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with his educated eyes, and his head between my thighs

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At first glance, Steve Rogers was the perfect omega. Small, elegantly thin, a soft mop of blond hair and big, almost childlike blue eyes. If he let you close enough, you could trace the blue spiderwebs of veins, standing out starkly against the pale skin, and long, artistic fingers, free from any calluses bar those from pencils and paintbrushes.


                But that’s as far as the ‘perfect omega’ ruse goes. Because Steve Rogers knows exactly how he looks, and exactly how an omega should behave.


                And he does the opposite.


                Ask anyone why and they’ll just say “That’s Steve for ya,” and leave it at that.


                Steve’s always been a contrary sonofabitch.




                The phone ringing brought him back to himself, and Steve sighed, gave one last look at the canvas he was working on, before leaning over and grabbing it. “This is Steve,” he answered, wedging his cell between his ear and shoulder. He wiped his hands off on the rag beside him as he listens to his landlord on the other end.


                “Hey, Rogers, you know that empty apartment down the hall from you?”


                Steve hummed his assent, knowing exactly where this was going. The landlord wouldn’t be calling him for any other reason than- “We’ve had interest, but it’s from an alpha. Are you okay to come meet him?”


                A polite way of asking are you approaching heat if ever there was one.


                “Yeah, he there with you now?” At the landlord’s affirmation, Steve sighed, started to pack up his brushes. “Alright, I’ll be down in a minute.”


                He hung up his phone, took a deep breath, let it out nice and slow. His landlord was a good guy, a beta, and he was just following protocol. Following the law in fact. Omegas, rare as they were, had more than a handful of laws protecting them, and protecting their space. An alpha moving into their apartment block had to be approved by every omega in that block, and he was the only one in this building. Steve shuddered to think why that law existed.


                No matter how much he told himself this, Steve was still mildly annoyed when he headed down the stairs five minutes later, refusing the part of him that wanted to preen at simply the idea of meeting an alpha. He paused at the top of last flight of stairs, took a deep breath. The faint alpha scent reached his nose, and he hummed. If the guy was only a single flight down, it should’ve been stronger, and by that, Steve assumed it was an older alpha. As he headed down the stairs, he realised he couldn’t have been more wrong.


                The alpha had his back to him, and Steve took the opportunity to let his gaze drift, across and then down. He was big, bigger than Steve, and his long hair was pulled back into a loose bun. He was relaxed, comfortable, but even then Steve could see that he was broad as well as tall. When Steve realised he was in incredibly well-fitting jeans, he dragged his eyes back up with a gulp, refusing to stare at his frankly fantastic ass.


                This could be interesting.


                Steve cleared his throat, put on a smile, and announced his presence with a “Hi, sorry to keep you waiting.”


                The guy turned, and Steve's mind stuttered to a halt. He smiled, and Steve’s fingers itched to draw him, to let his pencil follow the curl of his lips, the cleft of his chin, up along the perfect curve of his nose. He itched to follow his pencil with his lips.


                Before he could make a fool of himself, the alpha stepped forward, right hand extended. “Hey, I’m James, but I go by Bucky most of the time.” Internally, Steve whined. Even his voice was attractive.


                “Steve, nice to meet you,” he said instead, shaking the offered hand before tucking his hands in his pockets.


                When the alpha inhaled deeply, almost certainly scenting him, Steve raised an eyebrow, and the alpha- Bucky – flushed, caught. “Sorry,” he murmured, and Steve nodded slightly, not about to start a ruckus over something instinctual like that. Even if it was rude.


                Steve looked at the landlord, nodded slightly, and the man smiled, leading them both towards the interview room.


                An hour later, Steve looked at the landlord, and said “I can live with him.”


                Bucky moved in a week and a half later.





                It worked. Steve continued like he usually did, smiled at Bucky if they passed each other in the hall. Bucky kept to himself for the most part, even managed to keep his scent controlled. Steve could only smell him if he was passing Bucky’s door, or if they were within arm’s reach of each other. For the most part, it was like another beta had moved in. Normal.


                And that’s what had Steve stunned.


                Living with an alpha was usually … difficult. The last alpha he’d shared a building with, some asshole who's name Steve had forgotten almost immediately, had been pushy – scenting the entire building, walking up and down the hallway of Steve’s floor on regular days, let alone when Steve was in heat. After a week of the guy literally scratching at his door, Steve had packed up and left, and the landlady hadn’t blamed him – had even given him back his bond, though she had been entitled to keep it given the circumstances.


                The worst part had been when they had crossed paths as Steve had been preparing to move out. The alpha had leered at Steve, catcalled and coaxed, puffed up and made his scent that much more potent. Convinced for some reason that Steve would mate him just because of his designation. Fat chance. Steve had held his breath the last time they had been face to face, refused to look at him, thrown the guy’s hand off when he’d tried to stop Steve from leaving.


                Bucky though? Perfect. Fucking. Gentleman.


                And it drove Steve nuts.


                Hell, even when Steve could smell the rut-scent on the guy, he’d just smiled, albeit a little strained, waved a little, and locked himself in his apartment for a week. Steve had barely been able to tell that there was anything different, beyond the other man's absence.


                So, when a week had passed, Steve knocked on Bucky’s door, hoping he wouldn’t be unwelcome, armed with an offer for dinner and a smile. Bucky had answered, somewhat surprised, looking exhausted, and Steve had managed to coax him into coming over for a proper cooked meal. Bucky had seemed surprised at the offer, and Steve understood. Not many omegas would be willing to let a unbonded alpha into their space, let alone one fresh out of rut. Honestly, Steve was surprised with himself, but he held his ground, smiling as Bucky hesitated, then nodded, before he slipped back into his apartment with a “Gimmie a minute,” and leaving the door open, inviting.


                From that point on, they were often around each other. Not expecting anything, not trying anything, just enjoying each other’s company. Steve would frequently go bug Bucky if he hit an art-block, Bucky would come to him if he couldn’t sleep. They talked, a lot, and Steve learned that the reason Bucky always wore long sleeves, always had his hands tucked in his pockets, was the high-tech prosthetic attached to his left shoulder. One sleepless night had held the confession that Bucky had been honourably discharged after an ambush on his squadron’s camp. A lazy day had earned Steve admitting his ailments, from asthma to mild scoliosis to a now-repaired heart valve defect. (Bucky had stared at him for that, shocked, until Steve had tugged down the neckline of his shirt to show the scar on his sternum. Bucky had looked like he'd wanted to touch. Steve hadn't let himself think too hard about that).


                They became unexpected friends, and when Sam met Bucky, he gave an approving nod, making the omega blush when he realised what Sam had thought, but he hadn’t tried to explain, knowing the beta wouldn’t have believed him.


                When Steve met Nat, Bucky looked like he was regretting introducing them as they hit it off immediately, the alpha’s concern making Nat pat his hand and tell him not to worry. Given the matching smirks Steve knew he and Nat were sporting, Steve could tell Bucky didn’t believe her.






                Honestly, Steve was pretty much gone for the alpha, and he was so focused on working that out for himself that it almost came as a surprise to Steve when the tickle in his spine started. It only took a couple of hours for that to build up to an itch, and only a day more for Steve to get snappy with the beta next door. With an internal grumble, he accepted the fact that he was indeed in preheat and starting locking the windows down, muttering under his breath about inconsiderate biology the entire time.


                He sat on his bed, staring at his phone, opening his messages before hesitating. Would it be too forward to ask Bucky to come over? Normally, no, but the alpha could probably smell the preheat from his room already, if he was there. Asking Bucky to come over now was pretty much a booty call, and they’d both know it. Even if they'd made plans to see each other that night.


                Instead, he quickly typed out a message, sending it before he could change his mind.


                                Steve: hey, sorry I can’t make it tonight, something’s come up. Have fun without me (:


                It only took a few minutes before his phone buzzed in his hand, Bucky’s reply coming up on his screen.


                                Bucky: sure thing, hope everything’s okay!


                Steve considered responding, then sighed, locked his phone, and sat it on the dresser before standing, starting to strip the bed methodically. Might as well get everything ready.






                Two days later, Steve woke with a gasp, shuddering as he came, hips rolling forward against the mattress. As he reluctantly opened his eyes, squinting in the dim light, the last traces of his dream fled, and he whined, fingers clenching in the pillow. All that remained was an impression of long hair, strong hands holding him down. No prizes for guessing who that was, he thought to himself, pushing himself up with a groan as the overbearing need of heat faded slightly. Using the reprieve offered him, he wiped the faintly plasticky sheets off with a cloth before heading to the bathroom.


                As he washed his hands, he stared at himself in the mirror, eyes narrowing at the obvious heat-flush on his cheeks. Before he could look too closely, he turned away, wiping his legs down before grabbing his favourite plug. A sigh, wiggle, and aborted moan later, he clenched around the silicone, biting his lip, waiting for himself to calm down as much as possible before heading for the kitchen as soon as he was sure he wouldn’t be slicking up the chairs. Again.


                He managed to heat up one of the microwave meals he had stocked for this very reason, and get through it without grinding back on the chair, and the plug, all too much, though that was more stubbornness than anything else. With a huff he threw the container in the bin and headed back to his bedroom, kicking the covers down to the end of the bed before falling back on it. He bit his lip, hands landing on his stomach as heat started to curl there again, dragged them down slowly as his eyes fell closed. Just as he reached one hand between his legs to tease at the base of the plug, a scent hit him, and he whined.


                Steve’s mouth fell open, and he took a ragged breath, the burn in his gut increasing as he registered Bucky’s- an alpha’s- scent. He whined again wordlessly, legs falling open and hips pushing back against the mattress, pressing the plug deeper.


                A shudder ran through him as a low howl echoed, followed by a soft keening that he barely registered as coming from himself. The alpha scent increased, lingered and flared, and Steve whimpered, finally grabbing the plug and tugging it out, pressing three fingers into himself in its place. A twist of his fingers, and his head pressed back against the pillows, a moan catching in his throat.


                And then- nothing.


                Bucky’s scent faded abruptly, and Steve mourned its loss with a whine, fingers pausing. Then the need of heat pressed him on, and he curled them, working them in until he could drag them over his prostate, rubbing them as he wrapped his other hand around his cock, movements jerky as he brought himself off quickly. Flopping back against the sheets, he let out a shuddering breath, toes curling and uncurling as he tried to work out what had happened.


                Bucky had gotten home, reacted to Steve’s heat just like any alpha would. He’d approached, definitely. Then … left? He’d just… left?


                God, Steve hoped that wasn’t because he didn’t want him like that. God he hoped so.







                Three days in, and Steve was a mess. Showers had led to interesting objects being put in interesting places, which despite his heat Steve was absolutely mortified about, and he’d been increasingly grateful to his past self for having given in and bought that vibrating dildo the year before. He was eyeing said dildo for the second time that hour when he heard- a knock?


                Before he could respond, if he’d even have been able to, he caught the faint trace of alpha-scent, and then heard Bucky’s voice - nearly an octave deeper, tense as anything, but Steve could tell he was forcing himself to actually use his words.


                “Steve… Stevie.” A pause. “I was gonna come past earlier but…” Bucky trails off, and Steve can almost hear him grinding his teeth. “If you need anything, text me, let me know. Within reason of course,” he added with a strained laugh. “I ain’t robbin’ a bank for ya.” There’s another pause, and Steve’s starting to squirm, refusing to touch himself with Bucky there, refusing to do that to Bucky, but everything in him is telling him that he’s gotta do something. “Oh, uh there’s a basket here? From…” there’s a pause. “The lady down the hall. Think she likes you Stevie.” There’s another faint laugh, and Steve realises he should respond, but he doesn’t think he can speak with heat clawing at his throat. So he grabs his phone, types out a garbled reply that, thankfully, autocorrect catches.


                                Steve: thanks i will


                There was a pause, and Bucky laughed softly. “Alright then, see you in a few days.” There was the sound of footsteps, Bucky’s front door closing. Steve’s once again stunned by this man, everything about him.


                Or, he would have been, had he not been wrapping his fingers around his toy in near desperation.






                The next day, in a moment of lucidity, Steve fussed. Phone in hand, he was torn between just texting Bucky, taking him up on his offer and more, and just leaving it for now, testing the waters when Bucky knew he wasn’t jacked up on hormones. Shoving his face in his pillow, he made a noise of frustration, before finally giving in.


                                Steve: please come over


                Before Steve even has a chance to regret it, there’s a reply.


                                Bucky: r u sure?


                Jesus Christ this man. Steve took a breath, pushed himself upright.


                                Steve: you better hurry


                Steve hit send, then got to his feet. In some attempt at modesty, he tugged a shirt over his head, far too big and hanging to his knees as he haphazardly buttoned it halfway up his chest. He headed for the front door, swinging it open, and braced his feet, looking down the empty hall to Bucky’s door. C’mon c’mon c’mon.


                A click echoed down the hall, and Bucky’s door swung open. Steve met the alpha’s gaze, holding it, holding his breath, and the moment seemed to last forever. Then Steve saw Bucky take a deep breath, eyes closing for a fraction of a second, before opening again, and there was something different there, something Steve couldn’t place.


                Steve took a step back, inviting. Bucky started forward, slow at first, but by the time he was within reach of Steve, he was nearly running. Bucky’s hand landed on Steve’s shoulder, gentle but immovable, and he pressed back, herding Steve into the apartment and away from prying eyes, kicking the door shut behind him. Then Bucky let go of him, and Steve caught a whine in his throat, looking up at the alpha with wide eyes.


                “Are you sure?”


                Steve shivered at Bucky’s voice, low and smooth, and took a step back, until his back hit the opposite wall. Bucky froze at that, but Steve just tipped his head back, baring his throat, half in instinct, half in answer.


                “Please. Yes, please Buck.” His voice cracked, and his eyes closed. Waiting.


                Bucky broke the silence with a hoarse noise, almost a growl, and Steve was pinned to the wall before his eyes could open. He moaned, and Bucky dropped his head, mouth touching the bump of Steve’s Adam’s apple before trailing up to lick at Steve’s racing pulse. A heavy hand landed on Steve’s hip, gripping tight, and Steve shuddered, pressing forward against the line of Bucky’s body. Bucky’s teeth closed around Steve’s pulse point, and a soft growl escaped Bucky as the alpha hooked his arm under Steve’s ass, lifted. Steve gasped, taken aback by the strength in the prosthetic, before wrapping his legs around Bucky’s waist, grinding their hips together. His head dropped, seeking, and Bucky rewarded him, lips sliding over Steve’s as he carried the omega to the bedroom.


                Steve sucked on Bucky’s tongue as the alpha knelt on the bed, before slowly leaning forward until Steve’s back hit the mattress. He blanketed the smaller man, mouth sliding across his cheek, then hummed in his ear, “You smell good.”


                Steve didn’t respond, couldn’t, instead rocking his hips up, rubbing himself against Bucky with a faint whine.


                “Something you want Stevie?”


                God, if Steve had known that Bucky would be a fucking tease… The thought trailed off as Bucky’s mouth found Steve’s again, as Bucky’s hand stroked up Steve’s side.


                “Look at you, so needy baby. I got you,” Bucky murmured, voice low, and Steve’s head fell back, Bucky taking the opportunity to follow the line of his throat with his mouth. “Any other time and you’d hit me for saying it,” the alpha murmured, pausing to suck a mark on Steve’s throat. “But fuck Stevie, you’re gorgeous, look at you.”


                Steve made a noise in the back of his throat, one hand hitting Bucky’s shoulder lightly, distractedly, and Bucky laughed. “Pretty baby,” he purred, and Steve absolutely melted at the tone. “You know what I’m gonna do baby?” Bucky breathed, mouth ghosting over the jut of Steve’s collarbone.


                “Knot me hopefully,” Steve managed to gasp, and Bucky huffed.


                “I will baby, not just yet. M’gonna get my mouth on you first, taste your pretty little nipples,” Bucky murmured, and paused to do just that, shoving the shirt out of the way to lick one of Steve’s nipples, causing the omega to whine. He sucked, toyed with the nub between his lips, then grazed his teeth over it, causing Steve’s back to arch up, pressing up into Bucky’s mouth.


                “Buck please,” Steve whined, and he felt Bucky laugh against his skin, mouth dragging down further. Bucky licked over each rib, fingers working on the buttons of the shirt as he moved, and he shoved the fabric out of the way, the last button popping off in his haste.


                “Wanna taste you Stevie, see if you taste as good as you smell,” Bucky purred, and Steve whimpered, fingers tangling in Bucky’s hair, yanking the hair tie out before clenching in the soft strands. Bucky nuzzled his nose along the crease of Steve’s hip, licked at the gathered sweat there before tucking his nose against it, breathing in the scent of Steve, of omega, of heat.


                Just as Steve started to relax, Bucky tipped his head, looked at Steve’s cock for a moment before dragging his tongue up it, from base to tip.


                Steve gasped, back arching and fingers tightening, yanking, and Bucky groaned, half at the feeling, half at the taste. Pleasure rolled through him as Bucky took it upon himself to spend long minutes licking and sucking at his cock. He only stopped when Steve gave a particularly brutal tug on his hair, lifted his head as Steve looked down at him and whined “Please.


                As Bucky obliged, Steve bit his lip, breath speeding up as he felt Bucky’s tongue trace up his thigh, following a cool trail of slick. “Roll over,” the alpha murmured, and Steve did without hesitation, arms catching on his shirt before he managed to strip it off, throw it aside. Reaching one hand back, Steve curled his fingers in Bucky’s shirt, stopping him before he could lean back in.


                “Please, I need-” Steve cut himself off, but Bucky worked out what he wanted, sitting back and stripping his shirt off. Steve looked back over his shoulder, half focusing on the revealed skin of Bucky’s chest, half watching Bucky’s hands as they dropped to his jeans. Steve bit his lip as Bucky shoved his pants down, kicked them off, eyes tracking Bucky’s dick, an encompassing feeling of I need it in me now taking over him. He whined, low and demanding, ass lifting up and pressing back, only stilling when Bucky slid a palm over the curve of his hip, hushed him softly.


                “You’ll get it,” Bucky murmured, as though he knew exactly what Steve was thinking, and leaned forward, pressed a kiss to the dip of Steve’s spine, the slight twist. His mouth dragged down, and Steve held his breath, whimpering when Bucky palmed his cheeks and spread him wide, just staring for a moment that stretched into an eternity. “Look at you,” Bucky whispered, voice catching. Before Steve could think of a response, Bucky leaned forward, and Steve wasn’t thinking anymore as he felt the drag of Bucky’s tongue, flat over his hole. He shuddered, pressed back, but Bucky leaned back slightly. Before Steve could question it, Bucky dived back in with a groan, rolling his tongue over Steve’s hole, pressing against it, finding it loose from Steve’s fingers mere hours ago. He flicked his tongue in, around, over the pucker, before working it into Steve, dragging moans from the omega. When Bucky moved a hand, pressed a thumb against Steve’s hole, Steve shuddered, whimpering as he came sharp and sudden. Bucky paused, pressed a kiss against one cheek, before he licked again, working Steve through it, one hand stroking up and down Steve’s side. Steve moaned, sensitive, and Bucky gentled slightly, stroking his thumb around the rim until Steve gave a soft sigh. Then he curled his thumb slightly, pressing the tip into Steve’s hole, and Steve gasped. He pressed deeper, then gently tugged down, pulling Steve open so he could work his tongue deeper, and Steve shuddered, head tossing as he fought conflicting sensation, more and too much warring in him.


                “Please,” he whimpered, and couldn’t decide if he was pleased or disappointed when Bucky listened, both tongue and hand pulling back. Then, before Steve could complain, Bucky pressed two fingers into him, murmuring wordlessly as he curled them. Steve could feel his mouth curve into a grin against his back when Steve jerked, Bucky’s fingers finding their target before rubbing relentlessly.


                Steve felt Bucky’s laughter, didn’t care as he whimpered again, grinding back. Bucky stroked once, twice more, worked a third finger into him just to be sure, before pulling them out. Bucky’s hand stroked up Steve’s back, and Steve pressed into it, before lifting his ass higher, swaying slightly.


                “Buck,” he whined. “Bucky. Alpha. Please.”


                Bucky gripped his hips, leaned forward. Just as Steve felt the head of Bucky’s dick brush his ass, Bucky stopped. Steve let out a frustrated little howl, and Bucky rubbed his hand over Steve’s hip in apology.


                “Stevie, Steve, baby you’re on-“


                “Birth control yes, fuck me.” Steve snapped, a hand reaching down and dragging over the length of Bucky’s cock.


                “Impatient,” Bucky murmured, but he sounded strained, so Steve counted that as a win. A hand on Steve’s hip disappeared, Steve’s hand was knocked away, and Steve held his breath, anticipation building until he felt the firm press of Bucky’s cock against his rim. Steve immediately pushed back, not wanting Bucky to pull away again, but Bucky tightened his grip, holding the omega in place. “Shh, I got you,” Bucky said, voice dropping into a growl, and Steve whined.




                Steve keened, eyes jerking open in surprise, as Bucky pressed forward, firm and fast. Bucky swore behind him, and Steve shuddered, head falling forward, baring his neck.


                Bucky paused, halfway in, before sliding back smoothly, fucking back in the rest of the way. Steve trembled as he felt Bucky’s lips brush the nape of his neck, down over his scent glands, and Steve’s head tipped more, offer evident. But Bucky only kissed the spot before straightening again. Bucky’s hand moved to Steve’s shoulder, the left one still gripping Steve’s hip steadily. He rocked his hips forward, almost experimentally, and Steve whimpered, unable to move in Bucky’s grip, hoping Bucky wouldn’t make him wait any longer.


                He didn’t.


                In an almost unexpected move, Bucky drew back, slammed forward, and Steve shouted wordlessly. Bucky did it again, sending Steve’s hands scrabbling for purchase on the mattress, before settling into a rhythm that had Steve screaming. It wasn’t long before Bucky had Steve coming over the sheets, shouting Bucky’s name hoarsely, Bucky didn’t even pause, bared his teeth as he kept moving, a hand dropping to stroke Steve’s dick in careful counterpoint. Steve whimpered as he went straight past oversensitive, head tossing against the pillow, mumbling “Please please please…” under his breath.


                Bucky’s thrusts stuttered, and Steve clenched, coaxing Bucky without even being aware of it, Bucky’s scent filling his nostrils, the sound of Bucky in his ears, everything in him begging for his alpha’s knot.


                When Steve finally vocalised, babbling “Knot me please Bucky please I need it c’mon, fill me up, breed me” Bucky’s hands clamped down his thrusts became erratic, and he finally let himself go with a shudder, a hoarse cry of Steve’s name escaping him.


                The feel of Bucky coming, of his knot swelling, catching, locking, dragged a moan from Steve, and he jerked weakly, body clamping down despite the mere dribble of come leaking from his dick.


                The room was filled with the ragged sounds of breathing, and neither of them moved, beyond Bucky’s instinctive half-thrusts, and Steve’s muscles trembling. After a moment, Bucky’s hand slid off Steve’s cock, dragged down Steve’s spine, tracing each nob carefully before he tipped his hips forward, careful. Steve murmured quietly, pressing flat under Bucky’s weight, and one of Bucky’s arms wrapped around him, snuggling him close. Bucky pressed his lips to the nape of Steve’s neck, and Steve gave a sated sigh, head lolling back, seeking Bucky’s lips with his own. He drew a kiss from Bucky, soft and sweet, before dropping his head back to the pillow, a shiver running through his body. He shifted slightly, breath catching at the tug of Bucky’s knot inside him.


                “You okay?” Bucky breathed, and Steve nodded, murmuring wordlessly. “Comfortable?” Steve smiled, lifting a hand to pat Bucky’s cheek lightly, not trusting his voice. Bucky smiled back, twisting his head and kissing Steve’s fingers, before dragging his hand up and down Steve’s side slowly, gently. Petting.


                After a few minutes, Steve stirred, tilted his head again. “You didn’t-” he started, hesitant, and Bucky kissed his shoulder lightly.


                “I wanted to, I want to. But I wanted to talk to you first, wanted to make sure it’s something we both wanted. Not just the heat talking.” Bucky’s voice was soft, his lips gentle as they pressed to the spot Steve had offered. “The bond isn’t something you can break,” he murmured, and Steve sighed, letting Bucky reassure him.


                “I know,” Steve said softly, running his fingers over Bucky’s left arm, tracing the pattern of interlinking plates. “I do want it though. Want you.” Bucky hummed, smiled, nuzzled his nose against the curve of Steve’s throat.  They fell silent again, neither of them moving until Bucky’s knot went down enough for him to slip out, fall sideways next to Steve. The first thing he did was tuck Steve against him, and Steve went willingly, kissing Bucky softly before burrowing against his chest. Steve smiled as Bucky started running his hands up and down his back, the touch gentle, and he yawned.


                “Go to sleep baby, I’ll clean up,” Bucky murmured, and Steve smiled as he felt the press of lips against the top of his head. He hummed in wordless agreement, let himself start to drift, taking advantage of the respite from heat.


                The last thing he heard, murmured against his hair was quiet, but it might have been a soft “I love you.”