated. “But, we’re going to get you through it. We’re not going anywhere, ok?”

The disbelief pounding in his heart threatened to break him down again, but for now, Louis let himself believe (or pretend to, he wasn’t sure really), “Ok.”

“And, we’re going to start by punishing you for lying to us for so long.” That got Louis’ full attention and his omega danced at the thought. No more scratches! No more scratches! Niall’s eyes went wide, but before Zayn and Harry could object, Liam continued, “For the next two weeks, wherever we are, Louis, you are not allowed to sit down unless it is in one of our laps. Do you understand?”

Trying to subtly hide his bashful smile behind a hand wiping at his nose, Louis nodded.

“I want to hear you say it.”

“I understand.”

“What?”

“Alpha,” Niall whispered, a playful smile on his face.

Something warm washed over Louis’ entire being; this time his omega purred, “I understand, Alpha.”

“And, I don’t think you’re a whore.”

Louis’ head snapped up, “Wh-what?” he paled. How…

“You don’t remember?”

A small shake of the head was all the no Louis could manage.

“When you were first admitted,” Liam explained. “You hallucinated a bit. And, I think you think that I think,” Liam paused to make sure he’d said that right, “that you’re a whore and I don’t, babe. I don’t.”

Louis buried his face in Harry’s shoulder, caught between embarrassment and relief.

“And while we’re at it,” Zayn gently took his chin and wiped an errant tear away with the back of his index finger. “You weren’t responsible for those rumors during Take Me Home, the ones about me cheating. It was better that that happened. I’m happier—we all are, that you didn’t have to do anything you didn’t want to.”

Louis flushed painfully at the unfortunate memory. “But…”

Niall shook his head, “Yes, we fought, but we’re fine,” he ran his hand through Louis’ hair. “It’s ok.”

“And, I’m not leaving you, and you are good,” was all Harry wanted to say; all he needed, too.

“And, we love you. We all love you,” Niall kissed his hand.

Overwhelmed, Louis hid face in Harry and made the wet spot on his shoulder a little wetter.

Thankfully, before he could cry anymore, the doctor reappeared with a wheelchair. “Louis? If it’s all right, I’d like to take you for that x-ray.”

Relieved to have some sort of distraction, Louis pulled himself together and nodded.

“Will the four of you let him out of your sight or would you like to come with him?” understanding filled her teasing tone.

“We’d like to come with him,” Harry answered.

“You don’t—“

“We just promised we weren’t leaving you. And we’re not,” Zayn playfully pinched the omega’s stubbly jaw.

“I can walk, you know,” Louis eyed the chair as the doctor turned off the heart monitor and disconnected everything. “I mean, I know last you saw, I just sort of fell over when I tried, but I can.”

The pack smiled at Louis’ attempt at lightening the room. “C’mon, sit,” Zayn plopped into the chair and opened his arms.

Louis looked at him like he was crazy, yelping when Liam lifted him off the bed and handed him over.

Dr. Amos raised her eyebrows. Liam just shrugged, turned the chair around and started out the door. “Oh, this way,” she led the way, glancing over her shoulder whenever the passing nurses’ eyes went wide.

She had to admit that it was quite the sight: Louis tensely curled into Zayn’s lap, Liam rolling them down the hall, Harry and Niall flanking them with the team of bodyguards following them all. If all suppressed omegas had friends like these, their therapists would be out of work.

Harry took over once they were in the x-ray room; the doctor again didn’t ask. The doctor just draped two lead aprons over the alpha and the omega in his lap and positioned Louis’ arm. She escorted them back while the x-rays developed, then doubled back to grab them.

When she returned to the room and found Louis alone on the bed, a phone up to his ear while Niall and the alphas sat around him.

“He’s just talking to his sisters. We promised we’d call as soon as he woke up,” Liam explained quietly.

Dr. Amos nodded understandingly and waited patiently.

“Sorry,” Louis apologized once he was off the phone.

“No need,” the beta smiled in reply, “The good news is that there’s no fracture. The bones are bruised, so we’ll keep the brace on you, ok?”

“Ok. So, am I ok? When can I get out of here?” Louis wasn’t sure if he should ask, but he wanted to know how long he had in this fragile little world where it was ok that he was an omega. Once they were back out there…well, he didn’t really want to know right now.

The doctor leaned against the footboard like she was gearing up for a long conversation. “Well, you did just wake up, but you’re no longer feverish and your vitals stabilized, which is good. That being said, you were on far too much medication, particularly the suppressant, restrainin. You’ve had headaches, I’m assuming, increasingly painful?”

Louis nodded; Niall climbed into bed to curl around him.

“In the past month, that particular suppressant has put three omegas in the morgue. It’s made using a variant of the drug MDMA. As you continue taking it, it holds off your scent and your heats, but it also increases toxicity, eventually causes massive organ failure.

That being said, you’re very lucky. There’s only minor scarring to your liver and to your kidneys. With proper changes to your diet, both can be managed. You’ll need regular blood and urine tests because the scarring in your kidneys, in particular, will leave you susceptible to disease and possible kidney failure in the future, if you’re not careful. As of right now, I’m hesitant to put you on any medication for either. As long as you’re here, I’d like for you to detox as much as possible.

I’d also like to get a better understanding of your hormone situation, before we even discuss your fertility. We’ve been running blood panels daily, but if you’re up for it, can you tell me about the suppressants you’ve been on?”

“Oh…” that…Louis shrugged, his face burning, “Yeah, I guess. Um…started with keptilatin. Was on quelamine the year we were on X-Factor. Took reprezamine the longest, from um, the time we finished X-Factor to last November when I started styfilitol, which I was on until the new one last week. Restrainin, you called it.”

“So, you've done the whole gambit, wow,” she grabbed his chart and made notes, “The efficacy of most suppressants and the damage they do can be measured by the side effects patients experience. Did you notice any? Starting with the keptilatin?”

“I broke out in hives and my throat was always really scratchy. The first time my throat swelled up, and I needed my sister’s epi-pen…so, I always had to take antihistamines whenever I got the shots.”

“So, you had an allergic reaction to it? And your mother kept you on it?”

She said she had no choice. But, he didn’t really want to voice that. Louis just shrugged again; Harry slipped his hand into it with no judgment, just comfort; the nervous ache in Louis’ stomach settled.

“How about the quelamine?”

“I was nauseous a lot. But we were doing the live X-Factor shows by then, so, it could have been that. For the most part, I was ok.”

“Reprezamine?”

“Stomach aches. And cramps. And, I gained weight easier, so I had to… you know diet and stuff…”

“You’ve never needed to diet, Louis,” Zayn sighed. “You’re…”

“I don’t want to talk about it,” Louis pulled his hand away from Harry’s and picked at the blanket, watching his hands in his lap like they were the most interesting things in the world.

Before the pack could object, Dr. Amos asked, “And, the styfilitol?”

“…I was always really tired…”

“Did you think you were depressed? Or did you have suicidal thoughts?”

Louis pulled at a loose thread and shrugged. “Not really…”

“Louis, depression and anxiety are two of styfilitol’s most common side effects. It’s why, even stateside where it’s legal, it’s never recommended to be used for as long as you were on it. As it’s going to be a few weeks until it’s out of your system fully, I’d really like for your alphas to know.”

“I came close once. Sort of.”

“To suicide?”

Louis curled his legs to his chest as the guilt hit the pack hard. How could they let this happen to their Louis? How could they have missed how much he was suffering?

“No…I didn’t mean to…not really, at first…” he couldn’t even look at the pack. “We were on a break…I’d…I hadn’t slept in a couple days…and I just…I was just, I was tired…of everything and…” as the words stupid, burden, and worthless filtered into his head, his nails went for skin, but Niall grabbed his hand, pressing it to his heart. “I just wanted to sleep.”

There was no pity in Niall’s eyes. Just warm, blue sympathy. (And love? Maybe? No. No, it couldn’t be.)

Dr. Amos asked for his attention, “Louis? What did you do?”

Louis turned to back her, chewing his bottom lip, “I… I might…I took my sleeping pills. But…I woke up confused and drowsy and…I ended up taking a another dose thinking it was my first…”

“And how many times did you do that?”

“Until it was gone,” he mumbled. “It wasn’t a full bottle, not even half…but…it was a lot…”

“Who found you?”

“Megan. I was supposed to be at some club. When I didn’t show up, she came to find me. Like, I said, it was just a mistake, but…I woke up…disappointed…”

The realization dawned on Liam. “When you had to have your stomach pumped…” and they’d all gone to Ireland without him—they’d even asked him to come this time, they were hurt he’d said no to go clubbing and then—

“What was that?”

“Management put out that he’d…he’d gone on a bender, that it was alcohol poisoning, and I yelled you for being so irresponsible. Louis, I’m…” Liam’s voice cracked; he’d yelled at him for almost killing himself! “I’m so sorry, Lou.”

“It’s not like you were wrong, it was my own fault,” Louis couldn’t look at the alphas, who could feel the shame rolling off him in waves.

Liam couldn’t hold himself back anymore. He crossed the room and scooped Louis into his lap. The omega’s eyes went wide, his body stiff and awkward, like he couldn’t quite figure out what to do or how to react—because he didn’t. Conscious and in his right mind, his instincts were to fight his instincts and shove Liam away, not to…do…whatever…omegas would do.

Niall guided Louis’ arms around Liam’s shoulders and turned his face into the Alpha’s neck.

“I’m so sorry, Louis, I’m so sorry,” Liam whispered over and over, rubbing the omega’s back as he held him as tight as he could. He expected a response. Louis had always been so quick to accept their apologies as a beta—not that he should have, because he wasn’t a beta, and not that Liam thought he deserved Louis’ forgiveness so outright. Not seeing all this to begin with, and then to yell at him for what he’d done, Liam shook his head at himself. Letting an omega suffer was inexcusable, end of, and if Louis didn’t want to forgive him then Liam would just have to live with it. He pulled back to look him in the eye and tell him that, but instead, incredulously laughed. “What?”

In the few moments Liam had been holding him, Louis had fallen asleep.

Because Louis knew what each of the alphas smelt like, sure. Living in such close proximity for so long did that. He’d even been submerged in the combination of all four of them earlier, but he’d been so scared and anxious and panicked, it didn’t really hit him. But now, emotionally drained as Louis was, for those arms to hold him with that sort of conviction, to finally let the scent of an alpha, of the Alpha, fill the emptiness the exposed lies had left behind, it lulled him into a safety he’d never known as an omega. A few deep breaths right into the crook of Alpha’s neck silenced a weariness that had been tugging at him for days (months, years maybe). Louis couldn’t deny that peace settling over his consciousness.

“Is this normal? I mean…he’s been passing out since he woke,” Liam worried.

“Suppressed omegas aren’t as common as much anymore, but before restrainin started killing them off, exhaustion usually got to them first. They always have to be alert, always balancing the lies, controlling their emotions. But, this is a sign of his omega starting to, in a manner of speaking, take over.”

“You’re sure?” Zayn double-checked.

“As sure as I can be without asking him. It’s not as if he was trying to transition into being a beta; he wasn’t doing hormone therapy. The only time a suppressed omega can be an omega is in his sleep. Conscious, he’s more than likely going to have trouble adapting to the change, but in his sleep, he can’t actively try to be anything he’s not. Falling asleep like that, it’s him trying to reconcile himself with his own omega.” Seeing that the alphas were more at ease, she excused herself, “I apologize for overwhelming him. I’m going to send the therapist in to see him when he’s ready.”

Niall helped Liam get comfortable on the bed, careful not to wake the sleepy boy in the Alpha’s arms. Harry draped the blanket over them, tucking it a bit tighter around Louis. He thought about the bedside chair, but stayed perched on the bed; Zayn and Niall mirrored him on the other side, the alpha stroking the blonde’s back.

Louis’ chest rose and fell gently, his lips parted just a bit and his face as relaxed as they’d seen him yet.

‘Things would get better. They would make this right,’ they assured themselves.

Chapter Text

After postponing the last six shows of the British and Irish leg of their tour, One Direction would like to thank the fans for their understanding and support during this difficult time.

Louis spent three days unconscious due to complications arising after he, Niall and three of their colleagues were trapped in a hotel lift. During this time, Louis’ true, secondary gender was revealed. Because of ongoing investigations and minor legal matters, little more can be said as to his reasons for hiding it. However, the band does want to confirm that Louis is, in fact, an omega.

As he recovers from the ill effects of this ordeal, the alphas are asking for privacy, for themselves and their omegas. As of right now they are planning on continuing with the European leg of the tour, beginning Monday in Paris.

Bracing his hands on the sink, Louis sighed at the mirror.

As if the three days since the end of his secret hadn’t been jam packed enough (lawyers, the police, meeting the new management team, stressing about the ‘Louis is an omega’ statement, talking Lottie out of coming to Manchester, doctors running test after test and piles and piles of paper work), Dr. Amos had ordered a session with their head of psychiatry.

“I can’t in good conscience discharge you without addressing your mental health. Your entire world has changed, Louis,” she’d said. The beta was highly sought after, well regarded by his peers, and published, she’d assured them. Trust him.

Trust him, my ass, Louis grumbled to himself while digging around for his toothpaste.

The entire session all he could see was the disapproval on the doctor’s face, like he’d insulted the beta by passing as a one so convincingly for so long. How was he supposed to open up to that? So he didn’t. He stuck to what he’d already told his—no, the pack. Anyway, even his sweet sunshine Niall had tried growling by the time Liam pulled the Alpha card and put an end to the uncomfortable tension.

But it had had to be done. Dr. Amos had practically taunted him with the hospital release, and he thought there was only so much of these four walls that he could take.

Now that PR had released statement and he was being discharged, Louis wanted to crawl back into that bed. Because what happens now? Now that everyone knows he’s an omega—now that the pack knows…now that Niall’s fiancés know.

Niall’s fiancés.

Was he supposed to enjoy the attention? Would he get it now? Were they going to keep holding him and rubbing his back and promising everything would be ok because he really wanted that. (He needed that, especially right now that his emotional control was sketchy.) But, what about Niall? Sure, Ni had spent the better part of the last seventy-two hours plastered to his side like a koala bear, but—

He paused the dig through his toiletry bag when something familiar brushed his palm.

Louis had intended on finding his toothpaste. Instead, he had his neutralizing spray in hand. With a sad sigh, he scoffed at his own stupidity. He spent so much time knowing exactly where this was, hiding it, “forgetting” his bag when someone needed toothpaste. And, for what? For it to blow up in his face and force the pack onto eggshells.

“Louis?” Zayn startled him out of his thoughts. The alpha worried when Louis’ hand jerked back into his bag. “Hey…what are you doing?”

“Um, I was just…um…” he tensed as the alpha’s hand rested on his lower back.

“What is that?” he asked softly and without judgment, but the gentleness of his tone only served to remind Louis of the eggshells.

“It’s…” he had to remind himself that he didn’t have to hide it and pulled the little bottle out. “It’s scent masking spray…I…the, the suppressants didn’t always…it mostly did, but not totally and…” Louis’ stammering just made him feel more stupid. Awesome.

Zayn took it and sprayed it into the air, wrinkling his nose when the industrial scent of chemical hit it.

“Yeah,” he flushed with discomfort and embarrassment. “It takes a bit to get used to the burn.”

“Don’t need that anymore,” Zayn tossed it in the bin.

“Yeah…” Louis nodded, taking a second look. So stupid.

“Haz and me are making a lunch run while Liam checks you out of here. Was wondering if you actually wanted to pick what you ate this time.”

“Harold won’t be ordering me the whole menu?” he quipped before he even realized it; when he did, he had to fight down the panic. Smart mouth, can’t keep it shut can you?

But Zayn laughed.

Louis met his eyes in the mirror, caught off guard by that lovely sound from the alpha. Did he have to be though? They’d liked him just fine with the smart mouth, didn’t they? Zayn was laughing after all. So Louis cracked a smile.

Zayn got a bit closer and rested his chin on Louis’ shoulder; flinching, the omega had to remind himself that he didn’t have to push away the warmth and comfort of the alpha, that he had nothing to hide. “So. Food?”

“Right…” Louis asked for Nando’s; Niall would like that. To his surprise, his stomach rumbled in excitement at the thought of peri-peri chips. That was different. A good different, Louis decided. Good.

“Will do,” Zayn let his hand drift down Louis’ arm. “Hey Lou?” he squeezed his hand.

Louis looked over at him. “Yeah?”

“It’s going to get easier. We’ll make sure of that,” he pressed a kiss to his shoulder.

Blushing for the umpteenth time, the older member nodded. “Ok.”

After Zayn left with one more reassuring clench of his hand, Louis glanced back into the mirror, surprised at the small smile on his face and settled feeling in his nerves; he attributed both to the warmth the alpha left on his shoulder.

Showered and shaved and finally in clothes that didn’t smell sterile, Louis left the bathroom. Niall was the only one there, and his presence wasn’t as calming as it usually was to Louis.

“Hi,” Louis shuffled from sneaker to sneaker in the doorframe.

“Hi,” Niall’s smile was soft, but so bright as always. His legs swung back and forth like a stopwatch timing the awkwardness. He patted the bed beside him; Louis’ feet moved before his mind could second-guess himself. The older omega hopped up and twiddled his thumbs. “So…I was thinking about how…this…would work now—“

“Ni-“

“Wait,” the Irishman squeezed his knee to stop him. He really wanted to get this out, “And I thought about how I’d want it to work if I were you, you know? How I’d want… everything—well, everyone to…be. To do that, I had to put myself in your shoes. And so I did,” Niall wound his sentences slowly, the way he did when he felt so much, but didn’t have enough words for all of it. “And it made me incredibly…sad.” Sad didn’t encompass the depth of that loneliness, of watching his best friends fall in love, unable to be a part of it. The ache had throbbed so painfully that he’d needed all three of his alphas to chase it away, and he’d only felt it for a few minutes. Louis had been living in it for years. “And I realized that you must have felt so sad for so long,” he sighed.

It killed Louis that Niall was hurting. That was the one thing he never wanted. “I wasn’t sad all the time, Niall,” Louis patted the hand on his thigh.

“Well,” Niall leaned onto him, “I figure, the way I want it to work—not in your shoes anymore, but in my own,” he clarified with that soft smile of his. “I don’t want you to be sad ever again.”

The earnestness in Niall’s declaration—and Zayn’s for that matter—filled Louis with something…hopeful. He whispered so as not to break that fragile feeling, “I don’t know how to do this, Ni.”

“Do what?” Niall rubbed a thumb over crinkles in Louis’ knee.

“…be an omega…I’ve been pretending to be a beta so long…I… I don’t even know where to begin.”

“You be you. Loud, spontaneous you. Skateboarding, stealing golf buggies and forklifts and all,” Niall took his hand. “But this time, just trust us. Trust us with how you’re feeling and what you need.”

Louis knew they were competent alphas to Niall, but he wasn’t Niall! Nothing was ever that easy, and this was him they were talking about. He was going to fuck this up.

“All right,” Liam walked in with the discharge paperwork he’d signed as the Alpha of Louis’ pack. “You are officially a free man, Tommo.” He saw the seriousness on the omegas’ faces and his own fell. “What’s wrong? Should I find your doctor? Are you all right?”

“No, no, I’m ok,” Louis shook his head. Well, that was the exact opposite of what Niall had just said to do.

The Irishman laughed and patted his knee. “One step at a time, lovey. We’ll get there.”

Liam looked confused, but shook it off. “All right, now there are some fans who crowded the entrance…” he went over with them what the security team had planned.

The boys waved to the fans, but didn’t stop for them. They flanked Louis, who just kept his head down as they guided him to their travelling den.

“It’s going to be ok, Louis!”

“We love you, Louis!”

“See?” Niall squeezed his waist. “It’s going to be all right.”

For now… Louis thought. He flexed his hands, trying to get the shakes out. His knees took him to the downstairs lounge, but he didn’t trust them with the stairs. The doors shut and the roar of the engine filled the silence between the boys.

“So,” Harry rocked on his feet, fighting a smug smile. “We let you get away with it in hospital. But Liam said…two weeks. You can’t sit unless you’re in one of our laps.”

Louis turned a painful pink. “Umm…” he brushed at his hair with a sweater paw. “Ok…I… I guess…”

Harry sat down and tapped his thigh, the smuggest, happiest smile about to burst from his face.

“Really?” Louis glanced up at a smirking Liam.

“Yup.”

Once Louis awkwardly settled onto the youngest alpha’s lap, Niall giggled and turned on a movie while they opened up the Nando’s take out. They had just finished eating and were barely out of Manchester before sirens sounded behind their bus.

Bristling, Liam ordered his alphas to keep their omegas in the back while he marched towards Don, their driver’s cabin. “What’s going on?”

“Don’t know,” the driver radioed to the security team’s bus for instructions as they pulled over.

Kneeling on the couch in the back, Niall, Louis, Harry and Zayn tried to catch a glimpse of something, anything. They expected a cop to ticket them or cite them for something, but no one came as far as they could tell. They did, however indistinct, see a car stop on the opposite side of the road and the camouflage clothed driver cross the street before both police cruisers sped off.

The doors hissed open, but only the alphas could hear the conversation. That is, until Liam’s voice rose a few decibels.

“You don’t get to take him. He’s coming with us. He wants to come with us,” the Alpha battled to contain his anger.

Niall and Louis pressed their ears to the thin door.

“Then he can tell me that himself.”

Louis knew that voice. He’d grown up with that voice, lumped into the umbrella protection it had given his sisters. He’d been kept from it once he’d presented, straining to hear it from behind his bedroom door when it greeted his sisters every month for their weekend together.

“Dad?” Louis exclaimed, running into the isle.

Between their schedules and the soldier on deployments, the pack had only met Mark once or twice, but there he was, standing on the road next to the open bus doors, an average sized man with a hulking alpha presence.

“Lou, c’mon, let’s just let Liam-” Harry reached for the omega.

“Let him make that decision on his own,” Mark’s command, however soft, froze the youngest alpha to his spot.

“Do not tell my alphas what to do,” Liam gritted his teeth to keep himself from snarling.

“Then he’d better not tell my son what to do,” the calm tone of the older alpha sounded more threatening than any growl could. “Not least before I give any of you permission to.”

Louis shuffled closer to his dad, heart pounding in his chest.

“C’mere, son,” he motioned to him; Liam grabbed Louis’ arm.

Liam was wrong; Mark’s low, demonic growl was the scariest thing he had ever heard.

“Li, it’s ok,” Louis patted the Alpha’s hand. “I won’t go with you, Dad, but…Li, can he come aboard for a bit…captain?” Louis tossed a joke out there, hoping to soothe the tension.

It seemed to work. Liam waved his pack out of the back room. “Yeah. Ok. You can talk in the back.”

Mark shut the door behind him and sat down; Louis took a seat opposite him, unsure of where to begin.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” the alpha sighed.

Because she told me you’d hate me. Louis wrung his hands. “You told me I had to be the man of the house…I…I didn’t want to let you down, I guess.”

“Oh my boy,” Mark pulled him over with the ease of a father and the love of a dad and the scent of sage wrapped around him. “You’ve never once disappointed me, and being omega doesn’t change that. I told you, Lou Bear,” he said fondly, “When I divorced your mother, I wasn’t divorcing you. You could have told me. You should have. I…” Mark cut himself off from a useless tirade that would just make them both feel worse.

“I’m sorry, Dad,” Louis still had left no tears, but knew Mark would have wiped them away with the pad of his thumb, as he always had.

There were so many things his dad could have said. It’s ok. It’s not your fault. Your mother had no right. Instead, he went with, “Well, I suppose there was that time you put my United kit, the one signed by Giggsy and Becks in the wash. That was a bit disappointing. More so for you since it would have gone to you eventually.”

It lifted Louis’ need to cry and the omega hid an embarrassed smile behind his hand. Mark hadn’t even yelled at him for that. He just took him to their usual pub and bought him some an ice cream while they watched the match. “It is what it is,” Mark had said. “No use getting mad about it.”

“All this time, I thought I wasn’t getting to see you as a punishment for leaving,” Mark squeezed his shoulder.

Louis’ face fell. “She said that you didn’t want to see me…because I wasn’t your kid.”

Mark lifted Louis’ chin, “I always wanted to, Lou. Every time I went to see your sisters, I wanted you to come with us. I tried, you know I did. I tried to get visitation with you too. But, your mum always said no. You are my son in every way that matters, and I love you so much.” He stroked his cheek and smiled, “You make a beautiful omega, Lou.”

“Thanks…” Louis blushed. “Dad?”

“Yeah, buddy?”

“I…I don’t know…how to…do this,” he whispered, hoping the pack weren’t listening.

Mark smiled comfortingly. “You don’t have to change who you are. You’re strong and protective. Tough as nails. None of that has to change. How people treat you is going to change, and that’s what’s different. You’re precious and someone to be treasured and that’s how you should be treated,” he glanced at the door and the three alphas and omega he could feel pacing anxiously. “That’s how you will be. I’m certain. And that’s all you have to get used to.”

Louis wasn’t so sure about that.

“Lou, can I ask you something?”

The omega looked up at his dad. “Yeah?”

“Are you sure you’re ready to return to the band? You can come home. Jay-you remember my omega?”

“I was your best man, I think I’d remember your wife,” granted, it was the only time Louis had met her, but he’d never forget the guilt he felt when he wished he’d been born to her instead.

“Ah yes, you were my best man, you performed your duties admirably, gave a very touching speech and managed to avoid spending any real time at all with me the entire weekend.”

“I should have been a spy. I keep thinking I should have been a spy,” Louis chuckled; his dad’s wedding weekend two years after the X factor had been a masterful performance in the art of stealth and circumvention.

“Considering the way in which you’ve avoided answering my question, you’re right.”

“I…” Louis stammered, unsure of what to say to appease the alpha, but he certainly had to, didn’t he? As an omega? “I…um…”

“Jay and I decided to move back to Doncaster. I’m going to take an early pension and be with the girls, because if your mother ever dares show her face again, she's going to jail. It’ll take a couple weeks to get the paperwork done, but you can come home if you like. You can spend some time getting your mind around all this. Your sisters and Jay would love to have you home.”

“I…um…”

“You don’t have to agree with me just because you’re an omega,” Mark’s voice held as much gentleness as it ever had. “But, you also don’t have to agree with your band. I want to know what you want to do. There is no right or wrong way to answer this. Just your way, what you want.”

Louis paused to consider his words with care, “I do want to come home, but…I want to tour. I want…” wow, those were words Louis wasn’t used to saying. “I want to rip the Band-Aid off, I guess. The longer I wait to get back to it, the harder it’ll be, and…crazy as it is, going on tour is my normal.”

“Then home will be home whenever you want to visit. Your sisters will love to see you. First chance you get, yeah?” Mark embraced him.

Louis liked this honesty thing. He thought it’d be hard and it was, to an extent—sometimes like pulling teeth. But, it was still much less stressful than juggling the lies.

“I love you, Lou,” Mark pressed a kiss to the stitches on his head. “And I meant it. You are strong and beautiful, omega or not. Don’t you let anyone let you feel any differently.”

It had been more than a decade since Louis had been wrapped in the protection of a loving parent, and he didn’t want to give it up yet. “Dad…can you stay for a bit?”

Mark kissed his forehead and nodded. “As long as you want, Lou Bear.”

After a beat of silence, Louis asked into his chest, “How did you get the police to pull us over?”

“Called in a favor from an old army buddy.”

Louis giggled. “I’m glad.”

“Me too,” Mark rubbed his back and kissed his head again; he had almost a decade of affection pent up for his oldest kid.

Liam knocked a few minutes later, “Sorry to interrupt, but Lottie keeps texting. We were going to surprise you, Lou, but we’re headed to Doncaster for the night,” he smiled when Louis lit up.

“I know,” Mark raised his eyebrows. “Lottie told me.”

“Then why the cop cars?”

Stone-faced, the alpha replied, “So that you and your alphas know that I can find you anywhere in this country.” Turning to his son with a smile, he added, “Besides, where do you think he got a flare for the dramatic?”

“Noted,” Liam hoped his voice didn’t waver.

Though with the biggest smile Liam had seen on him in ages, Louis asked, “Are you sure, Li? I don’t want to put us behind.”

“We’re not behind, Lou. It’s only an eight-hour drive to Paris. We can make it overnight if we have to,” Liam replied. “Mark, if you want to give your keys to Paul, one of our security can drive your car, so you can stay back here with Lou.”

“I’d appreciate that, Liam. Thank you,” the older alpha replied politely, looking much more pleasant with a happy Louis tucked beneath his arm protectively.

OK_Magazine: Louis Tomlinson: Officially an Omega

The new One Direction HQ released a statement this morning regarding band member Louis Tomlinson

@OnegaDirection: THEIR omegas. Their omegaS. THEIR OMEGA*S*! THEY’VE! CLAIMED! LOUIS! OMGOMGOMG #WeLoveYouLouis

@Nouis_Feels: OT5 is real! What a time to be alive! #WeLoveYouLouis

@Always_In_My_Heart: Someone tell me now that Louis doesn’t love Harry! #WeLoveYouLouis

@Nialls_Omega: This is everything I’ve ever wanted in life. I can’t even. I CAN’T. THE FEELS #WeLoveYouLouis

Chapter Text

A full four days after the new 1DHQ released the band's official statement, the world is still reacting to the bombshell that Louis Tomlinson is an omega.

Tomlinson’s estranged beta father has tried to get in touch with the band, saying, “I had no idea he was omega. I never would have let this happen if I did. I want him home with me, so he can heal. The band is rushing him back to the stage and quite frankly, they have no claim—

“Fucker,” Niall scorned, curled up with Louis in the back lounge as he skimmed his tumblr dash. “The fans have more claim than you do, you asshat.”

Louis rested his head on Niall’s hip, watching him scroll down through pictures, all of the bloggers pointing out the obvious.

He’s pocket-sized. He’s the perfect omega!

Fun-sized!

So smol, how’d we miss it?!

How could he NOT be an omega?

I just want to put him in my pocket and keep him safe!

“Don’t we all,” Niall chuckled and brushed a hand through Louis’ hair. The anxious anticipation of their first performance had led the two omegas to skimming social media to prove he had nothing to worry about; meanwhile the alphas double-checked all the security protocols.

Niall grabbed his mobile and took a selfie of Louis crammed between his outstretched legs and the back of the couch. He posted it to his Instagram with just one word: Mine.

Louis just laughed and rolled his eyes, pointing at the screen; the photo captured the Tumblr dash, too.

“I know,” Niall smirked. It would give the fans something else, however small, to talk about.

“Hey,” Liam leaned on the doorframe to the downstairs lounge. “Security’s hungry so we’re going to stop for some food,” he sat down across from Niall’s legs, reaching over for Louis’ hip. “Any requests?”

Still so unused to it, especially coming from these alphas, the older omega squirmed under the attention. They hadn't been cruel to him as a beta; they never meant to be, at least. But, they never took care of him like this and Louis didn't know how to handle it.

“Ask for something. Anything,” Niall whispered. “Ask for Nando’s again or McDonald’s or a three tier chocolate cake,” he rambled until he felt a smile against his side.

Louis shrugged.

“We just want to make sure you eat,” Liam stroked his waist; Niall felt the uncomfortable shudder against him.

“He will,” Niall squeezed Liam’s arm, knowing he’d get the message: back off a bit. “Right Lou?”

Louis nodded.

“Yes, Alpha,” Niall caught his jaw and pretended to move it, his voice a high pitch. “How about pizza? And tell Harry that yes, we’ll get vegetables on them.”

The older omega burrowed his smile in Niall’s hip; Liam tried to stop finding Louis so damn adorable.

“Well?” Harry and Zayn asked their Alpha when he returned.

Liam opened his hands and shrugged. “Ni says he’ll eat.”

“I don’t know what to do, Liam,” Harry sighed. In Doncaster, the alphas had taken a backseat to Louis spending time with his exuberant and protective sisters…

The den pulled up to the house Louis bought his family the moment he could. He’d never really lived in it himself, but his sisters had made it home. Lottie and Felicity were holding Daisy and Phoebe to keep them from tearing across the yard, but let go the moment Louis stepped off the bus. The twins raced to him, knocking him over with the strength of it all.

“Going to be alphas, the both of you!” he held them tight. He’d never come home like this. He’d always had his mother’s inevitable tirades to dread, but without her around Louis felt…happy. And relieved. It was weird, and he’d find something to worry over later, but until then, he let Phoebe and Daisy pull him up and drag him in. The twins were at that age that they could present as anything and he was sure they'd be alphas.

“We have something to show you!”

“Can I say hi to Lottie and Fizzy first?!”

“No!” the twins said in unison.

“We’ll wait,” the two alphas smiled and went to hug their dad and welcome the boys in. The Styles triad had had to leave the night before, as the alphas had work to return to, but the sisters were sure to tell Harry how much it had meant to have his parents check in on them.

“How’s he been?” Lottie asked expectantly. If anyone personified the fact that gender meant nothing in terms of size, it was the petite alpha in front of them. She’d presented late, which possibly attributed to her stature, but tiny as she was, Liam had no doubt that she’d give him a run for his money as far as a fight was concerned.

“He’s ok. He’s been quiet. He was happy to see his dad…he’s adjusting, I think, but it’s going to take time,” Liam replied.

“And they’re sure he doesn’t need to be on any medication?”

“We have Dr. Black scheduled to meet us in two weeks to remove the stitches and do a follow up to make sure he’s still ok, but Dr. Amos was adamant about letting him detox before putting him on anything,” the Alpha was happy to go over everything with Louis’ worried sisters.

“Li…” Niall whined, already missing the omega he’d been plastered to.

“If it’s ok with Liam, you can go in, sweetheart,” Lottie said.

“Go on, baby,” the Alpha nodded.

“And you have extra security?” Fizzy continued where her sister left off.

“Paul will have extra security measures ready by the time we’re in Paris.”

To her father, Lottie asked, “And he’s sure he wants to go back on tour?”

“Yes, he’s sure,” but Louis cut off Mark’s explanation.

“Hey,” the omega stomped back out, looking stronger than they’d seen him. “Who is this?” he motioned to the boy he had by the ear.

“That’s my friend and I’d like for you to leave him be,” Lottie bristled at her brother.

“He’s fine, Lou,” Mark chuckled, amused; the young alpha was nearly half a foot taller than his son.

Louis yanked on the cartilage. “What did you say your name was?”

“Louis Tomlinson,” his father raised a warning eyebrow.

“Dad, I asked for his name, not mine.”

But, back on the bus, confident, big brother Louis had vanished, as had the normalcy that the band had believed in before their impromptu break. Left in it’s place was uncertainty and awkwardness radiating off the newly revealed omega.

“How do we even treat him?” Harry asked.

With the words of Dr. Amos still resonating in his head (he probably doesn’t know what it means to be an omega, not to himself and definitely not to you), the Alpha replied, “Like Louis. We treat him like Louis.”

The only problem being they didn’t know Louis as an omega, how were they supposed to respond?

He seemed fine—great even while with his family. He’d let Mark shower him with affection, the twins had hardly left his side, Lottie kept him in her lap (jokingly, but purposefully, too) when she heard of their punishment, Fizzy fretted over him so much he pulled the older brother card to get her to back off, and Jay made them all Louis’ favorite foods and stocked the bus with biscuits and brownies and scones. He’d laughed and smiled, hadn’t shied away from anyone.

But as they started the drive to Paris—having opted to catch a ten o'clock ferry over the channel and drive through the afternoon so that Louis could stay in his new room overnight—he and Niall had gone right into the lounge and he’d tucked himself away beside their blonde. Zayn had asked if he wanted to watch a movie, he’d shaken his head and let Niall answer. Harry had asked if he wanted to play FIFA, he’d shaken his head and let Niall answer. Liam had just asked if he wanted anything particular to eat, he’d just shrugged and let Niall answer.

“Niall?” Harry called into the back.

“What?!”

“Nialler, can you come here for a minute?” Liam asked.

Begrudgingly, the blonde trudged forward. “Yeah?”

Zayn tugged him into his lap and Liam nodded to Harry. “You try again. He’s always liked you most.”

“My omega!” Niall whined and tried to squirm away. “Mine!” Zayn reprimanded him with a bite to his shoulder.

“We talked about this, love. He’s not ours…

With Louis tucked away in his bed (with the twins about to sneak in), the boys retreated to the bus.

“So. Are you going to talk to Mark about claiming him?” Niall poked Liam while they got into bed.

“I already did.”

“When?”

“After dinner,” while Harry and Zayn were clearing the table and Niall was with Louis having a kickabout with his sisters in the backyard, because Liam knew exactly where his pack was at all times.

“What did he say?” Harry grabbed his reluctant Alpha.

“He said that he wants us to wait. And I agree. Louis doesn’t know what it means to be an omega—“

“We’ll teach him!” Niall exclaimed.

“Yes, we will. But he has to belong to himself for a little while.”

“How long is a while?!”

“I don’t know. We’ll figure it out as we go. But…”

…He’s not ours. Not yet,” Liam reminded them. “We have to give him time.”

Niall pouted. “Mine,” he muttered.

Harry meandered into the back nervously where Louis still laid on the cushions. “Hey Lou?”

Louis scrambled to stand. His punishment still in mind, he didn't want to get caught sitting on his own and he wasn't sure if he was supposed to want to sit in the lap of one of the alphas because they weren't his and he shouldn't want it, should he? He always had before, but that didn't change whether he was supposed to want to now and he was rambling so hard right now... “…um, yeah?” he asked, peering around him for Niall.

“Do you want to do something? We could play video games or scrabble?”

The older omega searched for the younger again before replying, “I’m kinda tired.”

“Ok,” Harry stood still so the omega could avoid him like the plague, inching around him before scurrying into the hall.

“I’m gonna have a kip,” Louis avoided eye contact and took the stairs two at a time to get up them quicker.

“Bravo, lads. At least he was with me!” Niall grumbled.

Harry returned to the pack and dropped his head onto the table. “Any other ideas?”

“He’s got to come down to eat,” Liam decided. “Until then, let’s just…give him some room.”

As an alpha, he wanted to be up there, stroking his back and promising him all the safety and love and attention in the world. That’s what alphas did for omegas. They promised them the world and followed through as best they could. Giving Louis room went against all his instincts. But, if Louis could do that for so long, he could, as his friend, do the same.

Meanwhile, Louis cloistered himself behind the hall curtain, pacing back and forth.

What the hell did he do now? He’d been so wrapped up in worrying about the show, he didn’t think about having to spend the day on the bus with the pack! How was he supposed to act? Was he supposed to act? His father and Jay and Lottie kept telling him to be himself, but himself had always included pretending to be a beta! How did he act like an omega without getting attached to the alphas?

He sighed and dropped against the couch. This was what he’d wanted, wasn’t it?

Freedom? Freedom from suppression. He smirked at his own pun.

At least he still had his humor.

That didn’t change the fact that he had no idea where to begin now that he had it. Freedom, not his humor.

He'd have to find a mate, he supposed. Especially to relieve Liam of the extra burden. He and those two alphas aren’t yours. You’re too late. They’re engaged, they're Niall's and you aren’t a part of that.

He rubbed his face, trying to fight off the little voice saying "but you want them, not anyone else!" He slumped against the black leather and sighed again. Sure, Liam had assumed responsibility for Louis, but only because he had to. While omegas didn’t need parents or alphas to sign for them once they came of age, Louis was “suppressed,” and the doctors wanted to make sure he had someone to take care of him.

With the words burden, problem and mistake looming and the memories of his loneliness scratched into the den walls around him, Louis really needed a distraction.

He’d promised Mark he’d check in with him and his sisters more often, so he grabbed his bag for his phone. He’d used Liam’s while he was in hospital, and he hadn’t needed it in Doncaster. Besides, he was almost sure his battery had probably died…

Naturally, it was lost in the clutter of his bag; how was he supposed to be a good omega? He couldn't keep a backpack clean, he couldn't care for an entire house! His own house was barely organized chaos! As his hand brushed against the laptop sleeve, the familiar crackle of foil and plastic broke his train of thought. Breath thinning, he reached in for his suppressants.

It was easier as a beta, wasn’t it?

Louis rolled his eyes at himself. Yes, easier lying to his best friends and being pimped out like a two dollar whore for pictures and scandals on trash magazines and celebrity gossip rags? Drinking to forget how empty it felt? Wishing to be a part of something as special as the pack and wanting to love them as himself, as an omega.

No. It was all he’d known, that’s all. Not easier.

Still, the devil you know…

The little green pills looked so much less menacing now that he no longer had to dread taking them. He no longer needed to wonder what they and their predecessors did to him. The organ scarring was minor and manageable at the moment; he’d need constant follow-ups with their own doctor to make sure that stayed the case. And the night before leaving, Dr. Amos told him he would be able to carry pups—he might have trouble conceiving and his heats may never be regular like Niall’s, but with time (six months, possibly more) his scent would come in fully, his emotions would seem less overwhelming, and he would, eventually, have his first mature heat.

"You'll be ok, if you let yourself," she'd said.

With that in mind, there was something he wanted to do with this newfound freedom. Something he’d always wanted to do.

He leapt from his bunk and ran down the stairs to the bathroom.

Startled, the two alphas in the center of the bus glanced at each other, dropping their stuff and hurrying into the small hallway.

“Lou? You all right?” Zayn asked in the open doorway.

“Yup,” Louis punched the little green pills out, smiling a little more with each plop into the basin.

Liam surged with pride, “Are those what I think they are?”

“Suppressants.” He pulled out two bottles and emptied those in. “Sleeping pills. Painkillers.”

“Good boy,” they praised.

Louis couldn’t hide the grin or the delicate blush from his face and he reminded himself that didn’t have to. He flushed the pills and gave it a kick for good measure. Flying on the seat of his pants, he turned to Liam, “Someone said something about pizza.”

The Alpha’s smile crinkled his eyes, “I did. Should be here soon. Haz and Ni are marathoning the Walking Dead, but I’m sure they’ll start it over for you. Or, you could help me with this song.”

In that moment, he decided he was going to let himself move forward, no matter where forward took him. That’s all he could do. “Song, I think.”

“All right then,” Liam waved him out of the cubicle and settled on the couch in the center. Louis squeezed himself onto the surprised Alpha’s lap.

“Still being punished, aren’t I?”

Sharing a grin with Liam, Zayn contentedly peered at the two of them from behind his comic book.

“Yeah, you are.”

“Pizza’s here, boys!” Paul carried in the two pies. The smell of melted cheese on seasoned bread and sauce carried the two youngest from the lounge.

“Oh, come on,” Liam grumbled.

“Yesss,” Niall rubbed his hands together.

“So hungry,” Louis grabbed for the pizza so Niall just grabbed him and dragged him to the lounge.

“Hey!” the alphas laughed.

“Damn it,” the Alpha sighed when the warmth of the omega left his lap. “Pizza isn’t supposed to get here fast!”

“Sorry, Li, he’s sitting in my lap for lunch!” Zayn grinned.

Paul interrupted them, reluctance in his stance. “Hold on, just a second…”

“What is it?”

“Just a heads up, but I got a call from the inspectors in Newcastle. When the news broke and we confirmed that Louis’ omega, they wanted to adjust the charges on that alpha that jumped him and Paddy. He was charged with aggravated assault, but he was not charged for biting him.” Because of their gender's susceptibility to alpha teeth, biting an omega without consent was as serious an offense as stabbing Paddy, “Long story short: he made bail. They were going to add the charge, but he skipped town.”

“Fucking hell.”

“I didn’t even think about that,” Zayn grumbled. “He bit him. That bastard bit our omega.”

“Can’t catch a fucking break,” Harry sighed.

“The additional security team will meet us in Paris. They’re alphas, but they’re all mated,” he placated the possessiveness before the three boys had a chance to object. “I personally vouch for each of them. And I have a photo of the guy sent out to the stadium security team at this venue and the next, and we'll continue to do so. Louis and Niall are going to be safe.”

“Damn right they are,” Liam replied. “Thanks, Paul.”

The bodyguard nodded and took his leave.

“We know where they are at all times,” Liam told his alphas, who agreed wholeheartedly. “And don’t bring it up right now. Not when he’s this happy.”

“Hey, there’s not going to be any pizza left if you don’t get back here!” Niall yelled.

There was little more they could do at that point, but eat pizza with the omegas. “We’re coming!"

“C’mere, Lou,” Zayn patted his thigh; baby alpha whined and the oldest alpha just blew a raspberry at him.

Meanwhile, Liam tugged Niall into his own lap. “Hi.”

“Hi,” a mouthful of pizza muffled the word. “Eat. We have a show tonight.”

Liam playfully gnawed on Niall’s shoulder. “Mmm. You’re delicious.”

“You’re stupid,” Niall grinned fondly.

Meanwhile, Louis wiggled away or tried to at least, when Zayn’s nose prodded at his neck. “What are you doing!?” he laughed.

“Just wondering what you’re going to smell like,” he tried to dig a little deeper. Omegas always had a sweet scent; Niall smelt like candy floss. “I hope you smell like cake.”

“How boring,” the Irishman finished swallowing. “I bet you smell like gummy bears. Or marshmallows. Or jelly beans!”

“I think you’ll smell like tea,” Harry said softly, “Yorkshire tea with two sugars and a splash of milk.”

Louis answered Harry’s fond look with one of his own; that’s how he took his tea.

“Not sweet enough. I hope you smell like pie. Banofee pie,” Liam held Niall to him and grabbed for a slice of pizza.

“Ok, first of all, why do I have to smell like food—“

“Dudes usually smell like sweets,” Niall replied with a shrug. “Didn’t you take health classes?”

“I took beta health classes and did well, thank you. Secondly, I could go for some banofee pie. You think we can get some in from that bakery in London? It’ll keep, right? If we have someone get it and bring it over?” Louis wondered.

“Like a test for the new assistants,” the Alpha considered it.

“Hazing, you mean? We’re already taken the ferry into France,” Zayn chuckled.

“Hey, don’t be calling me a fairy,” Louis joked. “Unless you meant Niall, then it’s ok.”

“I want the Guinness cupcakes if we do,” Niall added, “You’re talking that place near Zayn’s favorite art stuff store and the old fashioned ice cream place?”

“That Haz likes, yeah,” Louis grabbed for a second slice.

“We’re headed to Paris and you want to have English pastries sent over?” Zayn laughed until Louis shoved some pizza in his mouth.

“Don’t pastry shame me, Malik! This is the closest we’ll be to England for weeks,” Louis poked him; Zayn pulled him closer. Both of them noticed that Louis tensed at the movement, but said nothing as he let himself relax almost immediately.

Liam pulled out his mobile to ask their new management-hired assistants to head back to London. It was his duty as the Alpha after all and for now he'd pretend like they were both his omegas.

Chapter Text

In a recent radio interview, Ed Sheeran opened up about his friend, Louis Tomlinson’s big secret saying, “No, I had no idea that he was omega. But, I do know that he’s been an older brother longer than anything else, and if they played to that side of him, he would have done anything for the people he loves. After all, the song I wrote for the band is eighteen, not sixteen. ‘We were’ just fit better than ‘I was.’”

Tomlinson, the only eighteen-year-old when the band was formed, has yet to comment publicly, but is expected to take the stage tonight for the first time since the revelation. Omega or not, the fans will surely be glad to see him back where he belongs.

 

The nerves started the moment Louis stepped off the bus, but as he entered the stadium the anxiety went into overdrive. He made it into the nearest bathroom before the pizza and banoffee pie came back to visit.

“Easy, Lou,” Harry rubbed his back; he held out his hand for the bottle of water he knew was coming. “It’s all right, love. You’re ok. Everything’s going to be all right.”

Louis shook his head so hard it made him dizzy.

“No! They’re going to hate me. They’re all going to hate me, it’s going to be a disaster, I can’t go out there, I can’t, I can’t,” he rambled, his heart about to beat out of his chest. His breathing thinned and his vision blurred and his body just kept shaking and his tears flowed so hard it hurt and there was singing—wait, what? There was singing? There was Niall singing? Niall?

The younger omega motioned his youngest alpha out of the stall before lacing his fingers into Louis’. The Englishman anchored himself to that grip, trying his hardest to focus on that voice. “Breathe with me, Louis,” Niall cooed between the Script songs; careful of the protective brace, he pressed Louis’ hand to his chest so he could feel the slow and steady rhythm of his breaths.

It took a bit of time to bring him back down, but the alphas would have postponed the start of their show if they had to. The tears slowed with the regulation of his breathing, and eventually Louis snuffled, “m’sorry…”

Liam stopped both alphas and left it to Niall to comfort him.

“You don’t have to be sorry, love. You’re fine, we’re fine, everything’s going to be ok,” Niall pet him. “That’s a good boy. Just keep breathing. We’re here. No matter what happens, we’re going to stand by you. Understand?”

Louis nodded. He just didn’t know if that was a good idea.

Niall held his hand and guided him into the dressing room, sliding into his lap to distract him with soft whispers and tender fingers stroking his hair. Louis held onto him and took a few deep breaths to calm himself.

“Do you have a stuffy, babe?” Harry asked, trying to recall one, but the only dolls Louis had ever had were gifts for his sisters.

“Is that something dirty?”

“And the sass master is back,” Niall giggled; Louis loved that sound.

“No, like a stuffed animal or a doll or something to cuddle with. Like Niall’s,” Zayn had never met an omega without one; alpha children always grow out of them, but omega kids tended to keep them forever.

“I have a Niall,” Louis pointed to the Irishman wrapped around him.

“He has a Niall,” the blonde blew a raspberry at his alpha, who was not at all jealous. Nope. Not jealous at all. “But could someone get him Wayne?”

“Sure,” more than willing, Harry ran off—literally ran, so he could get back faster to watch the omega snuggle.

“I don’t need Wayne, babe, it’s ok,” Louis shook his head.

Niall shrugged. “But we’ll all look so cute together.”

And they did. Harry returned with Wayne, a teddy bear with rainbow fur and a felt mustache that Niall’s brother had glued on at some point during their childhood—and Niall tucked it between them.

“He smells like you,” and maybe Louis did need the teddy bear. Maybe he’d be borrowing him tonight. Tonight after the show when he’s down the hall away from everything he’s ever wan—stop. Stop, stop, stop. It is enough that they don’t hate you. It’s enough that they want to stand by you and be your friends after you lied to them. Stop right there. You have enough to worry about with the show coming up.

“Gentlemen,” Paul popped his head in. “Can we have a minute?”

“Sure. But, could you please bring Wayne back to the bus for us after we head to the stage?” Liam asked, not at all embarrassed to make the request. Firstly, they always referred to Niall’s bear seriously and by name, and secondly, Paul had once had to drive back into post-concert traffic to retrieve Wayne, so the Alpha knew the beta would be more than happy to say yes.

“I will absolutely do that. But first, I’d like to introduce the extra alphas we’ve brought in,” Paul waked in with three alphas, mostly older than them. “Colby Goodman,” a burly black man in a shirt about to pop off his broad shoulders. “Dahlia Struan,” a red head with curls and cherry red lipstick that carried a knife in her motorcycle boot, who stood next to the one closest to the band’s age: a blonde, blue eyed alpha with a full tattoo sleeve who gave them a wink, “And Ben Valentine.”

“No winking,” Harry furrowed his eyebrows at Ben, who looked more like Niall’s older brother than Greg. As close as Louis and Niall had been, Harry couldn’t help the jealous worry from flaring. He was not going to lose Louis to this bastard.

“Noted. I apologize.”

“You’ll have to forgive Ben. He’s new at this,” Dahlia gave the blonde a smack upside the head.

Liam introduced his band and then stated, “It’s nice to meet you all. I don’t know how much Paul has told you. These two can get a bit mischievous, but they’re mostly good,” Liam smiled at the omegas. “Obviously, it goes without saying that you aren’t to discipline either of them. Any concerns, bring to me or Zayn or Harry. Other then that, please be as kind to the fans as you can be when we’re out and about. We know you’ll get along with our crew because they’re all wonderful. Only Paul and Mark, our trainer, are allowed upstairs in our den. And, well…” Liam thought to himself, “Welcome to the madhouse. We’re glad to have you.”

As security left them to themselves, Louis buried his nose in the bear’s fur and cuddled Niall closer. Though the alphas offered, he was too nervous to eat anything or have tea or play scrabble or prank the band or even move.

What if the fans hated him? What if there were empty seats? What if they threw things at him? What if they had mean signs or booed him when he tried to sing—

“You’re going to be ok,” Niall’s voice cut off the bad thoughts. “We’re going to be with you the entire time and I know the fans still love you. I know it.”

“Hey boys,” Lou and Caroline popped in. “Whenever you’re ready for us, we’re right down the hall.”

“Thanks,” no one moved.

“Also, Lux and Brooklyn have something to give their Uncle Tommo, if that’s all right?”

“Of course,” Louis nodded; Niall tried to vacate his lap for the little ones, but Louis kept him right where he was.

Lou walked the two little girls in and they scurried over to him.

“How beautiful,” Louis collected the drawings—mostly nonsensical scribbles with ‘I Love You’s undoubtedly written by their mothers, but sweet nonetheless—and asked the girls about both, nodding along to their rambles and profusely thanking them.

The alphas had always known that Louis loved children, but combining that with the omega ability to carry pups? All three of them had to deliberately stop the thoughts of knocking him up and how beautiful the little Tommo tummy would be slowly stretching with their babies or what those children would look like.

He wasn’t theirs.

Not yet at least.

“Whenever you’re ready to get ready, we’re right down the hall,” Lou smiled.

The time inched and flew by, all at the same time. Louis wanted to throw up again, his stomach twisting and his heart racing and he was sweating so much, he had to change again just before the show!

“You can do this,” Niall kept an arm around him as they walked towards the stage. “I’m right here. We all are.”

Louis didn’t care if there was still a pain in his hand from the last time they’d held onto each other like this, but his hands tightened around the Irishman’s. The pain was just more to focus on. His feet stopped just short of backstage and his lungs just stopped working and Niall went back to breathing with him, softly singing.

The fans' chanting filtered in from the stage, drowning out the blonde's soothing whispers. Liam was the first to decipher what the thousands of fans were saying. “Louis, love, do you hear that?” Liam smiled; he’d never loved them more. The fans chanted Louis’ name, like they knew he needed a little push to stage tonight. “They love you, babe.”

“Told you so,” Niall gave his hand an extra squeeze as he smirked. “C’mon, omega. Time to buck up. Do it for them. Do it for me, ok?”

Louis gulped, shaking too hard to strap on his audio pack. Niall had to lace and place his in ears and hand him the mic and walk him into the lift that would take them to the top of their stage. But, Louis didn’t run. He wanted to. Desperately. But he stayed for Niall.

As the music started, the urge to vomit rose with the platform, subdued only by the knowledge that if he did puke it would go viral before the show ended.

The lights and smoke blinded him and for a second, he couldn’t remember how to breathe or how to get off the stage or what his name was or why they were yelling it.

The fog machine stopped as he inched down the ramp. Harry met him halfway, a smile bursting off his face. “That’s all for you, babe,” it looked like a stage whisper, but he had to yell it.

Louis finally got a good look at the crowd and the tens of thousands of hearts they were holding up that read, “We love you, Louis.”

The tears in his eyes weren’t from anxiety anymore.

***

Midway through the concert, Liam called to the crowd, asking them to hold up their signs. While making sure to point out the variations on “We love you, Louis” and “You’re a beautiful omega, Louis,” he darkened at one covered in glitter and then actually growled on stage.

“No. You can’t.”

After a beat of absolute silence, Zayn laughed it off, “And on that note, this is Girl Almighty!”

The livetweet for the concert went nuts.

@Nouis_Paylik Liam seriously just growled at a girl with a sign! #1DParis

@OTAlpha Liam HAS to be Alpha. That growl had the entire stadium submitting! #1DParis

@OnegaDirection Liam legit just silenced thousands of people with one growl! #1DParis

@Nouis_Paylik UPDATE: the sign he growled at says “Can I claim Louis?”!!!! I’M DYING!!!! #OT5 #1DParis

The rest of the concert went on without a hitch. Because Louis hadn’t made a public statement yet, he’d opted (and management agreed) not to say anything to the crowd, though he did wave and blow kisses and smile happily to the fans and he played and interacted more with his band mates, which didn’t go unnoticed.

@TakeAChonce Louis can be anything he wants to be as long as he’s happy! #1DParis

@Someth1ngGreat: Louis looks happier than he’s been in a long time! #1DParis

@StripesandSuspenders: My tiny omega son is so happy and beautiful! #1DParis

After the show, while Niall chased Louis up the stairs, Liam held his alphas back. The gravity on his face weighed down their post performance high.

“We need to talk.”

“Hey, Lou,” Niall pushed aside the heavy curtain and then reached for the omega. “Hey,” he laughed and grabbed the heavy duty headphones off his head. “Hey!” he said one more time. “You ran away. Like literally ran,” Niall chuckled.

“I just-”

“C’mon, we’re gonna stop by McDonald’s and grab some food and then I’m gonna whoop your ass at FIFA. I call Chelsea.”

“Ni, stop,” Louis yanked his arm away. “You don’t have to do this.”

“Do what?”

“This.”

“This what?!”

“Spend more time with me! You don’t have to.”

“What?”

“I-I mean, I hogged you all afternoon and you usually unwind with your alphas after a show and they’re probably waiting. I just…wanted to get out of the way,” Louis steadied himself on the bunk when the bus jarred into motion. “I’m all right, ok?”

Did Louis just say ‘out of the way’? “Lou-”

“Really, Ni. I’m just going to watch Supernatural and fall asleep. I’m not hungry. I brought water up. I’m fine. Your alphas are waiting, Sunshine.” Louis replaced the headphones and whipped his blanket straight.

Niall didn’t miss how he’d emphasized “your” alphas. Backing away, he thought back to before their impromptu break—really, he had to go back before the engagement party and their actual break. Back when the alphas snapped at Louis every time he bounced around, full of adrenaline and high on a great show, when he just wanted to play video games or watch TV or do something to burn off the energy. Back when Louis had started disappearing into his bunk all by himself while the Niall had three alphas to calm him down with soft touches and eventually sex.

Loud sex.

The curtain, the headphones, his bunk being the furthest from the back—it had made sense before. Beta-Louis would have wanted privacy, but omega-Louis wanted to block out the relationship he couldn’t have.

Niall turned back and ripped the headphone device out of the TV.

“Ni?”

“Shut up and move,” Niall took the remote stubbornly, budging Louis over.

“Sunshine, what-”

“Hush. What episode is this?”

“But-”

“Wait, Sam died? But this is only season two!”

***

“We have to talk to Niall before we do anything,” Liam said. “But, we’re in agreement? We’re going to claim Louis.”

Harry pointed out, “Liam, you wanted to wait because of Mark.”

“Yes, but now I’d like to know we’re claiming him so I don’t kill one of our fans over a sign!”

“Is that the only reason?” Zayn asked.

“You know it’s not,” Liam glared. “We may not have known we were waiting, but we waited long enough. Are we asking to claim Louis or not?”

“Of course we are. Hell, Ni is probably snogging him as we speak,” Zayn laughed it off as a joke, but the alphas thought about how possessive their omega had been.

The three alphas ran into each other on their rush up the steps. “Hey,” they smiled when they found them curled up on the bunk, a little disappointed in the lack of kissing.

Wide-eyed, Louis sat up, ready to give up the younger omega to his pack, but Niall yanked him back, blue eyes fiery. “Have a seat, lads, we’re just watching,” he demanded.

“The TV moves…” Louis added, a little sheepish.

Liam adjusted the screen while Zayn and Harry got comfortable on the couch. Liam lifted the omegas’ legs and slipped his beneath them.

“Wait, Sam can’t be dead! There are like, a thousand seasons,” Harry gasped.

“Dean is making a deal with a crossroads demon,” Niall informed.

“But that means Dean has to die, right?” Liam turned to Louis, who just furrowed his eyebrows. “What? I like this show.”

***

Paul jogged up the steps. “McDonalds?”

“We’ll go,” Zayn and Harry scrambled up, eager to prove to Louis that they were good alphas.

“What do you guys want? The usual Ni?” Zayn asked.

“Yes, please,” he grinned.

“Me, too,” Liam nodded.

“Louis?”

“I’m good-”

“We’ll just order you a bit of everything, yeah?” Harry pinched his foot.

“No, but-” Louis reached for him, but the Irish omega stopped him.

“They’re alphas and you’re an omega. It’s written into our nature that they have an unhealthy obsession with what we eat,” Niall pressed a kiss into his hair.

Louis blushed and adjusted his head on the other’s shoulder. It took a half an hour to fill the order and both alphas, Paul and Preston to carry it up to the pack.

“Ni, come sit with us so you have more room.” Harry and Zayn laid a blanket down and on the floor while Liam and Louis camped out in the bunk.

Niall snarled his lip at the thought of leaving Louis, but slid to the floor and filled the alphas in on the episode.

“Hold on, this is Louis’ too,” Harry lifted a tray of milkshakes and sodas and water into the bunk.

The omega’s eyes bulged at all the food. He had three bags in the bunk with him, not counting the Alpha’s. Liam’s hand ran through his fringe. “Finish what you can, Louis love,” he gave him that soft smile. “You don’t have to finish it all.”

“But, do you have barbecue sauce up there?” Niall asked, his mouth full of fries.

“Yeah, I…I think,” he sifted through them. “How did you get them to make breakfast!?”

Zayn and Harry fist-bumped.

“Zayn has expert powers of persuasion.”

“And Haz just sweet-talked him so well he couldn’t say no.”

“Ni, do you want a hash brown with your barbecue sauce?”

“Yes, please!” the omegas giggled together; the alphas smiled at the sound.

Liam @Real_Liam_Payne
Thank you Paris for being a great audience! Your show of support for Louis meant so much. Merci!!

Chapter Text

“Morning,” Louis sat up, the faint scent of Niall surrounding him and Zayn’s drifting in from the couch.

“G’morning,” Zayn smiled and put his pencil down.

“You didn’t sleep there, did you?”

“Well, you did steal my omega.”

“I did no such thing…did I?” after binge watching Supernatural their entire day between shows, everything was a bit blurry.

“No, he demanded to stay with you. The three of us slept in our bunks, too.”

“I’m sorry,” Louis yawned.

“Don’t be. When he wants to do what he wants to do, there’s no stopping Niall,” the alpha replied, folding closed his sketchbook. “I…I wanted to apologize, actually.”

“For what?” Louis asked. No, no, no, no apologies…bad…

“For not…seeing it. And for not fighting harder when I thought I did,” he began. “I had a feeling…I mean, I always kinda wanted you to be an omega before. And a couple days before—well, when that bastard attacked you and Paddy, I swore up and down that you were, but I let Liam talk me out of it. And I’m sorry. I’m sorry that-”

“What gave me away?” Louis changed the subject as his fingers tingled with the need to discipline himself. Bad omega. Bad. You don’t make alpha second guess himself!

“It was just a bunch of little things.”

“Like the dimples in my back at the bottom of my spine?” Louis smirked. “Or the way I have to squeeze into my jeans?”

“Shut up,” Zayn’s laugh choked beneath the words he wanted to say. Louis was his best friend, and he’d failed him. That guilt hadn’t gone away. “Like I thought you scented Harry while you were talking to the cops.”

Louis blushed, scratching the back of his neck; Zayn darted over to the bunk and took his hand before he could even start to scratch too hard.

“And the way you felt when I was holding you for the paramedic. Like you fit. Perfectly.”

“Like I was made just for you?” the omega tried to joke, but the alpha’s fingers fit between his perfectly.

“It’s why you never let us hold you before, isn’t it?”

“I didn’t want to get used to it,” Louis shrugged, picking at the blanket with his brace heavy free hand. “Besides, I was supposed to be a beta. Wasn’t supposed to enjoy it and all.”

“”I’m just…I’m sorry, Lou,” Zayn squeezed his hand. “I shouldn’t have let it go. Maybe—I don’t know.”

“Zayn, I lied to you,” Please don't apologize. Bad omega. Bad. Making alpha apologize. Burden. Whore. Mistake. Wrong. Bad.

“And I should have-”

“Read my mind? I lied to you. The fact is that you trusted me and believed me. You don’t have to apologize for that.”

“But we’re alphas, we should have been able to-”

“Do you second guess every woman who tells you she’s a woman or every omega who tells you they’re an omega? I lied. Me. I’m the one in the wrong. I’m the,” Liar. Burden. Whore, “One who should apologize. I’m sorry I lied to you, Zayn. I am. I know how much you value honesty, and I’m so sorry.” His heart sank because it was true. Zayn didn’t trust easily and he’d trusted Louis and Louis had broken that and Zayn was going to hate him and it was starting, it was all going to go bad now. “I’m so sorry…”

Zayn had to wonder how this got turned around on him. He’d wanted to apologize and here he was with the abused omega’s panic filling the room.

“You don’t have to, Lou,” the alpha pulled the omega into a hug and rubbed his back. “I’m sorry we didn’t help you sooner, but that’s going to change, ok? Just relax. It’s ok. It’s ok. You can scent me if you need to, you know?” he reminded him.

The cue sent Louis’ nose into Zayn’s neck; he liked the oldest alpha’s scent the best, too. Though an alpha, Zayn was sweet, like molasses soaked shisha with that hint of traditional apple flavor. Louis could scent him all day, but stopped once he could say, “Ok.”

“I…you’re my best friend, you know that right?” Zayn wanted to say more, but couldn’t, not without Liam’s go ahead. He reluctantly peeled away from the omega and swiped his thumbs over his cheeks. “C’mon Lou. Squeeze into your jeans and let’s go meet up with the lads for breakfast, yeah?” with an awkward bro hug, Zayn headed downstairs.

As Louis thought, “he’s not yours, get over it,” and gathered himself together, the alpha descended the stairs thinking, “You can’t claim him yet.”

“Ready?” one of their new bodyguards stood, waiting on the couch by the doors.

“Yeah,” Zayn nodded. “Ben, right?”

“That’s me,” the blonde shook his hand.

“You know,” Louis followed after getting dressed. “We have like, two bags of McDonalds left in the fridge and half of it is breakfast.”

His jeans looked painted over his thick thighs and Zayn’s mouth watered at the sight. But at hearing a heavy swallow, a new awareness settled over the British Pakistani. Turning to Ben, he saw the bodyguard’s subtle elevator eyes and the edges of Zayn’s vision turned red.

The words, “You’re fired,” loaded on the tip of his tongue and they stayed there as the three of them made their way to catering and passed what seemed like every alpha on their crew, all of whom seemed to know Louis.

“Hey Lou,” yet another one greeted Louis when they walked into their next stadium in Basel, Switzerland. “Zayn,” always polite, like each one before him, he addressed the alpha with a nod.

“Hey, Travis, how’s it going? How are you feeling?” eager to move past the awkward apologies and forget the need to discipline himself, Louis gratefully sparked a conversation with their roadie. Besides, with a show under his belt and the response so overwhelmingly positive, he felt more like himself and much less anxious.

Meanwhile, Zayn restrained the urge to tug the omega away. Again. Louis smiled at so warmly at another alpha in his presence and Zayn could feel his competitiveness bristle. And then Travis, if that was his real name, had the audacity to hug him!

“Easy, Zayn,” Ben whispered beneath his breath, giving the younger alpha’s hoodie a tug.

It took all of Zayn’s self control not to punch the security newbie, too.

“I’m good. A lot better, thanks. Oh! You missed it, bro,” Travis stroked Louis’ arm as he let go. “Johnny got Noah good this morning.”

“I missed the third slap!?”

“It was killer. Ask Walt, he’s got it on video.”

“I will do,” Louis’ smile lit up the hallway. It was as dazzling as it had always been, and Zayn hated this alpha for being its reason. He wanted to be the reason Louis smiled! Especially after the catastrophe of a conversation that they just had.

“All right, Zayn?” Travis asked.

“Yup.” He bit back a snarl, containing his rage behind a pleasant façade. “Wait a second, you were going to let an alpha slap you?”

“No, I had more chips than he did. He had nothing to bet but getting slapped in the face,” Louis chuckled as they continued walking.

“Your idea, I suppose?”

“Naturally,” Louis smiled at him and Zayn’s heart skipped at its incandescence.

The alpha threw himself into the chair next to Liam once they made it to Sarah’s Kitchen. “Did you know we had so many alphas on the crew?”

“And we let Paul bring in three more. I hate it,” Liam focused on Niall and now Louis joking around with Sandy and the band under Harry’s watchful eye, and not at all the other alphas filtering in and out of catering. Niall was one thing. He was marked and their crew respected that. But all morning, he’d been looking at the roadies and techs as competition, and they were. Louis didn’t need them. There were alphas everywhere. “If Josh doesn’t step away, I’m going to kill him with his own drumsticks.”

“Hey Paul?” Zayn waved the beta over and, as hushed as he could manage, asked about his newfound competition, “How many alphas on the crew are mated?”

“Most of them…?” he appraised the people around them. “Oh, Julian’s not,” he motioned to the songwriter who draped an arm around Louis’ shoulders, a fond look of concern in his eyes. Liam darted out of his seat, Zayn hot on his heels, but Paul grabbed them and sat them back down.

“Sit.”

As the burly beta walked over to direct Harry back to his alpha partners, Niall of all people yanked Louis away from Julian. “We gotta go eat and stuff,” he dragged the older omega away; Harry smirked at his wonderful, amazing fiancé and followed.

“Ow, Ni!” Louis laughed and took control of his arm once he was seated. “Easy. I know I have two arms, but I need the hand on the right one. You can have the left if you like.”

Niall glared overprotectively; Zayn grasped the back of his neck and rubbed gently, using the omega spot to calm him just a bit.

“Boy,” Sarah appeared like a rainbow in a storm; finally, a beta. “I made Niall his own pancakes. I’d better not see you giving yours away again. Understood?”

“Yes, ma’am,” he grinned as she put both plates of blueberry pancakes down.

A beta feeding their omegas; the alphas’ stomachs turned. The pack stayed on high alert all during lunch, watching their crew suspiciously. Which one was going to try and make a move?

None of them. Or they’d be dead. And fired. In that order.

Just as they reached the arena doors en route to their den, another alpha voice rumbled behind them. “Hey Lou?”

Liam, Harry and Zayn couldn’t help but treat it like a challenge and turned menacingly. Rick—this one they recognized—handed Louis his skateboard across the extra couple feet he smartly left between him and the omega. “How in the world did you manage to get it that high on the scaffolding?”

The newly revealed omega grinned. “If I told you how, then where would the surprise be the next time you find it?” He hopped onto it only to be lifted off.

“Not right now,” Liam shook his head. He and his alphas needed Louis within arm’s length right now. He kicked the board into his free hand and carried it and Louis out the door.

After years of this madness, they easily tuned out the high-pitched roar of the crowd behind the barricade. They didn’t even consider the camera phones pointed in their direction anymore.

“Um, Li? I um, I can walk,” Louis’ ass rested atop Liam’s hip, feet dangling to the ground and upper body hooked over the alpha’s arm.

“I’m sure you can.”

Louis gulped. He couldn’t look at Niall. He knew he must hate seeing his Alpha holding another omega, but he didn’t want anything to ruin how much he was enjoying Liam’s strength.

Niall was too busy to be jealous; walking a step behind Zayn and Harry, he snapped a quick video of his Alpha manhandling the omega and considered whether he wanted to post it to instagram or twitter. Ooo, it was short enough for a Snapchat!

Louis disappeared upstairs once they got to the bus with Niall hot on his heels.

“Liam!” Zayn and Harry whined after the omegas were out of earshot.

“I need to call Mark and we have to talk to Niall,” though, the Alpha still had Mark’s words ringing in his ears.

With Louis with his family and friends, the Alpha approached Mark as he brought out the trash. “Excuse me, Mark, can I help?”

“No, thank you Liam. I’ve got it, son,” the alpha replied pleasantly.

“Then, um, do you have a minute to talk?” Liam wanted to kick his own ass. He hadn't been this bloody diffident since the X Factor—the first time around, too!

“If it’s about claiming my son, the answer is no.”

Liam felt slapped in the face. But he and the pack had taken care of Louis—well, the last few days, they’d taken care of him and they had years for not doing so to make up for, if Mark would just give them—oh god, Mark blamed them-

“I don’t blame you,” the alpha disposed of the trash. “For what happened to Louis, I don’t blame you, if that’s why you think I’m saying no. I’m saying it because I think that my son needs to belong to himself for a little while. As his friend, I hope you’ll agree.”

While Mark had a point that yes, Liam did agree with, being claimed should be Louis’ decision. After all, asking his father’s permission had just been a nod to tradition. Right?

No. Liam knew Mark would kill him and he really didn't want to die and how would Louis feel knowing that he father didn't approve? No, he had to convince Mark.

Damn it.

“Go get Ni, Haz,” Zayn pointed upstairs, eager to get one conversation out of the way.

“Yeah, just take him from Louis and make Lou feel left out again. Great idea, Z,” Harry bit back. “You go get him!”

“Don’t snap at me. I was just making a suggestion. You’re next rut is in a few weeks. You could have it with Louis and Niall, I’m just trying to help.”

“Yours is a month after mine, stop pretending to be selfless, you dick,” the youngest alpha glared at the oldest.

Ruts were easily predictable. The alphas had theirs every three months—skipping only if Niall was close to his semiannual heat (an omega’s needs always came first after all). Over the course of the band’s time together, the alpha heats lined up one month after the other. Though, Harry and Zayn’s were creeping closer together, and Liam had been fearing the day that the alphas had to share their omega. Where a heat lasted three or four days, a rut required a certain number of knots, and Niall could get them over it in a day—but if he had to deal with both competitive alphas at the same time he’d be the baby in the King Solomon story.

“Enough,” Liam spoke firmly and both his alphas shut up. “I will talk to Mark again. We will talk to Niall the next time Louis is recording. If both go well, we will talk to Louis.”

Both alphas looked at him expectantly.

“Do you need me to get your mobile?”

“Is it charged? Do you need a charger?”

Liam looked less than amused and made the call in the back lounge. As it rang, he realized he should have thought out what he wanted to say beforehand-

“Hello, Liam.”

The fact that Mark had caller ID didn’t stop the shudder of fear or nervous gulp. “Hello, Mark.”

“Is my son all right?”

“Yes, he’s doing fine. Um-” he hadn’t been this nervous since that first chat with Maura, Bobby and their omega, Siobhan. And Mark was only one alpha!

“Lottie would like to know why he’s not answering his phone.”

“Oh, I’ll be sure to ask him.”

“You do that.”

“I will. Nice talking to you, Mark,” Liam hung up and smacked himself for his alphas.

“Really, Li?” Zayn raised his eyebrows.

“Maybe have a think and then go again, yeah?” Harry patted his knee.

The Alpha just grumbled and headed for the stairs. “Hey, babe,” Liam popped through the curtain. “Lottie wants to know why you’re not answering your phone.”

“I never did find that,” eyes still on the show he and Niall had on the television, Louis grabbed his backpack to look for it. He hadn’t really needed anything in it, given that he was avoiding the internet and twitter and anything that might remind him that he was the hot topic of conversation.

“Come down and eat something.”

“Really, Li? We literally just ate lunch,” Niall laughed, pausing the show for Louis.

“Then come down and have some water. The both of you,” he said pointedly. He wanted both omegas where he could see him.

“We will, Alpha. Chill,” the Irishman chuckled. “He’s fine, babe.”

But he wasn’t.

About five minutes later, he trudged down the stairs, an entirely different omega from the happy one they’d left with Niall, who trailed after, looking equally confused at the abrupt change.

“Hey Li?”

“What is it? What’s wrong?” Zayn and Liam dropped everything, but held themselves short of grabbing him. Not yet, they reminded themselves.

Louis sat down on a step in the middle. “Do you or Paul have the number of those inspectors that came to see me at the hospital?

“Yeah, why? What’s wrong?”

“The, er, one of my credit card companies called. The card I gave my mum was used in Mexico. Whoever had it withdrew the credit limit…” he chewed his bottom lip. “I just thought I’d let them know I guess.”

“I’ll give him a call for you, love,” Liam reached for his hand. “Why don’t you and Ni go watch Netflix or Googlebox or whatever it is we have in the back with Haz? C’mon Tommo,” he pulled Louis off the stairs and half hugged him, half guided him into the lounge where Niall all but tackled him onto the couch.

Liam needed all his strength NOT to slam the door. He settled for scraping his nails down it, ruing the shortness of them that kept him from tearing shit apart.

“Li,” Zayn stroked that sweet spot between his shoulders in an attempt to soothe that anger.

Damn that bitch for doing this to him. All of it. the suppressants, the lies, and now ruining his day. “I hate her. I hate her so much, Zayn.”

“Me too, love. Me too,” the older alpha rubbed gently, pressing gentle kisses to his neck.

Harry opened the door and joined them with a whisper, “Who do we hate?”

***

Louis had been having a good day, too, all things considered. But no, he was adjusting too well, fate decided.

At least, that’s how the sudden twist felt to him.

Finally braving his mobile, he’d skimmed the fifty odd texts from his sisters, dad and friends. None of the post-statement ones seemed too bad. Mostly the same idea: I had no clue, you could have told me, this doesn’t change how much I care about you/things between us, everything’s going to be ok.

And, just when he was ready to concede that everyone couldn’t be wrong. That maybe, just maybe, everything really could be ok, he checked his voicemail. Panicked voices sank his heart. His sisters’ frantic please for him to tell them he was ok suddenly changed to quiet resignation.

He should have stopped there. He should have just called his sisters and let their voices buoy him. But then the credit card company’s call sent him spiraling. Because he didn’t want to be the one who knew. He didn’t want the guilt. He didn’t want to know where he’d run her off to or have to do something about it. But, he had to, didn’t he? People expected him to do something, he just didn’t know what.

Press charges? Against his own mother? Send a team after her?

A team of what, Louis? Assassins? Ninjas?

No. He’d just tell the inspectors who’d come to his hospital room and that’d be that. Anything that happened after? Not his fault.

Well. Completely his fault, but not the point.

But, why did he put that on his—no, Niall’s. Niall’s Alpha. That wasn’t his place, he wasn’t claimed, and Liam had no responsibility to him (no matter how much Louis wanted him to).

The older omega tore himself out of the Irishman’s perfect arms and hurried back to the front. “I can call. It’s fine. I’ll handle it. Can I just have the number?”

For a split second, Liam considered giving it to him. But, the Alpha in him couldn’t do it.

“I got it, Tommo,” he shook his head.

“But-,”

“No, love. I’ve got it,” the Alpha’s tone dripped with authority; Louis tried not to whimper.

“But I-“

“C’mon, Louis love. Li says he’s got it,” Harry tugged Louis in.

“But, I don’t want to…you know…” Mistake. Burden. Problem. His skin crawled with the need to discipline himself. Liar. Wrong. Whore.

“Freeze,” Liam ordered, like he could see the words flash through Louis’s head. He marched over and cupped his face. “This isn’t a problem. You’re not a bother. I want to handle this for you. I want to, understand?”

Louis nodded, eyes mesmerized by his toes.

“Use your words,” the Alpha smirked, hoping to get him to laugh.

Louis blushed, “Yes. I understand.”

“Yes, Alpha,” Niall coughed.

“Yes, Alpha,” Louis smiled. “ I understand.”

“That’s a good boy,” Liam kissed his forehead and patted his bum into the lounge.

Niall opened his arms and Louis didn’t bother resisting. He just melted against the blond and let himself be held. Nothing bad could exist in Niall’s embrace. Nothing but his sunshine did.

The Irish omega stroked his hair, even as Liam returned, needing to hear that message.

“Lou? I need the passcode to your phone, love,” he whispered, keeping his voice soft so as not to disturb the tender peace Niall had settled him into. He thought it was 1107 (Giggs and Beckham’s numbers for Manchester United), but Zayn swore it was one of his sisters’ birthdays.

“1-3-0-9,” Louis’s little kittenish yawn had the enchanted alphas swooning.

That was Liam’s passcode too, and the Alpha thought curiously. Because it was…

The Irish omega figured it out first and, grinning, kissed Louis’ head.

It was Niall’s birthday.

Chapter Text

The smell of beta didn’t startle anyone. While Louis had smelt a bit sweeter and more to his gender since the hospital (nothing as strong or discernable as the candy floss that Niall had, but sweeter nonetheless), his stuff—clothes, backpack, etc—still had a generic beta sort of scent to them.

The guitar strumming on the other hand woke everyone.

“You look so beautiful in this light. Your silhouette over me,” the redhead started to sing when Louis woke and turned to him with a soft, lazy smile. “The way it brings out the blue in your eyes is the Tenerife Sea. And all of the voices surrounding us here, they just fade out when you take a breath. Just say the word and I will disappear into the wilderness.”

“Is this going to be a thing now? Me waking up to someone sat there?” Louis rubbed his eyes. “Sheers,” as always, he pretended to toast the beta.

“Lou-miere,” Ed hummed as he quieted his guitar strings.

Harry knew how the rest of Tenerife Sea and he’d never hear the words, “lumiere over me,” the same way again.

“You didn’t know, did you?” Niall couldn’t hold back his glare; he had an idea as to how intimate this beta had gotten with his omega and the Irishman didn’t like it one bit. Not even Zayn’s reassuring hand on his back could help the flare of jealousy.

“Not a clue, mate. Thought he was a beta.” Ed bit back his next comment: had the cock of one. He had a feeling Niall would know that soon enough. Ed wasn't stupid after all. Even if he wanted a relationship with Louis, he knew what the pack meant to him; no one could compete with that. “Was wondering if you’d come get a waffle with me?” he asked Louis.

“Waffles?”

“We’re in Belgium,” he said as if it was obvious.

“True,” Louis laughed in agreement. “Er, I um…” he looked to the alphas.

Ed teased, “You have to answer to alphas now.”

“Go ahead, but you take Alberto and Dahlia,” Liam nodded. “Mark texted that he's ready for us, boys,” the Alpha said to the pack; Niall, Zayn and Harry pulled on their workout clothes and reluctantly left the omega with Ed.

Niall contained it until they were out of the den, but let his fit loose as soon as the separation anxiety started; he wanted his omega, damn it.

“You’re just going to let him go off with Ed?! Why!?”

“Because we need to talk, too, love,” Liam took his hand.

“Talk about what?” he huffed.

“About Louis and whether or not you’ll be ok with us claiming him, too,” the Alpha explained.

“I’ve been stuck to his side like glue, how was that not an indication of my opinion? He’s ours and if he’s not ours then he’ll be mine but now he’s off with some beta already and they’ve shagged, you know they’ve shagged and you’ve just sent them off together, probably to do it some more and you want to just sit here talking about claiming? How the hell are we going to claim him if a bloody beta claims him first!? What in the holy hell are you think—”

Liam grabbed Niall and bit his neck, a sharp reprimand of teeth sunk in until his omega calmed down. “You know why I bit you?” he licked at the breaks in his skin and pulled away.

Niall rubbed at the welt left behind. “Yes, Alpha.”

“Tell me.” As a general rule, he, Zayn and Harry liked to ask first, punish later, but occasionally, Niall’s temper and jealousy got the best of him.

“I was ranting at you like a lunatic," he scuffed the asphalt.

“We have to be fair to him, Niall. He’s never gotten a chance to be an omega. Going right into a permanent mating might be a mistake. He needs to know he has options and that we’re only one of them.”

“Yes, Alpha,” Niall buried his face in the Alpha’s neck for the scent that smelled and felt like the ocean spray on a hot afternoon.

“You called Ed,” Harry sounded as betrayed as Liam knew he would.

“I did,” Mark wanted Louis to see his options so the pack leader would throw them in his face. “And I stand by my decision. Now, let’s go eat.”

Harry and Niall both glanced back at the bus and sighed. That was their omega, damn it.

***

“I’m sorry,” Louis and Ed sauntered lazily down the sidewalk, munching on waffles. Their bodyguards worked together, scouting the area on high alert, their exit strategies ever changing.

“Why?”

“You slept with me under the impression that I was a beta-”

“You know me better than that. I’m not one of those betas who thinks I have to be with a beta. I slept with you because you’re Louis. Beta, omega, whatever. You’re my friend,” he shrugged.

“Some friend,” Louis scoffed. “I lied to you. I lied to everyone.”

“You had your reasons. I snuck out of your bed most mornings with just a text goodbye. That’s kind of shitty, too.”

Louis shrugged. “You had your reasons,” he chuckled.

“So. You gonna tell me what they were?”

Louis sighed and gave him the short version, something he had a feeling he’d be doing a lot.

“Your mum’s a bitch, man.”

“That’s what everyone keeps telling me. But she’s still me mum so shut up,” Louis punched his arm.

“How are things with the pack?”

Louis sighed, “Weird. Awkward. Egg-shelly.”

“Understandable given how much they love you.”

“Given how much I lied to them, you mean.”

“They flaunted their relationship in front of you for years. I think you’re kind of even, mate.”

“They didn’t flaunt it-”

“Why? Because they thought you were a beta? So that makes it ok for you to need a sound-deadening curtain and noise cancelling headphones?”

“I-”

“You do not need to justify anyone’s actions or defend your own,” Ed waved off Louis’ words. “I have a question for you though.”

“I probably owe you the answer.”

“How were you not…like…slick? When we slept together, I mean.”

“Oh. That,” Louis shoved a strawberry in his mouth to keep from laughing at the awkwardness. “Yeah…I couldn’t. The suppressants blocked me from producing…that.”

“Fair enough. So. How are you really? No bullshit, please.”

Louis sighed and tossed his wrapper into a nearby bin. “Honestly? I-I just feel…stupid. I mean. I kept this secret for years. My entire world revolved around it and it all fell apart in about a week or so. And…I keep waiting for the…the bad to happen, I guess. I always thought the four horsemen would start the apocalypse if my secret slipped. And, everything’s been fine. Almost too good. The fans are amazing—at least the ones we’ve seen. The pack has been unbelievable. You don’t hate me, my family doesn’t. Hell, they’re probably better off. My dad is with my sisters, so they’re doing well. The new management team is giving me space and time to deal with this. I don’t even have to worry about my mum because she just bloody disappeared. I don’t know. There has to be a cloud, you know? If there’s a silver lining and I…I’m enjoying the silver lining and all, but I keep waiting for the cloud…if that makes sense?”

“Maybe your cloud was damn near dying. Or the stitches in your head. Or the fact that you had to deny who you really are for so long.”

“Maybe…” but, it couldn’t be that simple though, could it?

“So, did Selena or any of your others know?”

“No, but I can stop watching my back now that Justin can’t really hurt me; that’s nice. And there were never as many ‘others’ as people think. But no. Outside me, my mum, a couple people in management and a couple guys they paid off no one knew. I was the best kept secret in the history of the entertainment world. You’re really not upset with me?” he said in disbelief. Surely someone, somewhere had to be upset with him, right?!

“I’m upset that you didn’t think you could trust me. Not angry, just. Upset.”

“I couldn’t tell anyone.”

“It’s not even about you being an omega. My friend was hurting, and I didn't know.”

"I'm sorry."

"Don't do that. Don't apologize," Ed chuckled. "You were the one hurting. It makes no sense for you to apologize."

"That's all I keep wanting to say and I can hear the words in my mouth I just can't stop them."

"Then use them. Like you always do," Ed motioned to the guitar he was carrying. "Here."

"You're giving me a guitar?"

"If anyone asks, that was one from the Wembley Stadium shows. And, all those feelings need to go somewhere," the beta shrugged. "Make good use of them."

"Ed," touched, Louis hugged him. "Why does this feel like goodbye?"

"Not goodbye," the redhead patted his back. "Just, perhaps an end to the beneficiary aspect of our friendship."

"No more sex?" the omega sighed. "Well there goes my plan for dealing with heats."

"Oh, Lou-miere. Not the brightest candle, are we?" Ed smiled.

***

“Excuse me,” one of their crewmen found the pack in catering, where they'd gone to refuel after their workout.

“Johnny, right?” Harry shook his hand.

“Yeah. I haven’t seen Louis today, but this is his,” he handed them an Adidas hoodie. “He left it in our den. The cleaning crew just found it.”

Zayn covered Niall’s mouth before he could snarl.

“Thanks. We’ll get it back to him,” Harry smiled politely at the omega while his own seethed.

“Burn it, I can smell that omega on it from here,” Niall hissed beneath his breath.

“Easy, love.”

“My omega. Mine,” he huffed.

“You don’t get this possessive about us,” Harry placated him with kisses to his neck.

“Yeah I do. I’ve just had years or practice in controlling it. This is new. And harder. Because I can’t bond him like the three of you can. And won’t,” he glared at Alpha.

“We can’t just throw him down and knot him, Niall,” Zayn pet him.

“Not who?” Louis rolled in with Alberto and Dahlia trailing behind him.

“What?” the alphas blushed.

Niall tried not to glower as he asked, “Where’s Ed?”

“He had a flight to catch,” the omega replied.

"You ate?" Harry asked.

"Yup," Louis nodded.

"You're sure you're not hungry?" Zayn followed up.

“Would it make you feel better if I grab something before I go have a kip?”

"It would, thanks."

“And take a bodyguard!” Liam called.

“Hey blondie, you mind doing some work?” Louis asked playfully.

“Yes, dear,” Ben downed his coffee and followed.

“Do keep up,” Louis hopped on his skateboard, grabbed a blueberry muffin and disappeared as quickly as he’d arrived, rolling through halls and out to the parking lot, the newbie jogging behind him. The omega waved to the fans waiting for a glimpse of the band through the curtained fence, grinning when he heard the ‘we love you, Louis’ chant start. As he boarded the bus, he felt a twinge on his collarbone, but ignored it as healing pains.

Out in the crowd, an alpha growled to himself, ‘Mine.’

***

“Liam!” of the three of them, the whine unexpectedly came from Zayn, who gestured senselessly between the empty seat and Louis and Ben’s retreating figures. The Alpha only caught the absurd show for a second because he was already checking his watch and calling management to make this work because he had about seven hours and change to make it to Doncaster and back to Belgium in time for sound check, interviews and the show. He couldn't let Mark intimidate him, not if he wanted Louis in his pack, and maybe this was just a conversation they needed to have face to face--again, that is.

Three and a half hours later—accounting for time to expedite the private plane’s flight plans and commute to and from airports—Mark opened the front door and smiled at his son’s band mate, “Hello, Liam.”

“Mark, we’re claiming your son,” he blurted. Probably not the way to go, but the Alpha wasn’t asking anymore.

Leaning on the doorframe, Louis’ dad went along with skipping formalities. “He hasn’t even been out of hospital a week yet, Liam. The answer is still—”

“Mark, we love him. We’ve always loved him. What the four of us have with Louis has always been more than friendship, but we couldn’t have him. We couldn’t…betas and alphas don’t mix, you of all people know that. We couldn’t become you and his mother! I couldn’t risk losing him like that! You think he needs to belong to himself, but he’s always belonged with us. He’s always been ours, but we didn’t know that he could be pack, but me and my boys, we have the opportunity to fix that and I’ll be damned if I let you stand in the way. Louis is incredible. He’s beautiful and strong and passionate and if we hold off for another week or month or year, someone else will try and claim him, and I’m not going to let that happen!” Liam didn’t even pale when he realized that he was downright yelling at the most intimidating alpha he’d ever met. But, it was Louis on the line. The fact that nature had dictated that Louis, the beta, belonged with another beta (or maybe the right omega) had never settled well with the Alpha, and he would forever rue not trusting that instinct.

Inexplicably, amusement lifted the corner of Mark’s lip. “Thata boy.”

Liam had expected a fist to his jaw, not…whatever that was. “…what?”

Impressed, the alpha stood straighter and sauntered into the house invitingly. “I know that you’re good for him. Louis wouldn’t have put up with everything he did if you weren’t worth it after all. But, I wanted to know that you’d fight for him. Even if it meant fighting me,” he walked into the sitting room and picked up a paint roller.

“Oh…so…”

“I still think it’s too soon. But, if you want my approval, you have it. However, ultimately this is Louis’ decision, not mine. And whatever he decides, you will respect, even if you don’t like it.”

“Of course. And if he agrees, I want you to know we’ll take things slow. He’s still trying to figure out what being an omega means to him. The last thing we want to do is rush him.”

“That’s good. Don’t you have a show today? In another country?”

“Yes,” Liam checked his watch. “I have about an hour before I have to be back on the plane.”

“An hour, you say?” Mark asked. “Well. Be a dear and pick up a paintbrush then. The girls went to pick out new furniture for this room. Their mother’s boyfriend smoked in here so everything unfortunately had to go.”

“Have you heard from her?” he tried not to spit the objective pronoun.

“Not a peep. Nor have the girls. Has Louis?”

Liam sighed and told him about the credit card.

“That woman.”

“Can I ask you a question, Mark? How…why a beta?” it wasn’t forbidden, per se, for alphas and betas to date, but they rarely worked out beyond that phase. Alphas were naturally dominant, and betas felt submission like a weakness. Most eventually came to resent it the way Louis’ mother had. Everyone knew that.

“Being in the army, not having to worry about an omega at home made sense. I was going to be deployed and she was going to be fine. I didn’t think I could leave an omega behind like I did a beta. And I was a bit older than you were…and she was…she was different. Novel. I liked feeling wanted and not just needed,” Mark replied. “She was a single mother. She was self-sufficient…independent and I admired that.” He shrugged. “It made sense at the time and I did love her at one point. But…eventually, I needed what she didn’t want anymore.”

“Submission.”

“Indeed.”

Liam dipped his brush in the paint and let the words settle before he changed the subject, “Can I be honest, Mark? I expected this to be a bit harder.”

Louis’ dad chuckled, “And I expected to have this conversation on the phone. That you’re here? That’s impressive, Liam.”

“I’d do anything for Louis.”

“Good,” like Liam, Mark continued painting. “You’d better take care of him.”

Made to sound like a threat, it had Liam bristling, but he took it for what it was: a blessing. “I will. We will.”

Splattered in a bit of paint, he made it back to the stadium with minutes to spare. Meeting up with the alphas, Zayn asked, “Where the hell have you been? You just disappeared!”

“England. Where are Louis and Niall?”

The alphas exchanged a look and asked, “…what now?”

“England. Mark said that if Louis agrees, he won’t…well…you know, whatever he would have done,” Liam looked around. “Where is he?”

“Recording with Niall. Alberto, Dahlia and Paul are with them,” Harry bounced. “What did you say?”

Liam gave them the recap until Louis appeared under Julian’s arm an envious Niall glaring behind them.

And then Julian said, “I’ll see you later then.”

“Yeah, yeah, of course,” Louis smiled. Maybe Julian meant to just pat his shoulder, but the pack noticed the extra second that his hand lingered and the way his fingertips brushed against the stag tattoo. “Hey Rick?” the omega looked around.

“Those mine?” Rick greeted him with a smile and the alpha took the paperwork.

Harry stomped his boot against the stage. Louis knew too many alphas! He turned to Liam, his eyes red, his face pleading. Can we talk to him now? Before I kill someone?

“Lou,” Liam took the mic and in-ears and waved the pack in. “We need to talk. Everything’s fine!” he told their sound techs and guided Louis back to the dressing room.

Louis gulped and sat down on the couch. “Is everything ok?” Did he do something wrong? Was there a problem? Were they upset that their new management team didn’t want him in interviews today?

“No, no, it’s just, um…” Liam looked at his two alphas. “Ni, sit down, darling.”

“Hey, what are you doing?” Paul interrupted. “Interviews needed to start right after sound check, c’mon. Alberto and Pres are going to stay with Niall and Louis while they record. You,” he pointed at the older omega, “You will stay out of trouble, you hear me?”

“Uh-huh,” he trembled. What did the alphas want to talk about!?!

"Does it have to be now?" Harry asked.

Paul nodded, "Yeah, we've been holding the interviewers since half past!"

Zayn told Louis gently, “We’ll pick this up later, all right?”

“Stay with Alberto, the both of you,” Liam raised his eyebrows.

As the alphas disappeared, Niall watched Louis fall into line behind the bodyguard and walk dutifully towards Julian and John’s bus and their recording room.

“You’re being so…obedient,” the blonde wrinkled his lip.

“What?”

“I don't know if you know this yet. But there’s a difference between being good and being mindlessly obedient.”

“Oh…” Louis mirrored Niall’s mischievous eyes with a glint in his own.

“Boys,” Alberto warned.

The omegas took off running down the hall.

"I'm getting too old for this," the bodyguard chuckled and ran after them.

***

After Alberto popped his head into the room they were using for interviews, Paul had that look on his face. The one that said, ‘you boys are going to be the death of me’ and Liam sighed. What had the omegas done?

His alphas raised their eyebrows as if to say, ‘Better than last time an interview got interrupted.’

“So how is Louis?” the interviewer got their attention.

And for the fifth time, Harry clipped, “He’s doing well. Thank you.”

Like a couple others, this one pushed, “And are the rumors true? Have you claimed him?”

Zayn took on an alpha tone and replied, “We’ve never commented on pack business and we’re not starting now.”

But this one added with a sneaky smile, “But he’s not pack, is he?”

“Louis has always been pack,” Liam ended the conversation. Once the last interview ended, the Alpha sighed, “What did they do?”

“Niall and Louis tried to give Alberto the slip earlier. But they caught up; the boys are just on the pitch. Crew took a break, gave them about an hour before they have to finish setting up the floor. Everything’s fine.”

“How do we get out there?”

With the next round of international qualifiers still two months away, the Belgium national football team’s field wasn’t lined and the goals were stored away, but the omegas just needed a ball and some pitch.

“Tomlinson’s on a break! He’s beaten Courtois! He’s got an open net!” Niall called the make believe match.

Laughing, Louis shot from the edge of what would have been the eighteen-yard box into the goal they set up with a couple folding chairs.

“He scores! Doncaster Rovers beat Chelsea in the Champion’s League final!” Niall met Louis at the end line and picked him up, spinning around and cheering. “Louis Tomlinson, you just won Doncaster Rovers their first Champion’s League title, how do you feel?”

“Like I could kiss the sky. But this doesn’t belong to me, this belongs to the whole team and to the fans. And I definitely couldn’t have done it with out my boy, Niall Horan,” he rambled, pretending to be out of breath, until he and the Irishman broke off into giggles.

“All right, boys. Since the Champions League is won, we have to finish up,” the crew leads appeared.

“Thanks, Rick,” Louis and Niall grabbed their ball and finally noticed the alphas standing off to the side.

“What did I tell you?” Liam raised his eyebrows.

“Ok, to be fair, we didn’t run that much faster than they could so we did technically stay with Alberto,” Niall reasoned with a shit-eating grin that their sweet Irishman could have only learned from one person.

Louis wiped a tear from his eye, “I’m so proud right now. I feel like Yoda. Or Mr. Miyagi.”

Letting it go, Liam nodded towards the dressing rooms, “C’mon, Lou. We have something we need to talk about.”

Chapter Text

Despite the gentle alpha touch on his shoulder, Louis couldn’t help but feel like a dead man walking. The sound of their footsteps on the concrete broke silence between him and the pack on the walk to the dressing rooms.

“So, um, straight to the point before we get interrupted again,” Liam sat Louis on the couch, either of his alphas flanking him while he and Niall perched on the coffee table in front of him. “We want to talk to you about the possibility of claiming you…”

If Louis had been a cartoon character, his jaw would have hit the floor with a comical dink. He settled for a disbelieving, “What?”

“We, as pack, would like to claim you,” Liam smiled.

No. This couldn’t be happening. “But...but you’re engaged.”

“It’s not like there are wedding plans to put off. And I’d rather put them off than lose you,” Niall grinned.

“I…” he could feel Zayn and Harry exuding excitement. Was this real life?

“We don’t want an answer right now,” Liam explained.

“We don’t?” Niall’s smile fell.

“No, love. We want you to think about this, ok? Take as long as you need,” the Alpha leaned in and kissed his cheek. And a second later, the pack was playing video games and texting and getting ready for the show so normally that Louis had to question what the fuck just happened?

They wanted to claim him? Claiming was the pre-step to bonding! After he’d lied to them and deceived them for so long, they wanted to...? Were they crazy!?

Louis felt an itch in his hands as the anxiety crept under his skin. He stood and walked straight out of the room and down the hall and into the den lot. He had Don open up the under-the-bus storage for the carton of cigarettes before running through the den, climbing up his bunk and popping the emergency exit open. He laid on the roof and lit up one and then two and then three.

***

“Are you sure this is a good idea, Liam?” Harry asked after fighting off the need to follow the omega.

“You of all people?” Niall’s eyes went wide. "Et tu, Brute!?"

“No, letting him go off by himself? Letting him think about it?! What if he, I don’t know…” Harry couldn’t bear the thought of Louis saying no; he couldn’t even voice it. To finally have the claim out there and asked, the possibility of being denied after all this wanting was too much to think about.

“What if he talks himself out of it? Of us,” Zayn stated, heart heavy with the same thought as baby alpha.

“We have to be fair. Allowing a claim can’t be a spur of the moment decision for an omega or the pack. He has to think it through. For him and for us," Liam replied. "And if he says no, he says no. We have to respect that."

***

On his fourth cigarette, Louis sat up and ran hands through his hair.

This was insane. He lied to them. He deceived them. He took suppressants behind their back. He might never be able to carry pups or have a heat—ok, so he was being dramatic, he might have trouble (whatever that means) carrying pups and his heats wouldn’t be regular—but the fact remained: he’d never be a normal omega.

He couldn't be good. He didn't know how.

He was too broken.

The pack couldn’t want him. No. They couldn’t want to claim him. This was crazy.

Wrong.

They were…perfect.

And he was…

Bad. Burden. Whore. Problem.

He’d ruin them, and he couldn’t do that. He would have to say no.

Louis felt his chest constrict at the mere thought.

He would have to say no to everything he’d ever wanted.

He squashed the voice telling him to let himself be happy, to try, to trust them.

No. He couldn't. He wasn't good enough for the pack. He never was. He would make them leave. He made everyone leave. Alphas hated him, that's why his mother couldn't keep one around. Even Mark left! He ran them off and he couldn't do that to these three. No. They meant to much to him.

He would say no.

Just...

Not tonight. Maybe after the show.

He wanted to enjoy the possibility of being claimed before turning it down.

It was too much to lose anyway (and he would lose it. He ruined everything. Everyone always leaves him.)

Louis flicked his last stub away and sighed. Knowing what he had to do, he distanced himself from the pack for the rest of the day, just to get used to the feeling. He skateboarded around the stadium alone (shadowed by Colby, but practically alone with the silent bodyguard), he ate dinner early without the pack and then lost his shadow to tuck himself away in his little corner where no one but Rick could find him.

He needed to get used to life as a lone omega.

***

The show went on as usual.

With so much on their minds, their onstage interactions were slightly strained. Harry’s jokes fell flatter than usual. Louis came in late on a song or two. But, there were still water fights and funny signs to read, the fans still screamed for them and still showed their support for Louis, the omega.

It was still a good show.

So were Copenhagen and Stockholm and Dusseldorf during the week after it. Until Niall couldn’t take the awkwardness and the waiting and cornered Louis before the first of their two shows in Amsterdam.

“If you don’t want us, just say so!” the omega pleaded. “But don’t—“

“I don’t,” he blurted. He hadn’t been able to say it. A week since Brussels and he’d just avoided the entire issue; he'd avoided the pack. He just…he wanted to be wanted and he didn’t want to give it up and so he just avoided it. He avoided them and he pretended not to hear Liam telling the pack to give him room or Harry stopping by his bunk at night to adjust his blanket or Zayn eyeing him hopefully while he made him tea every morning.

Niall dropped Louis’s hand, looking the epitome of crushed. Like someone had turned his light off, and Louis would never forgive himself for it.

“Oh…”

“I’m sorry,” he pleaded. You see? You see what you did? This is why you can't belong to them, why you never did! You break everything you touch! You ruin everything!

“Why didn’t you say anything sooner? Why string us along for a week and a half? Disappearing all day, showing up five minutes to stage, worrying the hell out of all three of our alphas!”

“Your alphas,” Louis forced himself to correct.

Niall turned as red as if he’d actually been slapped, “They could be yours if you want them to be.”

“…I don’t…” he lied. Don’t cry. Don’t cry. Don’t cry. It’s a dead giveaway. “I just didn’t know how to tell you.”

“That’s all you had to say,” Niall turned and walked away, slamming the door behind him. He ran straight to his alphas and sobbed. “He said no,” he trembled when Zayn finally got it out of him; he could feel their defeat throb in their bonds. “He said no.”

Louis slipped away, tucking himself away with the pack’s tees. He tried to wipe the sight of Niall’s eyes filling with tears from his own, but he wasn’t sure he ever would.

Look at what you did! You ruin everything! You run off everyone! God, he sounded like his mother, but she was right. He did ruin everything and he couldn't hurt them and if Niall got attached that's all that would happen. More tears.

This was for the best.

Yes. This was for their best.

Burden. Problem. Whore.

***

“Anyone seen Louis?! We have to check into the hotel!” he heard Paul pace the hall looking for him.

Thank god for the hotel. Louis waited until the coast was clear and hopped out.

Liam, the good Alpha, had already taken precautions. The pack was gone, carried away in their own car while Alberto and Paul had Louis’s ready to go.

Alone in his hotel room, Louis folded himself into the closet, shut the door and sobbed.

This was for them.

This was what’s best for them.

If the other shows had been awkward, the Amsterdam night one was just terrible. None of the pack interacted with Louis and he in turn sang his parts and just darted backstage as often as possible.

@Anonynouis What did Louis do!? Why is he being iced out?! @Louis_Tomlinson Are you ok, bb? #1DinAmsterdam1
@Anti_Everything @ Anonynouis @Louis_Tomlinson: Because he’s bad. He’s a liar and a whore. Why would the pack want him?#1DinAmsterdam1
@ Anonynouis @Anti_Everything @Louis_Tomlinson You shut your mouth! Louis’s a perfect little omega!#1DinAmsterdam1
@Anti_Everything @ Anonynouis @Louis_Tomlinson: Perfect? That whore’s slept with a small city and you think he’s perfect?#1DinAmsterdam1
@ Anonynouis @Anti_Everything @Louis_Tomlinson: This is abuse, I’m blocking you!#1DinAmsterdam1
@Anti_Everything @ Anonynouis @Louis_Tomlinson: Block me all you want, bitch. Doesn’t change facts. He’s used and the pack’s better off.#1DinAmsterdam1
@Anti_Everything @ Anonynouis @Louis_Tomlinson: Look, I say this because I care so much about them, but the pack definitely deserves better than Louis.#1DinAmsterdam1

@Louis_Tomlinson @ Anonynouis @Anti_Everything can’t say you’re wrong.

Louis’s thumb hovered over the send button, wondering if they even realized he could see their bitch fest. Leaning his head against the car window, he knew it was stupid to get involved.

Used.

That’s exactly what he was. Far from perfect, he was used.

Burden. Problem. Whore.

And the pack was better off. Louis ruined everything. His mother, his parents' relationship, his stepdad's marriage to his mom, his family.

He couldn't do that to the pack. He couldn't ruin them.

The sight of tears flooding Niall's eyes and knowing he put them there flashed through mind.

See? You should have stayed a beta.

He wanted to stop thinking. He wanted to get out of his own head. How did he do that before? Oh yeah.

“Hey, Alberto. Let’s hit the town,” he tucked his phone away as he sat in the backseat all alone.

As it should be.

“You sure that’s a good idea?” the bodyguard asked warily.

He needed a drink. He needed a cigarette. And he needed to forget how much the loneliness hurt.

“Absolutely.”

Louis didn’t notice that he’d hit the send button.

***

The pack went around their suite, quietly getting ready to stretch out in the pack-sized bed.

“What exactly did he say, Niall?” Harry broke the silence. His heart hurt and the pain of Louis' rejection permeated through the room. He thought he'd finally get...this couldn't...Louis couldn't stay the one that got away, could he? Why didn't he want them? Why was he doing this? Why couldn't he just stay a beta? At least that was a reason!

“He doesn’t want us, Haz. Sorry,” Niall mumbled, wrapping around his rainbow bear.

“But, what did he say!?”

“Stop yelling at me!” the Irish omega still had tears in his eyes and stubbornly pulled the blanket over his head.

“I’m not yelling! I just-”

“You’re yelling!”

“Stop it, both of you!” Zayn yelled over the two of them. He was so tired. Compartmentalizing the loss away was exhausting. Could it be loss if they never really had Louis? It felt like loss. “Liam is on the phone. Let’s just go to bed. It’s been a long day.”

***

Liam paced around the coffee table, listening to Grace, the rep from their new management team, “We deleted the tweet, but I’m sure there are screen shots going around. He’s not answering his phone. Where is he?”

“He’s not with us,” Liam replied. He doesn’t want to be, he thought. “What did this tweet say?”

“These two girls went to your show, noticed something was off. Long story short, Louis agreed with one of them. The one calling him a slut.”

It was like the last piece of the puzzle fell into place and realization dawned on the Alpha. Why didn't he see it sooner? Oh Louis. “I’ll find him.”

He hung up and went into the bedroom, ignoring the tension. “Where’s your computer, darling?”

“Bag,” Niall pouted and curled tighter to his stuffy; Wayne still smelt comfortingly of his family home and Ireland (and a little bit like Louis, who’d been cuddling him a few days ago). He sniffled and buried his nose in search of that scent that wasn't quite anything particular, but still sweet like omega.

Liam pulled up Tumblr and started scrolling through. Surely Grace was right. There had to be a screen shot. And, not to be disappointed, someone on Niall’s dash had it. Bless the speed of their fans.

“Son of a bitch,” Liam growled and called Paul, who told him Alberto had checked in from some club in the city centre. “Take me there,” he ordered. “Stay here,” he told his boys.

Zayn, Niall and Harry watched him stalk across the room and slam the door before scrambling to the computer to see what had their Alpha so worked up.

“Son of a bitch."

More attuned to Louis, the omega, they put the same puzzle together.

He was still trying to protect them, but this time from himself.

***

Louis felt good. Better than good. The alcohol and nicotine coursing through his veins wasn’t numbing the pain of hiding his omega (it was numbing a different kind of pain, but he'd deal with that another time).

But still, for the first time, he was clubbing with nothing to hide. He could go home with any one of these alphas and ride that knot until the sun came up. He could submit to them. He could be a good boy for them--well, he couldn't really because he was too broken, but he didn't need to be around when this alpha, or maybe that one, realized that.

“Well aren’t you just a pocketful of pretty?” a husky voice whispered. “Come dance with me.”

It wasn’t a request.

But, the alpha smelt like vodka and cola, and damn if Louis wasn’t thirsty.

Chapter Text

Niall Horan @NiallOfficial
Don't make assumptions about what you don't understand

Niall Horan @NiallOfficial
and don't call yourself a fan and insult my Louis in the same breath

Niall Horan @NiallOfficial
well not breath but tweet.

Yours 00:42
Tell us when you find him
please Alpha

Daddy Direction 00:44
I will, but go to sleep.

Liam tucked away his phone and marched into the club as soon as the car stopped. He didn't have time for Paul to clear the crowd for him. The Alpha stood behind his decision to give Louis time and space to think. And even though he should have seen this coming—old habits die hard, after all—it was something they would have had to deal with anyway. He knew Louis was holding back. They couldn't feel him in that way alphas could sense an omega, not like they always had Niall, even pre-bond. But, they had attributed it to him coming out of his pretend-beta shell. But Louis hadn't come out at all.

Eyes narrowing in the darkness, he scanned the crowd. He just wondered how many of these alphas he was going to have to kill before he found his omega.

“Easy, Liam,” Paul spoke loudly in his ear, “Alberto’s over there.”

Stalking into the VIP area, he barked, “Where?”

Alberto pointed to the center of the dance floor where an inebriated Louis grinded between two alphas, a few others waiting for an opportunity to cut in. Liam could feel the frustration from the alpha bodyguard, but it was in his contract that Alberto (and the new alphas for that matter) couldn’t use his alpha voice on his charges. No matter how much he wanted to command Louis out of there.

“Get the car ready,” he growled and quite literally leapt over the barricade into the pit of writhing bodies.

Omegas surrounded him like flies, but he only had eyes for one.

The happy glow of alcohol disappeared when Louis felt himself yanked from the intoxicating body heat, whimpering when his dance partners snarled. The disco ball directed the flashing colored lights just so and the omega recognized who’d done it.

“Time to go,” Liam ordered.

“Fuck off-” the two alphas barked, “He’s ours, get your-“

Liam turned on them and released a blood-chilling roar and Louis felt the buzz rush out of his veins.

“Let’s go,” he told the omega once the clubbers backed away. He dragged him out of the mass of bodies and wrestled his jacket onto Louis.

“Liam, I-”

“Stop.”

“But Liam-”

“I may not be your Alpha yet, but you are still an omega and you will listen to me,” he transitioned seamlessly into his Alpha voice. “And, it is time to go.”

Louis gulped; his feet were already moving.

“To the den, Paul,” Liam ordered after getting Louis through the paps and into the car as calmly as possible. “Please and thanks.”

“Liam,” Louis tried again.

“Wait,” he snapped. “Just wait.”

Louis sighed and pouted out the window, wondering why it wasn’t raining. It always rained during scenes like this in the movies. And then the forlorn omega would haplessly trace the water droplets while the alpha brooded in the background. Of course, the alpha would usually be driving, not the bodyguards. That didn’t change the fact that he was sorely disappointed that his writer wasn’t making it rain.

A chuckle broke his mind’s meandering.

“Louis, you know you’re thinking out loud, don’t you?” Paul asked.

His eyes shifted back and forth, and he was suddenly aware that his mouth had been moving. “I do now,” he hummed innocently and double-checked that his trap was shut before he let his mind off leash.

Paul called ahead to make sure the night guards—they had fewer on the clock when the band stayed at a hotel, which was the entire point of the pack having to spend the night away from their den—were ready to open the gates they had set up around the buses and trucks. Luckily, the more devoted fans were stalking the hotel by now, so the SUVs made it in unseen.

“We’ll be staying in the den tonight. Goodnight,” Liam guided Louis onto the bus and shut the doors. “Sit,” he told the omega and bustled into the kitchen to silently make tea.

Louis sat down in one of the four bucket seats around the table. He sniffed at this one and caught the faint bergamot of Harry and settled his face against the headrest. He knew the one next to it smelt of candyfloss and the two across like shisha and the ocean respectively. There was never a seat at the table for him.

Because you don’t deserve one.

Liam put a pot of tea on the table and proceeded to be mother.

“You drink the water next,” he put a bottle down next to the cup. “We overlooked this, didn’t we?” he contemplated the table. “When we tricked out the bus, I mean. We were so busy converting the upstairs lounge into a bedroom and making sure there was enough room for all the game consoles back there. And, all you asked for was that curtain. Why is that? Why didn’t you ask to change the table? I’ll tell you why,” Liam folded his hands on the surface. He felt nothing coming from Louis, not like that day in the hospital where the walls were down and all the secrets had been bared. He knew the walls had gone back up around his omega and that wouldn't do at all. “You don’t think you belong.”

Louis kept his eyes in his mug, swirling the drink around.

“No. It’s more than that, isn’t it?” the Alpha paused to sip his own tea. “You don’t think you’re good enough to belong to us.”

“Are you really going to psychoanalyze me, Liam?”

“That’s not an answer. That’s avoiding the question.”

“I didn’t hear a question.”

Before rising to the challenge, Liam decided to change tactics. He wouldn’t break down the walls. He had to make Louis feel safe enough to come out from behind them. “I got a call from management. They deleted your last Twitter post.”

Louis wrinkled his face. “I haven’t posted in weeks.”

“So, you didn’t agree with some terrible person calling you a whore?”

He tried to hide his paling features behind a long sip of tea.

“Why Lou? Why did you agree to something like that?”

The omega hesitated, “Because…” Because you are. You’re a liar and a burden and a whore and they’re better off without you. They’re safer without you.“…because…”

“You of all people have more words than that. And why did you say no to the claim? I know you love us. And I’m almost positive that you want to be with us. So, why? What is it, Louis? Why did you say no?” Liam backed him into a corner.

“Because I don’t belong, all right? I never did. I agreed with that troll because they’re right. I’m broken and used. I’m a liar and a burden and a whore and I’m just going to ruin you and I won’t do that to any of you,” he snapped, his mouth spilling all the words he didn’t want to say for fear of Liam agreeing. But now they were out and Liam caught the faint touch of fear and shame.

“Do you think I’m an idiot?” A slight diversion of the current tactic.

Not the response Louis expected, nor one he had an answer to. His confusion clouded around him. “What?” No. Liam was Alpha, not an idiot.

“You really think I would allow you near Niall if there was even a chance that you’d ruin him?” Louis didn’t need to feel safe—while that was important to everyone else, it didn’t matter to the omega. He needed to know that the pack was safe with him in it.

Louis huffed, trying to stifle his omega again, and gulped his tea.

“You think after all the skirting around that you and Harry did, I’d risk letting you break him? You think I would be even remotely cavalier with Zayn’s heart?” Liam moved into the seat next to him, trying to keep the omega from hiding again. “I trust you with the most precious thing in the world to me-”

He’s Alpha and you’re supposed to listen to him. “And, I made Niall cry!” Or not.

“—because I trust you. I trust you, Louis,” Liam finished his thought over Louis’ protest and continued, “You keep trying to protect us from you. Because your mother and Jones after her, made you believe you weren’t good. But you trust the wrong people. I am telling you that you are. That you are good. You aren’t a liar or burden or a whore or any of those things. But if you don’t trust me-”

“I do trust you! I don’t trust me!”

“Well, I do. I trust you.”

Alpha trusts you. “Maybe you are an idiot.” You know that’s not true.

“Then you’ll fit right in then, won’t you?” Liam reasoned. Louis had had to curl his legs against his chest to fit in the seat with Liam next to him and the Alpha unfolded him and pulled him into his lap. “We love you, Louis. We love you so much.”

“You shouldn’t. I’m-” he could feel the self-imposed resistance waning.

“We do. Deal with it,” Liam brushed at his fringe gently. “Do you trust me?”

Of course you do. “Of course, I do…”

Finally, Liam could feel the fear at the heart of all this trickling from the omega, “Then trust me to be your Alpha. Trust me to do the protecting.”

He couldn’t. “I-I can’t…” he whimpered.

“Why not?” Liam knew the answer, but they both needed Louis to say it.

Because “…you’ll have to protect them from me and you’ll leave like everyone else!” the trickle turned into a flood and he tried to dig his nails into skin, but the Alpha saw that coming and already had both dainty hands wrapped in one of his.

“Louis, if I thought that my pack needed protecting from you I never would have asked to claim you. I don’t think you’re bad. I don’t think you’re a burden or a problem or a whore. I don’t think that you are something we need protecting from.”

“You’ll leave,” he cried.

Liam brushed away the tears as they fell, “We won’t, babe. You won’t hurt us.”

“I will! I ruin ev-”

“You won’t ruin anything, love. I know you won’t. I trust that you won’t. I know you’ve had a hard go of it. I know life’s been cruel to you, but this pack-my pack is forever. We want to claim you and we won’t leave you. You won’t ruin anything and even if you try, I won’t let you.”

Louis shook his head in disbelief.

“Why do you think I came after you, Louis? I know what you’re trying to do and I won’t let you. We don’t need protecting from you. You are better than you think you are. You are more good than you think you are. And you’re the one that needs the protecting from you, not us. Let us do that. Let us take care of you. Let yourself be taken care of because you deserve that. You do, you deserve to be taken care of after everything you've done, babe.”

“M’not good…” he rubbed his teary eyes with the sweater paw the Alpha’s jacket gave him.

“You are.”

“I’ll make you leave.”

“You won’t.”

“Everyone leaves.”

“We won’t,” Liam replied and would continue to reply until Louis believed him.

“I’m broken.”

“I don’t think you are. And I don’t think you’re a whore. Or a burden. Or a problem or whatever else they told you. Trust me and the pack, even if you can’t trust yourself,” he held him tighter. “Let us take care of you. Let us do the protecting. Let us claim you and you’ll see.”

“But I’m…” but Alpha said you’re not. “But I’ll…” Alpha won’t let you hurt them.

“It’ll be ok, Lou. We’ll all be ok. I promise you that.”

Alpha will protect them. He’ll protect you. “…ok…”

“Ok what?”

“…you won’t let me hurt them?” his voice trembled as he double-checked.

“I won’t let you hurt us.”

You trust Alpha. You trust the pack. And they want you. “Then…ok…”

“Ok?”

“I’d like to be claimed please,” he said with a little bit of happiness settling his nerves.

Sighing in relief at the lift in the--in his omega's spirits, Liam grinned and kissed his cheek. “Good boy.”

***

Daddy Direction 2:14AM
He agreed to the claim. We’re
staying in the den. See you
tomorrow loves.

“He’s in!!!” Niall leapt on the bed and bounced until both his alphas woke up.

“Sun isn’t even up,” Zayn growled.

“What are you yelling about?” Harry grabbed Niall and wrapped arms and legs around him to keep him still.

“Louis! Li has him and he does want us and we get to claim him!” Niall yelled while being squashed into Harry’s chest.

Zayn and Harry sprang out of bed, calling their security team to tell them to get ready to move. When they got to the den, a strong pot of coffee sat in the maker while their Alpha hushed them from the back lounge where he had Louis cradled against him.

Liam lifted a hand for them to stop where they were and calmly motioned them to the other side of the couch.

Vibrating with excitement, they did as they were told.

“Louis has agreed to the claim on one condition. That we don’t let him hurt us.”

“He won’t!” Niall leapt onto the couch, forcing himself into Louis’ lap in Liam’s lap.

But both alphas just said, “All right,” and “Ok.” It was backwards thinking, but if that’s what Louis needed to be with them, they’d agree.

“Mine!” the bottle blonde exclaimed, squeezing in between Liam and Louis, pressing kisses to his jaw, “Forever and ever and ever!”

“Can I change my mind?” he grumbled into Liam’s shoulder, but they could hear the smile in it. Better still, they could feel the burst of happiness.

“Nope. Don’t even joke about that!” Niall swatted his ass and Louis hissed.

“Easy, Niall,” Liam pet the older omega gently.

“What happened? You spanked him!?” he gasped.

Liam smirked, “Yes.” Louis met his eyes, blushing before he buried it against the Alpha.

“You really want us to claim you?”

“Yes, please,” Louis sniffled. He trusted Alpha, and let his omega take full control, nuzzling at his neck.

“Such a sweet omega,” Liam murmured, his lips pressed against Louis’ forehead. “My good boy.”

Louis shook his head.

“No? Why aren’t you good?” he refrained from use of the word bad.

“Lied. Got drunk.”

“Danced with other alphas.”

Louis nodded. “Made Niall cry.”

“So?”

“Need punished…”

“Do you now? How should I punish you? Because the two weeks in lap thing is up. I could add to that? No?” Liam felt him shake his head.

“Not punishment.”

“Well, that was the point.”

“Need…” Louis didn’t know how to finish that, but the Alpha did.

“You need me to make it hurt on the outside instead of the inside?”

Louis’ omega could have cried with joy. “Just no scratches.”

“No scratches,” Liam agreed, happy to feel the relief coming from the omega. “You’re not allowed to punish yourself again.”

“Yes, Alpha,” he said promptly, without a reminder of how to address him.

“How many?” Niall pouted.

“And pants down?” Zayn and Harry loathed that they missed this.

“Five for getting drunk. Five for lying about not wanting to be claimed. Five for the club. And five for making Niall cry. And yes, pants down, but it was our first spanking so I went easy,” Liam kissed his nose.

“I’ll get the cream!” Harry ran to the stairs.

“I’ll get—wait, you don’t have a stuffy.”

Louis just buried his face in Liam’s neck, scenting him all he wanted and letting it soothe the aches in his heart.

“Get Wayne, he can use mine again,” the Irish omega pointed and Zayn went to fetch the teddy bear.

Though the Alpha smiled at the tickle of air, he asked, “what aren’t you telling us?”

Louis grabbed Niall and wrestled him under his arm, “That’s right. You have a Niall. I’m his stuffy.”

Liam put a hand up to stop a very ecstatic Harry from ripping Louis’ pants off and motioned the alphas onto the seats opposite him and his omega pile. “Now that we’re all here, Lou. I want to ask you, one more time. Hold on,” he cut off Harry’s pout and Niall’s whine. “One more time, for all of us. Are you sure that you want us to claim you?”

“You might want to date around, Lou, I mean-fuck!” Zayn punched Harry’s arm after the younger alpha stomped on his foot. “It’s a fair question, Harry. He might.”

“I’m sure,” he whispered lazily. Niall’s warmth and Liam’s scent had him so relaxed he’d already forgotten his hangover, and he was too tired to second-guess himself.

“Do you still want your coffee, babe?”

“No, Alpha.”

“Ok, love. Let’s get you back to bed. And since the five of us can’t fit in your bunk, we’re going to the bedroom.”

“I—” that had Louis tensing.

“Trust us, love,” Liam rocked him. “Just be the good boy I know you are and trust us.”

Louis nodded against him, a little uncertainly.

Was this really happening? They were really going to claim him.

He just had to trust them not to let him screw this up and he’d be good.

Good.

Liam thought he was good.

Maybe…maybe he really could be.

Chapter Text

Louis knew this day was coming. He had avoided the journalists and reporters, ignored the paps shouting questions, and ducked away from the cameras as much as he could. But, the fans deserved the truth, and they deserved to hear it from him.

The interviewer welcomed him and got the intro out of the way and bridged into the questions. “Is it true that you’ll be claiming Louis, alphas?”

Liam laughed. “No.”

“Not at all,” Harry added.

“We have the perfect omega. Why would we bother with a broken one?” Zayn scoffed.

The embarrassment burned at Louis’ eyes. “But, you said-”

The interviewer interrupted him, “Louis, you did lie to them and to your fans. It’s only fair that they lie to you, too.”

The omega glanced at the management reps—why were they letting this happen?—but the lights were too bright around him and he couldn’t see. “Um, yes, but-”

“What kind of message do you think that sends to your fans?”

“I thought-”

“You’re supposed to be a role model. What do you have to say for yourself? Is there anything you can say for yourself?”

“Enough,” Zayn growled; Louis buried his face in the alpha’s chest. “It’s not entirely Louis’ fault. He was born a burden.”

Louis whimpered, but Zayn shoved him off camera to Harry and Liam. “Ni?”

“He’s somewhere safe,” Liam growled. The alphas towered over the omega, forcing him to be as small as he felt.

“But-”

Harry lifted a foot to step on him, “Away from you.”

“Louis?”

“No, you said…you said, I was,” Louis trembled. “Not broken…”

“No, love, you’re not broken. You’re not broken,” Liam’s mouth didn’t move, but Louis heard his voice loud and clear. “Wake up, Louis.”

The industrial stage lights shut off with an echoing slam. Louis’ eyes darted around as he tried to find something solid in the darkness. A hand found his and squeezed.

“Lou, babe, c’mon,” Harry gave him a shake and the omega sat up gasping, the broken pieces of his heart stabbing at his lungs with every painful breath. He wanted to cry, but he couldn’t get any air into his lungs, why weren’t they working?

The alpha scent. The thick alpha scent was drowning him. It was never this intense, why was it this intense? Holy shit, he was in their bedroom, why was he in their bedroom? Why was he in their bed? What was going on? He couldn’t be in their bed! This was bad, he was bad, mistake, problem, burden, whore-

“It’s ok, babe,” Liam cooed. Louis had had nightmares earlier, too; it’s why the pack had found them in the downstairs lounge and not his bunk. But like before, all Louis needed to calm down was an unrelenting cuddle, the packs' scents and a reassuring reminder not to close off.

“Jaan, relax,” Zayn reached for his neck, trying to calm him quickly; their Alpha couldn’t grab his hand fast enough.

“No, I’m ok,” Louis jumped out of reach, scrambling off the bed so fast that he forgot to put his feet down first and toppled to floor. The thud unexpectedly (thankfully) seemed to reset him. “Ow…I’m, I’m fine. I just, I’m going back to my bunk,” he tried to brush it off as he caught his breath.

“Louis?” Harry grabbed his trembling hand.

“I’m fine,” how the firm hold dissolved his resistance so quickly, Louis had no idea. It’s because they’re alphas and they’re taking care of you. Well, ok, he had an idea, he just didn’t want to admit it.

“You’re not and we’re not going to pretend like you are,” Zayn took his other hand and tugged him back in. “I’m sorry about that, love. I forgot. I won’t do it again, I promise. Now, please, please, please, tell us what’s wrong?”

“Just a nightmare…” Louis flopped down and buried his face in a pillow, and then into Niall when the younger omega nuzzled him.

Liam lifted the covers back over him. “The same one from before?”

Louis shrugged.

“Use your words, babe.”

“…same one.”

“Tell us?”

“No,” the brunette said stubbornly.

"Louis," the alpha rumbled

“I told you earlier. You tell them!”

“Louis,” the Alpha rumbled. “You said you’d trust us. You meant all of us, didn't you?”

He did. Damn it. The omega sighed and muttered, “Said you weren’t going to claim me…said I was a burden and broken and you were keeping Niall away to keep him safe…from me.”

Niall tucked his blond head beneath Louis’ chin. “Mine. No one’s keeping me from you.”

Liam nodded at his alphas to take over. Harry kissed his head, “Was that so bad? Now here’s the part where I tell you that it’s just a bad dream. There is no safer place for Niall than with you, because you’re not broken. You’re what’s making us whole now,” Harry rubbed his back in long strokes. The youngest alpha couldn’t help but smile. He could finally stop fighting that spark he felt beneath his skin whenever he came into contact with Louis.

The omega blushed, relaxing involuntarily to the alphas' touches. While Harry rubbed his back, Zayn stroked his hair. The elder of the two had learned the first time he grew out his hair how pleasant Niall or Liam or Harry’s hands felt combing through the dark strands. Still, he didn’t miss the shudder when his fingers got too close to the nape of the omega’s neck. “You’re safe, love,” he whispered against the helix of his ear. “You’re safe with us. We’re going to take care of you.”

“I didn’t want to give this to you earlier, not without Z and Haz. And we were going to wait until later,” Liam checked with his alphas before standing up. “But, I think you might be able to sleep better if we give it to you now. Haz, your bag, right?”

“Yeah, side pocket,” he grinned.

“Sit up,” Niall poked Louis’ belly; the older omega whined, but did as sunshine asked, wincing as he put pressure on his sore bottom; he wasn’t used to being spanked, but it didn't sting as much as the scratches did. In fact, it was oddly comforting.

“Here, Lou. You’re not expected to wear it. Ever,” Liam handed the large black velvet box off to Harry. “But, still. Tradition.”

The happiness radiating off the youngest alpha was enough to relax the older omega as he lifted the lid. His heart skipped when he saw what sat inside: a simple blue strap of leather, the ends clasped together by a platinum padlock engraved with a claddagh. His very own collar.

The days of publicly collared omegas had passed along with arranged marriages and the idea that an omega was property not a person. To call an omega collared these days was almost as offensive as a racial slur—Zayn nearly punched a pap in LA for saying it to Niall.

Claiming had taken its place as that step of belonging to each other before an alpha and an omega were ready to bond for life. A kinder practice, it highlighted the difference between slavery and submission. One was forced, the other a gift. Alphas asked to claim, and omegas had the choice to accept them or not.

Collars themselves though were still exchanged in private. Louis knew Niall had one somewhere, never worn but kept and treasured like his first guitar and the rosary his parental triad had given for his First Communion. They were nods to tradition and tangible symbols of commitment before a mark and a ring, one that psychologists believed helped calm an alpha's possessiveness and more importantly an omega's insecurities.

And now Louis had one. Louis had them.

“Thank you, alphas,” he couldn’t get more than a whisper past all the emotion swirling in his throat.

Harry tipped up his chin. “Thank you.”

Louis ducked his blushing cheeks down.

“C’mon, you lot,” Liam rallied them just before the silence stretched into something less sweet and more awkward. “It’s a rare morning when can get a couple more hours of sleep in.”

Tucking the box beneath his pillow for now, Louis could feel the lump of it and, with Niall’s hair tickling his chin, baby alpha curled around him, and the older two dominants at either end, drifted back to sleep.

The smell of coffee stirred Louis what felt like ages later.

“Good morning, babe,” Zayn’s eyes were the ones in front of him; he must have shifted a bit.

“Morning, again,” despite the nightmares, sleeping with Niall and the alphas had done wonders for the quality of his rest. He could do with more of that!

Petting his side gently, Zayn asked point blank, “Have you ever been under, Lou? In omega space, I mean?” He'd thought about it for a while, how and when to bring this up. Zayn prided himself on how easily and safely he could get Niall under, even when the blonde was petulant or manic. But, the times Louis flinched away from a hand on his neck weren't exactly suited for this conversation. He hoped, maybe, they could just bite the bullet.

The older omega had felt the curiosity simmer since the hospital, but with everything going on Louis had managed to avoid that question. And he'd hoped he could continue that. Because the omega didn’t want to think about the dark, cold emptiness that he’d spent ages coming out of, or the terrifying inability to move just when he thought he had. Because he didn’t want to think about his mother blaming him for her ex leaving, for being a burden, for causing problems. Because he didn’t want to think about taking refuge in his closet afterwards, his clothes wrapped around him like the arms he’d needed them to be and wondering what the fuck just happened. “…now? we have to do this now?” he flopped on the pillow, hoping they couldn't feel how he was holding back the anxiety.

No such luck. “No hiding Lou,” Niall mumbled into the back of his head. “It's time to trust us with what's eating at you and when. Trust us.”

“I…” trust them. I do. I trust them…ok… the omega stopped trying to hold it in and turned his face out of the cottony softness. “My mum started dating this alpha a couple years after I started the suppressants. The girls were with Dad, thankfully. And, I got into it with this guy. He was being a dick and I called him out on it and we started yelling and things got physical and he grabbed my neck and I sort of remember hitting a wall or the floor, but not really, and…I dunno, I guess, maybe.”

“He put you under,” Liam said the words Louis didn’t want to. “How long were you out?”

He mumbled even though he knew their alpha hearing would pick it up and, close as Niall was, so would he. “As far as I could tell? About a day and a half.”

Suddenly awake with horror at the thought, Niall hugged him, practically blanketing him with his body, “What-how-when-why-oh, that bastard just left, didn't he? He didn't stay with you?!" Omega space wasn't supposed to last that long, not unless something was wrong! Not unless Louis had been left alone.

Louis found Niall’s hand and gave it a squeeze. “It’s fine, Ni. Please calm down.” Years of trying his best not to upset his sunshine hadn’t just disappeared.

“He didn’t, did he?” the youngest alpha tried not to seethe; Harry didn’t want Louis to think for a second that he was upset with him. But, as alphas they were taught that it was their duty to keep omega space safe for their partner, whether they were dropping them purposefully or not. Hold them tight; shower them with praise and affection; encourage, don’t rush them back; and most of all, never, ever leave an omega alone while under. Drops were impossible for an omega to manage on their own and that this irresponsible alpha left their Louis made Harry feel murderous.

“It’s fine, it’s-”

“It’s not fine!” Niall growled; Louis’ lack of answer was enough of a no. “You deserve better than that! It’s not supposed to be like that!” he flashed back to his omega health class and the warnings against dropping alone...

“Without an alpha during a submissive drop, an omega may not be able to return to a conscious state. Immediate hospitalization is key to keeping an omega’s body functioning, but the mind may stay permanently lost,” his textbook had said.

No one deserved that, least of all his Louis.

“Please don’t be upset, Niall,” Louis tried to console the upset omega.

“Stop!” Niall slapped his arms away and sat up so he could pull the brunette into his lap. “Stop making me feel better, I should be making you feel better,” he pouted stubbornly.

Louis shrugged. “I’m fine, Ni. It is what it is.” He unsuccessfully tried to move.

“Hush, I’m making you feel better whether you like it or not.”

Smiling with a fond acquiescence, Louis made himself comfortable against the blonde, “But, please calm down. I don't like it when you're upset.”

“Ni?” Zayn wrapped around his fiancé to act as his chair. Niall shook his head, petting Louis in that way that lulled him into something soft and peaceful. The Irishman didn't need to be coddled right now. He needed to be the one doing it. He needed Louis safe and happy and right here with him.

A few minutes later, unannounced footsteps sounded on the stairs, and the alphas quickly sat up on alert, trying to find the scent.

“Honey, I’m home!” a familiar beta sang.

“Where are we going today, Mark?” nothing could stop the exclamation from Niall's mouth.

“C’mon down for your work out, boys.”

"Do we have to?" Niall asked Liam.

But Louis answered for the Alpha. "Your knee, sunshine. Gotta think about your knee," Louis yawned and rolled off the blonde's lap.

The alphas led the way out of bed. “Come on, Lou.”

Louis groaned and burrowed into the warm spot Niall was about to leave. “No, thanks. Have fun.”

“Louis,” Liam raised his eyebrows. They were not about to leave their new omega alone!

But the sleepy omega held fast to the blanket mumbling, “When have I ever worked out? I’ll go skateboarding or have a kick-about later.”

“Louis.”

“I’m hung over. I’m still convalescing. I just left hospital a couple weeks ago. I still have the stitches to prove it. Pick the excuse that works for you. Mark’s waiting. Bye,” he pulled the comforter over his head.

Harry grinned, “I’ll stay with him.”

“No, you’re too close to your rut. You need to exercise. So do you, Z,” Liam knew leaving Zayn would just ruffle baby alpha’s possessiveness. “And no, Ni, you need to work on your knee. I’ll stay.” Though, with last night in mind and Louis dancing with alphas that Liam didn’t get to punch in the face, the Alpha really, really needed to go a round with the trainer.

"Just because you claimed me doesn't obligate you to stay with me every second of the day," Louis grumbled. "I promise, I'll be on the bus when you get back."

Liam pounced on the bed and the omega shaped lump. "You are not an obligation," he said sternly. "We don't want you to be alone or feel it, not anymore."

“This trust thing needs to go both ways, you know? I’ll be fine, I’m not a child, for fuck’s sake,” the goose down muffled his voice, but the alphas heard him well enough.

Unsettled, Liam agreed, if for nothing else than to show Louis they did trust him. And they did. It was everyone else they were wary about. Besides the point though. “You stay in the den, Louis. Paul will stand guard at the door; you do not leave without him. Understand?”

“Yeah.”

Liam peeled the blanket down. “What now?”

“Yes, Alpha,” he blushed.

He kissed the omega’s head. “Good boy.”

***

Once out of the den, Zayn asked, “What’s it like alone?” His omega had gotten so worked up before that the alpha had a feeling that he needed to get the words out.

“Sub space? I don’t know. I’ve never done myself,” Niall rubbed his nose.

“Easy, Nialler. The last thing Louis wants is for you to be upset,” Liam kissed his cheek.

“It’s not good. Alphas keep us…here. Grounded. Like a tether, so it’s easy to get back…My teacher said her friend had done it accidentally. Said it was like getting stuck under a frozen lake, and coming up was like trying to find the hole you fell through. Drowning, but with air, so slower, if that makes sense.”

“If that’s true, it’s no wonder he won’t let us,” Harry sighed. The alphas turned to Liam with the same look: what do we do?

“We’ll figure this out,” he stated surely. He didn’t have a plan, but he knew they’d figure it out; for Louis, they had to. But right now all the Alpha could think about was getting this damn work out over with so he could get back to his omega.

***

A hour later and on an endorphin high, Zayn ran onto the bus and headed for the stairs. Liam was right. Louis' initial denial had left some residual frustration they all needed to burn away. He turned towards the bedroom before a body caught his eye and spun him around.

“Hey, you didn’t have another nightmare, did you?”

“No, I didn’t. I’m ok,” Louis replied. Surrounded by papers, the big velvet box sat on the couch against his thigh, “Couldn’t sleep though. Besides, I had some stuff to do.”

“Writing?”

“Just some stuff for Rick.”

Zayn joined him on the couch. “What stuff?”

“The crew needs twenty locals to assist backstage. We have to pick since you three are particular about the people around Niall—”

“And you now.”

“—and with the postponements, I’m behind,” he blushed.

“You see how much we trust you? How safe we are with you?” Zayn gave his shoulder a squeeze, “So, how do you weed them out?”

“Paul gets the backgrounds from the stadium. There are usually about five to seven that have to be involved because they're seniors or in charge at the venue. So, I just pick the rest. Sometimes, I go with guys like this just because they’re nice to look at,” Louis flashed a picture of an alpha—Zayn ripped it out of his hand and tossed it away.

“Not him.”

Louis smiled; it was still a little uncertain and crooked, but still beautiful. “No worries, Z. You’re still the fairest of them all. You smell a little rank though.” And no, Louis wasn’t trying to distract himself from the thick musk of sweat and the bead of it on the sharp corner of Zayn’s jaw. He licked his lips involuntarily though, ducking his face back to the folder.

The alpha caught the whisper of want drifting around the omega. “It’s hot in here, innit?” he flapped the collar of his shirt.

“Um,” Louis braced himself for the heady scent of alpha exertion. “Maybe a little,” he coughed.

Zayn eased into Louis’ personal space and brushed a bit of fringe back. Then he hooked a finger beneath his chin and turned his head. “I’ve wanted to do this forever,” he closed the distance.

The kiss was gentle and sweet and everything a first one should be. Zayn’s mouth—as Louis always imagined—was perfect and soft and just wet enough to make the slide against his smooth. Close as they were, the alpha licked across his own lips as much as he skimmed the seam of Louis’. The omega parted them, tongues falling into a rhythm that Louis imagined had a slow, thick beat that would have made subwoofers tremble the way Louis’ belly was doing right now. The omega had to pull away with a shuddering breath.

Zayn only allowed him one before he dived back in for more, pressing Louis to the cushions, moving them both until the outsides of Zayn’s shorts pressed to the insides Louis’ pajama bottoms and the heat building between them threatened to catch fire.

“Ahem.”

Both sets of eyes darted to the stairs, where Niall stood.

Louis tore his eyes away—what was he doing? What was he thinking? He should move. He should get away. He should take the coldest shower in the world.

“So, that’s what the hold up was,” Niall sauntered down the aisle. “We were wondering what was taking you two so long.”

“I got a little caught up,” Zayn smirked.

“I can see that.” As Louis lifted his head to apologize, Niall said, “I wouldn’t mind getting caught up myself.”

“Wha—“

Niall cut the older omega off with a firm kiss. Louis had those lips against his cheek briefly and he’d imagined them on his own, but to have them there was beyond Louis’ imagination.

Niall kissed fervently, with more vivacity then the slow, smooth alpha, but just as breathtaking. The Irishman didn’t ask for entrance, just probed his tongue towards Louis’ more than willing one.

Zayn thoroughly soaked in everything about this moment: from the sound of their mouths to the soft whimpers in their throats, to the involuntary way Niall’s hands found Louis’ skin. The alpha eased Niall into the space he vacated between Louis’ thighs, slow enough that the mouths never separated.

The oldest shivered, whining when he felt Zayn mouth at his neck and it just made the Irishman kiss him deeper.

The alpha turned Louis’ chin away, breaking their kiss only so he could take a turn kissing Louis. Niall thought to whine about his omega, but Zayn. And Louis. Louis and Zayn. Niall couldn’t even; all he could do was turn Louis back to him and take his turn back.

“Those had better not be my papers,” a voice cut them off.

“Paul!” Louis gasped. “Um. Yeah. I.”

“Hey Paul,” Zayn and Niall smirked.

“Harry and Liam are waiting in catering,” Paul rolled his eyes playfully and headed back out.

“I’m gonna-yeah, get—clothes and, yeah,” Louis eased himself off the couch. He grabbed the first clothes he saw, and suddenly very, very self-conscious, he headed to the bathroom to change.

“He tastes so good,” Niall slumped happily against Zayn. Louis tasted like mischief and sass and something sweet and tart at the same time.

Zayn turned to his fiancé with stars in his eyes. “I didn’t think anyone could be this lucky,” the alpha just held him, needing a minute to dismantle the tent in his shorts. “To have you and Louis? I must be the luckiest sod in the world.”

Niall grinned at the model-esque alpha. “We are. We definitely are.”

Chapter Text

“What took you?” Liam asked, curiously eying the giddy expression on the alpha’s face. He loved Zayn, but giddy didn’t belong in the man’s usual repertoire.

Leaning on the table, Zayn cradled his chin in his palms, hearts in his eyes as he watched the two omegas talk with Josh and Sandy. He grinned, “Niall snogged Louis.”

Harry choked on his fruit smoothie. “He what?”

“I mean, I kissed Louis, too, and it was beautiful and everything; his lips are just perfect. But, watching two omegas do it? It was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen, bro. Better than any omega porn and just, like, right there live…I can’t even describe it.”

Liam and Harry needed a moment to take that in.

Louis.

Niall.

Zayn.

Kissing.

And they missed it!?

As the omegas approached the table, Liam had to remind himself to shut his mouth—and adjust his shorts. He tapped Harry’s jaw, startling the younger alpha out of his X-rated reverie.

“I demand that the two of you kiss,” Harry blurted as Louis sat down next to him.

Niall turned to the brunette, perfectly ready and willing and leaning in, but Liam growled, “No. Really Haz? You want this many people to see that?” Killing off all the witnesses would really inconvenience them in the long run.

The English omega blushed and shoveled some mashed potatoes into his mouth.

“Slow down, Louis love,” Harry kissed his shoulder. He flinched a bit when something buzzed between their thighs. “Happy to see me?” he smirked.

Louis elbowed him and pulled out his mobile, smiling at it.

“Good news?” Liam asked.

“Huh-oh, yeah. Jay has been texting me. She and Dad took the girls to the beach for the weekend. She’s been sending me pictures.”

“She’s keeping you updated. That’s nice,” the alpha he was sat next to gave him a squeeze.

Louis tried to get used to the affection, “Yeah, it is. They all look really happy and Jay’s been great to them, Lottie says. It’s as much as I ever wanted for my sisters so yeah. It’s good,” he smiled and went back to eating.

“So, Louis,” Liam waited until they’d digested a bit to bring this up. “Management wanted to know if you’d be up to doing interviews soon. They want to start with a sort of sit down with someone you’re comfortable with, so you can talk about everything that’s happened. We’ll get all the questions beforehand, so you’ll be fully prepared, and the four of us will be with you the entire time.”

With his nightmare still in mind, Louis shook his head.

“Ok, that’s fine. We can wait on it. But that means you and Ni are going to sit out the interviews again today.”

“Yes!” the blond grinned and then went stoic, “I mean, aw nuts.”

“It means you’re going to do some recording,” Liam warned.

“I-er…I’m sorry,” Louis knew better. He shouldn’t leave this all to the alphas, it wasn’t fair-

“Don’t be sorry,” Harry rubbed his side. “It’s ok.”

Zayn agreed, “You take as long as you want, love.” Liam reassured him with a smile.

“We also need to talk about something else. Next weekend, we don’t have any commitments,” he said carefully. “Harry’s about to have his rut, so he and Niall will be occupied. And, Zayn and I were wondering if we could take you to the beach that weekend, for some sun and surf.”

“Yeah, ok,” Louis grinned.

In a split second he was pinned to the table, Harry on top of him, lips so close, his hair falling around their faces like a curtain, but a moment later, Zayn and Liam were pulling them apart.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?!” Liam growled in Harry’s face. “Dressing room. Now!” he shoved the youngest alpha out of catering.

“All right, babe?” Zayn helped Louis up, apologized to Sarah and her staff and walked them to the dressing room.

“What the hell was that, Harry?” Liam shoved the lanky alpha through the door.

“What the hell was that? What the hell are you and Zayn up to!? Taking him for a romantic weekend, what, complete long walks on the beach, candlelit dinners and ending in your bed? We agreed, Liam! I was going to be his first, just like it was always supposed to be, now Zayn’s kissing him, Niall’s doing porn with him.”

“You need to calm down, Harry. This madness is your rut coming on and if you’re not careful, it’ll come early!” the Alpha ordered. Generally, ruts were easily predictable, especially with bonded mates, but the stress of a shift in the pack dynamic could accelerate its onset.

“Also, porn?” Niall asked, walking through the door. “What porn are we doing?”

“I don’t know, I missed it, too,” Louis shrugged. “Wouldn’t mind watching it though. Was it nice?”

“Mine,” Harry let out a snarl that had both omegas submitting, his green eyes bright and intense.

Louis fought off the need to expose his neck and or fall to his knees. “And, what agreement? Was I going to get a say in any of this?”

Niall did as well and, with a scoff, crossed his arms. “Silly omega, thinking you get a say in things.”

“Zayn got to kiss you first, now you, him and Liam are going away together!? I was the one that wanted you back in the X Factor House! And we came so close so many fucking times, and I would have been, right? I would have been yours back then if you’d just been fucking honest with us, with me, and you know it! I told you everything, Louis, everything! I deserved that! I deserved you!”

Louis paled at the venomous possessiveness in the youngest alpha’s voice. But, Liam jumped in, “Harry, go take a walk! Right now!”

Harry flung a vase of roses against the wall and stormed off.

After a moment of complete stillness, Liam asked, “Are you all right?”

“I’m fine,” Louis wanted to melt into his alphas, into his omega, but Harry. Harry made him want to be strong, he always had. Before Niall became priority number one, Louis’ was to protect the sweetest sixteen-year-old alpha he’d ever met from Modest’s man whore rumor mill and push him to the safety of the pack. But, he’d hidden his secrets and intentions and Harry didn’t know how important he’d been to Louis.

Seriously, should have been a spy.

Louis could feel the wakes of anger left behind and he had to fix it. “I’m going to go talk to him.”

Zayn grabbed him, “Louis, let him—”

The omega cut the oldest alpha off. “No. Just…I got this.”

Zayn turned to Liam, certain the Alpha would send him after the two of them, but the midlands born singer shook his head. “Harry won’t hurt him.”

“I think Harry has a point,” Niall voiced the unpopular opinion. “Even though he was a bit off the mark with it. We’re moving too fast with him. With Louis.”

“What do you mean, love?” stressed and in need of omega tenderness, Liam tugged the blond into his lap.

“I mean. Louis fits. He does. He’s the part of us all that we could never have and now we get to have him. But we’re skipping to the having part.”

“What are you saying?” Zayn joined them on the couch, tugging Niall’s hand into his hair.

“I mean that…I got first dates and flowers, even though it was just milkshakes and the bouquet you stole,” he couldn’t help but laugh fondly at the memory of Liam nervously asking him out “for drinks,” then reappearing with a bunch of flowers he’d gotten from the X Factor studio’s reception desk. Niall turned to Zayn, equally as warmhearted, “Or a movie on your laptop, sat on a blanket behind the house with burnt microwave popcorn and sorting gummy bears by color and Liam never admitting that he was watching from the window-"

"I did not!" Liam exclaimed. But he did.

"-Or a late night walk with Harry on a Malibu beach and the first time he held my hand.” He could still feel his stomach doing flips beneath his jump roping heart as he started this head over heels tumble into love with all his alphas, and Louis deserved that, too. “We just skipped to claiming him as ours and I’m not saying that he didn’t need that because I think he did need it to feel like he belonged, but he deserves the first dates and stuff, too.”

“You’re right, love,” Liam kissed his neck while Zayn went for his lips. Knowing he’d just been kissing Louis and the nostalgia sparked more than just memories of their first dates. It reignited that want that had been soaked in teenage hormones and these feelings that had gone from new and exciting to impossibly deep and forever.

Liam lifted Niall onto Zayn, and, with well-practiced ease, the alphas stripped their omega, who effortlessly kept up with the loss of clothes between long, deep kisses and whimpers of overflowing desire.

Liam’s hands stroked down Niall’s pale chest to the fly of his skinnies while Zayn’s slid down his back and into his pants, two fingers dipping between his cheeks.

Niall yanked the older alpha’s denim down just enough before spitting into his hand and wrapping it around Zayn’s length, mouth otherwise busy with Liam’s.

“Good boy,” Zayn murmured, licking at his nipples; it always made him arch whether it be off their sweat soaked mattress at home or that first time, off the rug of a hotel room in Birmingham. Niall loved having his nips sucked and tweaked by a wet mouth.

“Pants have to come off or I’ll need to get new ones,” Niall informed; he could feel the slick build up beneath Zayn’s fingers.

“Patience, love. It’s been a while since anyone’s been in you,” Zayn stroked the little bud of puckered skin. “And you’re going to take Liam’s monster cock while you suck mine down.”

“No deep throating—”

“Rude,” Zayn glared at his Alpha.

“Show, love,” Liam chuckled; they’d learned the hard way with Harry in Paris. No deep throating so close to show time or there’d be no singing for Niall tonight.

“Yes, alphas,” Niall whined when Liam’s fingers joined Zayn’s, pushing into his ass. He dropped his head back on Liam’s shoulder, letting the Alpha mouth openly at his bonding mark. Niall felt the sizzle of his first mark and the imprint flashed through his mind of his teenage Alpha, two days before the finale, whispering promises of their future regardless of the show’s outcome as Liam’s knot swelled inside him for the first time.

Liam could see it and feel it too, and he whispered, “Mine,” just like he did then, during that beautiful moment when Niall became his.

Niall dripped with pre-come and Zayn dipped his head down to lick him clean, hair painting the omega’s soft abdomen; the Irishman gripped the back of it and begged, “Please, Z, please…”

“Beg all you want, but you know better,” Liam bit his ear and knelt him on the floor.

Zayn licked his lips and leaned forward to kiss Niall. “Gonna take Liam quick, aren’t you baby? You’re made for us. You don’t need much prep, do you?”

Niall couldn’t form words. Just shook his head and kissed his way up Zayn’s bare thighs and the tattoos there that no one but them would ever see. And, Louis now. Niall couldn’t wait for Louis to see them, to lie between Zayn’s legs and take his cock in that pretty little mouth.

Liam felt another pulse of slick around his three fingers and groaned. He licked the first one clean but offered the last two to Zayn, who sucked them down wantonly.

“Ready, baby?” Liam pulled the back of Niall’s hair. “Answer.”

“Yes, Alpha,” he moaned. “Take what’s yours.”

Liam griped his hips and sliced easily into Niall’s slick soaked hole. It had taken months for Niall to take him in one motion, but his omega was a good boy and didn’t stop practicing until he could. Sitting back on his haunches, he pulled Niall down with him, sitting him entirely hip to hip. “You feel so perfect, love,” his rumble vibrated against Niall’s neck. “Gonna be good for Zayn aren’t you? Let us spit roast you, taking our dicks at both ends of you?”

“Yes, Alpha!”

“C’mon then,” Zayn leaned back on the couch, fisting his erection. Niall leaned forward, playfully kissing the pre-come of head with a twinkle in his eye; the boys always liked that just before he swallowed them.

Liam slapped his massive hand down on Niall’s ass. “You do that on purpose,” he grunted; the omega tightened around him as soon as Liam’s palm bounced off him. He pulled out slow, watching as each inch emerged soaked in Niall’s slick.

“Li, please,” Niall choked on Zayn’s cock.

“Say it sweetheart. You know what I want to hear.”

“Fuck me, Alpha, please, fuck my tight—”

“Whose?” Liam and Zayn both smirked.

“Your tight hole. It’s yours. I’m yours, please!”

“Good boy,” Liam rammed back into him while Zayn fucked his face. Between the two of them, Niall couldn’t last, but he had to. He had to, because coming wasn’t allowed, not until his alphas said he could, even though it had been two weeks since any of them had last gotten off. He whined around Zayn’s cock, nearly choking when the alpha came unannounced, tattooed hand fisted in his bleach blond hair.

Watching Zayn come brought Liam that much closer and he drove in and out of his omega with more purpose.

“Tell him,” Zayn stroked Niall’s cheek.

“I want your knot, Alpha,” the omega croaked, bracing himself on the couch so he could push into the Englishman’s thrusts. “Please, Alpha. Need your knot.”

Liam yanked him back and came, pushing the omega as far onto his knot as he could go. He wrapped a hand around Niall’s cock, his huge paw encompassing the entire shaft. “Come for us, Nialler.”

It had been weeks since he’d last been this intimate with his alphas and omega space beckoned. Niall tried not to let the stars tempt him there. He wanted to stay right here with his alphas, he wanted to feel every pulse of come fill him, he wanted to savor the feel of Liam’s knot tying them together.

Breathlessly, Liam stroked Niall through his orgasm. Zayn tucked himself away before licking Liam’s fist clean and spitting it into Niall’s mouth.

“Swallow,” Liam whispered. “What do you say?”

“Thank you, alpha,” boneless, he flopped back against Liam, resting his head against the Alpha’s shoulder.

“You’re welcome, love,” Zayn kissed and nuzzled the boneless Irishman. “You’re such a good boy, baby. Our beautiful omega.”

“Boys? Oh Jesus, Mary and Joseph,” Paul exclaimed and walked right back out. “How long?” he called through the door; this wasn't the first time he'd needed to know how long the boys would be knotted and the embarrassment between both parties had long since disappeared.

“About twenty minutes, Paul,” Zayn laughed. “I’m going to go check on Harry and Lou.”

Liam shook his head. “They’ll be all right.”

“Harry’s close to his rut, Li.”

“I trust him.”

“With Louis?”

“Yes,” Liam winced when Niall wiggled a little on his knot. “Babe.”

“Sorry.”

“But Li-”

“Harry would never hurt him.”

“I don’t think Zayn’s worried about Harry hurting him.”

“I trust him,” Liam’s growl put an end to the conversation.

Chapter Text

“Harry?” Louis chased him down the long stadium hallway. “Harry, slow down, my legs are shorter than yours!”

The alpha just growled and kept stalking down the hall like he was ready to kill something.

Louis shoved him through the next door with purpose, but the confronted alpha pinned him to the wall, his irises turned dark.

The omega raised both hands placatingly. “You’re right, ok? You’re right. I should have been honest with you. I should have told you that I wanted you to be mine from the moment I saw you, Harry Styles. I wanted you when you laughed so hard you snorted. I wanted you so bad I damn near creamed my pants when you hit that first long note in Isn’t She Lovely. I wanted you, even when you peed on me, and just said, “Oops,” and assaulted me with those dimples.” Louis ran a finger along his jaw, grinning when the green seeped back into his eyes. “There’s my Hazza.”

“There’s my Lou,” Harry returned. This was the Louis who’d just laughed and said, “hi,” and shook his leg off in that studio bathroom, who’d been by his side in boot camp, who he’d confided in about everything from his disappointment in his presentation (everyone, himself included, had thought he’d be an omega) to his growing crush on the blonde omega and the fear that Liam and Zayn wouldn't want to be pack. His Louis didn’t apologize unwarrantedly and wasn’t debilitated by uncertainty or tearing Harry apart with those tears. He was pushy and loud and spontaneous and just asking for a spanking. And for the first time, he really wasn’t hiding a thing.

“You want the truth?” in that moment, Louis found a way to mix the softness of an omega with the fortitude it had taken to protect these four boys, no matter the cost. “Pretending to be a beta was never harder than when I met you. You were the first person that made me want to be myself. And not giving into that was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, but I did it because…because I thought it’s what I had to.”

But Harry was not that wide-eyed sixteen-year-old boy anymore and he growled, “You were wrong! I would have done something. I would have helped! I wouldn’t have let you hide, I wouldn’t have let Jones manipulate you and hurt you! I would have killed-" Louis cut Harry’s rant off, pushing onto his toes to grab the alpha’s face and slammed their lips together with the bruising force of a million missed kisses.

Before Harry could soften it, Louis pulled away, keeping his forehead against his, “I know you would have. I knew you all would have,” his breath evaded him. “But I didn’t think I deserved it. I still don’t, but I’m trying, I really am.”

The alpha gripped the omega’s arms like he still couldn’t believe this was really happening, “It’s not about deserving anything, Louis. What they did to you wasn’t right, what your mum made you do and believe wasn’t ok. I just wish I could go back and fix it because…” Harry rubbed his nose against Louis’s, working more kisses in between words. He had so many to make up for. “You deserve so much better, Louis. We thought you had so much better. And you…you should have been…we should have been…it’s just not fair. None of it!” Harry couldn't even count all the intimate memories Louis should have been a part of.

“I-”

“Years, Louis,” Harry cupped his face. He touched him because he could. He could now, he could hold him and kiss him and let that spark beneath his skin turn into a fire. “We’ve missed out on years.”

“I know, Hazza, I know and I’m sorry. I’m sorry,” Louis stroked his side. “I’m so sorry, Harry.”

“You were supposed to be mine from the start.”

“I’m yours now. Whenever you want. I’m yours.”

“Whenever?” a burst of alpha pheromones clouded around the omega.

Louis had always known the scent of it, but knowing it was for him, all for him? The feeling had him drunk in an instant, “Right now if you want.”

“Tempting,” Harry lifted him onto the counter, “But the first time I have you isn’t going to be a quick fuck in a bathroom.”

“It coulda been. I told you, I wanted you then. If I’d told you the truth from the start, you could have had me in that bathroom, and you can have me in this one,” Louis wrapped his legs around Harry’s waist.

Harry groaned and kissed him. Where Zayn kissed nice and slow like some old school Usher song, Harry kissed like he talked, thorough and so long that any normal person would have been out of air ages before him.

“Fuck me, Haz, I want it,” he whimpered breathlessly, the words out of his mouth before he really thought them through, hands combing through the alpha’s hair until said alpha lifted both wrists to the mirror.

“No,” Harry bit his bottom lip. “No, the first time I get you naked is going to be somewhere,” he kissed and licked and nipped his way across Louis’s sculpted jaw, “Where I can lay you out and devour you slow.”

“Devour me?” Louis redirected Harry to his lips with the tip of his nose.

“Yup. I haven’t decided on how many times I’ll make you come before I knot you though.”

Louis shuddered at the thought and he tugged his wrists free and shoved Harry away, twisting them around. “Fine. Be a tease. I’ll can have my fun on my own.”

Harry gripped the counter, so turned on and Louis hadn't even touched him yet. "Fuck, Louis..."

“I offered. You turned me down,” the omega smirked; Harry made him brave, made him feel like himself, no matter his gender. “I always wondered something,” he murmured against the alpha’s sternum, undoing the rest of the half buttoned top. He leaned forward just enough to lick at Harry’s extra nipples; the alpha shuddered.

“Yes. They’re sensitive, too,” he assaulted Louis with his dimples again.

“Ahem,” a cough caught their attention. “In the loo, lads? Really?”

“I offered to let him in the Lou, but he said no,” Louis murmured around Harry’s belly button.

“Please, go away, Dale,” Harry brushed a hand into the omega’s hair, wondering how low Louis would venture and hoping it was towards the erection about to pop the fly of his white skinnies.

“No can do,” Dale just smirked. “Paul’s looking for you lot.”

“Guess we both have to wait,” Louis stood, buttoning Harry up again.

Harry grumbled and threw both arms around Louis’s shoulders, hugging him close. "I should have known."

Louis wrapped his around Harry’s waist, nose buried in his the tall alpha’s neck. "I didn't want you to know."

They stayed a minute, trying to will down their desire before heading back to the dressing room, pressed together like they were one three-legged person, the alpha kissing his omega’s head every few feet, just because he could.

“It reeks of sex in here,” Harry whistled.

“You didn’t go to the bus, did you?” Liam asked, checking his phone.

“No, just, uh, to the bathroom,” the youngest grinned.

Meanwhile, Niall, his pants up, but shirt off in a pile with his jeans, grabbed Louis and tugged him onto the empty couch. “You’ve been licking Harry. I can taste it,” he murmured, making his way into Louis’ mouth, his tongue’s new favorite place.

“You know, Haz,” Zayn pulled him down next to him—more like half on top of him, but the three alphas had thrown the idea of personal space out years ago. The oldest alpha brushed a hand through the youngest one’s hair as he said, “If you and Louis want to take some time to yourselves, it might be a good idea.”

Harry shook his head before resting it on Zayn’s shoulder. “Tantrum’s over. No use crying over spilt milk and all that,” and he meant it. He let it go and contentedly watched the two omegas get lost in each other. “You’re right, that’s better than porn.”

“Even the artsy, sensual stuff that you like?” Zayn asked; Harry hummed in agreement.

“Maybe the two of you should spend a few nights alone though,” Liam perched on the arm of their loveseat—the alphas weren’t even looking at each other. How could they when their omegas were kissing like that?

“No…he’s ours, not mine,” because robbed as he felt, he couldn’t take Louis away from them; he didn’t really want to be away from the pack himself. They were his family, his partners. And, now they were finally Louis’s, too. Harry hooked a foot beneath Liam’s thigh and tugged him into their alpha pile.

“I think we should all get some time with Lou on our own,” Liam suggested, adjusting so his legs draped over both his alphas. “Ni had a good point. We’ve jumped right into claiming him, we haven’t even taken him out on a date.”

“I think Harry should go first,” Zayn twirled a curl on his finger.

“Lou?” Harry grinned. “Louis?”

“He’s busy,” Niall said around the lip he had between his teeth.

“Leave a message, I’ll get back to you,” the older omega dived back to Niall’s mouth.

“It’ll keep,” Harry grinned.

At some point, Niall and Louis settled into a warm and tender cuddle puddle, trading the odd kiss and giggle.

“Hey-oh shit!” Lou ran in and then out so quickly she almost collided with the doorframe. “Sorry! I’m sorry, I should have knocked!”

“Are you ok, Lou?” Liam reluctantly tore his eyes from his omegas.

Lou popped back in, but kept her eyes covered, “We just need to get you three dressed and ready for the interviews. Ok, bye.”

“Sorry, Lou! We love you!” Harry called after her.

“Nialler, get dressed, love. Alberto and Andy are going to take you and Louis to record with Julian,” Liam sent out a text.

“And tell that alpha to keep his damn hands to himself,” Harry rumbled; a flare of possessiveness burnt through the room. Niall whispered to Louis, sitting back so the older omega could saunter across the room and crawl over Liam’s legs onto Harry’s lap to pet him calm.

Harry moaned, “You smell so good all scented in Niall,” and claiming his lips.

Zayn ran his nose up Louis’s arm while Liam tucked his beneath hair. “Fuck me, you do. Like you took a bath with candy floss.”

Louis whimpered as the feel of all three alphas on him started to overwhelm him.

Niall just leaned back grinning, sliding his hand into his briefs.

“Don’t you dare, Niall Horan,” Zayn barked, dragging his lips along the crook of Louis’s elbow; the blonde whined.

“Jesus, I leave you alone for five minutes,” Paul sighed. “Alphas, to hair and wardrobe, now.”

“We’ll continue this later,” Zayn kissed Louis’s head.

Harry twisted Louis over, laid him on the couch.

“Hazza,” Liam poked the birdcage on his side.

“I want to take you out tonight,” he murmured against those lips.

Louis said between kisses, “We have a show tonight.”

“After then.”

“We have a long drive to Madrid.”

“Tomorrow night then.”

“Ok.”

Liam rolled his eyes at the two, a happy smile on his face. “You got your date, Hazza, now let’s go.”

The alphas damn near skipped away they were so giddy.

“How in the world did you make it through that with your shirt on?” Niall slunk across the room like a jungle cat—until he tripped on the coffee table leg and fell headlong into the omega. “Oops.”

“Watch it,” Louis giggled, pulling him up.

“You’re supposed to say hi. Or is that only something you do with Harry?” Niall trailed his mouth along Louis’s skin, searching for the taste of his alphas and finding it along the collar rocker.

“I’ll do whatever you want with you,” Louis ran his hands along Niall’s bare skin, cupping his cotton covered behind and freezing when he felt a wet spot. “You…”

“Liam…” Niall blushed. “Thank god for birth control shots.”

“Or not. We could have had our own reality show. Pregnant and On the Road,” Louis snorted, unable to finish that sentence without a giggle.

“Almost did,” Niall sobered. “You remember.”

Louis nodded and curled the omega to him. “It was just a scare though.”

“Must have been hard for you…”

“For me?” Louis chuckled. “Why me? You’re the one who was terrified you were pregnant on our first tour.”

“Yes, but then you got papped buying a pregnancy test for me and Jones played it up like some ‘is Louis the daddy’ scandal. And all the while…what?” Niall felt Louis stiffen, and not in his pants.

The English omega sighed. Be honest with them, he reminded himself. “He was pissed—Jones, I mean. He was pissed that some random paps caught me, and that it started some ‘is Louis an omega’ rumors. But…he knew the test was for you though. He said he was going to play it to Wooten and his media friends like the alphas were butting heads. Say they were fighting over who your baby daddy was…”

Niall’s stomach turned. “Unless you…”

“Started the saga of Louis Tomlinson: Playboy Extraordinaire.”

“That’s when they brought in Eleanor, right? Harry hated her.”

“Eleanor was a compromise. They were going to say it was a random blonde first. Even schelp her around to some shows with a fake baby bump and then claim it wasn’t mine.”

“They tried to make you look like some ass chasing dog.”

“I know. But it was worth it.”

“I could have dealt with it, you know.”

“I didn’t want you to. Especially if you really were preggers. I just wanted you all safe,” Louis brushed the backs of his fingers against the Irish omega’s cheek.

“Is that why you pushed Harry to us? To me,” Niall stroked his hair. “You gave me Hazza.”

Louis relaxed entirely under the blonde’s touch. “Not really. He was always looking at you and Li and Zayn like he was waiting for permission to fall in love with you.”

“But he looked at you with stars in his eyes. Still does.”

The Englishman shrugged. “He deserved the best omega I knew.”

“You’re the best omega I know,” Niall giggled lazily.

“Can I ask you something?”

“Something else?”

“Cheeky.”

“Go on, Louis love,” Niall spread kisses along his nose and perfect cheekbones.

“What did you do with your collar?”

“It’s in my bunk,” tucked away, safe and sound.

“You don’t, like…wear it?”

“Once or twice. It’s just for show. The boys don’t need me to.”

“Oh…”

“Do you want to wear yours?”

“No! No, it’s, no, I just,” Louis flushed.

“You can. If you want. If it’ll make you feel better.”

“I’m not ill, Ni, geez,” he shook it off, but Niall caught the little nuances in his face.

“I’m serious. It’s not a weird thing to want to wear it, especially so early in the claim. Alphas don’t want their omegas to wear them in public just because it’s seen as outdated and too restrictive. But if you want to wear it, you can.”

“I can?”

“Is it here? I think you’d look sexy with it on.”

“It’s in my bag,” Louis motioned to it.

Niall skipped over.

“Hey, boys?” the dressing room door started to open.

“I’m naked, Alberto! Go away before the alphas find out!” he shrieked.

It slammed shut and the omegas giggled.

Niall brought the velvet box over to Louis, climbing into his lap before opening it and lifting out the leather collar with reverence. “The alphas had a Claddagh engraved onto mine, as an ode to my Irish-ness. But this time, it was so our collars would match my ring,” Niall undid the padlock; it didn’t actually lock, but had a little button would free the shackle from the tiny locking bar inside.

“I’ve heard of them,” Louis took a closer look at the hands cradling the crowned heart.

“Claddagh is a couple hours east of Mullingar in Galway. And there are a couple different versions of its origin, but my favorite was always about this guy named Richard Joyce, who was captured by pirates just after he’d claimed his mate. He was sold to an alpha goldsmith in Algiers who taught him the craft. After years of enslavement, King William the second…no, third, the third, demanded all the slaves be freed and so the goldsmith had to release him. And though the goldsmith promised Richard a small fortune and his omega daughter to stay because that’s how good he’d gotten at, like, goldsmithing, Richard had never forgotten his true love and he returned to Ireland to find that she’d stayed faithful to him and he presented her with a ring he’d fashioned with a claddagh. The hands are for friendship, the heart is for love and the crown is for loyalty. It’s all the things we’re promising you,” Niall looped it around his neck.

Louis felt something…final…snap into place when the padlock shut around his neck. “Oh.”

“Oh?” the blonde smirked and settled in his lap.

Louis shrugged, the corners of his lips lifting. “Oh.”

“Oh kay then,” he smiled too and started to pet him. Almost immediately Louis’s head lolled as Niall’s fingers worked their magic. “And you’re so sleepy again.”

“Stop petting me then,” Louis tried to blink the sleep away.

“Never,” Niall kissed his forehead and draped a furry blanket around them both.

Julian found them like that, Niall in the sleeping Englishman’s lap, fingers combing through the fringe, just watching. The alpha in him couldn’t disturb the omegas, but the producer? That was a different story.

“I hate to do this to you, Niall. But we’re really behind on recording. I need at least one of you.”

“All right,” Niall sighed, and gave the older omega a small shake. Louis whined. “I’m sorry, lovey, I’m sorry,” he stroked his face.

Sleepily, Louis asked, “Should I have to take it off?”

“No. Not in front of Julian,” especially not in front of Julian, Niall wanted to say before getting dressed.

“Kay,” Louis yawned and shuffled after him, one hand in the blonde’s the other playing with the padlock resting in the hollow of his throat.

When the alphas joined them, Niall was in the recording booth. He pointed to his neck and then to the sleeping omega curled into the corner of Julian and John’s couch.

Zayn lifted Louis into his lap, peeling back the blanket the sleeping omega had pulled up to his jaw. The alphas felt their possessiveness quelled at the sight of the blue leather strap and platinum padlock. Niall loved his collar, too. He kept it safe and had worn his once or twice (but mostly when that’s all he felt like wearing for his alphas). But, it meant clearly more to Louis, who’d waited for it for so long. The oldest alpha kissed his head and snuggled him close.

“Ours,” he whispered.

Grinning, Niall nailed his riff in the new song. He found the vibrancy he’d been missing as he watched his alphas radiate with happiness, his claimed omega safely in their arms.

As soon as he'd finished singing, Harry turned to the blonde, "You sounded incredible, babe."

Niall beamed.

 

Niall and the boys wouldn’t know that, after the concert, an alpha soaked in neutralizing spray slipped into their dressing room. He seethed at the sight of the broken vase, scattered roses and the unread, handwritten note.

Chapter Text

Running onto the bus after an exhilarating show that was a complete one-eighty from the first Amsterdam concert, the boys froze and looked around. “What the hell?” Zayn stopped in his tracks.

“Are we on the right bus?” Niall sniffed; yeah, this was theirs.

“I had some work done today,” Liam nonchalantly slid into the booth he’d had installed to replace four bucket seats. “So we all fit,” he pulled Louis in. “Shoulda done it ages ago.” Trapping the ridiculous giggle bubbling in his chest, Louis wrapped around Liam’s waist and hugged him.

“Thanks,” he whispered.

The Alpha replied with a kiss to his cheek. “Do you want to put your collar back on?” They’d taken it off before the show and placed it back in the box. Paul, standing where Louis could see him, held onto it until they ran onto their bus.

Louis nodded, happy there were no questions as to why he wanted to. The alphas already understood that Louis needed a bit more of a reminder that he belonged. Zayn slipped it around his neck and clicked the padlock into place. “Ours,” he whispered and kissed the curve of his ear; Louis blushed all the way to it.

"Is this why you asked if we'd gone to the bus earlier?" Harry asked, running his fingers along the surface.

Zayn wiggled his eyebrows at the younger alpha, "Thinking of how it'll feel when I bend you over and knot you?"

"Z," Liam warned; while both his alphas appreciated a good knot now and again, Harry's dominance did not need to be tested right now. "And yes, Harry, I wanted it to be a surprise."

The oldest alpha smirked and shrugged. "Like you're not thinking of doing the same thing to me, Alpha."

"Or me," Niall, seated between Zayn and Harry, patted the younger alpha's thigh. Harry yanked him into a kiss.

"Cool it, lads," Liam chuckled; he could feel a bit of uncertainty and he gave the omega a light peck to reassure him that it was ok.

"And me too," sat on the tip of Louis' tongue, still a question that he wasn't sure of the answer to, and even playing along was too much to think about. On some level, he knew the boys would never pressure him. But he also knew he wouldn't be sleeping in his own bunk (ever again, and not that he wanted to), and didn't want to build something he wasn't ready to follow up on. At least, he didn't think he was ready; not with all four of them at the very least. Besides, Liam said they were going to go slow and Louis trusted that.

Before they started the long drive to Spain, they stopped at a McDonalds and picked up some food to christen the table with.

“I want to know something, Lou,” Niall said between bites of his burger.

“Yes, I’ll lick the ketchup off your chin if you just come here,” Louis wiggled his eyebrows; one at a time, he figured.

Smiling, Niall leaned over Zayn. “I’m so happy,” the oldest alpha smirked. “Give him a kiss too, yeah?”

The omegas smacked him on the chest.

Niall continued, “But, I want to know how many of the rumors were true. We never knew. You played along, even for us.”

Louis swallowed his mouthful, his cheeks burning. “Ni…”

“Start with Cher Lloyd?” he insisted. “We’re not going to be mad. I just want to know.”

Trust them. Louis took the deep breath he knew he'd need. “Fake. Nothing happened. Well, she made me watch the Notebook which is a terribly overrated film, I mean, beard or no beard, Ryan Gosling plays the worst alpha ever, then I slept on her couch because Simon asked me to be seen leaving her flat in the morning.”

“After the Cher thing there was Eleanor,” Harry mumbled.

“She was a friend…sort of,” he sipped his soda. “Well, no. She was a model and every date we had was a set up by management. But, that being said, El was good company while we were out. We keep in touch. She sent me a nice text after the announcement.”

“So, there was no pregnancy or pregnancy scare?” Harry asked, half afraid of the answer.

“Well. Omegas can’t get anyone pregnant, so, you do the deduction,” Louis and Niall refused to make eye contact. “Next?”

“Taylor,” Liam offered. “Dating Taylor Swift.”

“Set up by her camp and ours,” Louis shook his head. “She’s a friend. We had fun together. It’s why we never actually confirmed that we were “dating.” We never actually were. Did it for the publicity.”

“The relationship with that beta, Perrie from uh, from Little Mix,” Zayn asked.

Louis laughed, “So fake. She’s absolutely lovely and all, don’t get me wrong. But, we “got together” when one of our singles came out, I “cheated” just before they were slated to perform on some show or festival or something, we got back together when we started doing film promo mostly so she and Little Mix could walk our red carpet, and then we broke up a couple days before their album dropped.”

“What’s the deal with Ed?” Harry asked.

“Friends with benefits,” Louis blushed.

Liam took a turn, “What about the thing with Justin and Selena?”

“That…wasn’t exactly a rumor. But, it wasn’t exactly not a rumor either.”

“What does that even mean?” Zayn laughed.

“It means…that it was fake, until it wasn’t,” he thought aloud, the confusion stretching in either direction. “I knew I could never…be enough for her, not pretending to be a beta the way I was. So, when I had the chance to fight for her, I didn’t.”

“Can you explain this without being vague?”

“Not really. I...I mean, it was her idea, her...story, I guess. It was complicated. Ended up being more…real though, than me and Selena actually wanted it to be. Which to be honest, was kind of nice.”

“Was it a management set up like Taylor?”

“No. But they encouraged it. Made sure the paps on our end were readily available.”

“She spent the night in our hotel,” Niall scowled.

“A few nights, yeah,” he tried to hide the smirk in his cheeseburger.

“What happened?” the omega narrowed his eyes, jealousy clouding around him.

“Next question?”

“And how many fans have you brought back to the hotel?!”

“Niall,” Liam snapped. “Calm down. And Harry, hand off the new table before you break it.” The young alpha contented himself with flexing his fist.

Louis busied himself with counting on his fingers dramatically. “Rounding up or rounding down?”

Niall threw his food down. He hated that other people got to touch Louis, had probably not taken care of him like they should have, had—

“None. Relax, sunshine. I was just teasing,” Louis reached over Zayn for him.

Harry choked on his salad, “None?”

“What?!” the alphas couldn’t count how many pictures they’d seen of Louis whisking alphas, betas, omegas or all of the above into a car with their bodyguard.

Louis shrugged. “I generally got hammered so I could say to Alberto, ‘I’m too drunk, let’s take him or her home instead.’ My only obligation was to be seen leaving the club or bar or party with them. I was not obligated to be seen entering the hotel with them.”

“So you never slept with any of them?”

“Couldn’t,” he shrugged. “I mean, I could, but there was always this fear of being…outted, I guess. Nondisclosure agreement or not. And, styfilitol kept my scent down a little bit, but the reprezamine didn’t at all, so I had to keep people…away, unless I trusted them not to run to the press if they did happen to see or smell something odd.”

“That’s...that sucks,” Niall’s anger melted into sadness. Omegas needed affection. Keeping people ‘…away’ went against their nature and their needs.

“Why did you let Jones use you like this?” it frustrated Harry to no end that he couldn't make their former manager their late manager. Sure Jones would face the British justice system, which had started dropping the hammer on omega abusers when Queen Victoria, the first omega to take the throne, made it clear that taking an alpha did not usurp her right to the crown. But still, Harry would give anything to deliver some justice of his own.

"It is what it is," Louis played with the padlock around his neck.

“Better question is what did he threaten us with?” Zayn gently squeezed Louis’s thigh; he'd never forget the omega's misdirected shame in that hospital or how sorry Louis was that he'd "let" Jones spread rumors about the alpha instead of "leaking" a sex tape of himself.

“I don’t remember all of them. Mostly just alpha infighting with Zayn or Harry,” Louis motioned to Liam, then to Zayn, “Cheating on Niall. For Ni, it was a very public pregnancy scare, and for Haz, it was him leaving for another pack.”

“I hate that we trusted him so much,” Liam snarled.

“Sorry,” Louis all but whispered before he shoved the rest of his burger in his mouth.

Liam kissed his bulging cheek and mumbled against his ear. “Stop apologizing for things you shouldn’t be apologizing for.”

Deflecting the blush with a bit of comedy, Louis tried to speak through the food, “Yes, Alpha.”

“What about the partying? Did you want to go out?” Harry asked.

“Sometimes,” Louis shrugged. “It was a good distraction.”

The English omega could have predicted the Alpha’s next question. “What about the drugs?”

“None but the suppressants…and a little bit of weed now and again,” Louis elbowed Zayn who snickered. “And nicotine. I guess that’s a drug. Oh, and oxy and some sleeping pills, which, wow, yeah, makes me sound like a bit of a druggie."

“Why did they think you were on coke? Was that all Jones?”

“Yeah. I mean, I did have a nosebleed that day, but that was a side effect I think, of the new suppressant or something.”

“We need to get you healthier,” Liam pulled Louis under his arm. “Better diet and all. Doctor said the scarring on your liver might be reversible if you change your diet.”

“We can do a juice cleanse together,” Harry lit up.

Gasping, Louis hugged the McDonalds bag to him. “Blasphemy! Just blasphemy! Niall cover your innocent ears!”

“We’ll start slow and confirm with Dr. Black. We already talked to Sarah and she’s looking into foods that are good for you in particular. Said she’d work it into the menu. But still. No more binge drinking, Louis Tomlinson.”

“Yes, Alpha.”

The boys stayed up late given the amount of time they’d be on the road, but eventually, they pulled an unsure Louis into the big bed, promising him that it was fine and that they didn't want him alone in his bunk then wrestling around as Niall refused to be anywhere but next to the brunette. The alphas got the omegas to sleep, rubbing their backs and keeping them close before starting to drift off themselves. That is, until one of them let out a low growl.

“Haz?” Liam whispered over Niall and Louis’s heads. “What is it?”

The younger alpha just grumbled when he saw that the bite mark had just started to fade from Louis’s collarbone. He traced it with his finger, loathing the alpha who dared bite his Louis, beta or omega.

Louis whimpered in his sleep, starting to tremble.

“Tommo?” Liam sat up at the sound.

“Sorry, I’m sorry,” Harry hugged him close. “You’re safe, love. It’s ok,” he whispered on repeat, adjusting Louis so he could scent Harry in his sleep until he stopped shaking.

“Wha’appened?” Liam shifted a bit.

When the omega relaxed between them, Harry folded the shirt collar back. “In all that happened, I forgot about it,” he mumbled bitterly.

With a bit of stealthy contorting and a long arm stretched, Liam got a hand into Harry’s hair to sooth him. “If he’s all right with it, we’ll bite it tomorrow and see if we can’t lick it closed, ok?”

“That’s where my mark is going. And he’s going to wear these vests and low necks all the time,” Harry said possessively.

“Ok, Haz,” the Alpha smiled. “Go to sleep.”

“Mine,” Harry buried his nose in Louis’ hair. “Mine and Liam’s and Zayn’s and Niall’s, but no one else.”

Liam chuckled and sat up to kiss both his omegas before going back to sleep. Or trying.

Harry cleared his throat expectantly. Liam smiled and leaned over to sweetly snog baby alpha.

“If he gets one, I should too,” a voice muffled by Harry’s hair said.

The Alpha grumbled about needy alphas and gave Zayn a kiss, too. “Goodnight lads.”

A few hours later—half past three the clock read—Liam woke to see Louis stealthily slipping out of the room in a pair of sweats one of them had left by the door. Pre-rut Harry slept deeper than usual and Zayn slept that way on a regular basis. And without the bond running through their veins, they couldn't feel him leave the way they would have Niall. But Liam had always slept lightly; an Alpha does. He listened for the bathroom to open, but instead got the hiss of the bus door. Frowning, he eased himself out of bed-careful to tuck Niall under Harry's arm before he did- so not to wake his three mates before pulling on his own trackies and going after their new omega. Nodding to Don as he filled up the tank, Liam zipped up his hoodie and followed the sounds of a skateboard on concrete.

“I was coming back,” Louis broke the silence as he rolled back and forth along the halo of petrol station light.

“To bed?”

Louis nodded.

"To our bed?"

Still so unused to all this, Louis tried not to blush again, “I just…I get antsy during the long trips. Need to be…out for a bit.”

“I remember,” Liam gave him some room. “We used to come out together.” During the X-Factor tour, this was where they’d found a common ground: outside their tour bus, stretching their legs in the middle of the night. This was where they stopped butting heads and started being friends.

Louis shrugged and went for another lap.

But, Liam had stopped coming out when things got so serious Harry. Given the need for two of them to become subordinate to an Alpha, packs were difficult to manage, especially at their age. They still had the egos of teenagers and the arrogance of youth combined with rapidly growing fame and loaded work schedules. Yet, in so many ways, the three of them had fallen into line naturally, easily even. In all the others though, they’d needed to work at it-for their omega's sake. And, in figuring out how their pack would work, they’d completely missed their friend needing them to see what was really in front of them.

“I’m sorry, Louis,” Liam stepped into his skateboard’s path. Standing toe to trucks, the Alpha was still a hair taller.

“It’s ok.” Louis wiggled in Liam’s hands gripping his waist; his first instinct still screamed, push him Alpha before he notices!. Instead, he focused on the peeling grip tape on his board, trying to will said instinct aside.

“You don’t even know what I’m sorry for.”

“For drifting away?"

“For that. Absolutely yes. But also, for expecting you to be our friend, and not being ones in return. We should have noticed how stressed you were getting, how much you were drinking, how hard management was on you,” it was all so clear in hindsight.

“It’s fine—,” Louis shrugged again, but Liam tipped his chin up and held his gaze.

“It’s not. We should have seen how much you were hurting. We’re your friends, and we should have been there for you. Beta or omega. And I’m so sorry that we weren’t.”

“It’s ok-”

The Alpha gave the collar small tug. Nothing forceful, just a reminder that he deserved the apologies. “It’s not, and we’re going to make it up to you,” he cupped Louis’s cheek. Louis couldn’t resist a small nuzzle into the warm palm and long fingers with a soft smile, blushing when Liam caught the slight movement.

Louis leaned away from the Alpha's hand. “You’re being too hard on yourself.”

“Am I?”

Louis rocked on the skateboard, “I made my own decisions. You trusted me and I lied to you. I had years of practice before I’d ever met you, and I got really good at it. It’s not your fault…and I’m sorry, too.”

There was no deflecting humor or tears or panic, just honesty and Liam’s big heart beat a little faster for it. The Alpha leaned in for their first kiss. Unlike that accidental brush at a show in Birmingham (that Liam had dreams about for weeks), this one was firm pressure cushioned between soft lips. Liam didn't kiss like a song. His kiss was a promise that filled Louis with song, with so many notes and words and melodies that Louis would need a lifetime of kisses to sort. And that was the promise: a lifetime.

When they finally pulled away, Louis smiled so beautifully that the Alpha couldn’t help himself. Liam dropped his foot onto the end of the deck, sending the omega tumbling into his arms.

“Dick,” Louis laughed.

Liam grinned and then curious ran his nose along Louis' neck, taking a deeper breath of him. “Your scent’s getting stronger.”

“Is it?”

“Mmmm…” Liam scented him again. It was more than the natural sweetness of an omega. It was warm and familiar, but Liam couldn’t quite relate it to anything yet. “It’s good.”

Louis blushed again and Liam couldn’t help but kiss him, deeper this time, licking his way between Louis’s lips; the omega’s surprised, delicate moan ignited a sudden need between them.

Alpha and omega had the same thought: Fuck going slow.

Keeping one arm firmly around his waist, he stroked the other hand down Louis’s side, hooking the omega’s knees on his hips. Louis’s ankles locked behind him and he kicked the board into his hand before he carried both to the bus, headed to the lower lounge.

Instead of letting the Alpha lay him down and blanket him with his body, Louis shoved him to the couch and straddled him, his omega taking over.

“Hi,” the omega nipped at his lips.

“Hello,” the Alpha replied when the omega tugged off his sweater and tee. Under the older singer, Liam should have been surprised or even challenged. But had never been quietly submissive, why would this part of him be any different? He’d never seen this side of Louis up close, but now that he had he’d never let him hide this sexy, little vixen again.

He groaned when Louis started to writhe against the bulge in his bottoms, the cotton doing little to shield either of them.

“You’re all mine right now, Louis love,” Liam palmed Louis’s side before bracing his hands around his hips, pulling them closer to his. “All mine.”

The omega leaned down, voice deep with lust, and said, “Who says you’re not all mine?” He felt the rumble in Liam’s throat as he kissed his way down, licking and nipping at the bare skin while he slowly opened Liam’s hoodie. “Always wanted to do this,” he slid his tongue through the ridges of Liam’s abs.

The air conditioning drafted over Liam’s skin and he shuddered. “Whenever you want, Lou. You can.”

“I’m sure the fans would love it if I did it on stage.”

Liam chuckled, low and breathy—the stage under his back, the omega on top of him, screaming fans around them…yeah, he’s be ok with that.

Louis untied the Alpha’s sweats, genuflecting between his knees. He paused, almost waiting for Paul or Preston or Dale or Don to interrupt them. But the bus rocked into motion and Louis glanced up from beneath his eyelashes.

“We don’t have to do anything if you’re not ready, Lou, really…”

“Are you quite finished, Liam, or can I give you head now?”

The Alpha opened his mouth to say something smart, but just replied, “I’m done. Go ahead.”

“Holy fuck,” Louis’s mouth started watering the moment he palmed Liam through his briefs.

He smirked. He knew he was big, even for an alpha. “I’m waiting.”

Louis’ eyes bulged when he pulled the briefs down. “No wonder Ni’s a screamer,” he murmured before dragging his tongue around the slit, wrapping around the shaft; he wasn’t even close to touching his fingers to his thumb.

Liam usually liked to close his eyes and relax, but he couldn’t take them off the gorgeous omega. His gorgeous omega.

Unhurried, Louis used his tongue to learn the ridges and dips of Liam’s dick, leaving a trail of spit behind as lube for the hand he had pumping up and down.

“Tease."

“Did you expect any less?”

But the Alpha’s eyes had gone hard and lustful. Hooking a finger into the collar, he gave it a playful yank, “I’ve wanted you too long for you to tease,” even without the commanding voice, the suggestion dripped with authority.

Practically hypnotized by it, Louis nodded, “Yes, Alpha,” and pressed his licked lips to the drop of pre-come gathered on the tip and slowly spread them as he sucked in his cheeks.

Liam watched him make it halfway down before pulling back. “It’s ok if-“

“Shut up and let me suck,” Louis spoke, his mouth beautifully puffed-up; just before he retook the Alpha’s length, he smirked in afterthought, “Alpha.”

Louis sucked Liam down, this time taking him all the way without even gagging, leaving the Alpha’s entire cock wet. He choked a little before bobbing his head up and down, fisting with both hands what he couldn’t comfortably take on every down stroke.

The omega snaked a hand between Liam’s legs, brushing his fingers across his sack.

“Fuck, Lou,” he rested a hand in the back of Louis’ hair, neither pushing nor pulling but the weight of it laden with control. He petted the omega in praise, closing his eyes to focus on the hot, wet feel of Louis' mouth and the dexterous hands playing with him.

Then Louis started sucking harder and massaging his balls with more vigor, too. But, when the omega started to hum, the steadily intensifying fire in Liam’s belly erupted, sending to the back of his eyes a pyrotechnic show better than their concerts. He came without warning, but his omega took each heavy spurt like a good boy.

“Finally,” once recovered, Liam hauled Louis to a straddling position over his lap; Louis wiped a bit of come off the corner of his smirk. “I finally get to play with this ass,” he said between kisses to Louis’s neck, starting the search for the perfect spot to mark him later. Until he felt Louis stiffen in his hands—and not in the good, dirty way.

The blush on his cheek wasn’t bashfulness they’d grown to love.

“I’m sorry…”

“What is it, love? We don’t have to-I don’t have to, I mean, if you’re not ready. I promise, it’s ok.”

“No, I want, I do…I just…” the omega’s whimper had a humiliated edge to it as he continued, knowing something wasn't entirely right, “I’m not…wet…I thought I would be, even from earlier, but…I…please don’t be mad, I want you, I want to let you-”

“It’s ok, love, hush,” Liam rubbed his back. “It’s probably a hormone thing. When was the last time you were?”

Louis scratched at the back of his neck, “…been a few months, I guess.”

The Alpha grabbed his hand. “Months?! But…Ed…”

“Used lube…do you need to spank me? Because I feel like you should…”

“No, babe, no. It’s not something you need to be punished for,” Liam reassured his omega. “Like I said, it’s probably a hormone thing. Dr. Black is meeting up with us in Madrid to check on you and see Niall and us. We’ll ask him about it.”

“Ok,” the omega sighed. “I want to be, Li. I thought I would be.”

“I understand, love. You want to be,” Liam transitioned back into his bedroom voice. “You want me to finger you open? You want me to find that spot inside you that will drive you wild?” he pushed his hands into the front of Louis’ sweats, surprised with what he found. “Well, hello there big boy.”

The blush softened. “How do you think I passed as a beta?”

“And so hard, just from blowing me? Or was it just me kissing you? I think I got you this hard just with kisses. My sweet omega likes my kisses,” Liam murmured against his lips. Their tongues matched the slow, languid tugging of Louis’ cock. "Is this ok?

The color on his cheeks was all good things now. “Yeah…”

“Good boy,” Liam reached down to take care of his balls, too. “Keep your arms around my shoulders, love. Good boy.”

Louis clung to him, bitten nails digging into the hoodie still draped around the Alpha. He didn’t know when he’d last gotten off. Save that moment with Harry in the loo, he hadn’t wanted to for the longest time and with Liam making him feel this good he couldn’t remember why.

Liam brought his hand up and Louis whined at the loss. “Spit,” the Alpha ordered and a shudder rolled down Louis’ back. “There’s something you need to understand about being an omega, Louis love. You don’t get to pick and choose when you come anymore. I do. And you don’t come until I tell you to, understand?”

The omega nodded against his forehead, straining to hold himself back.

“And if you promise to be good tomorrow, you can.”

“I will be!”

Liam stroked him faster, thumb brushing the tip of his cock. “What was that?” he asked, nipping and sucking at his jaw.

“I will be, Alpha, I promise,” Louis pleaded with all the desperation whipping around in his body, rocking into the touch; the only thing that kept him off the edge was the alpha control he felt wrapping around him with every one of Liam’s words. The idea of being at the mercy of any of the alphas and giving up control like a proper omega—this part of his freedom didn’t scare him like he thought it would. Alpha was there for him.

He felt a familiar tingle building and his fight to contain it became easier when Liam whispered, “Almost, love. Just wait.”

“Li,” Louis whined, hips thrusting into the Alpha’s hand.

Liam almost didn’t want to. Louis was so beautiful like this, clinging submissively to the precipice between pleasure and ecstasy. “Come for me, babe…” and just like he’d thought, the explosion of release stretching from the omega's face and racking his entire body was better than words. "You did so good, Lou. So good," Liam said between soft kisses to his lips and adorable nose and sharp cheekbones and stubbly jaw and good god, how did he end up with four incredibly beautiful men?

Louis hadn't ever-it had never felt quite so—Alpha was—he—intense—he'd physically come apart, hadn't he? Like completely exploded into pieces kept together Liam's arms—sure, it had been a while since he'd last—but even before, with Ed and Selena and his very first boyfriend, no one had been able to rock him like that, let alone into making terrible song puns. Something great spun around him and it wasn't an illusion—fuck those were songs, too. Leaning on Liam's shoulder, he tried to compose himself rather than a weird set list of their songs.

After giving the shaking omega a bit of recovery time, he nudged Louis. “You’d better clean up your mess,” he winked, tucking him back into his pants.

His mind refocusing on his Alpha, Louis smirked and took his time licking his come off Liam’s chest before curling up against the soft hairs there. Stroking his back, the Alpha all but rocked his omega back to sleep before carrying him back to the pack for the rest of the night.

Chapter Text

The plan, as it always was for them and their crew after any drive over ten hours, was to head straight for the hotel. Their crew required two full floors at this one, both blocked off by hotel and road security, both working under Paul and the bodyguards.

Louis, for the first time, found himself dreading the hotel. Uncertainty replaced the promise of his neutral smelling sanctuary. Was he getting his own room? Did he want his own room? Where did the pack want him?

Zayn leaned over and whispered, “We changed the booking to a two bedroom suite. You can sleep with us tonight, or you can steal Niall or one or two of us. Whatever you’re comfortable with,” he interlaced their hands.

Relieved, Louis kissed his cheek. “Thank you.”

Harry tore Louis away and kissed him against a wall.

“Easy, Hazza. Don’t break the omega,” Zayn glanced at their Alpha.

“I’m tougher than I look,” Louis smiled.

“I know you are. C’mon love,” Harry slung an arm around the omega’s shoulders. There was something faintly different about the way Louis tasted, but baby alpha shrugged it off and pressed another kiss to his hair. Because he could whenever he wanted now without anyone worrying about him getting too attached. He’d be attached forever. They were claiming him, Harry happily reminded himself.

“What floor are we on?” Niall asked, warily eyed the elevator.

“Ten,” Liam replied, knowing it was a bit too high for them to walk. Though, honestly, he was perfectly content to carry Niall if the omega really wanted.

The blond considered his knee before sighing and stepping in. Louis pulled him into the center and trapped their hands between their chests. Niall rested his forehead on Louis’ shoulder before snapping up, “Wait! I can’t, this hand? Or the other?”

“Either, Ni, I’m fine either way. See?” he wiggled all his fingers around Niall’s hand.

“But last time, I almost—”

“But, you didn’t. See? I’m fine. I only wore the brace for like, a day. Everything’s ok,” Louis distracted him the entire way up. Skeptical, Niall brushed Louis’ fringe away from the stitches still in his forehead. But just before the memories made the tiny compartment’s walls cave in, Louis added, “Look at it this way: if we hadn’t gotten stuck, I’d probably still be acting like a beta.”

Like cold water to the face, Niall’s eyes narrowed. “No. My omega.”

"Ours," Harry rumbled, but Liam’s smack to his hip snapped him out of it.

“Whatever you say, Ni,” Louis chuckled and stepped back when the doors opened.

Niall yanked him back in, nose to nose with him. “Say it.”

“Say what?”

“Say you’re mine.”

Louis flushed at all the entertained eyes turning to him. “M’yours,” he mumbled.

“What was that?” Niall asked as sternly as an alpha.

“I’m yours,” Louis replied, plain, articulate and bright red.

“Good,” Niall kept their hands together while walking to their room.

The alphas followed a step behind, more than amused.

“We need to get Niall some leather. Like a riding crop or something,” Zayn said aloud what they were all thinking; Louis' eyes went wide at the thought.

“And we need ear plugs,” Paul laughed.

“Hey Ni, can we steal you?” Julian popped out of a room. “Just need you for a chorus or two.”

“Sure.”

“We’ll stay with you,” Harry and Zayn offered.

“Did you plan that?” Louis asked at the seamless split.

“Yup. He’s got that thing against needles, and I wanted the doc to see you first anyway.”

Their on-call physician waited in their suite. Dr. Black, an alpha they usually just called Sirius—yes, as a play on the Harry Potter character, but also because his name was Silas—looked over the newly revealed omega. “Congrats, Louis. Fifteen years as a doctor and you are the most convincing fake beta I saw. You had me completely fooled."

“Ta da,” the omega stretched his spirit fingers.

“How did you fake the blood work?”

“Jones paid off a guy at your lab.”

“Well, he’s fired,” the doctor hummed in acknowledgement. “I had your hospital charts faxed to me, but I’d like to run the lab work myself, if that’s all right?” he looked to Liam, whom Louis was perched upon; the Alpha nodded.

“Good. Now, these are definitely ready to come out…” he motioned to the stitches.

Despite seeing the scissors and tweezers come out, Louis would have flinched at the first snip if not for the comfort of the Alpha's hands bracing his waist.

“We’ll also need to start you on a birth control regiment like Niall’s, I’m assuming. Twice yearly shots with small boosters after three months,” he said, concentrating on Louis’s head.

Louis felt the embarrassment creep into his cheeks. “You’re being very forward, Doc. I’m not that kind of omega.”

“Glad you kept the humor.”

“As long as that’s safe for him, Dr. Black. The birth control, not the humor. But, they said in Manchester that his hormone levels would be off for a while,” Liam worried, rubbing Louis’ sides.

“I’ll run his blood first to be sure, but I think it might actually help. The three of you just need to keep your knots to yourselves until it takes effect.”

The door open and then Niall turned around, “NO!!! No way no how! I’d rather you knock me up!” he ran down the hall.

“Niall,” Liam dropped his head between Louis’ shoulders as his alphas chased his omega down the hall.

“Still have to trick him into seeing me, I see,” Dr. Black smirked.

“Don’t take it so Sirius,” Louis chuckled. “Go on, Li, I’m all right.”

“Haz and Z have him,” Liam kissed his spine. “So, how soon can you start him on these shots?

Louis would have ducked his head, but the doctor was still finishing up.

“Given the amount of time you’ve been on suppressants, I’m hesitant to give you a solid answer until the lab work is done. I can rush it though. Just keep him away from Harry. A new omega might set his rut off early. And buy some condoms.”

“You haven’t even wined and dined me and you’re thinking of taking me to bed, Sirius. I’m scandalized,” Louis joked because this all felt so awkward he didn’t know what else to do.

“Well, I’m very Sirius about you.”

“No!!!” Harry and Zayn carried Niall in kicking and screaming.

“Do it for Hazza, babe,” Zayn implored.

“I need you this weekend, love.”

“And this was your choice. I’m sure we can start you on pills, but you kind of suck at remembering them,” Liam added. “And the patch made you itch. And, you decided, babe, you’re not ready for pups, yet.”

All true. Niall whined. “Damn you. Damn all of you and your perfect knots,” the blond flopped onto the bed theatrically. “Just give me the drugs, doc.”

“Nice to see you, too, Niall,” the doctor smiled at the omega’s dramatics and left Louis for a moment, prepping the Irishman’s arm and giving him the shot while he was up for it.

Louis winced at the sight, subconsciously rubbing his bicep.

“What are the other options again, doc? Pills, patch and shots, right?” Zayn asked for him.

“My suppressants were pills. I’m good at taking them,” Louis offered; his alphas scowled. “Too soon? Yeah,” he asked and answered himself.

“Honestly? Given your schedules what Niall’s on is your safest bet.”

“I’d be ok with that, too. At least it’s not every week,” he reassured Liam; the Alpha nuzzled him.

“If you’re sure. You still have time to think about it.”

Niall flailed and leapt into Zayn’s lap when another needle made an appearance. “I’m only due one! I’m only due one!!!”

“Just relax. It’s for Louis.”

The older omega just looked away while the doctor found a good vein and took three vials.

“That much?” Harry glared.

“Easy, tiger. I’m also checking up on his liver and kidney function. I read in his charts that there was some damage.”

“Dr. Amos called it minor,” Zayn said.

“I believe so. You’re young enough that your liver I’m not so worried about. But kidneys don’t regenerate.”

“Unless you’re Liam,” Louis joked.

“Well that was down to his presentation, and it still took years. Planning on turning into an alpha next?” Dr. Black raised his eyebrows.

“That would be an impressive trick. I’d get the full spectrum of genders.”

Niall giggled, “We just have to figure out how to turn you into a woman.”

“Zayn could help me with that,” Louis winked.

“I looked great with boobs,” Zayn shrugged. “It’s how I finally got Liam to cross the gender barrier and shag me more often,” he wiggled his eyebrows at the now red Alpha. “Why do you think Harry won’t cut his hair?”

“Kinky.” The doctor finished with Louis and finally smeared a cream over the leftover scar. “They kept the stitches small, but use this twice a day everyday. It’ll help.”

“Can he use that on the bite?” Harry’s question made the room tense.

“What bite?”

Self-conscious, Louis turned away while he tugged the collar of his shirt over.

“Which one of you did that?” the doctor brushed a finger over it; Louis flinched as the alpha's face popped into his head.

“We didn’t.”

That explained the burst of anger fuming the room. “Yeah, it couldn’t hurt. But that’s going to fade with time. It’s an alpha bite, but not a bonding mark after all. Rabid fan?”

“I wish,” Louis scrunched up his nose when Liam opened the tube.

“Creepy interviewer.”

The doctor hummed again. “The scar ointment should accelerate its disappearance. One of you could try biting it, opening it up and licking it shut. But even if you do, since it’s partially healed, it’s still going to take time to fade. The ointment will help.”

“We’ll definitely use it.”

“You’ve been eating better? Keeping your sodium intake low?”

“Ok, look, I’ve stopped drinking—except for that one day, I’ve stopped smoking—except that one time again, but nothing but McDonalds is open after our shows and I get hungry!”

“We’ll see if Sarah can’t start sending something with us,” Liam rubbed his side.

“But, it’s practically tradition! You can’t take that away from Niall—not a word, sunshine!” he said when the omega tried to object.

Dr. Black interrupted, “I’m not saying that you need to give up McDonalds entirely, Louis, but do make an effort.”

After a quick checkup on the rest of the pack—Harry in particular—Dr. Black had an extra reminder, “Keep Harry away from Louis until after his rut.”

Harry pouted. “Mine.”

“Because you’ve known Louis so long, but the claim is new, your alphas are a bit thrown. Zayn should be fine by his, but that,” he pointed at the dark possessiveness in the alpha’s green eyes, “might set him off early and if he ends up marking him...well.” It was a rule with any and every pack: the Alpha had to mark a new omega first, unless one of his alphas planned on breaking away. No one wanted a split, and considering how long the youngest alpha had wanted the oldest omega in combination with the oncoming rut and the addition to the pack dynamic, that threat was great. “Any concerns before I go?” Dr. Black asked.

Liam and Louis exchanged a glance.

“Go on.”

“Umm…” Liam wasn’t exactly sure how to start.

“I’m not…I mean…I think it was um…” Louis scratched his head. “I think it was the styfilitol, you see, I can get…um hard," he half coughed, "…but I haven’t been…”

"Wet," the Alpha finished for him.

“You’re not producing slick?” the doctor deduced.

Louis reddened and nodded his head; Niall, Zayn and Harry realized that they hadn’t smelt a thing while they had Louis under them (or against them). Liam just squeezed his hand.

“Chart, chart, chart…” Dr. Black dug around for the faxed forward hospital chart. “When was the last time you were?”

“…I guess, last October?”

“Is there a but?”

“Well, it was in my butt.”

The boys snickered, “Lou.”

“And excuse me. It’s the Booty. Like the Alpha.”

Louis laughed at Niall's comment, “So it’s the pack leader of butts?”

“Duh," the blonde was entirely serious.

“So, there’s a but?” the doctor chuckled; these boys were so much more fun than his average patients.

Louis shrugged. “I wasn’t usually. I hadn’t been...producing that... since I was seventeen, just before X Factor. I mean, it wasn't consistent either. But um…last October, with Selena I um...well...I did have slick, but she didn't notice, because...well, she was in heat.”

Niall growled. “You helped another omega through heat?!” Waves of jealousy flooded the room.

Dr. Black nonchalantly ignored it and flipped through the folder. “You’ve been off everything right? For a little over two weeks now? It could be your hormones still off. If it’s not, we’ll run a couple more tests and we’ll figure it out. Until then, use lube,” he said with a frankness that made Louis’s ears burn.

“Thank you, doctor,” they all said—except for the younger omega.

Zayn pinched Niall’s side.

“He just stabbed me in the arm!” and the Irishman was still ornery about his omega helping another one through a heat.

“He gave you a shot,” Liam corrected. “Niall, don’t be rude, please love.”

“Thank you, Dr. Black. For shooting me in the arm.”

“You’re welcome, Niall. I’ll be in touch, Liam,” as Dr. Black left, Paul pushed the cart with the boys overnight bags in.

“We leave for the commercial shoot in an hour. Grace will be right up to have a quick word. We’ll be taking the bus. Lou and Caroline are already on their way.”

“Thanks, Paul,” Liam nodded. “Did, um, our shipment come in?”

“In there,” with a knowing smile, Paul pointed to one of the two bedrooms at either end of the living area.

“Go on,” Harry patted Louis’s hip.

Louis turned to Niall, who looked equally as clueless. Zayn encouraged them both over.

The omegas’ eyes went wide as soon as they opened the adjoining door. “What. The. Fuck?”

“Lou doesn’t have a stuffy. All omegas have a stuffy,” Liam grinned. “So we thought we’d get him one.”

“So you bought an entire toy store?” Louis waded into the sea of plush dolls in every animal, every color, every size, covering the room from wall to wall.

"We wanted you to be able to choose."

“Oh, boys,” Niall had the tone of a face to palm moment.

“Um, thanks, I think,” Louis didn’t quite know where to start; it was sweet, but a little too much. He did look around for something in particular, but he couldn't find it. It wouldn't have been the same anyway. “Hey Ni. A friend for Wayne,” he grabbed a little rainbow bear and tossed it over.

“Lou, why don’t you take a shower, lovey? Then we’ll put your collar back on you and stretch out on the sofa or something?” Niall motioned to the bathroom. “I’ll bring your bag over.”

“Yeah, ok…” Louis looked warily at all the rest of the dolls, sure their eyes were following him.

“I thought this was a good thing,” Harry glanced at his alpha mates.

“Something they don’t teach you about omegas, boys,” Niall sighed once Louis had gone to shower. “Not all of us like stuffies because they’re cute and fluffy. Well, I guess that’s how it starts. But, Wayne still smells like a pile of leaves—like Dad and Greg did after raking in autumn and jumping into them with me. He still smells of Dadaì's soda bread and Mum's apple pie.”

“He does?” Liam raised an eyebrow because the rainbow teddy bear didn’t. He smelt like cotton and polyester.

“That’s what he smells like to me.”

“Well, fuck. What are we going to do with all these?” Zayn said in the doorway with Niall.

“Could donate them,” Louis called from the bathroom. “And yes, I can still hear you!”

Liam pulled Harry down when the alpha tried to join him. Harry snapped his teeth at him, but the Alpha gave a warning growl. “You’re aggressive because your rut is coming and you know it. He is yours and mine and Zayn’s and Niall’s. He’s ours. Say it, Lou.”

“I’m yours!” he yelled from the bathroom.

“We know that. You know that. You need to calm down.”

Harry sank into the cushions pouting; Niall slipped into his lap. “This was a very good thing, alpha. A very sweet and thoughtful thing to do for our omega,” he said, petting his alpha with all the care in the world.

“I’ll call Grace about donating these,” Zayn nudged a purple lion with his foot. “This one’s cute, Lou, are you sure?”

“Yes!”

“Thanks, babe,” Liam smacked his butt on the way towards the bed; the older alpha tried to glare but couldn’t.

 

One Direction Announces Louis’ Toy Drive!
Beginning at their concert tomorrow in Madrid, One Direction will be collecting stuffed animals for donations to local hospitals…

Chapter Text

“I think it’s a great idea. The move is as beneficial to hospital bound children as it is strategic to you and the band,” Grace sat at the suite’s dining room table with the boys. “It starts the process of cleaning up Louis’s image. We’ve already been in contact with hospitals here. We can continue it in your next few stops and see how it goes before the North American leg. There will be boxes, the fans have been asked to wrap them in clear plastic and leave them before the show. I thought about having them throw them on stage, but we all know that’s going to end badly,” she said knowingly. “So, Louis, the media hasn’t been running away with your story. That being said, we're going to hit three weeks now…”

“I know…” the omega said softly. “I’ll do it.”

“Lovey,” Niall reached for his hand. “You don’t have to.”

“Getting to the point that I think I do. I’ve been thinking about it more and more the last couple days. I can’t keep walking out there without giving the fans an explanation. After everything they’ve done for us, they’ve stuck with us—with me through a lot of shit. And if one or two of them is going through what I did…they need to know it’s not ok.”

"That's a very brave decision," Grace beat the alphas to saying it; she'd only known Louis a month, maybe, but she still felt a surge of pride for this boy. Her new clients didn't know how hard she was working a few of her less than reputable connections to both find that woman who called herself Louis' mother, and also make Jones' pretrial jail stay less than comfortable.

"It is, love, it's very brave," Zayn leaned over and kissed his cheek.

"We have a couple options already in play as to how you can do it-"

Eager to help, Harry interjected. “We could have Grimmy do it. He’s always been good to the band and—what?” the alpha caught the omega's rolling eyes. “What? You like Nick!”

“No, you like Nick,” there was not an ounce of submission in Louis’ voice. “I could do without him grabbing my ass every time he sees me.”

“Excuse me?!” the alphas growled.

Louis backed down and consulted with his omega counsel, “Lose the attitude?”

“I like the attitude,” Niall shook his head.

“No, Nick does what now?”

“Oh, come on,” Louis groaned. “Literally, every time he sees me—barring that first time, maybe—he grabs my ass and tells me it’s wasted on a beta! And you’ve heard it, I know you’ve heard it because you agreed with him once when you were drinking, you lush,” he hauled Niall into his lap.

“Well, I mean, it’s true, but Nick needs to keep his grimy hands off the Booty. It's mine,” Niall reached under Louis and gave it a squeeze.

Nothing but amused, Grace cleared her throat. “I, personally, think a printed interview will go over best for everyone. There won’t be any cameras, the boys can be right there with you, you can take all the time you need to say what you need to, and the timing won’t appear like you put it off too long. People Magazine are more than willing to play ball with us in that regard. You’ll have the front cover, we just have to get their journo out here with the photographers. Lou and Caroline are working on clothing options-”

“I don't have to be on that cover by myself, do I?” he grimaced.

“Oh, there’s no photo shoot for you. We can use an existing picture of you. But, the alphas are all a part of the Sexiest Alpha Alive issue, which is after this one, so, two birds, one stone. The journo can just work with you while the photographers work with them.”

“Then can the cover be one of me and Niall? Please?” he pouted like a true omega and Grace, who’d only braced herself for the blonde, was helpless against the brunette.

“I’ll see what I can do,” she'd fight someone if she had to, this boy didn't need anymore hardship in his life. “Now, get to that commercial and Harry, dear, do smile.”

Once they were back on the bus, lounging in the back on their way to a commercial shoot, Liam said, “Haz. I love you; you know that. But you and Louis can’t be alone until after your rut. So, I think Zayn and Louis should stay the night in one room and you, Niall and me can have the other.”

“I understand,” baby alpha sighed; he could see himself getting ridiculous, grabbing Louis and growling so much at his own pack, but he couldn’t bring himself to stop. “I guess our first date will have to wait.”

“After so many years, a few days won’t hurt,” Louis squeezed his hand; the contact snapped his control and Harry yanked him over, twisting him onto the couch and tongue fucking his mouth.

“Harry!” the alphas needed to pull them apart before Harry could rip Louis apart with his knot.

“You smell so good,” he growled, dark and possessive, even as he was pulled off. “But after our first date, you’re going to smell like me.”

“Better be one hell of a date,” Louis quipped. Harry lunged, the want flaring through the room.

Niall nodded to Liam and the two of them dragged Harry to the bedroom. A second later, Zayn and Louis heard literal tearing of clothes and a long moan from Niall. Liam reappeared with a shrug—then a glance at the thin ceiling. “Fucking hell.”

“Yeah, you can’t run from that,” Louis chuckled. Zayn turned up the volume of the television.

***
Harry got Niall naked and shoved him face first to the bed, crawling in between his open legs. He gripped Niall’s ass and spread it, licking at the slick already building up around his hole.

Niall groaned, biting his bottom lip. “Harry,” he rose to his knees a bit, backing towards the alpha’s tongue, but Harry spanked him and pushed him flat.

“Don’t move,” Harry ordered.

Niall’s body stilled beneath the alpha command. His Hazza—his usually sweet and romantic, candle lighting, rose petal scattering Hazza—only got this rough and needy around his rut, and every three months like clockwork, the thought of that familiar soreness made Niall’s ass a faucet of slick.

Harry licked him, palming his cheeks until he knew by the thickening smell of arousal alone Niall was wet enough. Opening his jeans, he pushed them down just enough and slammed into his omega. Their moans rattled the bus, the box spring creaking beneath the power of his thrusts.

The omega’s cock trapped between his hips and fitted sheet; thank god Liam bought sheets with a high thread count. The dryness of them combined with the sweat building on his own skin and caressed his hard flesh; like that time Liam jerked him off with hands still taped up from boxing. Harry spanked him again, like he knew his omega’s mind was drifting away from him.

“Mine,” he snarled. “Mine,” he leaned on one hand between Niall’s shoulders, pinning him to the mattress for leverage to thrust in and out of him like a piston. The other dug into the omega’s hip, white knuckles against reddening skin. “Say it,” he roared, gripping his skin tighter.

“Yours,” Niall moaned. “I’m yours!”

“What was that?!” he slapped a hand down against Niall’s butt cheek.

“Yours, alpha!” the edge of orgasm pinched the tone of his voice. “I’m yours, alpha!”

The force of Harry’s thrusts had Niall writhing against the sheet, not that he needed it. His eyes rolled back in ecstasy when Harry found the angle that nailed his prostate and went at it like a jackhammer. He wasn’t sure if it counted as coming untouched with his cock trapped as tightly as it was, but he was so close, so quick that it hurt. His body stiffened beneath Harry, around Harry, like a coil waiting to be released. He hung on tight, the anticipation rocketing inside him.

Harry bit down on the bonding mark he’d left on the crux of Niall’s neck and the memory soared between them of a suite in Paris, held hands pinned to soft sheets, Harry tying them together, the both of them bursting with love and the start of their forever. Lost in reverie, his knot surprised him, spreading Niall’s rim until he pushed it deeper into his omega.

“Harry!” Niall sobbed against the cotton, needing a release—literally to be released. “Alpha, please!”

“Come for me, love,” he kissed and licked the scarred skin, hips moving minutely in the aftermath. Niall came so hard beneath him that he dropped.

Once he caught his breath, Harry carefully settled the two of them on their sides; this was the only time he really liked being the big spoon. He tried kicking his trousers off, but failed.

With a sigh, he whined, “Liam! Liam, help!”

Liam appeared. “You rang, darling.”

Though careful to keep strong arms wrapped around the dazed omega, baby alpha pouted, “I’m stuck in my trousers.”

***

Their clothes were set out for them in the studio’s dressing room and they each inspected their rack curiously.

Harry had settled after thoroughly fucking Niall, who, post-omega-space, had gone along with whatever had been said. With Niall in his lap, the alpha propped his feet up next to the red roses on the coffee table, his carnal needs satisfied (for now.)

Zayn frowned when he saw a flash of the bite Harry had been talking about. The next thing Louis knew he was pinned to the wall, Zayn tugging off the shirt he’d just put on.

“Zayn,” Louis whined. “We have a meeting with the director-”

“Shhh,” the alpha pressed to him tighter and licked at the wound. He couldn’t heal the bite of another alpha the way that alpha could—most of his gender didn’t touch the mark of another and he’d always respected Liam’s and Harry’s—but he was sure as hell going to try. After spitting the first tastes of ointment out, he traced the scar with the tip of his tongue until Louis squirmed.

“Z…”

Zayn lined his teeth up around the mark and bit down. He caught a flash of Louis pinned to the couch, struggling.

“My pretty little whore…”

“LiZaynHaz! Help! Please help!!”

The alpha clamped down hard. An impression wouldn’t have stayed with a beta, but it rang loud and clear from the omega— meaning he was bit deep enough to leave it. Memories didn't attach to an omega outside of bonding otherwise, and Zayn radiated with an angry possessiveness that rivaled pre-rut Harry.

Louis thought being bitten again would frighten him. That day with that alpha he’d been terrified and the bite had made him feel dirty and panicked. But, Zayn’s teeth on him were possessive in a comfortable way to the omega, and Louis couldn’t help but reply to it, “Yours.”

“Alpha,” Niall coughed.

“Yours, alpha,” Louis gulped, lifting Zayn’s mouth to his and the quivering of butterflies dancing to a beat began.

Remembering the words of their youngest, Liam turned to the alpha with an approaching rut. But the simple pout on his face gave the Alpha nothing but relief. “Zaaayn! That’s where I was going to mark him.”

Niall chuckled, “he has another collarbone, love,” he pressed his lips to Harry. The feel of the youngest alpha’s come teased his rim while he licked his way into his mouth.

Liam looked at his happy pack and smiled. In his contentment, he eyed Louis’s neck. One to match Niall’s, just below his jaw, his Alpha decided on the placement of his mark. Above where a scarf of a shirt collar would fall. Where it would always show. So everyone would know whom he belonged to.

Paul walked in and sighed, “Really? We’re going to have to do this with Louis now? Five minutes and the director will be here.” Amusement lined the beta’s exasperation as he shut the door and gave a ‘do not disturb’ motion to the rest of the security team.

“Yup,” Zayn leaned back down to lick the bite; it was puffy and pink and they’d have to wait and see how it healed again. While an alpha, to a certain extent, could heal an omega's little nicks or bites or scrapes, reopening an old would wasn't guaranteed to work. For now, the alpha just reminded his omega, “Mine. Any time. Anywhere. And don’t you dare forget it.”

Louis’ whimper sparked three lusty growls. With Liam watching Harry, Niall of all people threw Louis to the ground; before the alphas could worry about their fiancé’s jealous streak, the blond omega straddled Louis, grinding down on his lap.

“Didn’t you just get off?” Louis moaned, the bulge of his cock rubbing against Niall’s.

Niall couldn’t wait to see Louis prone, on a mattress soaked with their slick, the omega pumped full of alpha cum and so far gone that he could only make that glorious whimper. He thought he was going to have to shoot this commercial sporting a semi, but then rubbing one off against Louis just seemed like such a better idea. He writhed against the arching brunette, leaving little love bites all over Louis’ neck. His front row seat to those soft whimpers did nothing but spur the blonde on.

“Niall…” the authority in the Alpha’s voice failed under the rush of omega pheromones and he moved aside the vase of red roses to get a better view.

“Don’t stop them, Li. Please? This is everything I’ve ever wanted,” bouncing in his seat, Harry kept his whisper lower than the wet slide of their omegas’ lips against each other’s. But he couldn’t help but groan long and loud when Louis rolled Niall to the floor and started thrusting against him, the Booty working back and forth between their fiancé’s spread legs, taunting them with every movement.

“Louis,” Niall rolled his hips into him, thanking his lucky starts that he’d started wearing skinny jeans because Louis was right there against him. Hands gripped Niall’s waist, instinctively finding where Harry’s had been earlier. Fingers tugged at Louis’s hair, twisting him into a long kiss. The alphas felt Louis build the tension with increasing fervor. They heard the well-known edge in Niall’s throat, saw it in the shudder in Louis’ bare back, just beneath the clench of Niall’s hands dug into his muscles, both clinging with desperation.

“Come for us boys,” Liam ordered. The low growl released the hold both omegas were keeping on their orgasms, coming hard in their pants.

They rocked together, coming down slowly, clutching each other in the aftermath. Louis flopped down next to Niall, breathing heavily.

Still boneless and twitching, Niall lazily slapped his hip. “I’m so mad that you kept that from me for so long.”

“No one is more mad at me than I am,” Louis sighed happily, lacing his fingers into Niall’s.

“Just wait until you see his cock, babe,” Liam smirked. “It’ll be a fight to keep that out of your mouth.”

The peacefulness Harry alpha had found earlier disappeared and he glared at his Alpha, who raised a pointer finger in warning.

“Like you didn’t taste Liam this morning when you kissed him,” Zayn wilted into the nearest couch, knowing he’d be watching his Alpha assert his authority. “I could still taste it right now.”

“Not helping, Zayn,” Liam rolled his eyes and wrestled to keep Harry in his chair. Really, the things I have to do as Alpha, he smiled and pulled out the younger man’s cock out to stroke it. Harry grit his teeth, scowling at the Alpha, whose body had him pinned. “Say it, Hazza,” he twisted his dry hand up and down Harry’s cock, the friction walking the good edge of painful.

“Alpha," he muttered.

“Who’s Alpha?” while most pack leaders would have shied away from demanding submission from another alpha so close a rut Liam knew Harry well. Submission would help center him. Harry had thought his entire childhood that he was going to be an omega. Anne and Des had encouraged it, embracing the prospect of a rare omega son. But then he presented at an alpha at thirteen—surprising everyone with a six inch growth spurt and a deeper voice over night—and spent the next four years trying to figure out how to be an alpha. He tried to act and dress and be, what he and his friends perceived as, alpha, until Des saw how unhappy he was. His father sat him down and told him that some alphas just belonged in packs. That being subordinate didn't make him less of an alpha, in the same way that submission didn't make an omega any less of a person. Harry just needed to find an Alpha who understood him, and he did.

“My Alpha,” the younger one’s head fell back, neck exposed and body vulnerable; Liam bit down harder than he ever would Louis and Niall. But to leave a mark on an alpha took much more than they could handle. Harry hissed, coming into Liam’s hand the moment the Alpha’s teeth punctured his skin. Between Liam licking it, and Harry’s alpha healing, the mark would only be there for a few hours, but it would be there nonetheless.

Louis gaped at the rare splendor of an alpha’s submission; Liam didn’t ask for it very often and Louis had never gotten to see such an intimate display of the alphas’ dynamic before. Niall though, demanded his attention back. Just as the bleach blonde mounted Louis again, intent on stripping and licking him clean, the door opened.

“Boys,” Paul shook his head. “The director is ready for you all.”

The pack replied with five simultaneous groans.

Chapter Text

After a pleasant but uneventful fragrance commercial filming, work wrapped for the night.

Liam sent Harry, Louis and Niall to the bus and went looking for his missing alpha. He found him on the studio’s loading docks, cigarette in mouth, a couple butts scattered on the ground.

“You haven’t needed a smoke in a while. Not like this,” Liam joined him carefully. Niall had finally gotten Zayn (and Liam, but the Alpha’s habit had never been as intense) to start quitting with the irrefutable argument ‘wouldn’t you rather quit now than when I’m pregnant with your pup.’ The alpha had done well with the patch, for him to be chain smoking now, something was wrong

“He called for us,” Zayn sounded dangerous, felt a need to kill like never before, and looked a combination of both. “Saw it when I bit down on the scar. Heard him. Can’t get it out of my head now.”

“Who?”

“Louis. When that bastard attacked him. When he got bit. It’s deep enough that there’s an impression attached. When we were across the fucking stadium, he was pinned under that piece of shit, screaming for you and me and Haz to help him,” Zayn took a deep pull of blissful nicotine to keep his anger from rising.

The terms bite, scar and mark were generally interchangeable. Alphas bit to reprimand or assert their dominance from time to time like Liam did to Niall just the other day. That mark had faded quickly. But, a permanent bonding mark could only be left on an omega if an alpha was knotted to them. It was the only time a good dominant would bite hard enough, deep enough to encase that moment in the scar as an impression.

Because Louis and that bastard weren’t knotted (and the alphas both thanked every deity they could think of that it hadn’t gotten that far), the scar left behind would fade with time, impression or not. But, the fact that it existed at all and had been deep enough to haunt the omega with its memory had Liam seething with anger and regret. They should have been there for Louis. They should have known. They should have tracked that bastard and ripped him to pieces.

But, that bastard was the police's business now. It was Louis that needed their attention, “Do you think you got deep enough to break the impression?”

“I think so.” Biting that deep went against his nature, even if he was trying to heal it.

“Good. It should help it fade quicker. We can’t change what happened, no matter how much we want to. We just have to be here for him now. That’s all we can do and that’s what we will do.”

Zayn sighed in relief when the Alpha held him. Even during that brief year before Harry, when he and Liam were supposed to be partners, equals in their dominance, Liam had this way about him. Niall had him falling in love from the start, with his perpetual positivity and gorgeous smile and those eyes—god those eyes. But, one morning in the van, Zayn fell asleep against Liam, and woke up in love with him. The Alpha was safe and solid and brave and everything Zayn had never knew he wanted, but always needed. Though he didn’t need to formally recognize Liam as Alpha until they became pack with Harry, a part of him always had.

“Love you,” Liam rested his forehead against his.

“Love you.”

“C’mon, I don’t want to leave baby alpha alone with the omegas too long.”

Zayn tossed his cigarette to the ground and stomped it out. The moment they reentered the lounge, he pounced on Louis, tussling the unsuspecting omega onto him.

“Liiiiaaammm! Zayn stole my omega,” Niall whined. Liam and Harry cuddled him close.

“Zaynie needs him for a bit,” Liam could see that, even in his pre-rut pattern, Harry felt that. “You can have him back later.”

Louis rested his chin on Zayn’s sternum, curious blue eyes tuned to him.

“You’re terribly beautiful,” Zayn stroked his cheek. Louis burrowed his pink cheeks to Zayn’s chest.

“You smell good.”

“You would think that. You’ve been so good not smoking,” Zayn played with a lock of his hair. “Will you have Lou do the flip thing with your hair? Gotta stop hiding your eyes behind all this.”

“You lot and my hair,” he mumbled into Zayn’s tee. “I have an ugly scar on my forehead.”

Zayn pushed back the fringe and kissed it. “You’re so pretty no one will notice.” The alpha trapped him between himself and the back of the couch. “You are. You’re so pretty. I wanna draw you. Or on you. Yeah, definitely on you. Will you let me?”

“I’m all tattooed already.”

“So? I’ll color you in first.”

Nose buried into Zayn’s neck and the scent of molasses soaked tobacco seduced him into agreeing. “Whatever you want.”

With Liam staying with Harry and Niall, that’s how Zayn and Louis spent their night together. Freshly showered, Louis laid, belly down on the crisp white sheets, Zayn sat along side him doodling on his back, both shirtless.

“You’re not using sharpies, are you?” Louis murmured. The soft tip of the marker dragged along him gently, the warm weight of Zayn’s hands next to it. This was the best massage ever.

“Washable,” Zayn whispered so as not to disrupt their intimate peace.

Louis reached over for the black one; Zayn swatted his bum. “Stop moving, babe. I’m gonna smudge.” But the omega didn’t listen, not until he drew a little smiley face on Zayn’s big toe.

By the end of it, Louis had a pair of angel wings across his back, a big red heart connecting them under the nape of his neck with their names drawn into it, Batman and the Joker across his stag-less arm, and zen doodles of lines and squiggles and shapes along his side.

“Hey angel?” Zayn twisted around to share the omega’s pillow.

Eyes closed, Louis hummed something affirmative like.

“I love you.”

“I know. I love you, too.” He didn’t add the bro to the end. He didn’t have to make it platonic anymore.

“I can’t wait to keep falling in love with you,” Zayn slipped a knee between Louis’ thighs and an arm around his waist.

“Z?” Louis murmured into the hollow of his throat.

“Mmm?”

“I’m sorry I lied to you. And pretended to be someone I’m not. And stuff.”

“I know, jaan. And, I understand why you did it,” Zayn kissed his head. “But, we’re not sixteen anymore. I won’t give you that ‘we’re the alphas’ crap. Being the oldest trumps almost everything; I learned that from my sister before you. But you’re ours now, love. You’re ours and we’re yours. Now, we get to protect you.”

Louis nodded. “I understand, alpha.”

“Good,” he flipped off the lights and tucked the blankets around them.

Zayn woke to quiet voices and the smell of candy floss.

“Hi,” Niall sat next to Louis.

“Good morning, love,” Zayn yawned, checking that Louis stayed tucked under the blanket, even as he slipped his arms from around the brunette.

“May I have my omega back now, alpha?” the Irishman asked sweetly.

“Sure, babe,” he replied with a kiss to Louis’ head and Niall’s cheek. He lifted the comforter for the younger omega to squeeze in.

Niall gasped at the art on Louis’ back. “You graffitied him!”

“Yes, but now you get to clean him off. You’re welcome,” he stretched.

“Wait, I wanna see!” naked and sporting all the signs of an alpha who’d been fucked into submission, Harry dived onto the bed and ripped the sheets down. “We seriously have to consider edible body paint.” He traced the feathers. “Will you graffiti me, Z?”

“Sure, love,” he patted the bed and grabbed his markers. Happily, he prostrated himself between his alpha partner and his omega, who’d slept through all the ruckus.

“I vote for a lazy morning in bed,” Liam rolled the hotel cart laden with breakfast into the room. “Clean up later, ok, Ni?” he lifted the cover off a plate of pancakes, and how was Niall supposed to say no to that?

Louis snuffled when he woke, finally opening his eyes. He expected Zayn, maybe even Niall, but not Harry’s bright green eyes and sweet smile.

“Good morning, sunshine.”

Louis sat up so fast his head spun.

“Pancakes?” Niall held out a bite from where he’d perched on the edge of the bed.

“Come eat, Tommo,” Liam patted his lap. Scratching at his sleep wild hair, Louis made his way over to the Alpha. “Can we leave the wings on? It’s dead sexy,” he kissed the top curve of it before Louis curled into his lap like an oversized kitten.

“Hey, Haz?” he smacked the taste of sleep away from his lips.

“Yeah, Lou?”

“Niall’s sunshine.”

“Get it right, alpha, geez! Already getting your omegas mixed up,” the blonde teased.

Harry and Zayn exchanged a look before darting to the blonde and tickling him.

“Not too much, lads, he’s eating,” Liam lightly ran his fingernails up and down Louis’ back. “Ok, babe?”

Louis nodded, sleep still clouding his mind, and nestled his head onto Liam’s shoulder. “Not woke yet.”

The alpha kissed his forehead. “Then rest, angel. We’ve got you.”

“Gentlemen!” Paul said from the doorway. “People photo shoot in fifteen. Louis, your interviewer is down there and he’s ready whenever you are.”

Well. That woke Louis.

“You’ve read through the questions,” Liam cupped his face and spoke before Louis' mind could run away with doubts and fears. “He’s really just going to guide you through your story, and Grace and the team will double check everything before it’s printed. We’re going to be near you the entire time. Ok?”

“…ok.”

It was now or never.

***

Despite the thousand of pictures to choose from, the cover was a candid shot the photographer just took for fun of Niall with both arms slung around Louis, the two omegas with half smiles just after a long laugh.

While the three alphas of pop sensation One Direction strut their muscles for the cameras in the quaint courtyard of their Spanish hotel, Louis Tomlinson watches on with their fiancé and band mate, Niall Horan.

“No, Harry, do the thing. You have to do the sexy hair flip thing, like this,” Niall throws his head animatedly, and he and Louis dissolve into a fit of giggles.

The boys who finished third on Britain’s X Factor are young men now, four of them engaged, three sporting facial hair, and all undeniably more confident. Older and edgier they might be, the pack still has the same warm, tight knit feel to them, as though the gravity of today has no bearing on them. As if today isn’t the first public interview with Louis Tomlinson, the omega.

Two weeks ago amid an elevator accident that put him in the hospital, an online vigil and a scandal involving the arrests of their former management team, the pack slipped in the announcement that the member the world thought was the ever available, hard partying beta was, in fact, an omega forced to be so.

The alphas watch carefully as Louis sits down, across courtyard but within eyesight, and undoubtedly earshot. He’s ready to dive right in, but adamant not to play this as a sob story. He’s living his dream, he has the pack behind him, and the lying is over. “It was one of the worst parts. Getting everything I could have ever dreamed of, but having to do it as someone I’m only pretending to be. You can’t enjoy it fully, not when you’re always looking over your shoulder and waiting for the world to collapse beneath your feet. But, when you’re eighteen and you and your new best friends are offered all this, you don’t think about the consequences.

I had never told anyone [about being an omega] to that point. Not my sisters or my dad, or the beta boyfriend I had when I was sixteen. I’d kept all my friends at arm’s length, the pack included, so no one would know. In retrospect, I don’t know whether I told [Simon] Jones the truth so he could help me or to get permission to continue pretending.”

Louis is quick to clarify though that he has no problems with omegas or being one. “It’s just that being an omega was a problem for my mother. She always had a laundry list of reasons as to why I had to be a beta. I needed too much, she was too busy, my presenting was a mistake. And, I believed her.”

Eighty percent of parental abuse cases involving omegas start with one or both parents rejecting the child after presentation. In Louis’ case at fourteen.

“I remember I presented at home after school on a Friday. My mum had left to drop my sisters off at my dad’s. She came home and she was so mad. She locked me in my room for the duration of it. I started suppressants a couple weeks later. At first, there were so many times I wanted to tell my dad, or a friend, or someone. But, after a while, after lying so many times, I became convinced that the only way I could be good was to keep pretending.”

At this point, Niall crawls into his lap and Louis looks at him like he hung the moon—or the sun given his nickname for his band mate.

“What’s up, Sunshine?” when Niall contents himself with just sitting against Louis, the latter continues, “Keeping it from [the band] was the hardest. Especially in the beginning. I had a chance for this whole new start with these amazing people. But, I was always afraid of it not panning out and having to return to my life before and I couldn’t do that if I was an omega. And, I didn’t want my mum to go to jail. I didn’t want to go to jail either, for that matter. But then, everything did work out, but I couldn’t go back. And, time just made it worse,” Louis says, more to Niall than anyone else.

“There were so many times I wanted to come clean. To come out, so to speak. Because I wanted to stop lying. I wanted to feel anything other than fear…and self loathing. Isn’t that a movie?” he asks Niall, clearly trying to get the omega to smile for him. “Fear and self loathing in Las Vegas?”

Like his mother, Jones had a list of reasons why Louis couldn’t, chief among them that the party boy image was a better sell for him and for the band. But, the womanizing rumors couldn’t be further from the truth.

“I couldn’t physically be with any of them. Well. I could. But, there was this underlying fear of being found out and mucking it up for the five of us. And I couldn’t do that to them. So, anyone I “picked up” at a club went home alone after that. I hated myself for lying so much to everyone I cared about, to everyone I wanted to care deeply about. I wasn’t fair to them. But Jones insisted I play my part. That it was impossible to change how the world saw me.

“I’d always found ways to cope with being lonely, but in the last year, I started giving up. Not because of Jones, but because…I was done. I was tired. I just wanted it to be over, but I’d given up hope that it would ever be over. I stopped asking for it to end, started drinking more and more. Stopped caring. Just done. If the lift didn’t play table tennis with my head, I might not have come forward at all.”

“May not have gotten a chance to,” Niall adds as he brushes Louis’ hair off his forehead. There’s a fresh scar from said game of elevator table tennis—though, without it, he may have died.

“It’s a dangerous game, suppressant use. The last one I was on killed other omegas. If I’d taken them right, the doctors say I wouldn’t have survived either. So, this a small price to pay, I suppose,” he says about the healed gash. “Waking up in that hospital should have been a reality check. But it wasn’t. Because my first thought wasn’t about my health or why I was there to begin with. It was oh god, do they smell me and where are my pills. And then Liam said we know [that you’re an omega], and everything changed.

I thought, well, this is it. It’s all over. I have to leave the band, or we’ll all lose everything. It’s what I’d been groomed to believe. That everyone would hate me, that the pack would hate me. But they didn’t. They’ve stuck by me—literally, I’ve grown a Niall, you see? Isn’t he precious?” he motions to the omega in his lap as much as he pulls him in tighter.

“Mine,” Niall doesn’t mean for anyone else to hear.

“And the fans have been immensely supportive as well. And, after everything they’ve done for us, I felt that I owed them the truth. And an apology. I’m genuinely sorry that I lied. I never wanted to hide, but the fact is that I did. But, more than that, I figured, if this—the suppressants, being forced into being a beta—if this can happen to me, it’s probably happening to someone else. Maybe even to one of our fans. And I want them to know that they’re not alone, and, if they take away anything from all this, it’s that…it is not ok to be asked to be anything but yourself.”

At Louis’ request, numbers and resources for abused omegas ran alongside the story in every country that printed it.

Chapter Text

Taylor Speaks Out
“I don’t think Louis has anything to apologize for, not to me at least. Beta, omega, whatever, he was a good boyfriend. He was very sweet and attentive. Tommo really knew how to woo a girl,” Swift gushed about her former flame. “I haven’t gotten a chance to talk to him. I just hope he’s doing well with all this and I wish him all the best.”

Sitting on the bus after the second Madrid show, Harry slapped the paper down, “They didn’t say they were going to talk to your exes.”

“Grace said it was to discourage the people I picked up at clubs from using the story for their fifteen minutes,” Louis shrugged.

“I want to be wooed by Tommo,” Liam pouted. “That ho got to be.”

“Don’t talk street, Alpha. It doesn’t suit you,” Niall kissed his cheek.

“Fine,” Louis shrugged again, the padlock of his collar jarring in the hollow of his neck. The foursome looked at him expectantly. The omega glanced at them over the rim of his teacup, “I woo on my own time, thanks.”

The story was going in People’s next issue, but management had gotten a peek at the final layout of the three-page spread; Taylor’s bit was attached as a side blob.

“All in all, it reads in your favor, the pictures they included of you and Niall are adorable. And it’s done and we're all very proud of you,” Zayn wrapped an arm around Louis. “C’mon, let’s get some rest. We’ll be in Barcelona soon.”

Once they got into the bedroom, Liam grabbed Harry’s arm, “No, no, Hazza, you at one end, Louis at the other.”

The alpha growled and wrapped around the smiley omega.

“Harry,” the Alpha warned.

“Fine, fine, fine,” he sighed.

Louis rolled to the other end and waved to Harry while Zayn, Liam and Niall climbed between them. Zayn slipped Louis' collar off; they were all too paranoid of it choking him while he slept.

“Gonna have to settle for me, Haz,” Niall slipped beneath the covers; Harry jerked him closer.

“Not settling. Never settling.”

***

“Louis Tomlinson!” a voice boomed through the bus and all three alphas sat up.

Recognizing that voice, the summoned omega snuck under the blanket. “I’m not here!”

“Selena, you cannot just walk into their bedroom, baby-“

“Justin?” Zayn scratched his bedhead as the door flew open.

“Louis Tomlinson!” she glared at the two lumps between the three alphas and grabbed one of the two still under the blankets.

Still too sleepy to really understand what was going on, Niall stuck a hand out and pointed across the bed.

“Louis,” the Texan growled.

The brunette folded the blanket down. “Hello, darling. Fancy seeing you here.”

“Outside, now!” she tapped her foot. “Please,” she added as an afterthought.

Justin shrugged at the still half asleep alphas and blonde omega. “Sorry.”

“Now Louis!”

“All right, all right, I’m coming. You’d think you were the alpha. So damn bossy,” Louis yawned and grabbed his jeans.

“Take a jumper,” Niall yawned and tugged the blanket over himself. “Harry,” he patted the bed expectantly.

Harry leered at Justin’s retreating form before sinking into the omega’s arms. “Li?”

“Of course we’re going, Haz. We’ll be back,” Liam and Zayn grabbed some clothes before following the Canadian out.

***

“When did you get a sleeve?” she lifted the cotton to see the fading Batman and Joker.

“No, Zayn just drew on me,” he smiled at the fresh memory; he'd worn his Vans baseball tee to hide it during the second night in Madrid because he didn't want to scrub it off.

She took his hand as they walked, the familiar warmth pulling him along. “I wanted…I went to Manchester while you were in the hospital. I just I didn’t know what to say."

“What’s there to say?”

“Oh, I don’t know. Let’s start with why didn’t you tell me? I understand why you didn’t tell Taylor. That was all a setup, but me? I let you help me through a heat! The least you could do was tell me you were an omega. Speaking of which,” she glanced down at his zipper and back up. “You’re sure?”

“Yes,” he laughed. “And I didn’t tell anyone.”

“Ed?”

“Does everyone know about me and Ed?”

“You didn’t exactly hide it. Like other things,” she said pointedly.

“I couldn’t tell you, Len.”

“Why? Were you protecting me, too?”

“No. Selena. I couldn’t.”

The realization crossed her face. “Alpha command?”

“Jones,” Louis nodded. “It had worn off, I think, by the time we met and all but still it was the first time, I’d heard, er, that I’d been given an order like that.”

“It was the first time an alpha voice was directed at you? Your dad, Mark I mean, never…”

“Nope. Mum kept me away from him as much as possible. He thought she was punishing him for the divorce, I knew it was so he didn’t smell me. You angry?”

“Was. Not anymore, I guess. It was more hurt. I told you everything, Louis. Everything. We—we were…” her voice dropped away from the scolding disappointment, to something sincere and heartbroken.

Louis squeezed her hand and the emotion in his throat kept his sentiment to a whisper, “We were almost in love.”

“We were in love.” What had started out as a ruse to get her alpha back had turned into something deeper than either of them had expected. His independence and spontaneity were exciting and by the time Justin came back into the picture, loving her friend had reached the cusp of being in love with him.

“I know,” he twisted his palm against hers so he could lace their fingers together, the way he did when he pressed her hand to the mattress. “If I’d been a beta, I would have fought so much harder to keep you.” Her strength as an omega was intriguing and she had been so open with him, so trusting and he had had to give in to her affections in public and eventually couldn't do without them in private, and then one day she looked at him and he felt like he could do anything--even be a beta.

“Louis, if I’d known, I would have…”

“I know,” he kissed her forehead. They all would have done something and it was the great irony of Louis’ life that that was the exact reason he couldn’t tell anyone.

Before Louis and Selena could continue walking, two voices called out to them.

“Louis!”

“Selena!”

Glancing back their Alphas each twirled a finger in the air: the international sign for turn around.

Selena narrowed her eyes. She and Louis exchanged a look and took off in the other direction.

“You haven’t forgiven him,” he said when they made it away from the stadium and into the side streets.

“What? No, you don’t get to psychoanalyze me.”

“Crazy knows crazy, love, ow,” he chuckled, wincing and pulling a rock out of his bare foot. “You got him back almost, what, eight, nine months ago now? But you haven’t forgiven him.” Justin was a young alpha, dealing with fame on his own, unlike the pack; they had two other alphas to challenge and settle them. Selena was, for all intensive purposes, his mate, but he wasn't ready to admit that, to work for that. So he left, claiming that he wasn't ready to bond, yet. It was a mistake he had to make, and they both knew it. But, Selena was never going to be the omega who waited around like a lost sheep, but, at the same time, she didn’t want another alpha. She and Louis had met through Taylor, and so she called her friendly neighborhood beta to date her, right in his face. It was only casual at first, to show him she wasn't missing him. But when Justin started down a path she was afraid he wouldn't be able to come back from, she made 'Lena and Loulou' an official thing to see what he'd do. And eventually, Justin came to his senses and fought for his girl; Louis almost didn't let her go.

“I…I thought I did. I do. I have, I mean. I trust him. I trust that,” she pointed to her bonding mark.

“But you’re still mad.”

“He left me for some bitch. Moved out of our house, shacked up with some cunt with a cute ass,” she blurted.

“And when he realized you weren’t planning on waiting for him, he came running back.”

“Because he didn’t want to lose to a beta,” she exposed the root of the problem.

“You’re afraid that’s all it is?” he opened the door to a little café and motioned her in.

They sat down and ordered Spanish style hot chocolate and churros. “Pretty sure if I’d gone to omega-you he’d come running back even faster. You were pretty as a beta, but as an omega it’s just not fair.”

Louis blushed and then rubbed his face. “I keep doing that.”

“That’s just your omega, Loulou,” she used the cheesy nickname. To his horror, she had said it as a joke in front of the paps on one of their outings and ‘Lena and Loulou’ went viral. “Finally getting the attention you need,” she nudged his leg with her foot.

“Speaking of deserve: you changed the subject,” Louis leaned onto the table. “He picked you. He fought for you. He's going to keep letting you punish him because it's what he thinks you need, but you both deserve to be happy, Lena. And you’re only going to get that if you let it go.”

“Such sage advice,” she sighed in that way that he knew meant ‘I’ll consider it.’ “So, have you slept with them yet?” she smirked.

Louis laughed at the abrupt change in subject. She wanted to know everything, so in the corner of the small café, he spilled his guts about everything from the hospital to the collar to now.

“No wonder they want Harry to wait. If he’s close to a rut, he’d mark the shit out of you.”

“I feel kinda bad. I threw him for a loop and he’s struggling with this one.”

“He gets to have you. That boy has wanted you for years. Of the four of them, he was the only one who didn't even try to like me, no matter what I did."

"He tried."

"No. He tolerated me because he thought I made you happy." She knew the entire pack was jealous of her relationship with their 'beta,' the one that they didn't think they could have with him. But, Harry had been worse.

"You went to fashion week together!"

"We went to fashion week all together and he gave me the side eye the entire time!"

"...did he really?"

"Yes!" her laughter settled before she pointed to the hand he kept rubbing against his collarbone. "Why do you keep doing that?”

“It itches,” he mumbled, but it wasn’t quite the scabbing over itch. It was something else. Like peeling sunburn, but more irritating.

“Liam bit you already?!”

“No,” he sighed and told her about the Geordie alpha, but even as he mentioned Zayn, she was already pulling out her phone.

“We figured we’d give you a bit before we tracked you—“

“Justin? Track me now and bring Louis’ security detail,” she said, eyes scoping out their surroundings.

“Selena, what’s wrong?”

“It’s probably nothing,” she tucked her phone away, the find-my-omega app lighting up. “It’s a mark, Lou. Or at least, an attempt at one,” she tried to explain, “Oh baby omega, you’re so cute and clueless. When Justin’s around, I know. I can’t hear what he’s thinking, but I can feel it. I can feel him."

“That’s what Niall said it’s like after you bond.”

“Yes, but alphas aren’t supposed to, well, do that, not that deep and not outside of a bonding moment and definitely not without consent. People say that we wouldn’t feel it like we would a bond. But, it would hurt whenever the alpha was close—“

“Like a warning sign?” he huffed incredulously.

“Like an itch.”

Louis felt his sweat turn cold. Did that mean he was here?

“It might be nothing. Like you said, Zayn bit it open and it’s in that scabby phase, but better safe than sorry, you know? Besides, too many witnesses for anyone to get you,” she nodded to the fans building outside.

On cue, Justin and Liam burst through the café door. “What’s wrong?” the Canadian scooped Selena out of her chair.

“Are you ok?” Liam did the same with Louis.

“If you’re just trying to get out of a hiding-“

“He’s here, I think. He-“ she looked at Liam and then at the unwanted bite. “It itches. I’m sorry, I never would have pulled him away like that if I knew.”

Liam bristled. “Paul, do you see him?”

“No,” Paul and Preston glanced around the shop. “No, but let’s get out of here. Your fans are starting to swarm.”

Liam lifted his barefoot omega onto his hip, letting him cling like a giant koala as he whispered, “I won’t let anyone hurt you. You’re safe, Louis love. You’re safe.”

“We’d better go, baby,” Justin said when they reached the stadium unscathed.

“Say goodbye to Selena and then up to the bedroom,” Liam nodded, putting Louis down.

“Goodbye to Selena and than up to the bedroom,” Louis replied obediently. He hugged the lady omega and added with more sincerity, “And thank you.”

“Love you, Loulou,” she smirked.

Justin extended a hand, possibly for the first time. “I can’t hurt you now, you know that right?”

“Ha ha,” Louis teased as the alpha pulled him in for a bro hug. “Take care of her. And acknowledge the fact that she’s not a prize you won; that’s what she needs,” he whispered the last part.

“I will.”

Done double-checking that security would go over the car park’s perimeter, and that the alphas remembered the Geordie’s scent, Liam also said his goodbyes and marched Louis towards the bus and a smirking Zayn.

Knowing he was safe inside the gates, Louis asked, “I’m getting spanked, aren’t I?”

“Yup,” the alpha rubbed his hands together; he couldn’t wait to see that ass in its uncovered perfection.

“This sucks,” he sighed. Inside he danced, no scratches though bitch, stop whining. “I wouldn’t be getting spanked if I was still a beta.”

Zayn grabbed his arm. “As a beta, you were safer. There is an entire world of black market, sex trafficking creeps who abduct omegas and sell them to the highest bidder. Being in the public eye doesn’t help; it makes it worse. You are at more risk because somewhere out there, there might be a super fan willing to pay ten million for a chance to breed you.”

“I’m worth at least twenty,” Louis bantered, but Zayn slammed both hands on the wall behind Louis’ head.

“You’re priceless, Louis, and we cannot lose you.”

“Ok, ok,” Louis cringed. “I get it. I’m sorry.”

“Do you? Then say it.”

“Say what?”

Zayn smiled. “Tell me you’re priceless.”

“Like my ego needs boosting.”

“Your omega always needs boosting. Now say it.”

“I’m priceless,” he muttered and ducked under Zayn’s arm.

“Eager for your spanking?” Liam chased him upstairs.

Niall sat on the bed, arms crossed like he’d been waiting for them to return; he had. “You ran away with another omega!!!!” he manhandled Louis to the bed and sniffed him. “You smell like her, too! Like caramel, damn it. We’ll have to fix that.” Niall reached into his briefs, intent on coming all over his omega to rid him of that smell.

“Ah,” Liam clipped. “Spanking first. What do you say, boys? Five for each of us?”

“Add fifty for smelling like another omega,” Niall huffed.

“Little excessive, Ni. How about you get five and make it an even twenty?” Liam drew him away.

“Hey!” Louis pouted.

“I’ll make it worth your while,” Niall patted his lap, rubbing his hands together greedily.

Louis sulked his way over the Irishman’s lap.

“Can I? Can I?” Zayn bounced.

There were four groans when Zayn freed the Booty. Where their blonde omega had a lovely handful of ass, their brunette seemed to have enough handfuls for all four of them.

“I feel like a chorus of hallelujah is in order,” Niall wanted to build a monument, too.

“Amen to that,” Zayn licked his lips.

“All right, Hazza?” Liam, who’d already bore witness to the glory of Louis’ behind, kept an eye on him.

The pre-rut alpha sat on his hands to keep from mounting Louis and knotting him and marking the fuck out of him and devouring the omega whole so he could keep him safe and sound inside of himself.

Meanwhile, Niall palmed the supple flesh.

“You remember the rules, Louis love,” Liam couldn’t wipe the smile off his face, “Tell me why you’re being punished.”

“I ran off with Selena.”

“Doesn’t matter with whom, but you ran off without a security detail while there were a group of fans ready to follow you wherever you went,” Liam clarified.

“Oh. That too.”

“No, no. You do not run from us. You understand? Not like that. We’re pack, Louis,” Liam looked right into those blue eyes for understanding; Louis nodded.

“Yes, Alpha.”

“All right, Ni. Start spanking.”

Grinning, Niall brought his hand down with an audible slap; Louis’ bum made the most delicious ripple.

“One,” Louis counted. It wasn’t so bad. Niall kept rubbing, that was nice. “Two…three… four………Niall?”

“I just want to keep touching the Booty,” he rubbed the barely there pink spot.

“Before I take your last one,” Liam raised his eyebrows.

“Mean alphas stealing my omega from me,” Niall grouched and smacked his hand down one more time. He tried to hand him to Alpha, but Liam shook his head.

“He can stay in your lap for mine, it’s all right,” Liam leaned one hand on Louis’ back for leverage.

“Wait, am I supposed to start at one?” Louis asked only to be surprised by the first one. “One! Note to self: it’s better to be drunk for this!”

Liam spanked him harder, alternating from one cheek to another.

“Six!? What the hell!” Louis squirmed, his bum stinging from the Alpha’s massive hand.

“You are not supposed to be getting drunk, Tommo and you know it.”

“I didn’t say I was going to get drunk, just that I should be,” Louis muttered.

“Come to daddy,” Zayn patted his thighs and smiled.

“I’m not a dog,” but nevertheless, the omega crawled over, struggling a little with his trousers.

“This is one of the best views in the world,” Zayn pinched the red skin; Louis punched his thigh.

“Get on with it.”

Zayn delivered his hard and fast. Of the three of them, he had the slimmest hands, but they stung like a damn bullwhip!

The tension in the room rose when Louis and Harry locked eyes.

“Come here,” Harry motioned him over. “No. Actually. Stay with Zayn. Yeah, stay with Zayn. Like Liam and Ni did,” he moved over to them, gulping down the need to ravage the omega and his pert ass. His hand hovered over Louis, like touching him would be the feather that tumbled the wall of resistance. Like Zayn, he spanked hard and fast, but had to immediately leave the room, the want twisting low in his belly, his pants barely able to hold him in. “You’ll,” he turned to Liam and pointed to the sniffling omega and darted away.

“We’ll be lucky if he doesn’t have his rut early,” Liam handed Niall the after-spanking-cream.

“I’m ok. One of you should,” Louis felt the tremble in his voice as he motioned to Harry.

“I’ll get him. We’ll go work out,” Liam kissed the three of them and followed their youngest out.

“Is he…”

“Yes, jaan. He’ll be fine. Now, would you like to put your collar back on first?"”

In the tiniest voice he could manage, Louis squeaked, “Yes, please.”

“Of course, babe,” Zayn reached over for the box and slipped it back on him.

Niall squirted the aloe onto his hand and then his alpha's. “You take one cheek, I’ll take the other?”

“Enough to go around,” Zayn grinned.

“That ass has ears up here, you know,” the omega rolled his eyes. Both alpha and omega slapped their hands down before rubbing the cream in.

“The Booty. Please, refer to it by its proper name.”

Sugarscape: Loulou and Lena 2.0?

Newly revealed omega, Louis Tomlinson was recently seen strolling down the streets of Barcelona with former flame, Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber’s bonded omega. While rumors abound as to whether the pack already has a claim on their band mate, could Jelena throw a wrench in that plan?

Chapter Text

The People issue hit newsstands while the boys were splitting up for their mini break. While Liam was content to have his ruts on the road, Zayn and Harry preferred the comfort of their home in London.

So, standing on the tarmac between two private planes, Liam steadied Harry, always the worried one before his alphas’ ruts. “You hit the grocery first, don’t forget to buy Niall ice cream and definitely don’t forget to clear the bins before you meet us. Maybe I should come with you—just until it starts. Yeah. Zayn? You take Louis to Portugal. I’ll head home with Haz and Ni just to get them settled, and then I’ll meet you there tomorrow, ok?”

“Don’t be so fussy, Li. We’ll be all right,” Niall patted him. He was so used to Harry's scent becoming increasingly tasty and he knew how to contain it. He knew how to care for his alphas. “I know my alphas, Alpha. Come with us if you want, but I’m sure he’ll be less…well, that, away from Lou.”

My alphas.

Discarding that as just possessiveness before Harry's rut, Niall helped Liam grab for Louis and Harry. The goodbye kiss had turned into baby alpha pushing the omega up against the car, the older man’s legs wrapping around his hips, mouths pressing together and Harry’s hands going for Louis’ drawstring.

“A little help, Z?!”

Zayn jolted from his reverie of watching Harry. Could be Niall, could be Louis, he just loved to watch Harry go from baby alpha on bambi legs to...that. “Right, coming.”

“But, Harry!” Louis started crying and clawing for the alpha. So close to his rut, Harry's smelt like some fancy bergamot orange juice and Louis was so thirsty.

Niall got him away enough to clarify, “Your omega knows, babe. Your omega knows he’s close to a rut. His next one, maybe you’ll be ready, but not now, lovey Lou. Right now, I got him, ok?” Right now, he's mine. Niall had to shake that off again. It was usually because of Louis, not against him.

Louis didn't notice. He could see himself falling apart, but couldn’t stop it. He wanted Harry. He wanted Harry so much.

“C’mon, babe,” Zayn scooped Louis into the cradle of his arms. “Love you, Ni.”

“Love you, Z. See you in a couple days,” the omega kissed him and the brunette. “You’ll be fine in a bit, lovey. Take good care of the Booty for me, Z.”

“My Harry,” he whimpered stubbornly.

No! Mine, Niall brushed it aside again. His possessiveness was just flaring because of the youngest alpha’s rut. No other reason. Nope.

“Haz is taken care of, love,” Zayn brought him into the plane and showered him with kisses. “We’re going to go on a bit of a vacation and I’m going to come as close to fucking you as I can without breaking my promise to him.” Zayn opened up Louis’ hoodie, lifted his shirt and sucked a nipple into his mouth.

Needy and wanton, Louis twisted over his lap and started to grind against him.

“Such a good boy,” Zayn’s voice dropped as his head hit the seatback.

“Z,” Preston and Alberto walked in. The alpha sighed and righted Louis’ clothes. He didn’t like an audience.

Later that night, Louis walked into the fancy suite to a hundred different kinds of flowers—irises and roses, calla lilies and daisies, tulips, sunflowers—around the room.

“I wasn’t sure which kind was your favorite,” Zayn thanked the bellboy and their security team, who had rooms down the hall. “So, I got all of them.”

“Peonies. Because they’re pretty,” Louis found them and buried his nose in the petals. “And their name is almost a dirty request.”

Curious, Zayn sounded it out in his head (pee-oh-knee, pee-on…) and laughed, “You mean it almost sounds like something Harry actually did to you.”

“That, too,” he grinned.

“Do you want to put your collar on, jaan?”

“Yes, please.”

With the Alpha away, Zayn went to play. Digging through his stuff, he brought out his silver cigarette case, the one lined with joints.

“Yessss,” Louis grinned. “I changed my mind. That’s my favorite kind of bud.”

“Liam would kill me if I let you smoke,” Zayn lit one. “But, if I smoke and you happen to be in my lap, well….” he twinkled with mischief and patted his knee.

“I do love a good loophole,” Louis straddled his thighs and sat on the alpha’s knees.

Zayn took his first drag and gently released the smoke. Louis leaned forward to breathe it in, smooching him before breathing it out. They shared a few more hits, settling into a comfy and warm high. “This is my favorite place to have you.”

A giggly Louis leaned his forehead onto Zayn’s. “Mine too. With all of you. ‘Cept Niall. I like having him in my lap.”

Zayn dragged his joint one last time before stubbing out the end. Locking his mouth around Louis’, the smoke drifted out of their kiss.

“You’re beautiful,” the alpha gripped the Booty, pulling their hips together.

The omega undulated against him, body searching for the feel of Zayn’s cock pressed against his own. He whimpered, the both of them rock hard, “Z…”

“Come here, love,” Zayn lifted him up and carried him over to the bed. Walking across it on his knees, he gently laid his omega on the pillows. In a hazy high, their clothes seemed to just disappear. “Can’t fuck you…promised Hazza,” Zayn kissed his way down. “But I can kiss…and lick…” he licked both nipples and sucked little red blotches on the way down, “and suck,” he said when he finally reached Louis’ cock.

“Zayn,” Louis closed his eyes; the alpha stroked two fingers up the underside of it, peeling back the foreskin so he could lick at the hot head.

“I knew it,” he licked his grin, “I knew that wasn’t just Liam I tasted on you the other day. Tell me?” Zayn rose to his knees. “Tell me what he did.”

“I-he,” Louis gulped, watching the alpha’s stroke his cock. “He jerked me off after I blew him. And he-I came on his chest and he had me lick him clean…”

Hearing the dirty deeds from Louis’ mouth was almost as good as the live show—though, he’d be sure to catch that one day. The omega sat up, drawn to the alpha’s dick like a moth hypnotized by the light.

“Uh-uh,” Zayn wiggled a finger and turned Louis to his hands and knees. “Mmm,” he stroked a hand across the perfection of his dipping back. Zayn slipped his head underneath the omega’s body and pushed his knees apart.

Getting the idea, Louis bracketed Zayn’s slim hips and licked his cut length.

All went quiet save the sounds of the wet flesh sliding together, the suction of mouths smacking and heavy breathing in between.

“Zayn,” Louis pulled off him and moaned.

The alpha slapped his ass, taking the omega deeper like an order that Louis responded to by following suit. Zayn gripped his cheeks. He could feel it move beneath his palms, clenching; the alpha inched his fingertips closer to the center, grazing across the scrunch of skin that damn near sucked him in.

“Come for me, love,” Zayn pulled away and Louis immediately did, moan vibrating around the alpha’s thick head. “Fucking delicious,” he said between swallowing each spurt and then after just to be sure he got it all. He took himself from the panting omega’s mouth, letting Louis gasp for air before kneeling in front of him, tipping his mouth open and swapping it like a cloud of smoke.

“Like to share,” Louis licked at his messy lips.

“Want to see you and Niall do that one day. I have a whole list of things I need to see you do.”

“Can’t wait.”

Zayn kissed him before Louis pushed him to his feet. “That’s a good boy,” the alpha groaned when the omega took him to the hilt, all the while keeping his back arched and his ass up. He rocked his hips into Louis’ lips, testing to see how much Louis wanted to suck and how deep he could fuck the omega’s spit slick lips while also fantasizing about what he’d do to Louis on the other side of this position, “Gonna come, babe. Swallow for me, swallow like a good boy.”

“Yes, alpha,” Zayn’s cock stifled Louis’s mumble. The submission in his dilated blue eyes set the alpha off and he shot hard into Louis’ hot mouth.

“Fucking hell,” Zayn kept him still, memorizing this moment.

***

Niall knew exactly which vegetables to pick up and how ripe they needed to be for Harry’s horrendous rut smoothie concoctions.

“Did you get-” Liam began, looking over the recipe with a grimace.

The omega held up an avocado.

“And the-“

Kale. Of course.

“And the-“

“Cucumber, cilantro, ginger and lemon.”

“I see you picked out the one about Harry’s size,” Liam stroked the cucumber with an eyebrow wiggle. “Such a good omega for his alphas.”

“You can smell better than me, which pineapple is good? Ugh, I feel so domestic,” he cringed. “If he doesn’t start tonight, we’re grabbing a couple pints at the pub.”

“Babe, are you all right? You’ve been quiet since leaving Z and Lou.”

“Yeah, I’m fine,” he lied, “Where’s Harry?” Mine. Mine. Mine.

“Getting the ice cream and yogurt. I never know which kind he likes.”

“So long as he’s not getting me that low fat shit,” he pouted.

Liam kissed his head. “I’ll double check before we head home.”

Once at the pack’s house, Niall picked up the package on the doorstep with caution. They generally had their mail sent elsewhere and sorted through, but the management shift must have mucked that up a bit.

He missed it coming every time. Opening it up, there were a dozen Guinness cupcakes from the Harry-approved bakery near Picadilly and a note, the same package Harry sent home every rut.

Dear Ni, thank you for being here for me. I love you, always –Hazzabear.

Harry kissed his blushing cheek and went to make dinner for the three of them.

Unexpectedly, Harry’s rut began just as he’d set the table. Niall walked into the dining room, and Harry descended into something primal, sweeping the full dishes off the table to make room for the only thing his alpha needed to consume.

With a rumbly stomach, Liam cursed internally. Harry’s pre-rut carbo-loading lasagna was one of his favorites. As he made his exit, he arranged for their usual maid service to come by in a couple days and placed an order for a new table all as he locked up.

As their clothes fluttered to the floor, Niall responded to the torrent of alpha pheromones by flooding with slick until he dripped onto the mahogany. The usual romantic and foreplay expert went straight for the first of three—sometimes four—knots of his ruts, driving into the wet omega heat. Niall’s body opened for him without issue, sheathing the thick length with well-practiced ease. He clawed at the shiny finish of the table until Harry pulled his arms back and used them to bounce the pliant omega body onto his thick cock.

Like a piston, Harry rammed into him relentlessly, hips bucking against hips. The wet slap of flesh overwhelmed the jarring clatter of the stray silverware and the table jarred its legs.

“Harry!” Niall’s toes curled, body tensing as he came, uninhibited. During a rut, he could and would come as often as he needed to, without a hint of dropping, in order to satisfy his alpha; it was going to be a long night for the Irish omega.

As his first knot popped, Harry bit down on the mark he left years before, the memory of rose petals and candles and Niall forever flowed between them.

Niall’s eyes watered, clutching the alpha’s arms tighter around him.

Mine

***

Liam and his bodyguard walked into the Portuguese suite early the next morning. He sniffed the air and grumbled.

Marijuana.

He expected the buzzed boys to be in bed, but instead found them on the balcony overlooking the ocean.

Louis stood against the railing in Zayn’s shirt and his striped pants, a gentle breeze rustling his fringe. On the padded lounge chair nearby sat Liam’s remaining alpha, sketch pad on his lap, pencil in his hand, eyes glancing upwards ever few moments. The Alpha almost didn’t want to interrupt. Almost.

“Hey babe,” he called.

“Hey Li—Paddy!”

The healed bodyguard caught the excited omega with a burly bear hug. “Good to see you, you sneaky little shit. An omega, all this time?”

“Yeah,” Louis shrugged.

Paddy eyed the scar, smaller than it was and fading, but still left behind despite Zayn’s attempt at healing it, “I’m sorry that I couldn’t stop that bastard from—“

“Don’t you dare apologize. You got stabbed for me,” Louis patted the spot on Paddy’s chest, three inches right of his heart. Besides, their security team was like family, and Louis hugged him again, “I’m so glad you’re ok.”

“Same, kid. I’m glad Rick and the lads came in when they did,” Paddy admitted, “And we won’t let that bastard get near you again.”

“I know,” Louis nodded. Before the concert in Barcelona, Liam, Zayn and Harry had sat him down and told him that the Geordie alpha had skipped out on his bail. While a bit of fear did roll down his spine, he couldn’t help but feel safe with his alphas around him.

“So, let’s go catch a wave,” Liam smiled as Paul watched the bell boys carry in their boards.

***

His rut temporarily satiated after his first knot, Harry tracked Niall to the kitchen, body aching from a night on the table. Well, what was left of the table; Liam was going to kill him.

Oh, who was he kidding, he was sure Liam already had a replacement processing.

Niall stood at the center island, sorting the vegetables and starting to chop. He held up a bit of cucumber for the alpha to chomp down on hungrily. “Bit smaller for the shake love,” Harry pressed their bare bodies together, arms winding around him, hands covering his to guide them. “Just like that.”

Niall settled against the warm alpha; their ruts always turned them into furnaces, “Better keep showing me.”

“I will do," Harry rubbed a free hand across the omega's flat stomach."I can't wait until I get to knock you up. Until you're carrying my pups. You're so beautiful now, it's just not going to be fair when you're pregnant."

"Our babies will be beautiful," Niall agreed. "With your curls."

"And your eyes."

"And your tattoos."

Harry's giggle tickled the omega's shoulder as he kissed it. "I don't think it works like that."

"Then we'll have Zayn draw on them."

"Graffiti them like he did Lou?"

Niall gulped down the possessiveness, trying to keep it from jarring their bond and sending the super attentive alpha into alert. After all, if Louis could keep things from the alphas, so could he. "Yeah. Like that." Mine!

The tender moment didn’t last very long, and soon Harry had Niall spread out on the counter for the second knot. But, it was still nice to have.

***

When they went surfing together before, Liam had always told himself that he was paddling out behind Louis to make sure the beta didn’t fall off his board and drown. Now that Louis was an omega, he could admit that that was complete and total bullshit. He just liked the view of Louis’ bum in a wet suit.

Louis said nothing while they sat up and waited for a wave, not even when he could see the tenting in front of Liam. Smirking, he slid off his board and climbed onto the Alpha’s (not an easy feat, but entirely worth it.) His own surfboard tugged on his ankle strap, itching to be ridden, but he had better things to attend to, like kissing Liam.

Louis rested against him, bathing in both the sun and the Alpha. “This is what you smell like, you know?”

Liam kissed his head, “Ni says it’s weird that I smell like the ocean despite growing up in the midlands. He likes it, but he still.”

“I do, too. Always reminds me of being out here with you,” Louis’ nose prodded at his neck while he took another big hit of that scent. It wasn't just ocean like Louis had always thought. It was the softness of the waves' foam and the cool strength of the water and and the warmth of the sun beating down on it all wrapped up in a scent and Louis wanted to bask it in all day. And if he could, if he wanted. Because Liam was his Alpha. He had an Alpha.

***

Niall woke up the morning after Harry’s rut, wrapped in the younger alpha’s gangly limbs and leaking his come. Kissing the curly head beneath his jaw and adjusting his arms around the Englishman’s shoulders, he sighed. This was the last time it would just be him and a post-rut alpha because Louis.

Part of him was excited to have the older omega there with him, to share ruts and maybe even heats with.

But, another part of him that had always been jealous of Louis and Harry’s immediate connection couldn’t help but feel nervous. Louis was starting to melt more easily into their affections and the love that had always been there, particularly with this alpha. Louis was so strong for Harry in ways that Liam was—capable and protective and open to everything about the gender-norm defying alpha, even his need to submit—and now Louis was soft in the omega way that the alpha needed him to be.

Brushing at a loose tendril, Niall sighed. He thought it had just been Harry’s rut throwing him off, making him more possessive of his own bonds. But maybe it wasn’t and he couldn’t help but think, with how much Harry loves Louis, it might be your last rut with him, period.

And, Niall knew firsthand that packs could be broken. After all, there was a reason Maura was an Alpha, despite his parents being a triad.

Chapter Text

“Nialler!” Louis leapt onto the blonde, missing him after a weekend apart.

“Hey,” the Irishman hugged him and put him down.

The older omega’s face fell at the short duration of the hug. “Hey, are you all right?”

“I’m great,” he smiled and went to say hello to his other alphas; Louis figured he was just tired from the rut.

“Yes, the table arrived, the cleaners are there now, and the broken one got picked up,” Harry blushed as Niall hugged Liam, burying his nose in the Alpha’s neck.

“Good. Hi, my love,” he tipped the blonde’s chin up and kissed him, quickly turning from just deep to dirty.

“Hello, Alpha,” he smirked. “Let’s go home?”

“Let’s,” he nodded.

“Oh to sleep in my own bed,” Zayn stretched at the thought. He couldn’t wait to dive into those luscious folds of ridiculously soft cotton even for a few nights.

“Louis probably feels the same way, right, Lou?” Niall said nonchalantly, but the entire band froze. Liam and Zayn had overlooked the glaringly obvious fact that Louis had his own house.

And, no, Louis didn’t feel that way at all, but the chill sweeping off Niall kept him from saying so. “Yeah. Absolutely. Get a break from all of you,” he tried to break the tension, but his awkward laugh only made it worse.

“We can spend some time at Lou’s,” Niall tried to cut the tension.

“No,” ok, that was a bad idea. They hadn’t seen his place in ages—the inside, at least— and, well… “I mean, if you want, but you probably want to go home, too, right?”

What the hell was going on? Harry looked between the two omegas.

“I’m sure,” Niall ushered them to Harry’s Range Rover. “C’mon, Lou, we’ll give you a ride.”

“No, it’s ok. I’ll see you guys in a couple days.”

“Don’t be ridiculous, Louis, c’mon,” Niall opened the door for him. Harry climbed in to the driver's side and patted Louis’ leg while Niall sat in the back, curled between the two alphas he’d been missing.

“Ni, are you all right, love?” Liam asked, once they were on the road again.

“Uh-huh. But Harry wants to pick Louis up tonight, like a proper date,” Niall explained; Harry glanced in the rearview mirror.

That wasn’t exactly how he’d wanted to ask, but he turned to Louis, “Yeah, is that all right?”

Relief that Louis didn’t know he needed washed over him. “Sounds perfect.”

“I’ll pick you up at eight?” Harry smiled. “Look nice.”

Zayn snorted. “He could wear pajamas and you’d think he looked nice.”

“I was trying to subtly hint at not wearing pajamas, Z.”

“You don’t really do subtle,” Liam patted his alpha's shoulder.

“You don’t have to come in,” Louis mumbled, once they reached his gated house. He fumbled into his backpack, searching for his keys only to remember that they were sitting in his bunk in the den on it’s way to California for the American leg. This is why he kept his backpack messy, because whenever he tried to clean it, he forgot something important! With a sigh, he went for his backup set. Shuffling around the house, he turned to the soil a proper gardener would have used for anything other than this.

“Louis,” Liam chuckled at the rows of half buried mugs (with the decorative sides showing) bought (or stolen) from stadiums and restaurants around the world.

Louis shrugged and counted from the left, twelve across and one down.

Niall did the count with him and gave it some thought (twelve-one, twelfth of January…Zayn’s birthday). Mine, mine, mine!

He grabbed the Capitals mug from the Verizon Center in Washington DC. Tossing the dirt down, the keys fell with the clumps and he reburied it.

“Just…why?” Zayn asked a bit dumbfounded at the randomness.

“Sometimes I forget my keys,” he shrugged, cleaning them off with a jangle. “I keep fifty quid in a tin stashed in the Man City one over there in case I need cab fare.”

Liam caught the ingrained scent of too much tobacco when Louis opened the door. “When was the last time we were here?”

“Uh…last year?” Louis stepped onto the skateboard he kept in the foyer and took off down the marble tiled floor.

Between doing promo for their last album, dealing with holidays and four separate families that needed visiting, planning out their tour and their next album and all the hullabaloo that goes with both, and their engagement...a year sounded about right.

“And how long have you lived here again?” Zayn toed a Converse hi-top—just the left one and covered in mud—aside. Their place was meticulous (kept that way by a diligent maid service and a compulsively clean Alpha). But Louis’ clothes haphazardly littered his furniture. A mobile charger here, a Vans shoe (another left one) over there.

“A while. Sorry about the mess. I don’t have a cleaner,” Louis called from the kitchen.

“Why the hell not? You certainly don’t clean,” Harry remembered from their days as flat mates as he adjusted the row of framed school portraits of Louis’ sisters.

“It smells like omega upstairs. Couldn’t have too many people asking why,” he replied, skateboarding around with a trash bag for the plethora of empty cigarette cartons and discarded filters and crumpled up bits of song paper around the baby grand piano in the sunroom.

“Wait, does it smell like you’re supposed to?” Zayn backtracked to the stairs curiously taking a sniff.

“No. Just sorta sweet. Didn’t bother with the spray here unless I was expecting company,” Louis yelled a bit.

“Well, you’re home, you shouldn’t have to,” Niall pulled a blouse from under the couch he was trying to sit on. “Um. Excuse me, since when do wear lace?” MINE.

“Damn it, she was right. She did leave it here,” Louis grabbed his phone to text Selena.

Lou Squared 5:00PM
Is this the top you’re
missing?

Alex Russo 5:02PM
Yes!!!!!!!!! I love
that shirt. Bring it to
LA please.

Niall glared. His. Everything was his. His alphas. His pack.

“What do you want to do until your date?” Zayn flopped into a chair and bounced up wincing. “What the hell?”

“I’ve been looking for that,” he grabbed the skateboard tool from the alpha.

“Louis, babe,” Harry sighed as he went through the cupboards—the empty cupboards, save some tea, cans of soup, crisps, nutella and fifths of Jack, Jim, and Jose. Liam noted that the bottles were more empty than full, and his eyes went wide.

“Fuck, Louis,” he growled and checked the fridge. Inside was some mustard, less than half a case of beer—the empty bottles were fast making their way into Louis’ trash bag—and a half bottle of tomato juice. “Which I’m assuming is for the vodka,” he opened the freezer and found the shelves lined with a couple bottles of Smirnoff, ice cream and nothing else, “Yup. It’s all going, Lou. All the alcohol.”

"In my defense, I didn't drink most of it alone. Since he stopped drinking beer, Ed can really put down the liquor."

"All of it."

“Yes, Alpha,” Louis sighed.

Niall tensed in Zayn’s lap and the alpha pinched him. “What’s wrong?” he asked beneath the sounds of whisky going down the drain.

“Zayn Javadd Malik, are you responsible for this?” Liam held up a Tupperware full of weed from the refrigerator drawers.

“Um, no,” Zayn put Niall down and went over. “Lou, where did you get this?” he lifted the corner and sniffed.

“My guy. Well. Girl. Good shit, right?”

“Hell…no,” he said when he felt the Alpha’s glower. “Not at all. Weed is bad for you.”

“C’mon, let’s let Lou get ready for his date,” Niall stood. “See you later,” he waved and headed for the front door.

Glancing among themselves, Liam nodded at Zayn, who followed Niall back to the car with a warning to his Alpha about the pot. “Don’t throw that out.”

“Hey, what’s the deal?”

“What? I want to go home, I figured Louis felt the same,” Niall crossed his arms, unwilling to back down.

“You’ve been—”

“I’ve been what, Zayn?” he glared.

“A dick,” the alpha tossed him the keys. “You want to go home? Go home.”

“So, that’s how it is?” Niall stomped to the driver’s seat.

“It is right now.”

“Enough, the both of you,” Harry said from the front door; he hated when they fought, it hurt his ears. “C’mon, let’s just go. Lou’s going to get ready, I have to get ready, and management wants to see the three of us anyway.” For the record, it wasn't unusual for the boys to meet with management separately; it's how all Louis' meetings with Jones had flown under the radar.

“C’mon. Ni, why don't you stay with Lou until we get back?" Liam asked.

“I’ll be fine at home.”

“What is with the attitude?!” Zayn growled.

“Are we going or not?” Niall growled right back; Harry motioned him to the back and Zayn climbed into the front.

“What is with you?” Liam asked. The Alpha had to blurt it out, more for himself than his omega. He knew Niall and pushing him to talk when he wasn't ready would only make him close up tighter, the way he did whenever Connor came up.

“Nothing, I’m fine! Just fucking drop it!” he huffed. “Just take me home and go to your damn meeting.”

“Fine, but I expect this attitude gone by the time we get back.”

Tommo 5:45PM
Hey, sunshine, are you all right?

Niall didn’t reply. He just let his already low battery die and tossed it into his bag while he curled up on his bed that smelt of the alphas. His alphas.

***

Louis checked his phone for any messages before tucking it into his trousers’ back pocket. He wanted to know if Niall thought he looked all right, but the omega wasn’t replying.

He didn’t know what happened, but something was definitely up with the blonde. He’d expected cuddle time, maybe even for the younger omega to help him get ready. But, if Niall wasn’t going to respond, there was nothing he could do. Besides, he had a more pressing matter at hand.

He had a date. An actual date.

An actual date. With Harry.

He was finally going on a date with his Harry.

His Harry. He had a Harry.

Doing a twirl that he would have, under any other circumstances, hit himself for doing in the full-length mirror, he smoothed the maroon shirt he had un-tucked over his black slacks and contemplated whether to wear Vans, Converse or actual dress shoes. He’d gotten a chance to clean the house a bit—something he hadn’t done in ages…possibly since moving in, he wasn’t sure. He had hesitated about the bedroom though. On one hand: weren’t there a number of dates they were supposed to wait? On the other: hadn’t they waited long enough?

He settled for changing the sheets, for the sheer fact that he’d last had a beta between them. Technically, he’d last been a beta between them.

Before he got a chance to contemplate how much had changed, how much better and healthier and stronger he felt with the pack behind him, the doorbell rang. He stuck his feet into the actual dress shoes; the butterflies got caught in the whirlwind overtaking his stomach.

What if this didn’t go well? What if the only attraction was not being able to have other? What if he and Harry had nothing to talk about? What if he ended up with something between his teeth?

Still, his feet took him to the door in record time.

“Hi,” he swung the door open and lost whatever breath he had left.

Harry.

In barely buttoned white linen and black leather trousers, Louis knew they’d waited long enough. Before he could drag the alpha upstairs, Harry said, “Replay.” He took a knee, but instead of the single white rose he'd playfully given Louis once before, he pulled a bundle of dark pink peonies from behind his back, presenting them with a cheesy grin, “Zayn told me. And, he told me why.”

“I think of you when ever I see them,” he was only partly joking. “I don’t have vases.”

“I know. What do you spend your money on?” Harry had a Tiffany’s bag in his other hand.

“Stuff,” Louis shrugged and led the way to the kitchen. He pulled the vase of stars etched into crystal out of the light blue box and fawned over it, “How pretty.”

“Like you,” Harry had to stay a couple feet from him so his hands didn’t grab at that body. He thought it had been the rut that had him desperate for contact, but clearly he was wrong. His alpha still wanted to forget dinner, bend Louis over the marble counter top and bond the fuck out of him.

“Thanks,” he shoved the stems into water and arranged them. Or, he pretended to, at least. “Ok. Ready?”

“Yeah. I got the chef’s table at Savoy Grill.”

“Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant? Is he there? Are we going to see him yelling at his staff!?” Louis grinned.

“I doubt it, but I do hope so.”

Unfortunately, there were no theatrics. But there was a flirtatious conversation over a meal kings would kill for, while the alpha and omega played footsy beneath the table and laced their fingers during dessert, all the while staring fondly at each other.

“This didn’t last long enough,” Harry sighed when he pulled into Louis’ drive.

“You even took the long way,” Louis held his hand on the gearshift.

“We took the long way to get here,” he squeezed the dainty palm.

“I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be. Stay here,” he said and walked around so he could open the door.

“I’m an omega, not an antique,” Louis rolled his eyes as he got out.

“Either way, you’re priceless,” knowing it was cheesy didn’t stop the alpha from saying it. Nor did he pass up the opportunity to take his omega's hand. His omega.

Once on the stoop, Louis leaned against the door. “So, this is the part where I tell you that I had a great time and I fumble for my keys.”

“And I lean in like this?” Harry dipped his head down.

“And I,” Louis crossed the last bit of space to kiss him, soft and sane, without the neediness of a pre-rut alpha, but with something else. Like a fire had finally burst where there had always been sparks.

One hand cupping his cheek, the other pressed to the door, Harry rested their foreheads together. “Now that we have our parts settled, should we try again-”

“Fuck yes,” Louis dived in for another kiss, deeper this time, both arms thrown around the alpha’s shoulders, ready and willing to do whatever Harry wanted right there against the door.

Harry let himself get carried away, hands wandering low, cupping both supple cheeks. “No,” he pulled back quickly.

Louis caught himself taking a step forward and retracted it. “I’m sor-”

“Don’t. Don’t be sorry. We just…first date etiquette,” he laughed at himself, but mostly to relieve some of the energy Louis ignited.

“Right,” Louis groped for the doorknob. “Right, you’re right. I’m going to-yeah. Goodnight Harry. Thank you for tonight.”

“I’d like to take you out again tomorrow, if that’s all right?”

“That’s fine,” he smiled. “I’d like to see you again.”

“Well you will. Dr. Black wants to see you, so, we’ll be by to get you tomorrow,” Harry stayed a couple steps back. “Goodnight, Louis.”

“Goodnight,” he looked back and smiled again before turning to open his door. Before he could get it closed, Harry grabbed it and then him for another long kiss. Louis had to grip the doorframe to steady himself.

“Goodnight.”

“Goodnight…are you really leaving this time?”

“I am. Lock the door and set the alarm, yeah?” Harry peeled himself away.

“Yeah,” Louis hated this moment in movies, when the omega closes the door behind the alpha and leans on it, breathless and in disbelief that that just happened.

But still, he closed the door leaned on it, breathless and in disbelief that that just happened.

Finally.

“How’d it go?” Zayn appeared and Louis jumped out of his skin.

“Holy shit! What the fuck are you doing here?!”

“Well, Li and I had a bet. Li figured Haz is too old school to take you to bed on the first official date. I had hopes otherwise. But, either way, we don’t want you alone,” he shrugged. “Besides,” he waved the Tupperware of weed. “You’ve got the good shit. So, tell me how it went.”

Louis couldn’t stop the grin spreading on his face.

***

Liam raised his eyebrows when Harry twirled into their bedroom. He'd just gotten Niall to sleep after spending the evening having a nice dinner at home with their omega. He'd tried to get Niall to open up about whatever was wrong, but figured that this was one of those times the Irishman needed some space to figure things out on his own first. “I didn’t expect you home.”

“First date, Li,” he flopped onto the bed with a happy sigh and then cuddled up to their sleeping omega.

“You’re in love,” the Alpha teased quietly so as not to disturb Niall.

“Finally.”

Not sleeping at all—he couldn’t knowing where his alphas were and had been—Niall burrowed his nose against Liam’s neck, his fingers pressing against Harry’s mark as a reminder of rose petals and candles and the rainbows that had exploded behind his eyes when he took his third bonding mark.

Mine.

***

“So, I realized something while we were in Portugal,” Zayn said halfway through his first blunt, lit to celebrate a great date that Louis gushed over as he recounted every detail. “You incepted me.”

“I did what to you?” Louis giggled from the other arm of the couch, their legs laced together.

“Like Inception. The movie. You Inception-ed me. You talked Harry up. You knew he wanted Ni, you knew he was going to talk to us and you softened me up before he even asked us if he could date our omega.” And become pack was implied in Harry’s request; you don’t date a twice-bonded omega otherwise.

“I’m sure I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

“Oh, I think you know exactly what I’m talking about. It was that first time we got high...”

Handing the oldest alpha the poorly rolled joint of barely decent weed, nineteen-year-old Louis asked, “So… what do you think of Harry?”

“Good lad. Nice little body.”

‘Indeed, very true,’ the pretend beta thought to himself, hiding the hitching of his breath in a chuckle, “No. I mean…do you think…I mean, it’s come up a couple times with radios and all, rude as the question is. But, do you think the four of you can be pack?” Stop it, Louis. You can't be pack. You're a beta, you belong in a couple, not a pack. You don't deserve to be, anyway.

Zayn shrugged. “I dunno. Maybe. Isn’t Haz going after that new X Factor host?”

“No,” he scoffed, not if Louis could help it. “I doubt it.”

“Not all alphas are meant to be in packs.”

“Do you think you could be?”

Zayn knew he loved his alpha partner and a part of him knew he could submit to Liam, too. “Yeah. If Liam was Alpha.”

“With Harry?” who spent all night prattling on about the blue of Niall’s eyes; it didn’t hurt. Not at all. Even if he himself agreed that Niall had the prettiest eyes. “I mean…Harry’s not like other alphas, you know. He…he needs someone strong in his life. And someone to let him be the person he wants to be. And someone he can trust.” And I can’t be that for him…

“Yeah. I could see that.”

“Could you see that being you, Li and Ni? Hypothetically, of course.”

“Hmmm…” something clicked in Zayn’s mind, even as his high made him drowsy.

Harry. Big hearted, sugar sweet, silly goof Harry. A mate?

Yes.

When Harry approached them two days later, Zayn had already talked to Liam about it and they didn’t even have to think about agreeing to let baby alpha court their omega (with the intentions of becoming pack.)

“I just wanted…I wanted him to be safe. And as I’ve learned,” Louis crawled onto the alpha, taking a hit of their much better quality weed, “there is no safer place than Niall’s arms.”

Chapter Text

Zayn was done waiting.

Harry had taken Louis out every day they were in London, for dinners and fancy outings around town, even for a full day trip to see his family in Doncaster, and he’d hogged the omega the entire thousand hours they were on the private plane to LA, playing scrabble and cuddling and kissing and Zayn was done. He’d let it slide because of their visit with the doctor…

Dr. Black calmed the alphas down the moment he stepped in the room. “Don’t worry, the test results came back fine. Kidneys, liver, etc.”

“He’s stopped drinking,” Liam said pointedly at the omega.

“That’s good, but I think it’s mostly been from the suppressant use. Particularly the last one. Almost a week you were on it, correct, Louis?”

Louis nodded. “But I didn’t take it right. I was supposed to take it twice a day, I only took it once.”

“That’s what saved you in the end. I’ll run the tests again in three months, so schedule something with my assistant. I think without the suppressants, the kidney scarring won’t get worse, but continue your diet to be safe, and don’t start drinking and smoking again.”

Hands on Louis’ waist, Liam turned his glare to Zayn.

“Yes, Alpha,” the alpha muttered.

“Other than that, his hormone levels are slowly rising, which is good. I can’t predict your heat yet; you’re still too low right now. Birth control might cause a spike, but not an unhealthy one. I can’t see any reason to avoid the regime, so, we can start it now, if you like?” he asked.

Louis blushed, “You’re being very forward, and I’m scandalized once again.”

“He would like to start,” Harry smiled.

“I would,” the apples of Louis’ cheeks turned a shade of red delicious.

“Very well then,” Dr. Black prepped a syringe.

Louis lifted his sleeve, but the doctor shook his head. “The biannual shots are larger doses. They need to go in your bum.”

“Well, that’s why I’m getting the shot, because they need to go in my bum,” Louis made the doctor take a turn blushing. He lowered his jeans just enough and winced when he felt a needle prick.

“That’s it. Give it a week to take effect, lads,” he warned the alphas.

…but back in the den a full week after the appointment, watching the endless canoodling of Harry and Louis, he’d had enough.

“Harry, can I talk to you?!” he dragged him upstairs.

“What’s wrong?” baby alpha’s naivety made Zayn snap.

“Are you fucking kidding me with this, Haz? I fucking want him, too! Liam wants to talk bonding him already, could you just please, PLEASE just take him the fuck to bed already!?”

“He is NOT a piece of meat, Malik!” Harry roared; he only ever used Malik when he was pissed and damn it, he was.

“No, he’s an omega you’ve been in love with since you were sixteen and I get it! That’s why Liam and I agreed, you should be the first—”

“He’s not some prize, Zayn!”

“—but you’re not the only one whose wanted him! Whose spent years wanting him!”

When he heard the scuffle start, Liam ran upstairs to pull the alphas apart. “We have a show in a few hours, could you refrain from killing each other?!”

***

Before Louis could ask Niall (for the eightieth time) if something was wrong and why he hadn’t seen him the entire time they were in London, the blond turned to him with venom in his blue eyes.

“They never fight like this,” Niall grumbled, slamming around the kitchenette while the jealousy spurred the anger. He hated when his alphas fought and they had never fought like this over him! “What?” he spat over his shoulder. “No apologies? You were all about apologies before, now that the situation actually warrants one, now that it is your fault you’ve got nothing to say? Driving my alphas, my fiancés mad! How fucking dare you!”

Physically taken back by the animosity, Louis could hear his heart shatter in the pit of his stomach. He...he knew it. It was all too good. It had all been too good and he wasn't and he needed to walk away before he did any more damage.

“I warned you all. I told you I ruin everything.”

The words hit Niall like a bag of bricks, and the shock of it gave him pause. He was mad (read: jealous), but he never wanted Louis -his Louis- to feel like that!

When he turned around to apologize, Louis was gone, the collar he’d just been wearing left on the table.

“No, oh no!” Niall sprinted out the door. “Louis! Louis, I didn’t mean it!”

The alphas froze when they heard Niall yell and darted after him. “Ni? What is it?”

“Louis! I’m stupid, I’m so stupid, I’m sorry! Louis!” he raced down the line of buses, looking between them in hope. “Where the hell is he?!”

“Niall, what happened?!” Liam grabbed his arm.

Flushed with shame, Niall told them what he’d said, tears rushing to his eyes. Repeating the words allowed him to listen to it, really listen it how Louis would have heard it for the first time and if anyone else had said something like that to his omega, Niall would have popped him one. “I’m sorry! I didn’t… I just… can we find him!? Can you scent him?”

“What scent? We haven’t figured it out yet!”

“Stop fighting, that’s what caused all this! He probably headed inside. Let’s go,” Liam tugged them to the stadium door.

But he wasn’t in the dressing room. Or catering—though Sarah told them she’d made him take a bacon butty when he didn’t stay long. Or anywhere near the stage—the sound directors pointed them towards wardrobe—but, Caroline did see him when he got dressed for the show; he hadn’t stayed long there either. They even checked the roof to no avail.

“That’s it! Get the rest of the security team, Paul, and call the police!” Liam wanted to tear something apart. With Louis’ stalker still out there, Liam didn’t want to take any more chances.

“I just saw him. Louis, right? You’re looking for Louis? I just saw him skating around,” Rick reassured.

“Where?” the Alpha barked.

“Over by the loading docks. He bummed a fag from Trav.”

He wasn’t there either, though the lingering smell of smoke gave them hope, which just made not finding him in the hour after that worse.

“Has anyone seen Louis?” Niall panicked. They were ten minutes to show, sure, but more importantly, no one could find him! What if something happened? What if someone had him? This was all his fault! Why did he lose his temper over something so stupid!?

Deep in the back hallways, Rick knocked on rolling crate number twenty-eight. “Five minutes to stage, kid.”

Louis popped out, wiping his eyes and sniffling. “Sorry, going.”

Rick helped him out, then redirected him when he started down the wrong way. The omega ran backstage to the relief of the pack.

Niall’s pack. Niall’s fiancés.

“Where the hell were you?” Liam hugged him tight, but his wave of relief was quickly cut off by Louis weaseling himself away under the guise of strapping on his audio pack.

“Around,” the omega shrugged, avoiding eye contact; Zayn tried to help him lace the in-ears through his shirt, but the omega slapped his hands away. “I got it," he mumbled.

“Louis—”

Paul appearing cut off Niall, “Two minutes to stage, guys, get on the lift. And Louis? What have I told you about sneaking off?” the beta scolded.

“Sorry.” Louis couldn’t look more downtrodden if he’d tried.

“Lou—“

“And Niall, you’ll have to use your headset tonight, the sound crew can’t find your mic or the back up.”

“Give us a minute, Paul!” Liam growled, yelling because of the crowd and the pyrotechnics and the music starting.

“It's too late! You don’t have a minute, the pyro is on, the smoke is starting and your mics are officially on,” he shooed them to the stage, where Louis had already started walking.

For the first time, the pack watched the mask going onto Louis’s face, and with a deep breath, he was stage ready.

It took all Louis had to make it through the show. The happiness wasn’t completely fake, of course. The crowd’s vibrancy was contagious and he couldn’t help but smile back at the beaming fans. Unusually for him, he stayed on stage the entire show, sidestepping the pack’s attempt to talk to him—Niall especially (stuck in his headset all night, it was a bit problematic for the Irishman to try, but he did). Though he, for the audience’s sake, used some silly string on Liam and sprayed Zayn with a water pistol.

He didn’t stop to change after the show. Hell, Louis didn’t even take off his audio pack. He just (literally) dropped his mic and ran backstage where the cars were waiting—cars, plural, as Liam wasn’t the only one who could arrange their pick up.

“C’mon, you know LA’s always mad. You can sort things out at the hotel,” Paul and the security team directed them all into the remaining two cars, trying to beat the mad rush of fans.

Liam got in one with Paul and Alberto, hurrying off so he could keep an eye on Louis’ car in front, panicking when somewhere on the highway, it suddenly veered on to an off ramp.

“Where the hell? Follow them!”

“We missed the exit,” the driver said.

“I don’t care if you have to drive backwards, just do it!”

Just getting In and Out Burger,” Paul read his text from Preston out loud. “See you at the hotel.”

But, Louis knew he was faster than Preston and Colby and leapt out of the car at his first chance, taking off down the busy LA sidewalk and hopping into the first cab he could find. He directed it into Beverly Hills and rang the buzzer on the big iron gate.

“Hello?”

“Hey…it’s Louis…I…I didn’t know where else to go.”

“Come in, Loulou,” it buzzed open.

They were halfway up the long driveway when out the front door, Selena came running and engulfed him in a hug, a familiar and comforting caramel scented warmth.

She’d known that voice, even over an intercom they needed to get fixed; it was the one she’d used on him before sharing her plan to get her alpha back. “C’mon. I’ll make tea. Jus, back off.”

The alpha held both hands up, “Like I told his alphas in Barcelona, baby, now that he’s an omega, I’m just mad I missed the action.”

“You alphas,” Louis rolled his eyes. “Just go pay for my cab,” he barely had it in him to make the request jokingly.

“Go to the kitchen, hon, it’s just over there.” Justin waited until the omega was out of sight, but Selena cut him off with a warm hand to his chest. “Just give me an hour before you call Zayn?”

A sucker for those pretty brown eyes (Selena’s, not Zayn’s; though for an alpha...anyway), he agreed. “Fifty-nine minutes and counting.”

She smacked his stomach, and he pulled her back for a kiss.

“I mean it, you know. If they don’t want him and you do…”

“You know they do,” she smirked. “Nice try though.”

Justin just smiled and shrugged his shoulders. “An alpha can dream right? He’s so pretty. And did you see that ass?”

“Baby, I’ve seen that ass naked and it’s even better than your imagination.”

“Tease,” he groaned and went to go pay the taxi.

Selena walked into the kitchen where she found Louis sitting on a stool, slumped over the counter. She pulled out the kettle and put it on before asking, "What happened?"

Chin resting on the cool granite, Louis sighed, "I ruined everything."

***

“Yeah, no, I get it. We’ll be there as soon as you text. Thank you, Justin. I appreciate it,” fifty-nine minutes later, Zayn hung up and tossed his phone onto the coffee table. “He’s safe. Justin and Selena have him.”

If anything could set Niall’s jealousy straight it was that. Louis was with her! He leapt to his feet, “Well, let’s go get him.” My omega!

Zayn rubbed his face. “Justin won’t text me their new address until morning. Says Louis needs some time.”

No one said a word, though, being bonded, they didn’t have to; an unsettling jealousy flared through them.

He’d gone to Selena of all people. The relationship that had been closest to real.

He was going to leave them for her and her alpha. What else would he need the night for?

“I’m—“

“Don’t Niall. I love you and I always will. But I can’t do this right now,” Harry stomped to one of the suite’s bedrooms and slammed the adjoining door.

Now he’s definitely going to leave you. Hell, they all might.

“C’mon love,” Liam rubbed his forehead. He could feel it; they had to settle this one as a pack and Harry had stormed off and Niall was cut off and Louis was with another fucking couple.

“I-I’m just going to watch TV for a bit.”

“Don’t be up too late,” Zayn squeezed his hand; he and Liam both knew how these fights went. Even if he wasn't the catalyst for the fight, Niall would wait up for whomever was most pissed off to realize that spending a night alone was harder than fighting, and then Niall would wake the other two so they could have it out.

The omega paced the living room, picking an apple off the fruit basket, contemplated eating it for all of five seconds before his stomach turned with guilt and self loathing and he dropped it back down. He flopped on the sofa, trying to find the right cushion to sit on, unable to think of anything but the things he said and the relationship he’d broken and the fact that Louis was with her.

Tapping his fingers, he hadn’t understood it until now. The whole self-discipline thing. He’d never had to. But he couldn’t take this guilt gnawing him into pieces.

After watching Louis fall to pieces multiple times, knowing what he’d gone through, what they’d had to promise him before he let them claim him, how could Niall be so stupid!?

He dug his nails into his thigh and scraped down. He deserved it.

His nails weren’t long enough to do much damage, but the pain released a knot of tension around his second vertebrae. He scratched again and another popped. And another and another—

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?!” Harry rushed out of the bedroom; he'd intended on joining his pack, but saw Niall and felt the shame and just knew what he was doing. “Don’t you dare hurt my omega ever again!”

“I didn’t mean to hurt him, Harry! I didn’t! I just, my mouth kept going and I don’t know why, I just kept talking, please don’t hate me and I—“

Harry ripped Niall’s hand away and started to lick at the dark pink lines. “I meant you, you tosser!” he said between long licks to his thigh. His omega hadn't even broken the skin, but lapping at it was soothing anyway.

“You know better than that, Niall,” Liam and Zayn hurried in from the opposite room.

“I don’t know anything anymore,” he sniffled. Stupid fucking omega hormones always making him cry.

“You tell me what you think you need to be punished for,” Liam patted his lap.

Niall trudged over to the couch and laid over his thighs. “I chased him off. I yelled at him for making you fight. I ran him straight to her.”

“He didn’t make us fight, love, why would you think that?” Liam rubbed his back.

“Because I’m stupid. I’m stupid and selfish.”

Liam turned him over and sat him up. “Ni. Where did this all start? You’ve been distant and kind of a dick, and I’ve been trying to get it out of you for days, now you’re going to tell me or do I need to spank it out of you?”

Niall stayed silent. He was bad. He was bad and he needed to be spanked.

“All right, baby,” Liam twisted him back around, pulled his joggers and pants down and slapped his butt. He felt the omega's wince beneath his palm, but the blond said nothing. “Count?”

“One…two…three…four…” Niall tallied them aloud, wincing as the Alpha’s hand slapped down on his tender skin. “Five…six…seven…eight…”

The sounds of spanks filled the room as Niall’s pale skin quickly went red. Liam could feel his hand start to get sore, but if this was what his omega needed, he’d keep going.

“Twenty…twenty-one…”

Zayn and Harry waited patiently, knowing exactly where his bear and the aloe were.

“Twenty-nine…thirty…” Niall’s voice started to crack. “I had to cancel a meeting with a wedding planner!!!! I had I’m sorry I cancelled I-so stupid-I.”

“Shhh, hold on, babe, just relax. You can talk in a minute,” Liam gratefully pulled him into his arms, rubbing his back gently while he sobbed; Zayn went to get Wayne and Harry dug around for the aloe. The oldest alpha tucked the rainbow bear into Niall’s arms while the youngest gently rubbed the white cream into the red skin. “Now what were you saying?”

“I was supposed to meet with Peregrine Armstrong-Jones when we were in London. He’s an event planner and I had to tell him we were putting off the wedding and with Harry's rut, I got...it's so stupid, but I just,” his voice shivered. “I told you, I’m stupid and selfish and that’s why I need punished.”

“Oh babe,” Liam rocked him.

“I’m sorry,” he whimpered. He'd said horrible things to his omega over something as stupid as cancelling wedding planning plans. He didn't deserve to call Louis his! “I just…I’m sorry.”

Harry rubbed his back. “You don’t have to be sorry, Nialler. Your feelings aren’t stupid. They’re valid and important and I’m sorry that we didn’t…why didn’t you just tell us? You’ve always been open with us.”

“I just-you all want him! You want him so much,” he growled -it came out more as a sob- at Harry, unable to get any one emotion out over the others. “How do I say no to that? I’m supposed to be your submissive, this wasn’t my call, but…I just, I don’t want to lo-I want to marry…too, I want to…I’m sorry!”

“Full sentences, Niall. C’mon, love.”

“I don’t want to lose you,” he said, mostly about Harry, but he couldn’t tell him. He couldn’t take the chance of that little nagging voice being right, that he wouldn’t get to marry Harry. “Any of you. I can’t…not like Mum did Connor.”

It was a rare thing for Niall to even say his name. Dadaì Maura was the Horan Alpha even though it was only she, Bobby and their mate Siobhan now. Two alpha triads didn’t have to declare a pack leader, but they had had a third when they first married. Connor had left them for another omega when Niall was four.

The boys knew the Horans didn’t talk it; though, it had been the talk of Mullingar when it happened. After all, in a world that mated for life, it was rare for an alpha to just walk away from a bond and a married pack. But, that’s what Connor had done. Niall didn’t remember much, other than one day Daddy had been there and the next he was gone. And the Horan boys had grown up just ignoring the fact that their parents were no longer a pack, but a triad. Connor moved out of County Westmeath and never acknowledged his biological son, Greg, or his pack child (Maura’s son), Niall, even when the younger one made the X Factor.

When Liam told the Horans that they were going to add Harry, Bobby warned them that not all alphas were cut out for packs, and they had to be sure that this was for them because that kind of loss was worse on the omega. A decade after the fact, Siobhan, who had the same bright and carefree disposition passed along to her omega son, still felt an emptiness where Connor’s bond had been and the shame of not being a good enough omega for him.

“Ni, this is why we asked you before we even started if you were sure that you’re ok with us claiming him,” Zayn stroked a hand through his blond tips.

“I was sure about it then!”

“And now?”

As much as the Irish boy loved Louis, he couldn't help but compare his relationship with Harry to the one baby alpha had blooming with the older omega, the one Harry had always wanted and the only conversation he'd had about Connor with his mother popped into his head...

“Why didn’t you go after him, Mum?” Niall asked her once, when Bobby took Greg to a boxing class. His big brother and Dad had tried to get Niall to go too, but Niall had never really been angry at Connor. And when, he presented, they realized why. He was an omega. He understood without really understanding why. “Why didn’t you go after Daddy Connor? Why didn’t you ask him to stay?”

Nine years after the fact, Siobhan winced at the sound of his name, like someone had twisted the knife in her heart deeper. “Because letting him leave was the right thing to do.”

“But why?”

“Because we live for each other’s happiness, my little love. And it was the only way we could live.”

“But you’re not happy without him.”

With a deep sigh, his mum replied, “I’m happier knowing he’s happy with…with her, than I would be had he stayed and settled for me. I’m an omega, darling. I have to do what’s best for my alpha. And it was best that I let him go.”

Niall couldn't even look at the alpha he didn't feel good enough for, the one he knew he might have to let go as he stammered, “…I…I...”

Chapter Text

“…I don’t know…” Could Niall get that close to someone who might take one of his alphas from him? Even if it was his omega?

Taken aback, the alphas needed a minute to process it. Could they really stop courting Louis now? It wouldn’t be fair to him, but continuing without Niall’s ok continuing wouldn’t be all right either.

Rock. Hard place.

“Where is this coming from, Ni? You were all about bringing Louis in,” Harry’s heart pound in his stomach.

“I knew you were going to claim him…and he’s my omega and I want him to be…I just… didn’t think about having to share the three of you with him and that Harry’s rut is going to be the last one with just me.” That wasn't quite it, was it? Niall couldn't quite get the real reasoning out of his head.

“Baby, it doesn’t have to be—”

“It’s not fair to leave him out!”

“Bringing him in doesn’t mean losing one on one time with any of us. We’ll have a lifetime of ruts and heats. If you want one of our ruts to yourself, I’m sure Louis would be fine with that,” Liam explained.

Would he? With the way he'd cried when they had to separate him and Harry? “Would you be ok with that?”

“Of course, Nialler. We’re alphas, we live for your happiness,” Harry insisted.

“…even you?” he twisted his engagement ring around.

“What?” the youngest of the three alphas moved into his eye line. “Yes, of course, even me.”

“No, I just…I feel like the old toy. Like…Louis’ all new and shiny and you’re all fighting over him.”

“You don’t think we fought about you? We did. We all did,” Liam chuckled. He and Zayn had almost come to blows about him many times in the early days.

“But, we knew it upset you, so we always tried to keep it away from you. It’s why I dragged Harry upstairs. I just...forgot how thin the walls were, I guess,” Zayn added sheepishly.

“And we’re still getting married, babe,” Liam squeezed his knee.

“All of us?” Niall glanced at his youngest alpha.

Harry took his hand, “All of us. We’re pack.”

“So were my parents,” the omega murmured and then it clicked.

“Niall, I could never walk away like Connor did,” baby alpha fell to his knees in front of him so he could meet those scared blue eyes.

Niall’s heart wrenched at just hearing his name. “I can’t…I can’t lose you, Hazza, I can’t and if you walk you’re taking Louis with you!” Saying it aloud was almost a relief because the thought had ignited all this. That, not only could Niall lose his baby alpha to the omega he’d always wanted, but he’d be taking Niall’s omega with him! His mother had only lost an alpha. How could he survive losing an alpha and an omega, and maybe pushing them both away first would be easier...

“I could never take Louis from you,” Harry scooped Niall into his lap and sat down in his place. “I myself could never leave you, Niall.”

“But you’d be happy with him! He'd...” it killed the Irishman to say it, "He'd make you happier than I could."

“I could never pick between the two of you. I’d be happier with the both of you.”

“You would?”

“I would.”

"What about Louis?"

"Babe, Louis loves you. He loves you so much he pushed Harry to us," Zayn said softly

"He loved Harry enough to give him up, but I don't!"

"You love me in the way I needed to be. In the way I need to be. Because I never wanted to be given up. I never wanted to be sacrificed," Harry rubbed his back. "I don't want you to give me up. I’m not going anywhere,” he promised. “And if it’s really important to you, love, we’ll call Peregrine and reschedule and we can get married this year, or next year if you want to.”

“But, what about Louis?!” they couldn’t leave Louis out! Relief filled Niall because that’s what he was used to. His omega. His, not hers.

Liam said, “He can have his own wedding if you want to have your own. I'm sure Louis would understand.”

The Irishman shook his head. He couldn't make Louis watch that, not even if Louis's own wedding was the very next day. “Not without Louis.”

As silence settled upon them, they realized that they couldn't finish their fight. They were still missing a key member in all this. And they wouldn't be getting him back until morning. With a sigh, the Alpha motioned to Niall’s healed thigh. “Does it hurt?”

The Irishman shook his head. “Thanks Haz.”

Harry kissed his forehead. “I love you.”

The omega felt it too, a rush of warmth from their bond that easily displaced the guilt; how could he ever do without that? “I’m sorry I messed everything up.”

Harry scooped him into a cradle and stood. “We’ll figure this out, ok? C’mon, let’s get some sleep,” he brought Niall towards the bed that smelt like Liam and Zayn.

“We have to pick up our omega tomorrow,” Niall nodded.

“Are you still all right with us claiming him, Ni?” Harry asked, half sure of the answer, but the other was afraid he was wrong.

“Of course, I do.” Even if I don't get to claim him.

“You should be a part of the courting,” Zayn settled on his other side while Liam played big spoon to Harry’s little. “Now that Haz has sufficiently dated him a bit.”

“So, I get to date him, too?”

“Of course, babe. You’re claiming him, too,” Liam squeezed the arm Niall had thrown around Harry’s middle.

“Not like you are.”

“The claddagh on the lock is for you, isn’t it?”

“Yeah…”

“Yeah, what?”

“Yeah, Alpha. But it was only to match my collar and my ring.”

“The collar that you have because you’re ours,” Liam clarified, “And loving Louis isn’t going to change that for us.”

His fears subdued a bit more, Niall nodded, “Ok, Alpha. Can we go get our omega now?”

Harry smiled, “Your omega.”

“My omega…if he doesn’t hate me. I’d hate me,” Niall buried his face in his hands as he remembered when he’d said that to Louis, when he’d had to hold him while he sobbed, when all the things Louis had done to protect them finally broke him. After all his omega had been through, how could he say those things to him!?

“Louis loves you,” Zayn whispered when he could feel that guilt.

Did he? Really? The way Niall did him? “That’s the worst part. He’s going to understand and not get mad at me because he’s used to being treated like shit!” Niall sobbed. “Can we go get him, please?”

“When Justin texts, we’ll get him.”

Unable to sleep, even with the alphas petting him, Niall grabbed his phone. He knew he was never getting to sleep when his unofficial twitter handle’s (newly changed to @Louni_Paylik) time line exploded with notifications from all the fans he followed. It led him to Selena’s Instagram page and the selfie she posted of Louis squeezed between her and her alpha and the caption, “Night in with two of my favorite boys.”

That bitch. Louis was his favorite boy.

Niall started texting Justin every two to five minutes around six in the morning, finally getting a response around seven.

Arriving at the house, the sleepy Canadian welcomed them in with a pair of low slung jeans hanging around his hips, completely shirtless. “Selena wanted me to tell you not to let him push you away,” he plodded groggily up the stairs to get their omega. “Oh, for the record, they stayed in the guest room.”

Relief settled over the pack. At least he didn’t spend the night with another alpha.

Niall figured him spending the night with another omega was a fitting punishment. Didn’t mean he liked it, but… he gasped when he saw the omega. His omega. His omega, his omega, his omega!!!

Soft Louis, with his fluffy bed head and tired eyes and, god help them all, Justin’s pajamas that gave him sweater paws, descended the stairs like a sleepy angel—a contrast to the raven haired Selena in nothing but Louis’ long black t-shirt that hit her mid thigh. Niall was sure now that she was the devil.

“Thanks again,” Louis shook Justin’s hand then hugged Selena in the foyer.

“No problem, Loulou.”

Indeed the devil. That bitch was the fucking devil. Niall tensed because damn her and her nickname and her hugs and her perfect make-up-less face and she was kissing him! She was kissing his omega (it was a peck, but still a fucking kiss)! Fuck whatever he’d been freaking out about, because damn if anyone else was getting Louis. Louis was Niall’s omega, no one else’s. His. His and he’d never forget that again as long as he lived.

Selena groped his arm, “Call me later, ok?”

“Will do. That my bag?” Louis asked.

“Yeah,” Zayn held it out. “Why don’t you go change?”

“No. I’m fine.” He shoved his skinnies in and fished a blouse from the bottom of the backpack, handing it back to its rightful owner.

“I cannot tell you how long I’ve been looking for this, Louis! I couldn’t even remember where I got it,” Selena smiled.

“I love this shirt on you,” Justin smiled.

“Really? Because I loved it off of her,” Louis quipped; blushing, the lady omega slapped his arm.

“Careful, Loulou, or I might tell your band about your little fetish for lace. Oops!” she grinned and ran away when he tried to snatch the blouse back, intent on not letting her keep it now! “No you can’t have it!” she giggled as he tackled her onto the couch.

Niall hated her so much.

“Teases, the both of you,” the Canadian sighed; the pack held back their growls.

After another set of goodbyes and thank yous, Louis let himself be escorted to one of the SUVs with Zayn and whisked back to the hotel. He said nothing, even as he proceeded to make himself coffee as they’d had tea sent up and fuck getting that close again. No. He had to stay away.

“Ok,” Liam, Niall and Harry arrived moments later, sat down in the suite’s living room and motioned for him to come over. “Wait, no, first go put your own clothes on, then come back.”

Louis smelt Justin’s shirt. Huh. He smelt like a maple tree. “No.”

The alphas tensed and the pack leader spoke, “Louis, do not make me use my voice.”

“No.”

“Louis.”

“This is done,” he bit with a calm viciousness. He finished prepping the machine before stomping towards the room that smelt the least. He slammed the door, a wounded anger resonating in his wake.

With tears in his eyes, Niall curled into Liam’s lap. “I’m sorry. It’s all my fault he doesn’t want us, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry!”

“He does want us, love. I know he does. We’ll just let him calm down a bit,” Liam rocked his omega gently.

A half hour later, when the smog of anger dissipated, Liam padded over. He sat down in the armchair and crossed his legs, staring at Louis’ back pointedly.

“I know you’re not asleep.”

“Fuck off.”

“I’m just tallying the spanks you’re getting and at this point, babe, and LA Night Two is going to be a very uncomfortable show for you,” Liam laughed; sure laughing at a spanking made him seem a bit sadistic, but he loved being able to touch the Booty. Focus Liam. “Lou, your response to a fight cannot be to run away from us. Without telling us, just disappearing into thin air and then running off after the show? That isn’t ok. That is not how we deal with things. We aren't perfect, but we are pack, Louis and we deal with shit like this as a pack.”

“I’m not your omega, Liam.”

“You keep saying that. But you’ve always said that. Even as a "beta." If you want this to be over then tell me you don’t want to be claimed anymore. Tell me you don’t want your collar, that you don’t want to be pack. Tell me that you don’t want me as your Alpha.”

To deny himself was one thing, but Louis knew he’d never get those words past the lump in his throat, so he opted to stay silent.

“Tell me you don’t want Zayn as your alpha. Or Harry. That you don’t want Niall as your omega.”

Louis sat up in a hurry and spun on him angrily, “You said, Liam! You said you wouldn’t let me hurt them! You said you’d protect them and look what happened, I told you I’d ruin everything! You let me ruin Niall!”

“You didn’t—”

“You didn’t ruin me! I did! I just got jealous!” Niall tore away from the door where he’d been hiding.

“You yelled at me! You never yell at me!” he half-sobbed, half-shouted.

Niall felt nothing but relief at being screamed at, “I got scared, ok!? I just-I got jealous that everything was going to be new and different with you and they’d get bored with me! That you'd get bored with me!" Because if Louis wanted Harry to walk away, baby alpha still might!

“Ni,” Liam interjected, or tried to, at least.

“Shut up, the omegas are talking!” Louis snapped, then turned to the blonde, “Are you stupid? You’re sunshine! No one ever gets tired of sunshine, you twat! And I’d never let that happen! I’ve wanted you almost as long as I’ve wanted Harry!”

“Yes and they’ve wanted you that long! They’ve had me!”

“You two realize that you’re basically fighting over who we think is prettier and why, right?” Harry and Zayn felt a little left out in the lounge. Besides, like Liam said: they were pack. They were going to get through this as a pack. (And yes, they were eavesdropping. Where else would they be?)

The omegas glared, “Shut up!”

“I don’t want to be a part of this if it’s going to hurt you,” Louis pleaded, tears in his eyes.

“It’s not! I get stupid when I’m jealous,” Niall pouted and climbed into his bed so he could wipe them away.

“What could you possibly be jealous about?” Louis cupped his cheeks, drawing him closer; he hated the sad pout and all that mattered was kissing it away.

“Honestly?” Niall nuzzled their noses together, “So many things. I don’t get to bond you. I don’t get to mark you. I don’t get to claim you." His heart hurt as he admitted, "You don’t have to love me back for us to be pack and so I didn’t want to share them because—”

“But, I do,” Louis rubbed a hand up and down his back. “Besides, the claddagh on my collar is for you, isn’t it?”

“It’s to match mine.”

“It’s for you. They gave me the leather, you gave me the lock. That’s how I see it. You’ve claimed me, too. If anything I should be upset that I don’t get to claim you!”

The relief only hurt. “I’m sorry,” he kissed the brunette softly.

“No, I’m sorry,” Louis smooched his cheeks.

“No-”

“No, I am. I’m sorry that this is all coming out now. I should have been honest with you all from the beginning. Maybe we would have sorted this out already.”

“Or we could have decided it wasn’t worth it and left it as you and Haz and me, Zayn and Li,” the sad pout returned.

“No,” Louis softly flicked a thumb over Niall’s bottom lip. “Harry loves you.”

“But his alpha wants you so much. Always has. He would have been all yours. And he still could be!”

“But he’s ours.”

Reluctantly, Harry intervened from the couch where the alphas had sat to watch the omegas literally kiss and make up. “Do I get a say in this?”

“No,” the omegas didn’t bother looking over.

“Sunshine, I love you. I couldn’t do any of this without you.”

“But Harry could.”

“Harry couldn’t,” the alpha in question raised a hand.

“Only because you’re stuck with me now…”

“Because I couldn’t have gotten through the last few years without you. And I don’t just mean the ruts, Ni. I mean all the nights before the big shows that you stayed up with me because I was too nervous to sleep. I mean being there to hold me and call me wonderful after I fucked up my solo and people called me shit. I mean encouraging me to dress the way I do even though alphas don’t wear white jeans and gold boots and flowered shirts. You helped me accept the alpha that I am, regardless of the alpha everyone thinks I should be. I could never walk away from you, not ever," Harry joined them on the bed.

“It should have been Louis.”

“But, it wasn’t,” Louis stroked his cheek. “It was you. You and Haz have a history I’ll never have. Should have had maybe, sure, but didn’t. Don’t. You were there for him through all that. You, not me. Because I did something I knew you never would,” Louis brushed his cheek with the back of his fingers, “I gave him up.”

“Which I couldn’t do! I’m a bad omega!”

“No, no, no,” Louis exclaimed. “That’s not true at all! It doesn’t make you a bad omega!”

“Mum didn’t go after Connor because she loved him enough to let him go, but I didn’t I couldn’t—I can’t let Harry and you go!”

“You don’t have to!” Louis gathered him into his lap.

“You could! And I couldn’t! I’m bad!” all three alphas saw the oncoming panic attack—years of learning their omega. Gently, a hand reached out and grasped the nape of Niall’s neck, massaging gently. Niall’s body involuntarily relaxed, the tears in his eyes dissipating.

“You never have to give me up, Ni. I never want you to. We’re yours. We’re all yours. Forget Liam, you can be pack leader,” Harry smirked at his Alpha, who winked at him.

“And, I didn’t know what I was missing, Ni. Not really,” Louis rubbed his back. “I don’t think I could give him up now that I’ve had him. I’m strong, I’m not that strong.”

“But you did. Because—”

“Doesn’t matter. I gave him up. I did the exact opposite of what Harry really needed. I gave him up. Period. And, Harry would never leave you, not even for me. And, I don't want him to! You have to know that. It doesn’t matter if he wanted me or I wanted him or if his alpha and my omega have the special hots for each other. His alpha bonded you. He bonded you. You’ll always be his first…mate…” he tried not to laugh at the cheesy nautical pun that Harry would be proud of. Niall on the other hand snickered, the laugh breaking up the last of his panic attack.

“You’re ridiculous.”

“You’re ridiculous. I love you,” Louis nuzzled him. “I’m sorry.”

“No, I’m sorry! I said something horrible to you and I made you feel terrible, terrible things,” Niall kissed down his jaw.

“You did, but I understand.”

Just like Niall knew he would, just like Selena had said. “No! Stop being so nice to me!” he whined. “I was a horrible, douchey prick and you’ve never been anything but selfless and protective of all of us! Be mad at me! You should be!”

“But you’re sunshine. It’s impossible.”

“No! You didn’t deserve what I said!” Niall cupped his face. “You don’t deserve to be treated like that and you should be mad. If it had been anyone else I would have slapped a bitch.”

Louis couldn’t help but giggle.

“It’s not funny! Be mad!”

“I don’t want to be,” the omega put on a full pout and shook his head. “I want to be selfish and get what I want and I want my sunshine to smile and be happy. That’s what I want.”

“No!” Niall sighed. “After everything you’ve been through, I had no right to throw a fit. I deserve to be punished!”

“Pain isn’t a competition, Niall. It’s not something you can compare. If you’re hurting, if you're in pain, it’s just as valid. The difference is, you're doing what I couldn't. You're being honest and telling us so that it can get fixed. I never told anyone, so how could things change?” Louis held him. “Besides, I spent the night with Selena. And I smell like her. How about I don’t shower? Isn’t that punishment enough for you?”

“No! I would rather you spank me!” the younger howled and flopped onto the bed.

Louis rubbed a gentle hand over his back. “Would me spanking you really be a punishment?”

“No,” he grumbled. “Don’t you ever spent the night with her again,” the ire in his growl was nothing but endearing.

“Yes, sir, sunshine.”

Niall captured his lips. “So, do I have to take Justin’s clothes off for you?”

“I’d never say no to you taking clothes off me.”

“Ok, what just happened?” Zayn cocked his head, whispering curiously.

“We need to start making up like this,” Harry couldn’t tear his eyes away from the necking omegas and the tops that seemed to just disappear.

“Why don’t we?” the Alpha asked.

“I don’t even know what…” Zayn gaped. “They started out yelling, didn’t they?”

“Don’t question it,” Liam licked his lips. “Just enjoy.”

But all of a sudden, Niall tensed.

“Ni?”

“…holy shit…” Niall dug his nose into Louis’s neck. He hadn’t smelt Louis properly in days, and it was so much more pronounced now, “I know that smell, what is that? That’s not her, it’s not him…is that you!?”

“Who cares?” Louis tried kissing him again, but Niall pulled away.

“I do…I thought it was…she smells like caramel, but that’s not it…it’s a scent and I think it’s yours! and…god, what is that, I know that…” he waved his alphas over and Louis found himself surrounded by the alphas, all of them nosing into his neck.

“Stop,” he giggled, moving away from one only to be closer to another and bursts of air tickled his skin.

“Is it berry kind of…” Zayn held Louis still.

Liam agreed, “But not just berry…”

“Blueberry,” Niall got part of it down, but there was something else there.

“Muffins,” Harry finally said. “Blueberry muffins.”

“Yes!” Liam took a deep breath of the squirming omega. “Good on you, Haz.”

“Well, I used to work in a bakery,” baby alpha drawled.

“Mmmm,” Niall bit down on Louis’ ear lobe. “I’m so hungry, too,” he murmured.

“What do you want to eat, babe?” Harry asked.

“Me,” Louis joked and with wide eyes the younger omega grabbed him tighter. But, a knock on the suite’s door interrupted them.

“Boys,” Paul walked in. “Time to head out. Interviews and—oh geez,” he slammed the door to the bedroom. “Get to Lou, you menaces! She’s waiting!”

“Coming, Paul!” the omegas tried to leave the bed, but the alphas grabbed them.

“Oh no. No, no,” Liam grabbed Louis. “First, someone’s getting spanked.”

“No!” the omega tried to escape, but Liam dragged him over his lap.

“What do you think I’m punishing you for?”

Louis sighed, “making Niall sad.”

“No! You can’t punish him for that! I made me sad!” Niall objected.

“Not what you’re being punished for,” Liam shook his head.

“Going to Selena and Justin’s?”

“Nope.”

“Wait, what?” Niall’s face fell. “Yes, he’s getting spanked for going to her!”

“No. He’s not. You have friends to go to outside the pack, too, Niall,” Liam sat Louis up and grabbed his chin; Niall reluctantly accepted that. “You disappeared into thin air yesterday and that is not all right. After all that’s happened to you, with that guy out there you disappeared into thin air. And then after the show you ran from Preston—he told me you damn near got hit by a car, Louis.”

“I didn’t though,” he pouted. “And I made sure the crew saw me around!”

The Alpha raised an eyebrow. Louis sighed and laid over Liam’s lap.

“Nope. Niall’s going to do it,” the Alpha decided. “And Ni, if you don’t spank him hard enough you’re going to keep going.”

“I think I’ve hurt him enough, Li,” Niall gulped.

“Then finish it,” Liam ordered. Not an alpha command, but close enough.

“But…the Booty,” he pressed his cheek to Louis’s supple behind.

“We have a day to get to, love. So, get to spanking, yeah?” Zayn patted his head, trying to hide the smirk behind a façade of impassivity; minus the drama, this was everything he’d ever dreamed of.

Niall groaned and brought his hand down. “I’m sorry!”

“One,” Louis winced. “Two…”

“Harder, Niall. And don’t forget to switch cheeks.”

“Getting kinky there, Li—three! Ow, fuck,” Louis yelped. “Four…five…”

His bum first turned a baby pink then blush then something close to red. “Come on, Liam!” Niall whined.

“You stop when I tell you to,” the Alpha crossed his arms.

“Sadist,” Louis gripped the sheets, “Fourteen…fifteen…”

“Stop,” the Alpha called it and sat Louis on his thigh. “You do not run off like that. We fight. We hurt each other sometimes. That happens. It’s not natural otherwise. But we are pack and you stay here and deal with it. If you need space then you take it, but you don’t just disappear all day. Understand?”

“I understand, Alpha,” he snuffled, wiping his nose.

“Good. Now. I have one more question for you: did you scratch last night and where? So we can see if we can’t fix it.”

Louis blushed and shook his head.

“What?”

“You said I wasn’t allowed…so I didn’t, even though I kinda wanted to…” his fingers had itched all night, trembling with the need to dig into his skin. But he hadn’t.

Liam beamed, relief superseding the leftover tension. “I’m so proud of you, babe,” he brushed a hand over his cheek and kissed him. Though Louis still had his insecurities, his cracks weren’t as fragile as they’d been before, even after his first fight with his favorite person in the pack. “Now let’s take care of your bum and go get ready for the day, all right?” Liam handed him to Harry, who spread the cream as tenderly as possible.

“Here, you can use Wayne!” Niall ran back in with his rainbow bear, tucking it between them before Louis grabbed him.

While the omegas cuddled, the younger one whispering more apologies to the older, Harry circled his palm soothingly on Louis’s red skin. Watching his hands go, he glimpsed that pucker of skin between the bubbles of flesh. His mouth watering with want, he ran his thumb along the inside of Louis’s cheek, not daring to touch.

Not yet.

Chapter Text

“I’m stealing Louis for the day!” Niall announced from behind his laptop. “Also Grace is my favorite,” he skipped across their stylist’s room and molded his body around the man in front of the mirror. He was eager to show Louis and his alphas that he was back on board the claiming train and he wanted to make up for the terrible thing he’d said.

“Why and when are you stealing me?” Louis stopped examining his forehead to lean against Niall, trying not to put any pressure on his sore bum; even after he and Niall spent the morning making out in front of the alphas, they still bloody spanked him.

“I didn’t know if we could swing the timing, but Grace made it happen,” he brought up the email on his phone. “We have a suite at the StubHub Center for Manchester United against the LA Galaxy. We’ll hang back in LA tomorrow while the alphas head to Arizona. Well, you and me and, given the look on Li’s face, most our security team. So, a very intimate date.”

“Ah football. Fastest way to my heart,” he gave Niall’s arm a squeeze. “Whatever will the alphas do without us?”

“They’ll figure something out, I’m sure,” the Irishman stayed around him, watching him poke and prod his head. “It looks fine, lovey, really. Kinda sexy.”

This was the first time he’d let Lou style his hair back since his fall in the elevator split his forehead from temple to scalp. The cream Dr. Black had given him rendered the dots from the stitch loops barely noticeable, but the stubborn laceration remained an angry maroon line. “I look like Harry Potter.”

“Do you think it’ll burn if Voldemort’s around?” Harry joked from the bed where he and Lux were watching a kids show on his phone.

“I don’t know. You’re the wizard, ‘arry,” Louis mumbled, a bit tempted to have Lou brush his hair out. But, Grace suggested (very kindly) that he show off the scar, and considering how tactful and understanding she and the rest of the team had been since taking over, he agreed.

“Lovey Lou, are you all right?” Niall kissed his shoulder.

“Fine,” Louis winced when his reddened bum panged with pain. “Why didn’t you get spanked?”

“I did. Last night,” he shifted uncomfortably, too; he’d opted for looser trousers today.

“In a dirty way? Because I don’t think that counts.”

“No, in a punishment way,” Niall rubbed his side.

“I didn’t get to spank you though.”

“You spanking me would never be punishment,” the blonde wiggled his eyebrows.

“Are you ok doing the interviews, babe?” Zayn rose from Lou’s chair and joined them in the mirror to check out his own hair; at his omega’s insistence he’d let it grow again—not nearly Harry’s length, but a well coifed shag that, in solidarity, he’d had styled back. Though this one strand kept falling into his face and he was sure he’d done this with his hair before.

“There’s no way me and Ni can skip them again, is there?” Louis blew a raspberry at his reflection.

“Sorry, Tommo,” Liam replied from Lou’s chair. “If you’re good though, I’ll take you surfing tomorrow morning before your date with Ni.”

“Aw, gee, really, Daddy? Can we get Pinkberry afterwards, too?” he sassed playfully.

“We don’t have to, if you don’t want to.”

“No, I do,” Louis sobered, still poking at his forehead. “But, I do want Pinkberry, too.”

“Bring me back some,” Niall turned the omega away from the mirror so he would stop fussing over his face.

“Figured that was a given,” Louis rubbed the ends of their noses together.

A knock on the door caught their attention; they just waited, because a moment later Paul used his key. “Lads. Twenty minute warning.”

Sighing, the omegas peeled away from each other and got ready to face the day. With the commercial finished, they had another perfume to market.

The majority of interviews barely touched upon the perfume. The revolving journalists focused more on Louis in the first director’s chair, how he was doing and feeling and handling things, was he ok, how was the band helping him, how did Selena take it, who had he talked to, was he being claimed. Though the alphas didn’t let him answer that last question (they had never commented on claims, not even when they had gotten Niall his collar), Louis replied with a mixture of his usual sass and the well rehearsed, management approved answers.

The last interview left Louis blissfully in the background. The flirtatious female omega focused instead on the alphas, how they were doing and feeling and handling things. Did they enjoy going out even though they’re engaged, were they hurt by Louis’ revelation. When she shamelessly reached over Louis for Liam’s thigh, Niall couldn’t suppress the growl.

“Sorry, Niall,” the woman in the too short cheetah print hardly looked contrite before continuing, rarely acknowledging the omegas and reducing Liam, Zayn and Harry to pretty faces and good bodies. When she asked how the alphas would pick up an omega in a club or bar, Niall seriously considered grabbing Louis and storming out.

But then Louis, who looked completely unperturbed at the unprofessional behavior, shifted on his spanked bottom, knocking his teacup off the thin arm of his chair and onto her lap.

“I’m so sorry!” Louis gasped. “Oh no, it was a full cup, too. Paul are there—thanks,” he grabbed the paper towels from the bodyguard and tried to help the omega dry off. “Sorry, Marla.”

“Marta,” she corrected.

“Right, right, I’m sorry. There’s a washroom just down the hall to the left,” he pointed and apologized a few more times before the door shut behind her and her cameraman who’d trailed behind her. The epitome of nonchalance, Louis made himself another cup of tea at the snack table and sat down to the amusement of the pack.

“Tommo, you can’t just go around throwing tea at people,” Liam’s reprimand was half hearted at best.

“He’s done it before,” Harry grinned at the realization. “Sort of. That Aussie bloke before the ARIAs. The one that was all over Niall. You “accidentally” spilt water on him when we took that selfie.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, but I strongly disagree,” Louis said from behind the cup’s rim.

“And that woman in Florida. The one that kept rubbing Zayn’s leg. You spilt soda on her phone!” Niall absolutely beamed.

The English omega shrugged. “I only bumped it. And if I recall correctly, the table was wobbly anyway.”

Their Alpha burst out laughing and turned to Louis. “You meant to knock Danielle off the X Factor stage during rehearsal, didn’t you?”

Hiding his darkened eyes in a long drink of tea, Louis grumbled, “You were flirting with her and it bothered Niall more than he was ready to admit.”

Niall launched himself at Louis, sending another cuppa flying.

“I wanted to finish that one!” he squealed.

“It bothered you too, didn’t it?” he tickled the older omega until they fell backward onto the plush carpet. “You loved us from the start!”

“When I see you with him, it tears my world apart,” Louis half sang, half cackled.

“Admit it!

“Niall!”

“Oh, you can scream my name later, lovey Lou, now tell us the truth, you loved us then!”

“Ok! Ok! I did! Stop! You’re gonna make me piss myself!” he giggled.

Holding Louis’ waist, Niall shook his head, “Tell us you loved us then.”

Hyperventilating, Louis said between the last of giggles, “I loved you then.”

“Now tell me you love me now,” Niall’s voice dropped, and the sincerity hushed the room.

“I love you now.”

The Irishman’s tender kiss was reciprocation enough, but Niall still whispered against his lips, “I love you, too.”

The door opened, signaling the lady omega’s return; Paul slammed it back in her face. This was a private moment for his boys and he was going to keep it that way.

***

Two hours after their second LA concert, the boys had long since sunk into the fluffy pack sized bed when the hotel’s phone stirred them.

“What the hell?” Harry covered his head with a pillow.

“That’s for me,” Louis leapt out of bed.

“What? Why?” Liam propped himself up on his elbows, but Louis just shushed him before disappearing into the main room. “Louis!” he didn’t want to raise his voice too much because Niall had stayed asleep and Zayn needed more than a phone ringing to wake up.

“Niall,” Louis returned and climbed onto the bed, rubbing his back gently and easing him from dreamland. “C’mon, love. I’m about to woo all of you.”

Liam rubbed his face. “Do you have to do so in the middle of the night?”

“Yeah. I even brought Niall flowers,” Louis bopped him in the face with them. “Sunflowers for my sunshine.”

Niall rubbed his nose, laughing into a yawn. “Oh. Well, all right then,” he clambered out of bed and pulled some joggers over his legs.

“Come along, alphas. You’re about to be wooed by the Tommo. But be forewarned, I’m putting all the moves on the blond.”

“You do love me the best,” Niall grinned.

“Doesn’t everybody?” Louis pinched his butt.

Niall pulled him close and pressed a kiss to his lips. “They don't love me the best. They love us both the best.”

Blushing, Louis snuck another as they waited for Zayn to lumber into some clothes, “Definitely.”

No one in the barren hotel lobby batted an eye at the pajama-clad band, three of them barefoot, two of them in barely zipped hoodies. Louis led them back to hall of conference rooms and opened the door to the one they’d used earlier. They expected darkness, but an array of candles surprised them. The cream-colored tapers and columns glowed around a velvet chesterfield and the coffee table laden with popcorn and candy and milkshakes.

“Well, come along,” Louis motioned them in and flopped into the middle, pulling Niall into his lap with a bucket of popcorn. He pulled a remote out of his pocket then hit play. A projector somewhere behind them hit the big white screen in front of them.

“What are we watching?” Liam yawned, trying to wake up.

“Shush,” Louis shoved some popcorn in Liam’s mouth.

“Ooo, there’s extra butter,” the Alpha munched, throwing an arm around the omegas.

“You even separated gummy bears for Zayn,” Harry noticed tray of them and started to pick at all the colors he knew his alpha partner didn’t want.

“Is this the new Marvel movie?!” said alpha partner’s eyes went wide when the credits started; he quickly woke and got comfortable, eyes glued to the screen. “This is still in cinema!”

“Yes. Yes, it is.”

“There are even previews, I love previews!” Harry crossed his legs eagerly. “Do we want to know how you got this?”

“I made the right calls. Are you wooed?” Louis slipped his hand under the back of Niall’s shirt, stroking the soft skin; the blond purred.

“I’m quite wooed,” the omega whispered, tipping the brunette’s chin up to kiss him.

“Good. Now that you are, can we stop using the word woo?”

“Woo,” Liam hooted spiritedly.

***

Despite their late night, the Alpha dragged Louis out of bed at way too early o’clock. But, the surf report and the promise of decent swells woke them both just fine. They headed to Santa Monica, surfboards strapped to one of the SUVs. Paul and Paddy hung back at the beach, assessing the relaxed crowd as their charges paddled out.

“Good morning,” Louis finally said. He pulled Liam over and kissed him.

“Good morning indeed, love. Thanks for last night.”

“I told you I’d woo you.”

“Yeah, well. My turn,” Liam smiled. “This isn’t it. It’s just part of it. Just so you know.”

“It could be, you know. The only reason I even learned how to surf was because I wanted to spend time with you.” The sweetest puppy dog smile crinkled the Alpha’s eyes, and Louis loved this honesty thing.

“C’mere,” Liam tugged him over and scented him. “Mmm. I can’t get enough of that.”

“Blueberry muffins,” Louis chuckled. “Is there a reason why we smell the way we do?”

“Not really. Some people say it’s tied to a good childhood memory or it’s supposed to match your soul mate’s scent, but it’s all just theories. Niall has no idea why he smells like candy floss and I grew up in the middle of the country, so why I smell like the ocean is beyond me. But, Anne thinks Harry smells like bergamot because she drank so much earl grey when she was pregnant with him and Zayn's grandfather smoked shisha a lot.”

After a few good waves and gawking at the more talented athletes around them, they headed back in.

“Stay here for a second,” the Alpha and Paul secured both boards to the SUV while Louis toweled off, changed out of his rash guard and put on his Adidas sliders. Liam followed suit, grabbed a backpack from the trunk and checked his watch. “Per-fect,” he said, reminiscent of the Leeroy character he’d played. “Time to go.”

“For…?”

“A bit of brekkie before we get you the frozen yogurt I promised you yesterday. Come along.”

“What’s in the bag?”

“Hush and let me woo you,” the Alpha took his hand.

"I thought we weren't using that word anymore!" Louis threw his head back, whining in protest.

"Last time, I promise," Liam smiled and started down the beach. Picking up two breakfast burgers and some coffee, the pack leader led his omega to the park on the pier.

“Are you taking me on the Night Changes date?!” Louis clapped. “But, Li, it’s closed.”

“Mr. Payne?” a man—beta, they both noted immediately—extended a hand to the Alpha. “Come right in.”

“Kinda the beauty of being rich, I guess,” Liam shrugged; none of them liked to be that guy too often, least of all the Alpha, but every once in a while, they threw their money around to get their way.

“Liam Payne. I’m officially impressed,” Louis grinned, following him to the Ferris wheel and into one of the carts. The beta let them loop around before leaving them at the top to enjoy their breakfast and the view.

“I am too, you know,” Liam sipped his coffee. “With you. How you handled our first big fight? I’m very impressed.”

“Ok, you can’t punish me for running off and then tell me you’re impressed with me! Those are mixed messages!”

“Oh, running off the way you did was punishable, no doubt about it. But, not so long ago, you would have done some real damage with your nails. You would have cried a lot more than you did. You would have needed more reassurance. And you certainly wouldn’t have gone to Selena and put on that little act with her.”

Louis smirked like that cat that had caught the canary, “How’d you know it was an act?”

“Hey asshole,” Selena grabbed Niall’s arm when Zayn and Louis’ ride headed towards the gate. “He is too used to being treated like shit by the people whose approval matters to him. So, he’s going to make this easier on you than you deserve. But so help me god, Niall Horan, if you hurt him like this again, I will murder you.”

“She’s a good friend like that. The whole me in Justin’s pajamas thing was her idea.”

Liam chuckled. “I do have to ask: the lace thing?”

Louis’ cheeks went straight to red, “No comment!”

“I’ll have to keep that in mind. My point though: you’re so strong, Louis, and I’m very proud of how far you’ve come in such a short time.”

His cheeks stayed a sweet pink. “Thank you, Alpha.”

Burgers done and hands wiped on drying board shorts, Liam opened up his backpack and pulled out a big brown box. “I know I’m the only one who hasn’t gotten you flowers, but I figured I’d do something different. Technically speaking, I didn’t even buy it for you.”

Louis noted his family’s address in the sender’s corner and furrowed his eyebrows as he ripped open the box flaps.

“It’s just something Ni said about an omega’s stuffy, and even though Nialler gives a great cuddle, I thought you should have your own. So I called your dad. He told me about the one you grew up with…”

Liam stopped talking as excitement made way for awe and a smile that rivaled the half risen sun.

“Boo Bear…” Louis whispered, beholding the stuffed animal like a friend he thought he’d lost forever.

He lifted the Winnie the Pooh doll from the decorative tissue inside. It was undoubtedly newer and a bit bigger than the one he’d had as a child, but it still held the faint scent of sage, loose Yorkshire tea and fabric softener.

The sage sparked the memory of an alpha stood before a skeptical toddler, thumb in mouth, half hidden by his mother’s legs. Her scolding him for mussing her skirt, but the alpha’s gentle voice drawing him out and presenting him with a yellow bear in a red shirt, whose name he couldn’t quite get right.

The tea brought back the touch of fake pearls and tulle, Lottie and Fizzy's smiles and their dad bringing them a lukewarm pot of Yorkshire and his homemade blueberry mini muffins, the big strong alpha wearing a white straw hat two sizes too small, having tea at a tiny table with three kids and a bear.

And the fabric softener—like the kind that had filled the blanket fort he’d built in his room to protect him and the girls from the fighting downstairs. The scent flapped stronger when Lottie darted out of the opening and returned with three different stuffed animals while he sang Fizzy and the then infant twins to sleep. He remembered waking up in that makeshift tent to a mix of all three scents and a touch of hurt, that there was no room left for him around the only dad he’d ever known. But, Mark made it disappear. The alpha had woken as if he felt his son’s distress and reached for Louis, tugging him into the family cuddle.

“Liam…” the omega felt emotion clog his throat and sting his eyes, even as he threw himself into the Alpha’s lap, one arm tucked around Liam, the other around his bear, holding both in a tight embrace that spoke more words than either songwriter knew.

“I love you, Lou," he whispered, hoping it would convey everything he'd do for the omega, everything he was feeling in that moment.

“I’m starting to get that,” Louis murmured half into his bear that would always smell a bit like a beach side pier, too. “I love you, too.”

Chapter Text

“No sneaking away from security today,” Liam sternly told the omegas when it was time for the alphas to head to Arizona without them. It would be a tense sixteen hours for the three of them, but for their omegas, they’d bear it.

“Yes, Alpha,” they both chirped.

“Can we go now?” the Irishman rocked on his feet.

“Yes,” he sighed. If they hadn’t fallen behind on recording, the Alpha would insist on staying. Instead, eight members of their security team would have to do. “Are you going to show him what you got him, Lou?”

Almost offended, Niall exclaimed, “This is my date, I’m supposed to bring you something!”

“Yeah, well, I wanted to,” he lifted his hand—the one Niall had clung to in the lift—and he peeled the bandage off the inside edge of his little finger where he’d had sunshine tattooed. “I marked me for you,” he smirked.

Niall’s smile was blinding. “I don’t deserve you.”

“You don’t,” Louis teased as the younger omega curled into his embrace. “I’m yours,” he whispered.

"All mine."

***

As promised, the omegas behaved themselves at the match, even in a crowd so thick they could have easily lost all eight of the bodyguards. Instead, they watched warm ups and took selfies by the pitch before loading up on every kind of snack the American stadium offered and heading into the suite for kickoff.

After an early goal from Rooney for United, Gerrard and Gonzalez scored for the Galaxy before the first forty-five was up. Just after the teams headed in for halftime Colby, stationed at the door, popped his head in. “Boys, there’s someone here to see you. Shall I let him in?” his smile said it wasn’t just a passing fan who’d found them, so they agreed.

Then the heavens opened up and angels started to sing as former Manchester United and LA Galaxy midfielder David Beckham walked in; Louis grabbed Niall’s hand. “Best date ever,” he whispered.

“Hello, boys,” the alpha smiled. “I heard Harry’s omega was here. Hi, I’m David,” he extended a hand that Louis, in awe, shook for a moment too long before he and Niall introduced themselves and had a bit of a chat and another selfie before David invited them to the players lounge after the game. Both omegas eagerly agreed. “And maybe we can sneak down to the pitch for a bit of a kickabout, yeah?”

“Absolutely,” they tried to play it as cool as possible. But after the alpha left, Niall and Louis started freaking out with an intensity that gave them a new respect for their own fans.

“Holy shit,” Louis gaped, holding the autographed kit he planned on sending to his dad. “I can’t believe that just happened! Ni, I’ve wanted to meet him since I was ten!”

“I wish I could say that I planned it like that,” Niall grinned, a bit preoccupied with his phone. “Hazza rubbed it in when Becks—you think I can call him Becks? I’m totally calling him Becks—anyway, Harry was all smug when he got to play footy with him, well guess what?” he snickered and posted the picture they took with one of United’s iconic number sevens. “Eat your heart out, Styles.”

Louis let Niall finish with social media before kissing him. “Seriously. Best date ever.”

“And you had a seriously good one this morning.”

“Yeah, but that was David Beckham!” Louis knocked Niall over with his kiss.

***

After Rooney sealed a brace late in second half stoppage time, the match ended in a penalty shoot out that had both omegas on the edge of their seats, leaping to their feet when Juan Mata scored the decisive goal.

Carrying their signed kits, they and their eight bodyguards made their way to the players’ lounge. The large crowd of people combined with their match-frayed nerves had Louis eying the bar until Niall’s hand found his. Who needed liquid courage when his Sunshine was beaming at him like that?

David immediately found them and introduced them to his family. But, when the active players started to arrive, Niall let David take Louis towards them, motioning to Paul to make sure he saw. He wanted to stay with David's omega.

“Victoria? Can I ask you a personal question?”

“Of course, sweetheart.”

“Was it difficult? Adding Iker to your mating?” he asked. As with any late addition to a marriage, particularly a famous one already a half-decade old at the time, it had been tabloid fodder for months both in Spain and England when David Beckham asked the alpha vice captain of Real Madrid into his mating.

“Yes and no,” the omega replied. “It was different for me. Adding another alpha is far easier, I think, for an omega. There isn’t a threat of dividing attention. You know who you should talk to? Alex. Stevie and Carra’s wife. She, Jamie and Stevie were engaged and had their first pup when Stevie fell for Xabi,” Victoria motioned to the tanned blond with two little mini-mes by her legs. It had only been a small talking point after the Champions League Final in 2005, when the engaged alpha and then Liverpool captain snogged his omega teammate in front of the world. Any scandal had been dwarfed by one of the greatest rallies the tournament had ever seen and swept aside by the triad explaining post-match that the addition had taken place quietly so as not to distract from the run up to Istanbul. “Alex, dear,” she guided him over. “Have you met Niall Horan? One of the omegas from One Direction.”

“I haven’t had the pleasure, but I do know you. My omega and I took these two to your show yesterday. And Lily here helped you lot to the X Factor final,” the distinctly Scouse woman patted her awestruck daughters.

“Well, thank you very much,” Niall hugged both little girls and made small talk with them, asking them about the match and the concert.

“Is it true your alphas are claiming Louis?” the younger one blurted.

“Lexie, you know it’s not polite to ask things like that.”

“Sorry,” she ducked her head into her mother’s skirt.

A knowing look crossed between the three omegas and Alex said, “Girls, why don’t you go find your dads, Mama and Lourdes?”

When the little blondes looked less than thrilled, Niall stooped down a little and said, “Or, if you can do me a favor and find Louis, we were planning on sneaking onto the pitch. Do you want to come with us?”

Lighting up, Lily and Lexie nodded and scampered off. It wasn’t until they were on the field, Louis having a ball with David Beckham, Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher and Xabi Alonso (and their kids) that Alex approached Niall.

“Yes,” she leaned on the advertising boards with her fellow blonde (he'd feigned a small knee ache to get out of playing, though, he was considering joining in later), as she rocked Lourdes, Xabi’s daughter, trying simultaneously to dig out her pacifier. “It was a challenge adding Xabi and going from triad to pack. Truth is that kiss in Istanbul was their first. We just didn’t want anything to overshadow that win, you know? The club didn’t deserve that, Jamie didn’t and I certainly didn’t want that.”

Niall offered to take the fussy newborn and sang softly to her; her soft brown eyes went wide at the soft melody. “So, you just went along with the story?” he asked when Lourdes curled into the familiar smell of omega.

With a fond smile at her daughter, Alex stretched her arms and spoke,“They came home from the celebrations and sat me down—I couldn’t go to the final, not with Lily being a newborn, not with how crazy I knew it would get. So, they come home and Stevie apologized profusely and Jamie explained the plan. That they’d wait until things died down and announce that the courtship went south and that’d be that. Jamie would fall on that sword, Xabi and Stevie would stay away from each other and be as professional as possible.” She took a deep breath, “But, I said no. I could feel it in our bond, how difficult that moment was for Steven. He was stuck. Not stuck with me, as I first thought, but stuck having to choose which of these two omegas he loved to hurt worse. So, I guess, yes. I did just go along with it because what choice did I have? Look at them,” she pointed to the two midfielders who could send perfectly weighted passes to one another without even looking and the fond smiles that went with them. “They were like that from the moment Xabi signed with the club. Submission as an omega side, how could I, as Stevie’s friend and fiancé and partner, deny him that kind of love?”

It sounded all too familiar for Niall. “That’s how Louis and Harry are,” he sighed. “If he’d known Louis was omega, I know they would have bonded, probably sooner than Liam and I did. But, I keep wondering—“

“If he’d be yours, too?” Alex nodded. “I wondered that, too. But, you can’t compare yourself to him, Niall. You shouldn’t. And once they bond him, once he’s pack, you won’t have to.” Alex smiled. “Once my lads bonded Xabi, I could feel that what Stevie and Xabi have wasn’t truer or deeper or more real than what we have. It’s just love and once that happened, I could fall in love with him, too.”

And like he knew they were talking about him, the Basque omega, who’d followed his alphas to LA despite offers from Bayern Munich and Real Madrid, glanced over and winked, blowing her a kiss. She blushed.

“But you already love him. I can see that.”

“I do,” Niall nodded, checking on the baby who'd fallen asleep against him; he could get used to that warmth against him and the sweet smell of baby. He brushed aside the tug in his belly for now. “I think I always did. And it made things complicated. Because at first everything made sense. How we all felt—how we all feel and that attraction that’s always been there,” he corrected, “just made so much sense. And at first I was all about it, but, I don’t know. Something happened and a bit of doubt just snowballed and turned into a fight.”

Alex smiled. “Everyone kept saying to me, ‘but aren’t you worried they’ll love him more?’ And at first it felt like that.”

“Like he was the new toy and you were the old one?”

“Exactly. But, all the attention they gave him…they just had to learn him. All his little quirks and nuances. The same way they had me. And, so did I. We had to figure out how we fit together, not just him with the alphas, me with the alphas. We were in it together, as their omegas.”

“Did you ever have second thoughts?”

“Thought about it a few times before they bonded. But, I knew in my heart that he belonged with us. Even if my mind had other ideas sometimes.”

Niall nodded in understanding again, “Do you…feel bonded to him? Even though you can’t mark him.”

“We’re connected in a way I didn’t think we could be as omegas. It’s something couples and single omega triads or packs don’t understand very much. But, we have a bond through our alphas.”

“So you trust him? That he won’t leave you for an ex or something? I mean, I can see Liam’s exes or Harry’s or Zayn’s and be fine. But, the last time I saw Louis’ ex I felt homicidal.”

“I punched Mikel Arteta, an alpha, for winking at Xabi. Would have clawed the bastard’s eyes out, too. Don’t get me wrong, I trust that Xabi is going no where. But I hate his exes more than I hate Stevie’s or Jamie’s and, in all honesty, I can’t explain that.”

The blondes shared a chuckle of camaraderie. The perspective of another omega, one who had already gone through an addition, put Niall at ease. He and his pack were on a learning curve, all of them, but things would be all right.

Like Xabi had, Louis glanced over to check on his sunshine, grinning when he had his attention.

Niall beamed back at the brunette. Yes. Things would be all right.

Louis lobbed a soft pass over to him, and Niall excused himself from Alex, gently handing the sleeping baby girl back to her. He did need to stretch his legs a bit before their long ride to Phoenix, and, besides, when was he ever going to get the chance to have a kick about with two former England captains, Liverpool’s long serving former vice captain and a World Cup winner who also won the Euros twice!

***

Meanwhile, while Liam recorded in Julian and John’s back lounge turned studio, Zayn followed Harry into their kitchen. “We never got to finish fighting.”

“I know,” the younger alpha ran a hand through his hair and then filled and started the kettle. Zayn pulled out a couple mugs and the pot while Harry filled the strainer. They waited in silence until, sat at the table with a full teapot, they handed the sugar and milk back and forth and started stirring. “I’m nervous about…how’d you say it? Taking him to bed,” Harry broke the sound of metal scraping porcelain.

“Really? Nervous?”

“I…Liam gets it. I was this nervous with Niall the first time, too. But…I didn’t have to wait years for him. So it’s like…worse now. What if I’m so nervous I…I dunno…”

“Can’t get it up?” Zayn didn’t want to laugh at Harry’s plight, not right now, but it was hard—no pun intended. Incredulous, he huffed, “You know how hard me and Li had to work to keep the two of you apart? Not just before your rut, but even when he was a 'beta.' Your alpha knew the truth and that’s probably part of the reason Ni’s so jealous. You and Louis always had, like, a connection.”

“I didn’t mean for Ni to feel left out or forgotten, especially after a rut…”

“Ni knows that, babe. And he knows how excited you were, how long you’d wanted to get there with Lou. The happy honeymoon phase is over and we’re all figuring this shit out, babe, and that’s ok. You have to talk about it with us though. You can’t just keep it all in. Especially you. I’m the brooding, mysterious one,” he joked and nudged Harry’s leg with his foot.

“It’s the whole slick thing, too. I…I don’t want to have to use…you know.”

“Lube.”

Harry nodded.

“You want it to be natural? Then we’ll wait, babe. We’ll wait as long as you and Lou need.”

“And what if I bond him? What if I lose control and bond him?” Harry tapped his spoon against the table. “Li’s my Alpha and Niall…I can’t do that to them. I can’t do that to you.” There was a way out, a way to become pack again even if he did, but still. The guilt would crush Louis.

“And that’s why you won’t,” Zayn took his hand. “Liam trusts you. You remember before your rut, when you tried fucking Louis in Sarah’s Kitchen? When you went to walk it off and Lou followed, I wanted to go after you, as a precaution. But Liam said no. He trusted you then and he trusts you now. And if he does, Ni and I do. Whatever happens though, Hazza, we’re going to work this out as a pack.”

“What if I hurt him? I could ruin this for all of us,” whining, Harry dropped his head onto the table.

“Wow, if you and Louis have a pup, the poor kid will be able to talk themselves out of every idea they ever have.”

Harry muttered into the surface, “She. Presley Anne.”

“Presley like Elvis?” Zayn chuckled.

“The boy I have with Niall I’m calling Jagger.”

“Good luck with that.”

“You don’t think he’ll like it?”

“Names are decided by pack and no way is Liam naming a kid Jagger.”

“What if he’s got the moves?” Harry did a little wiggle. “Moves like Jagger, he’s got the moves like Jagger…no?”

Zayn shook his head, wondering what he saw in baby alpha. “Drink your tea, Harry,” he smiled. “And…about Louis…you can’t create a perfect moment. Just…when it feels right, you’ll be fine. We trust you. He trusts you. We’re going to be all right.”

Chapter Text

En route to Arizona flanked by the two security SUVs in their limo, which Niall had gotten especially for Louis and filled with peonies, pillows, blankets and chocolates, the omegas curled together, still fawning over the amazing night they’d had.

“David Beckham,” Louis quadruple-checked the signed United kit to make sure it was real. Sure, Stevie and Xabi had signed Galaxy kits for them, and that was great, but David freaking Beckham. They’d met David Beckham!!! “Seriously, Ni. Best night ever.”

“Why’s he your favorite? I mean, other than him being well fit,” the blonde opened a piece of chocolate.

“Isn’t he everybody’s favorite?” Louis shrugged, but Niall recognized the tone. Not a lie, but not the whole truth. He pinched the older omega.

“No, really, Lou.”

Louis shrugged again, this time with a sigh that said, all right already, honesty. “Things started to go south between Mum and Dad when I was about nine. She was a beta, but she wanted an alpha so she tried to submit, but it was always that, you know? Trying. And Mark’s great. He always knew how to read her and ease off the whole…alpha…thing. It helped that he was deployed on and off; probably a reason they lasted as long as they did. But still, seven years of pretending like it wasn’t ‘trying,’ they were finally starting to resent each other. And the fighting got worse and worse…” Louis took a sharp breath. “Mum was never going to leave him, and Dad stuck it out as her punching bag another few years after, but it all started to go bad in 2001. Anyway, I remember doing one of those New Year’s assignments in school, some bullshit essay about the best thing about the year? And that’s when I sort of had to face that things were getting really bad at home because the only thing I could think of to write about was Becks’ goal against Greece. He’d always been my favorite, I think, but that goal just sealed it.”

“Yeah?” Niall knew Louis was just talking now, the words and memories just rolling out of his mouth, pent up for years.

“Yeah. When Mark was home, he always went down to the same pub for United matches and all the internationals. And he’d always take me. It was our thing,” he smiled. “The owners always helped work the bar, especially when it got that busy. And the lady omega would keep apple juice on hand so she could pour me one in a pint glass so it looked like a pale lager like my dad’s. Anyway, we’re there at the bar for the Greece match, well into stoppage time, looking like we’re going to miss out on qualifying, Teddy gets fouled again and Becks finally gets that freekick to curl in just right and the pub just explodes, I mean, chairs knocked over, beers flying, everyone screaming and Dad just lifting me up like it’s the fucking Lion King,” Louis laughed.

“Sounds like a good day,” Niall said softly when the smile started to fade.

“It was.”

The blonde could read it on his face, the need to get whatever he was feeling out. “What is it?”

With tears in his eyes, Louis sighed, “I keep thinking…I should have just told him. After I presented. I should have told him. The girls would have been better off with Mark. He never would have let me stay on suppressants. I just feel stupid…”

“Lovey Lou, you have no idea how things would have worked out. You’re right; Mark never would have let you stay on suppressants. But, maybe he and Jay wouldn’t have found each other. Maybe you wouldn’t have tried out for the X Factor. And maybe we wouldn’t be here right now.”

The brunette nodded and wiped his eyes, or tried to, but Niall’s freehand beat him to it, thumb brushing across his cheek. He gathered Louis onto his lap and snuggled him.

“Can I ask you a question?” Louis asked while Niall stroked a finger beneath the new tattoo.

“Mmm?”

“Are you really ok with this?”

Niall pulled him against his bulge, “This?”

Louis twisted his nipple laughing, but sobered quickly. “I’m serious, Ni. I don’t want…to…”

“If you say ruin things, my heart’s going to break,” he dropped his head against Louis’ shoulder. “I never wanted you to feel like that and I’m so sorry. I just had…my heart knows you belong, but my mind keeps… playing tricks on me,” he used Alex’s words because they fit the best.

“I would never let Harry hurt you like that. I could never take him from you. I’d sooner leave myself!”

“No, you left just for the night and it was horrible! I…I got a bit jealous is all. Watching them fall in love with you isn’t easy. I don’t know how you did it. Add in all the crap with Connor…But then I remembered that I get to fall in love with you, too,” the corner of his lip quirked upwards.

“And are you?” Louis looked up at him through his devastatingly long eyelashes.

“Just try and stop me.”

“I wouldn’t dare,” his grin faded as he asked the question he sort of knew the answer to, but had never really asked Niall. He knew about the Horans' third alpha the way the boys knew about his biological father. In that, 'I gave you the long story short version once, so never ask me again' sort of way, “What did happen with Connor?”

“I don’t know. One day he was there, the next he was gone. We don’t talk about it because whenever we do, Mum just shuts down and it’s…like all the air rushes out of the room and it just…hurts. But... sometimes I’d catch Mum with tears in her eyes or…just staring off into space with her hand over his mark. And…I could just… I could feel how much she hurt and how she…I don’t know…”

“Missed him?”

“Not even just that. If she just missed him it’d be fine. But, I was scared because she’d sometimes feel…not good enough for him. And…that’s how I felt with Harry.”

“Haz loves you and I never wanted to make you doubt that.”

“You didn’t. I know he does. I feel that,” Niall rubbed his bond mark. “I just…I feel how he feels about you, too, and it just scared me because…it was like…if was like if you didn’t let me have him then I wouldn’t. And I know he loves me now, but I just…I couldn’t help but think that if we’d always known you were omega, then we’d…you, me and Harry wouldn’t be a thing and I love Z and Liam but I just…I love Harry, too, and I was scared of losing him. Connor walked away from my parents and they were married already. And Haz would be taking you and I’d have to let you walk if it’d make you both happy—”

Louis cut him off, “Harry once spent an entire night on the couch with me, talking about you—”

“How did you even deal with that?”

“Because I love you, too. And whenever he sort of lagged in conversation, probably just catching his breath, I’d throw in how sweet your smile was or how amazing your guitar skills were or how fearless you were during your audition or fawn over how confident you’d been and we’d both go on and on. I love you, Ni. I love you. I think if I didn’t, I would have tried to keep Harry all to myself, no matter how much he needed an omega.”

“But you are an omega.”

“Yeah, well, I didn’t really fit the bill back then. Point is: I knew you would love him and take care of him, but—”

“And that’s why I got him.”

“No. You’re not getting it. We both loved you then. Hell, we probably connected a bit more because of how much we loved you then.”

“Really?”

“Really, love. You’d have Harry regardless of me being an omega or a beta or not being around at all. Harry’s love for you was and is entirely independent of me. As is mine for you.”

“While we’re talking about how much we love each other, you should know something.”

“What?”

“There were nights that… you were all alone down the hall in the den and…and I’d try and tell myself that ‘he’s a beta, he likes it that way’ but it never felt right. And, I’m sorry I never…I’m sorry I never acted on that. I wish—”

Louis shook his head. “Don’t wish.”

"But you were all alone, Lou, when you should have been with us!"

"It's the way I thought it had to be, Ni."

“And that's why you forgave me so quickly, isn't it? Lou, the things I said the other day were horrible and you didn't deserve them and I wish I could take them back because I never wanted to hurt you, you should never be hurt, Louis, especially by me, you always protected me, and—“

“You’re getting worked up, babe, enough. You’re sorry and I said that it’s ok.”

“But—“

“But nothing. I lied to you all for years and you forgave me at the drop of a hat…well, the drop of my head in a lift, but that’s besides the point.”

“Louis, you did the things you did to protect us. I was a dick for no real reason.”

“I changed things, Ni. The alphas are the only stable thing you have in this crazy life we get to live. As amazing as it is, this lifestyle is crazy. I mean, sleeping on a bus, revolving hotel rooms, different crowds and schedules every day. The only thing that never changed was your relationship with your boys and then I came in—“

“Ok, ok, stop!” Niall slapped a hand over his mouth. “Could you stop being so perfect and understanding? I was an asshole and you should be mad at me!”

“You have to pick are you the dick or the asshole because I’m confused,” Louis smiled as he weighed his hands up and down.

“Louis! You should hate me!”

“I don’t ever want to hate you. You were the one that always defended me, you know? When everyone thought I was a beta, you were always the one reaching out to me when the alphas got too…”

“Alpha-y.”

“Exactly. You were the one that made them apologize, you were the one who always wanted to include me, you’re the one who I got my hits of affection from.”

“Your what?”

“You were the one who would sit in my lap and play with my hair. Or grab my hand during those damn horror movies Liam and Zayn like to watch sometimes. Or fall asleep on my shoulder while we were in the car. And, I kinda…just…lived with the little touches and made myself believe it was enough.”

“It’s not enough! Not for an omega,” Frustration bubbled in Niall’s gut. “You deserve so much more than that. You should have had that tattooed on yourself,” he smiled. “Because you do. You deserve the world and I want you to have it.”

“I’m starting to get that,” Louis blushed.

“You do,” Niall wrapped around him, “And, I’m sorry, Lou. I’m sorry I hurt you.”

“I know. And it’s ok,” Louis kissed the crown of his head. Wanting to change the subject, he asked, “Can I ask you something?”

“Ask away,” Niall adjusted underneath him.

“…what are your heats like?” Typically after presentations, heats slowly intensified until the first one heat hit shortly after an omega’s eighteenth birthday, eventually regulating from every four to every six months; Niall burned every March and September like clockwork. But, being on suppressants for so long, Louis had no idea what any of that was like.

Niall grinned. “Oh babe. They’re glorious. I mean, hot and uncomfortable like you’re choking on like, the fever of it until the first knot, and it aches when they’re not inside you—the alphas, I mean. It’s not so bad after the first knot. It’s just a lot of sex.”

“What if…I mean, what about us?”

“What do you mean?”

“What about you and me?”

“It depends,” Niall rubbed his back. “They won’t want either of us going into sympathy heat—like, having an extra one, I mean. Just because it messes it our hormones and shit. Increases the chances of our heats synching up, which might be too much sex, even for three alphas. But, you and me, we’ll be ok.”

“Promise?”

“Pinky promise,” Niall locked their pinkies together. Louis pursed his lips, trying to keep the smile from breaking his face, but his eyes crinkled.

“Can I ask you something else?”

“Anything you want.”

“What are the alphas like during their ruts?”

Niall grinned again. “They’re themselves, but in an extreme sort of way. Harry gets super possessive and needs and needs right now, wherever we are, that’s where we’re fucking. It’s why we need to fly home a couple days before it happens, just to be sure. Zayn’s not so bad. He gets a more aggressive, but he can keep it under wraps so long as I’m right next to him,” Niall chuckled.

“And Li?”

“Liam can’t stop taking care of me. Like, I have to be swaddled next to him at all times with a bottle of water, a snack and Wayne. His ruts are more about us than about him. Typical pack leader.”

“And…like…”

“What are you really worried about, babe?”

“I’m…I’m not going to drop, am I?”

“No,” Niall reassured him, “No, ruts and heats trigger something in us. You won’t drop and you won’t need to.”

“Kay,” Louis buried his face in the younger omega’s neck.

“You really didn’t know all this? What do they teach betas?!”

“I don’t even know. I always got distracted because my health teacher, Mr. Bennett dated my mom. He was an alpha and he just smelt so good. Like a charcoal grill,” Louis smiled. “I actually set him up with my mom just to keep him around more.”

“Yeah?”

“He’s…he’s the one who sent me under by accident.”

“What?”

“He wasn’t a bad guy, you know. But, he was close to a rut, I think, because he just smelt so… hot. And, I think that’s why I had to be near him, why I was drawn to him, I mean. I shouldn’t have even been there. I was supposed to—“

“Don’t you dare justify what he did.”

“No, but I was supposed to be gone. My mum was going to help him through it and I was supposed to be at my friend’s house. But, he was supper aggressive because… you know, his rut, and to keep up appearances as a beta, I kept challenging him, I guess.”

“It doesn’t make it right. Leaving you alone in space. That’s not ok!”

“I…he thought I was a beta. He probably thought he knocked me out.”

Niall didn’t care about accusing this alpha anymore, he just wanted to comfort his omega, “What happened when you came up?”

“Mum yelled at me for running him off and pretty much getting caught.”

“Did he know!?”

Louis shrugged. “I don’t know. I never saw him again. He had quit the school before I returned. Mum said it was my fault. On the bright side, my grades in the class went up and I actually did quite well. Can’t remember any of it for the life of me though.”

Niall had to growl the rest of his frustration. He hated that woman with an unholy passion. “What was it like?” he stroked Louis’ back, “Being in omega space by yourself.”

The brunette countered, “What’s it like with an alpha?”

“Safe,” was the first word that came to the Irishman’s mind. And not only because he wanted to reassure Louis, but because it was true. That was the entire point of omega space: it was somewhere safe to retreat to when things became too much. “Like a blanket around your mind, sort of. To float you above it all until you’re ready to deal with it or to take it in slowly.”

“That sounds nice.”

“Your turn.”

Louis sighed. “It was floating, too. But more like…being a balloon getting cut loose at night. Everything’s dark. And…cold…and you’re just there but you don’t know where there is because you can’t…feel anything. Then when you’re back… its like when your mind wakes up before your body and you can’t move and you keep panicking and like…the dark is trying to keep you there…” he had to cut himself short.

“It’s not like that with our alphas, lovey. It’s safe and warm because you’ll feel them. And they call you back when you’re ready to come up. Zayn’s particularly good at balancing me on the edge to calm me down but not drop me. I think it’s because he’s so pretty he just sort of hypnotizes you to begin with. But, they’re all great at bringing me up, especially together.”

“How do they know when you’re ready to come up?”

“I don’t know. They just do,” Niall smiled. “They just know. They’ve never brought me up too early or too fast.”

“Ok,” Louis kissed his head.

“Ok? Like, ok, you’re ok going under? Or—“

Louis shook his head. “Just ok.”

“Maybe like ok as in you’d like to make out again?”

“Well, I’m always ok with that,” Louis appreciated the segue that only his sunshine could manage.

“Good because I also have something to show you,” he glanced at the shut partition. He knew the driver couldn’t see them; he’d double-checked and had Basil in the front seat to be safe. He rose to his knees on the seat and slowly undid his pants.

“I have a feeling I’m going to like what I see…”

“Just something I couldn’t stop thinking about yesterday…” he felt so awkward, but Niall wanted Louis to know he’d do anything for him.

And that included wearing blush colored lace panties.

Louis flushed with desire and something else, too. “Oh, Ni…”

“You don’t like them…” Niall blushed, too. He was sure-Selena had said he had a thing for lace like the top Louis had returned to her, and Niall had even braved calling her to clarify and she said Louis had a thing for seeing her in lace panties! Oh, she was evil.

“It’s not that, it’s not that at all,” the brunette’s hands covered his to keep him from lifting his jeans back up. “The lace thing…it’s not, I mean, you look incredible with the color against your skin it’s just…I can barely handle it…but, what Selena said…my thing for lace… isn’t about her wearing lace panties…”

If it wasn’t about her… Niall’s jaw dropped, the embarrassment gone in place of fantasy. The Booty?…the Booty panties? In lace? The Booty in lace panties!

Louis hid his blushing face behind his hands. When he peeked between his fingers, he saw Niall on his mobile. “What are you doing?”

“Debating on whether the Booty would look better in the white or the blue. Ooo, or the pink. Fuck it, we’re getting all the colors.”

“Niall!”

“The alphas are going to flip their shit.”

“So, it’s not weird?”

“We’re omegas. The trunk around our junk is supposed to be pretty, duh!” he didn’t know what the hell a cheekini was but if it looked good on the model, it was going to look fucking incredible on the Booty!

“But you don’t wear pretty pants.”

“It’s not my thing really, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be your thing.”

Louis smiled. While the Irishman contemplated the look of briefs versus hiphuggers, the older omega took a closer look at his panties. The blush pink stretching over the bulge, the pale skin peeking out between the lace…

“Why’d you do it, Ni?” he stroked a finger over the waistband. His raspy voice deepened a little and Niall tossed his phone aside. “Why’d you put on panties for me?”

“Because I want you to know I’ll do anything for you.”

“Anything?” Louis smirked.

Niall grinned. “Anything.”

“Good because I think my lace thing goes beyond myself in panties…” the Englishman licked his lip. “Define anything.”

“Anything you say,” Niall gulped.

“Like if I asked you to take these jeans off for me?”

Niall slid away from him and stood—or tried in the limo before dropping his trousers.

“Shirt too.”

The Irishman tossed it away, more than eager.

“And if I asked you to come back here?” he patted the seat next to him; Niall filled it quickly. Louis laid him back on the bench and pressed kisses all around the waistband, warm lips brushing warmer skin, before he started to mouth at the lace, leaving open mouthed, wet kisses against the panties.

Niall moaned; the air conditioning caressed the wet spots and the hot skin beneath, adding to the teasing that the older omega was doing. “Lou…”

“Hush. I’ve got you, love.”

“Please, I’m so wet,” he felt the slick start to drip into his panties.

“What do you need?”

“Something. Anything, please!”

Louis sat on the leather and pulled him into a straddle over his lap, low enough that they could grind together, lace scraping against denim. He slipped his arm around the Irishman, sliding his hand into the back of the panties and rubbing a finger against his hole before pushing it in.

Niall gasped at the intrusion, writhing into it immediately and clenching around the digit.

“So tight,” Louis licked at his mouth in a messy kiss, adding another finger and ramming them in and out of him.

“Can I…can I ride you?” Niall needed more than a hand. “I want to do all the work for you…”

“Like I’d ever say no to that,” the older omega smiled.

Niall couldn’t get their pants off fast enough before straddling the brunette. “You’re so big for an omega,” he stroked him.

“You must sweet talk all your omegas like this.”

“You’re my only omega,” Niall arched as he positioned himself and sank down; he clenched around the cock inside him. Louis didn’t stretch him like the alphas did, but fit him perfectly, like Niall could have Louis inside him all day without getting uncomfortable and they were certainly going to try that one day.

“You want me inside you all day?”

“Did I say that out loud?” the blonde began leaving kisses on his head.

“Yes, sunshine, you did,” Louis gripped his hips; it had been months since he’d been inside an omega and he didn’t realize how much he missed it. “Now, move, babe, c’mon. Ride me.”

“Yes, al—er…Louis.”

Louis grinned, patting his bum, “You can call me alpha if you like.”

“You’ve been everything but an alpha,” the Irishman groaned when he found the right angle for Louis to hit his prostate; sparks flew behind his eyes, trying to catch that fuse that would ignite his orgasm.

“Just say my name, Niall,” the omega’s voice rasped.

“Louis!” Niall rode him harder, until the sounds of his ass hitting Louis’ thighs filled the limo. “Louis, my Louis, mine!”

“That’s right, I’m yours,” Louis savored the slick heat around him. “I hope I feel this good for you one day,” he groaned.

Niall came at the thought of being inside Louis. His come shot all over the omega’s bare chest, so hard that it splattered as high as the collar rocker. “I…I’m sorry, Lou,” he gasped, opening still pulsing around the erection inside him.

“It’s ok,” the older omega stroked his side, “Do you need me to stop?”

“What?”

“Do you need me to stop? I…I don’t want to make you drop, I don’t think that’s…”

“I'm fine, Lou, keep going,” he gasped, rolling his hips towards the brunette. “Keep going, please!”

“You’ll tell me if you're not-"

Niall’s body prickled with sensitivity as Louis jarred inside him, “Yes, Louis!” he panted. "That's what colors are for, please, Louis, please."

“And you can come again?” Louis really didn't want to stop. Niall felt incredible, like sunshine personified, all wrapped around him.

“Yes, Louis! Please,” he begged, lifting up and sliding back down again.

“Good,” with a gentleness that made Niall’s stomach flutter, Louis lowered him to the blankets on the floor of the limo. Pushing Niall’s knees (carefully) towards his chest, Louis snapped his hips forward, eyes on the baby blue ones beneath him. “All right? With me?”

“I’m not afraid of going into space with you, Lou. Take me there,” he begged, moaning when a bump in the road made Louis jar inside him.

“But…”

“I trust you,” at his most vulnerable, Niall calmed down enough to say, “If I drop, I trust that you’ll be here for me, like you’ve always been. You’re not an alpha, but you're still more than enough, I know it, Lou, I know I'll be safe with you. Now, please, please, Louis move,” he gulped, holding his knees and shuddering when Louis’ hands caressed down the backs of his thighs.

His confidence boosted by Niall’s faith in him, but still wary of the tenderness of his omega, Louis found a slow, smooth rhythm that reminded them both of Zayn.

Louis thought about spitting into his hand, but eyed the lace panties and smirked. Niall saw the glint in the bluey greeny blue and gulped. The English omega wrapped the lace around Niall’s dick—he couldn’t pass as a beta, but his cock was as sweet looking at the rest of him—and followed it with his hand; it quickly burned with the friction between them.

Niall arched, orgasm threatening again; skin was smooth regardless of how much or how little lube there was between a hand and his cock, but the lace was dry and rough and it increased the friction and the heat between them tenfold. Near tears with oversensitivity, he tightened around the omega inside him the way he would one of his alphas, begging with his body for a release. “Louis, Lovey Lou, please!”

The Irishman’s slick dripped against Louis, churning audibly between them with every thrust.

“Come for me and I will.”

“You’ll fill me?” the blonde whimpered, the edges of his vision going hazy, the first step into omega space.

“Yes, babe, I’ll fill you, I’ll fill you,” Louis gulped, fucking faster and harder into his sunshine.

This time Niall came against his own body, a smaller splatter than before, his balls straining as they emptied entirely. And this time, Louis couldn’t help but come with him. He felt himself filling the omega and shudders of that pleasure rolled like electricity through his skin. But, worry kept him from enjoying the afterglow. “Ni? Ni, are you ok?”

“I’m here,” Niall’s voice sounded sweet and light, a dazed, happy smile on his face. “I’m staying right here, babe,” the Irishman covered the hand on his hip with his own. “I love you, Louis. I love you so much.”

“I bet you say that to all your omegas,” he smirked.

“My only omega,” Niall pouted and wrapped himself in Louis, the edges of his visions coming back into focus. “Are you all right?”

“Am I all right?” Louis stroked his back, “Are you sure?”

“More than all right, babe. More than all right. Are you?” they were going to go around in circles asking that question at this rate. But Louis was more important than circles and what was Niall talking about? He shook the floaty feeling away and held Louis closer.

“If you are,” the older omega stroked his side. Satisfied that the Irishman wasn’t dropping, Louis slipped out of him, fell onto him and cocooned them in a blanket, stuck together with come.

Up front, the sweet, alluring smell of omega sex got to the two betas. The driver took a deeper breath than usual and Basil side-eyed him. “I can kill you with my bare hands.”

The driver opened a window.

The alphas were ready and waiting when the team pulled in at half-past-still-too-early o’clock. They’d barely slept after finishing recording the night before, suffering instead through a restless night with their omegas so far away.

Paul opened the door to the limo and the alphas smiled softly. That is, until that sweet alluring scent hit them all. As did the sight of the boys’ clothes all over the limo.

“Go get a blanket from inside, Haz? And Z, have Paul make sure there are no cameras back here.”

Both alphas nodded. Liam carefully opened their little cocoon, licking his lips at their nudity. As Harry and Zayn returned—yes, both ran—with one of their blankets from their bedroom and security on alert, he peeled the omegas apart. The alphas’ eyes went wide when they saw the lace panties between them.

Quashing the desire (for now only!), Liam carefully handed Niall to Zayn and Louis to Harry before collecting all their things and following his pack up into the den. Settling back in their bed, his alphas drifted off easily with their naked omegas between them. Last in, Liam tucked them all under the blanket before spooning behind Harry and following them back to sleep—all three alphas dreaming of omega porn.

Chapter Text

One Addition?
Rumor has it the world’s cutest pack is making an addition! Since the news that 1D’s Louis Tomlinson is actually omega, rumors of courtships have abounded from Jelena to Ed Sheeran, but none stronger than with his own band. The pack has yet to comment and no marks have been seen on the newly revealed omega.

However, during the band’s break from their hectic tour, the Tommo was seen out on the town almost every night with one Harry Styles, and while in LA, these pictures surfaced of a super cute morning on the beach with the pack’s rumored Alpha, Liam Payne. Just hours later, the StubHub Center’s cameramen caught the two omegas at the Manchester United-LA Galaxy game, shortly before Niall Horan posted these adorable selfies. Not to be left out there was some Zouis action in Chicago when some lucky fans happened upon Louis and Zayn doing a little shopping at Sunday morning’s Dose Market.

While this does mean we’ll have to wait to see whether Zayn, Liam or Harry file for the marriage license as Alpha, we are hereby assuming that One Direction is definitely headed in that direction and we anxiously await any Louis-centric dating during their next stop in Seattle.

“Good morning, lads,” Grace joined the boys in the back lounge. “How are you?”

As the alphas answered her, Louis stiffened against the couch. He liked Grace and he trusted her. But she was still management and after all that happened, that fact still made him nervous. Before he could put up the walls around his wariness, Harry was right there with him, throwing an arm around the wary omega and rubbing his side. Curling beneath baby alpha's arm, Louis took a deep breath and returned his focus back to Grace.

Harry wrapped both arms around him, taking a deep breath of blueberry muffins. He'd spent the last week backing off the omega every time things between had gotten too hot. Harry knew he was trying Liam and Zayn's patience; Niall on the other hand was happy to have so much alone time with the alphas. Their first time had to be perfect. Secluded beachside villa or by the fireside of a snowy mountain cabin kind of perfect or a tent at a music festival. Definitely not a hotel bed with the rest of the pack watching a movie in the next room; the soundtrack of Jurassic World didn't quite say romance. Not to mention, no matter how long he gave the older omega head, Louis still wasn't slick. He just hoped the older omega was as patient as his alpha brothers.

“I have good news and I have a bit of unfortunate news. What would you like first?”

“Drag us down and cheer us up,” Liam decided.

“There was a contract signed while you were with your last management team that we’re having trouble getting you out of. Because it’s a simple thing, we thought we’d run it by you before we took them to court,” Grace explained. “Louis was slated to make an appearance at a nightclub in Seattle. They paid a good chunk of change to ensure you be there. We tried to return the money, but they’ve already said if he’s not there, they’ll challenge it as breach of promise.”

“So, all we have to do is go?” Liam asked.

“Yes. Go after the show, get papped going in and out, have a couple drinks—nonalcoholic, for you of course,” the lady alpha’s stern look had Louis shrinking; Harry chuckled and rubbed his back. “You don’t even have to stay long. Then it’s off to Vancouver.”

“We can do that, lads,” Liam shrugged. “You’ve read the contract thoroughly and that’s it?”

“Yes. Nothing scandalous has to happen, nothing underhanded. Just go, have some fun, leave. They just want to get the word out about the club, that’s all. We’ve double and triple checked.”

“Are you ok with it, Tommo?” the Alpha asked.

“Yeah, why not?” his reply was out of his mouth before he even realized it. He knew why not. He hated that he was obligated to go, but that was also familiar. He’d always been obligated to go. Why would that change? “I’ll be fine. It’s been a while since I’ve gone out.” He shrugged. No big deal. Just a club appearance. He’d done that more times than he could count. At least I’m still pack, right? Where's my collar? He needed to put his collar on.

“Hey,” Liam leaned over and squeezed his knee. “If you don’t want to, we’ll go to court.”

“No, no, it’s fine. I’ll go,” Louis didn’t want to cause trouble. He’d done that enough—

“Look at me,” the Alpha turned completely to him and repeated, “If you don’t want to go, we don’t have to go.”

“I said it was fine, Liam,” the omega mumbled, uncomfortable with the focus of the conversation on him. “I’ll do it. The paps have probably missed me anyway.”

All four of them caught the defensive humor the moment it was out of his mouth and the pack leader immediately said, “Take them to court, Grace.”

No, no, no, no! Don't piss of management!“God damn it, I said it was fine! It’s nothing I’m not used to!”

“Exactly,” Liam’s tone raised just enough to get his point across. “What you were ‘used to’ is not ok. You’re not a billboard. You’re not a publicity tool for other people.”

“Liam, please,” Louis didn’t want to look over to Grace. He’d been good with their new team so far, but all of a sudden all that mattered was keeping her happy and keeping the pack from doing something they might not want to do.

“Louis, it’s fine, honey. It's the last one, it's the only prearranged engagement left,” the lady alpha said softly. "We'll go to-"

“No, it’s fine, I’ll just go. No harm, no foul. It's just a night out. This is my choice, isn't it? And I said it’s fine, really, can we just get to the good news?”

“We’ll go then,” the Alpha gave his knee another squeeze. “We’ll all go, it’s been a long time since we’ve all had a lads night together. It’ll be fun going out,” he emphasized all the right points. They wanted to go out. Better yet, they wanted to go together. It was going to be a fun thing.

“But—“

“You are not a problem. You are not a burden. You are not causing trouble,” the Alpha hooked a finger into his tee and gave it a tug. “And my omega is definitely not walking into a club full of alphas without his pack with him.” Louis blushed, any mental regression back to his formal self ceased beneath the Alpha’s possessiveness. “Now, are you ok going?”

“If you are, then yes, it's fine,” the omega replied softly.

“Do we get a say?” Zayn quipped playfully, trying to diffuse the tension.

“No, we could all use a night out, I think,” the Alpha leaned back. “If that was the bad news, I can’t wait for the good news,” Liam nodded at their rep.

“Well,” she turned to Niall. “I’m sure you’re aware that there are three days between the Vancouver and Edmonton shows and I know we cleared them to catch up on recording. But. I got a call this morning,” she looked so excited, “From Rory McIlroy. His partner for a PGA pro/am charity tournament has pulled out last minute and wanted to know if Niall’s schedule was clear enough for him to fly down. As it falls smack dab in between the three days, what do you say, Niall?”

“Abso-fucking-lutely, yes!” the Irishman high fived Louis.

"That's amazing," the omega smiled happily for his beaming sunshine.

“So, I’ll make arrangements for you and one or two of the alphas to fly to Washington, D.C.? Or all of you, that’s ok, too. It’s at the club that hosted a PGA stop. The Congressional, I believe. I’ll also book a couple rounds for you guys so you can get some practice in. So, since Zayn’s rut is scheduled for after Edmonton, you’ll have a five day break and you’ll meet up with the buses in Toronto. I already have the private plane scheduled to get you home. Oh! And, Niall, you and Rory will be partnering Tiger Woods and Roger Federer.”

“I’m going with!” Liam and Harry raised their hands.

“You should all three go. The two of us will record and make sure we don’t fall too much further behind. Give me some time alone with Lou,” Zayn wiggled his eyebrows, stealing Louis from beneath Harry’s arm. “I get you all to myself,” he dragged his nose behind Louis’ ear as he whispered. “Can I take you out again? Just you and me?”

The smell of shisha intoxicated Louis, and he giggled at the prospect of alone time with Zayn. “Yes, please.”

“Whatever,” Niall bounced excitedly in his lap.

“Oh…and Louis I need a word with you,” Grace motioned out of the room.

Dread filled the omega as he planted his feet. There were strings to the club situation, weren’t there? This is how it started the last time with a word here and a word there and then he was in meetings by himself all the time.

“No,” Liam threw an arm out to keep Louis in Zayn’s lap, not that bristling pre-rut alpha was going to let him leave, “Anything you need to say to him, you can and will say in front of us.”

“I didn’t mean it like that, Liam. I’d never try to take advantage of him and I made that clear to you when we first met,” she reminded gently, “But I got a call from some inspectors, Louis, who want to know, why you didn’t cancel your credit card. Or rather, your mother’s credit card. It took another hit last week. Costa Rica this time.”

Louis blanched. His fingers twirling his joggers’ drawstrings suddenly fascinated Louis as he refused to lift his head. “Forgot, I guess.”

“Have you heard from her?”

Louis shook his head.

“I told the inspectors that it must have just slipped your mind,” Grace said carefully. “Shall I do it for you, then?”

Snapping his head up, Louis caught the no before he flew out of his mouth.

“Please, Grace,” Liam nodded, eyes trying to meet Louis’.

With that, the management rep made her exit, leaving Louis to face the firing squad.

Liam took his chin, “Why?”

In the smallest voice possible, he replied, “She’s still my mum…and I still want her to be ok,” the last bit had just been a thought in his head, but he found himself saying the words to his alphas anyway. He blamed this stupid honesty kick. Stupid, stupid honesty.

“Louis,” Liam reached for his hand, but he pulled away.

“I don’t care what you say. Yes, what she asked of me was wrong and ditching us was wrong, but she is still my mother. And my sisters’ mother,” Louis raised his voice just a bit. “What she did doesn’t change that.”

“You do not have to support her—” Zayn rebutted.

“Yes, I do! I’m all she had! And I don’t want to talk about it anymore. Just because you’re alphas, doesn’t mean you get to control every little thing I do. I’m going upstairs,” Louis stomped off.

The negativity bubbled inside him at leaving his alphas and he felt a twitch in his hand as he took the stairs two at a time. He ripped the curtain shut behind him, grabbed his hidden cigarettes, climbed his bunk and popped the emergency exit above the aisle. Shuffling his bare feet against the roof he smacked the pack against his hand, pacing away the frustration.

Even after everything, she was his mother. She was his mother and that still meant something to him and it didn’t matter what his alphas had to say.

He still…he still had something to prove to her. That he wasn’t worthless or useless, that he could make her life better and not worse.

Flopping to the metal, he scraped his hands through his hair and growled at himself. Your pack was just trying to take care of you and you went and caused more problems. That club thing was your responsibility, not theirs and now they have to go, too! And why did you let the police find out? Why didn’t you hide it better? Alpha was pissed at you. You were doing so well and you ruined it. You ruin—

“Hey,” a blonde head popped up, straining a little with the unfamiliar maneuver between Louis’ bunk and the emergency exit.

All thoughts in Louis’ head came to a pause so he could focus on how goddamn adorable his sunshine was struggling onto the roof, carrying two bears with him.

Without a word, Niall tossed the carton of cigarettes off the bus and laid down next to him, sorting their bears between them.

Louis sighed. “You’re going to burn, you pale Irish boy.”

“I need a base coat or I’ll burn when I play eighteen holes.”

Louis quipped, trying to be sassy, “Golf sounds so kinky when you say it like that.”

Niall laughed heartily. After settling, he took Louis’ hand. “Alphas like to say that betas don’t get us. But they don’t either. I mean, they’re there to take care of us and protect us and all—they know what we need, but…they don’t quite get the little things.”

“Like the dimples in your back at the bottom of your spine?”

“Like what mums mean to us. I can’t imagine what you’re going through, Lou. But I know how much my mum means to me. Dadai and Dad, they protected me and made me safe. Greg too. But Mum…she was there to listen and hold me and…be a mum. And even if she wasn’t, I’d want her to be. I wouldn’t be able to give up on her, either. It’s not just you,” the blonde reassured him. Sure, Niall still hated that bitch, but this wasn’t about her. This was about Louis.

Heart lifted by the omega’s solidarity, Louis squeezed his hand; the nicotine itch in his fingers was non-existent when they were intertwined with Niall’s. Turning onto his side, he pulled the yellow bear closer and changed the subject. “I call him Boo because I couldn’t say Pooh. Got the B sounds and P sounds mixed up when Mark first gave him to me. Just stuck.”

Niall cringed and laughed. “Can I tell you something I never told the alphas?”

“What?”

Propped up on one elbow, he sat the rainbow bear up between them. “He’s called Wayne for the same reason. I couldn’t say my Rs right. So rainbow became Wayne-bow. And that just stuck, too.”

Louis laughed. “So, it’s an omega thing?”

“Being hopelessly adorable? Naturally.”

Louis laid his head on the blonde's shoulder and savored the comfortable silence that followed.

Meanwhile, downstairs in their den, Harry sat down next to Zayn while Liam chased Grace down.

“If…things don’t end up being right any time soon…you don’t have to keep your promise to me. I mean, while Li and me go with Ni and you and Louis are together and things are right. Then…they’re right. And maybe that’s how it should be,” Harry shrugged.

Zayn slung an arm around him and pushed a kiss into his curls. “I won’t. But, you saying that means the world to me. And before you think of staying, this is an incredible opportunity for you weird golf people.”

Harry knew that. And he knew Louis would just feel guilty if he did stay and that's not what he wanted Louis to remember every time he thought of their first. “It’s not like either of us would be his first, really. Not even first alpha. Well, I guess, sort of his first alpha. But, the beta boyfriend he had when he was younger ended up presenting late.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah. He told me while we were in the X Factor House. You and Li were out with Ni and… we were just in bed talking…” Harry reminisced. “We had the room to ourselves and it was the first time I remember thinking, 'if only he was omega.' I kept hoping he’d have a late presentation, too. Even though, you know, he was eighteen.”

Zayn sprung an intact ringlet. “You keep wanting it to be perfect. But your first time with Niall—“

“Was in my bedroom and I scattered rose petals and lit candles and everything. Right down the hall from the room of an omega pretending to be a beta. Though, he’d gone out because I asked him if I could have the place to myself for Ni. That shit earlier with the club and him getting pimped out to them? That’s his life in a nutshell, Zayn. Niall gets something awesome while he gets used by some stupid club for publicity. We owe him more than perfect, Zayn.”

“We do, but at the same time, Haz? You had what he wanted you to have. You had what he wanted and you knew what he wanted you to know. Blaming ourselves for what happened isn't going to do anyone any good, we know the truth now. We can take care of him now. And we will. He’s not doing that alone and that is the last time he's going to have to deal with something like that. He’s not doing any of this alone anymore. But, perfect isn’t reality and it’s putting a lot of pressure on you both. More than anything, he deserves easy and natural and right. Whether that’s in a candle lit penthouse hotel room or our bedroom right here, there’s going to be a moment when it might not be perfect, but it’ll be right.”

Harry dropped his head against the back of the booth. “I thought I was supposed to be the chill, zen one.”

“Oh, baby alpha. That’s just what you like to tell people,” Zayn leaned over for a gentle kiss between partners.

Meanwhile, Liam caught up with Grace by the stadium. “Hey, I meant no disrespect, you know.”

“I know you didn’t. And neither did I. But, omegas and their mums are weird. My omega and her mum are connected at the hip. So, this is a complex situation with him, and I didn’t know if he had brought it up with you or not, or if he wanted to.”

“He hadn’t. But, keeping things to himself—it’s a habit we’re trying to break him of. And, lone meetings with management, it’s going to rub us all the wrong way. Especially after what happened with Jones.”

“Understood. It won’t happen again,” Grace promised.

“Thank you. I appreciate that,” Liam shook her hand.

“Thank you. And I’m sorry. I think I just got you a workout,” she motioned behind him.

“Top of the morning to you,” Mark smiled.

“Let me grab Zayn and Harry,” the Alpha sighed good-humoredly and went to send his alphas to their trainer. “You can work on Niall’s knee later.”

***

When Niall actually started to burn, Louis corralled him inside, staying in his bunk area up front.

“…wanna make out?” the younger omega offered, lounging on the older one’s couch.

Louis laughed at the wiggle of the blonde's eyebrows. “I judge myself for letting that work on me.”

“Hey. Years of making up for.”

“Making up for making out?” the brunette pulled the blonde into his lap.

“Did you want me to ask you to ‘netflix and chill’?” he chuckled.

“Netflix and…?” Louis’ eyes went far away and he raised his brows in epiphany. “Oh…I guess that is what that means.”

“If you tell me that she,” he spat the pronoun, “called you over…”

“Not her. Ed.”

“Oh. Well, fine.” He didn’t like it, but he’d accept it. “Huh…” Niall opened Louis’ pants and raised his eyebrows at the bulge. “I meant to ask you the other day, but you’re sure you’re an omega?”

“It’s how I passed as a beta,” Louis said smugly.

“I’ve seen beta cock, and yours is too pretty to be beta cock.”

“When did you see beta cock!?”

“I had a boyfriend the year before X Factor. Didn’t want an alpha yet. Well, and Greg scared the crap out of all the alphas even relatively close to me. But one brave beta dared to date me. He was my first. Sweet boy,” Niall smiled.

Jealousy bubbled and boiled in Louis’ stomach. He had no idea who this boyfriend was but he hated him. He hated this beta he’d never met with an unholy passion. Flipping Niall to the couch, he growled, “Mine. Mine, mine, mine.”

Louis bit at Niall’s neck, nothing as severe as an alpha. It was more like little nips that made the blonde giggle. “Now you know how I feel,” he raised his arms for the shirt to come off, then lifted his hips for his bottoms. “Every time you mention her,” he grabbed the collar of Louis’ top and ripped it apart, tearing all the way down to the bottom hem.

Shuddering at the desire behind Niall's need, Louis went to town, touching and licking and sucking whatever he could, until Niall had blotches of shiny pink all over his chest.

“Lou,” he arched when the brunette paid particular interest to his nipples before descending the planes of his belly. Louis’ fingertips hooked into the waistband of Niall’s briefs and pulled. Niall’s hands immediately covered his modesty, blushing.

“Do not hide from me, Niall Horan,” Louis’ eyes stormed with possessiveness and the strength Niall made him feel. “Hands above your head, right now.”

The blonde snapped into position.

“Good boy,” Louis’ fingers wrapped around the omega’s cock and stroked him to a full erection. His other hand groped his sack, the tugging tenderly.

“Louis…” the blonde writhed, trying to get that second hand lower.

“I don’t know, Ni, my tattoo hasn’t finished healing yet. I don’t know if I should get it wet,” he smirked.

“Not the time to be a bastard, Lou, please,” Niall pleaded.

“I love to hear you beg,” the brunette leaned over and kissed him.

“Please, Louis, please, I need something, I ache, please…” the Irishman spread his thighs as wide as he could on the couch. “Please don’t stop, lovey, please.”

“Where does it ache? Here?” he stroked the warm skin of his tate, “Or here?” his fingers traced the source of Niall’s wetness.

“Louis,” he whined, trying to arch into his touch.

“You can take two right away, can’t you?” he pushed them in. “Fucking hell, you’re tight. How the hell do the alphas get in here, huh?” abandoning Niall’s dick, he rested a hand on the couch for leverage, pressing his fingers in deeper, churning the slick inside him as Niall chanted his name like a prayer. And then Louis found it; curving his dainty little fingers just right, he got the tips against Niall’s prostate. “You’re going to come for me, aren’t you? Or is that not allowed? Will the alphas get mad?”

“Don’t know, don’t care, don’t stop,” Niall scratched at the leather.

Louis thrust in and out of the moaning omega, building towards the orgasm like a whirlwind. Adding a third finger hit like lightning and Niall tensed, ass gripping the three digits inside him as he shot his load over the blotches Louis left on his skin.

“Beautiful,” the older omega felt it deep in his chest and he wondered how he ever thought he could be satisfied just looking at the missing piece of his heart. “You’re so beautiful,” Louis started to lick the panting boy clean. First, he disappeared the white streaks before dropping lower to lick at the dripping slick.

Speaking of slick...

Niall felt the brunette pull away suddenly, a curiosity piercing the air, and he snapped out of his post-orgasm daze. “All right, babe?”

Louis fidgeted awkwardly. He and the boys—Harry especially—had only fooled around a few times since LA, nothing serious, but this…this kind of arousal was entirely new for him. It felt like something had finally kick started inside him. “I’m…”

“What’s wrong?”

“I think…” he flushed. “Erm…m’slick…”

Niall’s pupils blew wide instantly. He manhandled Louis to his hands and knees on the rough carpet of the aisle before he yanked his pants down, wondering why he wasn’t wearing lace, didn’t, wasn’t, fuck it, the Booty was out and there was a chorus of hallelujah echoing his head at the sight of it.

“Love the Booty, so much,” not just the Booty but the sweet smell of slick sent him into a tizzy.

Suddenly so aware, Louis felt Niall’s thumb trail from the bottom of his spine down slowly, both giving him every chance to pull away. The pad of the finger brushed against the pucker of skin—the wet pucker of skin.

Both omegas’ breathing hitched. As Louis clenched involuntarily, Niall’s thumb pushed in and he moaned, “Now whose a good boy?” Playfully, he swatted Louis’ butt.

“Hey!” the older omega pouted. “You can’t spank me and call me good all in the same sentence, that’s sending mixed messages!”

“Really, Lou? I’m about to rim you and you’re sassing me? How about you just shut your mouth and enjoy it?”

Laughing away any awkwardness about what was actually happening to him, Louis smirked, “So you’re going to kiss my ass?”

Niall smacked the Booty; his mouth watered when it rippled.

“Ow! Ok, I’m done. Shutting up.”

Giggling, Niall stroked the perfect skin of his round ass, squeezing reverently. His thumbs caressed the insides of his cheeks, spreading the supple flesh so he could dive in. As an omega, he’d never been on this end of a rim job, but that didn’t matter. This was the only ass he’d ever want.

Louis gasped the moment he felt the pliable tongue slide across him; he’d never…surely the simultaneously soft and firm warmth was supposed to feel strange, not this damn good.

“Ni…” his toes started to curl and he reminded his aching cock that the blonde had just started licking.

Niall traced the wetter creases and groaning a prayer when another drop of slick dripped out for him.

Louis scratched at the worn carpet, the pressure building in chest to the point he could only breathe little puffs of air. The blonde pushed his mouth deeper between those cheeks, tongue writing a song across his skin.

“I could fucking eat you out for hours,” Niall’s whisper ghosted over Louis’ wet skin and the older omega started to tremble, his thighs quivering, about to come and he hadn’t even touched his cock. “So slick, babe, so wet…” he pushed the tip of his tongue into the rim.

“Ni, Niall!” Louis’ back arched, his entire body tensing as he came all over the carpet, but for the first time, had the added slick gliding across his prostate.

Niall lapped it up, licking him through the aftershocks, his hands greedily gripping Louis’ ass to keep him steady. “You taste so good, lovey,” the blonde took a long last lick to savor this moment. He had a feeling he wouldn’t get playtime with Louis any time soon. “We need to go to the alphas. Like, now.”

“I don’t even get cuddled. I feel so used,” Louis tried to piece together his dazed mind.

“C’mon,” Niall threw clothes at the brunette, mixing up their briefs and tops, but that didn’t matter, he was sure the alphas would be taking them all off in a minute anyway. They had to taste this. They had to smell him now. “I promise I love you and I’ll cuddle the crap out of you later!” he dragged the omega off the bus where Preston and Paddy were waiting.

“Slow down, Niall!” Louis giggled, a pit of excitement twirled in his stomach. If Niall was this happy, what were the alphas going to feel? He gulped. Hopefully something hot enough for Harry to take him to bed finally…

But once in the stadium, the Irishman went sprinting through the winding halls; the taste of Louis’ slick spurred him on. He didn’t know exactly where the alphas had set up their workout, but he followed their bond right to them, the hearth growing around him until he took a flying leap home into the warm arms of his longhaired mate. “Hazza!”

“His back, Ni!” Liam and Zayn gasped; like the Alpha’s kidney problems, Harry’s presentation had eventually solved his back issues, but that didn’t keep the two of them from worrying about baby alpha.

But the groan wasn’t a painful one. Harry pressed him to the wall and shoved his tongue deeper. “Is that? That’s not your slick…that’s…is that…” he touched a finger to his lips in disbelief.

“Louis’,” Niall smirked.

“Oh my god,” Harry grabbed Zayn to share the taste on his lips with him while Niall did the same with Liam as the fact settled among them all. That taste? That had to be Louis.

“We missed…” Liam gaped. Not again. Not again, how could they miss the omega sex again!?

“Me eating Louis out,” Niall grinned.

“And that’s where I leave you. We’ll rehab your knee later, Niall,” their trainer stepped away laughing.

“So he’s…” Harry gaped.

Niall pulled them towards the doors where he thought Louis would be following him. “Slick.”

“You two are not allowed to be without us anymore!” Zayn exclaimed. “Replay. Replay, replay, replay, right now,” the alphas dragged him to the door, but their distressed stylist ran in.

“It’s Louis, I don’t know what just happened!”

Chapter Text

Louis rolled his eyes, laughing as the Irishman ran off. “Could one of you go with him? Make sure he doesn’t get lost or anything.”

After a quick rock-paper-scissors, Preston went running after him, past their oncoming stylist.

“Did Tom send you and Lux flowers, Lou?” he smiled fondly at her.

“No, love these are for you. They were in makeup.”

Louis awed and tucked his skateboard under his arm before he took the roses and opened up the card.

With a surprised gasp, the vase shattered around Lou’s feet and by the time she glanced up, Louis was gone.

“Louis! Lou, go get the boys!” in shock, the recovering beta fell too far behind his charge and lost him in the winding hallways.

Floating in the puddle of shattered glass and water was a handwritten note that said, “To my pretty little whore, with love from your real alpha.”

***

“What happened?” slick forgotten, Liam went into red alert mode. “Where is he?”

“He ran off, someone sent flowers to him, he read the card, dropped the vase and ran, Paddy couldn’t keep up with him! I thought he was running to you, but he didn’t turn the right way!”

Because Louis didn’t have a bond to follow.

“Let’s go, Niall with me, you two have your phones?” he asked his alphas, who nodded and split up into the maze of hallways.

“Louis?!” Harry turned the corner, wondering why this couldn’t happen in one of the straightforward venues, with one hallway or no hallway, just a backstage area. He needed fucking breadcrumbs to not lose his way! “Louis love, where are you!?”

Zayn followed Lou back to the crashed vase, and, taking a deep breath, he tried to pick up the faint scent of blueberry over the ripe roses. There was too much space, too much air, too many alphas and betas and stuff had gone in and out.

Niall’s hand in his, Liam raced down the hallway, both of them bursting in and out of rooms and calling for Louis, hoping to feel something, anything from him.

***

Rocking back and forth manically, Louis covered his ears, but he couldn’t stop the sounds of his shirt and pants ripping or that alpha’s heavy breathing or the scent of blood. He couldn’t get enough air into his lungs no matter how much he wanted to, how much he needed to.

“I hoped I’d get you alone today. This had to be fate. You’re too pretty to be a beta, you know that?” he licked at Louis’ neck. “Mmmm, you taste so good…my pretty little whore. I’m going to mark you, I don’t give a fuck if you’re a beta, you’re mine. All mine…”

Louis sobbed. He wasn’t his. He wasn’t. He was Niall’s and Liam’s and Harry’s and Zayn’s.

But he didn’t have their mark.

He had his. He had that tiny little scar that wouldn’t fade! He’d been using that cream and Zayn had bitten it, but it wasn’t gone yet! Did that give the alpha more claim than the pack? Who did he belong to!?!

Mike, his name was Mike. Louis forced it out of his head, but it came back around like a boomerang.

No! Niall. The alphas. The pack. You’re theirs. Your collar. You have their collar.

But he didn’t. He didn’t have it. Did that make him not theirs? Was he not theirs right now? Was he only theirs when he had it on? Was he only more theirs than his when he had his collar on? Where was his collar? Why wasn’t he wearing it?!

With desperate whimpers, he reached for his neck, shaking hands scraping at where it should fall, nails digging for that feeling of leather fit perfectly against his skin, the heavy padlock falling in the hollow of his throat, because it had to be there somewhere, didn’t it? He belonged to Liam and Niall and Harry and Zayn, he was theirs, no one else’s!

Where was it? He needed it, he needed them, he was so scared, he wanted his alphas, he needed his Niall, he wanted his Boo Bear and Wayne and omega and alphas because he couldn’t breathe still and even in the darkness he could feel the edges of his vision fading.

Then one thought froze his veins with terror: he was going to go under. He didn’t want to! He didn’t! He barely got out that first time, he’d never be able to find his way out this time, not without the pack, but the pack wouldn’t know where he was, he wasn’t bonded to them, he was…

Was he bonded to Mike?

He had his mark.

He wanted Mark.

He wanted his dad.

He wanted his alphas and he wanted his omega and he wanted their collar, but he couldn’t move.

Was he under already!?

Was he slipping?!

How did he stop!?

Sobbing, Louis desperately tried to find their scents in the stolen clothing surrounding him, but couldn’t, not in the way he’d gotten used to. This place he’d used to run to when he needed them didn’t have the subtle scent of apple in the shisha smell of Zayn, the warmth of the ocean in Liam, the burst of freshness that came with Harry and the fun that melted in his mouth whenever he scented Niall. It wasn’t there. They weren’t there. He couldn’t find them.

He could still smell that sharp scent of peppers that came with--no! Not his alpha, that alpha, that horrible alpha. Louis didn't belong to him, he didn't, he didn't!

My pretty little whore. Burden. Problem.

***

Still setting up the floor, it took a while for Rick to hear of the commotion backstage, but once he did, he raced through the stadium to find Liam. It was one thing to keep Louis’ secret when it was hurt that had him running, but fear was an entirely different animal to omegas.

“Liam!” the roadie found the Alpha with his blonde omega, frantically searching the halls. “Crate Twenty-Eight, fifth hall from the doors to the den lot,” he pointed behind him. “He’s there. He has to be.”

“What? Why?”

“That’s for him to explain,” Rick didn’t have the answer, even if Liam tried to beat it out of him; the look on the Alpha’s face said he considered it before leading his omega to the aforementioned hall.

“Twenty, twenty-one…” Liam stopped counting when he saw a skateboard under one seven crates down and ran for it. Liam lifted the cover and his relieved heart sank. Folded into the tight space within duplicates of the den blankets and pillows and tucked under the big grey sweaters from the You and I video, Harry’s leopard print trench coat from Steal My Girl, Niall's Paul Smith shirt from their Telehit performance some time ago, and Liam and Zayn's missing leather jacket, Louis rocked back and forth, eyes clenched and hands tightly over his ears with a roll of shirts tucked under his arm and tiny trails of blood from the ripped skin around his neck.

While Niall called Harry and Zayn, Liam braced Louis’ biceps and yanked him out of there.

“NO!!” he trembling omega screamed and tried to claw his way free, needing the tiny little crate to contain all the thoughts before they sent him under. “Nonononononononono,” he grabbed the edge of it until he felt a hand on the back of his neck; he whirled around to knock it away, losing his footing but not falling because Alpha.

Alpha?

“You do not run from us.”

But he did run. He disobeyed Alpha. That meant-“Badbadbadohnoohnobad.”

“No, babe, no, you’re good, you’re good, angel, you’re good!” the Alpha stroked his back, or tried to at least, but could barely hold onto the squirming, panicked omega. “Ok, we can go back in, but I’m coming with you,” Liam gathered Louis the hysterical omega and climbed back into the crate, pinning Louis between his knees and against his chest.

“Scoot,” Niall motioned quickly. There was barely enough space, but the blond knelt between both sets of legs and brought the top down on them. He hummed softly, trying to find the tune while he felt for Liam in the darkness and turned Louis towards him as much as he could manage. That way Louis could scent him directly and was trapped tightly between them. “So hot that I couldn’t take it, want to wake up and see your face and remember how good it was being here last night. Still high with a little feeling. I see the smile as it starts to creep in. It was there, I saw it in your eyes,” Niall sang softly, starting from his and Louis’ verse in the middle.

“I was stumbling, looking in the dark, with an empty heart. But you say you feel the same, could we ever be enough? Baby we could be enough,” Liam joined him. “And its all right. Calling out for somebody to hold tonight. When you’re lost, I’ll find the way, I’ll be your light. You’ll never feel like you’re alone. We’ll make this feel like home…”

The gentle vibration of against him and their harmonizing voices trapped by the plywood and Niall’s biceps within his clawed, shaking hands and the combined scent of them reminding him of that perfect morning on the beachside Ferris wheel brought Louis back, his sobs slowly subsiding into sniffles and shakes.

“Ok, Lou?” Liam murmured right against his ear after they’d finished singing.

Louis nodded. Even as tightly packed as they were, he felt their arms and legs and scents replacing anxiety’s grip on him.

“Take a few deep breaths for us, babe,” Liam stroked a hand against him. With his arms around the omega’s middle, he could only really move it across Louis’ tummy. But the last of the tension seemed to melt at that touch; Liam would have to remember that.

Niall waited until the long breaths stopped shaking to ask, “Are you ready to get out of here, lovey?”

Niall. Claustrophobic. Crate.

“Oh god, Ni!” Louis reached for the lid, but the Irish omega grabbed it before he got it too far open.

“Stop!” he told the two pairs of hands joining his and Louis’; Harry and Zayn heard them singing, but were unsure of whether to open it or not. Clearly, the answer was not. “I’m ok. I’m fine. Are you?”

With a sniffle, the Englishman nodded, the slight movement illuminated by the light peeking in under the lid.

“Ok, lads, open it up, please,” Niall said; Zayn and Harry peered into the crate around their three mates, equal parts confused and heartbroken.

“I-I-I’m-you-didn’t mean to-tried-too far-lost-couldn’t,” the crate was still his safe place and opening the lid and getting out meant reentering reality and the roses and the note and that alpha rushed back to him.

“Easy, angel, easy,” Liam kept rubbed circles into his tummy. “Let’s take you back to the den and then you can explain when you're ready, all right?”

“C’mon, jaan,” Zayn offered a hand.

Trying not to step on either of the younger two, Louis held his arms out. Smiling at the omega, the British Pakistani lifted him out with alpha strength and adjusted him on his hip. He turned Louis’ head into his neck, reminding him to scent, but as he slid his hand down his neck, Louis whimpered.

“I’m not, babe. I’m not. See? Hand’s here, now,” Zayn pressed it to Louis’ shoulder as he stepped back to let Harry and Liam help Niall out of there. “Let’s get you back to the den, meri jaan, ok?”

Louis nodded, nose against Zayn’s neck, the smell of his alpha soothed him.

Tucking Niall against him, Harry led the way home, keeping Zayn steady as the oldest alpha kept whispering reassurances into Louis’s ear.

Meanwhile, Liam took another look at the crate and sighed before slamming it shut, trying not to wonder how often Louis had come here. Paul and the security team were waiting at the end of the hall, and he nodded to them as he followed his pack to the bus. He knew he didn’t have to tell the beta to figure the fucking roses out.

Niall replaced the roll of tops Louis had hung on to with Boo and Wayne before Liam said as soothingly as possible, “Louis love, I need to lick the scratches on your neck closed, before they start to scab, ok?”

“O-ok,” he sniffled.

Zayn tipped up the omega’s chin to give their Alpha room to work before turning Louis back to his neck and cuddling him as close as possible.

“I’m sorry,” the older omega mumbled after the post cry hiccups had finally stopped. “I didn’t mean to hide, I mean, I did, but only because I couldn’t—I didn’t know which way to go and I-”

“Easy Tommo,” Liam rubbed his back. “You went with your instincts and that’s ok.”

“I just couldn’t find you and I kept turning and the hallways, they all look the same and I saw it and I just…needed to be held and that’s where I always went when I felt like that,” Louis rambled.

“Is that why you were packed in there so tight?” Niall shuddered as his claustrophobia flared, but he tried to stay focused on Louis.

“Used to help,” he reached for Niall’s hand; helping his omega always helped him.

“He’s not going to get to you,” Harry reassured. “We’re going to protect you.”

“I can protect myself, I just freaked out, ok?!” Louis grumbled.

“And, there’s our Louis,” Zayn loosened his arms.

“Did I say you could let me go?” the omega snapped and burrowed into the alpha.

Liam squeezed Zayn’s leg and in their eye contact, mouthed, “rub his belly.”

“Really, Lou? Belly rubs? Like a little puppy?” Zayn cooed, circling his hand over the Tommo tummy until, “Ow!”

Louis pulled his teeth from around the alpha’s nipple, and grumbled, “Call me a puppy again, dick.”

“Puppy with a potty mouth,” Liam smiled in relief as normalcy seemed to return to the omega. Louis smacked at his groin, or tried; the Alpha easily caught his hand.

“Niall,” Louis whined. “The alphas are being mean to me!”

The blonde smiled and kissed the hand in his. “You know what will get them to stop? If I tell them that they’ll never get to see me eat you out if they don’t.”

Louis blushed; he could still feel the slick in him from earlier and, as the fear dissipated, his usual smell was stronger and sweeter because of it.

“We’re stopped!” Harry smacked Zayn’s arm.

“We’re stopped,” the older two alphas quickly agreed.

With a deep breath, Louis turned into Zayn's chest as the quiet around them ensconced them comfortably. As long as they were together, they’d be all right.

A little while later, they heard the bus door hiss.

“Boys? Grace and I are coming up,” Paul called and a minute later knocked on their bedroom door, waiting for Liam's ok to open it. “First of all, what have I told you about getting come on the carpet?”

“You knew that stain from the stairs?” Grace asked curiously.

“I’ve been with them a long time,” Paul sighed. “Preston is going over the security tapes, the team is sweeping the floor and all the rooms. We’ll update you when we’re done.”

“And I’m trying to reschedule your club night out, which, I’m sorry, isn’t going well,” Grace braced herself for the alpha ire. “The paps have already been tipped off and it’ll play a little odd if you have to double back before heading to Edmonton. That being said I was able to get the entire VIP section. And the band and some of the crew have agreed to go to make it look like a party, which is even better, you can sneak off early.”

“The answer’s still no,” Liam decided. “Not after what just happened.”

“All due respect, Liam,” Paul eased in. “Coming from a security professional, you don’t want this guy knowing he’s getting under your skin. We’ll be able to control the VIP section now and we’ll bring the entire team. So long as Niall and Louis don’t sneak off, you’ll be safe.”

The Alpha didn’t look happy about it, but, sharing concessionary glances with both his alphas, yielded. “You hear that, you two?” he raised an eyebrow at the omegas.

“Yes, Alpha,” Louis and Niall agreed.

“Just stay for an hour. Half an hour even and you’re done,” Grace brushed her hands together.

“All right.”

“And try to smile,” Grace said.

Liam forced one on; Louis poked at his face until he laughed and it relaxed into something natural.

Chapter Text

About an hour before the Seattle concert was to start, Paul pulled the Alpha from the dressing room—Niall and Louis were playing FIFA quite raucously to the amusement of the alphas, the latter had his collar on over the healed skin of his neck.

“The security tapes caught a the floral delivery come in before our crews even arrived. The stadium’s crew just left it in the room Lou and Caroline were given. Lou didn’t read the card, she thought it was from one of you.”

“It’s not her fault, not at all,” Liam shook his head and made a mental note to talk to her before the show.

“We called the police; they’ve increased their presence around the stadium. We also contacted the florist ourselves, but they said the order was called in. Alberto had one of his contacts trace the number, but it’s a prepaid phone and there’s no way to trace it. That’s all we’ve got right now.”

“I appreciate that.”

“How’s Louis doing?”

“Proving how strong he is,” Liam smiled proudly. “And I think he’s trusting us to handle it and protect him.”

“And we will.”

The Alpha nodded and returned to his pack.

“Everything ok?” Niall asked.

“You’re both going to be safe,” Liam kissed them both softly and joined his alphas on the couch. Niall nudged Louis with his arm in a silent gesture of ‘I told you so.’

And they were. They walked into the nightclub smiling and laughing and following Niall as he led Louis in by the hand; the paps went mad for those pictures.

They danced a bit, drank a bit (not Louis), and joked around with all eight of their bodyguards and the band and crewmembers. Louis sat in Harry’s lap the entire night, sipping on a soda and laughing with his pack.

When they returned to their den for the short drive to Vancouver, Zayn lagged downstairs, keeping Liam and Niall with him.

“Shhh,” he hushed the blond about to object.

They picked up the sounds of distracted steps along the aisle and the door opening and a soft, shocked breath from Louis.

Zayn smiled.

“What did you do?” Liam raised his eyebrows.

“You remember your first time with Haz?”

“Me?” the Alpha asked.

“Not you,” Zayn smacked the joking Alpha’s side. Niall lit up at the memory of rose petals and candles and silk sheets and nodded; he would deny until the day he died that the clichés had him swooning. “Now Louis will too.”

“You just want in the Booty,” Niall smirked.

“So bad, Ni. So bad,” Zayn grabbed his omega’s ass. “I need to know him the way we know you.”

“Biblically?”

“Lovingly. Intimately,” Zayn backed him into their Alpha. “Better than ourselves,” he swiped his tongue just under the omega’s Adam’s apple because he knew it would make his knees tremble. Liam kept him steady, hands going for the extra delicate skin above Niall’s hips.

The omega whimpered; his alphas knew the right buttons to get his slick gushing.

 

Upstairs, there weren’t candles and definitely no rose petals for Louis. Instead, a ceiling full of dangling fairy lights glowed softly over a sheer canopy draped over the neatly turned down bed.

“Harry,” Louis smiled fondly.

The youngest alpha decided to tell him Zayn did it later; at least, he assumed Zayn did it. Instead, he leaned in and pressed his lips to Louis’, letting the omega deepen it and make the next move.

Louis’ fingers deftly undid the only three buttons Harry used before sliding his hands under the collar, palming the alpha’s soft skin as he eased it off his shoulders.

The top fluttered to the ground, joined soon by Louis’ tee and their shoes. All the while both of them read the others’ skin that way an adult rereads a favorite childhood book, with the same love and wonder, but a deeper appreciation for the details, like the gentle slope of Harry’s chest and the way licking at it made his breath hitch, or the sensitive patch of skin below Louis’ belly button that trembled when Harry’s fingers brushed against it as he dipped into the waistband of his skinnies.

He used the grip on Louis’ jeans to direct him to the bed, both of them trying to crawl on while continuing their in-depth exploration. Harry peeled Louis’ briefs down with his denim, sighing in relief when his omega was finally, finally naked for him.

“Harry…” the rasp in Louis’ voice rippled across Harry’s skin.

Louis combed his fingers into the alpha’s mane while Harry traced his tongue over the letters of his collar rocker before making a slow and thorough descent down his chest, taking the time to detour to flick his tongue over both nipples before making the reverent pilgrimage across the Tommo tummy towards his treasure trail.

“You’re sure you’re an omega?” Harry asked, leaving stripes of spit underside his cock.

“Would you like to double check my ass?”

“Yes, I would, but we’ll get to there.”

“Harry, I-“ Louis said between gasps and the tightening of his belly.

“I’ve got you babe,” Harry swallowed his dick and bobbed his head up and down until there was a layer of spit as lube for his hand before running a thumb along the seam of Louis’ sac.

The most delicious set of whimpers gathered in the omega’s throat and he gripped the long brown curls harder.

Harry’s fingertips found the puddle between his cheeks. Gently, he rubbed the pad of one against the pucker of skin, moaning when it flood with slick.

Louis’ hips bucked wantonly, until Harry’s freehand splayed across his belly and pressed him back to the soft bed.

With the utmost care, the alpha pushed a finger in to the second knuckle and groaned at the tight, tight heat encasing it. His cock twitched in anticipation, leaking into his briefs. Removing it, he licked the digit clean. He replaced it, pushing in to the hilt, the tip searching and prodding until Louis cried out and arched off the mattress. Where cold lube had had a bit of a numbing effect, the warmth of his slick kept him in tune with the nuances of the alpha’s hand, like the texture of Harry’s ring against his entrance and the curve of his finger and the thickening of it at the knuckle and the second fingertip brushing his rim.

“Harry please…”

“Patience,” he teased, but slipped it in alongside the first, pumping them gently.

It was the third long, long finger though that made Louis feel the stretch. He gasped and writhed at the burn and wondered how he’d ever fit the alphas inside him. When Harry started to massage his prostate and lazily jerk him off, any worry disappeared as his orgasm approached.

“Haz, no,” he grabbed the alpha’s hand around his cock. “I-I want…”

“I want you inside me when I come. I want your knot. I want to feel it.” Louis begged, “Is that ok? Can we?”

Gulping, Harry nodded. Rut long gone, he had more control. But, it was Louis. His always meant to be. That’s why he was afraid that if he knotted, he’d bond the omega, but also why he knew he’d manage. Anything for his Louis. “Yeah. Yeah, I can. We can. But are you sure?”

“Please, Harry.”

“So polite. Such a good boy,” the alpha praised.

“For now,” Louis tightened around the twisting fingers.

Harry leaned in, kissing him as he slowly removed them. Harry unbuckled his belt and peeled his jeans down, smirking when Louis’ eyes went wide.

“Fuck…that’s…” that was going inside him? Fuck. He’d be bowlegged for weeks!

Harry paused, “We don’t-“

“Oh yes, we do,” Louis sat up, reaching out for the alpha. His erection was heavy and Louis had never felt daintier; he needed both hands to fully encircle it. He bent forward to lick the precum off the tip—memorizing the taste—palms and fingers pushing back the foreskin.

Harry bit back a moan, his own hands brushing into the omega’s fringe so he could better watch his cock disappear into that sassy little mouth. He felt himself twitch with need and pulled Louis back by the hair as gently as possible. “Another time, I’ll come in that sassy little mouth,” he stroked a thumb over a strong cheekbone. Kneeling between the omega’s thick thighs, he kissed Louis onto his back, blanketing him with heat.

The anticipation electrified the heady air around them. They were finally-they could final be-

Louis cut off the number one about to pop into his mind, and pushed the long curls back with a fond smile; Harry returned it wholeheartedly as he guided Louis’ knees apart. “Ready?”

“Mmm,” the omega nodded, so concentrated on the moment that the word yes couldn’t make the trip from mind to mouth.

Harry positioned his head against the wet omega and pushed it in.

Louis’ whimper rippled through the silent den. “Don’t stop,” he pulled the alpha closer by the hip, or tried to at least.

Harry stayed still, savoring the first ring of muscle stretching for him and about to tear through the sheets to keep from slamming into Louis.

“Haz, please,” the omega needed to feel more; if just the tip felt this good, he needed to know what the rest of Harry felt like inside him.

The alpha inched in, gripping the cotton sheets tight for control.

The stretching of his muscles burned on the edge of pain as the youngest alpha opened him up to an extent Louis didn’t think possible, to parts of him he wasn’t aware of, that had never been touched. But when he felt the alpha’s hips flush to his own, he knew that burn wasn’t the reason for the tears in his eyes. He’d wanted this so long. So, so long.

“Harry,” Louis refused to cry though, to be that omega, and yanked the alpha in for a kiss to distract the overwhelming emotions.

“Ok?” Louis’ lips stifled the alpha’s murmur.

“M’ok. Please move, please, Hazza.”

Harry started slow with shallow thrusts; Louis was so tight that he had to be reopened up with each one. But the fervency increased with desperation while the slapping of skin echoing off the walls provided the beat for the melody of their grunts and moans.

Louis’ fingers dug into Harry’s back, clinging to this moment as long as he could, until he knew he couldn’t hang on anymore. “Harry I-can I please-I need to-“

“Come for me,” the alpha fucked into him harder, pounding at his prostate with every long stroke in and out of him.

“No. Want-want your knot,” he whined.

And he was going to get it. The omega felt the knot swelling inside him, stretching him so wide that he was sure he’d split open, but it was the burn of cum that set him off, like fireworks behind his eyes that shook him to the core. Louis came between them so hard that he felt himself break apart, kept together by the long arms and strong hands of the—no, of his alpha.

Harry felt the same way, panting and gasping and heart being out his chest and into the safety of Louis’. But as his orgasm settled into rhythmic bursts of cum into his omega, all of it kept in by his thick knot, he felt his teeth itch. His alpha begged and pleaded with him to bond, because he couldn’t lose this feeling, he couldn’t lose this omega, he couldn’t be without him ever again.

He rubbed the enamel against the omega’s neck to quell the need, but held himself short of sinking them in. He could feel his Alpha’s presence in the hall just a few feet away. His pack trusted him. Louis trusted him. He couldn’t. Not yet at least.

Scooping the boneless omega off the sweat damp sheets, he gathered Louis against his chest and sat down with the omega in his lap. Whining as the new position made the alpha’s knot shift deeper, Louis rested his head against Harry’s collarbone and trembled with the last throes of it all. He thought of telling Harry he loved him, but the comfort of the aftermath, and the feeling of completion descending onto the room said it for them both. He settled for a kiss to the alpha’s neck and drifting asleep in his embrace.

The next morning, Louis woke with a wince, but smiled at the wet soreness. Harry’s knot had slipped out of him in the night, but falling asleep with it inside him had been nothing short of amazing.

“All right, boo?” Harry stroked his bare back, fingers still tingling with the contact. He’d been awake almost an hour, just watching his lover—yes, he was using that word with purpose and excitement and a finality he’d been waiting years for.

“Perfect,” Louis pulled him across the pillow for a kiss. “Good morning.”

“Good morning,” Harry pulled him into a hug, cheeks squished in the crook of the omega’s neck. “I love you, Louis.”

“I love you, too,” he grinned, the feeling bursting in his chest like fireworks.

“Mine. And Zayn’s and Liam’s and Niall’s. But mine,” Harry mumbled against the skin that had made his teeth sing with need, but stiffened—and not in the fun way—when Louis tensed. The emotional alpha-omega connection between them had opened with their first knot, but it was still new and tentative and the younger of the two could just barely feel the emotional shift and couldn’t quite identify the exact feeling yet, “What is it?” Did Louis not want to be theirs!?

“I…it…yesterday…” Louis covered up his collarbone and tucked his head back under Harry’s. “I want to be yours…I don’t want to belong to him…”

“You don’t, babe,” the alpha moved the omega’s hand, stroking a thumb over the faded scar, pressing down on it. “What do you feel?”

“Nothing,” that alpha’s face used to pop into his mind whenever he touched it too hard, but now there was nothing but Harry before him.

“Then Zayn broke it, babe. When he bit it. And it wasn’t a bonding mark, even before. When Z opened it back up, he healed it as best he could. But, this mark, this scar, it’s going to go away. It means nothing. You don’t belong to him.”

“But he marked me,” Louis sniffled.

“He bit you. This means nothing.”

“But it hurt! It itched…”

Harry’s embrace came with a strong reassurance, “Marks won’t ever hurt you. They won’t ever burn or itch. You won’t ever have nightmare about when we mark you. This, this is just a bite, not a bonding mark,” he brushed at his fringe softly.

“I don’t belong to him?” Louis blushed, needing that last bit of reassurance.

“No, angel. You belong to us,” Harry sat up and reached for the bag at the foot of the bed, smiling when he turned back to see Louis not so subtly checking out his ass. “You are ours. No one else’s,” he removed the collar and locked it back around Louis’ neck, pressing soft kisses to the skin around it; the skin Louis had torn apart in his panic attack had healed thanks to their Alpha.

The omega felt that belonging snap into place with the padlock; Harry felt the difference, too. “Why didn’t you all tell me this sooner?” he snipped teasingly.

“Thought you knew, love. Guess they don’t teach betas about bonding marks?” Harry murmured during a series of kisses to his forehead.

“We—“

“They,” he corrected gently.

“They know what marks mean and they know not to touch them…” Louis blushed as he amended himself, “They know their bites would just be…bites, I guess. But… I guess there’s more to it with alphas.”

“Short version? We can bite to punish or soothe or calm an omega down. Those bites might scar or maybe just bruise, but they’re never supposed to be deep enough to leave an impression. We can’t mark to bond, not outside a bonding moment. An alpha can only mark an omega permanently when we’re knotted together. And even then, it has to be consensual. I can’t mark you permanently, even when I’m knotted to you, unless you’ve accepted me as your alpha. That’s what a claim is for, babe.”

“So you could mark me now?”

“You accepted our claim,” the smile crossing his face was entirely reflexive.

“…you said Zayn broke it.”

“He did. The impression. He broke the impression. As in, you’re not seeing that guy or what happened when he bit you when we put any pressure on it. That helped it heal faster.”

“Could you make it go away? If you bite it again?”

“It’s like picking at a scab, angel. It’s just going to make it worse at this point,” Harry reassured, thumb running over the small purple blemish left behind. His mind wandered though, into how his bond mark would look on Louis’ skin and he smiled at the thought, but re-focused on what his omega—yes, finally his omega needed, “It’s fading. It’s faded so much already, and it’s going. I promise,” he rubbed circles on Louis’ tummy with one hand and running through his fringe with the other.

“Mmm,” Louis snuggled into the alpha warmth encasing him.

Harry smirked.

“Stop. M’not a puppy,” he pouted, but didn’t shove the hand away from his belly.

Chuckling, the alpha just grabbed the blanket and tucked them both under, savoring their first morning after.

Sugarscape @Sugarscape A Pack Night Out!
One Direction left no doubts that our five favorite boys are on their way to becoming pack! Led by the adorably sweet omegas, the boys, along with members of their band and crew, partied at Seattle’s new hot spot, MadHouse…

Daily Mail @DailyMailUK Party Boy Louis Makes a Comeback
Back to his hard partying ways, party boy Louis Tomlinson drags the rest of his band out for a drunken club night…

Sugarscape @Sugarscape @DailyMailUK Ummm, no. #DailyFail

Chapter Text

“I owe you all the blowjobs in the world,” Harry leaned over to kiss Zayn while Niall pulled Louis into his lap when the two of them finally went downstairs to join their pack for breakfast.

“You do give the best head,” Zayn didn’t give a damn that Harry was an alpha, not when he had the most kissable lips. More than that, he was happy to relieve baby alpha of all the pressure he'd been putting on himself to make that perfect.

“Hey!” both omegas exclaimed.

Louis snarled a lip and mumbled, “See if I suck your dick again.”

“Is a bit true though,” Niall conceded.

“It’s his mouth. Harry has a great mouth,” the older omega nodded.

Seeing that he wasn’t in trouble, Zayn nodded baby alpha onto the couch. “I was going to settle for a Louis cheat sheet though.”

Harry grinned and reached between the omegas for Louis’ shirt—well, technically Liam’s shirt—and pointed to this one spot quite low on his tummy. “There.”

“Right here?” Zayn dropped his head and dragged his tongue over it; Louis gasped and writhed in Niall’s lap.

“If we’re going to have omega for breakfast, let’s get on the table,” Niall grinded against the blushing brunette.

“Liam, save me!” Louis laughed.

The Alpha stayed quiet through the entire affair, but at the oldest omega’s playful cry, tugged him out of his pack’s pile. Louis didn’t need to feel the Alpha’s emotions; he already knew Liam’s contemplation face. He lifted himself into his boy’s lap and nuzzled his neck sweetly.

The Alpha purred, “Such a good boy,” he murmured, running his fingernails across the thin cotton of the well-worn tee.

“But what’s wrong, Alpha?”

With a sigh, Liam asked, “You could hear us, couldn’t you? Before. At night.” They’d teased him when he first asked for the curtain, (“You betas and your privacy,” he'd chuckled) but Liam couldn’t stop thinking of how hard (not literally…well, maybe literally, but not the point right now) it must have been for his omega to hear them every night.

And it was almost every night. But for the first time they’d been on the other side of that wall. Having snuck up to watch, Zayn and Niall had slept in the alpha’s bunk while Liam stayed in his own. The sounds were unmistakable.

“Ni’s a screamer,” Louis winked at his sunshine.

“I’m sorry, Louis.”

“We all are.”

Their apologies always made the omega feel guilty and he wrapped around Liam’s shoulders; the scent of blueberry muffins satisfied his soul’s hunger. “It’s fine. Noise cancelling headphones are remarkably easy to sleep in,” Louis shrugged; Zayn slid against them tight and pressed a kiss to his head. “Besides, if you guys started making eyes at each other early enough, I just hung out backstage after the bus took off and rode with Rick.”

“What!?” Harry growled. Their omega was on another bus with other alphas?

“Who?!” Zayn’s eyes went wide. With Rick, who Louis trusted with his secret safe place?

“When?” the hairs on Liam’s neck stood on end. The Rick he’d sent Louis to after the engagement party?!

“Who are these people?” Niall demanded. Who the fuck had hands on his omega?

“What did you do?”

“Did you sleep in your own bunk?”

“DID YOU SHARE A BUNK WITH SOMEONE!?” the questions poured out of the pack, escalating so quickly Louis went wide eyed.

“I-just a couple times…” Louis stammered.

“Just a couple times what?!” maybe Zayn didn’t mean to roar—maybe he did.

Louis squeaked, jolting a little, “Just a couple times, alpha?!”

“No, just a couple times you rode with them or—“

“That I shared a bunk!” Louis exclaimed, the anger in the room made his heart race and he couldn’t help the thought: bad, bad, bad, bad, bad.

Liam wanted to punch himself in the face. He’d even sent Louis over to them! Which alpha was it? Was it Smudge or Rick or Travis? His growl sent both omegas into submission, necks bared for their alphas.

For all the progress he’d made, he was still unused to this aspect of the alpha/omega relationship and hesitated before Liam bit down with need. Louis soon realized the difference between a punishment bite and this one. The Alpha’s teeth dug into his neck with frustration, but Louis could feel, without a single doubt that words would have left him with, that Liam wasn’t directing it at him, but at himself, and knowing that Louis immediately calmed down. The bite was soothing for them both in a way that Louis never expected teeth sunk into skin to be. It was possessive, yes, but, in the strangest way, apologetic.

“It’s ok, Liam,” Louis found himself whispering, his omega spurring him on. “It was just Johnny, anyway. It’s ok, Li. Really. It’s ok.”

“Thank you, love,” the Alpha licked the wound shut and peppered it with kisses until Louis giggled.

“Are you quite finished!?”

“But you smell so good all drenched in Harry,” Liam’s low rumble sent a pulse of want through the room. After a night with baby alpha, Louis smelt so good, like someone had added orange zest to a batch of blueberry muffins. Zayn’s hands slid under the hem of Louis’ top and then Niall’s lips were on the other side of his neck sucking a mark in to his skin and Harry’s lips on Louis’ and the older omega wasn’t even naked yet and he already couldn’t keep up with all the fingertips and lips and tongues and skin against his and his heart started to race because how was he going to manage sex with all five of them!?

A mobile ringtone pierced the air and Louis had never felt more relieved. “That’s me!”

Harry helped pull him from the pack pile and he scurried from the suffocating lust to take his call anywhere but there.

Zayn knew why he’d done it and was glad Harry did, because his logical mind recognized the overwhelmed look on his omega’s face, too. But still, the Brit Pakistani threw a punch at Harry’s arm and wrestled the younger alpha to the couch. “Where’s the lube? You’re so fucked,” he grumbled.

Harry knew Zayn was close to his rut. Buuuuut, he just couldn’t help himself, “You can’t fuck me like Liam can, why even try?” he riled up the older alpha. He didn’t care about the repercussions. He’d die happy and whole right now having gotten to make love to two of the most beautiful omegas in the world, one of which was his Louis. Besides, getting fucked to death by Zayn would be such a great way to go.

Niall dug it out of the couch cushions and Liam sighed. “It was right there?!” The Alpha had Louis right there before the break, willing but not wet. “C’mon Nialler. Let’s let the boys work this out.”

“I can’t watch!?” the blonde protested. “I bet Lo-”

Liam slapped a hand over his mouth. “Don’t. Better he gets his aggression out with Haz than Louis. His rut is close.” He dragged the blonde upstairs and into some clothes before taking both omegas to the stylists’ bus.

Zayn tore the clothes from the young alpha and dragged his tongue across his body.

“Louis…” he could find the subtle differences in taste.

“I’m Harry, but you can call me whatever you want.”

Zayn slapped his bum and pushed two fingers in dry. “Are we all going to get sassy after fucking Lou?”

“Probably. Lots of rubbing off after all. And Z, lube, please?” Harry grit his teeth.

“How was he?” the older alpha smeared some on his fingers and shoved them back in.

“Soft and tight…pliant,” Harry arched his back, tightening so much he could feel it in his thighs.

“Like you?”

“Better,” he grunted, adjusting to the penetration.

“Impossible,” and the sweetness of his reply spoke to the decline of his aggression.

“He was so…responsive, Z…”

“Like you are,” Zayn pushed towards his prostate. “Look at you about to come and I haven’t even fucked you yet.”

“Get on with it, alpha,” baby alpha said with the seductive submission of an omega.

Zayn opened his fly and worked a lubed hand over his length.

“Come on you fucking tease,” Harry lifted his hips. “Fuck m-“ his last word shattered into a throaty cry as Zayn slammed into him. He was rougher than he’d ever be with an omega, ramming in and out of Harry like a piston, lithe hips slapping against the youngest alpha’s.

“Tell me,” he grunted.

“He’s perfect. Just perfect and beautiful and the noises he was making, Z, were music, and gorgeous, like Niall, and can you imagine us taking them together?” Harry dug his fingertips into the leather, arching into the hand wrapped around his cock.

Zayn could and it torpedoed him closer and closer so fast that if had been with anyone else, he’d be embarrassed. “Fuck, Hazza,” he gripped the alpha’s soft love handles.

“Thinking of me as an omega again, aren’t you? You wish you could claim me and fuck me? That I could get wet for you? And I would, just looking at you makes me hard, I don’t know how Ni and Lou contain themselves,” Harry rambled; he didn’t think he could do this for any other alphas. Zayn and Liam were his and he was theirs and it was always meant to be like that. “You want to bond me and mark me, don’t you?”

“And keep all those bitches from looking at what’s mine!” Zayn thrust so hard the couch rocked on its bolts. “Mine, mine, mine!”

“Most of all, you want to breed me, don’t you?” Harry smirked, enjoying the increasingly powerful pounding he was taking. “You want to knot us together and dump your come in me?”

“Yes, god yes!” Zayn dug his grip in, the sound of flesh slapping spurred him on.

“Do it, Z, go on. Knot me. Bite me. Breed me,” Harry’s demands pushed the older alpha over the edge and he shot like a canon.

As Zayn's knot popped, baby alpha winced, but wished he was built to do this more often—Zayn snapped his teeth down on Harry’s neck, digging them into flesh deeper than he ever could with either of his omegas. As an alpha, Harry would only bear his mark for a few hours—at least until Liam claimed it for himself; the pack leader’s feathers got ruffled whenever his alphas tried marking each other.

“I’m yours, you know?” Harry panted. “I’m yours and you’re mine and when we say our vows, whenever that is, I’m saying mine to you, too.”

“You’re such a sap,” Zayn smirked and kissed him gently, like he was an omega; but his body knew Harry wasn’t. His knot didn’t last, no matter how badly he wanted to breed baby alpha.

“But you love me.”

“I do,” Zayn vowed. “Always.”

***

“Everything ok?” Liam asked when his alphas joined them to find Caroline playing dress up with the blonde omega while Louis chatted on the phone next to their Alpha.

“Was going to ask you the same thing,” Zayn walked a happy Harry over to the couch; the youngest alpha hardly looked an alpha, squeezing between Liam and Louis and curling his long limbs around the omega, who just smiled and cuddled him close. That is, until Liam saw Zayn’s bite.

“Z,” he grumbled, leaning over and biting down to reclaim his alpha. Neither of his boys wore marks unless he left them there; Harry whined and rutted against Louis’ thigh.

“Well,” the English omega laughed into his mobile, brushing at his baby alpha’s hair with his free hand. “I don’t really know what’s going on.” But he really wanted to continue watching.

Unapologetically, Zayn shrugged. “You know how tight Haz gets.” Liam was the only one who could touch his marks without a homicidal urge rising in his gut. Harry had once stroked a finger over the bond scar Zayn left on Niall and the oldest alpha fucked him over the couch for it. Did he mention that they were—well, had been—in the middle of an interview? Though Liam got everyone out of the room before their clothes had come off, Harry admitted afterwards to doing it on purpose—the cad.

“True,” Liam said around the doubly puffy welt. “All right, Lou?” he smirked at the awestruck omega.

Louis blushed and went back to his phone call; Zayn plopped down next to him and pulled the omega—Harry’s limbs and all—into his lap, digging his nose into Louis’ neck. He smelt so good still drenched in baby alpha, like blueberry and fancy orange muffins.

“Ok, bye Jay. Yeah, I will. Give the girls my love when you can. Ok. Bye,” he finally got to hang up and announce, “The twins presented.”

“Oh yeah?”

“Phoebe’s an alpha. Daisy’s an omega,” he chuckled.

“No!”

“Is that possible?”

"Apparently," Louis shrugged.

“Actually, my dad used to tell me that some twins were lovers in a past life, and their bond was so strong that they had to be reincarnated together because they weren’t quite ready to leave the other yet. The alpha comes back still really protective of the omega, even if they don’t present that way,” Zayn nuzzled Louis’ neck. “Might be something to it.”

“Might be. Phoebe won’t let anyone into Daisy’s room. She’s apparently sat outside the door and only Jay was allowed through.”

“How do girls present as alphas?” Harry asked; Gemma was an omega and he didn’t really pay attention in class.

“How does anyone?” Louis wondered.

“Our first knots popped,” Liam winced at the thought. “And you kinda like…stretch to accommodate it. It hurts for days.”

“It’s harder for females though,” Zayn said; his older sister was an alpha, so he knew. “Doniya had to like…pop more than just a knot, if you know what I mean. And then, like it all… can I stop thinking about my sister’s junk,” he scented his omega.

Caroline grimaced. “Poor thing.”

“Me or her?”

“Her,” she laughed.

“What was presenting like for you?” Louis asked, wondering if ordering flowers and balloons for his sisters was at all weird. Maybe he’d just send chocolates or something.

“Wet. Sticky. So hot that I thought I was going to die. It wasn’t quite like a heat. But it was still…like the worst flu I’ve ever had except the discomfort wasn’t an ache in my head. It was an ache in my, or where my womb is,” she explained. “And it was like my scent bombed the house!”

“And your nips hurt too, right? Mine chaffed so much I had to be shirtless for two days!” Niall cupped them.

“Nips? Everything up here hurt, honey,” she motioned to her breasts with a giggle. “What about you, Louis? You presented.”

The omega nodded and finished having the twins’ favorite candies shipped, too. “Uh, about the same, I guess. Nipples hurt. Gross and wet. Hot as balls,” he shrugged.

“But your mum…” Caroline couldn’t stop the words before they were out. “I’m sorry, I’m prying.”

“No, it’s fine,” Louis shrugged. “She was a beta. Didn’t quite know how to handle it, I guess. So yeah, she locked the door to my room and just sort of let it go, I guess.” Then put him on suppressants, but they all knew that by now.

Niall remembered being showered with all his favorite foods and teas and drinks. He’d had cakes and cookies everyday for a week after his presentation and if Mummy had had her way, he would have gotten the weirdest themed party every. Being the only male omega in his school though, it had been the talk of the town. Everyone wanted to know him, everyone wanted to be his friend and he had his pick of alphas. He knew even if he’d never left his little town, he would have easily been mated by now. He'd felt special and precious and adored, but, Louis’ mother had made him feel like a dirty little secret.

“You’re leaving something out.”

“Her alpha boyfriend was home at the time.”

The three alphas could barely control their possessiveness.

“Did he—“

“No. No, John-no, Jake…no…oh this is going to bother me…” Louis sighed. “No, it was Jack. Anyway, he didn’t do anything. He left. He said the smell was too much and he left,” he shrugged, going a bit quiet after that. He left out the fact that Modest had paid Jack to keep his silence.

“They broke up after that, didn’t they?” Zayn kissed his arm.

Louis shrugged again. “Yeah.” And it all went down hill from there. As if her having kids wasn’t hard enough, having an omega son was too much of a burden for anyone to-

“Hush your thoughts, love,” Zayn bounced him and Louis winced; his bum was sore and the alpha knew it. But the shock of it knocked him back into the now. “Him leaving wasn’t your fault. In all honesty, he would have left anyway because your mum is a bitch.”

“Hey!” Niall threw a sock at Zayn. “She’s still his mum.”

Louis smiled softly at him; he knew Niall disliked his mother—and that Niall would use a much stronger word—but was only saying it so Louis didn’t feel alone.

“Ok, fine,” Zayn rubbed his back. “But still. It wasn’t your fault. Your presentation was down to nature and I for one can’t thank Mother Nature enough for it. I must be the luckiest alpha in the whole world to get to call not one, but two of the most beautiful omegas in the world mine.”

“Ahem,” Harry coughed.

“Not to mention an alpha who likes to be knotted, and an Alpha who likes to fuck me. Bliss, mate. I’m in absolute bliss,” Zayn kissed into Louis’ neck.

“Zayn, I swear, if you bite again I’m going to-”

“Throw me down and fuck me?” Zayn challenged the Alpha. With Harry getting the first time he’d always wanted and Louis wet and willing now, they were all back to that state of can’t-keep-our-hands-and-lips-to-ourselves-and-we’re-about-to-break-another-bed.

Liam leered at him. “Zayn.”

“You said my name, now unless you want to be screaming it, Alpha…”

“Wow, having Louis in your lap does wonders for your mouth,” Niall clipped playfully, keeping an eye on Louis.

Bu the look on Liam's face preoccupied Louis; he didn't like it. So, he turned to Zayn and flicked a thumb over the alpha’s lip. “If you don’t stop mouthing off—”

Zayn wiggled his eyebrows. “You’ll what?”

The omega smirked, “I’ll stop kissing Niall in front of you.”

“Like you can keep your hands off of him.”

“I can. And I will.”

“Zayn, stop! Now I’m getting punished, too!” Niall whined.

“I give, I give,” Zayn conceded.

Smugly, Louis grinned, “Now say you’re sorry to Alpha.”

“I’m sorry, Alpha.”

“Good boy,” Louis teased. Zayn growled and flipped him onto the couch, gnawing playfully on his neck and chest and lifting his shirt up to worship his belly.

“Good boy indeed,” Liam grinned tugging his omega away from his alpha and onto his and Harry’s thighs—baby alpha was still too delighted with the last few hours to do anything but snuggle in with his Alpha and omega, “Mine. That’s what you get for mouthing off.”

Zayn grumbled and pouted.

Niall plopped into his lap. “Settle for me?”

“Never settling,” Zayn bit down on his mark; the memory spun through them of the night after the X Factor finale: the journey had been so amazing and it wasn't the end, they were going to continue it with each other because of this bite that ensured them forever.

Caroline laughed at the cuddling pack, the happily giggling omegas getting absolutely spoiled with affection, “Ok, but I need one of you. Hello? Boys?” she sighed, threw her tape measure into the air and walked off her own bus.

Chapter Text

Niall, Age 12

The irony of it all was that they were learning about presentation and puberty in biology. They’d already covered the gradualness of a beta’s bodily change that a handful of his classmates were already facing—one sign that presentation hopes were over and a beta’s puberty had begun was that a male’s voice dropped or a female started menstruation, which, ew, gross.

Humming softly to himself, Niall was just thankful that he was a guy and could avoid that regardless.

His parents had stated time and again that they would be happy with whatever his secondary gender. And so, Niall had been content to just wait it out. He’d joked about turning out to be a male omega—there were only two in Mullingar, both in their thirties already and mated to wealthy business owners, both with all alpha children; all the boys in the upper classes of Coláiste Mhuire were either alphas or betas.

Their alpha teacher bridged into the omega sex, starting with the fact that nearly eight out of ten omegas were female, and, like their male omega counterparts, avoided the mess of menstruation in place of semi-annual heats. Just as Mr. Peabody was explaining that biology was fair in that aspect, Niall felt himself burst like a star.

No warning, no signs, just fireworks in his skin and nose, emanating from low in his belly. But not quite as low as he’d expected.

Greg was an alpha. He’d presented at twelve and Niall thought he would be, too. Or maybe a beta. But omega? Him?!

Weren’t they just talking about eighty percent of the omega population were female?!

The seven alphas in his class immediately sat up straight, noses perked at the sweet smell that just wafted through the room.

“Nobody move!” Mr. Peabody commanded, stalking between the desks. “Horan?” his eyes landed on the uncomfortable blond. “Come along, son. Let’s get you home,” he said, protectively scooping the boy out of his desk and walking him to the nurse’s office, leaving all his alpha classmates swooning at the scent.

Niall squeaked.

Was this really happening to him!?

When Siobhan and Bobby finally arrived—it had only taken them fifteen minutes, but to their presenting son each minute had passed like a year—Niall was a mess of wet pants and sweaty clothes, clutching his midsection as tightly as he could.

“Oh my special little angel,” Siobhan hugged him close

In his classroom, Mr. Peabody used the sudden presentation of his pupil to explain how the hormones triggered dormant stem cells in alphas and omegas’ to morph, in Niall’s case, into a womb. All presentations though—and puberties for that matter—were different. Though, physical maturity was the endgame, the means to it varied.

 

Zayn, Age 10
Zayn had been ravenous for days and coupled with a low grade fever, his parents and older sister had known exactly why. Doniya had been the same prior to her presentation as alpha. Yaser and Trish decided to keep Zayn home until after it was over; his father proudly called the school that morning to inform them that they would have their first alpha in Year Six, throwing in the fact that he would probably be strong enough to be an Alpha!

“Is it really going to hurt? Because this isn’t so bad,” he asked his sister when she returned that afternoon. Sure his stomach felt bottomless and he was so tired all the time, but overall, his presentation didn’t suck. He was starting to think that his sister just played it up.

Doniya chuckled, “oh, little brother, you’re not presenting yet. And nothing I say is going to prepare you for how much it hurts.”

So, Zayn sat on the couch, the casserole dish on his lap, cartoons on the TV and some schoolbooks his best mate brought over to keep him up to date on his coursework. Mid-bite of his mother’s shepherd’s pie—he’d eaten half of it already—the urge to vomit faintly accompanied the most excruciating pain he’d ever felt in his entire life. The mash and peas and ground lamb crashed to the ground as his presentation really kicked in.

He’d felt something akin to this when he was younger: a crushing pain in his legs had woken him in the middle of the night once before. Growing pains, his mother had called them before tearing up and holding him tight, “my baby boy is growing up!”

But, now he felt that at all his joints and worse, between his legs.

Doniya glanced at him, the look of ‘I told you so’ all over her face before she called out, “Mummy, Baba! It’s starting!” Turning back to her brother, she said sympathetically, “Sucks doesn’t it?”

Yes, but Zayn just howled in articulately. There were no words for how much his body hurt, stretching to his full height—and length. He’d be lanky until his muscles filled in more, but by the time this was over, his voice would drop an octave and he’d probably have to start shaving.

Not to mention, he’d have a knot.

 

Harry, Age 13
He’d already kissed an alpha—Abigail was the first alpha in their class to present two years ago—and they were both so sure he was going to be an omega.

Harry woke in the middle of the night to the burning of his sinuses. The pine and cinnamon had just been pleasant and festive just hours ago. What had happened? Then, the moment his eyes opened the lights Anne draped around the room seared into his vision.

“Mum!!!” the bed had shrunk in his sleep! Harry sat up, but a sharp pain buckled him over and sent him toppling out of bed. “Mama!!!” he sobbed, curling onto the floor.

Omega. Sister omega. He smelt it before the patter light footsteps reached his door and the booming voice of his father.

“Don’t! Get back to your room, Gemma!”

An alpha command? Why wasn’t he moving? Harry had always responded to his father’s alpha commands before!

Unless.

No.

Was he presenting?

As an alpha?!

No, this couldn’t be…this wasn’t right! This wasn’t, he wasn’t…the scorching of his body was too low, lower than the womb his body was supposed to develop.

He was popping his first knot.

Could he really be an alpha?

The pain in his cock answered for him; if he wasn’t popping a knot, his dick was just popping off at this point.

“Harry, sweets?”

“It hurts!” he sobbed, curling into her arms like he could burrow back into her and away from this all over pain.

“Oh, my boy,” the omega held him tight rocking him gently.

“I’m sorry, mum. I’m sorry,” he was supposed to be an omega. He was supposed to bond with her over childbearing and cuddle up to her forever!

“Don’t you dare, Harry Edward. Don’t you dare, I love you no matter, omega, alpha, beta, I don’t care. I love you, you understand?”

The omega’s words were enough to calm at least that part of Harry. The rest of him was still ablaze with pain and presentation.

“Give him here,” Des scooped him up and brought him to the bathtub, laying him in chilly water, pajamas and all before he laid Harry’s back against the cold porcelain. The newly presented alpha’s knees hit his chest as he refused to come out of his curl. He couldn’t. The pain had him frozen, though the cool water was helping him a bit. “Well, I’ll be damned, son. I’ll be damned. Happy Christmas eve, kid.”

 

Liam, Age 11
The basement air had left him shivering not too long ago

The house was unfamiliar; Robbie, a big burly kid, almost guaranteed to be an alpha, had invited him to his birthday because their mothers were friends and had often restated that fact in the days leading up to it.

Liam, though, wasn’t complaining. Not only had Robbie’s well-to-do father acquired an executive box at Villa Park for the noon fixture, they’d be going paintballing afterwards followed by a sleepover at his. It was supposed to be epic and sure, Liam had been ruthlessly teased for supporting the opposing team (Wolverhampton) and was the last picked for teams at paintball, but it was certainly still an amazing day Liam would never forget.

Particularly because he presented that night.

The sleeping bag he’d snuggled into earlier suffocated him now and it seemed like a white hot poker replaced his dick.

“Liam? Li, mate, what’s going on?” his best mate, Andy, only mumbled, but the words boomed in Liam’s ears. So did the leaking faucet in the bathroom across the hall, the whoosh of air from the vents and the footsteps from the uppermost set of stairs.

The boy tried to reply but his voice garbled; scratchy didn’t describe it. It wasn’t just sandpaper in his throat. It was sand and gravel and woodchips jammed around his voicebox!

“Who is it? Robbie, is it you!?” Robbie’s father excitedly rounded the corner. “Oh…”

His disappointment resounded through the room, or no, Liam realized. Not that was the sweet smelling omega that followed, disappointed only because his son was.

“Stay there, hon,” the well to do alpha said. “And call your friend. Her son is presenting.”

Everyone in the room, now awake and rustling about—Liam could pinpoint every single one of them by the sound—heard the emphasis the alpha placed on the word, ‘her’.

Liam’s father arrived not too long later, scooping up his boy, covers and all, to bring him home.

Liam returned to school on Monday, an alpha and an outcast—Robbie made sure of that. No one wanted to talk about his party or how amazing it had been, only that Liam Payne—yeah, seriously, Liam ‘Stain’, had presented alpha!

Robbie, who would slowly descend into the puberty of a beta—his voice drop would take days, he’d have growth spurts until he was maybe twenty-one, he wouldn’t grow facial hair until his late teens—never stopped resenting Liam for it.

Louis, Age 14
After a long morning of getting his sisters all packed and ready to see their dad—their dad, not his, as his mother frequently reminded him. Your dad doesn’t want you. He left because of you—Louis sleepily dropped onto the couch to tired to replay his mother's constant nagging. It had taken an entire month after Christmas to finally get back into the groove of things, but he and his sisters were finally settled back into a routine just in time for February.

“Budge over, would you?” her new boyfriend, an alpha named Jack sipped his coffee and nudged his girlfriend’s son over.

Louis sighed. “Don’t you have better things to do today? Like find a job,” he grumbled at the smell of coffee. He didn’t mind it usually, but it was particularly pungent today—maybe had to do with Louis’ headache. He’d never blame his sisters for it, but the twins wouldn’t keep their coats on and Fizzy, in the half hour between school and leaving for Mark’s had misplaced her book bag, and Lottie just needed to show her dad’s new girlfriend—the first one he’d dared introduce his girls to—that make up palette Louis didn’t want to buy her for Christmas (their mother didn’t care, but he thought she was too young!), but did because it made her so happy, but she left it at her friend’s place so he had to pack for her while she fetched it and their mother, of course, was ornery because Louis didn’t have time to do the shopping after school as he was getting them ready so she had to do it.

“I’m working on it,” Jack dropped onto the cushion opposite him. “What’s on?”

“Nothing,” the teenager shifted on the couch. “Here,” he offered him the remote.

“You’re sweet. I don’t know why your mum is so hard on you.”

Louis flushed, but then the heat in his cheeks exploded across his body. Hold the goddamn phone! Was there a fire? Did something blow up? Where was all the heat coming from? His eyes and his nose and his skin all burned with it, but nothing seemed to be wrong!

Gulping, he tried to get up, but his knees fell to where his feet were supposed to go. “I…I…”

“How old are you again?” the alpha took a deep breath as that sweet smell filled the air.

“I…” how old was he? He was getting too old to present! That’s for damn sure!

“It’s going to be ok, sweetheart,” the alpha knelt down next to him and rubbed his back. “Come on, let’s get you up to your room.”

Louis couldn’t process anything, other than this pain in his stomach. He’d learned about this, hadn’t he? Sort of. He was with the beta-specific health class, maybe, he'd remember specifics when he didn't feel as if he were dying, but he knew for certain that the pain was too high for him to be an alpha! Was he really an omega?!

“I’m not going to hurt you,” the alpha said protectively—because suddenly, Louis was intensely aware that Jack was an alpha—and scooped him up, carrying him up to his room. “I’m not going to hurt you, I promise. I know it hurts. My brother presented omega, so I know. Well, I don’t know, but I get it.” He carefully laid him down and left only to fill a hot water bottle, pressing it below Louis’ belly button. “Keep that here, ok?”

The warmth took the slightest of edges off the pain, but it still throbbed inside him, walking the edge of bearable with someone there with him, rubbing his back and brushing at his hair and promising him that it would be over soon.

Lost in the touch of fingertips in his sweat-matted hair, Louis felt Jack leave all of a sudden and yelling filled the peace he'd been settled in to.

“You have to stay with him!” he heard the alpha’s yell and the omega he was becoming whimpered at it.

It took ages for the footsteps to get closer, each one filling him with more and more dread. Because he knew them. He knew that gait meant trouble.

“You just had to, didn’t you?” his mother stood in the doorway. “You’re supposed to go through puberty, not presentation, you idiot! You’re supposed to be a beta at least! God, you’re worthless! And Jack’s gone, but I’m sure that’s what you wanted all along! I hope you’re happy! An omega, I can’t believe this shit. I don’t have time for this! Of all the things—you were supposed to make things better, Louis! Not make them worse!”

As the ache intensified, Louis whined. He hadn’t meant to! He didn’t mean to be this way! “I want Dad!” he crawled towards the phone, knowing instinctually that an alpha would help him, but his abdomen was in too much pain to actually let him climb to his feet.

“You think he’ll care, Louis? He won’t! He doesn’t give a damn that you’re an omega! He’s too besotted with our pretty little angels and that stupid cunt of an omega he’s dating. Nothing but a burden, the lot of you knot whores. Just stay in here and don't make a mess!” she slammed the door and it clicked shut, leaving Louis, her words weaving into every fiber of his new being.

Burden. Whore. Problem. Burden. Whore. Problem.

Chapter Text

Liam yawned as he watched Louis skateboard around the empty petrol station. The early morning sun peeked over the towering trees at the beginning of the picturesque drive they were all about to sleep through. The Seattle and Vancouver shows were so close together—only a day apart—and the concerts had followed endless drives around western North America, not to mention the incident with the roses. While they still preferred staying in the den to shuffling in and out of sterile hotel rooms, they were all exhausted of constant moving. Homey as the den was, they couldn’t wait—Zayn and Louis at least—to get to Edmonton and something permanent; Liam, Harry and Niall still had one more travel leg to go though. They could have flown straight from Vancouver, but after what happened in Seattle, the five of them wanted to stay together as long as they could.

“So, I was thinking…” the Alpha broke the sounds of nature.

“Were you now?”

“When we’re back in London, I was thinking of asking Dr. Black if he knew a counselor or a psychiatrist you could see when we’re home. Just once or twice, just to try it out.”

Louis turned back towards him, the wheels scraping the concrete as he replied, “Psychiatrist, huh? You making up words again, Li?”

The Alpha smiled; he expected his omega to deflect with humor. But, he’d purposefully waited a couple days to bring it up. He wanted Louis relaxed and more open to the possibility. He wanted the rose incident in their hindsight. “Maybe. I’m serious though. I know you didn’t like the one at the hospital, but I’m sure there are better ones out there.”

“Is it because of my mum and the credit card?”

“Not really. More the crate and subspace…” Liam kept any and all judgment out of his statement. “It might be good for you to talk to someone. I just…you’ve been through a lot. And you’ve dealt with it really well, you’ve been so good adjusting in so many ways, Louis love. So good,” Liam made sure to emphasize that. “But …you can’t be afraid of omega space, Lou. That’s not on, not for an omega. I just think it’d be good for you to talk.”

“I’d tell you I’m not crazy, but we both know that’s debatable.”

“I know you’re doing that self-depreciation thing where you’re only half-joking. And, it’s not about being crazy. We can get you eating right, but being healthy is mental, too.”

“Ok…” he’d been thinking about it more and more. Omega space, that is. He wasn’t ready to face that again, but he was thinking about it, especially after what happened yesterday. That was something right?

“Ok?”

Louis could still feel the aftereffects of his panic attack. He hadn’t had one that bad in so long that he’d forgotten about the weariness in his bones and the exhaustion that would be there for days. He didn’t have the energy not to trust his Alpha; even if he did, his answer would be the same. “If you think it’s for the best, I trust you. I’ll try and talk to whomever you want.”

Liam’s smile rivaled the sun. His omega trusted him.

“While we’re at it, this whole trusting me thing, can I ask you something?”

“More? You’re so demanding,” Louis said with mock-impatience.

“Why the crate? I mean…how’d it all start?”

“Oh…well…I…” louis sighed; honesty he reminded himself. “When I was younger, I used to sit in my closet whenever things became too much at home. So, I kinda needed a moving closet and I talked to Rick and he made it happen.” He left out their scents because, well, it was embarrassing enough.

“You and Rick…” Liam trailed off, unsure of how to approach the question. But how close the two of them were had been plaguing him since the incident.

“Me and Rick what?” the realization dawned on Louis and he stopped his board, “are you asking if anything went on between me and Rick!?”

“No,” Liam flushed. “Maybe? Yes, ok, yes! I mean, he knew where you were when we didn’t, Louis!”

“Well, I couldn’t just add a crate without anyone knowing!” the omega scuffed the ground, face burning. “I’m sorry!”

“No, no, no, love,” Liam cupped his cheeks. “It’s not something you have to be sorry about. You dealt with being alone the best you could, and it’s not about having the crate or needing it or tracking it. I just want to know…why Rick?”

“I dunno. He’s always been around. He’s like…in charge of things, but he wasn’t “from management,” you know? He had nothing to do with Modest, and, you know, he was someone I could trust with what I needed…”

“How long have you had the crate?!”

Louis twisted the board awkwardly, “Since halfway through the first one…”

“Since the Up All Night tour?!”

“Yes,” the omega sighed.

“No, I’m sorry, I, it’s fine that you had it, love. Like I said, you did what you had to do. I just. So, Rick has known all this time?”

“Yeah. And I asked him not to tell anyone and he never, ever did. Not even Paul. And if he knew I was in there—and he did because I’d always leave my skateboard beneath it—he’d just peek in some times to check on me, make sure I got to stage or where I needed to be on time and all. He’s always been very kind and thoughtful like that.”

Liam nodded, trying to fight off the jealousy that another alpha took such good care of his omega and find relief in it instead. Louis had someone looking out for him and that was good. That was good. That was good, Liam repeated to himself. Still. “So, like…nothing ever, like…happened between you?”

“Ew! Liam! He’s mated, happily, for nearly thirty years now! They’re like the bloody Notebook for crying out loud! They have children older than us!”

Liam felt foolishness replace the jealousy and curiosity. “Ok! Ok, I was just wondering,” he nuzzled at his omega’s neck playfully.

“Ridiculous,” Louis melted into him. “Absolutely ridiculous.”

“I’m ridiculous about you,” the Alpha kissed his forehead.

Just before two in the afternoon, they finally made it to their Edmonton hotel where they’d separate for exactly thirty hours. Zayn and Louis would stay to record and relax, while Liam and Harry would leave to accompany Niall to his golf tournament.

“Why is there sand on the floor?” Zayn plopped into the booth, slapping at Liam’s hand when the Alpha checked him for a fever. Yes, he’d nearly slept twelve hours, but that didn’t make him sick. He always got this way before his rut.

“Sorry. We got messy,” Harry pulled Niall under his arm and pressed kisses to his neck.

Before driving out of their first Canadian stop, Harry asked Don to detour by the beach. Already after midnight, he tried not to wake the rest of the pack as he eased back into the canopy (the omegas decided to keep it and the lights up because it was all so pretty) and woke Niall, quietly walking the sleepy omega out and wrapping him in a bunk blanket.

“What is it Haz?” he pouted against his chest.

“I just…there was something I wanted to do. I should have done it in Malibu, because that was the right beach, but I suck and I was really preoccupied with Louis and I shouldn’t be because you’re both important to me, equally as important to me,” in front of cameras and reporters and interviewers the youngest alpha measured his words better, but with his pack he allowed himself to ramble. He set Niall’s feet on the sand; the moon’s reflection caught every wave as it crashed just a meter away. “And I love you both.”

“So…is this why I’m on the beach at really early o’clock? Or really late o’clock if you prefer to do it that way?” the blonde yawned to wake himself up a little more.

“Because…its where I first held your hand and asked if I could court you. If you thought we could be pack. If I could be yours and you could be mine, too,” Harry laced his fingers into Niall’s.

With a blush, the blonde perked up, feet digging into the sand like that warm night in California, talking with Harry while Liam and Zayn watched from afar. “Always the romantic,” he nuzzled his way into a baby alpha embrace. “I love you, too, you know.” He lifted the silver cross from beneath Harry’s tee. Niall’s nan had given it to him for his First Communion and he in turn had given it to Harry before they bonded. “And I never doubted it. I…I never doubted that you loved me. I just…I wondered if you love me as much as you do Louis.”

“I do. I’m all about equal love,” he smiled. “All the love.”

“All the love,” Niall scrunched face adorably when Harry kissed his forehead.

“I’m really proud of you. Being in that box for Louis couldn’t have been easy.”

“It was, actually,” the omega squeezed Harry’s hand and started their midnight promenade through the sand. “Didn’t even think about it. I mean, I guess I did, that’s why I jumped in, but, you know, I just wanted him safe.”

“Still,” the alpha cupped his hand and kissed his fingers. “I’m proud to call you my omega. I’m always proud, but I’m extra proud.”

Zayn grunted and stole the blonde for his lap and sucked his own marks into the pale skin.

“At least you didn’t track it into bed,” Liam shrugged. “Cleaners are coming today anyway.”

“We’re ready to move,” Paul popped his head in.

“Yeah, we’re coming. Hold your fucking horses,” Zayn growled into Niall’s neck.

“Aw, my morning person,” Niall left a wet kiss on his cheek.

“C’mon, Z,” Louis traipsed in with a yawn, his bear peaking out from the blue backpack over his shoulder.

“Babe, are you going to change?” Liam tucked Boo Bear back in and motioned to the pajamas and old plaid boots.

“No.” He adjusted his bag and yawned again. “Are we going?”

“In a hurry to get to recording? Because that’s what you’re going to be doing,” Liam stopped him from stepping onto the pressure plate by the front door. “Hold on, Lou.”

The Alpha reached for the collar, but froze when Louis pouted and sighed. That face wouldn’t do.

“Ok, don’t move,” he ran up the stairs and grabbed one of the Donny Rovers jackets. “Put this on?” he waited and then zipped it up all the way over the collar. “Better?”

Louis beamed and nodded; Liam smiled right back, leaning in for a kiss.

“All right. C’mon.”

“Carry me,” Louis demanded and held out his arms.

“No, babe,” Liam chuckled and patted his bum. “You’re going to walk like a good boy and you can go back to sleep in the room.”

“Mean. Haz?”

“Alpha spoke, babe,” Harry pulled him over for a kiss.

“Niaaaalllll,” Louis sighed.

“They don’t like carrying us in front of the fans. The alphas are mean like that. But I’ll tuck you back into bed myself, ok?”

The band handed their stuff off to security so they could stop to sign autographs and pose for pictures for the small group of fans gathered outside the hotel while someone else checked them in. Niall slipped his hand into Louis’, who squeezed it reassuringly while they were in the elevator. Once they were in their room, the oldest two threw themselves onto the pack-sized bed in the suite.

“Boys, should we have your clubs loaded into the SUV?” Paul asked.

“Yes, please, Paul,” Liam nodded, watching as Harry and Niall joined Zayn and Louis, stroking their backs and hair and tucking them in.

“You’re not worried about leaving Zayn with Louis?” Paul asked quietly.

“No. Harry gets possessive, but Zayn’s always too tired before his ruts or Niall’s heats start,” Liam shook his head, though, by the look on his face, he was weighing down the options as he thought aloud, “Besides, Zayn won’t leave me.” They’d bonded Niall so close together that their bonds had intertwined; they felt each other more than most alphas do, even those who share an omega. Doctors and specialists warned against bonding so close together for that reason, but it was Zayn.

“Hey,” Harry darted out of bed, quietly shutting the door to the bedroom. “I was never going to leave you either.”

“Not even for Louis?”

“Louis belongs with all of us,” Harry shook his head. “I couldn’t have done what you did for him, Li. He’s yours. I’m yours. You can knot me all over again if you want.”

“And that’s my cue to leave,” Paul chuckled; truth be told, he loved the connection between these boys and he’d protect that and them until his dying day if they wanted him to. “Oh, the producers are ready for you whenever you are.”

Harry smirked, “How mad do you think they’re going to be when we wake them up?”

“Zayn’ll be fine if we wake him with a blow job.”

“And by we, you mean me?”

“Our omegas agreed that you give the best head,” Liam smiled.

“They did,” Harry pushed Liam against the closed door and sank to his knees. “I told Zayn, when we say our vows, I’m saying mine to you and him, too.”

“You would say that, you sap,” Liam stroked his cheek.

“You love me that way.”

“I love you, end of.”

“Now who’s the sap?”

“The guy who’s waiting for you to suck his dick.”

Harry chuckled and pulled Liam free. “How you fit into the jeans you wear is beyond me,” he licked the hardening length. He ran his tongue from base to tip before swallowing it with well-practiced ease.

“Beautiful, you look fucking beautiful with my cock in your mouth,” Liam gathered the younger alpha’s curls into a ponytail, savoring the hot, wet mouth bobbing back and forth across him. “Going to jerk yourself off, Haz? Love sucking my dick that much,” the Alpha knew Harry had already started palming himself threw his jeans. “You need me to tell you to, don’t you?”

Harry hummed an affirmative answer around the erection in his throat.

“No,” the Alpha decided. “You’re going to come in your pants and I’m going to come in your mouth, and we’re both going to enjoy it, aren’t we? If you were an omega, you’d be so wet for me right now, wouldn’t you? You’d be aching for a good knotting? Take me deeper, Haz, I know you can and we don’t need your voice for a couple days, do we? Not that that matters to you. Never going to live down the Paris show, you. When you spent an hour with my dick in your throat because you didn’t want to stop sucking me. The poor French fans didn’t get to hear you sing. Bet they wouldn’t mind it if they knew I’d practically knotted your mouth.”

As Liam fucked his throat, baby alpha thrust against his hand. He’d struggled with it at first, this part of him he didn’t think he should have. Alphas didn’t need cock like him, shouldn’t like to be knotted like he did, shouldn’t want to be talked to like Liam was. But, his alphas and omegas didn’t look down on him for it, didn’t try to emasculate him. They embraced him, just as he was.

There was something so naughty about talking to another alpha like this and Liam felt it quiver his belly as he continued rambling, “I know what you want, Haz, god you’re good at giving head, I’m so close, Harry, good god,” he moaned, and suddenly yanked Harry back by the ponytail so he could jerk off, his head on the edge of Harry’s mouth. “Stay open, stay open for me like a good boy, yeah, yeah, like that.”

Harry whined as he came against his palm, so focused on the sticky warmth spreading in his pants that the first burst of come on his tongue surprised him. Grunting, Liam pumped his shaft, watching as he filled the younger alpha’s mouth.

With a smirk, Harry pulled his Alpha in for a messy kiss. “I love you, you know that right?” he wiped his mouth with a thick swallow. “I could never leave you and Zayn and Niall. Louis and I belong with you. I love you, Li.”

“Love you too, baby alpha. I love you, too,” Liam kissed him gently. A knock at the door broke their tender moment.

“Hey, John was hoping to get some work in with the three of you before you go and pull your damn pants up!” Basil walked in and spun on his heel to head straight back out.

“Thanks Bas,” the alphas chuckled. “Sorry!”

“Go wake the omegas,” Liam nudged Harry. “I’ll handle sleeping beauty.”

It took some doing—and the taste of Liam on Harry’s familiar lips to wake the suddenly jealous omegas(and Liam coaxing Zayn awake the soft, gentle way only Liam can), but the pack finally made it to the producers’ suite. John, Julian and Jamie had a bus, but typically came and went on the tour, not at all obliged to stay for every date. Of the three of them, Julian typically stayed with them most often, content with the travel, but Jamie only flew out to meet them in certain cities. But today, John waited in the suite, directing Harry into the booth set up in the living room for a chorus.

Quietly, the pack laid out on the couches of the suite, Liam with Louis in his lap working on some lyrics while Zayn put his head in Niall’s lap and closed his eyes.

Even though it was unlikely, the door stayed open to keep the sound of the lock from potentially making it onto a song. So it was easy for Johnny to walk right in.

Jealousy surged through Niall for a brief moment because this was the bastard who’d gotten to spend the night with Niall’s omega! Their alphas had been relieved that Louis never shared a bunk with another alpha, but Niall hadn’t quite faced his own jealousy until now. Niall glowered as Johnny stood there with his perfect jaw and the dusting of freckles and golden tan and that shirt pulled taught over a ripped body. How did bastard have the body of someone who could snap a bitch in half, but the mother fucking face of the twink king? Oh, Niall hated Johnny. Loathed him. Detested him so hard.

Johnny got to spend the night with his Louis. Johnny’s bulk negated Louis’s small size. They had to have been pressed together from head to toe to fit in those tiny ass bunks.

A pinch broke him from his glaring. “What?” he snapped.

“Easy, tiger,” Liam whispered and pulled him into his lap.

Meanwhile, Johnny waved silently, blushing when Julian walked out of one bedroom, clearly dressed for a day date and Louis’ jaw dropped. The English omega couldn’t break his silence, but Harry quickly lost focus on his singing, unable to pinpoint Louis’ extreme emotion; the connection between them had just started after all. The producer cut the recording before Julian and Johnny could make an escape.

“Have a nice date,” Louis’ smug smile radiated through the room.

“Bye Lou,” Johnny chuckled.

“Later Tommo, boys,” Julian nodded, slung an arm around the omega roadie and walked out of the suite.

“Do you need a minute, Louis?” the beta producer asked with a smirk.

Louis leapt out of Liam’s lap and proceeded to do some sort of hybrid Irish jig as he sang, “Halle-mother fucking-lujah!”

Niall and their alphas watched on in amusement, Louis’ relief and excitement exploding through the room.

“All right, Louis?” Liam grinned at his happiness.

“All right?! Am I all right?! I have been trying to get the two of those bastards together since the Take Me Home Tour! The mother fucking Take Me Home Tour, Liam!” he went back to dancing around the room, grabbing Niall’s hands and dragging him up to be his dance partner, unknowingly easing his omega’s envy; how could Niall be upset when Louis was so happy?

The Irishman bounced with him, “Oh yeah?”

“Yeah,” John laughed. “He once had the hotel mix up their rooms so they had to stay together and still nothing happened.”

“But finally they’re dating! That’s a date, isn’t it John?” Louis confirmed.

“It’s a date,” the producer nodded.

“Yes!” he stopped all of a sudden and wrinkled his nose. “Although, now I guess we’ll be singing about Johnny in a way now. Oh well,” he shrugged and went back to dancing with Niall.

John unplugged his headphones and the upbeat melody of the untitled song fill the room, watching with a fond smile as Louis and Niall pulled their alphas into their dance.

Chapter Text

“Don’t do anything that will make him test his dominance with other alphas and you’ll be fine,” Liam told Louis as they were readying to leave. The Alpha wanted to get Harry and Niall to DC before it was too late on the East Coast and with the time zones they’d just make it. That way they could take Niall to Top Golf so he could hit a few buckets and have a couple beers to ease the building nerves. “Other than that he’s going to sleep for longer. And don’t smoke too much together, all right? You have to be recording while you’re here.”

“Yes, Alpha,” Louis hugged him. “What uh…what if it does come?”

“It won’t. Zayn’s ruts are clockwork. Harry’s the one I was worried about.”

Satisfied with his Alpha’s word, Louis turned to Harry and Niall and felt the tears spring. They were going to be gone less than thirty-six hours and the English omega wanted to cry. But, he'd just gotten a pack and now some of them were leaving him!

“I don’t have to go!” Niall saw the cry face and leapt into Louis’ embrace.

“No, no,” Louis sniffled. “This is an incredible opportunity and you should go. It’ll be fine, I swear. I’ll see you the day after tomorrow,” he wiped his eyes with the hem of his shirt, flashing his tummy to the pack.

“Really? That’s how you send me off? How am I supposed to leave?!?” Harry rambled to distract him because that's exactly what the Tommo tummy was doing to him, and he fell to his knees to press kisses and tiny kitten licks to it in worship. “Can you imagine how beautiful you’re going to be when you’re full of our pups? God, and if you and Niall are pregnant together?”

“You’ll be the walking embodiment of No Control?” Louis quipped, wiping his eyes.

“All of us will,” Liam smiled at the thought of having little blue-eyed pups with his omegas.

“I can’t wait to have a pup with Zayn’s hair and jaw and gorgeous skin with your eyes and cheekbones?” Niall felt his womb beat as he took in Louis.

“They’ll be short. Sorry, Z,” the English omega chuckled.

“Five-nine isn’t short,” Zayn smirked, working on a melody.

“That’s right. It’s not,” Louis nodded in agreement and wrapped around Niall. “I can’t wait to have pups with your eyes and your smile and your not blonde hair.”

The Irishman grinned. “You wanna be a mommy to my pups, too?”

“Isn’t that what being pack means?”

"That's exactly what it means!" Niall burst with love and a reluctance to leave his beautiful omega.

It took another fifteen minutes to get the Alpha and half his pack out the door with a good chunk of their security team. Even then, Harry ran back down the hall to give his crying omega one more kiss.

“I can usually stop,” Louis sobbed once Liam, Niall and Zayn pried Harry and him apart. “I’m sorry, I can stop, I swear!”

“Shhhh,” the alpha sat Louis in his lap and rubbed his back. “It’s hard. You and Harry have a new connection to each other. You don’t have to stop until you’re ready to,” he tucked Louis’ face into his neck and rocked him gently.

“I’m not supposed to test your dominance!”

Zayn chuckled. “You’re not, jaan, you’re not. But I’m hoping you’ll stop crying before I take you out tonight.”

Louis snuffled and, after a shuddering breath, asked, “You’re taking me out?”

“Yup. It’s not often that I’ll get you alone for a whole day.”

With a smirk, the omega said, “You just want to sleep with me.”

“Only if you want to. Only if you’re ready to,” Zayn made himself clear.

“All right, Z, ready?” John asked, pulling off his headphones and motioning to the booth.

Louis tried to get up, but the alpha turned dark and kept him in his lap. “Z, love, I have to if you’re going to record. Besides, I have to like, blow my nose and clear up so I can work, too.”

With a frown, Zayn let him up and stomped into the booth; Louis prayed that his rut wouldn’t come early. He wasn’t sure he was ready for a rut, especially alone.

Zayn and Louis alternated recording for a couple hours, until John heard their voices start getting a little weak and called it for the night. The alpha checked his watch as they headed back to their suite. “Get dressed. I'm taking you out.”

“Fancy?”

“Nah,” Zayn smiled and proceeded to don his black skinnies, a Topman button up and his and Liam’s leather jacket.

Louis hadn’t quite packed for a date, but did double check that his jeans gave the Booty a little extra pop. Though, turning around his heart stopped. Zayn had done his hair back in that way that perfectly framed his face; he had kept it on the long side of short with a fade down the sides and it was gorgeous.

Enough to grab, Louis couldn’t help but think. Jesus, Tomlinson, stop it or you’ll sport a semi the entire night.

“Hold on, babe.”

“Oh, right,” Louis lifted his chin so Zayn could remove his collar, but the alpha just put a black Adidas jumper on him and zipped it up all the way over the blue leather.

“Just be sure it stays on, all right?” the alpha cupped his face and kissed him softly.

“Yes, alpha,” he beamed.

They headed out with Paddy, Alberto and Colby, taking in a film at the local cinema—complete with popcorn, slushies and snogging through the boring parts—before heading down to a brewpub in the college part of town where they, in homage to Harry, tried the poutine. Zayn promised not to tell the rest of the pack about Louis having the beer sampler of the microbrewery’s best—which, essentially was only three shots of beer meant to taste, nothing more—before they ate and shared dessert. With the exception of a couple fans here and there, it was a date any twenty-somethings would go on, and that was the best part about it. In light of what they do, it was deliciously normal.

“I feel like you’re walking me to my door and I should tell you my dad isn’t home,” the omega said as they walked through the hall; security eased back, Alberto double-checking with Ben that everything had been copacetic.

Zayn chuckled, “Even though I have the key?”

“Yeah,” Louis smiled.

“Well, I had a great time,” the alpha batted his eyelashes.

The omega laughed, “Me too. We should do it again some time.”

The couple broke into laughs and Zayn’s heart skipped at the sight of his omega’s smile. Licking his lips, he leaned in and kissed him, pressing him to the doorframe as he licked between the lips.

That trembling subwoofer that always accompanied Zayn’s kisses shook Louis’s belly, the quivers like a vibrator towards his bulge.

“Fuck,” he breathed when the alpha backed up.

“Goodnight, Louis,” Zayn teased, opening the door behind the omega; Louis grabbed his shirt collar and yanked him in.

The silence of the room caressed them, playing the harmony for their beating hearts and smacking lips and the sound of their clothes and shoes hitting the floor, until only the blue leather collar remained.

Louis kissed Zayn towards the pillows. Ever aware of his oncoming rut, the alpha was content to let the omega do his thing. The last thing he wanted was to let the aggressiveness of that pre-rut period ruin this. Hovering so close that the padlock scraped his skin, the omega found those tender spots on Zayn like a heat seeking missile: the dip beneath his sternum, the trigger of his gun tattoo, his sensitive belly button.

“Lou,” the alpha groaned as the omega’s breath against his treasure trail made goosebumps pop on his thighs.

“Do you want me to stop?”

Zayn had the omega pinned in a heartbeat. “No. But it's my turn,” he growled and Louis felt the slick running out of him.

“Zayn,” he trembled when the alpha started at that spot Harry showed him along the curve of his tummy and proceeded to lick and suck blotches all over it.

“I can’t get it out of my head,” Zayn gave the skin a bit of a nibble.

“What?” the feel of the alpha’s stubble contrasted the smooth, warm tongue against his sensitive belly.

“Our pups,” Zayn found another extra tender spot just under his nipple. “You bred full of our pups.”

Louis moaned; the slick dripped onto the sheets.

The alpha nipped at the sensitive bud, licking to soothe though the bite was so soft; Louis arched into him, mewling as the alphas hands caressed their way down his sides.

Zayn found another spot at the center of the dip of his collarbone before discovering another just under the curve of his ear.

“Z, please,” Louis whined.

“Tell me. Tell me what you want. What you need.”

“I need you in me,” the omega’s thighs fell further apart.

“What part of me do you want first? Fingers, tongue,” heart—though, he and the pack already had that.

The omega writhed, bucking when Zayn squeezed his perfect behind.

“Better yet, baby, show me what you want.”

Louis flipped the alpha to his back and climbed up, his ass needed tongue more than anything in the world.

“Fuck,” Zayn grabbed handfuls of the Booty and pulled them apart, diving into the source of his slick. He traced the puckers of skin before forcing his pink tongue into the pinker hole; he moaned at the taste, at the feel of how tight Louis was around him (and this was just his fucking tongue.)

Louis trembled at the vibrations, turning bright red when he saw himself in the mirror across the room. Since the slick started, since Harry opened him up, he needed attention there, inside him. Forget having his dick even touched, the pleasure he got this way was a hundred, a thousand times better! If he cared to assume—which he didn’t, all he wanted to do was concentrate on Zayn eating him out—he would think it was because he was an omega.

Zayn’s hands gripped him harder, tugging him down and pushing himself deeper until he smacked that beautiful ass. “Scoot down and ride me.”

Louis just cried out something half-coherent. Until, that is, Zayn gave his collar a yank.

“What was that?”

“Yes, alpha!” the omega yelped; slick ran towards the edge of his thighs.

“Good boy, now get on my dick,” Zayn could hear the words in his mouth. He wouldn't be so vulgar their first time, but with his rut approaching he couldn't stop them!

“Yes, alpha,” Louis gulped and held Zayn’s cock steady. He moaned as the alpha filled and stretched him open. Still tender from his first alpha, he clenched involuntarily as the pain outlined the pleasure.

Watching in the mirror, Zayn ran his hands along Louis’ thick thighs, gripping the flesh; his hands left dark pink marks. The alpha wanted nothing more than to knot and mark him, but Liam—the thought of Liam made Zayn’s stomach tighten—and Niall—a hot shudder rolled along his spine—and Harry—his hands gripped Louis—were all counting on him to behave. He ran his hands up the sweat-coated sides, smiling when Louis, despite sinking further onto the thick, long alpha, giggled at the ticklish feeling of it. “I adore you, meri jaan,” Zayn sat up to kiss and lick at his back, inadvertently finding another tender spot along his spine. Peering around Louis, he saw their reflections blur together, an alpha so close to tying to his omega for the first time.

Louis couldn’t quite reply; in his mind his voicemail message played: Louis Tomlinson is not available at the moment… but other than that only three word sentences popped in: Zayn was alpha. Alphas were big. Zayn was big.

But the moment the alpha wrapped a hand around his cock and he clamped down on the thick, hard erection buried to the hilt so very deep inside him.

“That’s not riding, Louis. I said ride,” Zayn gave his behind a slap.

At this angle, the alpha brushed against his prostate as Louis rose, halfway to his knees and sank back down with a cry.

“Faster, jaan. And watch yourself ride in the mirror, good good, you're beautiful. Look at how beautiful you are, Lou, you're so amazing, jaan. Like art. Like a painting come to life,” this, this is what Zayn wanted to say, what he should be saying, romantic bordering on corny! That's what Louis deserved to hear.

Blushing at their reflections--Zayn bucked at the sight of his red cheeks--Louis bounced up and down on the alpha, writhing his hips on every down-stroke, slowly at first and then faster like the alpha wanted, with a the need that swelled inside him and stretched and stretched and stretched like a balloon that Zayn burst with the simple words, “Come for me.”

“Zayn!” Louis shot across their thighs, frozen on the cock impaling him.

“Don’t stop love, don’t stop, I’m so close.”

“Knot me, Z, please, knot me,” Louis begged; even shaking with orgasm, he kept going, wanting to feel that extra stretching inside him that their baby alpha introduced him to.

Zayn gripped his hips and bounced him up and down harder, until he felt himself swell in the sopping wet heat of his beautiful omega. “Only if you come for me again,” the alpha couldn’t believe his own control and kept himself on the edge of knotting.

The padlock bouncing in the hollow of his throat, Louis whimpered and shook his head. “I…I think I…I'm not sure...”

“You can, baby, I know you can,” Zayn slid two fingers along Louis’ open rim, brushing around his own erection; eyes wide, pupils blown, Louis grasped the alpha’s knees in shock. Oh, he could come again. Now he could come again, most definitely.

"Z!" his moan pierced the walls, stretching the syllables out with wanton desperation. "Zayn!"

The alpha gathered the overflow of slick and used it as lube to jerk his omega off. “I’ll give you my knot babe, but I want to see you come again. You can do it, I know you can.”

Louis felt his second wind start to twist and turn, building like the first only faster, like the second drop of a roller-coaster only this one was just as intense. “Zayn please! I want…”

“Say it,” the alpha demanded.

“I want your knot,” Louis screamed as he came again, tightening even more, despite the knot popping, spreading the tensing muscles.

Zayn felt the connection snap into place like the first two little lego pieces of a massive play set, and he held Louis close, knot tying them together. His teeth sang with the need to bite and bond. They’d already sunk into that skin and ached to do it again, to mark Louis forever. But Zayn could feel his pack bonds restrain him. Louis needed that. He needed to be pack. And for that, Liam had to bond him first.

Louis’ whimper got his attention anyway.

“What is it? Do you hurt? Is it too much?” there wasn’t a lot he could do once they were tied, but he could soothe the omega as much as possible. Wincing, he maneuvered them onto their sides, spooning against him.

“Dropping,” Louis clutched the alpha’s arms around him, the terror chilling the heat build up around them as his vision wavered and he felt himself start to float away from consciousness. “Don’t…I…stop it! Make it-no, no, no-”

Zayn started to hum against his ear, hoping that a song would keep him up as he stroked his tummy soothingly. “Baby you light up my world like nobody else, the way that you flip your hair gets me overwhelmed, but when you smile at the ground it ain’t hard to tell, you don’t know, you don’t know you’re beautiful. If only you saw what I can see, you’d understand why I want you so desperately, right now I’m looking at you and I can’t believe you don’t know, you don’t know you’re beautiful,” he sang softly, knowing that Louis would stay with the underlying melody engrained in them after years of performing rather than drifting. There was an irony though, that omega space would have calmed him so much better than Zayn's singing, if only Louis felt safe enough to float into it. The alpha knew--he could feel it over the first sparks of a connection--that Louis trusted him. But, the omega's trauma had developed into a full blown fear of it and he needed more time.

“Thanks, Z,” Louis said, with an exhausted sniffle.

“Don’t thank me, jaan. I’m your alpha. Looking out for you is what I do,” he whispered. “Are you still crying? Why are you still crying?”

“I don’t know!” he knew Zayn could feel that he wasn’t scared anymore, that he was completely present. But he couldn’t stop the tears. He had alphas. He had a pack. He had everything he’d ever wanted. He still couldn’t believe it.

“Shhhh. You’ve been so good, love. You’re so good, you did so good, angel. It’s ok. It’s ok,” the alpha stroked his side, showering his shoulders and neck with kisses and easing him gently to sleep.

***

Louis woke the next morning to the sound of a rattling cart, the smell of blueberry pancakes and (turkey) bacon.

“Good morning, jaan,” the bed dipped next to him and a hand stroked his back, easing him the rest of the way out of his sleepiness. “Ready to eat?”

Make sure he eats. “I thought I was supposed to make sure you eat,” Louis winced when he sat up. He blushed when he felt something thick roll out of him and puddle on the sheets.

Zayn smirked. “Yeah. We tend to produce more when we’re close to a rut or our omega’s close to a heat. C’mon. If you’re ready. If you’re not I can bring it in here.”

“No, I’d rather not sit in a puddle, thanks,” he chuckled, wrapping a sheet around him and joining Zayn at the coffee table in the other room. Folding onto the couch, he bunched the sheet up beneath him while Zayn fed him bits of blueberry pancake. “Sorry,” he said after a few bites.

“Why?”

“I don’t cry during sex. I mean, not usually. I just…I dunno.”

“It’s new. It happens. It’s flattering, really.”

“Did Niall?”

“No, but not all omegas are alike.”

“I feel…so…I don’t know…”

“My rut is close. It must be affecting you. Besides, two of your alphas and your favorite person in the world are across the continent; and you started to build a connection with one of them. And, we’ve been away from home for almost a month now. It’s ok, jaan. It’s a lot to handle.”

“You call Niall—and me that,” he added with a small blush.

“Its Urdu. Meri jaan means my life,” Zayn fed him another bite. “And that’s what you and Niall and Liam and Harry are. My life and fuck, you’re beautiful when you blush.” Zayn spread kisses along the pink tinged skin.

“Can I ask you something?” he asked when the pancakes and the bacon were eaten and they were sipping their Earl Grey tea.

“Of course,” Zayn nodded.

“…when you…when you put Niall under…how does…how do you do it?” Louis asked, and then flinched when Zayn’s hand came for him. But the alpha only took the omega’s hand. Easing between his knees, the alpha placed it along his own neck, just above the tattoo of the New Zealand bird. “I find his spot. Which is usually about here on him,” Zayn positioned Louis’s hand just over the nape of his neck. “And I squeeze slow, but keep the pressure steady. Usually this is as much as it takes to start calming him down. But if he needs to go under, I press about this tight,” he pushed Louis’s fingers into his neck.

Louis felt the pressure in his fingers and was caught between trying to feel it along his own neck, but not doing that at the same time. “Oh,” he pulled his hands back and played with his collar. “And…and what happens?”

“Well, if I drop him, he’ll go limp and I’ll be here to catch him. Whoever puts him under stays with him, it’s the general rule with alphas—good alphas, that is. Usually Liam and Harry will stay close anyway. When…when you were in the hospital, we were all around him.”

“He had to drop?”

“Yeah,” Zayn realized they’d never talked about what happened to them when Louis hit his head in that lift. “He…he was panicked. Absolutely panicked. Like, Liam gave him a direct alpha command to get out of the elevator, but he wouldn’t.”

“Why not?”

“It could be because he was too panicked to process that it was an alpha command. But, now…I think it’s because it meant leaving you.”

Louis smiled, but felt Zayn’s emotions take a negative turn along their new connection. “What’s wrong?”

“It was just…it was terrifying…you…they had you in this neck brace and you had the oxygen thing over your face and you were strapped down and there was blood all across the bandage…”

Instinctively, Louis reached for Zayn, running his fingers through the alpha’s hair comfortingly. “I’m sorry.”

“Don’t you dare apologize for what you did. You saved our Nialler.”

“I…I did?” Louis couldn’t remember anything but singing to him.

“You don’t remember?”

“I remember keeping him calm while we were stuck. Sang every boy band song I knew. Well, that wasn’t ours. Shoulda just sung ours since that helped me, I’m sure—”

“Babe,” Zayn cupped a hand over his cheek. “The firefighters got the doors pried open. But you were between floors. And there was this tiny space you lot had to climb out of. And you were sending Niall first—your idea, I’m sure. But then there was this creak, this horrid creak and all of a sudden it fell again.”

Louis’ eyes went wide.

“You pulled Niall back. Alberto said that’s why you hit your head. I can’t believe we didn’t, that you didn’t know this! You pulled Niall away before he got crushed or ripped into two. You saved our omega, baby. Our,” he motioned between them, just to be clear, “omega.”

“Oh…” Louis couldn’t imagine life without Niall or what would have happened if he hadn’t. How…

“Don’t. We’ve done that and it’s not a place you want to go.”

“What?”

“What would have happened to the four of us without him. How that would have affected you. What the three of us would have done. It’s…” he shook his head. “He’s here. He’s alive, and it’s all thanks to you.”

Louis's cheeks filled with the praise, turning a light shade of hot pink. “Oh…what happened next?”

“The elevator had gone down to the floor below. They opened up the doors and we got you out. He was hysterical so, Liam, I think, dropped him and Haz and Li stayed with him while I went to the hospital with you.”

“You came with me?”

“You’re my best friend, Lou. Of course, I went with you. Didn’t let go of your hand until they made me at the hospital. And they had to make me,” Zayn smiled. “The nurses almost called security on me. Anyway, they had me fill out some paperwork. I couldn’t concentrate and I handed it off to Paul when he arrived and he finished it up.”

“And Ni?”

“He came up and a little while later, the doctor came to tell us you were sick. She needed to know what you were on. We tried to tell her, but we didn’t know,” Louis could feel the regret cross their thin little wire. “And Megan,” his anger flared, “at first she wouldn’t say anything, but Liam could see she knew something. And then she said you were on suppressants. That you were an omega.”

Louis felt himself flush with embarrassment, but not that soft bashfulness. The shame permeated away from him and Zayn pulled him into his lap. “So that’s how you found out?”

“Yeah.”

Louis nodded and curled into his neck, scenting him.

“Then,” Zayn continued, “Dr. Amos asked us to help them help you. You were pretty bad off. Hallucinating because you were so feverish.”

“That’s how Liam knew…and you knew…and…oh…”

“Babe, you did the right thing,” Zayn made sure that brown eyes met blue. “I’m so much happier that some silly little rumor about me cheating was out there instead of a sex tape that you didn’t want to make.”

Louis felt tears burn in his eyes. “I really didn’t want to, Z, but you guys started fighting!”

“We fight. Just like you did with Niall. It’s not natural for relationships to have no fighting. It’s better. It makes us stronger.”

“I tried to tell you,” he hiccupped.

“I know you did, now stop those tears, meri jaan, before you break my heart,” Zayn dipped his head down and sank his teeth into Louis' neck, just beneath the blue leather of his collar. The firm pressure soothed the omega right away.

“Sor—“

“Don’t.”

“S…ok,” Louis smiled.

“That’s my good boy,” Zayn brushed the back of his fingers across the omega’s cheek. “Such a good boy.”

“And so…so I was out for three days after that?”

“Yeah. We kept calling the doctor in to make sure you were all right,” Zayn kissed his fingers.

“And then I tried to throw myself off the roof.”

Zayn nodded. “Don’t you ever, ever do something like that again.”

“I have more reason to stay now.”

“What were you thinking up there?” the alpha’s heart dropped as he remembered seeing his best friend on the edge.

“I…I thought…I thought you’d hate me. That you’d all hate me. And…and I-I couldn’t face that.”

“Oh, jaan, no,” Zayn showered him with kisses. “We could never hate you, beta or omega.”

“Well, I know that now!” Louis chuckled.

“I’m sorry you didn’t know that then,” the alpha rubbed his back. “But I’m never going to let you forget how much we love you. Not ever,” Zayn promised.

“Ok,” he could feel it, just like he had with Harry: knotting built the beginnings of a connection that would strengthen and solidify with a bonding mark and last until he managed to screw things up.

But, Louis began to believe that he couldn’t ever screw up bad enough for them to leave him, not with his pack looking out for him.

Chapter Text

“I know you’re nervous, sunshine, but you’re going to be fine,” Louis said to his computer and the omega on the other end of the line. He had to FaceTime his sunshine, because a nightmare woke Louis from a dead sleep last night. Considering what he’d been dealing with, he hadn’t thought about the lift incident really. But as his relationship with the pack deepened, with Niall especially, he couldn’t get the thought of losing his sunshine out of his mind. What if he hadn’t been fast enough? Niall would have been crushed, no way could he survive that! Or, what if Niall had hit his head instead when they fell? Niall would have been hospitalized or worse--oh god, worse--and the suppressants might have killed Louis and he’d never have known what it was like to be a part of the pack, or have an alpha at all and he hadn't appreciated how luck he'd been!

Zayn had woken and bitten his neck to keep his omega's emotions from spiraling out of control, and with the taste of Louis in his mouth, they had sleepy morning sex to distract the omega from calling Niall too early, even with the time difference between them and the east coast. Pressing Louis' back to the mattress, he knotted again, the omega's fingers laced with his, the pillow under his neck between Zayn's teeth.

“But I kept hooking my balls at the range yesterday!”

Louis turned to Zayn behind the couch, “Golf is a kinky sport.”

Across the continent, Niall smiled but whined, “Lou! Pay attention!”

“No, you pay attention, Niall Horan. You are fantastic and Rory McIlroy asked for you personally to come out and join him today. And Zayn and I think you’ll be the highest scoring celebrity.”

“High scores are bad in golf!!!!!”

Louis looked perplexed. “Oh, well, then…the lowest scoring? You go out there and get the lowest score you can…?”

Niall sighed, “I just don’t want OhNoNiall trending again.”

“Well, in all fairness, then you just have to stay on your feet then, don’t you?”

The blonde scowled, but the bit of comic relief eased his nerves—just a little. “Will you still love me even if I make a fool out of myself?”

“No. I only date winners.”

“Louis!!!!”

“And that’s what you’ll be, love,” the omega smiled at his sunshine. “No matter how today goes you’ve already won. Look at where you are, Niall. You’re playing in a celebrity pro/am with the PGA. If that’s not winning, what is?”

“I guess…”

“You’re there to raise some money for charity and have a round of golf with your friend, all right?”

Niall pouted, “in front of all these people. And Tiger Woods and Roger Federer, for fuck’s sake.”

“Fuck’em. Not literally, of course, but just go out there and have fun. I believe in you, sunshine. Me and Zayn know you’re going to be great. So do Li and Haz.”

“I guess I can do anything then,” he smiled.

“Ok. Now go out there and smack those balls.”

Niall burst into giggles. “What are you guys doing today?”

“Working. Unlike you, you slacker.”

“How’s Z?”

“Fine. Not as bad as Harry was before his rut.”

“The claim was new!!” the youngest alpha exclaimed in the background.

“What did he say?”

“Ignore him, he’s just being indignant,” Niall smirked. “You wanted to do tandem yoga with Liam, Harry, concentrate!”

“We’re going to have to play the ‘you hang up first, no you hang up first,’ aren’t we?” Louis looked fondly at his omega.

“No, I’ll let you go,” the blonde sighed; he didn’t like saying goodbye, even if they were flying back to them tonight.

“You’d better. Some of us have actual work to do today.”

“Love you, Nialler,” leaning over the back of the couch, Zayn smiled at his two omegas.

“Hey! Wait!” Harry leapt into the camera’s view, but tripped over his own long legs, face planting between the blonde and the coffee table he had his computer on. “I’m ok! Did you and Zayn—“

Louis blushed. “Bye!”

“Yes!” Zayn called to baby alpha before the brunette cut the feed. Louis tugged him over the back and onto the cushions.

“Braggart,” he kissed the alpha on the nose. “Should we go see if Julian is ready to record yet?”

“You just want to pester him about his date.”

“Of course I do. I finally get to tell him ‘I told you so’! I’m not missing out on that.”

“But, it’s so early,” Zayn wrapped his arms around his omega, burying his nose in the Tommo tummy.

“The sooner we get done, the sooner you get to knot me again.”

Zayn leapt to his feet.

Walking down the hall, Louis had a skip in his step while Zayn pulled out his vibrating phone. “Hold on, love, it’s my Mum.”

Zayn swiped it away, intent to walk him to the producer’s room first. As they made their way past the stairwell, the door burst open and screams pierced their ears. Hands grabbed for the collar-wearing omega, mobile phone lights flashing for the haphazard pictures.

“Girls! This is a closed floor!” Paul and Ben sprinted down the hall to deal with them.

But, the two young teens—a beta and an unclaimed omega—found themselves shoved to the wall, Zayn’s forearms beneath their chins before the bodyguards had even gotten the words out. But, the pre-rut alpha quickly pulled himself back, hair-raising anger still fuming, but logic winning out—had one of the girls been an alpha, he was sure he would have ripped somebody’s head off. “I’m sorry. Are you all right?” he had to force the words out through grit teeth; he could feel his omega’s surprise only beginning to dissipate.

The fans nodded.

“You shouldn’t be here,” he tried not to growl. He slung an elbow around Louis’ neck, trying to drape his arm casually as they left the trespassing stalkers to their bodyguards.

“Are you claiming Louis?! Are you bonding?”

“Do you make him wear the collar?!”

“Where is Niall? Are you leaving Niall for Louis?!”

“Did you ruin the pack, Louis?!”

The omega’s neck whiplashed back in shock. His breath thinned until Zayn hushed him, opening their hotel suite and guiding him back in. The alpha motioned Louis onto the couch and squished him into the corner, Louis’s legs folded over his thighs. Zayn had never wanted Liam more because he knew that this one little moment could set Louis back weeks if he didn’t handle it right and Liam wouldn’t be this scared, he’d just know what to do!

Louis rested his head on Zayn’s shoulder, pushed the pad of his finger into the engraving of the claddagh. He shouldn’t be wearing it. He shouldn’t. It made his alphas look bad. He could see it in that girl’s eyes and the way she asked if they made him wear it. He was making his alphas look bad. He was bad. Bad, bad, bad, bad, bad.

“Tell me Lou,” the alpha shook off his worry and focused on his omega, nudging their noses together. “Whatever you’re thinking that’s making you uneasy. Just tell me so I can make it right.” He could only feel the edges of Louis’ emotions through their new connection. It was like watching a movie without sound, but the negativity percolated through his skin.

“She…they’re going to tweet about it and everyone’s going to know!” Louis buried his face in Zayn’s shoulder.

“That you’re ours? We haven’t confirmed anything, but I’m sure people know, considering the photos of you and Ni walking into that club went pretty viral. But, we don’t talk about claims or collars; its too personal and not at all polite to even ask. Those girls shouldn’t have asked, shouldn’t have even been up here. This isn’t you’re fault, you’re not bad. You’re not bad.”

Louis shook his head, tears on the edge of his eyelids. “But they’re going to know that I wear it,” that I’m stupid and needy and have to because I’m fucked up, “Because I’m stupid and needy and messed up. Or, they’re going to think that you make me!”

“You are none of those things. You wear it because you want to and you can. It’s fine, love,” Zayn’s heart ached when the first one fell. He pressed kisses to his cheeks, catching each tear in one.

“I want to take it off,” he wiggled away. Those words tasted foul in the omega’s mouth, but still. The collar felt heavy and…tainted right now.

“But…” Zayn sighed. “If that’s what you want.”

Louis nodded and with a click of the alpha’s fingers, the padlock came loose. The omega fastened it and held it in his hand.

That’s how Paul found them, the tattooed alpha watching the little ball of omega in his lap frown at his (once) beloved collar.

“Z?” the bodyguard knocked on the wall to get their attention. “I had them delete the pictures in exchange for not calling the police. We settled for informing their parents, and the hotel’s banned them from the premises.”

“Thank you, Paul,” Zayn replied and went back to pressing kisses to Louis’ forehead.

“Thanks,” he mumbled, a cloud of distress still around him. The bodyguard nodded and headed back out to patrol the halls.

Louis gripped his collar and curled tighter into the alpha. “Zayn…”

“What is it, babe?” he dragged his fingertips up and down his arm.

He sighed, pouting, “The room is too big and cold and I don’t like it here anymore.”

“We could get a smaller one?”

Louis shook his head. He needed his crate. He needed to feel contained because his thoughts were just too big for him and he hated feeling little unless it was inside a jumper that gave him sweater paws. “Could…could we um…”

“Could we what, angel?”

“…couldwebuildablanketfort…”

Before Louis had a chance to take it back and beat himself up for being stupid and immature, Zayn smiled and, without question, replied, “We’ll call for extra sheets and pillows and build the best blanket fort in the world.”

Harry, Liam, and Niall arrived a couple hours before midnight and found the tent. Standing their golf bags by the door silently amused, they looked for a way in. Big white sheets draped from the panel behind the mounted flat-screen television over the standing floor lights over something on top of the two now parallel sofas and the dining room chairs lined up at the back. Niall led the way, dropping to all fours and crawling under. The TV was still silently playing, sending a soft glow over all the pillows in the suite and then some, and his two partners tucked under a fluffy blanket.

“Hi,” Zayn smiled, spooning his omega and saying hi to his younger one. “We watched. You did great.”

“He told me I would,” Niall leaned over and kissed him.

“How’s he been? I hear it was a bit rough,” Harry followed, lying between Niall and the couch.

“It was ok. We built a smaller one and he stayed in it while we were working. But, he won’t put his collar back on,” Zayn motioned to the collar in Louis’ hand, the failure weighing down his voice. “He feels stupid, I think.”

Niall shifted to give Zayn an extra kiss to comfort him, but at the sight of the revealed Boo Bear, he paused to wish he’d brought Wayne out of his suitcase so Louis could snuggle them both.

“Here babe,” Liam handed the rainbow teddy bear to his owner then kissed both Louis and Zayn before lying behind the alpha; he gave Niall a light shove back to Harry (the Alpha could handle Zayn). “But other than that, ok?”

“Yeah. He was open about it. Didn’t try and hide how upset he was and I told him how good he was being. We built a smaller fort in Julian’s and I got some recording done while he stayed in it and watched Supernatural—Sam has no soul, by the way. Ate dinner with Julian and Johnny. Oh, and he sounds fantastic on the song Ni wrote.”

The rest of the pack kicked off their clothes and slipped under the blanket. Niall tucked Wayne in with Boo and Lou.

“And you didn’t need to bond him?”

“Oh, I need to. My teeth were, like—“

“Singing,” Harry finished.

“That,” Zayn nodded. Liam lifted his wrist to his alpha’s mouth and, while it wasn’t quite what he needed, the older man found some relief in the clench of his jaw and the feel of flesh in his teeth.

Louis woke to a face full of rainbow fur and the smell of breakfast smacking him in the face with warmth.

“Good morning.”

“Hey. See, I told you, you were the best celebrity there,” Louis poked the blond as he sat up scratching his bed head. “Where are the alphas?”

“Our alphas,” Niall scooted over and put his head in Louis’s lap.

“Where are our alphas?” the English omega couldn’t help but blush.

“Talking to Paul about something. They ordered us brekkie, but we’ve got to record. I was going to wake you with another rim job.”

“What’s stopping you?”

“Why is your collar off?”

The question zapped the flirtatiousness out of the air. Louis shrugged and squeezed Boo tighter beneath his arm.

Niall sat up. “Hey. Omegas wear collars sometimes. It’s ok, you know?”

“But—”

“No buts, babe. What goes on behind closed doors isn’t anyone else’s business…unless someone is hurting someone else or there’s abuse or something, but that’s beside the point. Those girls had no right to question your collar. None.”

“But—“

“But nothing. It is your collar because you are a part of our pack. You are our alphas’ omega and you can do as you damn well please.”

“Ok, sunshine, ok,” Louis didn’t like how worked up Niall was getting and ran a hand through his blond hair soothingly.

“I just don’t want you to stop wearing it. I know how much you love it and how much it means to you.”

“I’m just…taking a break from it. That’s all,” he mumbled, rubbing the claddagh with the pad of his thumb.

“But you don’t need to!” Niall grumbled.

“Ok, Ni. Ok. Let’s just go back to talking about how amazing you did yesterday.”

“No. Let’s talk about how much I missed you. Let’s do that,” Niall rolled over until he could straddle the older omega. “It was like trying to count the stars trying to count how much I missed you.”

“Did it feel like infinity?” Louis teased.

“Yes,” the Irishman sighed between kisses to the brunette’s stubbly jaw.

“You actually can’t count missing someone, Niall. It’s not quantifiable.”

“I thought you ate dick, not a dictionary.”

“You’ve got a mouth on you, young man,” Louis reached back and squeezed the Irish bum. “Do we get spanked for that?”

“Ha, you’d be perpetually over someone’s knee, and if I’m lucky it’d be mine.”

“You have an unhealthy obsession with my bum,” the Englishman flipped Niall to his back and kissed across his neck.

“Oh, no, it’s perfectly healthy. It’s one of my major food groups, now. Right up there with proteins and grains.”

“Speaking of food,” the alphas opened up the side of the fort. “Or not speaking of food at all,” Harry smirked.

“The food will keep!” Zayn leapt into the fort.

“I have all I’m eating right here,” Niall twisted them over and then rolled Louis to his belly. “The Booty with a side of Zayn.”

“Yes,” the alpha’s eyes went wide. “Yes, yes, yes—“

“C’mon, eat and then fuck,” Harry shook his head.

Zayn’s eyes went dark as he glanced back at baby alpha and hissed, tackling him onto the bed and biting down on his neck.

“Zayn, that’s enough!” the Alpha’s voice boomed through the blanket fort; both omegas whimpered.

“I’m sorry, Alpha,” back to their usual amber, Zayn replied easily.

Harry shrugged, “But since you’re already between my legs, why not have at me?”

“Where’s the lube?”

“I’m hungry…” Louis gulped as the tininess of the blanket fort was suddenly suffocating.

“Ok,” both alphas were eager to please, peeling apart and motioning to their Alpha, who handed in the food before Liam could even say that he’d gotten Niall something hearty after a full eighteen holes yesterday and a show tomorrow night.

With a mouthful of hash browns, Niall kissed his omega’s cheek, fingers doing a quick brush through the fringe.

“We weren’t sure what you wanted Lou, so we got a bit of everything. Blueberry pancakes or I got an omelet, or—”

“Both, if that’s all right,” he smiled softly at Zayn, who winked at him.

“I also got turkey bacon on the side. Canadian bacon is apparently not just bacon here.”

“What?”

“Well, I thought being in Canada, asking for bacon would get us Canadian bacon because, you know, Canada. But apparently that’s a US thing. Term at least.”

Louis knew what Liam was doing and leaned over to the Alpha next to him and kissed his shoulder. “You’re a dork.”

Though, they all knew that, for Louis, that was synonymous with “I love you” and “thank you.”

Let's have another toast to the @Girl_A1mighTea
@1DUpdates The pack makes Louis wear a collar! Paul made us delete the pictures, but I kept one tmbl.co/ZJvb8sTjwbP

@Up1Dates retweeted your post

Chapter Text

Jules @JuliaCoolia
First of all stop calling Louis collared, that’s offensive. Second, you don’t know why he’s wearing it or how they use it. #RespectPackPrivacy

Jamie @NouisZouisLirryandNi
Quit assuming they mistreat him. It’s one picture with no context #RespectPackPrivacy

Sly Therin @RavenClawson
Please don't RT that picture. Collars are sometimes misused, but they aren’t inherently bad. What they are is private #RespectPackPrivacy

Louis sat with Liam in the makeshift fort. They arrived at the producers’ suite after breakfast with armfuls of linens, draping the sheet over the back of the sofa and a couple dining room chairs and filling their new fort with pillows; it wasn’t as cool as the one he and Zayn built in their suite, but for a lean-to it would do. Julian had just shrugged as he watched the construction and waved when Louis and Liam disappeared through the flap.

While Harry recorded in the living room booth, Zayn and Niall worked with John in the second bedroom, and Louis and Liam worked in silence, the Alpha with some head phones plugged into his small keyboard. Louis wrote in his notebook, just brainstorming, but his eyes kept glancing at the collar sitting on the blanket next to him.

Raising his head at the pause in the pen’s movement, Liam tapped the edge of the book, giving him a curious look.

The omega just shook his head and buried his nose in the pages.

Hooking a finger into the spine, Liam lowered it and gave Louis expectance in a single look.

Louis motioned towards the sound of their band mate’s voice. They couldn’t be too loud with Harry recording.

Just as he thought he was off the hook, Liam removed his headphones, took the notebook and silently patted his lap. There was just enough room for Louis to crawl in without his head brushing the top of the tent.

“First of all,” Liam whispered, “like Zayn said, your collar is your choice. It was your choice to accept our claim and it was your choice to wear it—“

“But—“

“But nothing, angel. More to the point, Lou, your collar doesn’t make you pack. You accepted our claim. That’s what makes us pack. More than a collar, more than a bonding mark. You want to be a part of us, and, collar or no collar, you are.” Liam’s voice stayed at a whisper, but Louis could feel the intensity behind it soothing the unrest in him. “The collar itself is just a symbol and for some people it means one thing and for others it means another. But, it doesn’t make us look bad. The only reason we care that that picture made it to social media is because it upset you. Please stop worrying.”

“But you don’t like me wearing it in public," Louis' self-loathing saturated his words. Stupid, stupid, stupid boy, needing to wear something that makes your alphas look bad. Of course, you cause problems-

Liam almost smacked himself at the implication behind it; he didn’t need a bond or a tie read between the worry lines on Louis' face. “You know, what? Fuck everyone else. If you want to wear it, you can wear it wherever you want. I just want you to be happy, Lou. We all do,” he said, still hushed. “But let me make this clear. We tried to keep things quiet to keep you to ourselves. But, that does not make you our dirty little secret. You are ours. And we are proud to have you as an omega. There is nothing sordid about us courting you and I'm so sorry, baby, if we ever let you confuse you not wearing the collar in public with us trying to hide you or who you are. Because, if you haven't noticed, we very much love who you are.”

"I've noticed," Louis shrugged, still down about the whole situation. But, if that's really how the Alpha felt, then Louis didn't really need to be too upset, he guessed. He curled into Liam as, outside the tent, Harry tried a verse again. “Ok.”

“Ok,” Liam kissed him softly. “Can we put your collar back on?”

Louis shook his head. “No…I’m sorry.”

“Your collar, your choice. I just want to know that it’s what you want.”

“Just for now,” Louis nestled into him. “Thank you for understanding.”

“I’m your Alpha. It’s what I do,” he clipped the omega’s chin between a crooked finger and the pad of his thumb. Smiling, he kissed him gently. “I missed you.”

“I missed you,” Louis tried not to whine loudly, but he didn’t like to be away from his alphas let alone his omega. “I had fun with Zayn, but I did. I missed you and Niall and Harry, too, and I felt stupid for it ‘cause you were only gone for little but then Zayn said it was ok.”

“Poor puppy.”

“Not a puppy,” Louis whined against his mouth.

“My puppy. My little omega. Perfect match to my baby alpha,” Liam smirked, rolling the omega to his back and nibbling at his neck. Louis giggled a little too loudly and slapped a hand over his mouth; Harry had just started singing again.

Mischief dancing in the brown of his eyes, Liam eased the hem of his shirt upwards and pressed kisses all over his belly. Louis trembled at the touch, his whimper muffled by the hands on his mouth. Liam worshipped the little puff of skin; just picturing it stretching for their pups had him about to burst out of his trackies.

“Liam,” he whispered when the Alpha pushed his shirt off completely and licked at his nipples.

“Shhhh,” he hushed with naughtiness swirling in his brown eyes. Liam turned him to his knees and easing the pajama bottoms down. “Haz is recording.”

Louis gripped a pillow and bit into it when he felt Liam’s hands stretching his cheeks apart. Holding his breath, he almost yelled when he felt a tongue slide across the pucker of skin between them.

Liam wanted to moan, he did, and would have if not for Harry’s voice filling the room, like their own acapella version of the soft ballad he was recording. He settled for licking and sucking at the delicious slick dripping from that hole like a faucet.

The omega’s teeth tore at the pillow between them, gnashing at the cotton to keep from whimpering. He was so needy, so sensitive to being touched after taking knots from both of the pack leader’s alphas and he tried to convey that as he grabbed the Alpha’s hand.

When Louis started whining into the pillow, Liam pulled away, licking his lips lewdly, gentle hands returning Louis to his back. The omega whimpered, the coil in his belly so close to bursting, Liam’s tongue had him so close.

“Shhh,” the Alpha whispered. “Do you trust me?”

Louis nodded; of course he did.

“If you don’t like this squeeze my arm three times and I’ll stop, understand?” he covered Louis’ mouth, watching the omega take a calm breath through his nose before he skimmed a hand across the older brunette’s inner thigh.

The omega gulped and shuddered; the slick ran steadily out of him and onto the fingers brushing between his cheeks.

As gently as he could, Liam slid them in, two right away because he couldn’t wait anymore. Louis was naked and beautiful and writhing beneath him.

Louis’ thick thighs opened wider, back arching into the Alpha’s hand, begging for another because he knew he’d need it, he knew how big Liam was, could still feel the stretching of his lips and the idea of Liam stretching another part of him had him leaking harder.

Liam stripped the rest of his clothes one handed, kneeling between the thighs spread for him, leaning over to replace his hand with his lips. Louis kissed him desperately, left hand still wrapped beneath the “we are the quiet ones” banner of his tattoo tugging the palm back over his mouth.

Pulling back, Liam retracted his fingers and licked them clean. “Sure you’re ready?” he whispered.

One look at the long, thick erection between Liam’s legs and Louis gulped, nodding against the Alpha’s hand.

“Squeeze three times and I stop,” voice still a hush beneath Harry still recording outside their little fort, the pack leader pressed the head of his cock in.

Louis’ eyes rolled back, hands gripping Liam’s arm, knee clamping around his waist. The Alpha felt the gasp against him palm as he slid in slowly, appreciating each ring of muscle spreading for him. He felt every whimper and whine vibrate from his hand to his cock and it was as good as hearing them.

“You’re—” he grunted and Louis slapped a hand over Liam’s mouth silently; baby alpha was still singing for them.

Liam leaned down until the omega’s hand pressed to the eagle on his own; their eyes sparkled at each other, Louis’ through a sheen of tears though. The girth inside him stretched him, complimenting the soreness from taking two other knots before. He loved them all so much. There weren’t enough words for how much he loved them, for how much he wanted to belong to them.

The Alpha leaned back, thrusting slowly because if he could do it with Niall, he knew he’d have to be able to see with Louis. True to the omega’s lithe form, he saw the Tommo tummy bulge and moved the omega’s hand there from his mouth, watching with delight as his big blue eyes went wide.

The omega knew he was deep, but he didn’t realize that Liam was that deep. He kept his hand against himself to feel every one of the Alpha’s thrusts, legs open to welcome them.

The blanket fort heated quickly, sweat building on the blankets and pillows below them, skin fiery to the touch as Liam pumped into him faster, harder. The sheets surrounding them trapped the whimpers echoing in the omega’s throat. Suddenly, Liam pulled out, twisting Louis to his hands and knees.

Trembling, the omega arched his back, creating the perfect angle for Liam to slap against his prostate, sending violent waves of pleasure crashing through him. A hand came around to cover his mouth, though, focused as he was on the girth spreading him, he couldn’t make a sound even if he tried. All he could think was, Alpha, Alpha, Alpha, Alpha.

Bending over the omega, the Alpha rumbled beneath the conversation outside their blanket fort, “Good boy, good boy, waiting until Alpha tells you it’s ok. You’re so good, Louis, so good, you feel amazing. You want my knot, don’t you, angel, don’t you? Come for Alpha, babe and you can have it.”

Stars burst and shot in front of Louis’ eyes and his arms gave way and Liam’s hand against his mouth, the one he was biting down on, was the only thing holding him up for his Alpha to keep pounding away.

Liam watched the bubbles of his omega’s ass bounce against his hips and he pulled Louis against him, heads butting the top of their fort as he came hard, knot popping. His teeth sang like a church choir, begging to dig into his omega’s skin and make him pack and mark him forever.

“Liam,” Louis’ whimper broke that need.

“All right, babe?” the Alpha worried, lowering them to the blankets and pillows.

“Dropping….” he couldn’t quite get his heart to stop pounding and his mind raced in an attempt to catch his breath and he couldn’t stop.

“Stay with me, Lou. Stay up here with me and Harry, you hear him? Stay with us,” he whispered. “You hang onto our voices, ok?”

Louis’ mind was floating a little, but he could still feel his body and the cock poking his belly and filling him. “Ok,” he gripped Liam’s arm like a lifeline. “I’m sorry.”

“Hush. Don’t you dare,” he said and harmonized with baby alpha for their omega. Louis sniffled and Liam just rubbed his tummy tenderly. As Harry’s verse ended and he and Julian started to brainstorm on how to make the next take better, Liam whispered, “Gonna carry my pups in here one day.”

Fully aware and present with his Alpha, the omega nodded and blushed at the thought. Oh, how he wanted that.

“You’re ok with that? With being a mum?”

“Want to.”

“Yeah?”

“I just…I don’t want to be like her.”

“You won’t be, babe. With what you did for us, to take care of us, there’s no way you could hurt our puppies the way your mum did you.”

“And you won’t let me.”

It unsettled Liam that Louis still needed that kind of reassurance, that he still felt like they or their hypothetical pups needed protecting from him (it did however, remind him to call Dr. Black), but he kissed his omega’s shoulder (batting away the need to bond him as he did) and agreed, “We won’t let you.”

“Kay. I want to wait a bit, so Dad and Jay’s twins are a bit older.”

“Absolutely, love. I’d like to wait until we’re married,” Liam rubbed Louis’ left ring finger. “Haz is old school like that.”

Hope burst in his belly, “Jumping ahead of yourself, Li, aren’t we?” he rubbed his thumb across his ring finger.

“Maybe. Maybe not,” he licked at Louis’ neck where it met with the corner of his jaw. “Right here. Right here is where my mark is going. So no matter what you wear, everyone will see it.”

“Mark me then. We’re knotted, isn’t that how it works?” even as he spoke, Louis could feel himself hesitating, but not because he was having second thoughts about being bonded to the Alpha and becoming pack. But, because maybe, maybe he wanted more from that moment than the spontaneity of this, sweet as it was. Maybe he thought he deserved more. Maybe.

“Not yet, love. Not until we talk about it more.”

“You and the pack?”

“No, love. Me and you.”

Louis felt the understanding between them. Maybe Liam thought he deserved something special, too. “Ok.”

“Ok,” like Harry had, Liam rubbed the enamel of his teeth against the omega, but didn’t dare break the skin. Not yet.

“Hey Li? Oh geez, I saw nothing, I swear! I’ll be, I gotta go before one of your alphas kills me,” Julian dropped the curtain he’d lifted and walked right out of the room.

Curious, Harry popped his head in to see his Alpha knotted with his omega. “Good call, Julian! Good call,” baby alpha slipped in and laid down with his lovers, tucking all of them under a blanket. “How much longer, Li?”

“Probably ten, fifteen minutes.”

“Yeah?” Harry brushed a hand down Louis’ belly; the omega giggled. “Such a good boy. Just listen to that sweet, little laugh,” he kissed the older singer softly.

“Stop,” he whined. “Came hard. Can’t again.”

“All right, babe, I’m stopping,” Harry smiled.

“We were talking pups. He doesn’t want to start until Ernest and Doris are a bit older.”

“That’s fine. I think we should be married a bit first,” Harry reached for Louis’ ring finger, his own fingers lacing with Liam’s around it.

“We’re not even bonded yet,” the omega blushed.

“We will be though,” Liam promised. “We will.”

“After the talk.”

“Don’t make it sound so serious, love,” the Alpha kissed his shoulders. “But, we just want to make sure we’re on the same page. That you’re open to us.”

Louis clenched around his knot.

“Not like that,” Liam groaned, and then tapped his head (the one on his shoulders!), “Up here. That you’re not hiding from us anymore. That we want the same things.”

“And dream the same dreams?” he smirked.

“All right,” Harry finished.

“Yes,” Liam chuckled. “Then, we make sure no one out there can take your heart away.”

“No one can,” he brought the alphas’ hands to his lips. “I belong to you.” Louis reached over for the collar lying near their heads. “…can I?”

“Absolutely, angel,” careful not to jar their tie, Liam undid the padlock and slipped the strap around his omega.

With a smile, Louis settled on a pillow, thumb pressed to the platinum lock. Harry brought one of their blankets over them and kissed his nose.

After Zayn crawled in a little while later, Niall searched for the Do Not Disturb sign. The sound of the door opening had the pack on edge, but it was Louis that yelled for him, “Niall Horan! Get your adorable little butt in here!”

“I’m coming, I’m coming, hold your horses,” the omega leaned the placard against the blanket fort and snapped a picture before joining them.

Niall Horan @NiallOfficial
It’s a blanket fort kind of day http://twitpic

Chapter Text

“Lovey…lovey Lou,” Niall gave him shake. “Hey, Boo.”

Louis smacked him with his yellow bear and tried to find the warm spot on his pillow.

“Time to eat, babe,” the blonde laughed.

“Food?” he peaked an eye open.

“Yup. Food.”

Grumbling, Louis made his way out of the blanket base, as they’d taken to calling the big one in their suite, and sat down at the table with the alphas. He reached for the eggs and cringed at the first bite.

“What’s wrong, babe?”

“Too salty,” he pushed it away and pouted sadly.

“We got bagels, too, or we can order you something else,” Liam pushed the basket of them towards the omega. “But you have to eat, we have a show tonight and then—ok.”

Louis just tore a plain one apart and took a big bite.

“Good?”

“Mmm,” Louis gulped some orange juice. “Still warm.”

“Ok, hold on,” Harry took the half he wasn’t chewing on and added some cream cheese. “Give me that half?”

Louis glared and hugged it to himself. “Hungry.”

Across the table, Niall sniffled. “I’m so proud. You protect your food, babe.”

Harry laughed, “C’mon, love.”

With a pouty glower, Louis handed it over and took another gulp of orange juice while he waited. Zayn pulled him into his lap and held him. “I’m hungry, too,” the pre-rut alpha gnawed on his shoulder, teeth unhappy with the cotton separating them from the tasty omega.

Louis turned and kissed him. Want clouded around them, but before the oldest alpha could lift him onto the table and rip his clothes off, their pack leader spoke, “No.”

Zayn grumbled. “Mine.”

“Mine!” Niall threw a strawberry at his alpha.

“Mine,” Louis devoured the big strawberry thrown at Zayn and then reached for the omega.

“Ha!” Niall grinned, but Zayn threw Louis over his shoulder with a snarl, but Liam was there in a heartbeat, snapping his teeth down on his alpha’s neck.

“Mine,” the Alpha growled against his skin. “Down.”

With reluctant obedience, Zayn handed Louis over to a waiting Harry before Liam manhandled his oldest alpha to the bedroom to assert his dominance.

Zayn damn near climbed his pack leader and slammed their lips together. His neck bleeding from the earlier bite, he tore at the Alpha’s clothes, nails scratching at his skin.

Liam pried his lithe legs away and shoved him to the bed, catching him when he leapt towards him. Pre-rut, Zayn always put up more of a fight; he needed to grapple.

“I’m sorry,” Louis whispered.

“Don’t be, I love watching them do this,” Harry peered through the door to see Liam pin Zayn to the carpet.

“Aren’t they going to hurt each other?”

“Never bad enough that they can’t heal themselves,” the alpha squeezed his omega’s hand. “It’s his rut coming on, babe. They do this every other time, it’s fine.”

“Last time I made them fight—“ Niall had yelled at him.

“You didn’t. I—they really do this every time. Ni, could—Niall doesn’t like when they fight.”

Before Harry could head back, Louis scurried over to the table where the blonde remained, back turned towards them all, munching loudly on some cereal to drown out the growls. The brunette slipped into the younger omega’s lap and held him.

“Building a blanket fort always helped me when there was fighting. But, do you want take a walk or something?” Louis rubbed his back.

“No. They’re going to start fucking in a minute,” Niall cuddled his omega close.

“Cad,” he chuckled, petting his bleach blonde tips.

“You love me like that.”

“I love you, period.”

Niall beamed. “I love you, too.”

“Fuck, Liam, god, don’t stop,” Zayn groaned.

“That’s our cue!” Niall whispered and dragged him over to the doorframe between them and Harry, who was not so subtly jerking off.

Liam spit into his hand, their clothes shoved down just enough that he could wet his alpha’s hole. His pre-cum would have to do the rest.

“Yes, yes, fuck yes,” Zayn moaned as his body fought with itself. Pre-rut, he should be the dominant one, but couldn’t fight the only Alpha he could ever submit to. “Liam!”

“Say it, Zayn.”

The alpha grit his teeth. So Liam rammed the rest of himself into him.

“Say it, or I don’t move,” the Alpha smirked.

Zayn tore the sheets, chewing his bottom lip.

Liam leaned over his back, hissing into his ear. “Say it, Zaynie.”

The alpha shook his head. No, no, he wasn’t going to say it.

“You want my come, don’t you? You want me to come in you, fill you, make you walk around with me dripping out of this tight little hole.”

Zayn melted for his pack leader and nodded.

“Then say it.”

Ok, fine! “Alpha. Alpha, please!” he forced through his teeth. He needed it rough and hard to take the edge of his pre-rut carnality.

“Who’s?”

“Mine! My Alpha!” he submitted fully to his pack leader, something he never thought he’d do when he presented so early. Going to be an Alpha, his father used to tell him. And with anyone else, maybe he would have been. But not Liam, who made him safe, who made them all safe and small and tucked into his pocket.

With a smirk, Liam pulled out and slammed back into him, starting with a pace he would have worked one of his omegas up to, outside a heat at least. “Again, Zayn. Say it again,” he gripped the slim shoulder with one hand and roughly stroked the alpha’s cock with the other.

“My Alpha!”

“Again.”

“My Alpha! My Alpha, my Alpha,” Zayn chanted, backing into the brutal thrusts as much as flicking his hips into the dry hand around his dick. “Alpha, please!”

The bed rocked beneath them, the metal frame creaking.

His alphas were such good boys for Liam, so tight and hot in a different way than his omegas were. There was something more illicit about fucking them and god they were both so beautiful. “One more time, Zayn. Ask for it.”

“Alpha, make me come!”

“Is that all you want?”

“Give it to me, Liam, god damn you!”

“What?”

“Fucking fill me, Alpha, you prick!” whether Liam was ready for him to or not, he came, tightening around the thick length inside him. “Alpha!” he arched his back and shot all over the torn sheets, damn near knotting within Liam’s gigantic paw.

“Good boy,” Liam hissed, coming hard, but without a knot; Harry wanted it, but Zayn didn’t always, especially before a rut. “My good alpha,” he rocked with Zayn’s hips, biting down on the mark he’d started earlier, deepening it.

“Are you lot—blimey!” Paul walked in and then out. “We’re heading to the stadium in ten minutes!” he shouted as he slammed the door.

The omegas giggled in the doorframe. “Can we help clean up, Alpha?” Niall rocked on his feet.

“Yes, baby. Lick Daddy clean, please,” Liam was only daddy-level dominant after fucking one of the alphas like that.

“Fuck…” Louis felt himself get slick and darted over to the Alpha, settling between his thighs against Niall.

“Yes,” Zayn groaned; he didn’t need to get hard, so soon after taking a pounding, but fuck if watching the two omegas lap at his Alpha’s come covered cock wasn’t erection inspiring, he didn’t know what was. “Haz? Be a dear and bend over for me?”

“Of course, Z,” Harry shoved his skinny jeans to his thighs and bent over at an angle that he could still watch. He winced a little when Zayn pushed into him, but never took his eyes off Louis and Niall, their tongues twisting over Liam’s dick and then tangling with each other around the head.

The Alpha groaned, running his hand through both sets of hair, his eagle tattoo nesting in the longer brown locks. “So good for Daddy.”

On the corner of the bed, Zayn came again in minutes, the second time rutting inside baby alpha. Brought close by his own hand, the sight of Liam’s dominance and the omega’s licking the Alpha clean, Harry shot his load all over the sheets.

“Hey, seriously, seven minutes now!” Paul said from the doorway, not daring to come in.

“But, we didn’t get to come!” Niall pouted.

“Boys,” Liam nodded to the two alphas. “You think that’s enough time?”

“Fuck yeah,” Zayn grumbled and grabbed for one of the omegas. He and Harry bent them over the bed and knelt behind him.

“I love my life,” Liam buttoned his jeans and watched his omegas get eaten out by his alphas, both of whom were leaking come. And within five minutes, both alphas had their omegas coming, too. “Whoever has to change these sheets probably won’t though,” he grimaced. “Oops.”

With a minute to spare, the pack made it to the lobby, though, the omegas clung to their alphas like koalas and Zayn was on the verge of falling asleep. In fact, the oldest alpha grabbed the older omega once they were in the dressing room and curled up with him on the couch.

“We’ll go to the bus, get your stuff for our trip home,” Liam kissed their heads, snogging the alpha a bit deeper.

“Thanks, Alpha,” Louis chirped and tucked his head under the stubbly chin, nestled safely between Zayn and the back of the sofa.

“You’re so pretty,” Zayn murmured against the fading scar on Louis’ forehead. “Style your hair back tonight?”

“Mk,” Louis agreed; he could still feel the alpha’s five o’clock shadow between his cheeks and he writhed against Zayn’s thigh despite being about to sleep.

“Need to get off again?” the alpha teased, hand massaging the Booty.

“I’m also hungry,” he sighed, sniffling because he couldn’t decide whether he wanted to eat or fuck, but he couldn’t stop jiggling his leg.

“And you need to have a skate or something. C’mon. Let’s go do that first.”

“But you’re sleepy! And you’re close to a rut. I fail! I fail,” he sobbed.

“Woah, babe, what just happened!?” Zayn sat up and pulled Louis into a little ball in his lap. “Calm down, it’s ok. It’s ok!”

“You’re—I don’t know how to take care of you! You’re about to have a rut and I can’t—I suck!”

“Shhh, babe, it’s all right,” the alpha stroked his back. “You’re taking care of me just fine, lovey Lou. Hush, babe.”

“What happened?” Niall dropped his stuff when he saw Louis’ tears.

“I don’t know!” Louis sniffled and rubbed his nose on the shoulder of Zayn’s shirt. “And, I’m hungry. God, what’s wrong with me?” he wiped his eyes.

“I think it’s just Z’s rut,” Niall smirked. “Someone’s ready for it,” he rested a hand on Louis’ back.

“Is that ok?” he asked his sunshine.

“Yes, baby, we’re in this together, aren’t we? Besides, can you imagine, Z? Both your omegas, ready to take you? Louis pressed between us…”

There was a knock on the door and Liam said, “Behave yourselves,” before he called, “Come in.”

“Hey Lou,” Rick popped his head in. “Do you want me to keep Twenty-Eight for you? It’s not a big deal, but one of the other crates broke on the way in, I wanted to know if I needed to order a new one or…”

The pack was ready to tell him to just use Louis’, and the older omega felt that and warmth burnt at his cheeks. “Umm…”

“It’s ok, Lou, I’ll just order a new one, it’s all right,” the older roadie said quickly when he saw the tears in the omega’s eyes.

“Lovey Lou, if you think you need it, that’s fine,” Niall curled up in his lap. “It’s ok. It’s ok. I know what you’re going through, babe. I was a mess before my first rut with Li. Remember? It was during the X Factor and I was crying or hyper or crying or hyper because I was nervous. But, you’re fine. This is natural. This is just you adjusting to having alphas.”

“Is me being hungry normal? Because I’m so hungry,” he hiccupped.

“Yes, lovey, that’s normal.”

“And I feel like…”

“Itchy? But you can’t scratch anywhere that’ll make it better?”

“Yes!” Louis jiggled his leg.

“That’s normal too. Stay near Z, that’s going to help, ok?”

Grateful to have his omega walking him through this, Louis stuck to Zayn’s side as they made their way to Sarah’s kitchen. After lunch, he spent the rest of the afternoon in the alpha’s lap while they all recorded and did interviews (yeah, Louis stayed under the alpha’s arm for that; the interviewers had been warned not to ask questions about the claim, but the pictures were everything but an official confirmation that Louis was becoming pack) before taking the stage for their Edmonton concert. The fans, as per usual, were incredible and the set list went as planned.

Until, as they reached their second to last encore, Louis felt a twist to his gut. He shuddered and kept singing, fingers tapping like they couldn’t decide on where he needed scratching, but he definitely needed to and not in that punishment way or when his collarbone had before Zayn fixed it, but in an actual itch, all over his body.

Was it just him or were the stage lights getting particularly hot? He’d have to ask Rick if something happened. Maybe a cover slipped off or there was a power surge?

His stomach—no, something lower wrenched so hard his knees shook and he had to grab them to steady himself.

What the hell was happening to him?!

He could smell every alpha in the building, and the sudden awareness overwhelmed him.

Concerned, Niall found his way over and put a hand on his shoulder and Louis damn near came at the skin to skin contact, exploding with a sudden sweat, belly tightening, ass like a fountain of slick. Wide-eyed, the Irishman realized that Louis’ body wasn’t prepping for his first alpha rut.

He was prepping for his first heat.

Chapter Text

The older omega held tight to Niall, a hint of fear behind the lust in his eyes. His senses heightened, the scents of all the people around him electrified his skin and he shuddered at his own need, then thanked the heavens that he was wearing black denim because the slick had already started to drip to his thighs!

A first mature heat wasn’t meant to blindside an omega. After presenting they were supposed to have mini-heats, to ease into that first mature one, so they could learn all the signs slowly and see it coming and be safe at home or somewhere contained when it happened. Since Niall’s first mature heat (spent with Liam at a hotel near the X Factor House), he burned at the same time every September (a week after his birthday) and March (the third week) like clockwork. But, Louis had been on suppressants his entire omega life and the pack had been so focused on Zayn’s rut that wouldn’t be coming now—their omega’s heat made it redundant. He'd knot the three, maybe four times, he'd need to satisfy his rut and then still have more heat to go!

Shoving his guitar behind him, Niall dragged Louis back stage where he threw down his headset and Louis’ microphone and yelled to the closest stagehands, “Rick! Get me Paul now!” Keeping a tight hold of Louis, he said softly—well, loudly, given their proximity to the stage, “It’s gonna be ok, I promise, lovey. Paul! We gotta go—end the set after this song, get the pyro started! Alberto, stop right there! Keep the other alphas back! Paddy and Basil, get us to the hotel. Let’s go!”

Niall didn’t bother taking off his guitar or their stage clothes, just yanked him through the halls towards the cars. They couldn’t afford to stop as the number of alphas in their crew popped into his head. Niall trusted them any other time, just not when Louis smelt so amazing.

“Slow down, shouldn’t we wait for—“ Paddy was sure the alphas would be right behind them, but he could still hear them singing on stage.

“Do you remember what happened when I went into heat before that stage appearance? Haz damn near punched you. Pretty sure he did punch Bas, now come on. Get us to the hotel. Let us get up to the room then get the alphas in. Otherwise they’ll end up fucking in the elevator like me and Zayn did.”

Niall had to stay levelheaded because the alphas were going to lose their shit once they realized what was going on. He was already upset that he of all people didn’t see this coming. Sure the doctors said it would take months for Louis’ hormones to normalize, but Niall had confused all the signs: the excessive crying, the clinging, the extra pouting and insatiable hunger. At least no one had to worry about Louis dropping for a few days; heats brought omegas to a primal mind space, nullifying his inhibitions.

Coherent thoughts started to disappear from Louis’ mind, leaving him with a burning demand to be filled and bred and have something, someone in him right now. Louis mouthed at Niall’s neck, feet stumbling as he couldn’t focus on anything but the Irishman’s hot skin and the salty taste of his sweat and Niall was a guy, Niall had a dick, Niall could be inside him, right?! “Ni…”

“I know. Good god, you smell delicious, my Louis, mine,” Niall pressed him to the van and kissed him hard; Louis rode his thigh with a whine.

“Hey, into the van right now, the both of you,” Paddy all but threw them in. “Alphas will take the alphas, Betas will take the omegas. Let’s go.”

“Ni…” Louis couldn’t form a full sentence to save his life, not with this fever coursing through his body, his skin ringing with it. “Ni, I…”

“Hush, you. I’m here,” Niall grinded into him, thighs laced together, denim sweaty from the stage, bodies driven by the radiating heat.

“I…” Louis arched into the other omega and came in his pants with the most delightful sounds. The older omega didn’t even care to be embarrassed, just kept grinding desperately against Niall, whimpering. He could feel how wet his pants were, soaked in front now and at the back where the slick dripped out of him.

With hearts and stars and all the fucking lucky charms in his eyes, Niall looked at his omega with a new kind of pounding in his chest, one that he knew couldn’t ever lose and be whole again. “Oh, good god, Louis, I hope I’m this beautiful during my heat,” Niall attacked his mouth.

“You are…Ni, smell so good…sunshine…sunshine…” he loved Niall, he did and the edge that had dug into him wasn’t so bad now, but this ache was just getting worse.

“I know, baby. You need the alphas. I’m just gonna get you ready for them,” Niall’s hands lifted the sweaty shirt and undid Louis’s audio-pack strap; the older omega shuddered at the contact when knuckles brushed his belly, and had Niall mention the noises Louis was making?!

“Pants stay on, Niall Horan!” Basil yelled from the driver’s seat; he knew the omegas didn’t notice, but he kicked the driver out, intent on having himself and Paddy take them both themselves.

“Then get us to the hotel faster!” the omega’s order could have passed for an alpha’s.

***

“Thank you for being with us tonight, we’ve been part of One Direction!” Harry waved as he Zayn and Liam took a bow.

“What the hell is going on? Where are Louis and Niall!?” Liam ran off stage after their second to last song became their last one—finished only by the three alphas.

“What happened? Are they—oh god,” Zayn could smell it lingering.

“Just take the in ears off, boys. We gotta go,” Alberto hurried them.

“What is going on? Where are the omegas?!” Harry roared.

“Louis went into heat,” the pre-rut alpha's senses caught it first and he took off down the hall.

The alphas growled and ran for the second SUV. Their omega needed them right this instant; they knew how quickly a heat could intensify.

“Was he ok? How far into it was he?” Liam couldn’t open his mouth without roaring so the question had to force itself through grit teeth.

“Not too far,” Alberto’s response was well measured and noncommittal—as an alpha, he knew the response had to be. “Niall got him into the van with the betas before I could tell anything.”

“Good boy…” Zayn bounced his knee anxiously, breathing deeply to ignore the deep pit of need building in his stomach.

“Louis’s first heat,” Harry growled, claws digging into the seat.

“Boys,” Alberto said carefully. “I say this because I love you. Do not mate that boy tonight.” Before the alphas could pounce, he continued quickly, “If that is your intention, he deserves what you did for Niall.”

Each time there were multiple discussions and planned out markings and certainty. Niall got a separate moment with all three alphas, all three special and memorable in their own ways. If they marked Louis now, the heat would keep the memory hazy and he’d only remember it through the impressions left behind.

None of them would admit to it, but Alberto had a point.

No more was said as they got to the hotel. There was a small group of fans, but they didn’t stop. They couldn’t, not knowing that their omega was in need. They stomped into the elevator then all but ran down the hall. They didn’t need Paddy and Basil to direct them, not with the sweet smell of heat guiding them, intensifying as they got closer to the desperate moans.

“Sunshine, please…”

“No more coming until the alphas are here,” their mate whispered to their intended. “It’s going to be ok, Lou, I promise.”

“Sunshine, hurts…” the omega keened, then cried actual tears, twisting and sobbing, “Was...bad? Was I bad? I—did I, wrong,” he could hardly complete his sentences but his body could feel the alphas close in on him.

Niall stroked his side with his free hand, “No, baby, you weren’t bad, why would you think that?”

“They’re here, but not…” he could smell the shisha and the ocean and the bergamot like having hot earl grey and a hookah at a beachside bonfire and for the love of god why weren’t they inside him, what had he done wrong?!

“What the hell are you waiting for!?” Niall yelled at the door.

Zayn yanked off his shirt as he stormed through the suite; the three of them groaned at the sight of their beautiful omegas in a nude tangle on the bed, the blonde with three fingers buried in Louis.

“Off, Niall,” the oldest alpha dropped the rest of his clothes and leapt onto the bed.

“Please, Zayn,” Louis begged, kissing and touching desperately as the fire in him raged deeper. He was so close, they were so close! “Please, need you, please, I’ll be a good, I swear, I just—“

Zayn took a deep breath of him and roared, squeezing handfuls of that gorgeous ass until Louis twisted him onto his back. “You are a good boy, love, you are. Such a good boy. Did Nialler get you ready for me?”

“Yes, yes, ready please, I…” Louis straddled him, fingers digging into his shoulders as he mouthed, open and wet, at the younger man’s neck.

“Let me see,” he pressed two fingers between his cheeks. “Good boy, Ni. Nice and ready for me. You ready, baby?”

“Need you…” he whined. Zayn wasted no more time in sinking the omega onto him.

Louis moaned, head falling back, eyes to the sky like he’d just seen the gates of heaven, hips flicking over the alpha’s. “Z, please…”

“I’m going to knot you, love, don’t worry, I will,” he groaned, watching the omega start to bounce on him. “Going to knot you and fill you with my pups.”

Louis came again, right then and there, nails dug into the snake and the tiger tattoos.

“Uh-uh,” Zayn growled, grabbing Louis around the middle. “Don’t you dare stop,” he lifted Louis up just enough that he could fuck him, lifting his own hips and fucking upwards into him.

Meanwhile, Liam and Harry watched wantonly, grasping the door frames so hard they’d break. The scent of heat, the sounds of their omega, the sweat soaking the room had them starving, and the only thing that could satisfy them was an omega. Snatching their blonde, they dragged him to the sofa and pinned him down.

“Such a good boy,” Liam was practically gnawing on him as he kissed his neck.

“Looking out for your omega, for our omega like a good boy,” Harry licked the taste of Louis right off the blonde.

“You must be wet, too, love, aren’t you?” Liam pressed two fingers inside him.

“Is he?”

The Alpha plunged them in and out and smiled like a wolf about to devour his prey. “Soaked,” his low growl trembled Niall’s stomach. So this is what they were like when heat wasn’t giving him tunnel vision. Their pupils blocked any brown in their wide, laser-focused eyes, smiling almost maniacally, chests heaving like they were trying to inhale all of that sweet scent of Louis in heat, and god, when did they get naked?

“Stop, red, red!” Niall gulped when Liam tried to enter him. “Don’t, save it for Louis. This is…he needs you.”

Calling red was like a bucket of cold water to them both, even in the haze of their older omega’s heat and both took their hands away from the blond. “You’re both our omegas, babe.”

Niall shook his head, trying to find some mental stability; he had to. They weren’t prepared for this at all. “You, I, it’s so intense. It’s more intense than mine have ever been. You have to feel that.”

With a moment of clarity, Liam had to admit that was true. “Are you all right?”

“Mmmm,” Niall nodded. “Can I…I want Louis while I can.”

Their omegas together? “Why did we even take you away?” and just like that, Harry's mind succumbed to their omega’s heat.

On his knees, mouth open for moans he couldn’t even get out, Louis gripped the lithe hips, completely focused on the oldest alpha fucking him until Niall leaned him back; changing the angle of Zayn's cock slicing into him made the older omega come yet again, shuddering into pieces, his body only strung together by heat.

“Hi beautiful,” the blonde kissed him.

Louis’s hands clamped down on Niall’s arms around him, knuckles going as white as the pale Irishman. His body was on autopilot, moving before his mind could catch up. Speaking of his mind, he actually had no idea where he’d put the rest of it, because the primal need to be bred had over taken him. He could no longer think beyond knot me, knot me, knot me, let alone speak, though with the blonde’s lips on his, he didn’t need to.

“Li,” Zayn grunted, teeth bared desperately while part of him hung on to a thread of control. He had to bite. He had to bite.

The Alpha lifted Zayn's head into his lap and offered his alpha his arm. Sinking his teeth into flesh—not an omega but still someone he loved—Zayn slammed Louis’s hips against his own and let his knot snap them together.

Relief like Louis had never known washed over him and he gasped like he could finally breathe. “Ni…all…”

The blonde let Louis rest against him; this position was awkward for a knotting and Louis needed to relax while he could, “I’m surprised you know my name,” he said between kisses to Louis’ face.

“Sun…shine…” even in the throes of heat, his mind entirely gone in place of all the carnality, Louis knew his Nialler.

“I love you,” the Irishman whispered. “Love you so much, Lou.”

Temperate hands brushed soothingly across Louis’ feverish skin, fingers pressing just a bit harder than the palms, ridges of Niall’s fingerprints skimming the sweat on his torso away, while inside him Zayn’s knot pulsed, the ridges and veins on his cock twitching. Louis could feel it all in dizzying detail; the older omega made a confused noise that Niall took as, “I love you, too, but what the hell?”

Niall tried to imagine what it was like, his body entirely surprised and confused by the novelty of heat and the natural way he was responding without having to think about it. “It’s ok, lovey. It’s normal. You can feel everything, can’t you? The way Z fits inside you, every single bit of him.”

Louis nodded and brought Zayn's lips to his; Z was perfect inside him.

Carefully, Zayn and Niall eased Louis onto his back, hoping to get some rest. But twenty minutes later, when the oldest alpha’s knot started to slip out of him, another tidal wave of heat overcame the older omega and he writhed on the mattress, unintelligible pleas spilling from his lips between kisses to the nearest person—still Niall.

The pack’s collective worry flared. Omegas were supposed to have time to rest between knottings, so their bodies could recuperate even just a little bit. Then again, omegas weren’t supposed to have their first mature heat continuously deferred by suppressants.

“I’m here, babe,” Harry eased himself into Louis, slow and gentle, trying to take the hysteria down a bit.

Louis couldn’t stop touching Harry, thighs spreading, body welcoming the thick length with more slick and an explosion of pheromones that drove the three of them deeper into the insanity of heat. He could count the sweat trails over the alpha’s tattoos, feel each drop of sweat as it fell on him. He could see every muscle moving, every breath the alpha took, the focus in his dark eyes. But, Louis couldn’t tell you his alpha’s name. Just that this was his alpha. Wait. Baby alpha. But, alpha.

When the omega’s hand found another dominant—another one of his dominants, he clung, dragging the Alpha into a messy, open-mouthed kiss. This one wasn’t just his alpha. This was his Alpha and the omega in him could feel every one of his taste buds flicking against his own and he could even taste the Powerade the Alpha had been drinking earlier.

Harry pounded into him, the slick wet heat calling to him and he felt exactly what Zayn did. A carnal need to own this omega. His omega.

Thankfully, he’s seen Zayn do it, so Harry clamped down on Liam’s shoulder. Driving deeper into their omega, the sounds of slick and come and slapping wet skin filled the heat soaked room. Sense heightened, Harry felt the individual muscles spread around his head and encase the rest of his shaft with every stroke in and out.

“Mine,” he murmured into Liam’s deltoid, deepening the bite.

“Mine,” Niall growled, coming across Louis’ chest with some help from Zayn's three fingers pumping in and out of him.

Louis came with his sunshine, just droplets now. Moaning, he felt the tiny bumps of his Alpha’s tongue, wet warmth lapping at the hot streaks of his sunshine’s white as another of his alphas pumped into him and yet another’s mouth descended onto his. Later—much later actually—his mind would revisit this one moment in particular and know that his anxiety would have overwhelmed him. But the heat cleared all that and he just moaned and went with it, arching into all the hands and tongues and kisses and Louis shot—well would have shot again.

As the omega clenched around him, Harry felt his knot swell, his load filling Louis. The alpha bit down harder on Liam’s shoulder, teeth howling with the need to bite and claim and own.

The pack took a collective breath, tension high as they wondered whether the desperation would return when Harry's knot softened. For now, Niall just ignored the pool of sweat and laid down next to Louis, softly stroking his belly.

Whimpers broke the content purring when Harry moved, trying to rest on his haunches.

“Shhh, shhh, hush you,” Niall dragged his fingers through the sweat.

Louis nuzzled at the blonde face next to his, his mind in it's final descent into heat had only two things on it:Sunshine. Alphas. Sunshine. Alphas.

“Ok, Ni?” Liam fought through the pheromones and asked gently.

“Mmmm,” he rested against his private hearth, enjoying his softness while he could. Niall could feel his own body getting warmer and knew he’d have to go. Intense as his heat was, Louis needed all three alphas.

Like he could see his omega’s mind turning, Liam checked the time. Given the intensity of Louis’ heat, he had ten minutes at most before Harry untied. Taking a quick cold shower—which was essentially just him dousing himself with ice cold water, Liam hurriedly grabbed a pair of trackies from his bag in the closet and went right out to the hall.

“Li?” Paul asked. “I’ve already talked to Grace—“

“Niall has to leave the room before he goes into sympathy heat,” it took an extraordinary effort for Liam to walk down to the beta, each step pulling away from the heat soaked room like it was trapped in thick mud. But his other omega needed him. Sympathy heats were unpredictable and Niall having one would throw off the arrival of his actual heat, which might throw Liam’s next rut into question and the rest of the tour was planned out meticulously. “You or one of the betas stay at his door at all times. The alphas on your team are only near him outside the hotel. Clear this floor—“

“It’s already cleared. The crew will take off straight away, and the hotel has agreed to let us have this hall for the week.”

Grabbing the wall like it was keeping a rubber band from snapping him back to Louis, “I don’t want any of the alphas up here though, understand?”

“Got it,” the beta nodded.

“Keep Niall safe. Text us his room number. Staying in that one should be far enough away, I think,” he pointed.

“Ok, would you please, just go back to Louis before you give yourself an aneurysm?”

Liam couldn’t think anymore and sprinted back to his burning omega in heat. Crawling onto his omega not in heat, he whispered, “Whenever you’re ready, Paul’s going to have a room ready for you.” He kissed at the temperate skin, letting it cool him down. “You stay here, don’t do anything stupid, don’t go running off.”

“Yes, Alpha,” Niall wanted so badly to spread his legs and let Liam inside him, but the torrents of pheromones radiating from his omega kept him sane. Louis’ needs had to come first—literally, Louis needed to come and come and come and it was more important than Niall’s wants.

As soon as baby alpha's knot started to contract, sleepy Louis started to sob with need and Liam almost shoved Harry off the bed. Turning Louis to his knees, he slid inside him, keeping all his alphas’ come in the omega as he whispered dirty things as gently as he could to the burning omega.

“Mine, Louis. All mine. You’re my omega and you’re going to look so beautiful carrying my pups. Look at you taking my cock. You’re perfect, you’re so perfect, babe. So wonderful and perfect and brave, you were so brave keeping yourself secret to protect us,” Liam pumped inside him, slick and cum churning around his girth. “You were always a good omega that way, taking care of us before yourself, but it’s our turn, angel, it’s our turn to keep you safe, god you feel amazing, angel, you’re amazing, you have no idea how much I want to bond you right now…”

Driven by instinct, Louis arched his neck in offering. His Alpha could do whatever he wanted.

With both his alphas passed out, Liam had to settle for digging his hands into Louis’ muscles, gripping him too tight in an attempt to keep himself from biting. Louis deserved more from their bonding moment than a loss of control. Louis deserved more. Louis deserved more. Louis deserved more.

Oversensitivity intertwined with Louis’ overheating body, his skin blazing like he was wearing a parka in the desert. Only alphas could quench this thirst though and he clung to the one mounting him, wanting to drink him until he couldn’t use his mouth for anything else. Liam fucked incoherent cries from the omega’s mouth, harder and harder Louis’ belly bulged for it until Liam’s knot finally popped, the Alpha’s fingers leaving bruises on Louis’ hips, teeth snapping against themselves.

Louis’ fingers sought out Niall’s and squeezed; the blonde prayed that he was equally as devoted to Louis as his omega was to him.

“Love you, beautiful. I love you so much,” Niall kissed the sweat off his perfect jaw and his sharp cheekbones and his adorable nose and that brave, brave scar across his temple.

Niall lasted the night watching and partaking in Louis’ first heat and catching twenty minute naps here and there while his omega was tied to one of their alphas. Until, finally with the morning sun, a flash of something more intense than desire rushed through Niall’s body and he knew he’d pushed it too far.

Peeling himself away from Harry kissing his neck and Zayn rubbing his belly, wondering why the omega wasn’t letting him put a pup in there, he explained while he could, “I gotta go, I gotta go,” hoping they’d understand him.

“Get dressed and go, Niall,” Liam ordered.

The omega started moving the moment the Alpha’s voice finished speaking. “Lou, babe, I have to go. I can’t be here anymore, ok?” he kissed the moaning brunette, who tried to keep him right there against him, whining when Niall pulled away. “I have to go, but I love you. I love you so much.”

But he did manage one thing first: tugging Louis’ arms flat, he sent the older omega into another orgasm because, as his face hit the bed, Liam’s cock hit his prostate. Louis’ cry was delicious and it drove the Alpha crazy, slamming harder into the burning omega until his knot tied them together.

Walking away wasn’t easy, despite the Alpha’s command. His mind and body wanted to be with his pack. HIS omega. His Louis. But Louis needed him to walk away. His pack needed him to. Louis needed the alphas to himself and not worrying about whether Niall would have an extra heat.

Quickly getting dressed, he slammed the door shut behind him and rested against it.

“C’mon Niall,” a voice called. Unaffected by the omega’s scent bombing the hall, the beta approached.

The Irishman’s nose found the draft of air conditioning and he took a deep breath of the freshly filtered air. “Where are we going today, Mark?” he smiled.

Chapter Text

After leaving Louis in heat, Niall had done his best to distract himself. He exercised with Mark all morning and then went to a movie surrounded by all four of their security alphas; he particularly enjoyed Dahlia’s company—she nearly pulled a knife on an alpha who tried to hit on him in the snack food line. But, Paddy and Dale kept him the busiest—the three of them spent the entire afternoon at a nearby golf complex, making good use of the driving range before they teed off.

But after returning to the hotel that evening, he dined at the in-house restaurant with Grace, something he never would have wanted to do with their last team, even before finding out how terrible they’d been to his Louis. But, she was sweet and so completely on their side. He trusted her with more than just their careers.

“So,” Grace asked, “What would you like to do about recording?” They were still behind schedule on the new album, they had been since the engagement and then the lift incident and Louis’ hospitalization, so she had to ask. “We could fly you—“

“Out of the question,” the omega cut the alpha off. “I’m not leaving my pack.”

“Fair enough,” she nodded in understanding and Niall believed that the alpha wouldn’t look down that road again. “How would you feel about Julian and John flying back and setting up shop in another room?”

“Just John,” Niall replied; he had no desire for his ultra-sensitive pack to smell another alpha on him the moment they came out of a heat.

“Of course, of course,” Grace nodded. She understood the sensitivity surrounding a heat. In fact, her omega was due to burn in a couple weeks. “So, tomorrow we’ll work on getting John back here, we’ll set him up in the room next to Paul’s. You record what you can, though. We don’t want you to strain yourself.”

“Thanks Grace,” Niall moved his hands as the waiter returned with a delicious smelling plate of food.

Something suddenly clicked in the blonde’s mind. Food! He and his pack hadn’t prepared for this at all. Yes, they had plans to work done during Zayn’s rut, but more to the point, only the oldest alpha was physically ready for this! He’d gotten extra sleep and eaten more than usual, but Liam and Harry hadn’t!

“Niall, hon, what is it?” the lady alpha worried.

So many words filled his mouth and tried to cross his lips at the same time, “they, we, we didn’t, Harry and Liam—“

“Slowly,” Grace didn’t command him, but her stern tone helped Niall focus.

“I need to get food up to the pack, Zayn was ready for a rut, but Liam and Harry weren’t. Can I ask the waiter or maybe I’ll go to the front desk, or no, I’ll go—“

“Ok, ok,” Grace motioned the waiter over, asking to see the head chef. He came out of the kitchen—another lady alpha she noticed.

The chef sat down with them and intently listened to Niall’s requests, his alphas’ likes and dislikes, and the things they usually ate before and during his own heats, Louis' favorite things to snack on before she suggested a few high-energy snacks she could ready, as all three of them knew the alphas wouldn’t sit down for a meal in the throes of a heat.

By the time he returned to his hotel floor with Paul and Preston, Dale and Paddy had the cart at the end of the hall, chock full of snacks, juice and water.

Niall rolled it down the rest of the way—the entire security team took Liam’s request to stay as far away as possible very seriously. But, as the Irishman drew closer, the slick inside him started to drip and the want rolled down his spine. The marvelous smell of Louis permeated down the hall and had Niall aching. Not with jealousy, but with want, which had honestly surprised him. Given his grapple with the green-eyed monster just a couple weeks ago, the Irishman had thought he’d have to go another round with it. But, in his mind, Louis didn’t have all three of his alphas; all three of his alphas had his Louis!

He tried to stymie it before the want intensified into a need and the day away from his pack awarded him that ability. He used his keycard and quietly brought the cart in; Harry and Zayn growled until they caught the sweet scent of their omega and, naked and predatory, stalked towards him.

“Nope, nope, nope!” Niall backed up. The smell of them together intoxicated him, but he had to be the strong one. “Red!” he held up a hand; the simple force of that word magicked the animalistic desire right out of his alphas.

“Are you all right?” Harry didn’t move.

“Yup,” Niall heard Louis’s high-pitched cry from the next room and his own strength evaporated. Splitting the pair of naked alphas, the omega scurried to the mouth of the bedroom, his jaw dropping.

Louis rode their Alpha, hips thrashing desperately, mouth open for the moans. Exertion reddened his skin, his body a mesmerizing combination of sweat and tan and ink. So beautiful. Liam grasped his waist, the Alpha completely enthralled by the burning omega bouncing on his cock.

The omega caught sight of the blonde before the Alpha, completely captivated, did. “Sun…shine…” he moaned, a trembling hand extending for him.

Niall stepped away from the doorframe in time to dodge the ravenous alphas descending upon him; their heat trance returned full force.

“Lovey lou. My beautiful lovey Lou,” Niall knelt on the bed, pressed to the omega, the insatiable fixation drawing him close to the cheeks spreading around their Alpha’s pulsing erection about to knot. The moment their lips met, Liam popped, roaring as he arched.

Niall swallowed Louis’ orgasmic cry. Though the omega’s entire body shook, his dick could only twitch and dribble in response. “Sun…shine…Alpha…”

“Yeah, baby. Our Alpha,” Niall felt hands on him, skimming beneath his clothes and undoing his pants and caressing his calf and cupping his cheeks, and something inside him, twisting his insides with absolute need. “No, no, no,” he pulled himself away. Louis needed them. He did not.

“Sun…shine…” Louis pouted, though as long as he kept his alphas, he’d be all right. The omega in front of him was pretty and nice to look at and his heart beat faster at the sight of the blonde, but instinctually his body in this state didn’t need sunshine to stay—wanted him to, of course.

“I love you, Lou,” Niall nipped at his lip and separated himself. “Love you, guys,” he reluctantly pulled himself away and forced each foot in front of the other until he got to his room. He stripped out of his heat smelling clothes and threw them into the closet before sinking into the cold sheets of his bed.

Just as he got comfortable in the big bed he had all to himself, the click of his door and the scrape of it against the carpet startled him.

“Ni?” Harry’s voice reached him before he could worry about a potential intruder.

“What are you doing here?” The scent of Harry’s coconut shampoo drifted in with the AC. “Haz?” freshly showered, the alpha trudged in and flopped down on the bed tiredly. Niall curled around him. “What are you doing here?”

“Wanted to check on you. Don’t want you sleeping ‘lone.”

“But Louis—“

Harry twitched at the mention of him; the alpha's instincts wanted with the burning omega or at least in the overflow of hormones and scent, but his bond kept him with Niall, where, in his own mind, he was also needed. “He is passed out between two alphas who will tend to him until morning, now shhh. Sleep. Please.”

“I’m fine, Haz, I—“

“You haven’t spent a night alone since the X Factor, and you won’t be starting now.”

Niall sighed, “But…is he…is it better? Has…has he stopped at all?”

“Not yet,” Harry was too tired to worry. When the alphas decided on who would leave, Liam flat out told them he couldn’t leave Louis, and not only because he was knotted inside him. As Alpha, as the one who made the claim for them all, he wasn't leaving his omega in heat. He wasn't. And, Zayn wouldn't even entertain the idea of Harry staying because of all the extra sleep the oldest alpha had gotten in preparation for the rut he wouldn’t be having now—a heat negated the need for a rut; Liam always skipped one for Niall’s March heat, and Zayn didn’t have one in September when Niall's second one hit. “Still needs us back to back.”

“I’m going to call Dr. Black,” the omega decided. That wasn’t healthy, it couldn’t be. No. Omegas were supposed to have time to relax and rest.

“Best do, yeah.”

Seeing that his alpha needed sleep, Niall dropped the conversation. “I slept alone when I was mad at you lot.”

“Stubborn,” Harry mumbled as his omega wrapped around him like a big spoon and tucked them both under a warm blanket together.

The next day, Harry disappeared early, sleeping restlessly all night, leaving Niall with a kiss goodbye and sprinting back to the older omega stark naked; at the end of the hall, Paul left Paddy to make sure those security tapes got erased.

Niall sank into the sheets Harry vacated, calling down for breakfast and another round of food for his pack with a sigh. He, of course, wasn't upset at Louis. No, he was happy that the older omega had gotten his first heat! This, hopefully, meant that the suppressants' worst effects were all minor manageable.

But he was bored already!

And, the doctors had inferred that it would be several months before Louis’ first heat, even suggested he may not have one!! At the earliest, the pack had thought they'd have until after the tour to deal with the prospect of their new omega's heat. What did two omega packs and triads do during heats? Obviously his alphas had each other when one was in a rut, but he’d have to ask Dr. Black. He made a note to ring the good doctor once he was done talking with the chef.

They were always prepared for ruts and heats, even when they worried one might come early. But how did he, as an omega, handle for another omega’s heat? Obviously, he couldn’t really handle it—speaking of which, how did Louis?

But um…last October, with Selena I um...well...I did have slick, but she didn't notice, because...well, she was in heat.

Niall stopped himself immediately. No. Actually, vehemently no. He didn’t want to think about Louis helping Selena through a heat. Stupid Selena, he pouted.

This time around, he couldn’t leave his pack because he was the only one who could get them sustenance for the next couple days, and they’d have a collective heart attack if he was just suddenly gone! They’d just have to figure out what to do next time. Niall did the math—if Louis became regular and his heats were six months apart like Niall’s, then he’d have one between Zayn’s birthday and Harry’s. So, maybe—if they had time to prepare—Niall would go visit his mum and dads. Louis would have all three alphas and they would all know Niall was safe and sound in Ireland. And Louis could spend time with his family during Niall’s in September. Yeah. Mark would keep him perfectly safe.

Unless there was a way to keep them together…Niall glanced down at his growing erection and indulged in the mental image of Louis with Liam...and under Harry...and on Zayn...

The omega licked his lips as the Booty backed into his mind. He could feel the supple flesh beneath his palms, warm with the heat starting to spark through Louis. And, the squeeze of it between his fingers, and the sweet slick puddling between his cheeks.

Niall gripped his cock; he generally didn't get off this way much anymore. Hadn't since he'd first felt his own fingers against his rim, slick soaking them, and came so hard without even touching himself. Not to mention, with three alphas there was little reason to masturbate. But after feeling the Booty gripping his fingers, wet and hot and perfect, he couldn't help but think about how it would feel to bury himself inside his omega.

The blonde stroked himself faster, spitting into his palm. Illicit. He was an omega, he was the bottom. But Louis... Louis had fucked him. Louis was an omega.

Niall had never topped before. But, he certainly wanted to try, especially with his lovey Lou and that perfect Booty bouncing against his hips.

He arched off the bed, coming across his pale skin.

***

“Dr. Black,” Niall asked as they teed off at the 10th hole with Paddy and Dale. The doctor had arrived the morning of the fourth day into Louis’ heat. “I was wondering…well… I wanted to know if-”

“Is there’s anything I can do to keep you from having a sympathy heat?”

“Is that possible?”

“Yes and no. What doctors try to do for two-omega triads and packs is use birth control hormones to offset you—a little different than your pre-rut boosters, but it’s not guaranteed to work.”

“Was it the suppressants that kept him from having it when he helped Selena through heat?”

“Yes, and, little known fact, that’s why suppressants were first developed. For packs and triads with multiple omegas, to keep them together during heats. Given the abuse though, most major pharmaceuticals stopped heavy production. The fact that he’d been on them so long before that contributed as well. Selena’s heat probably helped him more than he realizes though. Yours, too.”

“What do you mean?”

“Your hormone levels have always been a bit higher than usual. Maybe because of his low hormones, maybe your body always recognized he was an omega, I don’t know for sure,” the doctor explained as they walked down the fairway. “That’s why you went right to the verge of sympathy heat though. His weren’t. From the hospital blood samples, we could tell that his hormones were dangerously low. But, being around her, and being around you, had him exposed to them so giving him birth control wasn’t an issue. And, if he hadn’t been around you, he might not have been able to bounce back, especially so quickly. His body is very receptive. To you, I mean.”

“I was about to say that you’re being very forward about Louis. And he’s not that kind of omega,” Niall chuckled through his blush; his Louis was receptive to him. His Louis was his for a reason.

“And you’re receptive to him, apparently,” Dr. Black smiled. “Have you checked on them today?”

“I will later,” Niall smiled when he recalled the second full day of Louis’ heat and the first afternoon that he traded out the carts.

Harry and Louis tangled against a wall, the omega’s wrists pinned to the wallpaper scraping his shoulders, baby alpha’s cute ass clenching with every thrust into the burning brunette while the Alpha lazily stroked his cock, watching from a chair nearby and Zayn doing the same on the bed.

And the third day…

The dresser knocking against the wall caught Niall’s attention. The ravenous Alpha had Louis atop the wood, fucking him so hard the wooden legs started to crack while the omega's moaning sang through the sweat soaked air.

“Zayn said it was a bit better last night and they got him to eat a bit. I’ll check with Harry tonight. Or Liam, but Li probably won’t leave Louis,” he snapped out of it; the only wood he needed out here was the club in his hand, thanks, “That his heat is slowing down. They didn’t have to be tied to him for Louis to be…still,” and once Liam got him back onto the bed, Niall got to lie with the sleeping omega for a bit, until the heat in the air got to him again.

“Good, good. But, compare his heat to yours and tell me what has you worried.”

“It was…more intense. I mean this was the first time I’ve been that close to another omega in heat. But, like…there was no time between. When I burn, I’m good for like, an hour, maybe two between—” he flushed.

“Niall, I’m your doctor. After that time you were constipated for a week and needed a suppository, I think we can talk about anything.”

The Irishman groaned in embarrassment, the red on his cheeks deepening when the bodyguards nearby couldn't hide their fond snickers. “Well, anyway. At first there was no time in between. And we were taught in school that we needed to rest as much as our bodies would let us, but Louis’ body wouldn’t let him. I mean, Lou had to go from one alpha to the other to the other and back again for at least a couple days! I think it’s slowed down, but still.”

“Hopefully the duration will at least be normal and you’ll get your alphas back soon.”

“Our alphas,” Niall grumbled. He wasn’t going through that again, no way. They were his and Louis’ alphas, not just his.

“Yours and Louis’ alphas, is what I meant,” Dr. Black chuckled. “And when you’re all ready, you just bring Louis down to me, and I’ll take more blood samples again, give him a once over and let you go on your merry way.”

“Will do. How were his last samples and stuff?”

“They’re looking good. And overall, they’re not bad, per se. His kidneys are functioning at an almost normal rate even with the focal glomerulosclerosis–or the scarring.”

“And his liver?”

“Same.

"Weren't you checking his hormone levels?"

"Yes, and they were better than the ones from the hospital, but not close to normal. His heat so soon is surprising. And the blood samples are just to make sure he's leveled out, so to speak.”

“Good,” Niall wanted his lovey Lou healthy.

After lunch with the doctor, and Lou because she just happened to be in the lobby at the time, Niall skipped down the hall with the new cart of goodies. He quickly switched it out for the new one and slipped into the next room. Zayn had Louis against the window, the omega’s hands squeaking down the glass, his hips in the alpha’s grip, the sounds of their skin slapping together filling the quiet of the room. Their knees caved as they tied together, Zayn’s teeth clacking in frustration.

Louis deserved more. Louis deserved more. Louis deserved more. The chant rang through their bonds, begging each other for strength as the craving to own this omega escalated.

“Hey, lovey Lou,” Niall wished this window could open, but he demanded at least fifteen minutes from himself.

“Sunshine…” Louis muttered. The heat didn’t care that he was tired, he just wasn’t pregnant yet, nothing else mattered but being knotted again and again until he was. And sunshine. Sunshine mattered. But mostly the knots. “Sunshine.”

“Drink this, lovey,” Niall offered him a Powerade. “Now eat this,” he’d found some sort of energy gel packet while he was shopping yesterday and hoped it’d help keep his pack fit. “And this,” he did the same with a granola bar and followed it up with the rest of the drink before he laid down on the carpet with them, petting Louis softly. Lust dilated the older omega’s eyes, nearly blocking out the bluey green irises. Sweat glittered on his skin like diamonds in the afternoon sun. And damn Niall’s stupid hormones. Fuck it, he was so staying right here with his Louis.

“Ni,” not a command, but Liam’s hoarse voice still held so much authority.

“Five more minutes,” Niall kissed Louis with a gentleness foreign to the intensity of his heat so far. “Just five more minutes,” he beamed when his Lou sleepily smiled at him.

The next day, the Irishman strolled down the hall after another morning round of golf with the doctor to see the cart he’d left yesterday sitting outside the door. Hurrying down the hall, he knocked and walked in. The desperate edge in the air had dissipated. Louis’ first heat had broken.

“Hey, baby,” Liam yawned, welcoming the younger omega into his lap and offering him a strawberry. As much as he’d loved being by Louis’ side, he’d missed Niall more than words could say.

“How’s he doing?” Niall wiggled in his lap so he could look through the door to the bedroom. “When’d it end?”

“He’s out. Last night.”

“And Z and Haz?” the omega folded into him, pushing the dressing gown sleeves up and brushing his fingers over the bite marks along Liam’s arms. They were so deep and he was so tired that those bites, even with alpha healing, would probably take a couple days to heal.

“Z’s taking a shower, Haz is in bed with Louis.”

“Is the bed still standing?”

“Well. By bed, I meant mattress on the floor as the bed finally broke last night.”

“Five days to break the bed? You lot are getting rusty,” he teased and looked at the plethora of food—two omelets, pancakes, waffles, the breakfast wrap Niall had had the last two days already, full plates of eggs, (turkey) bacon, hash browns, and a basket of pastries—unfazed by the amount of it. His alphas had lived off snacks and Powerade for five days; they were starving!

“Hey, babe,” Zayn appeared, towel low on his waist. “What have you been up to?”

“Nothing much. But, I had flowers sent to Trish, and that gift we had at home delivered to her and gave her a call while they were celebrating her birthday.”

“Such a good omega,” the alpha pressed a kiss to the omega’s cheek; he made a mental note to call his mum, too.

“Other than that? Just playing golf. Exercising with Mark. Shopped some. Julian and I did some stuff for the new album; he’ll be in Winnipeg with John and Jay when we get there. I had the breakfast wrap, you should eat that next ‘cause it’s delicious.”

“And security…” both alphas raised an eyebrow.

“Stuck with me like a shadow,” the omega rolled his eyes earning a nip from his alpha.

“He asked for you when he could. Didn’t get to tell you that during it all,” Zayn motioned towards the bedroom as he leaned down and kissed his mate.

“He did?” Niall’s heart dropped.

“Talk to him when he wakes up, babe. We told him that you love him and we explained the situation. It’s just typical Louis. Worrying that you’re ok,” Liam nuzzled his neck.

After the two alphas fed their omega, they demolished the rest of the food on the cart Liam had ordered and he called down for a second order.

A whining groan filtered in from the next room. “I’ll go,” Niall kissed Liam and Zayn before scampering in. “Hey,” he crawled onto the mattress; he had to think of those homeless, starved pet commercials to keep the combined smell of sex, slick and cum from getting him hard.

“Hey,” the moment Louis’ sleepy eyes focused, they looked worried.

“You needed them all to yourself and that’s ok. It was your first heat,” Niall kissed his forehead; he could taste the sweat residue from he last few days and the boy's hair was matted with exertion.

“My ass hurts,” he pouted, too tired to worry too hard.

“If it didn’t, you did it wrong,” he pet Louis gently.

He worried just enough though, “Are you ok?”

“Yeah. Played some golf, recorded a bit, wrote a bit. Got a break from the four of you,” he said playfully. “I wasn’t in heat, love, and whenever I tried coming in here I felt a sympathy heat coming on.”

“Ok,” Louis sat up a little, only to be cuddled closer by Harry. “Oh!”

“Yeah, he’s not going to let you up until he’s awake,” Niall informed.

Louis just smiled. “Ok.”

“Hey, John played me those songs you wrote. I really like them. They’re fantastic.”

“They’re ok,” Louis scrunched his nose uncertainly.

Niall tipped his chin up. “They’re fantastic.”

“You’re biased.”

“The fact that I get to see you naked doesn’t change the fact that they’re great,” Niall grinned and slipped under the covers. He groaned when he saw the protrusion of Louis’s belly beneath Harry’s arm. “Still? Could the three of you have come in him any more?” he palmed it gently and Louis flinched. “Hurt?”

“A little. Like…really…”

“Bloated? But…” Louis didn’t really want to talk about what happened-or what would happen with all the come right now; if he did his cheeks would burst into flames.

“Yeah. Don’t worry, babe, I know,” he chuckled.

“That’s normal, Lou,” Harry kissed the back of Louis’s neck.

“And he’s up! I’m stealing Louis. The omegas need a shower,” Niall grinned.

“Wait, wha?” Harry sat up when the blonde pulled the brunette away. “I need a shower too!”

“That’s the fastest Haz has ever gotten up,” Zayn mused, checking his phone.

Liam chuckled and sipped his coffee. When the freshly showered trio arrived, the omegas wrapped in the hotel’s fluffy robes and Harry in nothing at all, Zayn pulled the post heat omega into his lap, “How was your first heat, Louis love?”

“Good,” Louis felt his cheeks heat up.

“I quite enjoy seeing you blush,” Zayn kissed him on each side of his nose.

“I’m sorry I messed up plans—”

“Stop that, right now,” Liam reached over for his hand. “You never, ever have to apologize for your own body. Besides, the last few days have been amazing. You understand?”

“I understand, Alpha,” Louis blushed again and Zayn growled lustfully at the sight. “If you get me hard again, Z, my dick is going to fall off.”

Zayn nipped at his neck. “Would never want that.”

Louis stayed happily tucked into the oldest alpha, eyeing the plates with surprise. “Did you order everything off the menu?” That being said, he was starving; he could eat it all.

“Pretty much,” Liam nodded. Harry was already inhaling the spinach and egg white omelet.

“This is the second round,” the alpha cut into the blueberry pancakes and fed a piece to Louis.

“Oh! Dr. Black is here. He said to bring Lou down whenever we’re ready.”

“Did you call him in to look at our omega? You’re such a good boy,” Liam pulled him onto his lap and kissed him.

“My omega,” Niall smirked against his lips.

“Your omega, my pack. I can deal with that.”

After a third round of breakfast, the pack brought their omega down to the doctor’s room for a quick check up.

“Hold on to Niall, Harry?” Dr. Black pushed the dressing gown sleeve up to his elbow and took another round of blood samples.

“Ok,” the alpha wrapped an arm around the suddenly wary blonde.

“I want to take a blood sample from him, too.”

“NO!” Niall wiggled out of Harry’s embrace, or gave it his best shot, at least.

“Why?” the Alpha asked, the subtle strength in his tone froze the doctor.

“It’s nothing…Sirius,” he smirked at Louis, who giggled sleepily and scooted into Niall’s lap to keep him still, “I just have a hunch that the two of them slightly balanced each other out hormonally. Louis’ lower levels and Niall’s higher ones. It’s why the birth control shots boosted him so quickly.”

“Were they still effective?” Harry asked.

“Bit too late for that,” Niall felt Louis’ belly; it had gone down, as they knew it would. But still, if his shots were off, there was little way Louis could avoid being pregnant. That was the entire point of a heat, especially in male omegas. “Gonna be so beautiful,” he pet his belly.

“Should be, yeah. I’ll double check, but I doubt you’re pregnant, Lou. Your body has been through a lot in the last couple months.”

An odd mixture of relief and disappointment filled the room.

Chapter Text

After meeting with Dr. Black they returned to their room to get ready to head to Winnipeg. Louis, still in just the fluffy dressing gown, searched for his clothes. But… a very key component in his outfit was missing.

“What’s wrong, babe?” Zayn felt the confusion coming from the omega much more clearly after knotting him so often the last few days. That connection would only solidify if they bonded; it would, otherwise, fade.

“I…I can’t find my pants. I'm sure I packed some in here…”

The alphas all felt the giggle of excitement coming from their younger omega.

“Niall,” they raised their eyebrows.

“Yes?” his face split into a grin.

“Where are Louis’ underpants?” Liam raised an eyebrow.

“I threw them away.”

“Why?!” Louis laughed.

“Did I mention that I had time to do some shopping while you were in heat?” he smirked and produced a pink lingerie bag.

His pack’s collective eyes went wide.

“No,” Louis shook his head, his cheeks bright red. “No, absolutely not!”

“Then you’re just going to have to go commando,” the exuberantly excited blonde rocked on the balls of his feet.

“Niall!” the older omega whined. “Why do you hate me?!”

“I don’t hate you. I love you. I also can’t get your love for lace out of my head,” the Irishman smirked and held out the bag. “It’s going commando or wearing one of these.”

The alphas bristled with lust. “My ass is sore and they’ll ravage me if…you know!”

“They’re good alphas. They’ll behave,” Niall bounced. “C’mon! I think you should wear the blue ones!” he dragged him off so quickly that they were in the bathroom before Louis’ dressing gown hit the ground.

The alphas stayed completely still for a millisecond before they decidedly hid Louis’ overnight bag and the rest of his clothes.

“I’m wearing the damn pants, now give me back my clothes!” Louis called, shoving Niall out without him.

“Why don’t you come out here and get them?” Harry pulled Niall onto the couch with him and showered him with kisses. “You’re such a good boy, Nialler, such a good boy!”

“You know why!”

“Come along, lovey Lou. Your bag is right here," he called to the bedroom then practically moaned to his alphas, "He looks so good.”

“Niall!” Louis stretched the two syllables into about ten.

“It’s right here, babe,” Niall bobbled on the couch, waiting.

“Oh for fuck’s sake,” a bright, beet red, Louis stomped into the room.

“Holy…”

“Shit…”

“I can’t…”

Niall beamed brighter (and hotter) than the sun. “You’re so beautiful!”

Liam yanked him into his lap before either of his alphas had a chance. “So beautiful,” his fingers gently stroked the baby blue lace over the bulge of Louis’ dick, tracing the bits of skin exposed by the pattern.

“I had this discussion with Zayn about my dick falling off!” Louis pouted; he couldn’t get hard again, could he? Then again, his alphas and his omega were four of the sexiest beings he'd ever known and he felt himself twitch at their attention.

“So pretty though,” the oldest alpha knelt down next to them and rested his hand against the lace stretched over his butt, his thumb brushing against the hem.

“I knew the Booty would look amazing in them,” Niall practically drooled.

“Gentlemen—“ Paul entered, or at least tried. But three deadly growls had him walking right back out and shouting through the door. “Ok, but we leave in five minutes! We have to be on the plane by a quarter-to.”

“We have to go,” Louis shivered at all the hands and fingertips brushing against his panties.

“It’s ok,” Liam said gently; he couldn’t decide whether he wanted to take the lace off or have Louis walk around in them some more.

Harry and Niall joined them on the armchair, hands reaching for the lace wearing omega.

Louis whimpered as he got hard again; straddling the Alpha, he writhed against him.

“Three minutes!” Paul pounded on the door.

Smiling, Niall tugged Louis out of Liam’s lap. “Go get dressed, lovey,” he patted the lace covered bottom. “We’ll give the three of you the full show later,” he smirked.

“You’re evil,” Louis laughed and looked around for his bag.

“Let me touch just one more time and I’ll give you your bag,” Harry reached for him. Kneeling in front of the omega, he rubbed his cheek against the rough pattern, absolutely hypnotized by the scrape of the fabric and the warmth of the skin beneath it.

“Two minutes and we’re moving!” Paul yelled.

“We’re fucking coming, Paul!” Harry shouted. Louis ran his fingers through the long hair lovingly.

“I’ll be in them all day.”

The three alphas groaned, adjusting their own jeans while Louis pulled on the rest of his clothes. “Niall’s wearing them, too!”

“You’re what?!” Liam pulled Niall into his lap.

“I’m wearing them, too,” he whispered at a level that all three alphas with their extraordinary hearing caught it. So Niall peeled the back of his jeans down just enough to give them a peek of the blush colored panties from his date with Louis.

“I…”

“You’re both...”

“Lace…”

“One minute! Let’s move, boys!”

Niall wiggled away from his alphas as his omega returned, lace all covered up with denim but those hips sashaying with a little more tease.

“Boys? I’m coming back in and we have to—“ the door opening cut Paul off. Three grumpy (and surprisingly hard) alphas led the way into the hall, holding their omegas’ bags. Fully dressed and smirking, Louis and Niall followed. “Well, all right then. We’re moving.”

Sitting on the plane from Edmonton to Winnipeg for the second to last of the Canadian shows, Liam opened up his laptop to distract himself from the omegas in lace, and furrowed his brow. Sighing, he turned to his blonde. The two omegas were curled up in the alphas’ laps, all four of them watching a show—though, Harry and Zayn’s hands were tucked into the waistbands of their omegas’ jeans just to get a feel for that lace.

"So...you're always going to be in lace underwear then, aren't you?" Harry murmured against Louis' ear; the blush was the only response he needed.

“Nialler. My love,” Liam interrupted, his voice cutting in that short way it did whenever he thought he needed to channel all his patience.

“Yes, Alpha?” Niall smiled.

“Why is our contractor emailing me?”

“Oh, because I’m having the carpets replaced with hardwood and stuff so that Louis can skateboard in the house.”

Louis chuckled. “Ni.”

“The last time you tacked on ‘and stuff’ to something regarding the contractor, we ended up with an indoor pool.”

“You like the indoor pool. You’ve used it more than me.”

“Besides the point. You told me we were doing ‘landscaping and stuff.’”

“They did fix up the yard though, so technically ‘landscaping and stuff’ was an accurate, if not entirely forthcoming.”

“All right,” Liam smiled. “And why does he need to discuss the ramps?”

“Because he doesn’t know how to keep his mouth shut.”

The Alpha shook his head. “No.”

“It’s also for wheelchairs! To be handicap friendly!”

“We can do the hardwood, but no ramps.”

“It’s for Louis though!”

“Babe, I don’t even live with you,” Louis chuckled.

“Did I forget to mention that you’re moving in?”

“Do I get a choice in the matter?”

“No,” Niall bopped his nose. “After they bond you, you really think they’re going to let you live on your own? Silly lovey Lou.”

“Oh,” Louis blushed. They hadn’t really talked about bonding since the blanket fort and he didn’t quite expect that...nor did he know where they stood.

"Yes, of course we still want to bond you," Harry quickly deduced the reason for the drop in Louis' feelings.

“See? Louis needs ramps, Liam! For the skateboarding!”

“No.”

“You aren’t banning him from skateboarding in the house! Why don’t you love him!?”

“Niall, it’s because I love him that I don’t want him on ramps.”

“It’s ok, Ni,” Louis interlocked their marked pinkies; they generally had their meetings at the pack’s house, given that four of the band lived there, so he knew it like the back of his hand. “Besides, it’s only, what, three steps from the hall into the kitchen and one from the hall into the living room? I can just jump them.”

The Alpha didn’t need to glance at his alphas to know they were prickling. He was already emailing the contractor with the message to make the ramps happen.

Once landed, the pack split up into two separate cars: Zayn and Harry took Louis into one and Liam took Niall into the other.

“You’re going to spank me, aren’t you?” the blonde pouted.

“No, I’m not,” Liam tucked him under his arm. “I just wanted to make sure you’re ok with everything. Last time we didn’t check in with you, things kind of hit the fan and I just wanted to make sure you were all right.”

“I’m fine,” the sentiment was endearing, though unnecessary as Niall wanted Liam to bond him to see if Alex was right, if Niall would feel more bonded to him through their Alpha. He scooted into his Alpha’s lap to pet him. “I promise, I’m fine with all of it.”

“We just spent a heat with another omega—“

Our omega,” Niall’s instincts flared, surprising even him. “Oh hey.”

“Our omega,” he corrected with a chuckle. “I’m going to take him out today and talk about bonding with him.”

“Finally,” Niall flailed and kissed Liam gratefully. “Finally!”

“All right, I just wanted to check in with you. Make sure you’re not hiding anything from us again.”

“I’m not. Well. I sort of am. In my pants.”

“Your lace pants," Liam growled.

“Boys,” Paul and Paddy grumbled. There were things the bodyguards just really didn’t want or need to know.

“Sorry,” they grinned.

“Where are we going?” Niall asked; he’d talked to Paddy about Winnipeg and their bodyguard had said it was only fifteen minutes from the airport to the stadium.

“Well, you’re going off with Harry and Zayn so Louis and I can talk, all right?”

“To talk about…” Niall beamed.

“Bonding,” Liam teased.

“Wait a second, you’re not going to ask Mark?”

“Already did.”

“When!?”

“I call him from time to time to let him know how Louis’ doing. Louis just likes to tell him he’s fine. I keep him a bit more thoroughly updated and I brought it up a while ago.”

A while?! How long have you been sitting on Mark agreeing to you bonding his son!?”

“Long enough.”

Niall huffed, “you’re going to take him to dinner, right? You and Zayn both asked me over the best dinners ever.”

“Niall, we both took you to Nando’s.”

“Exactly,” the omega rolled his eyes. “Best. Dinner. Ever.”

Liam chuckled and pressed a kiss to the low maintenance omega's hair. “Love you, Ni.”

“Love you, too. Now go get us another omega.”

Liam switched omegas with his alphas and swept Louis away to a nearby conservatory. They only had a couple hours, but Liam hoped that was enough time.

“This is nice,” Louis smiled, blushing a little when the Alpha took his hand as they strolled through the flowers. It wasn't exactly a place he ever thought Liam would take him, but it was beautiful nonetheless.

“Well. I wanted to discuss something with you, Lou,” Liam asked as they sauntered through the English garden and found a bench surrounded by sweet smelling flowers to sit.

“Yeah?”

“The discussion we sort of started it the other day. The discussion.”

“Oh…”

But before Louis could wonder whether what they had was enough, Liam said, “I want to bond you, without question.”

Louis grinned, infinitely lighter.

“We need to be sure that you know that I love you,” the Alpha’s thumb stroked his knuckles. “So, I want you to know that I couldn’t have been this person without you. You were like that cool kid in school that I always wanted the attention of, and finally got when I met you. I didn’t know how to handle that at first—maybe that’s why we didn’t get along on the X Factor. You were so…vibrant. And, I…I stayed closed off a bit because…I didn’t want you to reject me like the cool kids always had. But, you didn’t give up on me. And that…that probably helped me out of my shell more than anything Niall and Zayn and Harry did. And, I just wish I could have done that, done this for you sooner.”

Louis squeezed his fingers. “I didn’t want you to. Maybe I wasn’t ready for you to. I think I needed someone else to tell you the truth because…I don’t think I ever could. With all the lies, I didn’t… I didn’t think I’d be any good for you, so I...I just left it be.” No matter how much the words hurt, he didn’t have to remind himself to be honest with the Alpha, and that had to count for something.

The Alpha hooked a finger beneath his chin and brought their eye-lines together. “You are. You’ve always been good, period, and I wish I knew that you needed to know that. But I’m not ever going to let you forget it. I want you to be mine, Lou. I want you to feel what I feel for you and then I think you’ll see how amazing you are. I would like to mark you, to make this permanent, and I’d like to make sure you’re ready for that step.”

Louis felt something inside him—that connection he’d started with Liam—pulse with emotion and the hopeful sincerity behind the Alpha’s words.

“I am,” the answer sparked as the first piece of his heart opened, ready for Liam to take it.

The Alpha’s smile couldn’t get any brighter. “Sure?”

“Yes, Alpha,” Louis grinned back. There was so much anticipation between them that they had to kiss—or else they’d jump up and down like little kids.

“You understand that this means when we’re back in London, we’re going to move you into our house and we, you included, will decide what to do with yours.”

“I understand, Alpha.”

“And that, eventually, we’re going to ask you to marry us.”

Beaming, Louis shrugged.

“I think,” Liam kissed across his jaw. “I think, my mark is going right here,” he ran the tip of his tongue across it, this little spot beneath his ear—he smirked when Louis took in a sharp breath. “I want everyone to see it no matter what you wear. Is that all right?” When they were sixteen, he’d gone a bit lower for his and Niall’s mark, but he was older and more certain and he wanted to add this to the tattoos Louis already wore.

Louis nodded. “Wherever you want.”

“Uh-uh, babe,” the Alpha shook his head. “This mark isn’t about me. It’s about us. That’s what the bond is about. Are you all right with where my mark is going?” Sure there were others of his gender who wouldn’t bother asking their omega where they wanted the bonding mark to go, but Liam wanted Louis to agree with every aspect of their bond.

“I want that. I want everyone to see it,” Louis crawled into his lap, ensconcing himself in the Alpha’s strong arms. “I want everyone to see that I’m yours, Alpha.”

The invitation to own his omega made Liam growl with want. “So right here? Or on the other side?”

Louis giggled when Liam’s tongue licked across the spot parallel to the other. “The first one.”

“This one?” the Alpha playfully switched sides and kissed up his neck to where the mark would go again.

“Liam!” pinned to the corner of the bench, Louis laughed, his smile aching his face.

“I just want to be sure,” Liam wanted to hear him laugh for the rest of his life. “And be sure you’re sure!”

The omega grabbed Liam’s warm, smiling face and redirected those lips to his. “I’m sure that I’m sure,” Louis murmured into their kiss. “And, I’m sure that I’m sure that I’m sure.”

“Good,” Liam’s thumb skimmed beneath the hem of Louis’ tee. “I love you, Louis. I love you so much there isn’t enough time to write down all the ways that I do.”

Louis knew it was corny, but he still felt like crying. “I love you, too, Li.”

As soon as their kissing got more intense, Paul coughed—he had to do it twice to get the Alpha’s attention—both times he shared a teasing eye roll with Preston; the betas loved their boys, but they were in public. Liam growled, but pulled away, resting his forehead against Louis’. “Our next full day off is in New York. So, I’d like to take you out to a proper dinner and then—“

“We fuck?”

Liam nipped at his jaw in as playful a punishment as Louis’ quip. “We bond.”

“Bond,” Louis nodded; the excited butterflies danced in his stomach. As they left, something in his subconscious had his hand itching at his collarbone, but on the surface he was completely distracted by the Alpha’s arm slung around him and the warmth of anticipation to notice.

 

 

By the trellis covered in climbing roses, an alpha sitting inconspicuously with a book he wasn’t actually reading pulled out his mobile and texted, it has to be tonight.

Chapter Text

Niall and the boys weren’t at their bus when they returned, so Liam brought Louis into the downstairs lounge for a nap and a cuddle.

“You could take me upstairs and do me now,” he nestled into the Alpha.

“You deserve something with more thought than a quickie an hour before interviews start,” Liam stroked his back. “Besides, babe, you just had a heat. You need to rest.”

Excitement fluttered in Louis’ chest. How he’d gone his entire omega life without being cared for so intently was beyond him. This just felt so...right. “Yes, Alpha.”

“Could I ask you for a favor though?”

“Anything.”

“Co