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What's Out There

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“Of course you can. As long as it feels good for you and it isn’t uncomfortable or painful, you can have sex as long as you like while you’re pregnant. You’ll know when you’ve reached your limit, you just don’t want to anymore. Why?”

Masa looked at Kei expectantly over the table in the library, the two omegas the only ones there at the moment.

“No reason, just curious.” Kei did his very best to look nonchalant and uncaring, but to no avail as his deep red cheeks gave him away. Masa’s eyes narrowed and he wore an amused smirk on his lips as he peered at his friend.

“Kei, is something going on between you and Yukihiro?”

Kei’s blush impossibly deepened, and he squirmed on his chair and pretended to focus on the book about childbirth that he was reading.

Ke-ei.” Masa’s voice had a little bit of an edge to it, enough to tell the omega this was no time for nonsense. He sighed and nodded slightly, but didn’t have time to elaborate before his friend continued.

“Finally! About time you two stopped beating around the bush and just got on with it.”

Kei blinked, stunned to silence by his friend’s little outburst. Masa laughed at him, and reached out over the table to gently pat his hand before he continued.

“Come on, you guys have been flirting for ages, and you’re gonna have a kid together. You like him and he likes you, so none of us have been able to figure out why you’re not together already.”

Kei took a moment to process this, before he looked up at the other. “Who’s 'us'?”

“Everyone who’s not you or Yukihiro, I think,” Masa quipped, grinning.

“Well, yeah, maybe we weren’t ready for it. Maybe we were scared to screw it up when we have a kid on the way,” Kei muttered, greatly embarrassed. Masa patted his hand again, smiling apologetically.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to tease you too much. I’m glad you two have finally dared to take the plunge, I really am, and so will everyone else be. So, will you tell me about it?”

Kei blushed again but couldn’t help the happy grin on his lips when he answered. “I woke up and felt cold a few days ago, and I was too lazy to build a fire. It’s usually Yuki who does that in the mornings, but he was still asleep. So I thought about it for a while and then I kind of decided to just do it, and I got up and crawled down in his bed instead. Naked.”

Masa laughed delightedly, nodding. “Good boy, that’s the way to do it. So what did he say?”

“Nothing at first, he hardly woke up, but he pulled me in and held me when he went back to sleep. I fell asleep again as well, it was warm and cozy and he smelled so good… And then I woke up because he moved, and I looked up and his face was all ‘Oh shit, what do I do now?’ and I almost laughed because he looked so nervous. But then he started caressing my belly, and then his fingers sort of wandered… And then he leaned down to kiss me…” Kei’s story trailed off, his countenance soft and dreamy at the memory. Masa smiled widely.

“So, did you do the do or did you chicken out, and that’s why you’re asking me?”

“Masa!” Kei frowned at him, before he continued. “And for your information, we… sort of… had sex. You know. Hands and… stuff.”

“Hands and ‘stuff’? What’s ‘stuff’?” Masa asked, enjoying Kei’s squirming. “Did you give him a blow job or what?”

This time Kei’s cheeks took on an unprecedented tinge of red, but he shook his head quickly. “He did, on me. I… kind of jerked him off instead, I was scared I’d feel sick and puke from morning sickness or something if I tried sucking him.”

Masa nodded in understanding. “So, did it feel good? What happened after that?”

Kei’s smile was bright as the sun. “It was amazing! He really knows just how to make me feel good. Like when we were together for my heat, he was incredible. After, we just held each other for a while, and then it was time for breakfast, and… Well, we’ve done some more kissing after that, but nothing more… physical. It still feels a bit awkward to start the fire, you know? But once we got started we were both really into it.”

Masa smiled at his friend. “I’m happy for you guys. I like how you smile when you talk about him.”

“Thanks,” Kei smiled. “But Masa? Could you please not tell the others yet? It’s so new, and I’m still scared I’ll screw it up somehow. I just want to keep it for myself for a while.”

Masa raised an eyebrow but shrugged. “Yeah, sure, I guess. But can I at least tell Miya? I’m gonna burst if I don’t get to tell someone.”

His friend chuckled. “Yeah, ok, fine, if you swear him to secrecy. But don’t you dare tell Subaru!”

The answering grin was not very reassuring.

. . . . .

“Are you sure?” Koichi looked nervously at Tatsurou, eyes wide. Next to him, Hazuki sighed and wrapped his arm around his mate.

“Stop worrying so much, babe,” he said.

Tatsurou smiled at the couple and nodded. “Your mate’s right. You should stop worrying and relax. I promise there is nothing that indicates that just because you had a miscarriage last time, there will be something wrong with your baby.”

Koichi sighed in relief and slumped back onto his mate’s shoulder. Hazuki gave him a quick kiss to the hair and then turned to the nurse.

“So, everything’s fine? And we’re sure he’s pregnant?”

“Yes and yes.” Tatsurou smiled at them. “I’m happy for you. I know you’ve longed for this.”

“Thanks. We have.” Hazuki pulled Koichi even closer, his mate looking up at him with loving eyes. For a moment they just stayed like that, gazing into each other’s eyes, the nurse forgotten. And then Hazuki leaned over to kiss the tip of Koichi’s nose, before he turned back to Tatsurou.

“So how often do you want to do checkups and stuff?”

“We can have a quick talk every two or three weeks for the first few months, just to see that everything’s going well. And then we’ll see later on what we need when you get bigger. Counting up from your last heat, he should be a November boy.” The nurse grinned. “With so many babies on the way, he will have lots of playmates at least.”

Hazuki laughed. “He will, won’t he?” He looked down at Koichi who was still leaning on him, smiling blissfully. “I’d better take this little darling and get some breakfast into him, I’m afraid he’s gone into some kind of happy daze and will forget to eat otherwise.”

The omega huffed and punched his mate lightly on the arm, before he grinned. “Ok, big guy. Feed me. And get a haircut.” He teasingly pulled at Hazuki’s long bangs, before he was forced to let go with a yelp, as fingers snaked their way into his armpits and tickled him mercilessly.

Tatsurou shook his head, an amused expression on his face. “Go on, you two. Get your asses out of here and have some breakfast.”

Hazuki grinned as the two disentangled, and nodded his thanks to the nurse before he made to follow his mate out the door. He couldn’t help pinching the omega’s ass from behind though, Koichi yelping and laughing as he got chased into the dining room by a very happy alpha.

. . . . .

Shinya watched in delight as the construction team assembled his two new beautiful greenhouses in the back of the kitchen garden. They had prepared the ground, making sure it was level, and now they were tightening the last few bolts of the construction. The greenhouses weren’t huge, but enough to house some of the more heat-loving plants and to prolong the season. The omega could barely contain his joy where he stood, envisioning all the plants he would be able to grow in there.

“Are you happy, baby?” Toshiya’s voice in his ear startled him. He had been so engrossed in the construction that he hadn’t even felt the alpha nearing him. Koichi was right, you actually do get used to feeling your mate’s presence. He smiled, and turned to his tall alpha, getting up on tiptoe to give him a peck on the lips.

“I am,” he smiled. “We will be able to have tomatoes now, and bell peppers, and chili, and maybe even melons if we can find some seeds to plant.”

Toshiya smiled back. “That sounds great. I hope we will find some then.” He enjoyed the sparkle in Shinya’s eyes, and since the omega seemed to be finally getting rid of his morning sickness, he was in a terrific mood. Toshiya listened with half an ear as his normally quiet mate went on and on about which vegetables would go where, and which he had already planted and would move out here as soon as it was warm enough. It wasn’t until Shinya stopped and frowned at him that he started paying more attention.


“You’re not listening to me.” Shinya pouted slightly, glaring at his mate.

“I’m sorry baby, I was so busy watching you be happy. You’re so beautiful, you have no idea,” Toshiya apologized.

Shinya blushed slightly at that, but still huffed and pouted. “Well, this is important stuff. We need the food you know.”

Toshiya felt a little guilty. “I know, sweetie. I’m sorry. What were you saying?”

And the omega told him again, and he did his very best to listen, he really did. But those beautiful eyes, and the hands that danced in the air as the omega explained, and the beautiful roundness of the belly, was all too much of a distraction. Finally, Shinya gave up and ordered him to help or leave, and the alpha gave in and went to check if the boat was in the water yet.

. . . . .

Tomo came down to the beach, where Shuse, Jun-ji and Kaoru were looking over the docks to make sure they had made it through the winter in one piece. The omega carried a bag with some bandages and scissors, walking up to Shuse as he was inspecting the ladder by the boat. The nurse in training stopped in front of the alpha, eyeing his arms.

“Where are you hurt?”

The alpha looked at him in confusion. “Hurt? I’m not hurt.”

Tomo blinked. “But… Uruha said you had told Ryoga that you were hurt when he came down with your lunch, and that he told Kai, and Kai told Uruha to send me down to see what I could do.”

Shuse shook his head. “Sorry you had to walk down here for nothing, but I’m fine.” He turned his head towards the other two who were inspecting the pulley system further down the dock. “Any of you guys hurt?” Jun-ji and Kaoru looked up, their surprised look a clear ‘no’ without any words uttered.

“It was probably just some sort of misunderstanding,” the alpha said, smiling. “Sorry.”

Tomo frowned but shook his head. “No, don’t apologize, it’s not your fault. It’s good you’re ok. I needed the walk anyway. Too much sitting indoors all winter.” He grinned and waved a quick goodbye, and then turned on his heel and walked back up towards the house, Shuse going back to his inspection.

. . . . .

It was warmer now, and the general mood was significantly better. The news of even more babies made everyone happy, especially since it was Koichi and Hazuki who delivered the good news. To his delight, Koichi noticed a small roundness to his belly after only two more weeks, something he hadn’t expected so soon. At first, it made everything feel more real, and he made Hazuki feel his belly every night to see if it had grown bigger. But soon, he realized that he really did get bigger. Much bigger. Quickly. The others had not been so round so early on, and he started worrying again. What if that meant something was wrong? Tatsurou assured him that it was different for everyone, and that he couldn’t compare himself with the others. For example, Shinya was slimmer than Masa, right? And Kei was further along but Masa was still wider than him. Grumbling, and with a churning worry still in the pit of his stomach, he accepted the nurse’s explanations and tried to just be happy.

Masa, on the other hand, was over halfway now, and he was feeling it. He was stiffer than Kei and Shinya, moved slower, his hips protesting and his back keeping him awake. He put it down to it being his second child, that his body remembered the aches and pains of last time, but it still worried him a little. Tatsurou scheduled his appointments a bit closer apart than the others, just to be safe, and Masa was ordered to not lift or carry the kids around. In effect, he had to sit down most of the day and help Daichi with mending socks and clothes instead, the other three babysitters taking care of the kids. Soon, Kouki asked if he could help, since he had been a teacher and loved kids. And so, their first kindergarten started. Reo made learning toys from Kouki’s specifications, and the kids loved both the new toys and their new teacher.

Toshiya watched from the sidelines, smiling at how things were falling into place. When the kids were older, Kouki could teach them to read and write, and Minase could teach them maths.

Yes. Their community was doing well.

. . . . .

As the weeks passed, things seemed to be coming along fine. They planted some early seeds, the construction of more cottages had started and they could finally take the boat out again. For the first time since he came to the island, Uta felt ready to go visit the graves of his friends who died at the beach. Hikaru wanted to come as well, and that meant that Yo-Ka came along. Atsushi brought Aki, Asanao and Shuse with him as backup and to help rowing. The group went down to the beach and filed into the boat, Atsushi staying until last to help the omegas on board. Uta looked very nervous about leaving the island, clutching a small bouquet of spring flowers in his hand. As he tentatively accepted the major’s hand and climbed into the boat, Atsushi squeezed it just a tad before he let go.

“It’ll be fine,” he breathed so quietly that only the pretty omega could hear him. “I’ll protect you.”

Uta blinked and quickly withdrew his hand, but met Atsushi’s eyes for a second before he hastily climbed into the back of the boat and sat down next to Hikaru, leaning into him a bit. Atsushi took his place by the oars, allowing him to sit turned towards the omega, able to watch him while they rowed. Uta looked out over the lake the entire time, biting his lower lip nervously and nearly squishing the flowers before he caught himself. When they reached the other shore, he hesitated when the rest had already climbed out, his breaths shallow and quick.

“Are you ok?” Hikaru asked, concerned. Uta nodded quickly but didn’t move a muscle.

“You don’t have to,” Atsushi said softly. “We can go back if you want to. You can come here some other day instead.”

The omega shook his head and took a deep breath, before he reached for the alpha’s hand and climbed out of the boat. His eyes flicked to the major, but he quickly looked down and let go of his hand as soon as he could.

“Ok,” Atsushi said, “this way then. It’s not far.”

They left Asanao and Aki to guard the boat and started walking. The sound and scents of the forest surrounded them, and for a while, no one spoke as they made their way up the road and then veered off into the trees towards the clearing where the two omegas were buried. Once there, the two militaries hung back and let the omegas mourn in peace. Hikaru was crying openly, Yo-Ka hugging him and caressing his hair. Uta stood silent in front of the graves once he had placed the flowers between the crosses, and from the back, all Atsushi could see were his slumped shoulders and a tiny shiver. His heart broke for the omega, and he wished he could go up and pull him into his arms, wished he could comfort him with a gentle kiss. But he held back, his eyes fixed on Uta’s slim back. Shuse threw him a glance but didn’t say anything. Atsushi was grateful. He didn’t want to talk about this. It was stupid, falling for an omega he could never have. It would only bring him heartache, but it was what it was.

Suddenly, Uta shuddered, and made a sound as if he was being strangled. As the omega turned around, the alphas could see the tears streaming down his face, a hand lifted to touch his throat where the ropes had cut into him that day on the beach. His eyes met Atsushi’s for a moment, and the major cringed at the pain and despair he saw in those black pools, before the omega suddenly ran past him, back towards the road. Atsushi looked after him in surprise, and shared a look with Shuse who waved him off.

“Go, I’ll stay with these two,” he said, and Atsushi nodded quickly and turned to follow Uta, branches whisking him in the face as he ran. He didn’t catch up with him until the road. When he came out of the trees, the omega stood frozen in place on the road, staring at something away from the lake. The major turned to see what he was looking at, and a second later he was at Uta’s side, pulling the omega behind him so that he stood as a shield between him and the three alphas that stood watching them.

Chapter Text

For a moment, there was a standstill, where they all just stood staring at each other. Then, one of the new alphas spoke.

“Is he hurting you?”

Uta didn’t react, too scared to take in what was happening. Atsushi narrowed his eyes, directing his most steely gaze at the alphas as he assessed them. They looked rather well nourished, much more so than most others they had seen in the last few years, and they seemed strong and healthy. The strangers glanced at each other and then at Uta’s tear streaked face. The one who had spoken pursed his lips.

“He doesn’t look like he wants to be with you.” He took one step forward towards the two, but stopped in confusion as Uta shrieked and hid behind Atsushi, grabbing his arm tightly.

“Stay where you are. Not one more step. I’ll die before I let you touch him,” Atsushi warned, his stance a telltale sign of a trained fighter. Behind him, Uta whimpered. He felt the omega’s surprisingly strong fingers dig into his arm as he huddled behind him, pressing into his back. He could feel his scent, tinged with a sharp taint of fear that he wanted so much to wipe away. It took all of the major’s strength not to turn around and wrap his arms around the frail body.

Before the other alpha could answer, Shuse, Hikaru and Yo-Ka came out from the trees. The sergeant quickly took in what was happening and moved swiftly to a position at Atsushi’s side, Hikaru and Yo-Ka hiding behind them and pulling Uta into their arms. The sergeant glanced at Uta over his shoulder, frowning at his shaking shoulders.

“Did they hurt him?” he asked darkly, the major shaking his head in response.

“They didn’t have time to.”

Shuse looked a little relieved at that, before he fixed the alphas with a blank stare. The three had followed the conversation and noticed Hikaru’s wide eyes and Yo-Ka’s protective stance, pulling the other two into his arms and glaring at the alphas. The one who seemed to be their leader raised one eyebrow, looking between them to try to decipher the situation. Then he spoke.

“We’re not here to hurt anyone,” he said slowly. “We came because we heard there are other survivors somewhere around here. People with food, shelter and protection. We wish to talk to them, that’s all. Do you know the place I’m talking about?”

Atsushi watched them for a second. He didn’t want to. The assholes had scared Uta half to death. But then again, they hadn’t hurt him, even though that could be because of lack of time. And in the back of his head, he could hear Toshiya’s sensible voice, saying that they should know whom they were dealing with before they dismissed them. Damn that curly-headed bastard for being so clever and kind, even in my head. Finally, he nodded shortly. “We will take our friends and leave now,” he said. “Once they are safe, we can meet again and talk. Wait here for twenty minutes, then continue down the road until you reach the shore of a lake. It’s not far. Wait there for us, and we’ll be back.”

The alphas whispered a little between themselves, eyeing the omegas and the militaries. Then they nodded. “Ok. We’ll be there.”

Atsushi nodded, and then he turned his head slightly, his eyes still fixed on the strangers. “Yo-Ka,” he said, “could you please take Uta and your boyfriend with you and go to the boat?”

Yo-Ka blinked but nodded and started walking, tugging the other two along. When they were a couple of hundred meters off, Shuse fell back to join them, and once he had caught up with the omegas he gave Atsushi a shout. The major bowed shortly to the group, before he started to back away.

“See you in an hour or two,” he said, getting a nod in response. And then he turned and followed the others down the road, disappearing around the bend.

. . . . .

“And they seem well fed?”

Atsushi nodded in response. Toshiya frowned a bit, deep in thought.

“Well, we have to see what they want,” he said slowly, looking around at the group of alphas around him. “If they are here to join us, they might be useful to us. If they are from another group of survivors, I for one would like to know where they are and how many. And if they are here to attack us… We’ll fight back.”

The others mumbled their agreement. “Who should go?” Aki asked.

“I’m thinking Atsushi and Shuse, since they already met them, but not Jun-ji. I’d like one trained fighter here just in case. And then me, Kaoru, Satochi and Die.”

“I’d like to come,” Asanao said, and Toshiya nodded his ok.

“So the scary looking guys and then me,” Die deadpanned, poking jokingly at the long scar than ran down the side of Satochi’s face. Satochi swatted the hand away but couldn’t help chuckling a bit.

“Well, we do need someone to dazzle them with his friendly smile if they turn out to be nice guys, and that someone ain’t me,” he teased and poked Die’s arm. They quickly became serious again when Yo-Ka came into the dining room, Hikaru in tow clinging to his arm, the two looking concerned.

“Hey,” Toshiya said. “How is he?”

“Upset.” Yo-Ka made a face. “Ryoga and Cazqui is with him, but I think it will take him a while to calm down.” He turned to look at the major. “He did say to thank you, though. For protecting him.”

Atsushi sighed. “I just wish he hadn’t been exposed to it at all. Maybe it was too soon to go after all. Or we should have been a larger group.”

“Nonsense,” Toshiya said sternly. “He chose to go, and you dealt with the situation perfectly.” Atsushi looked as if he was about to say something, but then he silently bowed his head in acceptance. Kai came out of the kitchen with some bags packed with food and drink to offer the travellers, and handed the bags to Satochi.

“Ok, let’s get going then,” Toshiya said. “Stay extra vigilant. We don’t want any nasty surprises.”

Jun-ji nodded, already ordering Ryo, Aki and Ruka to man the docks while Reika, Aoi and the two Hiros took up other key positions on the island. The rest of the alphas stayed at the house with the omegas as a final frontier, just in case.

As the alphas made their way down towards the shore, Atsushi couldn’t help glancing up at Uta’s window, sending a silent thought of comfort to the distraught omega.

. . . . .

The three alphas stood on the shore, where they had been asked to wait. The boat slid through the water, the slight creak and splash from the oars the only sound. Toshiya, Kaoru and Atsushi had left the oars to the other four and sat at the prow and looked towards the shore, sending a pair of binoculars between them. The one Atsushi had named their leader was standing in the middle, leaning his head back and watching the approaching boat down his nose in a cocky stance. He had a large nose and full lips, his face rounded and framed by tousled hair. On his left stood a tall alpha with a commanding presence. He had short hair that stood in every direction, and his long beard had been twisted into a braid. On the other side stood another short alpha, sporting a pair of huge sunglasses and a hat pressed down over his hair. All three seemed to be somewhere between 40 and 50, tattooed and with hard muscles playing underneath their shirts.

As the boat glided up on the sand, the islanders getting out and securing it on the beach, the strangers stood still and watched. They were very clearly assessing them, and for a few moments, the two groups stood and just watched each other.

“We heard rumors about a group of people living on an island, with plenty to eat and real houses to live in. I can see that the rumors were true,” the leader of the new group said.

Toshiya nodded. There was really no point in denying it. “We are, although plenty is a matter of definition. And we work hard for our food,” he said. “And who might you be?”

“My name’s Kiyoharu, and this is Ju-ken and Kaz.” He pointed to his two friends respectively, and they nodded shortly in greeting. “We come from a… settlement, I suppose you can call it, about a two week walk away from here, a bit further up north.”

The islanders gasped in surprise, exchanging glances. “Maybe we should sit down and talk,” Toshiya said slowly, gesturing to a patch of grass where the forest gave way to the shore. “I am guessing you are hungry, if you’ve walked that far. Can we offer you lunch?” He gestured to the bags Satochi and Asanao were unloading from the boat.

“We are, thank you very much. Our supplies are running low,” Kiyoharu said, Ju-ken eyeing the bags of food longingly.

They sat down, still keeping a little distance between the groups, slightly wary of each other. The militaries were flanking the rest and remained standing while the others sat down. The visitors eyed the two, but didn’t say anything. While the food was passed around, Toshiya introduced himself and his friends. As they all said hello, he watched their new company, trying to get a feel for them. He prided himself in being rather good at judging character, and though these guys had a tough exterior and seemed cocky and confident, he didn’t feel any of the bad vibes he had been getting off of Gackt or the other violent creeps they had rejected. Kaz’s sun glasses made him harder to judge, and Toshiya tilted his head and peered at him for a moment. The short alpha got the hint and reached up to remove his glasses. He blinked a little to the light, one of his eyes red and a little swollen, but he met Toshiya’s gaze head on. What he saw calmed the islander. Kaz looked calm and sincere, his eyes honest. Though he seemed quiet and somewhat guarded, and so far hadn’t said a word, Toshiya immediately liked him. He gave a short nod and the alpha put his glasses back on with a small grimace. They all ate in silence for a moment, before his curiosity got the better of him.

“We had no idea there were others,” Toshiya begun. “We were beginning to fear we were the only ones left who were not starving or… well, running feral.”

Kiyoharu scoffed. “Yeah, we see a lot of that. Or did, before this harsh winter. That’s how we heard about you guys. Some of the ones who were looking for you ended up at our place instead. At first we though we were the ones causing rumors down south, people talking about a place up north where it was safe. Some people talked about an island, and we figured it was just that, rumors twisted with time. But then more and more people started talking about an island. And that’s not us. So we tried to find out more. We got some info from some of the ones you turned down.” He glanced at Atsushi when he shifted slightly, and smirked at the major’s raised eyebrow. “No, we didn’t take them in either, in case you were wondering. It was from seeing who you wouldn’t let in that we decided you were worth looking into.”

“Interesting,” Atsushi said. “We’ve heard absolutely nothing about you.”

Ju-ken and Kiyoharu exchanged an unreadable glance, before the leader shrugged. “That is a little strange, yes. But since we’re further north, that means visitors from the south come to you first, if they come across us both. And we take some in, the good ones, and reject others. Just like you, I’m guessing?”

Toshiya nodded. Atsushi didn’t say anything, his brow set in a slightly suspicious frown, Shuse matching him on the other flank. Kiyoharu kept his eyes on the major for a moment, squinting a little. It was clear that Kiyoharu and Atsushi were not at ease with each other, and Toshiya had an idea of what could have caused it.

“Two hours ago,” he started, their guests’ eyes snapping back to him, “you met an omega. If my friend here hadn’t come, what would you have done?”

For a moment, it seemed as if the alphas didn’t understand the question. Then Ju-ken seemed to realize what Toshiya meant, and shook his head. “We wouldn’t have hurt him, if that’s what you mean. If he wished, we would have let him join us for protection against others.” He looked the islander straight in the eyes, looking earnest. Next to him, Kiyoharu had turned back to Atsushi.

“Why was he crying like that?” he asked, suddenly. The tension between him and the major almost seemed to ignite the air. Atsushi took a moment to answer, staring at the alpha with the steely gaze he had perfected over the years in the military. Only Toshiya’s eyes on him made him contain his rage at the insinuation.

“We were visiting the graves of his friends,” he said finally, his voice clipped. “We managed to save Uta, but were too late for two others. It was his first time off the island since.”

Kiyoharu blinked, seemingly taken aback by the answer. His mouth formed a silent ‘oh’, while Ju-ken looked troubled and Kaz sighed deeply.

“Well, that would explain it,” Ju-ken said. “We’re sorry we scared him. From our point of view, he seemed to be running from you.”

Atsushi’s facial expression softened a bit at their reactions, though he was still clearly not ready to trust these strangers. Toshiya looked at his friends. He had gotten to know them well enough by now to interpret their facial expressions, despite their attempts to keep a poker face. Die was curious and seemed to be open towards the strangers. Kaoru and Asanao were neutral, but did not appear to feel threatened by the alphas. Satochi and Shuse were skeptical but not hostile. Atsushi… He’s blinded by Uta’s distress, Toshiya thought. Maybe we shouldn’t have brought him. But he trusted the alpha to be professional and be watchful without being openly hostile. Well, more than he already was, anyway.

“We are all a little protective of Uta, especially Atsushi here,” Toshiya explained, glancing at the major with a slight edge to his voice. The alpha flicked his eyes to him, and seemed to realize what he was doing. He took a deep breath and reined himself in, getting back into the stance he had earlier. Toshiya looked back to their guests. “He has been through hell with one of those feral packs we mentioned, and your sudden appearance was unfortunately very ill-timed for him. Not your fault.”

Kiyoharu nodded. “Still, we do apologize either way. I hope he will be ok.”

“I take it you are a mixed community then? Alphas and omegas?” Kaoru spoke for the first time since their introductions.

“We are. More alphas, but a group of omegas as well.”

“Mates? Kids?” Kaoru continued.

Kiyoharu hesitated a little before answering, clearly not wanting to give too much information in case the islanders would turn against them. “A few, yes,” he said, not going further into detail. That they had mates was obvious from Kaz’s scent, but the alpha didn’t offer any more information.

Die nodded. “Same with us,” he said, smiling. The alphas looked at him, his open and sunny smile genuine. I knew there was a reason I brought him, Toshiya thought, watching his friend make the alphas relax a little just through his open smile. Kiyoharu suddenly smiled back, nodding to himself as if making a decision.

“I have a sweetheart myself. His name is Gara. I miss him a lot.” He looked at Toshiya, expectantly, and Toshiya smiled and nodded. Good, some personal information that could build trust.

“My mate’s name is Shinya. He’s the most beautiful being in the world to me. We’re gonna have a baby late September.”

The alphas blinked. “September?” Ju-ken asked, and Shuse suddenly chuckled. When everyone turned to him he smirked. “I said the same when I first got here. But we do actually know the date, as well as the time of day.” He grinned at Toshiya as he repeated the words the alpha had said to him on his first day on the island. “It comes in handy.”

The tension was slowly dissipating, and the alphas spent two more hours telling each other about their communities. It seemed the alphas came from a place similar but slightly different from the island. For one, they had a clear leadership, an alpha named Hyde in charge of the settlement (“He might be tiny and pretty enough to be an omega, but he’s tough as nails,” Ju-ken grinned). They were around 70 people in total, but fewer kids than on the island. Two omegas had died in childbirth, Kiyoharu told them with a sad look on his face. The three were amazed to hear there was a nurse on the island, and Kiyoharu nodded towards Kaz.

“Is there any possibility your nurse can have a look at his eye? What would that cost?”

Toshiya looked at the alpha, who took off his sun glasses again and showed his swollen eye. He smiled.

“Of course. We don’t charge people for helping them when they are hurt.”

Kaz smiled hopefully back at the islander, and Kiyoharu bowed his head in thanks.

“Still, we owe you something for that and the food,” he said and started digging around in his bag. He pulled up something light brown and strangely shaped.

“Do you have any ginger out there?” he asked, holding out the root towards Toshiya who accepted it slowly with an incredulous look on his face.

“No, we don’t,” he said, sniffing the root and smiling happily.

“Just stuff it in a light soil somewhere warm, and it’ll grow to give you more,” Kiyoharu said. “We have lots of it. It’s one of the few spices we have, unfortunately.” His crooked smile indicated that he was growing tired of ginger, but Toshiya beamed at him and Satochi leaned over to drag a long breath, making a contented noise.

“Thank you. This is too much.”

Kiyoharu was just about to say something when a thunderclap in the distance made them all start and look up at the sky. The grey skies of the morning were quickly growing darker, and a drop of rain hit Toshiya’s cheek. He glared at the sky as if it was offending him, and then he looked at his friends, asking them their opinion without words. One after one, they gave their blessing with a short nod. Atsushi pursed his lips slightly but finally nodded, and the alpha turned back towards their three guests.

“It seems the weather is against us,” he said. “It usually shifts quickly around here. Soon we’ll be drenched, so I propose we move this meeting indoors.”

Kiyoharu blinked, and the three alphas looked at each other quickly. Then he smiled. “We thank you for the invitation and humbly accept.”

Chapter Text








. . . . .

They quickly gathered up their things and got ready. The boat lay heavy in the water on the way back with so many people on board, but they were soon back at the gates, their guests watching everything curiously. At Shuse’s shout, the grate opened slowly and they pulled into the dock. Ryo, Aki and Ruka greeted them and helped them tie up the boat and climb up on the docks, all the while eyeing the newcomers curiously. Everyone was polite but a little stiff, and it was clear to Toshiya that previous meetings with new people had made both groups a little jumpy.

Just as they reached the village, raindrops started falling heavily on their heads and hid the world in a grey and heavy veil. They didn’t see much as they made their way quickly through the rain into the big house, where their guests were led into the dining room. While they were shown to a table and Kuina was sent for dry towels, the group looked around appreciatively.

“You have a nice place. Thanks,” Kiyoharu smiled as he accepted a towel from the omega. Kuina was wide eyed and moved carefully around the alpha, but the newcomer just smiled gratefully at him and started drying his hair. Jun-ji came in and had a hushed conversation with Shuse, Atsushi and Toshiya, and then he nodded and left again, pulling his hood up before he went back out into the rain. Kiyoharu and Ju-ken eyed them a little, but didn’t say anything as Toshiya joined them at the table. The curly-headed islander hesitated a little before he made up his mind.

“We had to make sure you were the only ones here,” he explained. “We have been attacked before.”

“Ah, I see,” Kiyoharu said, nodding in understanding. “I assure you we are alone and have no intention of attacking you, but I understand your concern and appreciate your honesty.”

Toshiya bowed his head gratefully. He felt that if they were going to be friends with this new settlement, honesty was the key, from both parties. As more people filed into the room, the alphas seemed more and more surprised.

“You have a lot of omegas here,” Ju-ken offered. “More than we do. And there are even kids on the way,” he added, eyeing Kei who was leaning into Yukihiro’s side uncertainly. The alpha put his arm around the omega and kissed his hair, and Toshiya chuckled a little at the tender scene before he turned back to Ju-ken, who watched his reaction with one raised eyebrow. “Long story,” he smirked. “But yeah. We’ve got five kids here and a baby boom coming this fall. My son being one of them.” He smiled happily, and Ju-ken answered his smile warmly.

“Which one is your mate?” Kiyoharu asked, looking around the room at the omegas who were eyeing him suspiciously back. Toshiya looked around, but Shinya was nowhere to be seen. He closed his eyes for a second, feeling for the omega, and felt his presence to the right, up the stairs.

“He’s upstairs,” he said, opening his eyes. “Probably in the library.” He turned his head and saw Cazqui come through the door, stopping as he noticed the group at the table.

“Cazqui, would you please see if Shinya could come downstairs? I have something for him.” The omega nodded and backed out, still eyeing the alphas, and then disappeared up the stairs. While they waited, Jun-ji came back with their guards. The others had found protection under trees from the worst of the rain while on watch, but Aoi was drenched to the bone and looked less than happy as he stepped in. The frown turned into a mischievous smirk as Daichi ran up to him with a towel, starting to fuss over his alpha. A second later, the slim omega was wrapped in a very cold and wet hug, and the squeal that followed was hilarious to everyone but Daichi. Aoi earned himself a smack in the head for his little stunt, but his lover soon forgave him and the two withdrew to change into dry clothes (and quite possibly warm themselves up with a bit of physical exercise while they were at it).

Kaz, who had been sitting quietly the whole day, suddenly spoke and, by the look of it, surprised even his own friends.

“You seem to have a rather lax attitude between alphas and omegas,” he said.

Toshiya raised an eyebrow and looked at him quizzically. “We have,” he said. “We believe in equal rights for alphas and omegas. Everything here is voluntary, always.”

Kaz nodded, a small smile playing in the corner of his mouth. “Good,” he just said, and Toshiya tilted his head in question.

Kiyoharu chuckled. “He’s just thinking of his protégée. He picked up this kid on the road somewhere, a tiny little thing, so traumatized he won’t even speak. But he hangs around Kaz and looks up to him like he’s a god or something.”

Kaz huffed. “He’s not that tiny. Probably 18 or so, we don’t really know. But yeah, he needed help, so I took him in. It’s like he’s my adopted kid brother, I guess. He’s at home, but he was really upset to see me go. Maybe next time, I can bring him.” The careful hint that the alpha hoped for a next time made Toshiya smile.

“You’re welcome, the both of you,” he said. “We won’t hurt him, and we also have our share of traumatized omegas. You’ve already met Uta and Hikaru, but several of our omegas have been through tough times After. Our hope is that the memories will eventually fade here.” In the back of his mind he wondered why Kaz would bring his adopted baby brother instead of his mate, but then again, he wouldn’t want Shinya out on the roads again either.

Soft footsteps behind him and a familiar scent made Toshiya smile even before he had seen his mate. He turned his head to the omega, reaching up his hand to grab Shinya’s slim fingers on his shoulder. The pregnant omega came to stand next to him, hiding slightly behind him to keep a shield between himself and the unknown alphas.

“Hi baby,” Toshiya said and lifted Shinya’s hand to his lips for a quick kiss before he gestured to the alphas. “Shinya, this is Ju-ken, Kiyoharu and Kaz. They brought us something I think you will like.”

Shinya gave the alphas a shy smile and bowed quickly as well as he was able with the growing belly, and then looked curiously at his mate. The alpha’s eyes glittered as he reached into his bag. He loved to be able to surprise his lover like this, and he bit his lip to keep from smiling too much as he expectantly pulled out the ginger and held it out to the omega.

At first, Shinya just stared at it. Then he stared at Toshiya. Then he stared at the ginger again. At Toshiya. The ginger. Toshiya. Ginger. Toshiya. It took him a full minute to react, and when he did, he had to throw his hand over his mouth to muffle the surprised cry of delight. He delicately reached out for the ginger, holding it in his hand, sniffing it softly. Then he smiled, and it was as if the sun had broken through the clouds and lit up the entire world.

“Think you can put it in your new greenhouses?” Toshiya smiled, and was rewarded with a big kiss, before his omega nodded excitedly. Their guests watched the exchange with smirks on their lips, curiously looking at Shinya to see what their host’s mate was like.

“Look, Kai, we can grow ginger!” the omega exclaimed, and in his excitement he even forgot to blush at his uncharacteristic outburst. He held it out to show the cook, who came over to examine the root appreciatively.

“Great!” Kai flashed off his dimpled smile at their guests. “Thank you. It will make our meals even better in the future.” Kiyoharu bowed his head in acknowledgement, but Toshiya didn’t miss the flick of his eyes to Kaz.

“Tatsurou?” he asked out into the room, and a ‘yup’ behind his back told him the alpha was somewhere around the door. “Could you please have a look at Kaz here? He’s got a problem with his eye.” Kaz pulled down his glasses as Tatsurou approached, the nurse leaning down to quickly look over the swollen eye. Then he stood again, turning to his assistants.

“Kei, Tomo, could you get me some boiled water and a pinch of salt please?” The nurse turned back to the short alpha.

“Hi, I’m Tatsurou, and I’ll be your nurse today,” he quipped, smiling at Kaz. “Would you like to step into my office?” He swept his arm towards the hallway, and Kaz chuckled a bit and got to his feet.

“As long as you don’t pour boiling water in my eye and then fill it with salt, sure,” he joked.

Tatsurou chuckled. “I make no promises,” he deadpanned and guided the alpha towards the door. Kaz shot a look over his shoulder at his friends before he disappeared out the door and turned right, down the hallway into the sickroom.

. . . . .

In a corner, as far away from the newcomers as possible, Ruki was locked firmly in Kyo’s arms. He pressed himself into his mate as he glowered at the new alphas, trying to determine if they were the same type as Gackt. Kyo was a little on edge, watching the alphas closely and holding Ruki protectively to him. Around them, everyone was speaking with hushed voices, glancing at the group as they sat talking to Toshiya. When it was time for Ruki to start setting the tables for dinner, Kyo reluctantly let go of him and then watched the strangers as a hawk while Ruki walked in circles around the table where the group sat. Eventually, Hiyuu took on the task to set that specific table, and everyone held their breaths while absolutely nothing happened. Kiyoharu was talking to Toshiya and just leaned out of the way so Hiyuu could set the plate before him, and Ju-ken simply nodded his thanks to the omega. A collective deep breath was released when Hiyuu was done, and walked back to the kitchen on somewhat shaky legs, Hiro following his mate in.

Kuina stood next to Minase, who had followed Jun-ji’s order to stay put in the dining room while they met the newcomers. They were leaning against the wall as they watched the alphas.

“Do you think they’re nice guys?” Kuina whispered, Minase frowning as he thought about it.

“I don’t know. Probably. Toshiya seems to like them, and they don’t give me those ‘asshole’ vibes that Gackt did. I hope so.” He looked at the omega. “Are you scared?”

Kuina shrugged, looking a little embarrassed. “Not scared exactly, but… I’m not about to trust them just yet. They could be pretending. It’s not like we know them.”

“Yeah, you’re right. But let’s hope it’s true, that there are others, I mean. Can you imagine? If they’re alive, and we are… There could be more out there. Maybe not all is lost then.”

Kuina smiled, looking at Minase with an incredulous look in his eyes. “How can you be so positive after everything? Don’t get me wrong, I like it. It’s just, after Gackt and everything…”

The alpha shrugged, but smiled back at the omega. “I don’t know, I guess I feel like there is hope again now that he is gone. We found this place, and my friends are happy, and I… I just like to think everything is possible from now on.”

He gave Kuina an almost shy look and smile, before he turned to continue watching the group. The omega swallowed, trying to ignore that flicker of something in his chest. Instead he followed Minase’s lead and watched in silence.

. . . . .

Tora was having one of his “no” days, where he wouldn’t do anything that was asked of him. Miya looked down at his son, who was standing with his arms crossed over his chest, mimicking the adults.

“Tora, take your shoes off, they’re wet,” he tried again, and was greeted with a pout and a vigorous shake to the head.


He sighed, looking helplessly at Masa who smiled and gave him a quick kiss to the cheek.

“Go on, I’ve got this,” he said, turning back to his son. Miya watched as his mate started to skillfully get the boy to agree it was better to be indoors without wet shoes on. Sometimes he really felt like a bad father. He was no good at dealing with his son’s mood swings, while Masa was an expert at getting the boy to happily do whatever his bearer wanted. He wanted his son to look up to him, he wanted to raise him right, but he felt like right now the only one who mattered to Tora was Masa. They had discussed it, and Masa assured him he was being silly, that Tora loved him, that it was just a phase. Still, it kind of hurt. He sighed again, turning into the dining room, his mind still on his family as he pulled a hand through his rain soaked hair.

“Hello, cousin.”

The words made him stop mid step. He knew that voice. He slowly took his hand from his hair and looked up to see his friends sitting at a table with two new alphas. Oh my god. Was that really…?

“Ju-ken!” he exclaimed, a large grin spreading on his face. “You’re alive! And here!”

The alpha laughed and while everyone else stared in surprise at the two, he got up from his chair and took the few steps over to Miya. The two cousins threw their arms around each other in a tight hug, both laughing.

“I am, and so are you. Look at you!” Ju-ken said, squeezing one more time before he let go, his hands still on Miya’s shoulders. The two looked each other over, taking in the fact that the other was actually there and ok.

“You look good, cousin,” Ju-ken said, a warm smile lighting up his face. Then, the smile faded a little as he nervously looked around the room. “Is Masa…?” he asked, quietly and hesitantly.

At that moment, Tora came running into the room at full speed only to stop in the middle of the floor and stare at the stranger who was standing next to his dad. Behind him, Masa came in, also stopping to stare at Ju-ken for a heartbeat. Then he smiled brightly in surprise, happy to see his mate’s cousin alive and well. Ju-ken relaxed at the sight of the omega and grinned widely in relief. Then, he looked down at Tora, squatting down to get to the boy’s level.

“Hi there,” he said, smiling at the boy.

Tora’s eyes were huge as he stared at Ju-ken, and suddenly he lunged towards his dad, hugging his leg tightly and pressing his face against him. Miya looked down in surprise, but then he chuckled and reached down for the boy. Once up in his arms, Tora snuggled into his chest, his little arm thrown around Miya’s neck as he eyed the stranger suspiciously. Ju-ken laughed and stood back up.

“Hey, Tora, this is uncle Ju-ken. He’s nice. Won’t you say hello?” Miya tried.

“No!” Tora exclaimed and hid his face against his father’s shoulder. Miya looked apologetically at his cousin, who shrugged and smiled.

“Tora, huh? I like that name.”

Masa came up and hugged the alpha, smiling. “We let Tatsurou name him, as thanks for helping him into this world.”

“Really? The nurse?” Ju-ken looked between the two mates questioningly.

“Yup, him,” Miya said. “He saved my baby’s life. Both of my babies, actually.” He smiled at Masa and reached out his free hand to caress the omega’s cheek, before he looked back at the tall alpha. “And how are you? You look good.”

“I’m fine,” Ju-ken smiled and turned to Masa. “But look at you – number two on the way!”

He was about to continue when a small hand carefully reached out to tug at his braided beard.

“Tora!” Miya reprimanded, mortified, and his son quickly drew back his hand and hid against him again. Ju-ken just laughed.

“It’s a nice braid, isn’t it?” he smiled at the boy. Tora eyed him warily, but slowly nodded. “Don’t you think your dad should get one just like it?” Ju-ken continued, and the three year old lit up, looking between the new alpha and his dad as he nodded vigorously.

“Oh no, don’t give them any ideas, either of them,” Masa chuckled. “There is no way that is happening.”

“What?” Miya joked, “I thought you said you’d love me no matter what I looked like!”

Masa smirked and poked his side. “I’d love you, I just wouldn’t look at you.”

“Hey! Are you hating on the beard?” Ju-ken exclaimed, throwing his chin forward so that the beard pointed at Masa. They were about to continue their friendly banter when Toshiya broke in.

“Cousins, huh?”

Miya turned to Toshiya, smiling apologetically. “Sorry, I got so exited I forgot to introduce you. Yes, Ju-ken is my cousin on my dad’s side. We lived about an hour away from each other by car. I thought he was dead.” He turned back to his cousin in disbelief, shaking his head slightly.

“And I thought you guys were dead! Especially with Masa being pregnant and all.” Ju-ken looked to Masa with a look of wonder on his face.

“Well, it was a close call,” Masa admitted, “but we made it.”

The tension in the room was significantly lower now. Seeing the happy reunion told both sides that the others had at least some good people on their roster, and everyone visibly relaxed. Kaz and Tatsurou reappeared, Kei and Tomo in tow. Kaz had an eye patch on, which to the children’s delight made him look a bit like a pirate. Tora soon got over his shyness and ran around the room with Shou, the two ramping each other up into full speed, while Hiroto and Saga were still uncertainly clinging to their bearers. Tatsuya was in a whiny mood, a tooth starting to break out, and he cried until Tsuzuku excused himself, wrapped up some dinner to go and went to their cottage to try to get the boy to sleep.

Dinner was delicious as usual, and Kai got his fair share of praise from their guests. They spent dinner keeping away from serious subjects, Ju-ken, Miya and Masa catching up and talking happily while Kiyoharu, Kaz, Toshiya and Atsushi mostly listened. After dinner, they all helped clear the tables and continued with the small talk for a while, getting to know each other better.

The evening was soon dwindling down, everyone tired after a long tense day. The guests were given futons to sleep on in the library, since no other rooms were available at the moment. For once, Aki and Jun-ji stayed the night in their boyfriends’ rooms at the big house. It was made to look casual, but it was clear that they were there to ensure the safety of the omegas, and all the doors to omega bedrooms were firmly locked. Uruha suggested that a third alpha would make them feel even safer, maybe for example Shuse could stay with Tomo who had an empty bed in his room? But since they had a finite number of beds and Aryu was already forced to leave his room, it was decided that Uta would sleep in Cazqui’s room and Aryu would room with Tomo for the night. Shuse would take a nightly round of the house instead, to make sure everything was ok.

Ryoga certainly didn’t mind the arrangement in the least, pulling Aki with him to bed quickly, and Kazuki snuggled up to Jun-ji with a happy sigh. Actual knotting was out of the question, in case something would happen so the alphas needed to move quickly. But that didn’t rule out touching, kissing, licking or sucking, and the couples made sure to enjoy their bonus night together despite the seriousness of the issue that brought them there.

Eventually, the house grew quiet, and the only sound that could be heard was a gentle snoring from Cazqui’s room.

. . . . .

“Hey, dad, did you notice something today?” Masa said as he clambered into bed somewhat clumsily and made himself comfortable under the blankets, yawning widely.

“What?” Miya leaned down to give his sleeping son a kiss before he joined his mate, snuggling down beside him and putting his hand on the round belly.

“When Tora met someone new and scary, he didn’t run to me. He ran to you, even though you were closer to the danger.” Masa smiled affectionately at Miya’s dumbfounded expression. The alpha looked over at his son, sleeping soundly in his small bed, and then back at his mate.

“I guess I do matter to him after all, then,” he said, smiling sheepishly.

“Of course you do, stupid. I’m glad you finally realized.”

Miya just grinned and pulled his mate in for a tight hug. “I love you two so much,” he said. Masa kissed him in response and made a content sound as he snuggled down in his mate’s arms. He yawned again, quickly approaching sleep.

“Babe?” Miya’s voice was hesitant and low.


“Ju-ken told me something after dinner, while you were clearing the dishes. He wasn’t sure whether to tell you or not, if you wanted to know, but… I think you do, even if it will stir up painful memories.”

Masa was wide awake now, worried eyes turned to Miya. “What’s wrong?”

The alpha sighed, giving his mate a squeeze before he spoke. “It’s… your father. He’s alive, and staying in the other settlement.”

The news couldn’t have been more shocking. Masa stared with unseeing eyes, trying to take in the words and failing. He felt his mind go completely blank for a second before it slowly rebooted and told him the news all over again. His father, the one who had been most against him and Miya being together. Who had shunned his son when he chose to mate too soon for his father’s liking. Who had barely spoken to him once he got pregnant, letting his mate take care of the contact with their son. He was alive, and living only a few weeks’ walk away. No, this wasn’t happening. It couldn’t be. The omega let out an involuntary whimper and buried his face against his mate’s chest, shaking his head. Miya caressed him in silence, just letting the truth sink in. After a long while, he drew back a little and tilted Masa’s chin up a little to look at him.

“How are you, sweetie?” he whispered, concern and sadness in his eyes.

“Stunned,” Masa whispered back. He felt too brittle for loud noises, like he would shatter at any moment. Father is alive.

“Did he say anything about my…?” The words trailed off into nothing.

“It’s just your father. I’m sorry.” Miya kissed him softly on the forehead, gently sweeping the hair from the omega’s face. “I hope I did right in telling you?”

“Yeah. Yeah, you did. I mean… It’s… overwhelming, I guess. Shocking. Weird. I mean, father. After all the hurt we’ve been through because of him. All the pain he caused me, caused us, just because he wouldn’t accept that we loved each other. And still…”

“And still, he’s your father,” Miya offered, hugging his mate tightly. “And he’s alive.”

Masa just blinked away tears. He rarely cried, preferring to keep his feelings within. It was a result of growing up with a stern father who thought tears were a weakness. It had taken him years to be able to cry even in front of Miya, and to do it in front of others were not even a possibility. But if anything was cause enough for tears, this was, and he clung to his alpha, letting him comfort him with kisses and warm arms wrapped around him.

“Ju-ken asked if I thought you would like him to tell your father you’re alive or not,” Miya said quietly. Masa shivered, still in shock.

“I don’t know,” he whispered.

“Think about it. You don’t have to decide tonight. We can talk about it tomorrow, and you can decide before he leaves again. Is that ok?”

Masa nodded, beyond words now, and Miya just pulled him closer, wrapping himself around the omega as a protective shell. Still, Masa stayed awake for hours, shivering in his mate’s arms, before he fell into a restless sleep.

Chapter Text

Uta woke up early, turning around to see Cazqui on his back, snoring soundly. He sighed and pulled a pillow over his head to drown out the sound. Who would’ve thought Cazqui could be so loud? Was that what had woken him up? No, he realized, when he felt a pressing feeling in his lower abdomen. Damn. He needed to pee. Bad. But there were alphas downstairs. It was safer to stay here. But he really needed to go. Surely, he would be able to sneak past the strangers without anything happening, right? His bladder reminded him once again that he had no choice in the matter. With a grimace he quietly slipped out of bed and pulled some clothes on. He unlocked the door and snuck outside without waking his friend, closing the door quietly behind him.

And then he stopped in surprise. On the floor, Atsushi sat leaned against the wall and watched him with tired eyes. Uta blinked at him, stunned to silence.

“Sorry if I scared you,” Atsushi whispered quietly so he wouldn’t wake anyone up. “I just figured you’d feel a bit uneasy with three alphas sleeping in the library just one floor below you. So I thought I’d keep watch. Just in case, you know.”

Uta was speechless. He really was. It was utterly sweet. And a little creepy. But mostly sweet. He didn’t know what to say, how to thank the alpha for looking out for him, so he settled for the simple truth.

“I need to pee,” he whispered.

Atsushi smiled, looking somewhat amused by the response, but got up from the floor and stretched his stiff muscles. And then he bowed with a flourish, showing the way to the stairs. Uta couldn’t figure out whether the alpha was joking or mocking him, and he peered suspiciously at the major but just followed him quietly. As he descended the stairs, the alpha’s back in front of him felt reassuring. No one would jump out at him while Atsushi took the lead. He felt the alpha’s scent clearly, a mixture of sweat, leather, musk and a spicy tinge that was only Atsushi’s. For some strange reason, the scent of an alpha didn’t freak him out. It should have, the musky alphaness alone should have had him running in panic, but it didn’t. It was strange, and a little scary, but mostly confusing.

Atsushi had always been there for him. He had never hurt him, he had protected him when he needed it and he knew to keep a certain distance between them whenever they talked so that Uta wouldn’t feel crowded. But he was still an alpha, and so, he couldn’t be trusted.

The omega was pulled out of his musings when he bumped into Atsushi’s back suddenly, the alpha having stopped without warning at the bottom step. Uta followed his gaze, tense and afraid all of a sudden. He unconsciously gripped the alpha’s upper arm to steady himself, as he saw what the major was looking at through the window. Out on the stairs, with the door closed between them, they saw Kiyoharu’s messy hair fall over his shoulders as he looked out over their village.

“Wait here,” the major said, taking a step forward. Uta’s whimper and firm grip on his arm stopped him, and he turned around to look at the omega questioningly.

“Please, don’t leave me here all alone. The others…” Big dark eyes looked pleadingly at Atsushi, and the alpha sighed, pulling a hand through his hair. The white streaks on his temples spread out into the black and glistened in the early morning light, as he thought about it for a second. And then he nodded, raising his hand to give Uta’s hand on his arm a quick squeeze.

“Stay behind me,” he said, Uta nodding quietly and biting his lip.

When the door opened, Kiyoharu turned his head towards it and quietly watched as the two stepped outside into the misty morning. A moment of silence while their eyes met, and then the alpha nodded in greeting, before raising a cigarette to his lips and taking a long drag. He closed his eyes as he blew the smoke out through his mouth and nose, savouring it. Then his eyes opened again and he smiled, a tiny satisfied smile, before he reached out to offer Atsushi the cigarette.

“Thanks, but no. I don’t smoke.”

Kiyoharu shrugged and put the cigarette back between his lips, taking a final drag before he put it out and put the stub in a crumpled packet.

“There aren’t many left, you know, so it’s a hard habit to keep up. But still, sometimes, it’s the best thing in the world. A chilly morning, quiet, calm, and the taste of tobacco in your mouth.” He smirked, the smile seemed turned inwards more than at the two islanders, and then he shook his head as if to clear it. “I’m sorry. Was it wrong of me to come out here on my own? I tried to be quiet so I wouldn’t wake anyone up.”

Atsushi pursed his lips, one eyebrow raised, as he thought about it. Well, the alpha hadn’t done anything wrong that he knew of. Taking a smoke wasn’t a crime, and they hadn’t set up any rules for the alphas apart from locking the doors to rooms they weren’t allowed in (such as the sickroom – in case they would steal the medicine and make a run for it).

“No, it’s fine,” he said finally. “I hope you’ve slept ok?”

“I did, thank you. I’m a morning person, though, so if it’s ok with you, I’d like to just sit out here for a while longer before I go wake up the sleepy heads up there.”

With a quick nod, the major turned to herd a quiet and wide-eyed Uta down the stairs and over the lawn. He stood a bit off with his back to the privy while Uta took care of business. When the omega stepped out and came up to him, he smiled.

“Feel better?”

Uta nodded and swallowed, biting his lip. “Thanks. For… keeping watch tonight, and… taking me out to visit the graves, and… for protecting me…” The major felt stunned as the omega’s words got quieter and quieter before it ended in a quiet mumble. Uta was looking down now, hiding behind his hair and wringing his hands shyly.

“No need to thank me. I said I’d be there for you, didn’t I? No matter what.” He finally managed to get the words out, and his heart clenched as the slim omega’s gaze lifted to meet his. For a moment, they just stood still, watching each other, and then Atsushi swallowed and smiled a little awkwardly.

“Come on, let’s get you back to the house. It’s still a bit chilly in the mornings.”

Uta nodded and followed him quietly to the house, not another word uttered on the way. Kiyoharu still sat on the stairs, leaned towards the wall, and watched them approach. Uta quietly slipped in through the front door, while the major hung back for a moment on the stairs where he could keep an eye on the alpha. Through the kitchen window, he could see Yo-Ka and Hikaru getting things ready for breakfast, and Nao came walking towards the house over the lawn to join in on the morning’s chores, yawning widely. Soon the house was bustling with people who wanted breakfast, and the two alphas left the stairs to walk inside without another word being uttered between them.

. . . . .

Breakfast was soon over and cleared out, and the two groups sat down to talk business. Toshiya had called in Kaoru, Tatsurou, Kai, Atsushi and Reo to be the representatives for the island.

“I’m guessing you came here for a reason, something other than just curiosity,” Toshiya said.

Kiyoharu nodded. “While it’s nice to know we’re not alone, you are right. We were hoping we had something to barter, some way to help each other.”

“What did you have in mind?” Kaoru asked, sitting on Toshiya’s right side.

“We figured we’d see what we have to offer each other, and go from there. But I doubt you would be willing to let us borrow the one thing we need the most. We would hate to lose any more omegas and babies in childbirth.” Kiyoharu’s eyes flicked towards Tatsurou.

Toshiya sighed, and Tatsurou looked troubled. “With all of our pregnant omegas, it would be very troublesome if Tatsurou wasn’t here,” he started, Kiyoharu nodding sadly. “However,” Toshiya continued, “if it’s ok with Tatsurou, you could bring your pregnant omegas here. They could stay here for the birthing, and go back home once they were strong enough to travel again.”

The alphas were startled by the suggestion, looking between Toshiya and Tatsurou. The nurse smiled and nodded. “Of course it would be ok with me. I wouldn’t feel ok knowing there are people who need me that I can’t help.” Kiyoharu blinked, looking to his friends as he softly answered.

“It is very generous of you. However, I think it will have to be something we bring home to discuss with our leader and the council first. It would be a leap of faith for us to entrust a settlement full of strangers with the most precious thing we have.” He threw Toshiya an apologetic look, but the alpha just smiled his crooked grin.

“I understand,” he said. “Take the offer with you, think about it and decide with your people. And we can talk about a trade-off. Maybe the omegas’ mates can come and work here for us, helping with building, until the baby has come? That would make it a fair trade, do you not agree? But we can discuss that more in detail later. There must be more things we have to offer each other.”

Kiyoharu smiled and nodded. The rest of the day was spent discussing different options, adding their different wishes and needs into the mix and trying to weigh favor against favor without compromising anyone’s safety. Kiyoharu finally dared reveal that their settlement was at a former ski resort, so they had plenty of living space but no natural protection around the compound and had to rely on guards. One of the things they needed were ideas for protection, and knowledge of how to build it. The islanders in turn wanted more people who could build cottages, and among other things wanted more plants and seeds, both medicinal and for food. They were amazed to hear the other settlers had a few goats, two horses and hens, and the possibility of exchanging chickens later to increase the genetic diversity was brought up. As of yet, their relationship was too new to make promises of any kind, but both sides felt invigorated by the prospects of what they could offer each other.

When it was time for their lunch break, Shuse pulled Atsushi and Toshiya aside.

“There’s someone out there. An omega, we think, judging by his size. We saw him this morning after breakfast for the first time. At first we thought there were more, that they were preparing an attack, but it seems it’s just him. He stays away, hiding from us when we get too close, but he won’t leave either.”

Toshiya furrowed his brows, a bit concerned. “What is he doing? Is he trying to get here but is too scared to approach?”

“I don’t think so. It’s weird. He’s just watching us. Every time we try to approach or try to talk to him, he runs and hides, and then when we retreat he comes back again.”

Atsushi and Toshiya shared a glance. “He doesn’t seem hostile then?” the major asked. Shuse gave a small shrug and made a face that said ‘probably not’.

“Take an omega or two with you. See if they can talk to him and get him to come out,” Toshiya said, Atsushi nodding approvingly. While they sat down to eat with their guests, Shuse went to talk to Cazqui, who nodded and also pointed to Tomo. After lunch, the three left with Aki, Kyo and Aoi, while in the dining room, negotiations started up again.

. . . . .

“Have you thought any more about what we talked about last night?” Miya asked as he watched their son run ahead of them up to the big house for dinner. His mate’s hand clenched a bit in his, and he lifted the smaller hand to his lips, pressing a soft kiss of comfort on the slender fingers.

Masa sighed. “I have, but it’s too hard. I mean, all the things he said and did. I just can’t… I’m happy he’s alive, I am, but he’s… He’s not my father anymore. Not after everything. He shunned me. Left me without him, without the both of them, for years. That’s not what a father does.” He leaned into his mate’s side, and Miya let go of his hand to put his arm around the omega’s shoulder, pressing a kiss to his forehead. He understood, he really did. Masa had been heartbroken when his father had decided that his son was no longer welcome at his house after he had mated Miya. It wasn’t as much the mating, Miya thought, it was that Masa had gone against his father’s wishes and let love steer his heart instead. But it didn’t really matter why, simce it meant the omega was cut off from both his parents and more or less that whole side of the family for years. It had been difficult, and Miya had been happy that his side of the family had been easier to handle. Not that there was much of it, Ju-ken and a few more cousins were the only ones living in the vicinity and visiting regularly. The rest of the family lived far away, and they didn’t really talk that often. But at least they accepted their relationship without comment, and Ju-ken had been very supportive.

After a long silence, when they had almost reached the stairs, Masa spoke again. “He’s not my father. But he’s Tora’s grandfather. And I don’t want my son, or his brother-to-be, to be deprived of the only family we have left. I don’t know. Is that strange?” He looked up at his mate with pained eyes, and Miya caressed his cheek softly.

“Not at all. I understand, and I will stand by you no matter what you choose.” Masa sighed again, and nodded. Tora was struggling with the door, too short to reach the knob properly. Masa smiled tiredly, and went to help his son, the subject dropped for now.

. . . . .

“It didn’t work. He still stays away. Cazqui and Tomo came to talk to him, but he wasn’t interested in hearing them out either. We got a better look at him though, he looks really young. Pretty, but with some sort of wild look I can’t figure out. We left some food there for him, and a blanket just in case.” Shuse looked troubled. He didn’t like having an omega out on his own in the woods, not when they could offer him help, and it was frustrating not to be able to reach him.

Toshiya wasn’t happy about it either, but he didn’t think trying to force the omega was the way to go. He had to want to come. Maybe the food they left would do the trick?

“We’ll just have to try again tomorrow,” he said, sighing as he went back into the dining room for dinner. His frown soon dissipated when Shinya appeared at his side, snuggling up to him, grumbling at how the belly was getting in the way. After some hugging, the omega let himself be guided to the table, and Toshiya went to get him his dinner. The omega was blushing under Kiyoharu’s curious gaze, and sighed in relief when his alpha came back with his plate and sat down next to him. Toshiya couldn’t help how his heart skipped a beat when he looked into his mate’s dark eyes, and he leaned over for a quick kiss. He felt Shinya lean into him, seeking comfort and strength, and he smiled as he caressed his cheek.

“I love you,” he whispered gently into his lover’s ear, enjoying Shinya’s answering blush. When he turned back to their company, he met Kiyoharu’s eyes, the alpha smirking at them in a friendly way.

“I miss Gara even more now,” he smiled. “I can’t wait to be home again so I can see him.”

Toshiya grinned, but was distracted from speaking by Kaz who was frowning and squirming in his seat. He turned towards the window, looking out into the evening, looking restless and uncomfortable.

“Is something wrong?” the islander asked, everyone’s attention suddenly directed at Kaz. At first the short alpha didn’t seem to notice, looking out the window. When he realized everyone was watching him, he flinched and shook his head.

“Uhm… No. I just… I have this odd feeling about my mate,” he started uncertainly.

“Is something wrong? Is he hurt?” Kiyoharu and Ju-ken looked suddenly worried, but Kaz shook his head.

“No, he’s fine, I think. I just feel him so strongly. I guess I kind of thought the bond would fade with distance, even if I’d always feel him. But it’s been pretty strong all the way here, and now… It almost feels just like it does at home.” He shrugged. “But I don’t know, I’ve never been far away from my mate before, so it might be normal, I don’t know.”

Miya and Masa exchanged a glance, and then the alpha cleared his throat a little and grimaced. “Actually, you do feel it. The discomfort grows with distance, and it gets kind of itchy if you’re too far away for too long.” Kaz looked at him in surprise, but Masa nodded in agreement.

“That’s why I used to hate when he went away on business trips,” he said, looking at Miya. “One night wasn’t so bad, but more than that was really uncomfortable.”

Kaz looked worried all of a sudden. “So you’re saying I shouldn’t feel him this much?” he asked, a little hesitantly, glancing out the window again. And that’s when Toshiya realized. Oh crap.

“Your mate is here,” he said, everyone staring at him in surprise. “There’s an omega over on the other shore. He won’t let anyone near, not even our omegas, but he won’t leave either. We left food and a blanket for him, and thought we’d try again tomorrow. He’s very young though. Sound like it could be your mate?”

Kaz groaned, hiding his face in his hands. “You little shit,” he mumbled, sighing. “Yeah, that’d be him. Figures he couldn’t stay at home and wait for me.” Toshiya’s eyes narrowed at hearing what Kaz called his mate, and Miya and Atsushi stared at the alpha angrily. Before anyone could speak though, Kiyoharu intervened, realizing what their host’s suddenly dark face meant.

“They’re not mates like that,” he blurted out, Kaz raising his head to look at him confusedly. And then it dawned on him what was happening, and he hurried to explain.

“We’re not lovers,” he said, looking around the table. “He’s the guy I told you about, my protégée or kid brother or whatever.”

“Why would you mate your brother?” Atsushi spat, his eyes hard as steel.

Kaz sighed. “Listen, I found him when he was just a kid. He was almost catatonic, and he wouldn’t eat, and I couldn’t get him to walk or even stand. I don’t know what happened to him, but he was traumatized, and it was like he had just given up. And I couldn’t just leave him there, he was just a kid for god’s sake. And I had tried everything I could think of, so I thought… Maybe the bite would give him something to focus on, give him some of my strength. It was that or let him die, and I couldn’t…” He sighed, shaking his head at the memory. “So I bit him, and it worked. He got better, and he started eating and walking, and he’s functioning again. Well, mostly. He’s acting out sometimes, doing really weird things, stupid things, dangerous. He’s a handful, always gets himself into trouble. He still won’t speak, and I don’t know anything about him, not even his name. I finally just called him Ototo, so I can call for him. But I kind of became his lifeline, and I am ok with that if it means he’s still alive. I don’t regret what I did.” He met the islanders’ stares with determination, and Toshiya found himself believing Kaz’ story. He wanted to meet this omega to see his side of the story before he decided what to think, though.

“Shall we go get him then? See what he says?” he offered, and Kaz nodded slowly.

“Yeah. If he’s been sleeping in the woods alone after that rain, he’s probably pretty cold. I’m gonna kill him if he gets pneumonia because he couldn’t just wait for me at home.” The lopsided grin showed he was joking, but Atsushi frowned just the same.

“You two stay here,” he said sternly and pointed at their other two guests, and after a quick glance between them, Ju-ken and Kiyoharu nodded. Toshiya quickly waved Shuse over and they made the necessary arrangements, Kaz following quietly as they made their way to the docks.

Chapter Text

“Ototo! Ototo!”

Kaz stood on the shore with his back to the boat, where the islanders waited. In the dying light, the forest was black, the shadows long and deep. There was no movement as the alphas watched, the seconds ticking by. Kaz was getting annoyed, tapping his foot slightly.

“Ototo, damn it! Don’t think I can’t feel you! Get your ass out here. Now!

A few more seconds of silence, and then the bushes rustled to their right. A small omega stepped out, looking sulky. Kaz glowered at him.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing? You were supposed to stay at home! I told you I’d come back.”

The omega made a face and looked away, ignoring his mate. He was shivering badly in the cold, despite the blanket around his shoulders and the hood pulled up over his head, and the pitiful sight made Kaz anger die down a bit. He took a step forward and opened his arms to the youngster.

“Come here, you little brat. You’re cold.”

The omega glanced at him, trying to assess how much trouble he was in, before he warily sidled up to the alpha and slowly leaned into his touch, carefully eyeing the alpha’s mood. Kaz sighed and pulled the boy into his arms, hugging him tightly for a moment before he started rubbing his back. The youngster leaned into his mate, quietly seeking comfort, until Kaz stepped back and turned to the boat.

“Come on, let’s get you back there, you little shit. We need to get you warm. Do you have any idea how dangerous this was?”

And the scolding went on as he led the omega back to the boat and helped him in, wrapping the boy in his arms as the islanders pushed the boat out and set course for the docks once again.

. . . . .

Everyone was still in the dining room when the group returned, all eyes following the smaller figure wrapped in a blanket. He still had the hood pulled up over his head, hiding his face, and Kaz held his arm around the youngster while he rubbed his shoulder to warm him up. Tatsurou had had Kai prepare some hot flower tea for the boy, and the omega quickly accepted the cup and wrapped his hands around it, shivering a little. The boy bowed shortly to Kiyoharu, who raised an eyebrow but didn’t say anything.

“Hey Ototo. Having an adventure, are you?” Ju-ken smirked, and the youngster glared at him before he sat down next to Kaz. He scooted closer to the alpha, leaning his head on his mentor’s shoulder as he sipped his tea.

Toshiya studied his face, or what he could see of it from under the hood. He was very young, younger even than Hikaru from the look of it. He had a lot of dark makeup on, smudged and heavy around the eyes, and a whole bunch of piercings. He was pretty despite his sulking, his pout growing as Kaz was still scolding him for not waiting at home.

“What if something had happened to you while I was over here and couldn’t reach you in time? Did you even think about that?” Kaz grumbled, looking down at the youngster with a frown, but the omega just ignored him and sipped his tea. Once the cup was empty, he had finally stopped shivering, and a slim hand reached up to pull the hood down. He met Toshiya’s stare head on, and then quickly ignored him to look around.

The squeak that followed silenced the room.

. . . . .

Koichi held his hand over his mouth. His loud squeak had surprised everyone and all talk ceased, but he didn’t notice. He just stared, his mind trying to grasp what he was seeing. Hazuki was worriedly wrapping his arm around the omega, pulling him close and looking between his mate and the newcomer. Meanwhile, Tsuzuku had gotten up, taking a few steps out onto the floor. Reo sat with Tatsuya in his lap, staring in confusion and alarm at his mate.

“Meto?” Tsuzuku whispered, his raspy voice barely audible. Reo and Hazuki both gaped, eyeing each other and their mates. The omega in question, however, looked at the two omegas without any recognition in his eyes. He looked confused and scared, more than anything, and leaned into Kaz.

For a few heartbeats, everyone was just quiet, staring at each other. And then Tsuzuku took another step towards the omega, reaching out his hand pleadingly.

“Meto?” he tried again, his eyes filling up with tears when the newcomer only frowned and hid against his mate. Kaz threw his arm around the boy’s shoulders, looking just as confused as everyone else.

“Honey, I don’t think it’s him,” Reo started, getting up and hoisting Tatsuya onto his hip as he walked over to his lover.

“Yes it is! He’s gotten piercings and stuff, but it’s him!” Koichi got up from his seat. “Meto, please! Don’t you recognize us?” He was shaking with emotion, fighting to get the words out. Hazuki wrapped his arms around him from behind, looking anxiously between his lover and the young omega. “Baby, are you really sure…” he mumbled, uncertainly.

Tsuzuku turned to Kaz, staring at him. “When you found him, what was he wearing? What did he look like?” The alpha blinked, holding the boy close to him as he shook his head, trying to remember.

“Did he have a brown teddy bear? Torn, with a purple button for one eye?” Koichi whispered the words, trembling badly. Kaz eyes snapped to the pink-haired omega, and he stared for a second, jaw hanging.

“Yeah,” he said, stunned. “He did. He’s still got it.” He looked down at his mate who was looking uncomfortable, his shoulders hunched down and his eyes darting uncertainly between everyone staring at him. He was clearly mystified by what was happening.

Koichi swallowed, breathing heavily through the tears falling down his cheeks. “Ruana? Do you remember Ruana, Meto? Your teddybear?”

The omega blinked, and then his face contorted in fear and he hid his face in Kaz’ chest again, his shoulders shaking. The alpha frowned. “I think he needs a moment to calm down,” he said, eyeing Toshiya who nodded quickly.

“Of course. Is the library ok?”

Kaz nodded and got up on his feet, gently pulling the omega with him. The youngster clung to the short alpha, and it was with a certain amount of trouble Kaz managed to steer him towards the stairs. Once they were gone, everyone was still confused and a bit shocked. Koichi and Tsuzuku were both crying into their mates’ chests, Tatsuya starting to cry as well when he sensed his bearer’s distress. Koichi was mumbling ‘It’s him, I know it is, why doesn’t he recognize me?’ over and over while Hazuki caressed his hair and held him close, making soothing sounds.

Ju-ken and Kiyoharu looked just as uncomfortable and surprised as everyone else. Everyone looked to Toshiya, who sighed deeply.

“I think we've had enough excitement for one night,” he said, looking around at the tired faces. “Let’s take this evening to calm down and relax, and we can discuss this further after breakfast.”

Their guests nodded, and slowly, the room emptied. As the previous night, Aki and Jun-ji stayed with their lovers in the big house, and Atsushi took up his position on the floor outside Uta’s room without a comment from anyone. Satochi made eyes at Cazqui, hinting to his cabin, now that he knew Atsushi wasn’t going to stay there. Cazqui was torn for a moment between the prospect of getting to sleep in his boyfriend’s bed the entire night for the first time, and discomfort at leaving Uta alone in his room. Uta waved him off, telling his friend that he would lock the door, and besides, he had a personal guard outside, didn’t he? (He didn’t say that he would be saved from Cazqui’s snoring. Not aloud.) He watched Cazqui bound off quite happily down the stairs, exited about staying with Satochi. Before Uta closed the door behind him, he met Atsushi’s eyes for a moment. Strange how I don’t feel creeped out by him sitting right there. He bit his lip, blinking at the major, without a clue of just how cute he looked doing it, or of what it was doing to the alpha. When the door closed and the lock clicked, Atsushi’s head hit the wall heavily as he closed his eyes and took a deep breath, fighting down his emotions as best he could. It would be a long night.

. . . . .

Tatsurou stayed behind to check on Koichi and Tsuzuku before he let their mates lead them home. The omegas were reluctant to leave, but eventually they let themselves be persuaded to rest until the morning, and let the one they called Meto do the same. Tatsurou watched their backs as they disappeared into the evening, before he closed the door behind them and turned to the stairs.

“Aren’t you coming?” Kaoru’s question brought him out of his thoughts, and he smiled tiredly at his lover who had appeared in the open door to the dining room.

“In a minute. I want to check on the little omega as well, if they’ll let me.” He leaned over to kiss Kaoru, and for a moment they just stood close, their arms around each other, forehead to forehead.

“Can I come?” Kaoru mumbled eventually, letting his fingers caress his lover’s cheek gently. “I don’t want to leave you alone with strangers.”

The nurse smiled crookedly, before he stepped back and nodded. “Sure, if it’s ok with them. But stay in the background so we don’t scare the omega more than necessary.”

Kaoru nodded, and followed his boyfriend up the stairs to the library. When Tatsurou knocked on the door, they heard muffled voices inside, and then steps approached. The lock was turned, and Kiyoharu opened the door slightly. He seemed surprised to see Tatsurou and Kaoru, but opened the door all the way and stepped back to invite them in.

On the sofa by the window, Kaz sat with his mate’s head in his lap. The boy was lying on the couch, curled into a tight little ball, and the alpha was gently caressing his hair. The boy’s backpack stood open on the floor, and he was desperately clutching a brown teddybear to his chest.

Tatsurou smiled softly at Kaz. “Is he ok? Is there anything I can do to help?”

Kaz seemed tired and crestfallen, and he looked up at the nurse with a frown. “I don’t know,” he said, looking a little helpless. “I don’t know what to do, he hasn’t been like this since we bonded.”

The nurse went up to the sofa, slowly so he wouldn’t scare the omega, but he quickly realized the boy didn’t even notice he was there. He frowned, gently putting his finger on the slim wrist.

“His pulse is racing,” he mumbled to himself, carefully lifting an eyelid to be met by an unseeing eye, completely unresponsive. He sighed and looked up at Kaz. “I’ve got some medicine that could help him relax and sleep, but it’s out of date. It’s your choice if you want to chance it anyway.”

Kaz hesitated for a few seconds, but then he nodded. “Do it,” he said, his arm protectively curled around the boy’s shoulder. Tatsurou nodded and rose to go get the medicine, giving Ju-ken and Kiyoharu a short nod on the way before he went down the stairs. Kaoru stayed where he was, leaned against the wall next to the door, and Kiyoharu eyed him curiously. The engineer met his gaze head on, raising an eyebrow in question.

Kiyoharu smiled. “You two are an item?” He waved in the general direction of Tatsurou downstairs. Inside, Kaoru stiffened a bit, though he kept his gaze cool. He was used to face heat over his sexual preferences Before, but he had been lucky enough here that apart from Atsushi’s initial doubts, there had been no issues about his and Tatsurou’s relationship. He hoped this wouldn’t result in trouble for their still somewhat wavering new friendship with another settlement, but he would be damned if he ever denied his love for his boyfriend.

“We are,” he said shortly and was relieved to see that Kiyoharu just nodded, apparently not fazed by the revelation.

“That’s nice. You’re lucky to have a nurse here,” their guest said.

“We are,” Kaoru agreed. “There would be fewer of us without him.” He paused. “You have no one with medical experience at all in your settlement?”

Kiyoharu sighed and shook his head. “None. Two guys had some sort of emergency crash course at work once, one of those two-day thingies, but that’s about it. If we can agree to an arrangement where we could bring those in need here, it would be very helpful.”

Kaoru nodded. “I’m sure we can work something out. We’re almost neighbors after all.”

Kiyoharu couldn’t help let out a laugh at that. “Give it two weeks of walking and you might think differently,” he chuckled. “But yeah, it would be nice to have a working relationship with this group.” He eyed Kaoru warily, not wanting to say too much.

Kaoru smirked, bowing his head a little. “Mutual trust and friendship,” he offered, Kiyoharu smiling and nodding. The tough guy attitude from when they first met had softened considerably, and Kaoru felt more sure now that they would be able to work something out.

Tatsurou came back and interrupted further discussion, a glass of water and a yellow pill in his hand. He walked over to Kaz and the boy, and together they finally managed to get the omega to swallow the pill. The nurse waited for ten minutes, until the omega seemed to have relaxed and the grip on the teddy bear slowly loosened. Another five minutes and the boy was sleeping, his mate finally relaxing as well. The short alpha nodded gratefully at the nurse before he gently lifted the small body from the couch and put him on a futon, pulling the blankets up over him.

“I’ll be in our cabin, the second on the right,” Tatsurou said. “Come get me if anything happens. Otherwise, I’ll come check on him tomorrow morning.”

With that, he and Kaoru withdrew to the thanks of their guests, the door closing and locking again behind them. As they left the big house and walked over to their cottage, Kaoru gently caught his boyfriend’s hand in his. “You’re amazing,” he whispered, giving Tatsurou a quick kiss on the check. He thought the same thing as they crawled into bed, Tatsurou’s breathing slowing down as he fell asleep with his head on Kaoru’s shoulder. We are lucky, but I am luckier.

. . . . .

Koichi wouldn’t be comforted, too upset about the one he called Meto not recognizing him or Tsuzuku. No matter how much Hazuki tried, he wouldn’t relax and go to bed. Finally, the alpha just bundled his mate up in a blanket and climbed up on the bed, pulling the omega into his lap and wrapping himself around him. Koichi sighed, leaning his head on the strong shoulder. Looking stunned, he mumbled incoherent ramblings to himself.

“It’s him, I don’t care what anyone says. He’s 18 now, his birthday is in January. I know him, he was with us for too long for me not to recognize him. He didn’t have those piercings though, I mean, he was only 14 when we met. Is his mate good to him? I wonder how he got the piercings. Oh god, what happens when he goes into heat? Maybe Kaz did them on him. But that’s weird. But it is him, it is, I know it!”

Hazuki just hummed along and held his mate close, listening to the confused words pouring out of Koichi’s mouth. He didn’t know what to say to comfort his lover, so he kept quiet and just held the small body in his lap, trying to make the omega relax enough to sleep. They were in for a tough time ahead, he could tell. He just hoped the stress wouldn’t affect the baby.

. . . . .

Cazqui was breathless. He was lying on his back in Satochi’s bed, naked, and watched his boyfriend take off the last of his clothes. They had had a long, sensual foreplay, and Satochi had set him on fire as he always did. The alpha had seemed determined to take it slow tonight, making the most of the fact that they had a cottage to themselves. When Satochi dropped his boxers by the bed, Cazqui swallowed, his eyes taking in every detail of the muscular body before him. The alpha leaned down and licked his way up his neck before he claimed the omega’s lips in a kiss that was enough to make Cazqui lose his wits.

“We’re alone tonight, and there’s no one sleeping next door. You can be as loud as you want,” the alpha whispered huskily in his ear, and Cazqui’s breath hitched at the words. As fingers slid down his side, slowly caressing their way to his inner thighs, he moaned loudly and spread his legs further, offering himself to his lover. Satochi smiled seductively and let his tongue flick out and lick a nipple, eliciting another moan, before he kissed and licked his way down the lithe body.

“You’re so beautiful,” he whispered, almost reverently kissing the inside of his lover’s thigh. He gently leaned forward and licked the spot just behind the omega’s cock, Cazqui gasping and bucking his hips involuntarily. When that warm tongue continued down and started licking around his slick hole, he almost lost it, whining loudly. That hot tongue continued to lick and prod, and soon two fingers slid inside him. Cazqui’s hand grabbed Satochi’s hair, writhing beneath him, and when the alpha pulled back he whimpered. Sweat drenched his face, and his body glistened as he squirmed to get some kind of friction against the alpha.

Satochi’s breathing was heavy as he looked down on his boyfriend, eyes dark and lids heavy. He lifted the omega’s hips and got himself positioned, his large cock gently poking the omega’s hole without sliding in, teasing his lover. Cazqui writhed beneath him. He had long since gone beyond words, and instead he just wrapped his legs around the alpha’s hips, trying to pull him in. Satochi chuckled before he relented and pushed his cock slowly into the slick passage. Oh god, he was so big, and Cazqui felt filled to the brim with cock, loving the almost-too-much sensation. When Satochi finally started moving, the omega wrapped his arms tightly around his shoulders and let himself surrender to the pleasure. The magnificent push and pull inside him, the warm body next to his, the cool air against their sweat-slicked bodies as they moved, it was all too much to handle. It didn’t take long to be ramped up to where he couldn’t hold it back anymore, and he came with a shout, his deep voice filling the cabin. Satochi groaned as he followed him, his cum burning hot inside of Cazqui.

They snuggled close for a long while until Satochi could pull out and shift to lie next to the pale omega, his arm draped over his eyes. Cazqui smiled blissfully, turning on his side to kiss his alpha’s shoulder. He pulled his now wet bangs away from his face and tucked them behind his ear, snuggling down contentedly on his boyfriend’s shoulder and letting his hand trail down to finally rest between the alpha’s legs.

“God I love your cock. I’m so lucky that my boyfriend has one of the biggest cocks on the island,” he mumbled, his mind too dazed to realize that he was giving away a bit too much information. He realized something was wrong when he felt Satochi stiffen, taking his arm down from his face to stare at the omega. Ooops.

“Wait, what do you know about other alphas’ cocks?” the alpha demanded, frowning at his lover suspiciously. The long scar on his face always made him look a bit dangerous when he frowned, and the omega swallowed, his heart in his throat. He hurried to explain, blushing furiously.

“Nothing! I mean, not in person! I’ve only seen yours, I swear! I’ve just heard… talk…”

Satochi relaxed a bit, suddenly looking amused. “What talk? Are you saying that the omegas on the island are discussing cock sizes?”

This was bad. He hadn’t meant to give anything away about this. It was just talk, omegas gossiping. God, what if the alpha took offence? Became angry? Maybe even broke up with him? Cazqui was near tears as he mumbled an apology. “I’m sorry, it’s not… It’s just gossip, nothing important. I didn’t mean to…”

Satochi sighed and pulled his lover close, pressing his lips to his forehead. “Stop it, sweetie, don’t you dare cry. I’m not mad at you, I’m just surprised. And a little amused, to be honest.”

The omega looked up at him nervously. “Really? You’re sure?”

“I’m sure.” The alpha ruffled his hair a little, and gave him a quick kiss. “Now, what’s this I hear about my cock being one of the biggest?”

Cazqui blushed again, but he couldn’t help grinning slightly. “Well, rumor has it you and Yukke are probably number one and two, but since no one’s seen both…”

Satochi chuckled. “Me or Yukke, huh? So Natsu’s just as much of a gossip as you are.”

“Please don’t tell Yukke!” Cazqui pleaded, suddenly scared he had gotten his friend in trouble. Satochi grinned at him.

“I won’t, don’t worry. Natsu’s secret is safe with me. But as for who’s the biggest… I’ve seen both of us.”

Cazqui stared at his alpha. “You have?!”

“Well, yeah, we’ve changed in the same room when we’ve gone swimming for example. So yeah, I’ve seen him nude.”

The pale omega was intrigued. “Really? So… Who’s the biggest then?”

The alpha laughed. “Oh no, you can think about that one for a while, as punishment for spilling the beans about my private parts to your friends.”

A big pout appeared on Cazqui’s lips, but his boyfriend wasn’t swayed so easily. He just leaned over to kiss the pout away, and then he pulled the omega closer.

“Time to sleep, babe. It feels good to be able to have you in my arms all night for once.”

The omega smiled, snuggling into the warm body next to him once more. “It does.” He’d get his answer to the size question later, he was sure of it. For now, he would just enjoy a night in his lover’s arms.

. . . . .

'Ototo' (Meto?)


Chapter Text

Koichi had hardly slept at all, which meant Hazuki hadn’t either. Still, as soon as he could, the omega got out of bed and got ready for breakfast. Hazuki sat on the bed, watching him tiredly.

“Baby, try to relax. Don’t hope for too much, he seems pretty fragile. It’s possible he repressed his memories from back then, like Shinya did, and if so, he’ll need time to heal.”

Koichi sniffed. “I know,” he mumbled. “But I can’t help it. You know how much I’ve thought about him, dreamt about him, since he disappeared. It just hurts to realize he doesn’t even recognize us.”

Hazuki got up and walked over to hug his lover tightly, the omega burying his face to his chest. “I know, sweetie. I just don’t want you to stress out too much and get hurt, especially not now.” The alpha’s hand came down to gently touch the rounded belly, no more words necessary.

His mate sighed, hugging Hazuki closely for a moment before he let go. Together, they walked up to the big house, Koichi holding his mate’s hand in a steel grip.

. . . . .

Tatsurou knocked on the door to the library just before breakfast. Kiyoharu let him in without a word, and the nurse was surprised to see the small omega awake and leaning into Kaz on the sofa. The alpha gently ruffled his hair, and earned himself a pout and a frown as the omega swatted his hand away. The boy looked much better, his eyes clear and focused, though he was still clearly tired. He eyed the nurse suspiciously, but allowed him to come closer after Kaz assured him the alpha was a friend.

“Hi,” Tatsurou said, crouching in front of the omega to seem less threatening. “How are you feeling today?”

The youngster pouted, his lip piercings glittering in the light from the window, and made no attempt at communicating with the nurse. Tatsurou decided to try a different tactic.

“I like your piercings. Did you do them yourself?” The boy tilted his head and glared at him, but a little less hostile now and with a hint of interest in his eyes. Encouraged, the alpha continued. “We have an omega here who used to work at a tattoo parlor doing piercings. He’s probably got as many piercings as you. Do you want to meet him?”

This caught the omega’s attention, and he nodded a little, the pout lessening every minute. Tatsurou smiled at him. “Good, he’ll be down for breakfast, you can see him then. His name’s Kuina. But first, I need to have a look at you, ok? I’m gonna check on your mate’s eye later as well.”

The boy hesitated a bit, glancing at Kaz who smiled encouragingly at him. Then he finally nodded. The nurse quickly took advantage of the silent ‘ok’ and looked through the boy, taking his pulse, listening to his heart and making him do some simple exercises to see if he could follow an item with his eyes. When he was done, satisfied that the boy was ok at least in body, he took a deep breath and threw an apologetic glance at Kaz. He had to do this, even if it could set the boy off, or the reaction could come later at a worse time.

“Is that your bear?” He nodded at the teddy bear in the boy’s hand, and watched the youngster stiffen and pull the bear close. Tatsurou prodded on. “Does it have a name?” The boy squirmed at his seat, apparently getting a bit nervous. Kaz frowned and put his arm around the boy’s shoulders. “Do you really have to?” he asked quietly, his eyes silently begging the nurse to stop.

Tatsurou looked at him, sighing. “I have to make sure he’s ready to go downstairs,” he said, and Kaz nodded with a grimace. Of course. The other two omegas would be there. He looked at his mate with regret before he spoke.

“Ototo, is your bear called Ruana?” The omega flinched and stared at him. He started shivering, and made a small whining sound at the back of his throat. And then, to everyone’s surprise, he nodded, before he buried his face in the bear’s fur and leaned into the alpha’s side. Kaz held him quietly, as the alphas in the room glanced at each other. So it was him, most likely. Meto, missing and presumed dead. Tatsurou leaned back on his haunches, watching the boy trembling in his mate’s arms.

“I think,” he said slowly, “that maybe Kuina should bring the breakfast up here for now.” Kaz nodded, grateful, and as the nurse got up, Ju-ken and Kiyoharu made to follow him out. When the door closed behind them, Kaz was still holding the omega close, shushing soothingly and stroking his back.

. . . . .

Koichi and Tsuzuku sat as if upon nails, facing the door, their mates exchanging worried glances as they held their lovers’ hands. Uruha had taken Tatsuya so he wouldn’t be there to see his bearer upset again.

The two omegas were very disappointed to see their nurse enter the dining room with only Ju-ken and Kiyoharu in tow. Their guests went to get their breakfast and sat down at Toshiya’s table, glancing at the two omegas as the nurse went over to talk to them. He crouched down in front of them, speaking quietly. Toshiya watched as Koichi shook his head, looking stunned, leaning into his mate for support. Tsuzuku burst into tears, Reo trying to comfort him. Tatsurou spoke to them for a while, and then he gently patted their knees and got up, walking back to Toshiya’s table.

“It’s probably him,” he said, quietly, as he sat down. “But he’s not in any shape to face his old friends right now. The shock would be too much, I can’t risk it, as much as it hurts for those two.”

Toshiya looked at the two young omegas, sighing deeply. “It’s been a shock for them too. Keep an eye on them, will you? Especially Kou, with the baby.” At Tatsurou’s nod, he continued. “So, how do we do this?”

Tatsurou met Ju-ken and Kiyoharu’s gaze before he spoke. “I’d like to keep him here for a while, if I can. We need to go slowly if we want him to recover his memories. And I think it’s too late not to, after the jumpstart last night.”

Ju-ken and Kiyoharu looked troubled. “We can’t stay that long,” Kiyoharu said. “They’re expecting us back, and if we don’t show up they’re gonna think something bad happened to us here.”

Toshiya thought about it, but he could see no other solution if the boy were to be ok, not to mention his two omega friends. “What if Kaz and… Meto… stay, and you guys go? We’d take good care of them.”

The guests exchanged a thoughtful glance. “Hyde won’t be too happy about it,” Ju-ken murmured, and Kiyoharu made an awkward face that suggested he was aware of their leader’s reaction.

“We’d have to discuss it with Kaz,” Kiyoharu said finally, Toshiya nodding.

“Of course. I’d expect no less.”

“Well, until then, I promised them breakfast in the library,” Tatsurou said, getting up. “And I’m gonna bring Kuina with me. Apparently, Meto has a fascination with piercings. I thought the two might find some common ground, so the boy can relax a bit.”

“Ok, that sounds like a good idea,” Toshiya agreed. “Let’s finish breakfast, the rest of us, and we can discuss this trade-off further. I am guessing you wish to leave soon?”

Kiyoharu nodded. “In a day or two at the most, I would say, if that’s alright with you. We wouldn’t wish to overstay our welcome.”

“Of course, though you are always welcome here,” Toshiya said. “But let’s get started on that deal.”

. . . . .

“Hi,” Kuina said, smiling uncertainly at the omega. “I’m Kuina. I brought you breakfast, are you hungry?” A nod, and a hand reaching out for the boiled egg he was offered. Progress, Tatsurou thought, as he hung back by the door while Kaz and Meto dug into their food. The omega had stopped shivering, but was unwilling to let go of the bear or Kaz for long, resulting in a rather drawn-out breakfast with pauses after each bite for grabbing his two safety blankets. His mate finally just gave in and fed him while Meto held onto the bear with one hand and the alpha’s arm with the other.

After they had finished, Kuina tried some small talk, a little awkwardly at first. Soon enough though, the two omegas were huddled over an old magazine with lots of Before celebrities with piercings, discussing how they were made. Or, well, Kuina discussed while Meto pointed at things with either a grin or a frown on his face. It soon became clear that the youngster had made his piercings on his own, a huff from Kaz earning the alpha a slap on his knee from the youngster.

“Maybe you can convince him it’s a bad idea?” Kaz tried. “He always does it when I’m not around to stop him, and too far away to get there until it’s done. He was completely swollen for over a month when he made the ones around his eye. I was scared he’d lose his eye!”

Kuina looked closely at Meto’s piercings, pursing his lips a little, before he nodded. “He’s right, you know. You could have hit a nerve right here,” he prodded just over one of the piercings, “that could have made your face paralyzed. Not to mention the risk of infections without sterilized needles. You should leave stuff like that to the professionals.”

“See? Told you!” Kaz exclaimed, Meto sticking his tongue out at him. The alpha sighed and reached over to tickle the boy, the omega squirming to get away, all the while with a huge grin on his face. “You little brat,” Kaz said, but there was affection in his voice, and Tatsurou could see that the alpha truly cared for his adopted brother. Or mate. That part was a bit weird to think about, but the nurse could see why it had happened. He certainly understood the biology of it, and if it had saved the boy’s life… Well, he was all for saving lives. He couldn’t help wondering about their relationship though, especially of what happened when the omega had his heat. Did they have suppressants enough to keep the boy out of heat so far? But that could change, and he didn’t think an alpha, any alpha, could resist his mate in heat. He decided to talk to their guest about this later when they had more time, hopefully to get some answers that calmed his doubts.

After two hours of talking and laughing, Kuina had to go do his chores, and he excused himself with a regretful smile. “I’ll be back,” he promised, and Meto waved at him as he left, a pout on his lips. Soon, though, the youngster was yawning, and Kaz ordered him into bed to get some more sleep. Tatsurou took the opportunity to look at the alpha’s eye before he left, Meto quickly snoozing away in the futon on the floor. The eye was getting better, a good cleaning and some eye drops had done miracles to fix the infection. When he was done, he said his goodbyes and went downstairs to do his scheduled check-up on Masa. And then he had to go check on Koichi and Tsuzuku, and then he’d better see how Shinya was doing, and then of course there was Kei. On top of all the expecting omegas, there was the usual array of cuts, bruises and all the other small scrapes living life brings. Things just didn’t seem to stop. He took a deep breath before he put on a big smile and went into the sickroom, where Masa was already waiting for him.

. . . . .

Hazuki invited Reo and Tsuzuku to spend the day together with them in their cabin, realizing the omegas needed each other right now. Reo agreed, and quickly talked to Uruha who promised to take care of Tatsuya and bring him if something happened.

The two omega friends talked and cried until they were exhausted, and their mates stepped in to force them both into bed for some rest. The two protested but went out as lights almost immediately, snuggled together in a tight embrace. Hazuki and Reo stood for a while just watching the two sleeping, worry etched into their faces. They were both equally tired, and finally Hazuki looked up to his friend.

“If you want, I can keep watch for a while.”

Reo sighed. “I don’t know. I want to be here if he wakes up.”

“So get on the bed on Tsu’s side,” Hazuki yawned. “The bed is large enough for all of us, and I think we both need the rest as much as they do.”

The older alpha pulled his fingers through his hair, looking dead tired. “Yeah. You’re right. I’ll just go check on Tatsuya, and then I’ll be back.”

He slipped out the door quietly, and Hazuki carefully snuggled down behind his mate, effectively trapping him between two warm bodies. Koichi turned his head slightly in his sleep, whining quietly, but he settled again when Hazuki gently pulled his hair away from his face and pressed his lips to the omega’s cheek. Soon, the alpha was gone from the world, and he didn’t even notice when Reo came back and joined them on the bed.

. . . . .

The negotiators took a break to walk around the village just before lunch, stretching their legs and showing their guests around. They were approaching a deal, and felt they could afford to take a pause in their talks. The three newcomers looked at everything appreciatively, giving lots of compliments on everything from their building skills to the beauty of the place. Toshiya pointed out where everyone lived, and explained their plans for coming constructions, projects where they could use extra hands. They stopped by the building site for the next cottage, so far consisting only of a cleared space and leveled soil. Kaoru and Yukke were discussing the plans and Kiyoharu asked a few questions about the construction. Kaoru shortly explained the hows and whys, the guests listening carefully.

They passed the greenhouses next, where Shinya, Kuina and Kazuki were preparing for sowing, Subaru helping where he could. Ju-ken showed Shinya what kind of soil would be best for the ginger, and how deep he should plant it, Shinya listening intently and nodding as he took mental notes.

The fields got a lot of attention, Hiro, Ryo and Aki preparing for this year’s plan and explaining the principles of crop rotation to get the most out of every harvest and prevent problems. Ju-ken told them that they grew everything in terraces, using the old ski slopes, which gave them both advantages and disadvantages.

When the tour was over, both groups felt they had gained new knowledge and everyone was in a good mood when it was time for lunch. Tora had completely overcome his shyness, and after he had finished his lunch he climbed into Ju-ken’s lap and played with his beard. The alpha grinned at him.

“He’s amazing,” he said to the proud father who sat beaming at them.

“He takes after Masa,” Miya said affectionately, smiling at his son and then casting a glance at his mate on the other side of the room, talking to Kei and Shinya.

Ju-ken looked at him, seemingly trying to decide whether to ask. Miya beat him to it.

“He’s still thinking about it. We’ll let you know before you leave though.”

Ju-ken watched him quietly for a moment. “I hope he decides to say yes. It will be hard to keep this little darling a secret otherwise.” He looked down at the boy in his lap, who had currently abandoned the beard to play with his plushie.

“Yeah, I know. But you know what they were like, those two. What happened, and how it affected Masa. It’s not an easy thing for him to forgive.” Miya looked troubled by the memories.

“I know,” Ju-ken sighed. “And I understand. It’s just… I think he’s changed, you know? He regrets a lot of things. Like not being able to save his mate from the sickness. Like letting go of his only son.”

Miya pursed his lips slightly. “Yeah, well, it’s Masa’s decision. I’m not going to push him either way. I love him too much for that.”

Ju-ken huffed, smiling. “You two are just too sweet, you know? What did you ever do to find such an amazing love?”

“I don’t know,” Miya mused. “We’re just soulmates.”

Chapter Text

A deal had been reached. Toshiya explained that he had to run it by the rest of them before he said the final ok, and their guests agreed, though they were a little perplexed at the idea that the island didn’t have a ruling council. On the other hand, they also had to run their idea about Kaz and Meto staying behind by the people in question. The alpha and his little protégée were still upstairs, where they had had lunch with Kuina. The omega came back down reporting to Tatsurou that Meto seemed restless, cooped up in there. The nurse thought about it, but since both Koichi and Tsuzuku were in their cabin, sleeping, he thought it would be safe enough to let the little omega come down for a bit.

Everyone watched the two on the sly as they came down, Meto uncertainly biting at his lip piercings as he warily explored the dining room, kitchen and sickroom, returning to his mate’s side after every small excursion to look at something. His actions were those of a much younger child, in need of a parent’s constant attention, and Tatsurou wondered just how much damage what he’d been through had done to the youngster’s mind.

After about half an hour, Meto seemed tired by his exploring and people watching him, and the guests all thanked them for their hospitality and retreated to the library to discuss the deal they were about to make. Toshiya watched them go and then asked Jun-ji and Cazqui to go find everyone and bring them to the dining room for a big meeting.

. . . . .

The rest had done wonders for Koichi, Tsuzuku and their two mates, and when Jun-ji knocked on their door to summon them to the meeting, they were all a lot calmer and ready to be more rational about the sudden emergence of a little omega from their past. When they entered the dining room, most of the others were already there. Shinya wordlessly came up to Koichi and gave him a big hug and then turned to Tsuzuku to do the same before he made his way over to a chair.

Kyo sat with Ruki on his lap, the two having been more or less inseparable since the three new alphas came to the island. Next to them, Kei sat in a chair with Yukihiro at his side. The omega seemed a little jittery, glancing at the alpha and fidgeting, until Yukihiro just reached out and grabbed a small hand firmly in his. Kei blushed but couldn’t help a small smile from gracing his lips, and when he met Masa’s gaze and amused smirk, he bit his lip and looked down to keep his big grin from showing. Yukihiro glanced at Kei, but didn’t say anything. He looked rather pleased, though, and let his thumb caress the omega’s fingers gently.

Toshiya waited until they were all there and seated, before he stood so everyone could see him properly. He looked out over the group, feeling a sudden surge of pride and affection for this group of people and the community they had built together. This new deal would change some things, but in the long run, he hoped it would benefit them all.

“We have a deal to decide on,” he started, everyone shushing to listen to him, “and it is big enough that it will affect all of us. I’m thinking I introduce the plan in its entirety, and then we can do questions and discussions after. Is that ok with everyone?”

Silent nods met him everywhere.

“Ok, good. We have several parts of this deal, and I think some will strain us a bit but will be good for us in the long run.” He looked around the room. Everyone was listening intently, and he watched Koichi and Tsuzuku for a second before he continued.

“As you know, our new omega guest needs help from Tatsurou. This part is not completely finalized, as we haven’t got his blessing yet, but we propose that Kaz and Meto stay here for a while, while the other two go back home. In order to make it fair, and avoid misunderstandings on the other end, Shuse and Reika will accompany them and be our envoys to present the deal to the council at the resort.”

A murmur went through the crowd at that, eyes flicking to the alphas who just bowed their heads, having been asked in advance. Koichi and Tsuzuku lit up, happy to hear Meto might be staying. Cazqui and Uruha exchanged a glance, looking a bit troubled, their plans for Shuse and Tomo in danger. The gentle nudging they had used so far had proved useless, and just as they were getting ready to bring out the big guns, Shuse was leaving.

Toshiya raised his hand to silence the group before he continued.

“The deal they will present is as follows. The pregnant omegas at the resort and their alphas are welcome to come here to give birth, their alphas working here during their stay as payment. Shuse and Reika will stay there for a few weeks, helping them look over their defenses, and then they will return here. With them, they will bring some chickens as payment for their work. Shinya will help us pick out and pack up some seeds and planted herbs, and in return, we have a list of plants we hope they have to trade. One for one, is the deal. Also, Reika will show the other group how to make our herbal heat suppressant, while in turn, they will show him how they have set up an irrigation system for their terraced fields. Once they return, we can see how this has worked out for both groups and see if we wish to expand the deal further.”

He pulled at a curl that fell into his eyes and looked around the room. “Opinions? Thoughts?” he asked, his eyes landing on Kaoru. The alpha always had some valuable insights, and he had learned to trust his thoughts, which was why he had asked the engineer to be part of the negotiations. Kaoru just smiled and gave him a nod of approval.

“How many omegas are we talking about? To come here, I mean?” Ryo asked.

“It depends on if they all want to come or not, but there are three omegas who are due this summer or fall. One of them came to the settlement pregnant, alone, but Kiyoharu said that if he wanted to come, they would send someone with him here to work. So if they all come, a total of six people.”

Ryo looked thoughtful, pursing his lips. “Not that I mind them coming here, but where are they going to stay? We won’t have any cottages up for a few months yet.”

Toshiya had anticipated the question, but felt he had an ok solution to the problem. “We talked about it, and we figured we could use the room next to the sickroom for one couple, the one were Tsuzuku gave birth. It’s small, but it’ll only be for a few months. And then we would have to clear out the room across the landing from the library, and move all the stuff we have stored there up onto the attic. It’s a lot to carry up there and it’ll be a bother to get it down when we need it, but the room is big enough for the other two couples. We can put up something for dividers, to give them some privacy.”

Ryo seemed satisfied with the answer, and Toshiya turned instead to a frowning Kyo. “Are we sure it’s safe to let our people go there? And have more of them come here?” the alpha asked, his possessive grip tightening around Ruki.

“We can never be sure. But from what we have seen of our guests, they are good people. And with so few of us left out there, I think we have to take our chances and help each other if we can.”

Kyo made a face at that, but didn’t protest any further. The discussion and the questions continued for another half hour, before they held a vote. Just as they were done, they heard a door open and steps coming down the stairs. Ju-ken and Kiyoharu stepped into the dining room, Meto and Kaz staying in the library. Kiyoharu looked around the room, trying to glean some information from their faces, before he turned to Toshiya.

“We have talked it over with Kaz, and he’s agreed that Ototo, I mean Meto, needs to stay for a bit, which means he’s staying as well. It will not sit too well with Hyde, but he will understand Kaz has to take care of his mate. Eventually.” Ju-ken snickered a little at the last word, Kiyoharu frowning at him.

Toshiya smiled. “That is fine with us. We have also discussed the deal and agreed to it. We will take the rest of the day to pack up what you guys will bring with you, and you can leave with Shuse and Reika tomorrow morning. Will that be ok?”

Their guests agreed and bowed in thanks, and everyone started dropping off, the meeting over. Shinya got to work dividing and replanting some herbs, making sure the alphas knew how to take care of them on the way. It was decided that they would take the old cart that Miya and Masa had come to the island on. The cart was still hidden on the other shore, fixed up and used for when they needed to carry large things from nearby towns.

It was quickly approaching dinner time, and tonight Kaz and Meto made an appearance in the dining room. They sat near the door, Meto’s eyes flicking around the room nervously, but he didn't seem to recognize his old friends. Koichi and Tsuzuku had been ordered to give the omega some space for a few days, and though they were very unhappy with it, they agreed for the sake of their friend’s healing. That didn’t stop them from staring enviously on Kuina when he sat down next to Meto and was greeted with a huge infectious grin.

Ju-ken sat with Miya and Masa, making the most of their short time together. The three sat talking about old times, Tora climbing between all three laps happily. Eventually, Masa caught the boy yawning widely, and kissed his cheek.

“It’s time for you to go to bed, sweetie,” he said and nuzzled the boy’s hair.

“I don’t wanna!” Tora protested weakly, clearly too tired to even make an effort with his whining.

Miya chuckled as the boy fought to keep his eyes open. “Here, I’ll take him. You’re not allowed to lift him, remember? Besides, you two need to talk.” He smiled at his mate and leaned down to give him an affectionate kiss, before he lifted Tora off of the omega’s lap.

“Come here, big guy, give me a goodnight hug!” Ju-ken said, reaching out for the boy, and was rewarded with a tired hug and a surprise kiss on the cheek as Tora leaned off his father’s hip to reach him. He looked after the boy with a sentimental smile on his lips as Miya carried him off to bed.

“You did good,” he said, turning to Masa. “He’s special, that one.”

The omega smirked. “Oh, you have no idea how special he is at three in the morning when ‘a big green monster pirate spider’ is under his bed so he has to come sleep with us.”

Ju-ken laughed. “Oh, I can imagine.” For a while, they sat in silence, none of them wanting to be the first to bring it up. Finally, Masa opened his mouth to speak, a defiant look on his face.

“Tell him… Tell him we’re alive. Tell him Miya took care of me and got me through it all, and that I wouldn’t be alive if it hadn’t been for him. I want him to know I stand by my choice, that I love Miya and he loves me, and that will never change.”

Ju-ken simply nodded, and Masa sighed, his face softening a tad as he looked out into space. “But also tell him about Tora. And about his unborn brother.” He unconsciously stroked his round belly, as if comforting the child inside. He smiled almost sadly for a moment, before he looked at Ju-ken again. “He’s their family, even if he’s not my family anymore.”

“I’ll tell him.” Ju-ken grabbed Masa’s hand and squeezed it gently before he helped Masa to get up from his chair a little clumsily. The omega grimaced and put his hand on his back, before he reached out to give the alpha a hug. They hugged in silence for a moment, and then Ju-ken offered Masa his arm to help him back to their cottage. The omega gratefully took it, and they slowly made their way out the door and down the stairs into the evening.

. . . . .

Yukihiro ate his dinner quickly and disappeared, leaving Kei alone in the dining room with his friends. The omega watched him go with a frown. What was the alpha up to? They might be boyfriends now, but it was still new and sometimes a little awkward, and he didn’t want to come across as too curious or nagging or troublesome in any way. So he stayed where he was, talking to Yo-Ka and Hikaru for nearly an hour before Yuki came into the room and sidled over, a small grin on his face.

“Yukihiro said to meet him in your cottage,” he said. “He’s got a surprise for you.”

Kei blinked. Why did Yuki come for him? What did he and Yukihiro have to do with each other? He fought down a small flare of jealousy and looked up at the omega. “For me? But… What…?”

Yuki smirked. “Just come on, I’m gonna come with and blindfold you before you step inside, so you can’t peek.”

Ok, this was seriously strange. What the hell was that damn alpha up to? It didn’t help that Yo-Ka and Hikaru sat there giggling at him. But Kei let himself be dragged to his feet, and as they made their way to the cabin, he felt butterflies fluttering in his stomach. Yuki refused to say anything, and when they stood outside the cabin and the omega picked up a blindfold, Kei was almost hyperventilating.

“Relax,” Yuki giggled, “you’re gonna like it, I’m sure of it. Now, take my hand, here, and I’ll help you up the stairs.”

Kei felt himself being led up the stairs to their cabin. He was a little startled by Yuki’s knock on the door. He heard the door open, and then a warm, strong hand took his. Yuki let go of him and stepped back, quietly wishing them a good evening, but Kei could only focus on the warm hand in his and Yukihiro’s comforting scent next to him.

“Come on, two steps forward,” the alpha mumbled. “Mind the threshold.”

Once inside, Yukihiro let go of him for a second to close the door, and Kei felt the fluttering in his stomach again. And then the alpha was back, gently pulling off his jacket and taking his shoes off.

“Yuki, what’s happening?” Kei’s voice was small and nervous, and he was surprised when soft lips caught his in a quick but comforting kiss, and then two hands on his shoulders steered him to a spot further into the room. He heard the alpha step back a few steps.

“Ok, you can look now.” Kei lifted his hands to the blindfold but the alpha stopped him before he could take it off.

“Wait! I just… If you don’t like it, I’ll change it back, ok?” A pause, and Kei could hear on Yukihiro’s breathing that the alpha was nervous. “Ok, you can look. And please don’t hate me if you don’t like it.”

What the…? Kei was really nervous now, as he slowly pulled the blindfold off, blinking at the light. And then he blinked again, but in surprise. Their furniture had been rearranged, so that instead of two beds on different sides of the room, one big bed stood on Yukihiro’s side. In the corner where Kei’s bed used to stand was now a beautiful wooden cot, complete with a tiny pillow and small blankets. He gasped, his hand coming up over his mouth, and he turned to Yukihiro only to gasp again. The alpha’s long hair was cut in a short, spiky look, just like Kei had imagined it when he tossed the idea out there that day on the stairs. And god, it was gorgeous. The alpha looked amazing, just as he had thought he would, and Kei couldn’t help just staring for a minute. Yukihiro bit his lip and looked more and more nervous. “So, do you… like it? Hate it?” he finally offered, and pulled Kei out of his trance.

“I love it!” he exclaimed, walking up to the alpha, his eyes twinkling. “You look amazing, and the cot… It’s all so beautiful! Where did you find it?” He leaned into the alpha and threw his arms around him, looking back at the cot, incredulously.

Yukihiro relaxed a bit. It seemed to have gone over well, and he dared to breathe again. “Reo made it for me, and Ruki helped sew the blankets and stuff.” He looked down at the omega and took in the sparkling eyes and the delighted smile, and leaned down to press a kiss to his hair. “And… about the beds?” he asked, still a bit nervous. Kei blinked, looking at the big bed for a second, before he looked up at the alpha. Their eyes met for a moment, and then Kei smiled.

“I love it. All of it,” he said, getting up on tiptoe to kiss his boyfriend sweetly. Yukihiro answered the kiss happily, wrapping his arms tightly around the omega.

“So, maybe we can make this official now?” he mumbled, gently caressing Kei’s back, and he smiled widely when the omega nodded. The two stayed like that for a long while, entwined, before they finally let go and got ready for bed, both of their hearts beating extra hard as they crawled into their bed and snuggled down in each other’s arms.

Chapter Text

The next morning, the group gathered for breakfast, looking over everything they had packed to make sure they had it all. Kai had made sure they had food that would keep for two weeks. He also added a few bottles of the plum wine he had made for Christmas as a gift for the other settlement (with a note that warned of its strength). Kaz and Meto stayed in the library after saying goodbye to Ju-ken and Kiyoharu, since Meto got upset to see his friends leave without him.

Everyone was there to say goodbye, and it was with mixed feelings they finally gathered their stuff and went down to the boats with Toshiya, Die, Atsushi and Kaoru to row them over and wave them off. Once on the shore, they pulled out the cart and loaded it up, and then it was finally time to go. Shuse and Reika hugged their friends goodbye, while Ju-ken and Kiyoharu settled for firm handshakes and warm smiles.

“I hope we’ll see each other again soon,” Toshiya offered.

“You’d better count on it,” Kiyoharu smirked. “And don’t worry about those two, we’ll take good care of them.” He nodded at Shuse and Reika, grinning.

“I’m sure you will, as we will take care of Kaz and Meto,” Toshiya laughed. “I’m glad you came to find us.”

“The same,” Ju-ken said, grabbing Toshiya’s hand firmly. And then they were off, walking up the road, pulling the cart behind them. For a while, the four islanders just stood on the shore, looking after them.

“I hope they’ll be alright,” Die sighed, saying what was on everyone’s mind. The boat ride back was spent in silence.

. . . . .

Koichi petted his belly softly, watching it from above where he sat on the bed in the sickroom.

“Is it supposed to be like this?” he asked, tilting his head as he peered at the belly.

“Like what?” Tatsurou turned around from the shelf and pulled up a chair, sitting down in front of the omega. He watched the belly carefully, and then he frowned and made a humming sound. Koichi flinched and stared at him, suddenly nervous.

“What?” he asked, swallowing down a hint of panic.

“It looks… I don’t know. I mean, from the side it almost looks like… Like a belly. Weird.” Tatsurou couldn’t hide his grin as the omega huffed and playfully punched him lightly on the arm, letting out a breath.

“Asshole,” he muttered, the nurse chuckling.

“I’m sorry, but you really need to lay off the worrying. So far everything seems fine. And I’d like to keep it that way, so could you stop being so nervous?” Tatsurou softened a little at the omega’s slumping shoulders, and patted his knee. “Listen, I know this whole Meto thing has been hard for you, ok? But worrying will not help anything. You have a beautiful belly. Yes, it’s growing fast, but it’s not abnormal, ok? Remember Tsuzuku towards the end? You called him an overblown balloon, if I remember correctly.”

Koichi couldn’t help giggle at that. “Yeah, well, he was! It’s just that it’s still kind of early, only May, and I have ages left.”

Tatsurou nodded. “Yeah, you do, and if you actually relax and think about it, you’re not that big yet. Yes, I can see you’re pregnant, but you haven’t even had to go up a shirt size yet. You’re just a tiny guy, so it’s easier to see it quickly.”

“Ok,” Koichi mumbled, doing his best to accept the nurse’s words and take them to heart. The alpha looked at him for a moment.

“So, how are you doing? And I don’t just mean the belly. I mean you.”

Koichi shrugged, trying to look relaxed but failing miserably, and he soon gave up the pretense. “It’s kind of hard, I guess. Most of my nightmares for the last few years have been of him getting killed, or raped, or… And now he’s here, and he doesn’t even know me. I just wish he’d look at me and recognize me, you know?”

The nursed watched the small omega with compassion. The slumped shoulders made him look even smaller than usual. His fingers were nervously playing with the zipper of his hoodie, and he looked down on the floor to try to hide the tear that rolled down his cheek.

“I understand. I’ll do my best to help him, but you have to remember it will take time. And if he never does recognize you, that doesn’t mean you can’t become friends all over again. Right?”

The omega discreetly dried his cheek with his sleeve, Tatsurou pretending not to notice, and then he nodded. “Yeah. We can be friends again.”

“Damn right you can. Now, go hug that alpha of yours and tell him everything looks good, ok?” The nurse flashed a reassuring smile at Koichi before he got up from the chair. As he waved the omega off, he felt a tiredness spread through him. What if I can’t help Meto? Or all of the others that are coming? What if I fuck up? What then? With a sigh, he put the chair away and got ready to go see Kaz about a young omega’s heats.

. . . . .

“It took him forever to even get heats,” Kaz said quietly, glancing at the youngster who was looking through an old magazine, lying on his belly on the futon. “He was late. I mean, really late. I carried around a pack of suppressants just in case, but he didn’t need them. It wasn’t until like a year ago he showed signs of getting his first heat, and we were already at the resort by then. They had more suppressants for him, and that’s been it. He’s never showed any interest in anything like that, and I… Let’s just say it kind of helps that I’m more inclined towards alphas myself.”

Tatsurou felt relieved. He had worried quite a lot about their relationship, and to hear Kaz so easily explain it was a huge weight off his shoulders.

“That’s good. He’s not in any shape for a sexual relationship, mentally. At least not yet. Has anyone else showed any interest in him?”

To the nurse’s surprise, Kaz chuckled wryly. “Once. He won’t do it again. Poor guy, he wasn’t even that pushy, but Ototo broke his nose before I could even reach them. I mean Meto. Meto broke his nose. Damn, I’m never gonna get the hang of that.”

Tatsurou stared at the omega in disbelief. He was small, slim, and looked like he had about zero muscles on him. Kaz caught the look on his face and grinned. “He’s a wild one when he wants to, my boy. He’s feisty, quick and has the most fiery temper I’ve ever seen.”

The nurse coughed a little into his hand, smirking as another omega who fit that description came to mind. Kaz misinterpreted his cough and looked at the nurse. “He’s sweet too. Most of the time. He’s just got poor impulse control sometimes.”

“I’m sure he is. I’m sorry, I was thinking of someone else. You might want to keep an extra eye on him around Ruki, or those two might claw each other’s eyes out over a cute sweater or something.”

“Oh? Really? Kyo’s mate?”

“Just the one,” Tatsurou laughed. “He’s also really sweet, but spoilt rotten and with a temper that’s out of this world.”

Kaz amused smirk made him look younger. “Sounds like Ototo. Though I did try to teach him some manners. It just seems to have gone in one ear and out the other.” He looked at the youngster on the futon with affection. “I do love him, you know. Just not that way.”

Meto rolled onto his side and glared at them, as if he felt they were talking about him. Kaz raised an eyebrow and stuck his tongue out at the boy, who showed off that huge grin of his before he went back to his magazine. Tatsurou felt a lot calmer now, watching the two interact. He waved to Meto and said his goodbyes to Kaz, before he went to find Toshiya to relay the good news, that they didn’t have a sexual predator in their midst.

. . . . .

With the alphas off the island, Atsushi went back to sleeping in his cottage rather than on the floor. To give Meto and Kaz some space, and quite frankly, get their library back, the small room next to the sick room was set up for the two to stay in until they had more guests. With Shuse away, Jun-ji and Kazuki took the opportunity to try out living together, the two often coming in late for breakfast with flushed faces, giggling happily.

Atsushi got more space to himself than he’d had since Reika moved in ages ago, and he found himself missing the company in a way. The first night, he lay awake for quite a long while listening to the silence. The second night, he imagined sharing the cabin with Uta instead of Reika. The thought inevitably led to thoughts of Uta in his bed. The omega was so beautiful. To imagine him right there, in bed next to him… Soft skin, long dark hair, eyes like black pools to drown in. And further down, perky nipples, a cute belly which he would kiss and lick…

The major’s hand found its way down into his sleep pants as he saw the naked body of Uta in his mind. He started to stroke himself with languid strokes, his cock hard as a rock as he imagined his tongue swirling over a nipple, biting into it slightly. The omega would moan his name and let those long fingers thread through his hair. As he imagined the omega lying back and spreading his legs, making room for the alpha, his strokes sped up and his fingers closed tighter around his cock. In his mind, he breached the omega gently, Uta arching up underneath him and panting, his arms thrown around the alpha as his beautiful face contorted in pleasure. He was so caught up in his own fantasy, he surprised himself when he suddenly came hard all over his own stomach and pants.

He panted, slowly stroking his cock lightly for a few more moments as he came down from his high. The second he was back in reality, however, he felt an immense sense of shame. Here he was, having sexual fantasies about an omega who had been through such horrific things, who would most certainly not throw his arms around him and moan his name. He suddenly felt dirty and awful, and he quickly dried off and changed pants, crawling into bed again with a heavy heart. How was he ever going to face Uta tomorrow? God I’m such an asshole. And yet, the fantasy lingered, the soft sweet lips against his…

. . . . .

Shinya slowly and carefully got down on his knees, grunting a bit at his own clumsiness, before he reached for the envelopes he had used as seed bags last year. He started sifting through them until he found the one he was looking for, and meticulously started placing the jagged looking seeds of chard into the ground at regular intervals. The omega carefully made sure they weren’t placed too deep or too shallow, that the soil was moist but not soaked and that they were in a straight line. The smell of the soil and the warmth of the sun on his back made him feel content in a way he hadn’t been all winter.

Kuina was up by the fields, helping Hazuki and his gang put the potatoes in the ground, while Kazuki worked with Shinya in the kitchen garden. The omega was also looking quite happy, but Shinya guessed it had more to do with his boyfriend than with the sowing. He didn’t mind, of course, he was glad things were working out for the two, and the way Kazuki smiled every time he saw his boyfriend was well worth watching. The two were cute together, and the way Jun-ji behaved when he was in his silly mood, it was sometimes hard to believe he was so much older than his lover.

A sudden pain in his belly made Shinya sit back and groan. Kazuki looked up quickly.

“Are you ok? Is something wrong? Should I get Tatsurou?”

Shinya waved his hand dismissively before he groaned again. “Don’t worry, he’s just turning around again. He likes doing that when I’m bent over like this. I guess he thinks it gets cramped in there.” He smiled weakly at his friend as the baby moved again.

Kazuki seemed a little hesitant, watching Shinya closely. “You’ll tell me if it becomes a problem, right? So I can get Tatsurou?”

“Yes, yes, of course I will. I’m fine, promise. But you might have to help me with the spinach over there.” He got on his feet slowly, stretching his sore muscles. This being pregnant thing had better not stop him from taking care of the kitchen garden this summer. He would make sure of it.

. . . . .

“Thank you,” Kei said, Ruki looking up in surprise.

“For what?”

“For the blankets and bedding you made for the cot. It was so, so beautiful.”

Ruki blushed, huffing to hide his embarrassment. “Don’t mention it. Yukihiro asked, so I said yes. Not like he could do it himself.”

Kei smiled gently. “Yeah, well, anyway. Thank you.” He turned to walk back to the sick room to practice bandaging under Tatsurou’s watchful eye.

“Hey, Kei…” Ruki’s voice was a little uncertain. “Uhm… I kind of made some other stuff as well. For the babies. If you’re interested. Or not, no matter.”

It wasn’t like Ruki to act so shyly, and it took Kei a little aback. “Yeah, of course I am! What did you make?”

Ruki blushed even more. “Nothing special really, just played around a bit. I can show you guys after dinner. If you like.”

Kei smiled. “It’s a date, then!”

Ruki just gave a short shrug before he turned back to cleaning the tables, but his uneasy stance told of nerves bubbling beneath the surface. Ok, now Kei was really curious.

. . . . .

“You seem to be in a good mood,” Kaoru said, hugging Tatsurou from behind, gently pulling him away from the journal he had started keeping on everyone, trying to keep tabs on what he gave to whom and when. The nurse smiled, putting his hands on his boyfriend’s and squeezing gently. He turned his head and stole a quick kiss over his shoulder.

“Mmm, I am. I found out today that Kaz is into alphas.”

Kaoru stiffened in surprise and started pulling away, but Tatsurou laughed and turned around, pulling him back into the hug.

“Stop that, stupid. I meant he’s not into omegas. As in, he’s not looking to take advantage of his young mate.”

Realization dawned on Kaoru, and he visibly relaxed, his arms tightening around his boyfriend again in a slightly possessive way. “Oh. That’s good.”

The nurse smiled happily. “It is. I was kinda worried there for a while, it wouldn’t have been good for Meto to have that extra burden, but at least he doesn’t have to add abuse to the list of bad things he’s been through.”

Kaoru leaned his head back a little and let his eyes caress the face of his lover. “You’re so beautiful, inside and out. Always caring so much for other people,” he said, the nurse blushing at the words. But he couldn’t help leaning in for another quick kiss, which turned into another, and another, until they had to force themselves to part, both of them panting. Kaoru licked his lips and eyed his lover huskily.

“What do you say, early night?”

Tatsurou just grabbed his hand and pulled him off, the door slamming shut behind them as they hurried over the grass to their cabin. The two didn’t show up for dinner that night.

. . . . .

Koichi gasped. Masa, Shinya and Kei just stared. Before them on the table lay an assortment of baby clothing, baby blankets and bibs. They were all beautifully made, tasteful and yet cute. Ruki stood next to the table, shuffling his feet a little, looking awkward.

“It’s nothing special,” he started, but Masa immediately cut him off.

“Nothing special?! God, Ruki, these are amazing! Did you make all of these?”

Ruki blushed. “Well, yeah, a bunch of the fabrics they brought back last year had all these pretty baby patterns, and I figured, well, I had some time on my hands during the winter, so it would be a shame to waste it.”

Shinya almost reverently reached out to touch a light green blanket with cute little hedgehogs in a darker green printed on it. He let it slide between his fingers, marveling at how soft it was. “Can I have this one?” he asked, blinking at Ruki with large doe eyes.

“Sure, that’s sort of the point of them.” Ruki tried to put on his tough act, but his friends saw through it easily, and Shinya stepped up to throw his arms around the omega.

“Thank you,” he whispered, Ruki huffing but allowing the hug to happen. And then Kei hugged him from the side, and Masa from the other side, and Koichi from the back. Before Ruki knew it, he was enveloped in a four-omega-circle hug, round bellies pushing against him from every direction.

“Ok, jeez, enough with the belly-poking already!” he exclaimed, looking a little wild as the others laughed and let go of him and instead turned to fawn over all the beautiful things on the table.

Masa quickly swiped the pajamas in white with red strawberries, and Kei fell in love with a set consisting of a body with tiny feet and a hat, all in a grey fabric with adorable blue monsters printed on it. Soon enough, they had divided the things between the four of them, ooh-ing and aah-ing at every new item. Ruki watched carefully, biting his lip a little, but he couldn’t hide the tiny glint of pride in his eyes at all the praise. Before they parted, he had been coaxed into promising to make more, and he strutted just a tad when he went back to his cabin for the night.

. . . . .

“Ruki made that?” Hazuki watched the soft blue blanket and the baby clothing spread out on their table, amazed. “Wow, who knew he had taste!”

Koichi giggled and pretended to frown at his mate, but to be honest, neither of them had expected anything with this much cuteness and simple, understated elegance from the flamboyant omega. Hazuki lifted a grey bib with simple white hearts on it, holding it to his chest under his chin.

“What do you say, very me, isn’t it?”

His mate laughed and picked up a matching hat, holding it against the alpha’s forehead. “Totally you!”

Hazuki grinned and leaned down to kiss his mate, the bib soon falling forgotten to the table.

Chapter Text

“So when do you think they’ll be back?” Kyo asked over lunch.

Toshiya thought about it. “Ok, they said two weeks there, and we said they’d stay at least two weeks but no more than three, and then two weeks back. So beginning of July, I guess.”

“A lot of time to worry, then,” Kyo grumbled. “I don’t like it. I suppose it’s good they went, but anything could happen.”

“I understand, and I feel the same. But we have to believe they’ll come back, and maybe with new guests.”

“It would be nice to have some place to house them before summer ends,” Kaoru said thoughtfully. “Not having to squeeze everyone into tiny quarters when winter comes.”

“So we’re going ahead with the plans to build terraced houses?” Toshiya pulled his curly bangs away, peering at the engineer.

Kaoru threw Yukke a glance. The alphas seemed to think about it for a while.

“I can’t see how we can avoid it. We need to start planning ahead with the building. Right now we’re always one step behind, always in tight quarters. It’s gonna be a bitch, but we need to start thinking big. Two stories, at least enough for four couples.”

Yukke leaned back, putting his fork down. “Like you say, it’s gonna be a bitch. But it’ll save us work later, and it will mean we get more living space out of every log. We’re gonna have to work hard though.”

Toshiya slowly chewed on a piece of meat. “It would be nice to be ahead for once. Are the drawings done yet?”

Kaoru shook his head. “Not yet. I’m working on them, but there are lots of calculations needed, and I have to do them all by hand. God I miss calculators.”

“You’re doing good. Better correct than too fast.” Toshiya swallowed and cast Yukke a glance. “And how are you coming along with preparing the ground?”

“Good. We’ve got most of the space cleared, and we’ve started pulling the logs here. I hope they’ve dried enough since last spring, but we have to chance it. The guys are working hard, but we might need extra help for a while once everything is planted for the spring.”

“We’ll solve it somehow.” Toshiya wished he could snap his fingers and magically make everyone double sometimes, so they could work twice as much. But then again, that would mean twice the amount of mouths to feed.

“Still don’t like it,” Kyo muttered and stuffed a piece of potato into his mouth, chewing aggressively.

. . . . .

It took Uta almost a week to realize the major wasn’t around anymore. Sure he was there, but always on the other side of the room, or leaving just as the omega came. At first he didn’t think much about it, they were all very busy after all. But then he came into the hallway one day when Atsushi was about to take his shoes off, and the alpha suddenly changed his mind and went outside again, pretending he had forgotten something. And it was so obvious he was pretending that it bothered Uta. What had happened? He thought about it and realized it had started when the other alphas left the island. So, Atsushi didn’t think he needed protection anymore. But that didn’t mean the alpha had to start avoiding him, did it? Had he done something wrong? He couldn’t think of anything he had said, but then again, he rarely said anything anyway. Not to an alpha anyway.

Besides, why did he care? Atsushi was an alpha, and he should just be glad he stayed away! The fewer alphas around, the better. Right? Right. But it was still strange, and Uta didn’t like strange. He liked to be able to understand what was happening, and right now, he didn’t. It made him edgy and nervous, and to his own surprise, he started making ‘errands’ to where the alpha was just to see if he was right, if the alpha really did avoid him on purpose.

And he did. Oh boy, did he. It got even worse, to the point where Atsushi would look the other way whenever he saw Uta enter a room or approach him. It was confusing, and annoying, and strange.

“Why do you even care? You don’t like alphas!” Ruki said when he quietly voiced his concerns one day after lunch. Ruki, Uta and Cazqui sat working on different things in the dining room while the rest went off to work.

“No, I know, but… It’s just strange! It makes me nervous.” Uta scrunched up his nose and made a grimace as he reached for the pliers so he could replace the metal wire that attached the handle to the egg basket.

Cazqui eyed his best friend hesitantly before he spoke. “He likes you.”

“What?!” Uta dropped the pliers on the floor, staring open-mouthed at the pale omega.

“He has for quite a while, I think. I didn’t say anything because I didn’t know if it would make you feel uncomfortable, but it’s obvious he does.”

Uta frowned. He wasn’t sure how to feel about this. Cazqui must be wrong, it couldn’t be.

As if he realized what the frown meant, Cazqui continued. “Come on, do you think any alpha would sleep on the floor for a random guy he didn’t care about? A lot?”

“It’s true,” Ruki interjected, hissing and swearing as he managed to prickle the tip of his finger on the needle, barely avoiding a red stain on the pink fabric with silver stars on it. “He’s head over heels. Has been forever.” He completely ignored Uta’s shocked expression and held out the baby hat in front of him, eyeing it. “Perfect color for Kou,” he mumbled with satisfaction.

Uta resembled a fish on dry land, his mouth opening and closing, a vacant look in his eyes. He felt a mixture of fear and insecurity well up inside at the thought of an alpha being interested in him, but at the same time there was something else that kept the panic at bay. Trust. He actually trusted Atsushi, as much as he could anyway. But still, this was too much for him, and he let out a small whine to himself.

“Are you ok?” Cazqui reached out to touch his hand, and Uta jumped, accidentally kicking the pliers away. Ruki watched them clatter away across the floor, raising an eyebrow.

“I’m sorry,” Uta mumbled, sniffing. “I wasn’t prepared.” He rose to go get the pliers, Cazqui watching him worriedly.

“I shouldn’t have said anything, should I?” the pale omega said, his deep voice startling Uta again so that he almost dropped the pliers again.

“Of course you should, but… Are you sure?” Uta’s large eyes were fixed on Cazqui with an almost pleading look, silently begging him to say no.

Cazqui squirmed a bit, but then he nodded. “I’m sure. But he would never do anything about it, you know that, right? He would rather deny his feelings than hurt you. That’s why he’s staying away.”

Uta slowly sat back down, his mind racing. Atsushi stayed away on purpose because… the major liked him? He felt his old nerves acting up, and he fought against the panic for a moment. But then he forced himself to think about all the times the alpha had been nice to him, and how he had protected him, and never touched him without permission or crowded him. He swallowed deeply and closed his eyes for a moment.

“I think… I need to lie down for a while,” he whispered and got to his feet a tad unsteadily.

Cazqui made as to get up and help him, but aborted the move as Uta shook his head. “I’m fine,” he mumbled. “I’ll just go upstairs for a bit.”

His friend looked a bit worried, but let him go without further fuss. Uta had to hold on to the railing to keep from stumbling on his way to his room, and once there, he sank down on the bed, staring into the ceiling for a long, long time.

. . . . .

Tatsurou was tired. He had had a long week, first taking care of Saga who had gotten blisters all over his body. And once he had diagnosed it as chicken-pox, they just had to wait for the rest of the children to fall ill one after the other. Nervous bearers and crying children filled his days, interspersed with all the other stuff that went on. It was especially hard for Masa, since Tatsurou forbade him to stay around his sick son because of the danger to his unborn child. All the pregnant omegas were kept away from the children, and Miya had to take care of Tora while Masa spent the days in the big house, crying because he couldn’t be there for his son when he was ill and scared.

Meanwhile, Kaoru worked hard on the plans for the new terraced house, spending long evenings in the library calculating, Koichi helping out as best he could. Tatsurou longed for his boyfriend, longed for the comforting hugs and kisses after a long tiring day. But he knew of course that they had to work hard, both of them, and so he just went on with it.

“You look tired,” Kaz said as the nurse stopped by to check on Meto. Their guest was out working a few hours a day, helping out where he could, but he could never be gone for long before Meto’s anxiety levels spiked so high that the alpha felt it and had to come back. They went out together as well, Kaz showing Meto around, but after a few failed attempts to bring Meto with him to work, Kaz soon settled for working when the omega was sleeping or alone indoors.

Taturou sat down heavily on the chair. “I am. It’s been a long week.”

“I can see why.” Kaz seemed earnest, and Tatsurou smiled. He had instantly liked the alpha, ever since he had helped him with his eye that first day, and seeing how he was around Meto had only strengthened that.

“Yeah, well, that’s life out here in the wilderness,” Tatsurou quipped, Kaz laughing softly. The nurse got to work, trying to get Meto to come out of his shell and trust him enough that they could start working on his memories. Progress was slow, though, but he felt that the more he was around, he slowly noticed a change in the boy. Meto seemed to trust his mate’s judgment, and the more Kaz and Tatsurou talked, the more Meto joined in and sat next to them, listening. He still whined and ran off or dug himself into his mate’s chest if Tatsurou prodded him to talk about his past, but he had stopped flinching or frowning at the sound of his own name.

When he judged the omega had had enough for the evening, the nurse stayed behind for a while, talking to Kaz. He didn’t feel like going to bed alone yet another night, and Kaoru would work for at least a few more hours before he came home. So he stayed, since Kaz didn’t seem to mind, and talked about this and that, just enjoying a relaxed evening. It wasn’t until midnight he heard his boyfriend’s steps on the stairs, and he said goodbye to Kaz, Meto sleeping already. The engineer seemed surprised to see him, glancing confusedly to Kaz and Meto’s room, but he accepted the kiss and hug he was offered readily.

“I thought you’d gone to bed by now,” Kaoru murmured into his lover’s neck, holding him close.

“Didn’t want to when you weren’t there.” Tatsurou leaned his head on the strong shoulder, lifting a tattooed hand to his lips.

Kaoru smiled and let his thumb slide over a plump lower lip. He held his arm around his lover’s waist as they made their way slowly to their cabin, leaning into each other.

. . . . .

Kuina watched Minase from the kitchen window. The alpha was helping Jun-ji with something, the omega couldn’t see what, but he didn’t really care. He just watched as the willowy figure moved gracefully. He was so different from the other alphas, so much softer, more contemplative. It was clear to Kuina why he had chosen to be a teacher, but he wondered why it had been in maths. Minase seemed more like the type who would read poetry and teach the children about literature.

The omega had never been much of a fan of the macho attitude most alphas sported to at least some degree, something the macho types could never understand. Apparently, having piercings and working at a tattoo parlor had to mean you wanted your alphas rough and gruff. It pissed Kuina off, and he often lashed out at alphas that just swooped in and assumed they were perfect for him.

No, Minase’s gentleness was much more to his taste. He just wasn’t sure how to make his feelings known. The alpha was still under probation, though not for much longer. Once that was over, he would be free to speak to the alpha without the constant presence of either Shuse or Jun-ji, or both. Now that Shuse was away and Jun-ji was enjoying his time living with Kazuki, Minase had been ordered to stay with Satochi and Asanao for a while and report to Jun-ji in the mornings. But he was still in constant company of at least one other alpha, and Kuina wasn’t that keen on letting anyone else be around for his first clumsy attempts to seduce the alpha.

“Hey! Kui, the water is boiling.” Yo-Ka’s voice brought him back to the task of cooking today’s dinner, and he pouted just a tad as he left the window to take care of his duties.

. . . . .

May passed, the first week of June exceptionally warm for the season, and things started to sprout everywhere. Masa was finally allowed to see his son again, and for a full day he just sat with the boy in his lap, kissing and cuddling him until Tora got annoyed and wriggled away.

Work on the house continued, and Kaoru was nearing the end of his calculations. Tatsurou was looking forward to the plans being finalized, so he would finally get his boyfriend back. However, when the plans were done, Kaoru still had to work every night to make adjustments according to what had happened during the day of building. The nurse couldn’t help complaining to Kaz when he came by for Meto’s talk, falling down heavily on his chair as usual.

“I know we need him to work hard, or all of it will be delayed. But I just miss him, you know? I miss just spending time together, lazying about, talking. And he’s just never around, and it’s driving me nuts.”

“That sucks, I know the feeling. I hope it gets better soon.” Kaz was compassionate, and they talked about it for a while as Meto circled around them, trying to decide if he was ready to sit down or not. The short alpha watched his mate circle and finally leave the room for a short excursion, sighing.

“He’s become so much worse since we got here. So much more nervous and edgy.”

“It’s probably the shock of everything, jumpstarting everything he had repressed for so long. It will change all the time until we’re done, but I’m guessing he’ll become worse before he gets better.”

Kaz pursed his lips but accepted the nurse’s explanation. He was glad to be able to talk to someone about this, for so long it had just been him worrying on his own about his strange little mate. It felt nice to have a new friend here, one he could talk to freely about his mate and his feelings around the whole thing. And so they talked, until Meto finally decided to grace them with his presence, only to get an erratic outburst when Tatsurou tried to ask where he was from.

As usual, Tatsurou was dead tired when he went down to his cottage, too exhausted today to even wait for Kaoru. He stumbled into bed, barely having time to undress before his head hit the pillow. When his boyfriend came home, the nurse was sleeping soundly.

. . . . .

“Zu?” Koichi’s voice was hesitant, and Hazuki looked up from the book he was reading.

“Hmm? What is it, babe?”

The omega bit his lip and twirled a lock of pink hair between his fingers. Yuki had helped with the dying last time and made highlights with the pink instead of dying all of it, making the black edge less noticeable as it grew out. But it was still getting very long and dark, and Hazuki sent a hopeful thought to Reika, mentally trying to remind him of his promise to look for more hair dye on the way to the resort. His mate’s uncertainty brought him back to the matter at hand, and he reached out for Koichi’s hand, squeezing it gently.

“I… I was thinking about… names for our son…”

Oh? Not what he had expected to hear, but why was Kou so nervous about that?

“Ok, sure, did you have anything special in mind?” he coaxed, trying to ease his lover’s mind a bit.

The pause before his mate spoke made Hazuki a bit nervous himself. But then he got it, as his mate finally managed to spit it out.

“I know it’s kind of weird, maybe, but… I’d like to name him Mia. To remember him, you know. And I know it’s weird because of what happened to him, and I’m so scared it will make Meto freak out even more. And I don’t know what you think, but I just wanted to…”

“Babe.” Hazuki cut him off, grabbing both his hands. “It’s fine. It’s not weird, and I’m perfectly fine with it. I know how much he meant to you, and I would never say no if that’s what you want. Besides, it’s a pretty name.”

Koichi sniffed, relieved tears filling his eyes. “Are you sure?”

“Yes, babe, I’m sure.”

The tears were falling freely now, as the omega got up from his chair and rounded the table to throw himself into his mate’s arms. “Thank you so, so much! I was so scared you’d hate it, and…”

The alpha cut him off again, this time with a deep kiss. “Never, baby. I could never hate anything you did or said.” He pulled the omega into his lap properly and held him close, kissing his hair. “And about Meto, we’ll figure it out. We’ll talk to Tatsurou about it, and see what he says. It’s still a long way off, maybe he’s much better by then. Ok? Don’t worry about it, sweetie. We’ll sort it out.”

Koichi’s arms snaked around him, the omega nuzzling his neck and breathing in his scent. “I love you,” he whispered, hiding his face against his alpha.

“I love you too, babe. More than you will ever know.”

Chapter Text

The nurse heard his neck crack as he stretched, getting up from his chair after finishing writing in the journal after Masa’s visit. He was getting worried about the omega. He still had almost three months to go, but he was clearly in pain, and he was fatigued all the time. Tatsurou had asked him to rest as much as possible, to stay in bed or sit down without working at all. He looked over his food intake and made sure Kai knew to give Masa extra of everything that contained iron and lots of vitamins, but he was worrying it might not be enough. He was almost certain Masa wouldn’t go full term by now, the question was just how early the baby would be. So he started to prepare for an early birthing in secret, not telling the omega or anyone else. No point in worrying them as well.

If Kaoru had been there, he would have confided in him, like he always did. Kaoru knew how to keep a secret, and he always listened and gave support and made the nurse feel better about himself and whatever situation that worried him. But Kaoru was working, and Koichi was with him, and sometimes Minase as well since he was good at math and Kaoru needed all the help he could get.

Tatsurou buried his face in his hands, just resting it there for a moment, massaging his temples. Well, he needed to talk to someone. He could barely think anymore, and he needed to let out some steam or he would go nuts. His neck cracked again as he lifted his head, and then he got off the chair to go find Kaz.

. . . . .

Meto was playing around with Kuina, the two taking turns giving each other rides in a wheelbarrow on the grass, laughing and tumbling over. Kaz looked on from the side, sitting with his back against against a tree. He had his huge sunglasses on again, and they made his small face look even smaller. When Tatsurou approached, he smiled in welcome.

“Hey there, you alright?” He pulled the glasses down his nose for a second, peering at his friend. He hadn’t seen Tatsurou this tired in… well, ever, and he was a bit worried. The nurse sat down on the grass next to Kaz and leaned back on the thick trunk, heaving a deep breath.

“I’m alive, I guess,” he quipped, giving a sardonic half-smile. “But honestly, no. I’m tired and worried and scared and… Shit. I can’t even begin to…” He broke off and leaned his head back with a thump, closing his eyes.

Kaz eyed him with a frown. “Tired I get, but what’s with the worried and scared? Want to talk about it?”

Tatsurou sighed. “I guess. Want to, no. Need to, yes.” He rubbed his eyes. “It’s Masa. He’s not doing well, and I’m pretty sure his kid will be early, and I’m scared it’ll be too early for me to save him. I feel so unprepared for all of this. I hate being the only one who knows about medicine. I mean, what if I fuck up? What if I can’t save them? And then there are all your friends coming, and all the others here. I thought I was on top of it, but it’s just too much. I can’t… I just can’t.”

“Nonsense.” Kaz’ statement was unexpected, and Tatsurou opened his eyes to look at his friend. “You’ll do fine,” the alpha continued. “You’re good. I see you with Meto, and I’m so glad it’s you taking care of him. You just need to stop believing you need to be superman. Not everything that goes wrong is your fault. If Masa’s baby is early, you will do your best. And if it’s not enough, if it’s too early, it’s not your fault. You can’t do everything. You’re doing enough as it is.”

The nurse closed his eyes again. “Yeah, but they’re all counting on me. What if I can’t live up to their expectations?”

“Then the problem is their expectations, not you,” Kaz pointed out. “Besides, from what I’ve seen of this place and its people, I doubt anyone will blame you for not being able to save every lost cause you face.”

Tatsurou couldn’t help the small smile as he looked at his friend. “Thank you. I really needed to hear that right now.”

“No problem. That’s what friends are for.” Kaz reached over and gave the nurse a quick hug, before he sat back and looked over at Meto.

“Kuina’s doing wonders for him,” he started, and as their focus shifted to the omegas, Tatsurou failed to see Kaoru standing over at the construction site, watching the two friends from afar with a stony expression on his face.

. . . . .

“I don’t like it. It’s too soon.” Tsuzuku frowned at his pink-haired friend. Koichi seemed to shrink before him, deflated by his friend’s disapproval.

“But… I just… I want to remember him and honor him,” he mumbled, looking down. His friend sighed and put Tatsuya down on the floor, keeping his eyes on him as he crawled away happily.

“Listen, Kou… I know. Ok? I understand how you feel. It’s not like I didn’t think about it when my little hooligan was born. But Kou, what happened to him… It’s too new, and it hurts too much to think about. Can you see yourself calling out his name and think about your boy and only your boy, without always feeling a tinge of sadness and pain?”

Koichi thought about it, his throat constricted by emotion. He knew Tsuzuku had a point, but... “I just want him to be remembered. I’m so scared that once we’re gone, no one will ever even say his name again.”

“But we will tell our kids about him, won’t we? And maybe we could write down his story, and leave it in the library as a book to read. So people can know who he was even in the future.”

Tsuzuku looked away from Tatsuya for a second and watched his friend. Koichi was crying now, silent tears running down his cheeks. “Oh Kou, I’m sorry. Listen, I’m not telling you not to, ok? I’m just saying think about it. Be sure of what you’re doing and why.”

Koichi sniffed, drying his cheeks on his sleeve. “Ok, I’ll think about it.”

Tsuzuku smiled at him. “Good.”

A loud crash made them both jump, and Tsuzuku’s eyes went wide with fear.


. . . . .

“You’re spending an awful lot of time with him, that’s all I’m saying.” Kaoru glared at Tatsurou as he was changing out of his dirty clothes. They had started their discussion several minutes ago, but instead of doing the grown-up thing and talking about it sensibly, they were both getting more and more testy.

“So? Why does that matter?”

“You tell me.”

“Oh, for fucks sake, Kao! We’re friends! I can have friends, can’t I? Or are you trying to control who I’m talking to?”

Kaoru grunted. “Of course not, you can be friends with anyone. But why him?”

“Because he’s a nice guy, and I like talking to him, that’s why.”

“A nice guy who just happens to be into alphas.”

The nurse paused, staring at his lover. “What?!”

“You heard me.” Kaoru sulked, feeling irrationally angry. He was beyond tired, so tired that thinking seemed to be an extracurricular activity right about now. He worked hard every night while Tatsurou was with Kaz, and he was tired of another man spending time with his boyfriend instead of him, and he just couldn’t help lashing out.

“Are you accusing me of something here?” Tatsurou demanded, staring at the alpha angrily. He was beyond pissed. How could Kaoru even begin to think he would cheat on him? How dare he?

“No, I’m just reminding you of whose ring you’re wearing, that’s all,” Kaoru said, spite making its way into his voice despite his wishes. It was if the argument was taking on a life of his own, like someone else was saying these things. God, he was just so tired of it all.

“Oh yeah? Are you saying you want the ring back, is that it?” Tatsurou was hurt, and scared, and tired, and he didn’t mean to say it, but he did, and the fear in Kaoru’s eyes was suddenly…

“Tatsurou!” Tomo was banging on the door, rushing in without waiting for permission. “It’s Tatsuya! He’s bleeding and he’s unconscious and I don’t know what to do. I just don’t know what to do.” The omega’s voice cracked into falsetto, and he looked completely devastated.

Everything was a blurry whirlwind of fear from there.

. . . . .

“I only looked away for a second. Just a second,” Tsuzuku cried, Reo’s arms around him. The alpha’s face was grey, and he clenched his jaws as he watched the tiny body on the bed. Tatsurou was looking over the boy, his face just as grey as Reo’s. Tatsuya had a good sized bump in his head and a cut just over his eyebrow from where the chair had hit him as it toppled over. He had cleaned the wound, but apart from that he couldn’t do much for the boy right now. Tatsuya was unconscious, but his breathing was steady and his heart beat at a normal rate.

“I think he’s had a concussion,” the nurse said, masking his fear for the sake of the parents behind him. “His pulse is fine, but he might be unconscious for a while longer while the swelling goes down. We’ll let him rest in here for a while, and then we’ll see how he feels when he wakes up, ok?”

“But he will? Wake up, I mean?” Reo’s voice was raspy, and he gripped his sobbing mate harder.

Tatsurou met his gaze and swallowed. He didn’t say ‘I hope so’, or ‘I don’t know’. He couldn’t even breathe right then, fear gripping him as he watched the two mates in despair. It was too much, just too much, and he couldn’t say anything at all. Reo just nodded quickly and pulled his mate closer, burying his face in his hair and holding him tight while he cried.

Behind them in the corner by the door Koichi stood leaned against the wall, his knees trembling. He felt sick to his stomach, and when Tsuzuku let out a thin wail, he panicked and fled the room. Hazuki was waiting outside the door and quickly stepped in and swooped his mate up, circling the small body with his arms.

“Is he…?” The alpha couldn’t say the word, but let out a relieved sigh as Koichi shook his head.

“But Tatsu doesn’t know if or when he’ll wake up,” the omega sobbed. He nestled his face in the crook of his alpha’s neck and just cried, wondering if he would ever forgive himself. If I hadn’t talked to Tsu and made him look at me instead of Tatsuya, this wouldn’t have happened. Please god, don’t let him die because of me.

Hazuki held his lover, whispering soothingly in his ear, but inside, his stomach was churning. Losing a child would be the ultimate nightmare for all of them, and he couldn’t even begin to fathom what Reo and Tsuzuku was going through right now. He put his cheek on Koichi’s head and closed his eyes, just holding the trembling body in his arms, praying to someone, anyone, to make things alright again.

. . . . .

No one wanted dinner. They just sat waiting in the dining room, completely quiet, waiting to hear news. Even Meto sat still for once, anxiously snuggling up to Kaz. Kaoru sat across the room and watched the two surreptitiously. He was doubly scared. Of course Tatsuya was the most important thing, and he felt bad about not focusing entirely on the poor boy and his parents.

But the last words from his lover’s mouth… God, was he losing the love of his life? Did Tatsurou want to leave him? Had Kaz won him over, while Kaoru had been working late every night for weeks and ignoring his lover’s needs? He wouldn’t have thought it, not yesterday, despite how annoyed and jealous he had been. He hadn’t even thought of the possibility until their argument today. Him and Tatsu were so perfect together, and he had thought this was the one, the guy he’d be with for the rest of his life. Now he wasn’t so sure, when he watched the short alpha across the room. Kaz looked good, there were no two ways about it. He was a nice, good-looking guy who had been there for his lover when he himself hadn’t been. It wouldn’t be so strange if the two of them fell for each other.

But god, he couldn’t lose Tatsurou. He had to win him back. He had to, no matter what it took. He would do anything, absolutely anything. He would win him back.

. . . . .

It was nearly midnight when the nurse entered the dining room, looking like a ghost but with a small, relieved smile on his lips.

“He’s awake,” he said simply. Here and there quiet gasps and whispers of ‘thank the gods’ could be heard, and Koichi sobbed loudly as he buried himself in Hazuki’s chest, so relieved he didn’t know what to do with himself.

Kaoru stood anxiously, watching the nurse, fear still churning in his gut. Would Tatsurou go to Kaz for comfort? Had he made his choice? But the nurse tiredly scanned the room, his eyes gliding past Kaz and Meto and continuing until they found Kaoru, and for a moment they just looked at each other. And then the nurse took a few steps towards his boyfriend, and Kaoru closed the distance in a heartbeat, pulling his love into his arms, hugging him tightly, burying his face in his hair. He could feel his lover’s body slump over his, the nurse exhausted not to mention an emotional wreck. Tatsurou began sobbing quietly into his shoulder, and Kaoru held on to him, kissing his cheek, his hair, his ear.

“I’m so sorry,” he whispered. “I didn’t mean to ignore you. I love you so, so much. Please, don’t leave me. I’ll do anything, just don’t leave me.”

Kaoru felt his lover’s arms snake around his waist as he hugged him back, holding onto his boyfriend for dear life. “Never,” the nurse whispered back, and it was the only word Kaoru needed right then.

. . . . .

When the door closed behind them, Tatsurou tiredly walked over to their bed and fell down onto it. He just lay there flat on his face for a moment, and finally Kaoru went up to him and pulled his shoes off before he turned his lover over and shifted him onto the bed properly. Then, he lay down next to his lover and pulled him close, gently kissing his forehead. Tatsurou shifted so that he was lying more comfortably on Kaoru’s shoulder, and then he lay there, just letting his fingers play with the curly hair for a while.

Finally, he looked up at his lover. “I have never done anything with Kaz. I would never,” he said, looking earnestly into Kaoru’s eyes.

The engineer pinched his eyes, sighing. “I know babe, I know. I’m so sorry I even said it, I was just so tired, and a bit jealous he got to be with you and I couldn’t be. I said so many things I regret. I love you so much. I was just so scared of losing you I couldn’t think straight.”

Tatsurou made a small humming sound in the back of his throat and grimaced. “We’re both guilty of that. I never meant to say… that.” His eyes fell on the ring on the finger currently caressing Kaoru’s chest, and he winced. “I never want to take it off, Kao. I never want us to break up. I love you, more than anything.” His voice broke a bit as he started sobbing again. “But we’ve both been working so hard, and I’m so goddamn tired, and all the kids got sick at once, and I’m scared about Masa and Tatsuya and all the new people coming and all the pregnant guys and what if I fuck up and someone dies or I just can’t help them? And I couldn’t talk to you because you were always busy or there were other people around and I just needed someone to talk to so I talked to Kaz. He’s a friend, Kao, a good friend who’s been there for me, but he’s just a friend. I swear to god.”

Kaoru felt his chest clench at the sight of his boyfriend’s despair. God, he hadn’t realized how much Tatsurou had gone through, how much his lover had needed him, he had just been so concerned with getting the work done he had missed all the signs he usually saw.

“Oh baby,” he whispered with tears in his eyes, his voice choked, “I’m so sorry I wasn’t there for you. I know you didn’t do anything with Kaz, I don’t even know why I said it. And I’m to blame for not being there for you when you needed me. But I’m here now, and I’ll be here for you always. I swear. I’m so, so sorry. I love you.”

“I love you too, so much,” Tatsurou cried into his chest. The two held on to each other for a long while, until their hearts beat as one again. Eventually, they fell asleep wrapped around each other, and they hardly moved until morning.

. . . . .

It was after lunch when Kaz sat down on the stairs next to Kaoru, looking out over the lawn. The engineer tensed but said nothing, and for a few heartbeats they just sat there, next to each other.

“Tatsurou told me what happened.”

Kaoru clenched his jaw, but still kept his tongue, looking stoically out over the village. How was he to say sorry for this? To explain it?

Kaz glanced at him. “You know, I have a boyfriend. We’re always sort of on and off. Having a mate kind of complicates things a bit, especially when you find yourself in a position when you have to choose between them. I do my best to keep them both happy and stay away from such situations, but sometimes… For example, if Meto is sick, I have to stay by his side, you know? And it can put a strain on the relationship. Hence the on and off bit.”

Kaz paused, looking out over the houses. Kaoru couldn’t help feeling for the alpha. He could imagine how difficult it must be for them, he didn’t want to think about how it would be for him and Tatsurou if one of them also had a mate. Things were hard enough with just the two of them sometimes.

“But even when we’re off,” Kaz continued, “I’m not looking to replace him. I love him, as difficult as he can be, and when we’re off I always long for us to be on again.” He turned to look at Kaoru earnestly. “And we might be far away from each other right now, but we’re on. He’s still my boyfriend, and I’m not a cheat. And neither is your boyfriend.”

The alpha met his gaze and swallowed, feeling a lump forming in his throat. He couldn’t speak, but he bowed his head quietly, and the alpha seemed to understand. He put his hand on the engineer’s shoulder and squeezed a bit before he let go and rose.

“See you at dinner?” he asked, and Kaoru fought out a smile and a nod. The short alpha smiled back, and then went back inside to go find his mate, leaving a lone figure on the stairs, looking out into nothing.

Chapter Text

The next morning, Kaoru snuck out of bed around ten and left a snoring nurse in bed to go up to the kitchen. He found Kai and talked to him quickly, and then went around to talk to Toshiya, Reo and Tomo before he swung by the kitchen again on his way out.

He made his way back to the cottage and snuck in quietly, closing the door behind him. He put a basket on the table, before he undressed and crawled back into bed and curled himself around his sleeping lover. Tatsurou stopped snoring and made a content noise in his sleep as Kaoru’s arms encircled him, but he didn’t wake up. A few minutes later, they both slept soundly.

. . . . .

It was some time after noon when Tatsurou stirred, turning and stretching. His movements woke Kaoru, who raised his head sleepily. He looked adorable with the curly bangs falling over his face, Tatsurou thought, and reached out a hand to brush them behind an ear, smiling softly. Kaoru smiled back, turning his head to kiss the hand against his cheek.

“What time is it?” Tatsurou yawned and stretched again, while Kaoru threw a glance at the clock over by the door.

“12.30,” he mumbled, startling the nurse.

“What?! Shit, I’m late!” Tatsurou’s attempt to throw off the blankets and get out of bed was thwarted by a certain engineer, who put his arm around his waist and pulled him back into bed.

“U-uh. You’re staying in today.”


A hard kiss shut him up effectively, and when Kaoru pulled back, Tatsurou just blinked at him in confusion.

“I’ve already talked to Toshiya. We’ve got the day off, and we’re gonna rest and just be lazy together, and talk about whatever we want. I got Kai to pack us brunch, so we don’t even have to leave the cabin until dinner.”


“Tatsuya is fine, same as yesterday, and Reo said he’s slept well and is just a bit whiny since the bump hurts. Tomo can handle it just fine. And if something happens, he promised to come get you.”


“And Tomo will handle every other appointment today as well, and unless it’s critical it can wait until tomorrow.”


Kaoru frowned playfully, pretending to be annoyed. “Oh, now you’re just making up excuses to go to work, aren’t you? You’re staying here. End of story.” He grinned all of a sudden, cheekily. “Besides, you have a patient right here. He’s overworked and so tired he says really stupid things to the one he loves, and he needs lots of love and cuddles so he’ll stop being a mean, grumpy old man.”

Tatsurou couldn’t help laugh at that, and he finally relaxed and made himself comfortable against the pillows again. “Mmm, you thought about everything, didn’t you?”

“Only for you, babe. Only for you.” The kiss that followed was slow and sensual, and they let their lips caress each other for a long while, just enjoying the feeling of being close again.

“I’ve missed you so much,” Tatsurou whispered against Kaoru’s lips. “I know it’s only been a few weeks since we had time together, but it feels like forever.”

“I know, baby, I feel the same way. I promise I’ll always make time for you from now on, ok?”

“Me too.” The nurse stole another kiss, his fingers never leaving Kaoru’s body. “I love you.”

“I love you too. And you know what else we’ll love?” Kaoru grinned.


“Brunch. I’m starving. Hang on, I’ll get it, and we can eat in bed.”

Tatsurou just laughed and shook his head as a naked Kaoru crawled out of bed and started preparing the food. But he didn’t argue as he shamelessly ogled his lover’s body and licked his lips hungrily, reaching out to pinch his boyfriend’s alluring ass.

Brunch was a bit delayed.

. . . . .

Tatsuya was stuck in Tsuzuku’s arms. The boy was feeling better and wanted to go play, but his bearer kept him locked in a protective embrace. It was enough to make any toddler crazy, and he whined and squirmed until Reo eventually managed to gently coax his mate into allowing the boy some room to move around.

“We’re both here,” he soothed, “and so’s Kouki and Subaru. We’ll make sure nothing happens to him. Ok?”

Tsuzuku eventually agreed but watched the boy like a hawk, flinching every time his son reached for something. Still, he did his best to keep himself in check, and just watched nervously as the toddler moved around. His heart caught in his throat when Tatsuya reached for a chair, and he was halfway there when Reo stopped him with an arm around his waist. The alpha just reached out and held the chair steady, the other arm in a firm grip around his mate.

Together they watched as Tatsuya grabbed the chair and pulled himself up to stand on his own for the very first time.

. . . . .

“So, Tsu doesn’t think it’s a good idea, so I guess we shouldn’t,” Koichi concluded, as he sat snuggled up to his mate. Hazuki frowned.

“Honey, is this because you don’t want to or because he doesn’t want to? You were so happy about the name before all of this happened. Are you sure it’s not just your misguided guilt about Tatsuya’s fall, which by the way was absolutely not your fault?”

Koichi sighed. “It so was my fault. But no. Or yes. A little bit. But what he said made sense. I don’t want to feel sad when I say my boy’s name. But I still want Mia to be remembered, and… I’m just conflicted I guess.”

Hazuki watched his mate for a moment, seeing the little frown that scrunched up that adorable nose, and he felt his heart burst at the sight.

“Maybe there is a way to do both,” he suggested.

Koichi looked up at him, large doe eyes blinking at him in confusion, and Hazuki couldn’t help steal a kiss before he continued.

“He could be named Mia as a middle name. You know, so he’s got another name for everyday use, but he’ll still be Mia as well. What do you say?”

And god, the light that suddenly shone in those gorgeous eyes was stunning, and when the omega smiled, he was completely done for. Koichi didn’t get a word out in almost fifteen minutes, his mouth being occupied by Hazuki’s tongue.

. . . . .

Shuse looked up at the mountainside, snow still on the top far in the distance. They were nearing the resort. They had just passed a road sign that claimed the resort was 4 km away, and Kiyoharu and Ju-ken were walking with a new spring in their step, looking forward to coming home.

“So, what should we expect when we get there?” he asked.

Ju-ken grinned. “Freshly cooked food!” They all chuckled at that before Kiyoharu gave a more serious answer.

“We’ve got guards posted, so when we approach the gate to the compound, they’ll already have seen us. There’s a fence around the actual resort, and one gate to the road and another out to the slopes. But it’s nothing you can’t climb over if you’re determined, so we need to stand guard around the clock. We’re lucky we’re so many, it would be hard otherwise. Anyway, once we’re inside we’ll probably be met by Hyde and the council members. He’ll expect a full report immediately, but I don’t think he’ll mind your presence. He trusts our judgment, and if we say that you guys are alright he’ll believe us.”

Ju-ken grinned and scratched his beard a bit. “But he’s gonna be pissed about Kaz, though. Don’t mind him if he yells a bit. Oh, and try not to stare at him.”

Reika looked surprised at the tall alpha. “Why would we stare?”

Kiyoharu rolled his eyes at his friend, but apparently he understood what he meant immediately. “Hyde is short. I mean, really short. Omega short. And he’s very pretty, so sometimes, new people mistake him for an omega. He really doesn’t like that.”

Ju-ken chuckled. “Oh, remember the guy who…?” A grim look from Kiyoharu made him trail off, choosing not to continue that particular train of thought.

“Don’t be fooled by his looks,” Kiyoharu said, “he’s a really good leader and has the council running smoothly. But sometimes, he can come across as a bit harsh.”

“Overcompensating,” Ju-ken coughed into his hand, and grinned as Kiyoharu glared at him. “What?! He is!” The tall alpha turned to Shuse and Reika. “But don’t get me wrong, I really like the guy, and like my friend here says he’s a great leader.” Ju-ken was more serious now as he eyed the two friends, making sure they understood.

Shuse smiled and nodded. “I’m sure we’ll get along,” he said.

Kiyoharu tilted his head and peered at Shuse. “You know, I think you will.”

. . . . .

“They should be there some time around now.” Toshiya looked out over the lake, Atsushi standing next to him.

“Yup. If they were right about a two week walk, and nothing happened on the way.”

Toshiya was silent for another moment before he spoke again. “I hope they’re ok. But I have to believe that. Besides, Shuse is badass, and Reika’s been out there before to find you guys. They know how to deal with the road.”

Atsushi just hummed in response, and Toshiya glanced at him. “And you?”

The major frowned. “Me what?”

“Are you ok?”

The major shrugged, looking awkwardly away over the lake. “I’m fine. Why?”

“Listen, Atsushi, I know how you feel about Uta, and I know it must be hard for you...”

Atsushi swirled around and stared at Toshiya. “What do you mean? I don’t…”

Toshiya’s raised hand stopped him midsentence. “I know about Uta, ok? Everyone knows. You’re not that good at hiding your feelings, to be honest. Actually, I think even Uta knows by now, and god knows that guy is oblivious to stuff like that.”

The major’s face turned suddenly grey. “Uta… knows?” he said hesitantly, his voice shaking slightly.

“I think so, yeah. And don’t worry, he’s a bit shaken but not scared out of his mind.”

Atsushi’s nervous grimace made Toshiya smile a crooked half-smile. “Why don’t you just tell him yourself? He already knows, and he would probably appreciate hearing it from you. He trusts you, and I think he might come around and relax more if he knows you’ve told him the truth about how you feel, instead of him thinking that you’re hiding things from him.”

Atsushi sighed. “I’m not sure I can,” he sighed. “He’s so fragile, and I’m scared I’ll break him. I don’t want him to be afraid of me.”

“Well, you’d better make him trust you then. Give him the chance to.” Toshiya patted the major’s shoulder. “I think you might both feel better after you’ve got the truth out. Just give it a try, ok?”

The major sighed and looked out over the lake. “We’ll see,” he said, his voice tired.

. . . . .

“Halt!” The voice came from a tower by the gate, and behind it, a large brown two-story hotel building filled the view. As Shuse peered up, he could make out the contours of two faces in the shade.

“Knock it off, Taka, you know it’s us,” Kiyoharu grunted.

“Oh yeah? And have you lost Kaz somewhere on the way and picked up some strays instead?” the voice teased.

“At least we know where we left him, alive and well, which is more than you can say about Ototo. Slipped away unnoticed by the guards, did he?” Kiyoharu said, raising an eyebrow at the person in the tower. Someone else laughed loudly, while the first voice scoffed.

“Welcome back, guys. We’ve missed you,” the other voice said, and an alpha suddenly stepped out of the tower and climbed down a ladder to open the gate. He was sinewy and looked hard through and through, very confident almost to the point of smug, but also with a huge friendly grin on his face.

“Thanks, Arimatsu. It’s good to see you too,” Kiyoharu smiled, and Ju-ken reached out and gave the alpha a quick hug.

Shuse and Reika hung back by the cart, waiting for the greetings to be done. And then Kiyoharu turned around and waved them up. “Arimatsu, this is Shuse and Reika. Guys, meet Arimatsu. He’s a member of the council, and a great friend of mine.” The alphas bowed quickly, Arimatsu eyeing them curiously before he turned to his friends. “So, I guess you found the elusive island, huh? But where did you stuff Kaz?”

Ju-ken and Kiyoharu glanced at each other. “I think we’d better tell Hyde and the council together.”

Arimatsu frowned in sudden worry. “Is he…?”

Kiyoharu quickly shook his head. “No, no, he’s fine. I’ll tell you soon.”

The alpha pursed his lips and gazed at Shuse and Reika, but eventually he nodded and waved them in. “Come on in then, and bring the cart.”

Together, they walked up the hill to let everyone know their friends had returned.

. . . . .



Chapter Text

They were shown into a hotel lobby, complete with a reception desk and ugly carpets. Arimatsu led the way to the left, into an area that had probably doubled as breakfast area and ballroom Before. The floor was filled with round tables and chairs, six per table. At the back wall there was a small stage, where seven chairs stood lined up, facing the floor. It was clear that they had been spotted a good ten minutes before they even reached the gate. Someone had already alerted the members of the community, and people were peeking in through the doorways, trying to get a glimpse of the newcomers, but no one came into the room. Three alphas stood on the podium, talking with hushed voices, as Arimatsu led the group to the podium and stopped in front of it. He nodded quickly at Kiyoharu and Ju-ken before he stepped up on the small stage. Apparently the two knew what to do, because they gestured to Shuse and Reika to stay with them, standing by the side of the podium. For a few minutes, they waited in silence.

Arimatsu was talking quietly with the other three alphas, apparently waiting for the last members of the council to arrive. Shuse studied them curiously. They all gave off the same air as Arimatsu – hard, tough and confident, but not unfriendly. There was something about one of them that looked familiar to Shuse, but he was very sure he had never met the man before in his life. The alpha was probably Atsushi’s age, with straight lines in his face and a long, straight nose on a weathered face. He looked serious and listened intently to Arimatsu while he examined the islanders at the same time. Shuse met his gaze straight on, and though there was no hostility in their eyes, neither backed down. Well, at least not until Shuse was startled by an omega sidling past him and stopping in front of Kiyoharu, glaring at him. The alpha laughed and wrapped his arms around a very thin and frail body, pulling the omega in and pressing kisses to his cheek and hair. Almost reluctantly, the omega lifted his arms and put them around Kiyoharu’s waist, leaning his forehead on the alpha’s shoulder.

“Hey, Gara, honey,” the alpha mumbled into the other’s ear as they hugged. “I’m so happy to see you.”

The omega disentangled himself from his boyfriend and glared at him. “Why did you leave then? You should have stayed with me, like I told you.”

Kiyoharu smiled gently at his lover and leaned over to kiss the surly face. “So I could miss you, of course.”

The omega huffed but couldn’t help leaning back into his boyfriend for another hug. Shuse studied him curiously. He didn’t know what he had expected from Kiyoharu’s boyfriend, but not this. Gara was very, very thin, almost as bony as Uta when they had first found him. His weight was probably what made his features so sharp, and his messy hair stood every which way. He seemed strong-willed and haughty, yet he couldn’t quite hide his feelings of happiness and relief to have his boyfriend back. After a few more moments of hugging and kissing, Kiyoharu shooed his lover out of the room again with a promise to find him later, and with a grumble Gara let go of him and left.

Two more alphas came in, and both Shuse and Reika understood immediately what Ju-ken and Kiyoharu had tried to explain about Hyde. It was very easy to spot him, shorter than all the others, with a smooth, very pretty face and an age that was impossible to guess. Right now, his jaws were tightly clenched, and his eyes sought out the newcomers as soon as he came in. Behind him came another alpha, probably in his forties, with a somewhat troubled look on his face. He stopped to close the big double doors behind them, hiding them from curious eyes and ears, so that the four were alone with the council.

Finally, they both stepped up on the podium. Arimatsu leaned over and said something to Hyde who nodded, a hint of relief on his face, his jaws unclenching slightly. Finally, the six alphas took their seats, with Hyde in the middle and the chair to the left of him still empty. Hyde eyed their new guests in silence for a moment, before he turned his eyes to his returning friends and spoke, rather gruffly.

“Kiyoharu, Ju-ken, we’re happy to have you back with us. However, three of you left, two came back. Arimatsu says you said he’s fine. Explain yourselves.”

Ouch, Shuse thought, as he watched his two new friends squirm a bit under Hyde’s gaze. Kiyoharu had been right, Hyde was not happy. At. All. In the end, it was Kiyoharu who took the bull by the horns.

“Kaz is on the island. He had to stay there for a while, so Ototo could get some help.” It really clarified nothing, but Hyde didn’t let that stop him. His tongue dripped of acid as he spoke slowly and deliberately.

“Are you saying you left two of our own, with strangers, on an island somewhere? Without our consent? And you thought that was a good idea because…?”

Kiyoharu squirmed and threw a begging glance at Ju-ken, but his friend was not about to get into the viper’s nest with him. Finally, the alpha sighed and continued.

“Ototo must have snuck out, right? We didn’t even see him until we were already there, but he must have followed us all the way. The islanders saw him and took Kaz to go get him. Once he got to the island, we discovered that two of his old friends from before Kaz found him were there. And well, turns out that his real name is Meto, and he’s got all these repressed memories, and he kind of freaked out. Like, a lot. Went into some kind of catatonic shock state and had to be given meds to sleep the first night. So their nurse said he wanted to keep the boy there for a while, to help him. And Kaz realized that he needed the help, so he stayed with him. But just for a while, ‘til he’s better.”

He looked pleadingly at Hyde, completely disregarding the rest of the council. The leader made a face, nearly snarling, but he didn’t scream at them. Not for lack of wanting to, Shuse noticed, but the short alpha apparently tried to keep his cool in front of their guests. He took a deep breath and ground his teeth before he nodded, throwing Kiyoharu a look that clearly said that this would be discussed further at a later time.

“Ok, there are several things in there we need to talk about. Island. Nurse. Meds. Just to begin with.” He breathed through his nose, as he visibly fought his anger down. “We'll do introductions once you’re done. Start from the beginning.”

So they did, describing their way from home, following the map to the only lake within range that seemed a plausible location for a settlement. They told them of the first meeting with Uta, and how they had misinterpreted the situation at first but soon were corrected. Shuse grinned a bit at that – it was rather amusing to hear himself be described as a vicious fighter with three omega slaves between him and his friend. Kiyoharu saw his smirk and huffed, grinning at the sergeant.

“Well, to our defense, you did look awfully suspicious there for a second. And Atsushi looked positively lethal!”

Shuse laughed. “Yeah, well, if he hadn’t thought you were about to rape his secret heartthrob…”

Ju-ken looked surprised. “Wait, what, he’s interested in that omega? Uta, right?”

Reika chuckled and Shuse grinned. “Yup. Got it bad too.”

“That’s gotta be… I don’t know. ‘Difficult’ just doesn’t cover it, does it?” Ju-ken made a face that was somewhere between sympathetic and troubled.

“Ok, ok, on with it,” Hyde said impatiently. “What then?”

So Kiyoharu went on to describe their first meeting with the islanders, and how they were invited over when the weather turned ugly. He told the council of the general layout of the community, and got surprised whistles at the number of omegas and kids. The mention of Tatsurou gave an even more awestruck response, and the six alphas all listened intently as Kiyoharu told them that no omegas had died in childbirth there. And finally he described how they had agreed on a deal (saving the details of it for later). He stressed how they had felt welcome and already considered the islanders to be friends, which seemed to make the council members relax a tad.

When the alpha finished, Hyde leaned back and watched Shuse and Reika thoughtfully. “And I suppose you are here to help present and broker the deal?” he asked, Shuse bowing shortly.

“Yes. My name is Shuse, and this is Reika.”

Hyde bowed his head in greeting.

“I am Hyde, and as I’m sure my friends have told you, I’m the leader of this gang.” He pointed to the others on the podium, starting from the left with the alpha who had come into the room with him. “Over there is Inoran. Next to him is Imai. This empty chair on my left usually belongs to Kiyoharu, when he’s not here to report. On my right is Hidehiko, or Hide as we call him, and lastly Yuu and Toll.” The councilmen bowed their heads in greeting when they were introduced. Then Hyde turned to the islanders.

“Though it is nice to have visitors, I am still curious about why,” he said, his expression not unfriendly but yet slightly guarded. Shuse met his gaze and bowed quickly again.

“We are part of the deal your friends struck, if you choose to accept it.”

Hyde looked to his fellow council members, raising his eyebrow at Shuse’s description, before he nodded at the two islanders.

“Then we shall discuss it later, once you have gotten something to eat and rested a bit.” His eyes shifted back to Kiyoharu and Ju-ken. “Anything else before we take a break?”

Ju-ken shifted a bit, eyeing the council member on the far right, the one Hyde had called Toll. It was the one he had half recognized, Shuse noticed, but he still couldn’t figure out why.

“Well, yeah, there is one more thing actually,” Ju-ken said hesitantly. Hyde’s eyes flicked between him and Toll, squinting suspiciously. Ju-ken swallowed and then just dove into it, directing himself to the other alpha.

“Masa is there,” he said simply. The effect was the same as if he had dropped a grenade in the room. Toll flew off his chair, staring wildly at Ju-ken, and the others all flinched and stared between the alphas in surprise.

“He…He’s alive?” The shock was evident in Toll’s eyes, and when Ju-ken nodded, he grabbed his chair in order not to fall over. Ah, Shuse thought, so that’s what was bugging me. The likeness, not to Masa, but to Tora. Seems Masa’s dad skipped a generation with that nose.

Ju-ken continued gently. “Miya is with him. Masa said to tell you Miya got him through it all and saved him.” He paused, nervously eyeing the alpha, who seemed to be on the verge of a heart attack.

“Is he… Is he well?” The alpha seemed almost to plead at Ju-ken to say yes, the tough airs from before completely gone.

Ju-ken smiled. “He’s well.”

Toll exhaled, closing his eyes for a bit. When he opened them again, he was slightly more composed. “Will he come and see me? Did he say?”

“I doubt he should travel now. He’s too pregnant.”

The alpha drew a shocked breath, composure already gone again. He was starting to turn grey, and Shuse briefly wondered if the councilman to his left, Yuu, would have time to catch him before he fainted. Apparently, the councilman thought the same, as he got up and put a hand on his friend’s shoulder for support.

“Pregnant?” Masa’s father asked, weakly, and fumbled to sit down on his chair.

Ju-ken nodded. “Yup. Their second.”

The alpha just blinked, seemingly lost for words now. Ju-ken decided to just put it all out there, so the alpha could freak out, reboot and then start taking it in afterwards. “He didn’t loose the baby when the world fell. He says Miya took care of him, trying to get them somewhere safe, and they had almost reached the island when the water broke. Luckily Tatsurou, the nurse, found them and helped them through the last bit. Miya told me just how ill Masa was. You know Masa, never letting on how bad it really was even though he nearly bled out. But he pulled through thanks to the nurse, and the kid is just so freakin’ adorable. A little whirlwind if I ever saw one.” He chuckled. “That kid and his best friend together are like a major tornado, actually. He looks a bit like you, to be honest. His name’s Tora.”

By now, the alpha seemed to have almost shut off, and Hyde got up from his chair to check on his friend. “Toll?” he asked softly, without a trace of the harsh attitude from earlier. “Are you ok? Can we get you anything?”

The councilman just shook his head, blinking, and leaned forward with his elbows on his knees, hiding his face in his hands for a moment. Hyde patted his shoulder and looked up.

“I think we’ll take a break now, let him gather his thoughts. Arimatsu, Kiyoharu? Could you show our guests to a room where they can rest for a while before dinner?”

The alphas nodded, and gestured to the islanders to follow them into the hallways of the hotel. Behind them, Hyde talked gently to a shaking father who had just got news that his son was alive.

. . . . .










Hide (Hidehiko)






Chapter Text

Arimatsu and Kiyoharu showed them into the reception, where Arimatsu collected a key before he led them up a stairway to the second floor. Here and there, doors were open to rooms, and people stood watching them intently as they passed through the corridor. Shuse noted that Kiyoharu stopped to greet some of them happily, while he simply nodded to others. If this had been the island, everyone would have hugged and said hello, he thought, stashing away the information in his mental archive. Things seemed a little less lovey-dovey and somewhat more complicated here, and he suspected that had a part to play in Hyde’s attitude.

Arimatsu finally stopped in front of the door to room number 241 and picked up a key from his pocket, unlocking the door. He opened it and waved their guests inside, the other two following them in. Arimatsu closed the door behind them and led them into a typical hotel room with two separate beds against one wall, a desk against another and a chest of drawers in the corner. Even the now useless TV was still on its wall hanger in the corner. The color scheme was mainly dark brown and white, and a simple art print of a winter forest decorated the wall behind the headboards.

“I hope this room will be ok,” Arimatsu said. “My room is number 239, right next to this, so if you need anything tonight, don’t hesitate to knock. For now though, until dinner, I would appreciate it if you stayed in here until we can get you a guide to show you around.”

Shuse and Reika agreed, they had expected no less. After all, they wouldn’t let newcomers roam free unattended on the island either. Arimatsu smiled and handed over the key to Shuse, who put it in his pocket for safe keeping, and then he bowed to the two and left. Kiyoharu watched his friend leave but made no move to do the same. When Arimatsu had closed the door he turned to the islanders, looking slightly apologetic.

“I’m sorry if Hyde and the council came across as a bit unwelcoming. It’s not because of you.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Shuse said, Reika shaking his head. “I understand. We’re strangers, and it can’t be easy to have Hyde’s looks and stature and still get enough respect from the more macho alphas to stay in power. He’s got opposition, I’m guessing?”

Kiyoharu blinked in surprise, and then he chuckled, shaking his head. “Man, you’re clever. How did you figure it out just from our meeting with the council?”

Shuse nodded, pleased to see his guess was right. Good to know I haven’t lost my observational skills at least. Reika seemed equally baffled, and the sergeant smirked a bit.

“It wasn’t just the meeting, though I’m too familiar with military surroundings not to realize his looks is a problem in some circles. Also, you are part of the council. While we went upstairs, you greeted some people in a friendlier manner than others, which led me to believe the community is divided concerning the leadership. Am I right?”

Kiyoharu just stared for a moment, and then he let out a small laugh. “Yeah, that’s exactly it. Most of us support him, of course, or this wouldn’t work, but there is a group of alphas that are constantly questioning his decisions. Not everyone agreed on that going to look for you guys was a good idea, for example. They didn’t think we should risk exposing ourselves to others and put our own in danger. And now that we came back without Kaz… Well, it gives them fuel. The council decides, but that doesn’t mean they can’t grumble about it and be troublesome.”

“Politics. I get it.” Shuse shook his head sadly. “It’s always difficult in larger groups. We’re lucky to be a pretty close-knit community where everyone trusts Toshiya, not to mention each other.”

“True. It’s gotten harder with time, as the community grew. The more people, the more trouble.” Kiyoharu made a face. “He’s had to fight to hold on to power, even though the council supports him, and most of the others as well. But we’re still divided, in a way. I kind of envy you guys. You’re standing strong together, always, and it shows. Even in the few days I was there, it showed.”

He looked almost sad, but then he quickly shook it off. “Well, I’d better go find Gara before he thinks I’ve abandoned him again. He wasn’t exactly happy to see me go, as you might have noticed.” He indicated with his hand towards the radiators. “We have no fireplaces here except in the dining room, only an old furnace in the basement where the pump doesn’t work without electricity, so the radiators get lukewarm at best. I suggest you keep warm clothes on tonight. Oh, and someone will pick you up for dinner. Excluding breakfast, we serve only one hot meal during the day, or we wouldn’t be able to keep everyone fed during the winter. So dinner will be a bit earlier than you’re used to, I’m afraid. Hope that’s ok.”

He smiled at the islanders’ assurance that it was, and then he bowed quickly and left them to their own devices for a while. Shuse and Reika shared a look as the door shut after him, before they stretched out on the beds to get some well-earned rest.

. . . . .

A young alpha who introduced himself as Naoto came to pick them up for dinner. He was clearly curious about the two, and on the short route to the dining area, he managed to ask at least twenty questions about the island, without really giving them time to answer any of them properly. When they entered the hall where they had met with the council earlier, it was already full of people. It seemed as if everyone turned to stare at them while Naoto led them up to the small stage, where Hyde, Kiyoharu and Ju-ken waited. The leader waved for them to get up on stage, and then he turned to the crowd, making a sign with his hand to hush them.

“As most of you know, Kiyoharu and Ju-ken has returned. I will let them tell you of their journey and what they found.” He gestured to Kiyoharu, who took a step forward.

“We went looking for the island we had heard so many rumors about. And well – we found it.” He waited for the murmur to die down before he continued. “Our guests, Shuse and Reika here,” he gestured at the two, “live there. It is a good community, with good people. We were welcomed, and we have already learned things that will benefit us all in the future. We have a suggestion of a deal of mutual benefit for us, which will be discussed by the council before we decide on anything. And to stop any rumors immediately, Kaz is fine, and Ototo is with him. They stayed on the island of their own free will, and will return here later.”

Shuse took the opportunity to look at the crowd while Kiyoharu talked, scanning their faces. He noticed right away that Kiyoharu had told the truth, there were a lot more alphas than omegas here. He estimated that around a fifth of the crowd were omegas. The sergeant could spot only two children right at the back, one boy who looked to be about Shou’s age, and the other just an infant. There were two elderly alphas as well, but also a fair bunch of youngsters. He noticed a few tables where the enthusiasm for what Kiyoharu said was noticeable, and a few where suspicion ruled.

When Kiyoharu finished talking, he stepped back and let Hyde take the stage again. Their leader looked around, his eyes lingering at certain people. “I expect everyone to be kind and courteous to our guests. When we have heard and discussed the proposition, we will let you know what we decide.”

With that, he turned to Shuse and Reika, bowing slightly as he indicated towards a table by the podium, inviting them to sit. Kiyoharu, Ju-ken and Toll joined them, and they sat down at a table already set with plates of simple but good food. They dug in, Hyde’s harsh attitude much softer now, when he engaged in normal conversation. He asked them more about the island and its inhabitants, and gave tidbits of information about the resort in return. After a while, they inevitably got into the subject of the nurse, and Hyde showed a lot of interest in the subject. He confirmed that they had no one with medical skills, and looked almost stunned by the things Tatsurou had achieved.

Soon, Toll couldn’t keep his silence anymore. “Ju-ken told me that your nurse saved Masa. Can you tell me more?”

It was Reika who answered. “Shuse joined us much later, and I came to the island a few months after Tora was born, so I can only tell you what people told me. When I came there, Masa was still mostly bedridden, and Tora was about three months old. I was told what happened though. Apparently, Masa went into labor about three days before they reached the island, and Miya was trying to help him when Tatsurou arrived and took over. After Tora was born, they found a cart and pulled Masa and Tora to the lake, and the islanders came over to pick them up. But Masa started bleeding a lot when they got there, and Tatsurou had to operate or something, I’m not sure what. Subaru, one of our omegas, said it was ‘super scary’, and I believe him. Anyway, Tatsurou stopped the bleeding somehow and Masa was in bed for months before he was finally well enough to be up and about. Miya was really worried for a long while. He’s fine now though.”

Toll listened in silence, a rather pained expression on his face. When Reika finished, he sighed. “I’m sorry to hear he had to go through all that, but I’m happy he made it.” He seemed almost ashamed. “I’m not sure how much Masa has told you, but we weren’t on the best of terms Before, him and me. And then, After, when I had lost my mate, I regretted every harsh word. I started to realize what I had lost. I believed my son to be dead, you see, and I wished I hadn’t been so hard on him. If I hadn’t been, maybe he would have been here with me... I saw all this pain and suffering around me, pregnant omegas struggling, and I…” He choked a bit on the words, fighting his emotions. “I guess I thought Miya would abandon him. Ju-ken always said I was wrong, but I couldn’t… It’s difficult to keep hoping in a world like this, even when you want to,” he concluded, battling with tears threatening to fall.

They were all silent for a minute, letting the alpha take a moment to recover, before Reika spoke gently. “Miya would never leave Masa behind. He would rather die. The love between those two… It’s amazing to see. And Tora… He’s so loved. They would do anything for him.”

Toll closed his eyes, nodding, a single tear making its way down his cheek. ”I’m glad,” he whispered, Hyde reaching out to squeeze his forearm quickly.

They finished the dinner talking about other things, Toll somewhat muted during the discussions. When they were done, it wasn’t even dark out yet, and Hyde invited them into a different, smaller room for their talks. They were soon joined by the other council members, and sat down in rather comfortable sofas to discuss the deal they were about to make. It was a bit chilly inside, but the small room soon warmed up from their body heat, and once Kiyoharu and Shuse had finished presenting the deal, it was almost too warm for jackets.

“It does sound interesting,” Hyde said, eyeing the council members. “Though I can see obvious risks, sending our pregnant omegas to the island. The journey itself is one, relying on strangers we have never met is another.”

He pursed his lips in thought, watching the others- By the look of it, they shared his doubts. Kiyoharu stepped in. “I know it’s a risk, but I really want to say that I trust these guys. And their nurse – you should have seen him with Ototo. He was gentle but firm, and he seemed to know what to do to help. He also helped Kaz with his swollen eye.”

Hyde’s eyes snapped to Kiyoharu at the last part. “Swollen eye?” he asked, and Shuse noticed a slightly nervous edge to his voice.

Kiyoharu hurried to reassure the short leader. “He got some kind of infection in his eye on the way, but the nurse helped him and he looked much, much better when we left. No swelling and just a bit red.”

Hyde relaxed visibly and nodded. “I see. Well, I think the council will need to discuss this on our own tonight.” He smiled at the islanders, apologetically. “Shall we call Naoto? He can show you around.”

Shuse smiled. “That would be very interesting. Thank you.”

Hyde nodded quickly and Arimatsu got up to open the door and call for Naoto. The young alpha was there in a heartbeat, and the alphas bid each other farewell, before the guests left with their enthusiastic guide.

. . . . .



Chapter Text

Naoto showed them around, starting with the outdoors while there was still enough daylight left. They only did a quick tour, their guide showing them the layout but not getting into details. The terraced ski slopes were interesting, and the islanders looked forward to hearing more about how the land had been turned into farming ground. Still, it was also clear to them that the amount of food grown was just about enough to cover their basic needs. A bad year and they wouldn’t have enough.

They did an even more exiting visit to the stables, or as it had previously been known, the garage. In here, seven goats and two horses had plenty of room to roam around. Naoto explained that food for the animals was a much smaller issue than food for themselves, thanks to all the open fields around the compound, with lots of high grass to harvest for the winter. A door stood open out into a pasture, and the animals were free to roam inside or out as they wished. The chickens ran around everywhere, and it was almost strange to see such a sight in the setting of an old garage. Reika got to pet one of the horses, and his eyes were shining happily for a long while after.

They passed by two guards each time they went through a gate, and others were posted here and there, everyone scrutinizing them when they passed. The islanders said hello and tried to look friendly every time they met someone, and the replies ranged from friendly to guarded, but none were openly hostile. The sergeant took the opportunity to surreptitiously assess their guards, making mental notes for the future in case the deal was accepted and he would be helping them improve their defenses.

Naoto finally took them to their cart and helped carry everything indoors. He watched curiously as he was handed plants to carry, and sniffed one before he grinned widely. “Thyme!” he exclaimed, ecstatic. Reika and Shuse couldn’t help laugh at his enthusiasm. He sniffed the other plant and made a face at the funky smell, making the islanders laugh even harder.

“What is it?” he asked, sniffing again.

“It’s medicinal. You’ll see,” Reika smiled.

Finally, Shuse swung the last bag onto his shoulder, and they left what they couldn’t carry in the lobby and just brought a bag and a pot each up to their room. They could get the rest later, when the council was done with their deliberating. Naoto proceeded to show them the inside of the resort, which included a gym (that was in use) and an empty pool (which was not). The rooms stretched both left and right from the stairs, but they were only shown the right part of the building. When they got back to the stairs, Naoto stopped them before they could continue into the corridor on the left side.

“We’d better not go that way,” he said. At the islander’s raised eyebrows, he explained further. “Those are the single omega quarters. There are two omegas about to go into heat, and with no suppressants left, our only choice is to lock them up with a bunch of their omega friends until it’s over. We have a safe zone, so to speak, from here to the end of the corridor, and then they’re all in the rooms over there, beyond where it turns left.” He gestured down the long corridor.

Shuse made a grimace. “I’ve been told going through a heat without a partner is very painful,“ he said, Naoto nodding with a somewhat concerned look on his face.

“Yeah, the omegas all hate it, but we don’t know what else to do. We ran out of suppressants last Summer.”

Reika looked thoughtful. “Does that mean not all omegas were at dinner tonight?” he asked, Naoto nodding.

“Yeah, a bunch of them were up here, taking care of the ones going into heat. Only the other omegas are allowed to bring them food and stuff, of course. But it is kinda stressful for everyone.”

“How many alphas and omegas are here, exactly?” Shuse asked, interested now. Maybe the ratio between omegas and alphas weren’t as bad as they had thought at first?

“There are 48 alphas,” Naoto said, “and 21 omegas. And then the two kids of course, though one was born Before.”

Reika hummed. “And how many omegas have passed away in child birth?” he asked.

“Two.” Naoto swallowed and closed his eyes in pain, discretely turning the other way while he collected his composure again.

The islanders sighed. “I’m sorry for your loss,” Shuse said, and Naoto made an attempt at a smile that looked more like a grimace.

“You said you are all out of heat suppressants,” Reika said, “but how about birth control?”

“None, since last fall. So now two guys are pregnant. And then there’s one who came to us pregnant, alone, a few months back, just before there was too much snow to walk.” Naoto looked uncomfortable by now, clearly a bit embarrassed by the questions about heats and child birth. He answered them, though, but with a slight tinge of red on his ears.

A sudden yell down the corridor made them all jump and look that way, and they heard a door open, voices yelling to shut it again immediately. A faint whiff of an omega very near heat drifted their way, and Naoto swallowed, breathing heavily all of a sudden. Shuse looked at the young man, realized what was happening, and grabbed him by the arm and pulled him off down the stairs. He’d be damned if he’d let a young, inexperienced alpha have his hormones take over and make him do something stupid. And so he practically dragged the young man downstairs, Reika following in their footsteps.

In the lobby, the council stood talking with a group of others, apparently done with their talks for now. Kiyoharu had his arm around Gara, who still looked surly but refused to let go of his boyfriend. When the islanders came pounding down the stairs with the young alpha in a firm grip, the group turned to them, frowning at the sight of the strangers manhandling one of their own. Shuse immediately let go once they were on the bottom floor, and he ignored the council in favor of the young alpha who still looked a little flushed and on edge.

“You ok?” he asked, Naoto nodding slowly after taking a deep breath.

“Yeah. Thanks,” he mumbled, clearly embarrassed.

When the sergeant looked up he was met by Hyde’s firm stare. The alpha had his head tilted back a bit, watching him down his nose, clearly waiting for an explanation. Shuse saw in his eyes that it had better be a good one. It was obvious that Hyde cared about his people and looked out for them, and the fact actually made the sergeant feel calmer. He is a good leader, I can tell. Too bad he has to struggle with assholes about it, he thought.

“Sorry,” he said. “But your safe zone is a tad too small for attempted breakouts.”

Naoto blushed furiously, as Shuse elegantly neglected to point out that his youth and inexperience in resisting temptations had been the problem, and yet getting his point across. The resort’s short leader relaxed at the explanation, as did the others, but they were clearly troubled by the incident.

“We should put up another barrier of some sort,” an unknown alpha muttered, and Hyde nodded shortly at him, before his attention caught on to Reika moving. The alpha walked up to their bags in the corner of the lobby and hunched next to them, digging around in a red bag for a while until he found what he was looking for. He stood and came back with a brown glass bottle in one hand and a folded piece of paper in the other. He tucked the bottle under his arm and unfolded the paper, reading it with a frown.

“How close to their heats are they?” he asked, somewhat absentmindedly. Hyde frowned, and Shuse saw Arimatsu and Imai exchange a glance. An omega spoke up quietly, standing a bit to the side from the rest.

“One of them is due tomorrow morning, the other tomorrow night.” He shrunk back a bit when everyone looked at him, nervously fidgeting with his hair. He was good looking, but older than the other omegas they had seen so far, around fifty. His open and friendly face was a bit worried right now, and he chewed his lip nervously. Shuse smiled at him and bowed his head in thanks, as Reika seemed too occupied reading to really notice.

“Hm, might be too late for the first one, but it’s worth a try,” he mumbled. “How much do they weigh?” He looked up, the omega blinking.

“Uhm, I don’t know? We have no working scales,” he said uncertainly.

Reika bit his lip in thought, studying the paper again, before he got an idea. “Can you show me someone else with about the same height and weight? It would really help.”

The omega glanced to Hyde, who was following the exchange with a curious look on his face. The leader nodded once to the omega, who turned and disappeared into a back room for a moment.

“What’s this about?” Hyde asked, just as the omega came back with two others in tow. Reika studied the two, tilting his head at them as he tried to get a grip on their size. He glanced at Shuse, frowning.

“What do you say? Ruki on the left and Uta on the right?”

Shuse thought for a moment. “Yeah, definitely Ruki,” he agreed. “But maybe more Aryu than Uta? He’s not quite as thin.”

“That sounds about right.” Reika turned to Hyde. ”We brought a bottle of our herbal heat suppressant. The recipe is part of the deal we’re offering, as we discussed before. If you’ll let us, I’d like to give it to your two omegas to try.”

The four omegas in the room all gasped and the alphas stirred, suddenly looking a lot more interested in the bottle under Reika’s arm. Hyde wet his lips as he thought about it for a second.

“How safe is it?” He was hesitant, but clearly tempted. Behind him, the older omega had come closer and clutched Hide’s arm, staring between the bottle and Hyde intently.

“We have six omegas using it at home. Once we got the dosage right – we started slow and worked our way up – it’s been fine. No side effects we’ve noticed so far, apart from a dry mouth the first day or so. But our omegas say the pills used to do the same, so they don’t mind.”

“Come on, you can’t seriously consider giving them something that could just as well be poison?” a gruff looking alpha cut in, glaring at Hyde.

Kiyoharu quickly came to their defense. “It would be kind of stupid to poison one of us while surrounded by our people, don’t you think? Besides, these guys are our friends.”

“Says you,” the alpha muttered, but said nothing more. They all turned to Hyde, who had listened but didn’t acknowledge either opinion. He looked Reika and Shuse in the eyes for a long while, thinking. He looked to the omegas, all watching him with hopeful faces, before he finally made his decision. “Ok, do it. But only to one of them. I’m not risking them both.”

Reika bowed his head in acknowledgment, as the omegas let out a collective breath. “Ok, then we should skip the one who’s closest to his heat, as he might be too far gone anyway. Which of these two is close in size to the other omega?”

Hyde flicked his eyes at the omegas and pointed to the one on the right. “Ok, Ruki-sized then,” Reika said, consulting his paper. “Do you have any measuring cups? And a glass, please?”

“Yutaka,” Hyde ordered, waving the older omega off. He disappeared again, coming back a few minutes later with the items and a whole bunch of other omegas in tow, whispering between themselves as they looked wide-eyed at Reika and his bottle. Reika took the measuring cup from Yutaka and poured a clear, amber liquid into it, looking closely at the amount. He then poured it into the glass that the omega was holding, making sure every last drop went in, before he shut the bottle again.

“Give him that now, and then he needs the same amount once a day for six days. Make sure he drinks all of it,” he said, smiling at Yutaka. The omega looked hopeful but still unsure, and he grabbed the glass tightly as if he was afraid to drop it. He looked at Hyde who smiled reassuringly and gestured towards the stairs, wordlessly telling him to bring the medicine upstairs. Slowly and carefully, Yutaka left, holding the glass reverently in his hands. The other omegas went after him, whispering agitatedly to each other. Finally, only Gara was left in the lobby, clutching Kiyoharu’s waist tightly. He watched the others go, apparently battling between his curiosity and the need to hold on to his boyfriend. Kiyoharu won the fight, and the omega leaned his head back on his alpha’s shoulder with a sigh. His lover pressed a kiss to his forehead and nuzzled his hair in answer, smiling affectionately at the skinny omega.

“This had better work, for your sake,” the gruff alpha muttered. Hyde clenched his jaw, fighting down his temper, and then turned to the alpha.

“Really? And I hope it works for the sake of the omegas,” he said icily. The other alpha made a face, having the decency to look a bit ashamed, and then he piped off into the dining room, leaving the others behind.

“Please excuse him,” Hyde sighed, turning to Reika. “We are all a bit nervous about this, naturally.” He eyed them both thoughtfully, before he continued. “But my gut tells me we can trust you. Don’t prove me wrong.”

Reika smiled and Shuse bowed shortly in a silent response. The pretty leader turned away after a short nod, turning to the council. “Can we talk for a moment, please,” he said, the words much more of an order than the polite phrase indicated. The alphas left, Kiyoharu leaving a grumpy Gara behind as they went into the back room and shut the doors behind them.

. . . . .




Chapter Text

The room was cold during the night, as they had been warned, but the beds were comfortable and the duvets thick and warm. When Arimatsu knocked on their door the next morning to escort them down to breakfast, they were rested and curious to see what the day would bring. Hyde met them at the door to the dining room.

“Good morning. Did you sleep well?” The leader looked tired, and Shuse guessed the council had been in session until late last night.

“We did, thank you. I hope you did the same?”

Hyde smirked tiredly. “Once I got to bed, yes. I talked to Yutaka earlier, by the way. The omega that was closest went into heat as expected this morning, but the other has stopped feeling any signs of his heat approaching. He’s feeling well, but will stay upstairs for now, until we are sure.”

Reika smiled happily. “I’m glad to hear it. He needs his next dose at about the same time as he got one yesterday, and he should be fine.”

Hyde smiled warmly back at him, the first truly genuine and relaxed smile they had seen from him since they got there. He led them into the dining room and up to the same table they had sat at yesterday. Shuse glanced around, and it looked as if everyone else sat at the same tables as well.

“Do you have fixed seats?” he asked, curiously.

Hyde chuckled. “I guess we do. It’s not outspoken, but everyone just usually steers towards the same seat as usual. Whenever someone changes seats, everyone is a little confused for a while.”

Arimatsu, Ju-ken and Kiyoharu joined them, and today Gara also pulled up a chair and squeezed in next to his boyfriend. The alpha couldn’t help laughing, reaching over to give his boyfriend a kiss to the hair.

“I told you I won’t leave you again, sweetheart,” he grinned. “You don’t have to hold onto me every second to keep me around.” Gara just pouted in response and dug into his breakfast, his thin thigh tightly pressed against Kiyoharu. The alpha watched him affectionately, letting his finger gently run through the messy hair.

The sergeant watched them with a smile on his lips. He gazed around the room before he turned to Hyde. “How many mates and couples do you have here?” he asked, having only seen a few.

Hyde thought about it, counting in his head. “Well, there are eight mated couples, and then there are a whole bunch of boyfriends of course. I guess it’s easier to count the six single omegas.”

“I see. Any alpha-alpha or omega-omega couples?” he asked, catching Hyde’s slight flinch before the alpha just pretended like nothing had happened.

“No omega couple, but two alpha couples,” the leader said in a light tone, eyeing the sergeant to assess his reaction. Shuse had expected as much, and Hyde’s slightly stiff posture and nervous reaction to his question confirmed his suspicions. So he’s into alphas. That must knock him down another peg with the macho types. He smiled and lifted the fork to his mouth.

“That’s nice,” he said, concentrating on his food and pretending not to have noticed Hyde’s nervousness. “We have one of each with us, both adorable couples who are very committed to each other.”

In the corner of his eye he saw Hyde lean back on his chair, breathing a little easier. If he could make the guy feel better about their alliance by showing that they were open minded, then he would. But he also really liked Hyde. He had good leader qualities, but he struggled uphill, and the sergeant was all too familiar with this sort of situation from the military not to want to help him out. He had always been annoyed when people ignored competence because of stupid reasons that did not affect said competence. Too many times, he had seen things such as an omega being passed over in favor of an alpha who wasn’t as good at the job, or an alpha being judged by his alpha boyfriend rather than his skills. He didn’t want to be a part of that here as well. God knew there were few enough of them left to care about such nonsense.

They finished the rest of their breakfast, chatting idly, getting to know each other better. Reika told them of the plum wine they had brought, admitting that it wasn’t enough for more than a very small glass each for everyone, but that they hoped they would like the taste. Their new friends thanked them for it, and said they could use it to celebrate the deal once it was done. And with that said and breakfast over and done with, the council and the islanders retreated to discuss the terms of their deal.

. . . . .

“We agree to the deal, though the pregnant omegas and their mates will have to decide for themselves if they wish to go. If they do, we will let them, according to the terms of the deal. And if Manabu wants to go – that’s the single omega that came to us pregnant – we agree to send someone with him to pay for his care through work.” It was Hyde who said the words, but the entire council had made it very clear they were behind the decision. Reika and Shuse had discussed between themselves what would happen if the deal was not accepted, and what they would be able to offer instead, and it was a relief to know they didn’t have to solve such a problem.

“We’ve decided it is best to ask the ones who are offered to go, before we present the deal to the others. So, if it’s ok with you guys, I would like to send for them now and explain the offer and they can ask the questions they have before they decide.” At the islanders’ approval, Hyde rose and opened the door, speaking quickly to Naoto who was waiting outside. He let the door stay open as they waited for the others to arrive, and the group waited in silence.

The first to arrive was a young omega, very pretty with long, dark hair that was half covering his face. His eyes seemed a little sad, and he moved carefully, as if he was scared not only to be called before the council, but into a room full of only alphas. This must be the single omega, Manabu, Shuse thought, eyeing him with sympathy. When they were still on the island, Kiyoharu had told them a little about the omega. Manabu had told the people at the resort that he had run out of suppressants and gone into heat. An alpha had found him, and things had gone as expected when raging hormones took over. Once the heat was over and they were both thinking more clearly, the alpha wasn’t really interested in sticking around, and so he had left Manabu alone and gone the other way. The omega had come to them alone just before the first real cold spell, and hadn’t realized that he was pregnant until he was already at the resort. The roundness of his belly indicated that he was probably due some time late summer, and he would soon be too big to travel. Shuse watched as the omega clumsily sat down on the sofa he was directed to, and fidgeted nervously as Arimatsu told him they were waiting for more people to arrive. The sergeant wondered whether he had been alone all this time, or if he had had company at some point. He looked so small and fragile, and he probably looked younger than he was, but still he had to be some sort of tough to make it on his own in this world. Shuse was intrigued, and studied the omega while they waited.

Next came a young couple, probably in their early thirties, and the alpha introduced himself as Ibuki and his mate as Byou. They seemed curious but not anxious, and they sat down in the sofa, their hands intertwined. Ibuki seemed to be the type who had a constant hint of a cheeky grin on his lips, but his mate was little harder to read. Byou’s belly was a bit larger than Manabu’s, and Shuse mentally guessed his would be a summer child. They cearly couldn't wait too long before they left, or the risk of travel would be too great.

A single alpha came in right after the couple, and sat down at Hyde’s invitation, but with a rather confused look on his face. He was probably in his mid to late thirties, and looked strong and fit.

Lastly, a younger couple came in, the alpha with his arm protectively wrapped around his mate’s shoulders. They stopped just inside the door, eyeing the gathering of people, before they accepted Hyde’s wave to the remaining seats. Arimatsu closed the door behind them, and the young alpha looked startled but sat down quietly after a long glance at the door, pulling his pregnant mate closer. Hyde introduced the alpha as Junji and the omega as Hiyori, and continued to make the rest of the introductions. As Shuse had guessed, the first omega was Manabu, and the single alpha was simply called K. ‘I hate my real name, so I shortened it,’ he explained with a smirk at Reika’s surprised look. Once the islanders had been introduced properly as well, Hyde proceeded to explain the deal they had made, and explained what the offer entailed.

“It is important that you know that this is entirely your choice,” the leader said, looking serious. “The islanders offer medical assistance for the birth of your children, but it is just that, an offer. You are of course allowed to stay here if that feels like a better option to you. Though if you accept, it will be under certain conditions. To pay for the medical help, you alphas are expected to work while you stay at the island. K, I understand that you are confused, but we invited you here to ask if you would be willing to go with Manabu, if he chooses to go. You both have a choice to say yes or no, of course. I’m sure you’ll have a million questions, and I’ll let our guests answer them for you.”

They all seemed a bit stunned at first, trying to get the info to sink in. Ibuki was the first to recover, and he turned to the islanders. “Ok, so you say you have a nurse. Has he ever delivered a child?”

“Four,” Reika said, smiling, Ibuki taken aback by the prompt answer.

“Oh. Wow,” he said, uncertainly, glancing at his mate before he recovered. “And the bearers?”

“They are all alive and well,” Reika said. “Masa was in a bad state when he came to the island, his boy born on the road only three days before. But Tatsurou helped him and saved his life. He’s expecting their second child right now.”

Junji peered suspiciously at Reika. “And this offer of yours – what do you expect from us in return? Both from Hiyori and me?”

“You will be offered food, beds and medical help from Tatsurou. In return, we would appreciate if Hiyori helps out with what he can. We are of course talking about light tasks like setting the tables or help keeping an eye on the kids, and only to the extent of and as long as he can manage. From you, we ask that you help us with building new homes, as our community is growing. If handling nails and building is not your specialty, we will find you something to do, like working the fields or fishing. It would actually make sense to assign you to different tasks. That way you could see how we do everything and both learn things from us and teach us new tricks.”

Junji licked his lips and sat back, his eyes meeting his mate’s thoughtfully. Next to them, Byou gripped Ibuki’s hand a little tighter, but he looked determined as he turned to his mate. “I don’t want to end up like Hotaka or Kaede. I want to live, and I want my baby to live. It could be dangerous, but if there’s a chance…” He stopped, hopeful eyes directed at his mate. Ibuki hesitated, scrunching up his nose as he though about it.

“Me too, sweetie. But the journey will be hard on you, and we don’t know anything about the people there. I don’t want to risk your health, or the baby’s.”

“And staying here isn’t risking it?” Byou countered, Ibuki looking troubled by the truth in those words. He clearly didn’t know what to say, so he just pressed a kiss to his mate’s hand.

Meanwhile, Shuse was watching Manabu. The omega was anxious, it was obvious, and he bit his lips as he looked between Byou and Reika. It must be so hard for him to be alone in this, Shuse thought. He waited until Byou and Ibuki had finished, and then he spoke, directing his gaze at Manabu.

“Let me tell you a bit about the kids we have there now, and what their life is like.” He smiled encouragingly at Manabu, trying to make him feel more at ease with the whole thing. “Shou is an alpha and our eldest, he was born Before and will turn five this fall. He’s a wild little thing, always up to something, and he’s fast! He always makes everyone laugh, though I think he’s given his parents Uruha and Kai more than a few gray hairs as well. His favorite thing in the whole world is the swing Reo put up in one of the apple trees, or possibly digging.”

Manabu watched the sergeant with wide eyes, but he was clearly listening, so Shuse continued. “His best friend is Tora, who’s an omega and almost four. Those two together could tear down a building, I tell you. Tora is Masa and Miya’s kid, and he’s a sweet boy but with lots of great ideas that can turn out disastrous if an adult isn’t paying attention. He likes to play, of course, but he also loves it when someone sits down and reads to him. Apparently, Hazuki is the best one of us at making animal noises and Aoi is best at reading funny stories, but when he’s tired, only Masa is allowed to read his bedtime story.”

He smiled to himself as he saw the young omega relax slowly as the story continued. “And then there’s Hiroto, who is two and a half years old. He’s Shou’s younger omega brother, but the complete opposite in personality. He’s much more careful and ponders things for a long time before he does anything. Uruha can never go far before Hiroto is whining after him, but he’s starting to be braver. He’s a beautiful boy, always making everyone go ‘aaaw’ because he’s so adorable. And Saga is only six months younger than Hiroto, he’s an alpha. His parents’ names are Ichirou and Yuuki. Saga is also a bit more quiet than his elders, but he has very firm ideas of what he wants. He’s super sweet, but really headstrong. For example, he made Yuuki crazy when he decided he only wanted white food for two entire weeks. He refused to eat anything but potatoes and parsnips, until he suddenly forgot about the whole thing and ate anything we served again.”

By now, Manabu was sitting up straight, looking at Shuse without the same scared face he’d had before. The sergeant realized they were all listening intently, even the council, and he almost blushed when he finished his story. “And then there’s Tatsuya, our youngest alpha, he’s not even one year old yet. He’s still discovering the world, getting around on all fours, at least he was when we left. They grow up so fast, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s walking when we get back. No one can laugh like Tatsuya, he laughs at absolutely everything. His parents, Tsuzuku and Reo, are far apart in age, but they are really adorable together.”

When he finished, everyone was just looking at him, taking in everything. It sounded almost too cute, he realized, but it was all true. He had wanted to convey a sense of what their community was about, and it seemed he had from the omegas’ soft smiles. He looked at Reika, pursing his lips thoughtfully.

“Did I forget anything important?”

Reika shrugged. “Not about the kids, I think. But then there are of course the babies on the way, four of them are due this fall. Masa’s second, and then the first for Kei, Shinya and Koichi. We have two teachers among us, so we’ve set up a kindergarten of sorts and plan to let them go to school, just as they would have done Before.”

“School?” Byou sounded incredulous, gripping his mate’s hand so hard Ibuki grimaced and pried his fingers off, opting to put his arm around his mate instead. At Reika’s nod, Byou turned to his mate with begging eyes. “I want to go,” he said quietly. “Please?”

Ibuki sighed but pulled Byou close and hugged him tightly, nuzzling his nose in his mate’s hair. “Ok, sweetie. If that’s what you really want. But we’re not deciding to stay for him to go to school until we know if we like it there, or even if we’re welcome for that long. This is still home.” Ibuki threw Hyde a glance, clearly not wanting to anger the alpha by indicating they might leave for good.

Hyde smiled sadly at him. “As much as we would like you to come home to us, we won’t stand in your way if you decide that your child would have a better future there, and they agree to let you stay. However, we would have to make some sort of arrangement so that we can learn the things you have learnt while you are there.”

For a heartbeat there was silence, and then Ibuki bowed his head shortly. “We’ll see what happens.”

Junji and Hiyori sat whispering between themselves when Hyde shifted his attention to them. “And you two? Remember, you don’t have to decide today, you have some time to think about it.”

The young mates looked at Hyde, and then at each other again. “We’ll go,” Junji finally said. He leaned over and kissed his mate on the cheek, smiling softly. “I don’t want to risk this little darling more than I have to, but it does seem to be the safer option.” Hiyori leaned his head on his lover’s shoulder, looking slightly apprehensive, but he still nodded in agreement.

Manabu was back to being scared again, now that it was time to decide. He looked about to cry, and Hiyori reached out and grabbed his hand in an attempt to comfort the omega. “I… I don’t know,” he whispered finally.

“It’s fine,” Hyde assured him quickly. “Think about it, and get back to us when you’ve decided. You know you are welcome to stay with us, and we will do our best to help you as much as we can.”

The young omega’s lips trembled slightly, and K looked at him with sympathy. He seemed to decide on something, and he rose and walked over to Manabu, crouching in front of him. “It’s your decision, but just remember, if you do choose to go, I’ll be there to take care of you. Ok? You won’t have to be alone. You’ll always have a friend by your side.”

Manabu blinked at him, and managed a weak smile. “Thank you.”

K patted his knee and stood back up, looking to the council. It seemed to signal to the others that the meeting was over, and they all rose, the two couples and Manabu bowing and leaving. K lingered behind, and when the others were all gone, he closed the door and came back to the council. Arimatsu raised an eyebrow and the others seemed surprised, but Hyde just looked at the alpha, waiting to hear what he had to say.

“I’m just wondering… Why me? I mean, I’ll go with him, no problem. But why did you choose me to go?”

Hyde smiled. “Because we need someone that both we and Manabu can trust, someone we know will have his back and protect him if need be. But more than that, we need someone who’s clever enough to learn new things and who’s able to teach them to us later. We thought of you.” He tilted his head and appraised the alpha. “Like we said, you have just as much choice in this as the rest, but I think you would do a great job.”

K seemed a bit surprised, but smiled warmly back. “Thanks. And if he chooses to go, I’ll go with him and do my best to make you guys proud of me.”

“We know you will,” Imai offered, and with that, K bowed goodbye and left the room.

“So,” Hyde said thoughtfully to no one in particular. “Four going and two undecided. We’ll inform the others at dinner.” Then he shook it off, coming back to more pressing matters. “Ok, let’s start talking about the other parts of the deal. Reika, why don’t you and Inoran fetch Yutaka and start with that heat suppressant, while the rest of us start talking defenses. How does that sound?”

And so, they got to work. Meanwhile, a scared young omega made his way upstairs and into his room, arm around the big belly, to think about which path to the future he would choose.

. . . . .














Chapter Text

The announcement at dinner was met with equal parts surprise, happiness, relief, suspicion and annoyance. It sparked a long discussion, where especially a group of six alphas were loud in opposition of the deal. The council stood united and strong, however, and eventually Hyde made his point clear – this was how it was going to be, and the alphas could either accept it or leave the resort. The grumbling died down a bit after that, but there were obviously still things brewing. Shuse promised himself to keep an eye on what was happening, just to be safe. Luckily, most of the others seemed happy or curious about the deal, and since the expecting couples could choose for themselves whether to go or stay, most accepted it without discussion.

After dinner, Reika helped Yutaka pour the next dose of the herbal suppressant, and the omega came back after distributing it, reporting that the omega, Mahiro, was fine. His heat seemed to have gone away, and he felt good. If he still felt fine tomorrow, they would let him meet an alpha (though with lots of other omegas there to pry them apart if need be). The islander had given Inoran and Yutaka the recipe, detailing how to brew it, and handed over the medicinal plant they had brought just in case the key ingredient didn’t grow around here. Together they made a list of dosage by walking around the resort, finding omegas roughly the same size as his island friends. They had already matched Ruki and Aryu, and once they had gone through the list, Yutaka had a reference of sorts to use for dosage. ‘A bit bigger than Ruki but slightly smaller than Aryu’ might not be the most exact way to measure, but it was the best they could do.

The success of the suppressant meant, however, that wherever Reika went, he now had adoring omega eyes following him. He even complained about it to Shuse when they went to bed that night.

“It’s like they think I did it all with my own bare hands. I just handed them the finished bottle, for gods sake!”

“Come on, you had a hand in making it as well. Just enjoy it instead. Besides, you’re single, so you have every opportunity to find someone here who thinks you’re awesome,” Shuse chuckled. He was surprised by the silence that followed, and shifted in his bed, peering over at Reika in the semi darkness. Even in the low light, he could make out an embarrassed grimace. The sergeant was immediately intrigued, to Reika’s horror.

“Wait, are you already interested in someone?”

“What?! No, no, I just… I’m not looking for love right now.” Reika heroically attempted to shut Shuse up by turning on his side, facing away from the alpha and pretending to yawn.

The sergeant squinted to see him in the dark. “You’re extremely bad at lying, Reika,” he teased. ”Who is it?”

His friend sighed. “No one. Leave it alone.”

“Hmmm. Someone single, or you’d be more upset about him being taken, but you haven’t talked to him yet. Not Yomi or Kuina, I think. Aryu?” Silence met his suggestion. “No? Kouki then?” Still no answer, but the sheets rustled as Reika unwillingly squirmed a bit when the name hit a nerve. Shuse smiled delightedly. “So Kouki it is! Good choice, he’s a nice guy! Go for it!”

Reika grumbled and turned over so that he was facing Shuse, sitting up to throw a pillow at him. They couldn’t help laughing at the childish gesture, and finally, Reika settled again after retrieving his pillow.

“Fine, I like Kouki, ok? Happy?”

Shuse grinned at his friend. “Yes, very much actually. But why haven’t you let him know how you feel then?”

Reika sighed and shifted over on his back. “I don’t know. At first they had just been through that whole Gackt thing, and I didn’t want to push after all that, and now, I guess… I just don’t know what to say not to look stupid.”

“Come on, don’t be stupid. Give it a go. What’s the worst that can happen? That you’re both embarrassed for a while? You’ll get over it.”

Reika huffed out a short laugh. “Yeah, I guess. Ok, sure, fine, I vow to talk to him and ask him for a date when I get back. Happy now?”

“Excuberant!” Shuse exclaimed, earning himself another pillow to the head.

. . . . .

The next day, they really got to work. While Shuse and most of the councilmen looked over the defenses, Reika joined Inoran and went up to the fields to see the irrigation system. It was designed by an alpha called Takemasa, and Inoran warned in advance that he had gotten hurt during the disaster, his chin burnt by fires. Now, he constantly wore a scarf or a mask of some kind over his face to cover the scars, and he was quite sensitive about it. Reika agreed to pretend like nothing was wrong, and then they went up the slope to the terraced fields.

Takemasa greeted them happily and showed Reika how everything was done. The system was ingenious and made use of a brook running down the mountain side a bit off, Reika making notes and watching everything carefully to make sure he understood how it worked. In return, Reika, Takemasa, Inoran and some other field workers planned to sit down together later, to exchange knowledge and ideas about farming in order to make the most out of the crops. They were all eager to learn from each other, and Reika felt very positive about everything when he they came back down for dinner.

The evening after dinner was spent with Yutaka and Inoran to discuss the herbs they had brought and what they wanted in return. It turned out Yutaka was the Shinya of the resort, and he showed Reika their rather meager kitchen garden. He was very happy to receive the thyme, as well as several other potted herbs. The seeds Shinya had picked out almost brought tears to the omega’s eyes, and he clutched the small envelopes to his chest as if he couldn’t believe it.

“We couldn’t give you as much as we would have liked or we wouldn’t have enough ourselves, but you can get your own seeds from these in the fall – here, Shinya wrote a note on how – and maybe next year we can exchange more,” Reika said, smiling.

“The pumpkins alone will give us so much more food. I can’t believe this.” Yutaka’s voice was trembling with emotion, and Inoran looked completely lost for words.

“But how can we repay this? The deal was one for one,” Inoran said, hesitantly. Yutaka flinched, his fingers clutching harder around the seed bags as if he was scared Reika would try to take them away again.

“We have a list, I’m sure we will find things we need here,” Reika assured them, taking out a piece of paper from his pocket. “Here, this is stuff we are looking for. On top on the list is a plant we think is needed to make a natural birth control.”

The older omega stared at him. “You think you could do that?”

“We want to try. The heat suppressant is working now, and we made that from studying old books and trying, trying, trying. We have found references to this plant as an ingredient, but we can’t try it until the berries are ripe. It grew in only one spot on the island, but the harsh winter killed it, and now we’ve got to find more.”

Inoran looked at him, his expression hopeful. “If we can find you this plant here, and you can make it work… Will you share it with us?”

“Naturally, though it will take time even to try. Once, and if, we know it works we’ll make a deal for the recipe.”

Reika’s answer made Yutaka yelp and throw his arms around the alpha, hugging him tightly for a second before he caught himself and stepped back, blushing. Inoran laughed and grabbed the islander’s hand in a firm handshake.

“Great,” he grinned. “Now, let’s go over that list and see what else you want, and then tomorrow morning we’ll go looking for some medicine!”

. . . . .

Shuse had an equally interesting day. He brought the rest of the council on a tour of the resort, pointing out places where he felt they were most in need of reinforcements. They worked their way around the compound, until Shuse stopped and turned to the council.

“Ok, this is it,” he said, and was met with confused gazes.

“This is what?” Yuu asked, frowning slightly.

“This is the best place to get in without you noticing.”

That caused a stir in the group, as they stared between Shuse, the fence and their surroundings.

“What, here? But it’s in the open,” Imai said, and Hyde looked equally baffled.

Shuse nodded. “It is, sort of. But this is a blind spot for you on regular intervals. See, over there, you have a guy keeping watch, and over there on the other side is another one. But just watch for a few minutes.“ The council obeyed, hesitatingly, but after a minute or two, a gasp was heard.

“That’s right,” Shuse said. “It’s not regular, but every once in a while, for a few minutes the guards walk in opposite directions, and for about two minutes, this spot is out of their visual before they turn back. Add to that the bush over there, which can be used for cover if need be, and this is the perfect entry point. In daylight, it would be tricky but possible. At night, it’s easy to hide in the shadows.”

The council looked shocked, but Yuu was still skeptical. “You can’t do that without being spotted. No way.”

“I did last night.” Shuse’s statement couldn’t have been more surprising to the council, and they stared at him, jaws hanging. He pointed to the wall. “Look over there, behind the water barrel. I left a souvenir so you could see I was right.”

Yuu hesitantly walked over to the barrel, leaning down to look behind it. The councilmen held their breaths as he looked, and when stood back up, holding a piece of red cloth, the shock was clear on their faces.

“Wow,” Hyde mumbled. “And here we thought we were doing ok.”

“You are,” Shuse assured him. “It’s not something anyone would manage, but it only takes one...”

Imai sighed deeply, and Hide reached out to examine the cloth as Yuu brought it back, as if he didn’t believe it was real. Hyde looked at Shuse. “Ok, you proved your point. Now, what do we do about it?”

“Change the routes,” Shuse said, pointing. “That guy over there is too close to the wall. Make them patrol in new routes according to a coordinated schedule, and make shorter but smarter shifts. Tired men are easier to sneak past. Also, take that bush down and reinforce the fence here, preferably adding barbed wire on top all the way around, leaning outwards. Do you have any supplies here on in a nearby town?”

Despite their shock, the alphas all got to work. The rest of the day was spent planning, and everyone went to bed tired, but satisfied with the progress.

. . . . .

The first week flew by, and they worked hard to get the most out of the deal for both communities. Yutaka reported that the meeting between Mahiro and an alpha had gone over well. Poor Naoto was made to do the test, and though he was greatly embarrassed by it, he was very relieved when it was over and everything had gone well. The day after, Mahiro nervously joined everyone in the big hall for breakfast, and though a surprised murmur rose when he entered, he was greeted happily by everyone. Even the grumpy gang seemed to approve this time, Shuse noticed. When the week was over, the other omega, Mitsuki, joined them as well once his heat was over. He was a bit annoyed to find out he had been forced to have his heat while Mahiro got to try the meds, but he was soothed by the others who assured him it was only because he had been so close to his heat, and they didn't want to risk anything. Grumbingly, the omega accepted, but he made Yutaka promise that he would save suppressants for the next time Mitsuki needed it.

After a few days, Reika couldn’t resist asking Hyde a question that had been bugging him for a while. He had noticed that Yutaka was mated, two parallel scar on his neck, but he never saw him be close with an alpha, and his room was on the left side of the stairs with the other single omegas. The islander liked the omega, and wondered what had happened to him. Had his mate died? The answer he got was not what he had expected.

“Is Hide his mate?” He stared in surprise at Hyde, who nodded.

“Yeah. They have been mated for at least 25 years, I think.”

Reika looked stunned. “But they don’t live together?”

“No, they haven’t since they got here. Their sons died during the aftermath, and I think it was too much of a strain on the relationship. When you lose your kids, no matter how old they are, I think it either pulls you together or makes you fall apart. They fell apart.”

“Wow.” Reika pulled a face. “That must be awful. I’ve heard of it, of course, but I’ve never actually met a mated couple that didn’t stay together for life.” He glanced at Hide across the room.

Hyde sighed and nodded. “It’s the first time for me as well. But since they can live at the same place but in different rooms, it works. And Hide isn’t an asshole, so he realizes that a certain closeness is needed for Yutaka’s sake, even though they’re technically separated.”

Reika shrugged in discomfort. “Thank god for that. Two of our omegas had a friend who died that way. He was mated by one of those rogue assholes when he was in heat, while they watched. They found out later that their friend had gotten pregnant, and the guy tried to leave him behind. Since the bond kept pulling him back in, the alpha killed him.” Hyde looked dismayed. Then, Reika was suddenly struck by a realization. “Oh.”

“Oh what?” Hyde frowned at his new friend’s stunned expression.

“The two omegas… They’re the ones who were friends with your Ototo. So, I guess…”

Hyde closed his eyes and sighed deeply. “Ototo knew him as well, and could have been there. So that’s what made him become what he is.”

“Maybe. I don’t know for sure, but…”

“But it’s probable.” Hyde pinched the bridge of his nose between his fingers, sighing deeply again. “Damn.”

Reika watched him, concerned. “Sorry. Should I have kept silent about it?”

“No, god no.” Hyde looked up, sadness in his eyes. “It makes me understand him better. He can be… troublesome. And sometimes he gets on my nerves. I don’t mean to get annoyed, but, well, it happens. Anyway, this makes it easier. I’m sad for him, but I can understand where he comes from.”

Reika nodded, still somewhat troubled by their discussion. But before they could talk more, they were interrupted by Ju-ken who had a question for Hyde to solve. As the two alphas left to talk in private, Reika stood where he was, feeling a bit sad as he watched Yutaka and Hide at separate tables across the room.

. . . . .







Chapter Text

A rather loud voice could be heard from the big hall when Shuse and Reika came down for breakfast. Ju-ken was standing in the lobby talking to Takemasa, and he grinned at their alarmed expressions.

“Don’t worry, nothing’s happening. It’s just Mitsuki who’s back from his heat.”

Takemasa sniggered, and he suddenly reminded Reika a bit about Kazuki, something to do with the shape of the eyes. “He’s probably making up for Ototo not being here,” he offered. “They’re friends,” he explained for the benefit of the newcomers, “and they’re always getting into trouble together. But they’re well matched, Ototo not speaking at all and Mitsuki talking too much.”

Reika stepped up and glanced into the room. Mitsuki stood at a table, his feet wide apart and his thumbs hooked in his belt, leaning back in a classic tough-guy alpha pose that looked as if he had picked it up from a movie somewhere. He was talking to a bunch of omegas, and at first glance, Reika would have guessed that he was an alpha. He was trying a bit too hard, but still, there was something endearing about the tough guy act.

Ju-ken came up next to him, watching the omega with an amused smile on his lips. “I think he wishes he was an alpha. He’s always hated getting heats. That’s why he was so pissed when he realized he had to have his and Mahiro didn’t have to. To be honest, I think he would have tried for Ototo if he hadn’t been so uninterested in everything to do with love. Right now, Mitsuki’s got his eyes on Rui, I believe. That’s the cute omega in the red shirt there. Unfortunately for Mitsuki, I don’t think Rui’s interested in omegas.”

Reika hummed in answer and watched as Mitsuki did his best to impress a rather unimpressed Rui. He watched them for a moment (if nothing else because Rui was really cute) before he was distracted by others who walked in for breakfast. He still didn’t know everyone’s names, but he had started to recognize most faces, and now he was curious about the couples, trying to pair people up in his head. Hyde looked up from his plate and spotted them, waving them over, and the islanders said goodbye to Takemasa and Ju-ken and went to start on their breakfast. Throughout the meal, Mitsuki could be heard above the rest.

. . . . .

They had found the medicinal plants needed for their attempt at birth control, as well as another plant that Tatsurou had asked for, which was said to relieve pain if you chewed its leaves. They also got another piece of ginger, the one thing they had lots of at the resort, and they were promised two black chickens to bring home. The number of chickens at the resort was much bigger than on the island, since they had had new chicks every year since they got here, and it made the islanders feel better about taking two of them away.

Yutaka breathed easier once Reika told him to plant the seeds instead of waiting for the payment to be finalized, and it only took a few days before the first sprout from a pumpkin seed made its way into daylight. Even the grumbling group of alphas rejoiced at that, and Hyde seemed to relax a bit as the tension in the group seemed to dissipate the longer the islanders spent at the resort.

They were halfway through the second week when Shuse rounded a corner and almost ran into two alphas, enthusiastically making out against the wall of the corridor. They were all startled, jumping slightly. One of the alphas nervously tried to step away from the other, but was hindered as his partner refused to let go of his waist. Instead, he pulled him back in with a frown and a defiant look at Shuse.

“Oh, sorry, didn’t see you there,” Shuse smiled. “I don’t think we’ve met properly. I’m Shuse.” He bowed politely to the couple, and the one who had tried to step away bowed back, his eyes flicking nervously between the two other alphas. He had expressive eyes and a narrow face, straight black hair framing it nicely. His features were somewhat delicate, yet manly. After a heartbeat, the other alpha bowed as well. He was broader, had more muscles, and his posture was more aggressive. The plump lips became almost pouty as he pursed his lips, measuring Shuse up with his eyes. He still refused to let go of his boyfriend as he spoke.

“My name is Ni-Ya, and this is my boyfriend Sakito.” The other flinched as Ni-Ya stressed the word ‘boyfriend’ slightly, but Shuse just smiled back at them in answer.

“Nice to meet you both. I’ve only seen you from across the dining room. What do you guys work with here?”

Sakito visibly relaxed as Shuse didn’t seem offended by two alphas being together, but Ni-Ya was still suspicious, narrowing his eyes. “I hunt,” he said bluntly, not offering any more than that. His boyfriend nudged him in the side and frowned at him, before he turned to Shuse.

“And I work in the fields, usually, though sometimes I am on guard duty.” He smiled at Shuse, and the arm around his waist tightened possessively as Ni-Ya glanced between them. Ok, this will not be solved without me saying the actual words, Shuse sighed inwardly. He smiled at Ni-Ya, as friendly a smile as he could muster, and then he looked him straight in the eyes as he spoke.

“Listen, I can see that you are wondering, so I’m just gonna come right out and say it. I have absolutely no problem with two alphas being together. Two of my friends on the island are both alphas and the most loving couple anyone can imagine. Neither I nor Reika will give you any trouble.”

Sakito blinked, surprised at the sergeant’s frank speech, and Ni-Ya took a second to process the words before he nodded slowly. “Oh. Ok. Good.” He almost looked ashamed for a moment, before he gave Shuse his first smile, albeit tiny. “I’m sorry, we’re used to having to defend ourselves from macho alphas.”

Shuse grinned. “Does that mean I am macho?”

The couple laughed, and Sakito shook his head at the same time as Ni-Ya said “A little”. That led to more laughter, and they joked around for a bit, the couple much more relaxed now. When they parted ways, they were clearly all ok with each other, to the sergeant’s relief. As Shuse made his way down the corridor, he could hear the sounds of hot kisses being resumed behind him, and he smirked to himself as he walked down the stairs to the lobby. Good for them.

. . . . .

“As much as we like being here, I don’t think we should wait too long before we go, to make the trip easier on the pregnant omegas.” Shuse looked serious, and Hyde nodded, exchanging looks with the rest of the council.

“You’re right. We really appreciate everything you’ve done here, but for their sake, I think two weeks rather than three,” the pretty leader agreed. “Maybe four more days here? Would that be ok?”

Reika and Shuse exchanged a thoughtful look, before they nodded. “Four days it is. Have you talked to Manabu and know what he wants to do?”

“Not yet.” Hyde shook his head slowly, clearly thinking about something else. Finally he spoke, hesitantly. “I don’t know if this is smart or not, but I would like to go with you.” He waved his hand to silence the protests from his friends in the council, and continued. “I don’t feel too good about sending them away for maybe a whole year, to a place I’ve never been, to people I don’t know. I want to make sure they are going to be ok. Also, I want to see Kaz and Ototo before I go back.”

“It could be a problem for you,” Shuse pointed out quietly. “Leaving for at least a month when you have a group here who are not too happy about your leadership.”

Hyde sighed and nodded, frowning at Imai who was protesting loudly again. “I know, I know. But it wouldn’t be good for my leadership to just let pregnant omegas leave with strangers without checking where they’re going, either. And it certainly wouldn’t feel good for my conscience.”

“You’d be leaving us weakened,” Hide said, at the same time as Imai accusingly said “We’ll be dealing with their shit daily, without you keeping them in check.”

“You’ll manage, they’re mostly talk and no action. Kiyoharu will be left in charge,” Hyde said tiredly, the alpha nodding shortly in acceptance. “It’s only for a month.”

Toll had been sitting quietly to listen, but now he spoke up for the first time. “I’m going as well. I need to see Masa. He might not want to see me, we’ll see when I get there. But I need to see with my own two eyes that he’s alive and alright. And I want to meet Tora.”

Silence met his statement at first, as no one could find it in themselves to protest a friend meeting his only son again and seeing is grandchild for the first time. And then Yuu muttered, almost to himself, “We’ll be five against their six, then.”

Hyde looked a bit troubled at that, but Arimatsu broke in, looking thoughtful. “Not necessarily. There’s nothing that says we can’t have someone fill in for us, adding two temporary councilmen for the duration of our journey. If we suggest it to the community, I can’t see anyone minding, except those six.”

Inoran nodded. “That could work. If we choose people everyone respects already. Ju-ken? Ni-Ya?”

“Definitely Ju-ken,” Hyde nodded. “Ni-Ya is a bit inexperienced, but he’d learn quickly.”

“Though Ni-Ya would have a rough time with that group,” Hide offered, looking thoughtful.

Hyde made a face at that. “So? He’s well respected by everyone else, and people like and trust him. He’ll do a good job. And frankly, them having problems with leaders because of their boyfriends is a problem deeper rooted than what we can fix now.”

He was clearly irritated, and silence fell as they pondered it for a moment. Eventually, Kiyoharu raised his voice. “I vote Ju-ken and Ni-Ya. I can’t see anyone else doing as good a job. And if we put it out there as a suggestion in front of the group, I think they’ll be out-voted quite easily.”

Inoran and Arimatsu nodded in agreement, and after a slight hesitation, Yuu did the same. After a few more moments, the others followed, one after the other. Shuse and Reika watched in silence, keeping out of the council’s business.

“Ok, we’ll tell people tonight, and that’ll give the troublemakers a few days to show their true colors. And then we can see if we need to do any damage control or stay with the plan,” Hyde concluded, getting up to signal the end of the meeting.

The others rose, and for a moment, they just stood in silence, gathering strength from each other. And then Hide muttered something about how he’d better tell Yutaka to talk to Manabu, and left. The group slowly dissolved, as everyone went back to their tasks for the day. Shuse watched Hyde’s tense back as he walked out the door. It would be an interesting meeting that evening.

. . . . .

The meeting was easy. Suspiciously so. The large group accepted the news without problems. They were sad to see Hyde and Toll leave for a while, but they had no qualms about Kiyoharu stepping up, or Ju-ken and Ni-Ya filling in. The suspicious part was the silence from the corner table where six usually vocal alphas sat quiet, just watching. It was still bugging Shuse as he went to bed that night, the sudden complacency, and he hoped the resort would be ok once they left for the island. Funny how I already worry about these people. It doesn’t take long to get attached. With a sigh, he pulled the duvet over his head and tried to get some sleep.

. . . . .

“I’ll go.” Manabu sat with the council, speaking quietly. K and the two expecting couples were also called in and seated next to him. The omega was nervous, blinking constantly with those long lashes of his, but his voice was still steady as he elaborated. “It’s risky either way, but I want to give my child the best chance I can. I have nothing fancy to give him in this world, but at least I can try for a safe start in life.”

Shuse watched him in admiration. I was right. He is tough, and determined, even though he’s scared out of his mind. “We’ll do our best to help give him just that,” he said, large omega eyes turned to him, making him slightly flustered. He managed to hide it rather well, though, he thought to himself. That was, until he saw the tiny smirk on Reika’s lips. He narrowed his eyes as he peered at his friend for a second, and then promptly ignored him.

Hyde didn’t seem to notice, as he continued the conversation, turning to K. “And you? Do you stand by what you said earlier, or have you changed your mind?”

“I’ll go with him,” the alpha said, turning to smile gently at Manabu. "I’ll get you there and be there for you when you need me.”

The omega blinked away a grateful tear, smiling back at the alpha. “Thanks,” he whispered, K patting his back gently. On Manabu’s other side, Hiyori leaned in and gave his friend a quick hug. Hyde smiled at them all.

“I truly think this is the right choice for you,” he said, looking at them all one after the other. “If I didn’t, I wouldn’t let you go.”

The couples looked at him, Ibuki smiling softly as he grabbed Byou’s hand and squeezed it. “Thank you. For taking us in when we came here, for supporting us when we found out about the baby, for coming with us to the island. Just… Thank you.” Byou nodded at his mate’s words, tears in his eyes, and Hiyori and Junji hummed in agreement. Hyde just smiled softly at them, before he bowed quickly.

“Don’t mention it. Now, let’s get you there so you can have your beautiful babies!”

. . . . .








Chapter Text

The last four days flew by, and though Shuse kept an eye on the grumbling group of alphas, nothing special happened that he could point to as an extra risk. He wasn’t happy about them, but at least the council was fully aware of what could happen and promised to keep an eye on them while Hyde and Toll were away. And so he focused on getting the defenses ready before he left. When the day came, they could honestly say they had fulfilled their part of the deal and gotten plenty in return. The fence and guard routes had been redone, and the guards testified to the shorter shifts working much better for them. Reika, Inoran and Takemasa had gone through just about every aspect of farming and irrigation that they could think of. Yutaka, Rui and Mitsuki had been given a thorough lesson in brewing the suppressant, while Inoran watched. They had found the plants they needed, and although the ‘one for one’ deal fell through a bit, they all shook hands and agreed the deal had been honored. (Yutaka’s look of relief alone was worth it, in Reika’s opinion.)

It took a while, but eventually Reika felt he could move around without being stared at by omegas every second of the day (only every other second, Shuse joked) and he felt a bit more comfortable around them. Not that he didn’t like cute omegas fawning over him, he did, but the longer he was away and the more new people he met, he found himself longing to see Kouki’s face more and more. He had promised Shuse to ask the omega for a date when they got back, and he was getting used to the idea, but it was still slightly intimidating. However, the thought of Kouki and him dating made it easier to resist when Rui (god he was gorgeous) found barely plausible reasons to come his way, throwing him seductive glances. Mitsuki’s glare did nothing to help, but thankfully the hurt feelings seemed to be directed at Rui rather than Reika. Eventually, Mitsuki seemed to give up his hopes of Rui, seeing as the omega very clearly had his eyes set on alphas only. Reika could see how much it burned in Mitsuki’s soul that he was excluded from that circle, and he got extra loud and annoying to hide his hurt.

Now that they were certain things wouldn’t fall apart with the islanders because of their relationship, Sakito and Ni-Ya also dared to show more affection toward each other. Shuse noticed the held hands, the brief kisses to a cheek and the quick hugs when they parted to go to work in the morning. He was happy to see that they were more relaxed, but he also noted that the hugs and touches were never done in front of the ones he had nicknamed ‘the grumpies’ in his head. It pissed him off even though it wasn’t technically his business, and for a moment he thought about offering the two to come along to the island instead. But that wouldn’t solve the root of the problem here, and besides, Ni-Ya needed to stay and do his part for the council. He and Reika discussed it, but settled for that they could do nothing about it, and had to let the people at the resort sort out their own issues and differences.

They held a goodbye party, so to speak, the evening before they left, and finally poured the plum wine and toasted to a successful alliance. Reika was nearly assaulted by Mitsuki, who thanked him profusely for the suppressants until Takemasa broke in, winking at the islander as he dragged the protesting omega away under some false pretense. The islander watched them go with a certain relief, but he felt sorry for Mitsuki at the same time. He had grown to like the omega during the week, and although he was loud-mouthed and obnoxious, he was still a sweet guy underneath it all. Reika hoped he’d find the love he so desperately hoped for, someone who accepted him for who he was.

The people who were leaving went around to say goodbye to everyone properly. The pregnant omegas all cried as they hugged their friends goodbye, knowing it would probably be until spring before they got to come home again, since travelling with babies in the winter would be unnecessarily risky. The bearers of the two children of the resort were especially sad to see them go, afraid they wouldn't come back home, and that their own kids would grow up entirely without playmates. Manabu hugged Yutaka for a long time, and Shuse watched from the other side of the room as the older omega gently pulled the younger’s hair out of his face with careful fingers, and kissed his cheek tenderly. The alpha guessed, from watching their interactions, that Yutaka had taken on Manabu as some sort of adopted son, needing to care for someone now that his sons were no longer with him. It was equal parts sweet and sad to see their affection for each other, and their distress at having to part ways.

Ju-ken wrote a note for Miya and left it in Shuse’s care. “I’d like to go back myself,” he said with a sad frown, “but I’m needed here right now. I hope I can see them again soon, though.”

Shuse smiled, patting his back. “I’m sure you will. If nothing else, you’ll have to come visit once Masa’s given birth, to see the baby.”

The alpha nodded, thoughtfully stroking his beard. “I hope he and Toll will be ok. I know Masa said he didn’t want to see his father again, but that he wanted his kids to meet him. I know it’ll be hard on them both, but maybe… Maybe they’ll find each other again, now,” he finished, not exactly looking hopeful.

“I think it will be good for them,” Shuse agreed. “Clear the air.” He looked around the room at all the people. “I hope you guys will be ok when we leave. You’ll keep an eye on those guys, right?” He nodded discreetly off to where the six alphas stood, a bit off from the rest. Ju-ken narrowed his eyes and half-snarled at them.

“Don’t worry, we will. Any sign of trouble and they’re out. They don’t have much support anyway, a handful is sort of wavering between the two groups, but most of us certainly support Hyde and the council. We’ll be fine.”

Shuse nodded, gripping his small glass of plum wine tightly. He couldn’t help worrying, but he did trust the council. He was glad they had agreed to the deal, forging this alliance. He knew the resort needed them more than the island needed the resort, but he could only see benefits for everyone if they continued to help each other out. Already, they had made so many friends and learned so much from each other, and he had a good feeling about where this could lead. If they could only keep their more dubious elements under control, that was.

As they went to bed that night, snuggling down under the duvets, Shuse and Reika talked for a while about the resort and the island, what they liked here and what they missed about home. They agreed they liked the people here, and were happy to have gotten to know them.

“Though I’m guessing there’s one you’d like to get to know even better,” Reika said all of a sudden, smirking at the sergeant. Shuse turned to peer at Reika, surprised.

“What do you mean?”

“I mean that you’re extra happy that we have a certain someone with us when we leave,” his younger friend teased, and was rewarded with a frown.

“What are you talking about?” Shuse muttered, though a sinking feeling in his gut told him he knew exactly what Reika meant.

“Oh, nothing. Just that Manabu floats your boat.” Reika was clearly amused, enjoying his payback for the whole Kouki discussion.

Shuse sputtered. “I don’t… He’s… I’m not…” he tried, before he gave up, seeing his friend’s grin grow wider by the second. “Anyway, he’s too young for me,” the sergeant surrendered, sighing deeply.

Reika turned, getting up on his elbow to look at the older alpha, his teasing smirk gone. “Come on, don’t put yourself down like that. So what? It’s not like you’re that old. Besides, shouldn’t you let him decide if you’re too old or not?”

Shuse sighed again, turning his back on Reika as he squeezed his eyes shut. “Well, I haven’t had much luck in that department, so I’d rather not get my hopes up,” he mumbled, trying to keep his voice steady.

Reika sat quietly for a while, watching Shuse’s back. He could hear the pain in his friend’s voice even though he tried to hide it, and he didn’t like it. “You shouldn’t let that stop you,” he said finally, his voice soft. “You’re a great guy, and Manabu would be lucky to have you. Life’s shit sometimes, believe me, I know. But things can change. I promise.”

Shuse didn’t answer, he couldn’t, the lump in his throat too big. Though he tried to listen and take in what Reika was saying, he still felt like it was no use. How could he ever be interesting to someone so beautiful, so wonderful, as Manabu? No, he’d just leave it be and shut his heart. He couldn’t take another situation like the one with Daichi, and the way Manabu had looked at K, he wasn’t all too certain about what was going on between those two. No, he wasn’t going to go there. He could hear Reika sighing and laying back down, and he closed his eyes, trying to drown out the sound of his screaming heart as he pretended to go to sleep. It would be a long night.

. . . . .

The next morning, they brought out the large cart they had used for the hay harvest last summer. The horse yoked to it was a beautiful black stallion, a working horse that was well taken care of by a former professional rider, Ryo. It had been debated back and forth for the last few days, but eventually, it was decided the alpha would accompany them on the trip to take care of the horse and make sure he got everything he needed. Ryo was quiet and polite, and apparently agreed to go mainly out of concern for the horse. He did his job but kept mainly to himself, quietly helping to load everything they needed to bring onto the cart. Kiyoharu had quietly told Shuse that the alpha had lost his mate After, and that he believed that was the reason for his drawn-back demeanor. Shuse could understand his reaction, thinking of Asanao back home and how he had changed following the death of his beloved Akinori.

They packed everything carefully. Yutaka added enough food for the trip, though they would have to be careful with their rations. Lastly, they added soft cushions at the back, so the pregnant omegas wouldn’t get too sore from sitting in the cart all day, especially once they got to the bumpier dirt roads. After some very emotional goodbyes, they waved and took off. Byou, Hiyori and Manabu sat in the back of the cart, waving to their friends, and the rest walked next to the cart as Ryo led the horse. As the gate closed behind them, the omegas looked back at their home, swallowing anxiously as they left their only safe haven for a trip towards the unknown.

. . . . .



Chapter Text

Koichi pouted. He was standing in front of the mirror, turning this way and that, pulling at the sweater that kept riding up over his belly. Behind him, Hazuki moved around for a bit, taking care of his morning rituals. Finally, he came up behind his mate and put his arms around him. He smiled at his omega in the mirror, leaning down to kiss his cheek.

“You’re beautiful,” he whispered, nibbling lightly at the slender neck. His mate just huffed in reply, pouting even more.

“I’m huge. Look at me! I’ve gone up two shirt sizes in two weeks! Don’t tell me that’s normal?”

Hazuki couldn’t help notice the undertone of fear in his mate’s scent, and he quickly pulled himself together and reassured the omega. “Come on, if something was wrong, Tatsurou would tell us, right? You promised me to stop worrying so much, remember?”

Koichi turned around and buried his face in his mate’s chest, letting the strong scent of alpha calm him. Hazuki pulled his arms tighter around him, encasing him in a safe and strong cocoon of love, and the omega took comfort in the steady pounding of a heart beneath his ear.

“I’m sorry,” he mumbled, “I’m just so scared something will go wrong. After the miscarriage… We’ve tried for so long, and I just…” He couldn’t continue, choking up, and Hazuki pulled him impossibly closer.

“I know you’re scared, baby. But we’ll get through anything that happens, ok? And everything looks fine. Our baby’s fine. Please, have some faith in him, ok?”

Koichi sniffed and nodded, holding his alpha close and burying his face in that comforting chest for a moment longer before he looked up, eyes still carrying a hint of worry. “I’ll try,” he whispered.

“Good.” Hazuki kissed the tip of his nose, affectionately letting his fingers run through long pink strands. “God I hope he gets your nose,” he mumbled. “I swear to god, this nose is so cute it just begs to be kissed constantly.”

The omega couldn’t help laugh at his alpha’s antics. “Do you have a nose fetish or something?” he joked, his mate tickling him in response.

“Just yours, baby. Just yours.”

. . . . .

Atsushi had avoided Uta for weeks now, and he hated it with a vengeance. He had heard Toshiya’s advice, of course he had, and he had tried to make himself go talk to the omega. But when push came to shove, he always chickened out, and it was getting on his nerves. It wasn’t as if they had been close, but he still missed being able to just look at the omega without feeling like he would sink through the earth, or vomit, or worse. God, he wanted this to end so badly. And yet, he couldn’t make himself do anything about it, and so he trudged on in misery day after day. Eventually, Jun-ji had enough and caught him on his way to the docks.

“Hey, Atsushi, wait up!”

The major turned to see his friend coming down the path, for once not with Kazuki at his side. Those two had become glued to each other since Shuse left, and Atsushi wouldn’t be surprised if a mating or a baby would be on the agenda soon enough. He was happy for Jun-ji, he was, really. No, really. But the couple was so sickeningly cute together that his stomach churned and he had to look away sometimes. Right now, though, he waited patiently for the sergeant to catch up, and they leisurely walked towards the docks. The weather had been beautiful for almost a week now, the sun warming their faces as they walked.

“Talk to Uta.”

Atsushi stopped, glaring at his friend. “What, that’s why you wanted to talk to me?”

Jun-ji sighed, looking patiently at his friend. “Yes, it is. Because you’re not only making yourself miserable, you’re taking everyone else with you into your dark cloud. Especially Uta.”

The major had worked his way up to give Jun-ji a piece of his mind, but the mention of hurting Uta made his mouth clamp shut again, and he swallowed. “I don’t… What do you mean, especially Uta?”

The alpha looked at him with a hint of pity in his eyes. “He knows how you feel. Everyone knows. And yet, you keep avoiding him, snarling at everyone and making us all miserable along with you. Don’t you think he’s taking it personally?”

Atsushi felt suddenly unsure of himself. Was he hurting Uta by avoiding him? But how could he, when the omega didn’t want anything to do with alphas anyway? No, he was doing the right thing, staying away. He had to be.

“No, Atsushi.”

The major was startled, staring at his friend, uncomprehending. “No what?”

“I hear your thoughts, your face is so loud. No, you’re not gonna stay away. No, it isn’t good for him. No, it isn’t good for you. And no, he’s not gonna scream and run if you just tell him the truth. He’s probably not gonna throw himself into your arms either, but anything is better than this slow torture you’re putting the both of you through.”

Jun-ji stood firm, his eyes fixed on Atsushi, and the major felt himself wavering. Could he…?

“He’s gonna hate me,” he whispered. “And he’s gonna be scared, and want me to leave the island.”

“No he’s not. I know it doesn’t seem like much to you, but have you even noticed you’re the only alpha he’s truly talked to, more than single word sentences? The only alpha he’s touched, even if it was just for a second?”

Atsushi stared, his mind going blank for a moment. No, it couldn’t be… Surely Uta had talked to Toshiya, or Tatsurou? But he couldn’t bring back even one such moment in his mind, and he blinked confusedly at Jun-ji. The sergeant reached out to put his hand on his friend’s shoulder.

“Listen, Acchan,” he said softly, the use of the nickname making the major jerk slightly. “If he didn’t freak out by you sleeping on the floor outside his room, which was a bit creepy by the way, he’s not gonna be scared by you saying that you like him. Please. Just do it. For both your sakes.” The sergeant squeezed the firm shoulder gently before he let go and turned back up to the village, leaving a startled alpha standing all alone on the path, staring blindly in front of him.

. . . . .

He felt about to explode. The huge cock within Natsu felt almost too big to handle, and yet it was so amazing. He had never been fucked by anyone like Yukke before, never felt the borderline-pain-but-still-immense-pleasure that the alpha gave him, and he loved every second of it. The omega bounced up and down on Yukke’s cock, his head lolling this way and that as he was completely lost to this world, aware of nothing but the pleasure coursing through him as the alpha pounded into him. He felt the cold wall press against his naked back as he was pushed harder onto it, Yukke’s face buried in the nape of his neck as he groaned and panted from the effort of holding his boyfriend up against the wall without loosing the steady motion of his hips.

Natsu felt his orgasm be oh-so-near, and when Yukke snapped his hips sharply and moaned in his ear, he lost it. Spurt after spurt of come splashed over his own and Yukke’s bellies, and the alpha groaned as he felt the omega’s muscles contract around his cock, squeezing it firmly. A few more thrusts and a moaned ‘god, you feel so fucking good on my cock’ and he too came hard, straining not to lose his grip on the omega when his legs nearly buckled. A few moments of just holding each other, panting harshly, and then the alpha carefully lifted Natsu off he wall and carried him over to their bed. It took some maneuvering to get the both of them to be comfortable on the bed with the knot still lodged within the omega, but eventually, Yukke was stretched on his back with Natsu draped on top of him, nuzzling his neck.

“You are so amazing,” Natsu panted, still a little short of breath. His alpha grinned tiredly and pulled him in for a hungry kiss, before he answered.

“So are you, sweetheart. God you feel so good, I could just fuck you all day, every day.”

The omega giggled, lazily trailing his fingers up and down Yukke’s sides. “Mmm, I don’t think Toshiya would be too happy about that.”

The alpha snorted. “Toshiya can suck my balls.”

Natsu coughed and spurted at that, staring at his lover. “Yukke!”

“Oh, not literally of course. Only you are allowed to do that,” the alpha sniggered, enjoying his boyfriend’s bright red face.

“Damn right,” the omega muttered, still blushing a bit. “It’s such a wonderful cock, and it’s all mine, no one else’s.”

He watched as the alpha was slowly drifting off into sleep. Should he…? Did he dare…? “It’s so huge, I just love the way it feels inside me. I must have the honor of being fucked with the biggest cock on the island, right?” Natsu tried, almost holding his breath as he waited for the answer.

“Glad you like it so much, babe…” Yukke mumbled sleepily, yawning before he promptly fell asleep, leaving the omega without an answer.


. . . . .

Shinya was feeling amazing. Once the morning sickness had passed, he had been feeling exceptional, and his cheeks were nice and rosy as he worked in the greenhouse, nursing the young plants carefully. Toshiya came by to check on him several times a day, making sure he didn’t work too hard, and though he appreciated his alpha’s concern, he still felt a bit annoyed since he was doing so well.

Masa was a different matter, and Shinya worried about him. The omega’s back was killing him, and he was groaning at every little movement. Tatsurou checked on him daily, and had ordered him to rest as much as possible. But it was still only mid June, and Masa wasn’t due until some time in the beginning of September, same as Shinya. So he should still have almost two and a half months left, and yet he was very barely getting around on his own. Shinya felt a mixture of guilt and relief that he was doing so well when his friend was in so much pain. He and Kei tried to help Masa as much as they could, but it was hard.

Miya was also clearly worried, though he did his best to keep a straight face around his family. Tora was whiny and frustrated, seeing as Masa couldn’t carry him around like he wanted, and he took it out on a very innocent Hiroto. After separating the two, Uruha carried a crying Hiroto away and left Tora with Kouki, who did his best to explain why Masa couldn’t play with him like he always did. Tora pouted but finally accepted that Kouki would carry him for now, and things cleared up rather quickly after that, Tora going back to playing with his friends.

One night after dinner, Tatsurou asked Masa and Miya both into the sickroom, leaving Tora with Kouki. The two looked nervous when they entered, Miya helping his mate sit down on the bed before he sat down himself, arm protectively wrapped around the omega.

“Something’s wrong, isn’t it?” Masa said, on edge already before the nurse even opened his mouth. Miya’s jaws clenched, and he did his very best to remain calm.

“We don’t know that,” Tatsurou said quickly. “I have no indication the baby is not ok.”

Masa seemed to deflate, sinking together into a shivering pile. Miya held him close, watching the nurse. “But?”

Tatsurou bit his lip before he answered. “Truthfully? Your baby will be early. I think he’s doing ok in there, but I can see that you aren’t.” He reached out and gently grabbed Masa’s hand. “I know you’re in more pain than you’re telling me. And I worry about you. You have to tell me these things, ok? It could be dangerous to both you and your child if you don’t tell me where it hurts, and how much. Don’t pretend to be stronger than you are. It’s ok to show that you’re hurting.”

Miya looked down at his mate, pressing a kiss to his hair as the omega started sobbing in his arms. Tatsurou was surprised. He had never seen Masa this vulnerable, crying in front of him, and that alone told him just how much the omega was suffering.

“I’m just so scared. It hurts, all the time, and after Tora... I’m scared he will die. Or that I will die, and leave my family behind,” Masa sobbed, clutching his mate. Miya looked pained, and he couldn’t stop a tear from running down his cheek as well as he held his lover tight.

“I know,” the nurse said soothingly, “and it’s ok to be scared. I’ll do my best for the both of you, but if things become too much, I might have to do a cesarean. It’s a last resort, but I will not lose you unnecessarily, do you hear me? So until you’ve given birth, you’re gonna stay in bed. I mean it. I’m gonna ask Tomo and Subaru to stay with you so you have company during the day, and food will be brought down to you. I know it’ll be boring, but the longer he stays in your belly, the better his chances.”

Masa nodded, still crying softly into his mate’s shoulder. Miya caressed his back and kept pressing his lips to the omega’s hair, trying to soothe him, while his eyes desperately sought Tatsurou’s. ‘Do something’, they seemed to beg, and the nurse sighed deeply.

“Don’t give up hope yet,” he said. “We’ll take care of you, and with absolute rest, we have a good shot at this. Although…” He hesitated briefly. “This will have to be your last child. Your body cannot carry another baby.”

Masa gasped, but Miya nodded. “It’s ok, sweetie,” he murmured. “We’ll have two, that’s enough.” He kept mumbling sweet words in his mate’s ear, comforting him as well as he could, as Tatsurou left them alone and quietly shut the door behind him.

Chapter Text

Four days into the journey, they left the asphalt and turned onto a dirt road. It was still rather smooth, but nature was slowly beginning to make its way back and reclaim the roads. Here and there, baby trees were beginning to sprout in the middle of the road, and where they could, the journeymen cut them off and tossed them into the ditches. If they were going to keep this alliance going, they would need the roads in working condition.

The omegas were getting sick of sitting down all the time, and now and then they took a short break to let them down and allow them to walk for a while. Hiyori, who wasn’t due until late fall, walked more than the other two did, feeling a lot more spry. Junji kept an eye on him and made him rest at regular intervals, but otherwise the omegas seemed to be in good shape, considering. Byou was the one who disliked the journey most, his back and hips complaining. Ibuki worried, and walked near the back of the cart where he could keep an eye on his mate and talk to him to make time go faster.

Something was irritating Shuse, though, and he felt as if he was missing something. He felt like something itched in the back of his neck and often turned and looked behind them, but he never saw anything. After a few days, he was certain someone was following them, but they stayed out of range. When they took the next break, he pulled Hyde a bit to the side under the pretense that he wanted them to look at the map. While the others started passing out the food, he pointed aimlessly at the map and lowered his voice as he spoke.

“Someone’s following us.”

Hyde flinched, but quickly caught himself and nodded, playing along and pointing at another spot on the map as he answered. “Who? Have you seen them?”

“No, and I don’t know how many. Could just be one, but whoever it is, he’s going the same way we are. He or they have turned after us whenever we took a new road.”

Hyde tried to hide his troubled expression from their friends, turning so he had his back to them. “Could it be the disgruntled gang from the resort?”

Shuse hesitated. “It could be, but why would they wait so long before they tried something? They could have attacked us when we were sleeping and only had two guards awake.”

“Who else then?” Hyde threw a glance back up the road, as if he was hoping to get the answer from the trees behind them.

“I don’t know, but I plan to find out. When we are done eating and start moving again, I’m gonna walk with you for a while, and when I find a good spot to hide, I’m gonna wait in the shadows for them, him, whatever. We need to know if we have to worry.”

Hyde nodded. “Ok. What do you want from me?”

“When I get off the road, just lead the others on for ten minutes and then halt. Get everyone ready to defend the cart and wait for me.” Shuse was resolute, and Hyde could see he meant business.

“Ok. What do I tell the others?”

“Nothing, until they ask after I leave or until you stop, if no one asks. We don’t know if they can see us better than we can see them, and I don’t want to tip them off.”

Hyde pursed his lips, but agreed. They folded up the map and sat down to eat, both a bit more quiet than usual. After lunch, they packed everything up, helped the omegas up into the cart and set off. It took almost an hour to find a good spot, and Shuse’s adrenaline levels were getting high. What if it actually was The Grumpies? There were six of them, pretty fit, and the travellers had the omegas to defend. Or it could be another rogue team of assholes, some could have made it through the winter somehow. This could be bad. When they walked around a bend in the road, he finally saw his chance and quietly slipped off into the woods. Hiyori saw him go and turned to look after him, eyes wide. He was about to say something when Hyde caught his eye and shook his head slowly. Hiyori bit his lip, blinking anxiously, but he kept his mouth shut and just grabbed Manabu’s hand as his friend looked up and saw the exchanged glances. They walked on in silence, but the tension spread to the rest as they noticed Shuse missing and Hyde’s warning looks to keep quiet about it. As they walked around another bend, Hyde resisted the urge to look around for the sergeant, simply praying everything was ok.

Shuse got off the road as swiftly as he could and hid between a large rock and a bush, shielding him from view from the road in both directions. He drew his knife to be ready, and settled down to wait. Maybe five minutes later, he finally heard footsteps coming down the road. He closed his eyes and just listened. One set of footsteps, so not a group at least. One, he could handle. The steps came closer, and Shuse felt his muscles get ready to spring into action if need be.

And then he came into view. The sergeant had to laugh, he was so relieved and surprised. The sudden noise made their stalker swing around as he pulled out his knife and held it at the ready, hand trembling just a bit. Shuse got up and stepped out of his hiding place, jumping the ditch to get onto the road, standing in front of the lone figure with an amused smirk on his lips.

“Well, hello there, handsome.”

. . . . .

The group was surrounding the cart, knifes and clubs at the ready. The omegas sat as much in the middle of the cart as possible, arms around each other and eyes fixed on the road behind them. The alphas were equally tense. Hyde had hastily explained the basics – they were being followed, Shuse was checking it out and had ordered them to stop here and get ready for defense, just in case. Right now, they were just waiting, hearts beating hard, nerves on the outside. And then they heard footsteps, and Shuse turned around the bend, pulling a grumbling figure after him. At first they all stared, and then it was as if they all relaxed at the push of a button. Well, everyone but Hyde, whose face turned red with anger.

“Mitsuki!” he growled. “What the hell do you think you’re doing, leaving the resort alone?”

The omega made a face, staring defiantly at their leader. “I’m going to see Meto,” he announced, trying to look tough and sure of himself.

“No you’re not,” Hyde said, his eyes hard as steel. “You’re turning back to the resort, right now! What the hell possessed you to go out here alone? What if something had happened to you?”

“And nothing will happen if I go back alone now, you mean? The resort is six days off by now, we’re almost halfway! Besides, I’m going to go see my friend, and you can’t stop me.”

Hyde narrowed his eyes at the omega, snarling. “Can’t I?”

Mitsuki blinked, the anger in Hyde’s voice making him flinch, but he wouldn’t, couldn’t, back down now. “It’s only because I’m an omega,” he yelled, hurt and angry. “If I had been an alpha, you wouldn’t have said anything, but because it’s me, you want to send me back all alone. It’s not fair! I have rights too!”

The truth of the words obviously stung, as Hyde closed his eyes, biting down on whatever he had meant to say. It was true, after all, he wouldn’t have been this upset if it had been an alpha, he would have been surprised but not angry. He took a few deep breaths to calm down, Mitsuki standing in front of him, so upset he was shaking and fighting against tears. Hyde was clenching his fists, breathing heavily for a long time, before he finally spoke between clenched teeth.

“Fine. Fine, you can come. But only because sending you back would mean we had to spare someone to go with you.”

Mitsuki suddenly looked hopeful, his anger fading away quickly. He eyed Hyde silently, afraid of saying something that would make the alpha take back his promise. The short leader breathed deeply for a long while before he opened his eyes again, looking at Mitsuki for a moment. Then he sighed.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to get so mad, but Mitsuki… You scared the shit out of us. First of all, you could have been an attacker, and second, what if you had gotten hurt? I would never have forgiven myself.” He looked at the omega earnestly, trying to get his feelings across. “You’re right, it’s because you’re an omega. And maybe it isn’t fair, but the fact remains, you are more likely to get in trouble and get hurt than alphas are. I’m sorry, but that’s just how life is now. And I don’t want you to get hurt, Mitsuki. I care about you, just as I care about all of you.”

Once he finished, the omega looked stunned for a moment, but he soon found his voice again. “It’s still not fair,” he mumbled, though his eyes showed that he had heard and taken Hyde’s words to heart. He chose not to say anything else, though, and glanced at the rest instead. Now that Hyde seemed to have calmed down, the others came up to say hello, the alphas either amused or pursing their lips at his little stunt. The omegas gave him a big hug each, extremely happy that it was a friend and not an unknown attacker, and Mitsuki hugged them back for a long while, almost making Junji jealous. Since evening was drawing near, they made camp where they were at the side of the road, and Mitsuki soon settled into his usual loud-mouthed style. Hyde watched him tiredly as he joked with Ibuki, and when he met Shuse’s gaze, he shook his head a little. The sergeant didn’t need to hear the words to know what Hyde had meant. ‘What am I supposed to do with him, the little brat?’ He smirked back, shrugging to show he had no idea, and went back to listening to the banter.

. . . . .

Shuse tried not to look too much at Manabu, he really did. It was hard to be on the road together and avoid him though, and so he was bound to suddenly find himself looking Manabu’s way now and then. And even though he tried so hard not to fall again, he did. Hard. God, the omega was so beautiful, and his large eyes seemed to look into Shuse’s soul, long lashes fluttering when he blinked. The alpha felt his chest contract at the sight, and he knew he was done for the moment Manabu spoke to him the first time during the trip. It was a simple question about the island, and the answer took less than a minute, but during that time, he had the full attention of those amazing eyes. He saw Reika noticing, and felt the unease from their last conversation creep up on him. The other alpha had ammunition on him now, but he found comfort in the fact that he could always counter with Kouki if need be. Reika kept his mouth shut, thought, and Shuse hoped he would do so the rest of the trip. Hyde seemed to notice as well, but he too kept quiet about it, as the sergeant did absolutely nothing to even approach the omega.

One night, when they were a few days from the island, Shuse sat guard together with the pretty resort leader, the rest sleeping around him. He had done his rounds, stopping to pull the blanket up around Manabu’s shoulder where it had fallen down to expose a long, slender neck. The omega mumbled in his sleep and scrunched his nose cutely, but didn’t wake up. Hyde watched the sergeant’s actions from where he stood leaned towards the cart, and when Shuse came up to stand next to him, the short alpha watched his military friend intently.

“So you like him.” It was a statement, not a question. Shuse bit his lip, looking down, but he didn’t see any point in denying the obvious so he just nodded quietly. Hyde regarded him for a moment.

“Do you plan to do anything about it?” he asked.

Shuse shook his head immediately, still not speaking or looking at the other alpha. Hyde watched him, pursing his lips slightly as he thought about it.

“Why not?”

Shuse gaped at him. “Why not?! Isn’t that obvious?”

“No,” Hyde said, shrugging. “What is it you think is obvious?”

“What do I… Everything! I’m old, and I look like I smashed into a tree, and…”

That was as far as the sergeant got before Hyde started chuckling. “Oh come on, are you kidding? I figured you would have great self-esteem, you always play it so cool, and then you turn out to be completely insecure? What’s up with that?”

Shuse stared at the alpha. Did he hear that right? He couldn’t get a word out, he was so shocked. Hyde grinned, shaking his head, but soon became more serious. “Don’t be ridiculous. You’re a nice guy, and you’re both single. At least give him a chance to reject you of his own choice. No point in doing it for him in advance. You never know, he might surprise you.”

It was so not what the sergeant expected to hear, and he couldn’t find his voice to answer. He stared at Manabu as if the sleeping omega would be able to give him the answers he needed or the courage to try for him, but the omega just slept on, whining a little in his sleep. Hyse reached out a hand and patted Shuse’s shoulder.

“I get it. It’s scary to put yourself out there. But just be there for him, talk to him, and see what happens. Like I said, he’s single. Let him decide for himself what he wants and needs.”

Shuse swallowed deeply. When he answered, his voice was raspy. “I’ve… not had to much luck with love. I’m not sure I’m ready for the hurt. And he’s… He’s so perfect. Why would he want someone like me?”

“Maybe he likes you for who you are?” Hyde’s voice was gentle, as he gazed at his new friend with compassion. “Just… Don’t give it up just yet, ok?”

“But K…” Shuse didn’t know how to continue, but Hyde quickly shook his head.

“They’re friends. That’s all, as far as I know. K was the one who found him when he came walking on his own, near the resort. Manabu trusts him, but there’s never been anything else between them.”

Shuse took a deep breath and bit his lip as he watched the sleeping omega, blinking away a tear that threatened to fall. “Yeah,” he said, his voice barely a whisper. “Yeah, ok. I hear you.”

“Good.” Hyde smiled a crooked smile and patted his back again. “Now, let’s check the perimeter.”

As the two alphas turned to walk around their camp, Manabu made a small noise and turned over clumsily in his sleep, the blanket falling down to expose a slender neck.

Chapter Text

Tatsurou walked into the sickroom to see Tomo taking a carefully measured swig of the heat suppressant. He stopped in surprise, his hand still on the handle, and the omega turned deep red as he quickly put the bottle away in the cupboard. Once he had closed the cupboard, he slowly turned to the nurse, looking down, his cheeks flushed. The alpha watched him for a second, before he closed the door behind him and looked back to Tomo, curiously.

“Want to tell me about it?” he asked gently, giving the omega time to answer at his own pace.

“I’m taking the suppressant. That’s all,” Tomo mumbled, refusing to look at the nurse.

“I thought you had an agreement with Ruka?” Tatsurou prodded, but he felt bad about it the second he saw Tomo squirm in discomfort. He was just about to say that no explanation was necessary, when the omega sniffed.

“He’s taken. Even though they’re not official yet, he and Yomi are a couple, or soon to be anyway. And I’m not that much of an asshole that I try to take someone else’s man.” He looked disheartened, and the nurse wanted to give him a hug in comfort. Still, he had a feeling that would make Tomo even more uncomfortable with the whole situation, so he settled for nodding.

“I’m sorry,” he said softly, Tomo looking away and sniffing quietly.

“Yeah, well. Thanks. I guess.”

“Do you want a moment?” the nurse asked softly.

Tomo shook his head. “Thanks for caring, but no. I’ll be ok. Let’s just get to work.”

“Ok,” Tatsurou said, silently vowing to himself to keep an eye on the omega for a while.

. . . . .

Kei woke up slowly, blinking at the morning light that shone in through the window. He was snuggled into the blankets, Yukihiro’s warm body spooning him from behind and the alpha’s deep breaths of sleep tickling his neck. It was a lazy Sunday in bed, and the omega took a moment to just appreciate what he had. His eyes fell on the cot in the corner, the baby clothes Ruki had made hanging over the side, and it made him feel all warm and fuzzy inside. His boyfriend mumbled something in his sleep, and his arm slithered further around the omega, his leg wedging itself between the omega’s thighs. Kei was warm and comfortable, relaxed and happy.

He lay there for a long while, just enjoying the closeness. Yukihiro’s breath was getting uneven as he dreamed, and Kei listened to it, gently caressing the strong arm around him. How did he end up like this? With an amazing alpha who loved him, with a baby in his belly that was loved by them both even before it was born, and a soft, warm, safe bed to sleep in together? He couldn’t fathom what life had had in store for him, and how something that had seemed so bleak and difficult had turned out so wonderfully. Eventually, he shifted slightly in his alpha’s arms, turning around enough so he could watch his lover’s sleeping face. Yukihiro seemed unwilling to let him go, even in his sleep, and snuggled close and wrapped himself around the omega, his face nestling in Kei’s neck. The omega smiled gently, raising a hand to caress the angular face, letting his fingers play gently with the short hair.

After maybe ten minutes, Yukihiro finally shifted and opened his eyes sleepily, licking his lips. It took a few moments for him to realize where he was, and who was petting his hair, and then he smiled softly.

“Good morning, sweetheart,” he whispered, letting his lips brush against the omega’s neck a little, enough to tickle slightly. Kei squirmed and giggled, turning his head so the alpha could kiss him.

“Good morning,” he mumbled, soon finding himself unable to speak due to the lips pressed against his. For a long while, they just lay there, kissing and caressing each other, before the alpha pulled back and just watched his boyfriend with a soft smile on his lips.

“I dreamt the baby was here,” he said, yawning a bit. “He was so cute, looked just like you, and Ruki ran around complaining that you had dressed him wrong and those pajamas couldn’t be worn with that hat…” He chuckled and smiled at Kei, who giggled at the thought.

“I wish he was here,” Kei said. “He’s getting heavy and I don’t want to wait anymore.” He was interrupted by a quick kiss from his alpha before he continued. “By the way, we should start deciding on names now.”

Yukihiro smiled and gently let his fingers run down Kei’s side, caressing him softly. “I thought we had decided on Jin?”

Kei made a face, scrunching up his face in a thoughtful grimace. “Decided is such a strong word. I was thinking maybe we could talk about some more names, and then we can compare?”

Yukihiro just chuckled. “Ok, sweetie, whatever you say. So what did you have in mind?”

And so Kei gave some suggestions, and they spent the rest of the morning in bed, snuggling and discussing baby names, before they finally got up and made their way up to the big house. They had to convince Kai to give them some breakfast in the kitchen, since it had been packed away long ago, but they both agreed their morning had been worth it.

. . . . .

Atsushi was breathing heavily, his head feeling light and his legs wobbly, as he stepped up the stairs to the big house to go find Uta. He was a man on a mission, but he felt more like a jellyfish on dry land, completely out of his element and near death. The omega was not in the dining room (thank god, no public display was necessary), and he wasn’t in the kitchen either. The major hoped he wasn’t in his room, since he didn’t want to intrude on Uta’s safe space, but he was in luck (or bad luck, depending on how he saw it) to find the omega in the library. Uta sat snuggled up on the couch, reading a book. Alone. Oh shit, I really have to do this now. Atsushi felt ready to faint, but he forced his legs to move him into the room, closing the door behind him. When the omega looked up, big dark eyes meeting his, he nearly lost his nerve and aborted the mission. But Jun-ji’s meaning stare that morning, paired with Toshiya’s knowing look and annoyingly understanding facial expression, was enough to convince him he had to get it over and done with.

He slowly and gingerly made his way into the room, pulling out a chair and sitting down before his legs could buckle. Not until he was seated, a good two meters away from the omega, did he speak.

“Hi,” he said quietly, biting his lip. Uta blinked at him, looking unsure, before he finally offered a soft ‘hello’ back at the alpha. Atsushi swallowed, trying to get started, but he had to fight for a moment with a throat and mouth that was suddenly dry as the desert. He pulled his hand through his grizzled hair, sighing.

“Listen, Uta, I…” he started, before he had to stop for another deep breath. “I like you,” he finally blurted out, internally swearing at himself. All the pretty words he had prepared in his head had just disappeared, and now he acted like a schoolboy with a crush. It was embarrassing, and stupid, and…

“I know.” Uta’s low voice made him start and stare at the omega, panic rising inside. “They told me.” He looked down for a moment before elaborating, peering at the alpha through the long bangs covering his face. “At first I didn’t believe them, but then I started to because you were so nice to me. But then I stopped believing again because you turned your back on me, and I thought… Maybe it was something I did?”

Atsushi was dumbfounded. He had never heard so many words out of the pretty omega’s mouth before, and for a minute he just reveled in hearing Uta’s voice, slightly hoarse but still soft. It took him what felt like forever to gather his wits enough to answer, but he finally shook his head with fervor.

“God, no, you’ve done nothing wrong! It’s just… me. I like you, a lot, but I was afraid to scare you, or make you uncomfortable, so I didn’t want to put you in that situation.” The words started out strong, but faded into almost nothing at the end of the sentence, the major looking very much like a sad puppy, his shoulders slumped and his eyes fixed on the floor. For a long moment, the room was quiet, and Atsushi was about to get up and leave, the uneasiness eating him up. But then Uta spoke again, slowly and hesitantly, as if he wasn’t sure if he was actually about to say what he was about to say.

“I trust you... And… These weeks when you weren’t there… I… missed it. I’m not sure why… I mean, I shouldn’t… But I… I guess I…” The omega took a deep breath, shivering, before he whispered the final words. “I like you too.”

Atsushi’s neck almost snapped with the force of his head jerking up to stare into dark eyes. “You do?” he whispered, his heart beating fast and hard in his chest, making him feel dizzier than he ever had been in his life.

Uta bit his lip hard enough to almost make it bleed, tears of insecurity filling his eyes, but he nodded. He pulled his knees up to his chest and threw his arms around them as if to protect himself. “But I’m scared,” he mumbled, his bangs falling down to hide his face again, “and I’m not… I’m not ready for…” He faltered, but the major shook his head vigorously before the omega even finished the sentence.

“No, no… Of course not. I would never dream of doing anything you didn’t want. It’s all your choice. In your own pace, if ever.” He couldn’t believe what he was hearing, and for a moment he thought he was having a dream conversation, making up an impossible situation in his head. But god, Uta was there, and he spoke to him, and he had actually said… Oh god. Oh my fucking god. Atsushi was in shock, but he tried his best to look cool and collected. He didn’t do too well.

And then Uta started sobbing, and immediately the major was horrified and sputtered excuses, but the omega just shook his head. After a while, he lifted his hand to dry his eyes, his shoulders still shaking as he tried to explain. “I never thought… I didn’t think I could ever trust anyone again. And I’m not sure if I will ever be able to even… And no less…” He struggled with the words, but eventually got them out in a hoarse whisper. “Would you want me even if I… could never give you… that?”

And Atsushi understood suddenly, and he almost reached out for the omega but stopped himself at the last moment. “Of course I would,” he said with conviction, finally feeling as if his feet were back on solid ground again. “Of course I do. I will always be here for you, no matter what happens. I love you. And I will never hurt you, or do something you don’t want, or force you into something you aren’t ready for.”

Uta started crying even more at that, hugging his legs and burying his face against his knees. Atsushi’s chest ached at seeing the omega’s distress, and he so badly wanted to just scoop him up, hug and caress him, kiss his hair, hold him close forever. But he stayed put, letting the omega cry until he was done. When Uta finally calmed down a bit, the major still sat watching him with pain in his eyes. The omega lifted his teary face and their eyes met for a long moment. Could he ask…?

“Does this mean… Would you be my boyfriend?” Atsushi blurted out, Uta blinking in shock. “I don’t mean like that!” the major hurried to say, nervous he had scared the omega again. “I just mean… You know… We like each other, and I… I would be proud to call you mine. In any way you feel you can, without feeling uncomfortable. No strings attached, no demands made, just... Be there for each other.”

Uta sniffed, drying his face with the back of his hands, sniffing. The major handed him a handkerchief, the omega having to put his feet down and stretch out his arm to accept it, and even though their fingers didn’t even touch, it felt like electricity filled the room by the pure proximity. They both swallowed, and then Uta pulled back and discreetly blew his nose before he looked back up. For a moment they just sat there, watching each other, and then Uta looked down at his hands, nervously wringing them.

“Yes.” The word was barely audible, and Atsushi almost thought he had misheard the omega, but then Uta looked up again, meeting his gaze. “Yes, I’ll be your boyfriend,” he said, voice marginally stronger but enough for the alpha to realize that yes, this was actually happening. The omega of his dreams was agreeing to call himself his boyfriend. He felt like he had trouble breathing from the overwhelming emotions, and he couldn’t help letting out a gasp. A lone tear trickled down his cheek, as he smiled at the omega.

“Thank you,” he whispered, his eyes saying just about everything he felt at that moment. “Can I… Can I give you a hug? You don’t have to of course, I just…”

“No.” Uta’s answer was quick and suddenly anxious, and the major quickly backed down, bowing his head to show his understanding and acceptance. A long moment of hesitation, and then a soft voice said the words he never thought he would hear. “But I can hug you. If you want.”

He looked up, staring at the omega, before he nodded slowly. He didn’t dare speak, move, breathe, while the omega ever so slowly got off the couch and took the few steps over. And then thin arms wound themselves loosely around him, Uta’s scent filling his nostrils, and he thought his chest would burst. It was only for a moment, a short and careful hug before the omega quickly stepped away, but it was more than he had ever expected. Their eyes met for another long moment, and then the omega threw his arms around himself, uncertainty creeping into his voice.

“I… I need to…”

“Yeah. Of course. You should go.” Atsushi smiled, reassuringly, trying to look calm while his heart and mind was in turmoil. He was rewarded with a tiny, insecure smile, before Uta grabbed the book he had been reading, pressing it to his chest as he hurried to the door and let himself out, fumbling with the door knob. The major could hear his boyfriend’s steps going up the stairs quickly, the omega’s bedroom door shutting a moment later.

Boyfriend. Oh god.

Chapter Text

Toshiya, Jun-ji and Tatsurou stood at the bottom of the stairs when Atsushi finally managed to pull himself together and leave the library, wobbly and with a faraway look in his eyes.

“Hey,” Toshiya said, eyeing the alpha a little worriedly when he saw the stunned look. “How did it go?”

Atsushi blinked, turning to look at him slowly, and Tatsurou took a step forward to catch him as he stumbled a little on the bottom step. His friends were looking at him. Why was that? Oh, right. They had told him to go talk to Uta. Uta…

“I think… I think I have a boyfriend,” he mumbled, suddenly uncertain. It wasn’t a dream, was it? He was awake, right? But the big hug he was suddenly enveloped in, Toshiya laughing into his ear as he squeezed the major tightly, told him he was most assuredly awake.

“Can’t breathe,” he coughed, and Toshiya let go only to be replaced by Jun-ji, Tatsurou patting his back happily.

“Finally, I knew you could do it!” The sergeant beamed at him, and Toshiya was so happy he couldn’t stand still and had to hug his friend again.

Atsushi couldn't help laughing at his friend’s enthusiasm. “I’m kind of in shock, I think,” he admitted, shaking his head in disbelief. “I’m not sure it happened, that he actually said yes. It feels just like in a dream, but… He did. He actually, really did.”

Toshiya smiled brightly at him. “I’m so happy for you both. I really am. You both deserve to be happy.”

Happy? Would he make Uta happy? God, he hoped so. But it still felt a long way off. “We’re not... like that. I mean, he has to get time and space, you know? And we may never even kiss, I don’t know.”

“Maybe not, Toshiya said, beaming at the major. “But is that the most important thing?”

Atsushi shook his head firmly. “No. I will keep whatever distance he wants me to, let him take the lead, be there for him when he needs me. I hope he will start to trust me completely in time, but if physical contact is too much for him… Then that’s just how it is. Because he’s still mine. He’s my boyfriend.” He smiled softly at that, his eyes overflowing with emotion. And I’m his.

. . . . .

Uta was hyper-ventilating, hugging his knees, while Ryoga and Cazqui sat on either side of him and stroked his back soothingly.

“It’s gonna be fine,” Cazqui said, gently pulling Uta’s hair behind his ear so he could see his face. “Atsushi will never hurt you. So, he’s your boyfriend now. That won’t change how he treats you.”

Uta let out a small whine, clutching his legs. “It changes everything! What if he…? What if…? I might… And what if he expects me to...?”

“He won’t,” Ryoga assured him. “He will continue to be patient and kind, I swear.”

Uta was shivering, panic surging through him. Cazqui threw his arms around his friend, gentle stroking him, whispering soothing words. It took forever before the omega had calmed down enough to breathe normally.

“I don’t even know why I said yes,” he mumbled finally, his head leaned on Cazqui’s shoulder.

“Do you like him?” Cazqui asked softly. Uta was quiet for a long time before he gave a faint nod and buried his face against the pale omega’s chest. Cazqui smiled gently. “Well, there you are then. If you like him, then you should just try to relax and let things be as they are. See what happens. I’m one hundred percent positive he won’t force you into anything, so just take it easy and feel it out for a while. If you’re still anxious in a month, break up with him then.”

Ryoga hummed in agreement, grabbing Uta’s hand in his as his friend whimpered in response. It took over an hour longer before he could finally let go, his friend’s pulse almost back to normal again.

. . . . .

Uruha sat with Hiroto in his lap next to Masa’s bed, everyone else at the big house for dinner. Hiroto had already fallen asleep and hanged on his bearer’s arm, but Uruha managed to give Masa his dinner and eat himself with just one hand. Miya had taken Tora to dinner so that Masa could rest a bit from their hyper-active son and his never-ending questions of why, how, when, what. That didn’t mean he had to be alone though, as one of his friends always came down to sit with him and eat.

“It’s just so damn boring being tied to the bed,” Masa sighed, opening his mouth to taste the first of the early greens, a radish crunching between his teeth.

“I understand,” Uruha said, “but we’ll keep you company. We can play games, and get you books and stuff. It’s not for so long, not if you think about it. Not in the greater scheme of things.”

“It had better be as long as possible.” Masa made a face and shrugged to brush it off as nothing, but he couldn’t quite hide the fear behind the statement.

“Tatsurou will help you and get you through. I’m sure of it.” Uruha seemed confident, smiling widely as he shifted Hiroto to lie down in his lap and then took a bite of the fish.

Masa nodded, smiling at his friend. “Thanks. For everything,” he said, reaching out to squeeze the other omega’s hand quickly. His friend looked surprised but squeezed back.

“You don’t have to say thank you, you know.”

“I know. But I want to.”

“Ok. You’re welcome. Now eat your greens.” Uruha pointed at him with his fork, acting like a strict parent forcing his kids to eat up. Masa chuckled but obediently lifted his hand to his mouth, stuffing another radish into it.

Two months and one week to go.

. . . . .

Meto stared at Tatsurou, defiantly. Kaz sighed.

“Come on, just let him do the check-up already. He’s not gonna hurt you. Besides, I’m here.”

Meto pouted and glared at the two alphas, but when Kaz put on his sternest expression, he eventually sat down on the bed with a big frown on his face. The nurse smiled, sitting down on the stool in front of him, taking out the stethoscope to listen to his heart and lungs. He chatted away while doing the check-up, talking about things from Before, trying to distract the boy by doing both the examination and questioning at once.

“I bet you had many friends in school?” he said, at the same time trying the boy’s reflexes. Meto frowned as his body reacted on its own, but nodded at the same time. Tatsurou felt a moment of triumph and shared a glance with Kaz, but kept his facial expression schooled otherwise. He tried the other knee, as he casually asked his next question.

“Any brothers?” He was almost laughing out loud when the omega shook his head, curiously watching his leg twitch as his reflexes kicked in. “No? Brothers are a nuisance anyway. Were all your friends the same age as you? From school?” And so the conversation went on, simple nods and headshakes answering his simple questions. But it was such progress, and Kaz smiled widely at the two where he stood leaned against the wall. When the examination had been dragged out as long as it possibly could be, Tatsurou waved the boy off with a clean bill of health. Kaz lingered for a moment as the omega bounded off.

“He’s doing so much better,” he said quietly.

“He is. I’d like to try to start talking to him about Koichi and Tsuzuku soon. It could produce a setback, but we need to try. I’d let them meet here with that specific purpose if I didn’t think it would hurt Tsu and Kou if Meto doesn’t want to recognize them.”

“No, I think we’d better wait on that a bit longer,” the boy’s mate agreed. “He’s seen them around, but he sort of avoids them. I think he’s starting to recognize them, but isn’t really ready for it just yet.”

“Could be.” Tatsurou looked thoughtful. “We’ll try gently with some questions tomorrow and see.”

Kaz gave a thumbs up before he a suspicious noise made him turn and follow his mate to the dining room, checking to see what Meto was up to. Tatsurou chuckled, putting away his things properly as he started planning tomorrow’s session in his head. Eventually though, thoughts of another type of session started sifting into his mind, out-conquering thoughts of Meto’s rehabilitation and distracting him enough to put off planning for later. Where was Kaoru anyway, and wasn’t he done working soon? He probably needed to go change in their cabin or something before dinner. If not, Tatsurou might be able to persuade him to. The thought made him lick his lips, and he quickly stuffed away the last of the things and went to find his lover.

. . . . .

Minase was called into the library, where Toshiya, Atsushi, Kai and Reo sat around the table, stone-faced and quiet. Jun-ji brought him in and pulled out a chair for him at the short end before he too took a seat. The young alpha watched them nervously. What was he doing here? Had he done something wrong?

“So,” Toshiya started once they were all seated. “You’re here because we need to talk about your sentence.”

Oh shit, he had done something wrong. But what? He desperately thought about what he could have done or said, but came up empty, not getting a clue from their serious faces either.

“It seems,” Toshiya continued, “that your sentenced time is up.”

Minase blinked. Was it? It was! He was so used to it by now that he hardly thought about it, but it was. But what did that mean for him? Would he be allowed to stay? He looked at Toshiya, bowing his head quietly to wait for what the alpha had to say, heart beating hard in his chest.

“You’ve followed the rules of the sentence,” Toshiya said, “and we hereby state that you have done your penance. You are free to do and go wherever you like now, without another alpha accompanying you. Do you wish to stay here, and continue to be a part of our community?”

Minase didn’t understand how their leader could even ask that question. Of course he would! He nodded eagerly, but couldn’t find the voice to answer verbally. When he looked up, he met the others’ calm gazes, feeling like he would faint from the tension. “I would,” he whispered.

“And you understand what you did to deserve the punishment, and swear to always abide by our rules for as long as you stay here?”

Minase nodded again, anxiously. For a second, they just looked back at him. And then, Toshiya broke into a smile.

“Good,” he said, grinning widely. “Then we welcome you to stay here, as one of us.”

Minase swallowed, his breath a bit unsteady as he murmured a heart-felt ‘Thank you’. And then the others laughed, getting up to congratulate him and hug him, and he hugged back, feeling almost dizzy from the whole thing. But while they were celebrating, one question went through his mind over and over. I wonder where Kuina is right now?

Chapter Text

They were walking along, quietly, when Shuse suddenly stopped. Hyde held up his hand, stopping Ryo and the horse, making them all pause and tense up.

“Is something wrong?” Hyde watched Shuse intently, his hand closing tighter around his club.

“No, not at all.” Shuse said, turning around and smiling widely. “We’re almost there, only 20 minutes away. It’s just that this is the spot where we met Kiyoharu and Ju-ken the first time. They came down the road, and we came out of the woods over there.” He pointed into the forest, grinning.

“Oh.” Hyde relaxed, and Ibuki released a deep breath and stepped away from where he had been shielding Byou from view.

“Only twenty more minutes?” Manabu seemed equal parts relieved and scared. The journey was finally over, but the unknown island still awaited them. Shuse looked at him, wanting to reassure him, but he wasn’t sure what to say, so he just smiled.

“Come on,” Reika said, starting to walk again. “I for one am dying to taste Kai’s cooking again.” He waved the others along, and the cart started rolling again, Manabu and Hiyori holding hands while looking around to try to get a glimpse of where they were going.

Once they went down the last hill and walked onto the shore, Ryo reined the horse in, and the alphas helped their omegas climb down from the cart, stretching out sore backs. For a moment they just stood looking out over the lake, while Reika put his bag down and started rummaging through it. They all jumped in surprise as a loud horn signal echoed over the lake, and Reika smiled apologetically as he took the small horn from his lips.

“Sorry if I scared you. It’s just to call them over. They’d see us soon enough, but this is faster,” he said, Hyde nodding quietly. The fact that they were finally here made them all a little on edge. This was the moment, the one where they would find out whether they had made the right choice to come here or not. Hiyori and Byou stood pressed against their mates, gathering courage from them. Mitsuki stepped up and hugged Manabu before K could, and the pregnant omega leaned his head on his friend’s shoulder, K settling for putting a comforting hand on the omega’s back.

“Ok, let’s start unpacking the cart”, Shuse said, ignoring the churning in his stomach that came from seeing someone else’s arms around Manabu. He had no proof the omega wasn’t into other omegas, a possibility he hadn’t considered before but that now stood out in neon letters in his insecure mind. No, better to concentrate on getting ready.

“How do you wish to take care of the horse? We can’t bring him over with us, but we can of course tie him up here. The question is if you want someone with him all the time? In that case, we will have to set up some sort of camp,” Shuse said.

“I’ll stay with him,” Ryo said without hesitation, and Hyde only hesitated for a moment before he nodded in agreement.

“Ok. But we’ll make sure you get to go over to the island as well for at least one good nights sleep before we go back. We’ll take turns here.”

“It’s fine,” Ryo said, waving it off and starting to take care of the horse swiftly and expertly. Eventually, Hyde shrugged and let him set camp, Shuse promising to bring food and warm blankets over, and a tarp to protect them from rain if the weather turned foul.

They were just about done unpacking everything from the cart when Hiyori called out. A boat was approaching, and they all stood to watch as it came gradually closer to reveal four alphas, rowing. Shuse and Reika walked up to help them grab the rope and pull the boat up on the shore and tie it up, while the group from the resort sort of huddled up, alphas in the front line and omegas standing behind them. Hyde stood in front of all of them, his head leaned back a bit. Shuse had almost forgotten by now that Hyde was so short and pretty, he was so used to it. But when he gave his island friends a hand over the side of the boat, it came back to him when he saw Hyde putting on a slightly tougher attitude. I wish he didn’t feel the need to, he thought, but trusted that Toshiya would soon make the alpha feel welcome and relax.

He was right. After the first greetings between the islanders and their returning friends, Toshiya turned to the new group, smiling widely and bowing. “Welcome, all of you! My name is Toshiya, and this is Kai, Kaoru and Die. We’re pleased to meet you.”

Hyde bit his lip slightly, but bowed back, introducing himself and the group. Toshiya smiled reassuringly at the pregnant omegas, and cast Mitsuki a curious glance.

“I’m not pregnant!” Misuki blurted out, glaring at the islanders defiantly.

“Oh… Ok?” Toshiya looked a bit confused, and Shuse chuckled next to him.

“Mitsuki’s friends with Ototo, and true to form he snuck out to follow, just as his friend did.”

“Oh? Meto will be happy to see you then. You have heard that Meto is his real name, I hope?” Toshiya said, looking at Hyde questioningly.

The short leader nodded. “We have. But it’s hard to get used to when you’ve been calling him Ototo for so long.”

“I’m sure it is. Well, let’s start getting you over there then, so you can get some food into your bellies. There are more of you than we expected, so we won’t all fit into the boat on one trip, I’m afraid.”

“Thank you,” Hyde said, bowing again. “We are sorry we are so many, but most of us will turn back soon enough. Toll here wants to see his son,” he gestured at the alpha, “and I would like to meet Kaz and Meto and make sure the place is safe for my friends before I leave. Ryo stays with the horse, and Mitsuki will be dragged back home when we leave.”

The last words earned the pretty alpha a vicious glare from the omega in question, but he kept silent. Toshiya smiled, shaking his head. “Oh, I didn’t mean there was a problem, you are all welcome. I was just a bit surprised, that’s all.” He turned to Toll, curiously. “I’m guessing you’re Masa’s father?”

At Toll’s short nod, the curly-headed islander exchanged meaningful looks with his friends. Shuse grinned. “Looks just like Tora, right?”

“Very much so,” Toshiya agreed, smiling at Toll. He turned to Hyde. “Two trips should be enough, I think, three with the packing you’ve brought. In which order do you want to go?”

It took a while for them to decide, since Hyde didn’t want the omegas to go first and end up in trouble, nor leave them all alone on the shore without alphas to protect them. Hyde excused his caution, but Toshiya just waved his hand in dismissal, letting him know he understood. In the end they settled for sending Hyde over first with Shuse, Byou and Ibuki. The next trip would be Reika with Mitsuki, K and Manabu, and lastly Toll, Hiyori and Junji. The packing would be split on all three trips, and Ryo would stay on the shore for now, a bag of food and water left for him until they could return with the rest of the things he needed.

And so they got to work, packing up the boat with things. The alphas all helped Byou get into the boat safely, Ibuki sitting next to him in the back with his arms tightly wrapped around his nervous mate. Hyde sat with them in the back, while Shuse took the front, ready to help with the ropes. As the boat picked up speed and the alphas rowed them towards the island, their guests watched in silence. Hyde was a little tense, but the couple next to him looked about ready to faint. Byou held his belly protectively, and Ibuki was nervously examining the alphas in the boat, looking for any warning signs or threats to his mate. Toshiya had been foreseeing enough to place Kai next to him on the back oars, his dimpled smile a way to make their guests relax. Toshiya could only imagine how he would feel if he had to bring Shinya somewhere else now, trying to keep him safe, and he quickly pushed the thought away.

When they approached the docks, they could see someone waving at them through one of the hatches, and the grate started slowly lifting out of the water. Ibuki and Byou watched with wide eyes, while Hyde studied the contraption with interest.

“You have a safe harbor,” he commented casually, though his gaze on Toshiya revealed a hint of both awe and envy. The islander smiled in response.

“We do, finally. Kaoru here designed it after we were attacked by a group of alphas. We fought them off, but this makes us a lot safer. It works in the winter as well, and our three military men have gone through our defenses to make us as safe as we can possibly be After.” Hyde’s gaze shifted to Kaoru and Shuse when Toshiya indicated towards them, and then he nodded.

“I see. You have a natural advantage in being on an island, but still, this is pretty impressive,” he said, Kaoru nodding his head in thanks.

“I hope Shuse managed to help you look over your defenses in a satisfying way?” Toshiya asked, and Hyde nodded.

“He did, both inside and out,” he said, and then the conversation came to a halt as the boat glided into the dock, showing their guests the inside for the first time. A group of alphas waited there, ready to accept the ropes and help the newcomers up. Shuse, Toshiya and Die got out first, and while Hyde and Ibuki helped Byou from the boat, the islanders grabbed his hands to help him up onto the dock. Once Byou was out, Ibuki scrambled to get up to his mate’s side, and he quickly wrapped his arms around his lover again while he nervously scanned all the new alpha faces. Once Hyde and the packing was out, Satochi and Aoi took Toshiya and Die’s places and the boat was off again to fetch the rest. Byou was anxious and leaned into his mate for comfort as Toshiya quickly introduced the people on the docks and then led them onto the island, where two people waited on the grass by the path.

"This is our medical team,” Toshiya said as the two bowed in greeting. “Tatsurou is our nurse and Tomo is his assistant, learning the skills. The other assistant, Kei, is also pregnant right now, so he’s taking things a little easier.”

At the revelation of their identity, Hyde and the couple started, staring at the two as they bowed in greeting. Hyde’s eyes scrutinized Tatsurou curiously, and the nurse let him do so without comment and instead focused most of his attention on Byou. He smiled at the omega, giving him an extra bow, before he spoke.

“Welcome, all of you. I’ll be the one to take care of you and the baby, and Tomo here will help me.” He glanced at Ibuki who was suspiciously eyeing the nurse. “And you will of course always be present. I would never dream of not having you there for examinations or the actual birthing,” he added, Ibuki relaxing just a tad at that, but without letting go of Byou.

They stood chatting for a while, Toshiya telling the newcomers about the island and the docks, doing his best to make sure the group felt safe and welcome. When he felt their guests had relaxed a bit, he excused himself for a second to go talk to Miya. Hyde watched them curiosly as Miya reacted with a start, before he nodded and glanced at the group, his jaw set. He sad something to the tall leader, and at Toshiya’s nod he left the docks and walked past the group, heading up the path to the village.

“What was that all about?” Hyde asked as Toshiya rejoined the group, his tone of voice making it clear that he wanted a good answer. Toshiya sighed.

“How much do you know of the relationship between Masa and his father?” he asked, Hyde raising an eyebrow at the unexpected question.

“He’s told me about it. I know things were not always great,” he said.

Toshiya nodded. “Yeah, well, Miya is Masa’s mate. I thought it would be best if he knew Toll was coming before he was here. He felt he needed to tell Masa in advance, to help ease the shock a bit.” Hyde’s lips formed a silent ‘o’ and he nodded in understandning. Toshiya exchanged a look with Tatsurou, the nurse looking slightly troubled for a second, but nothing more was said on the matter.

When the boat came in next, Shuse left them to go out on the docks. They watched in silence as the newcomers were helped up, Shuse quick to offer Manabu assistance. Before they took off again, Reo and Kyo relieved Kai and Kaoru, and then the new group was led to the shore and the introductions started over again. Hyde watched with a glint of interest as Kaoru came up to his boyfriend, giving him a quick kiss, and Shuse thought he saw the short leader breathe a little easier when no one reacted at the display of affection between two alphas.

After the final boat trip, they were all gathered on the shore, the last round of introductions finished. Their guests were all still a bit tense, especially with all the alphas surrounding them, Tomo the only omega in sight. As they got ready to take the ten minute walk to the village, however, the mood changed noticeably as a little cannonball shot down the path under happy yells of ‘Daddy, daddy!’. Kai barely had time to turn around until Shou threw himself into his arms, and then the boy was raised up into the air, giggling happily as Kai tossed him up before catching him and giving the boy a big kiss on the cheek.

“Eeewww, daddy, don’t kiss me!!!” Shou giggled, trying to get away.

“Oh?” Kai grinned. “Then I’d better tickle you instead!”

“Nooooooooo,” Shou yelled, squirming and laughing hysterically as his father tickled him for a minute. Finally, Kai let the boy down and held his hand as the child watched their guests curiously. The calm only lasted for two seconds, though, as Shou discovered Shuse and Reika and gave up a delighted shriek as he threw himself at them instead, happy to see his playmates back home again.

”Hi babe,” Kai smiled, turning to Uruha who was coming down the path with Hiroto on his hip. The boy was the very opposite of his brother and hid shyly against his bearer when he saw all the new people. Kai leaned down to plant a kiss to the boy’s hair, before he kissed his mate tenderly. Uruha smiled back, and then he turned to the newcomers, his eyes quickly seeking out the three pregnant omegas.

“Hi,” he said, “I’m Uruha. Welcome to the island! I hope you’ll like it here. If you ever need anything, don’t hesitate to ask.” Byou, Hiyori and Manabu blinked at him but shyly smiled back and murmured their greetings. The resort alphas also watched the little family with interest, and the mood was a lot less tense now that the children had arrived. Shuse quickly got tricked into playing catch with Shou, while the slow walk up to the village and a new future started.

Chapter Text

Kai went ahead of them to start on lunch, and the group took their time, adjusting their pace after the pregnant omegas. As they stepped out from the path to the village, they paused for a moment to take in what was before them, watching all the small buildings and the large house at the far end of the village. They watched the half-built terraced house, a number of people working at pulling a log into place. Manabu suddenly gasped, making the rest flinch and turn to him. The omega was staring at the building site, a hand over his mouth, and it took him a moment to realize everyone was looking at him.

“Oh… I’m sorry,” he mumbled. “But is that… an omega? Building?”

The rest frowned in confusion and turned back, but yes, there was indeed an omega there, his back turned to them, long pink and black braids falling down his back. Toshiya nodded.

“It is. He’s part of our building team, and also Kaoru’s apprentice. He’s good at it, but I wish he would let himself be persuaded to stay away right now. He’s too stubborn, though.” He made some sort of half-grimace, half-smile at the group. “But to answer your question, yes, we don’t believe in certain jobs being for alphas or omegas only. We do what we are good at, to as large an extent as possible. And since Koichi loves construction and is good at it, we have no problem with him doing that type of job. Normally.”

Manabu was confused. “Normally?” he asked, quietly.

“Mmm,” Toshiya hummed, and then he turned to the site. “Hey, Kou! Could you come over here, please.”

He omega turned around, and this time Manabu wasn’t the only one to gasp, as the round belly came into view. Koichi made his way over to the group, curiously looking at the new omegas as they stared at him openly.

“I thought we agreed you wouldn’t lift anything heavy right now,” Tatsurou scolded him lightly when he came closer.

“But I’m not!” Koichi protested, holding up a book for the nurse to see. “I was just reading about a special building technique, and I came out to see if it would work here.” He glared at Tatsurou, and then looked at Kaoru. “I think it would, by the way.”

The engineer lifted his eyebrow in interest and peered at the omega. “Oh? Show me.”

Toshiya intervened. “Later. First, I’d like you to say hi to our visitors.” He introduced them all in turn, Koichi bowing, his eyes lingering at the pregnant omegas.

“When are you due?” Hiyori asked, curiously.

“November,” Koichi said, patting his belly. The usual explanation about months and dates and days followed, the people from the resort duly impressed and slightly shocked. Even more so, once they did some counting in their heads.

“But, that means you’re only four months pregnant!” Byou offered, unbelieving.

Koichi blinked, suddenly nervous. “I am,” he said, weakly, his eyes finding Tatsurou’s for support. The nurse sighed.

“Kou, we talked about this. Everything’s fine, ok? Just stay off working too hard.”

The omega bit his lip, nodding. Apparently he didn’t want to delve further into the discussion in front of everyone, so he waved his goodbyes to the group and turned back to the building site with Kaoru following him. Byou looked after him, a bit ashamed.

“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said anything,” he mumbled, grabbing Ibuki’s hand tightly.

“Don’t worry about it,” Tatsurou said, smiling at the omega. “Koichi’s just prone to worry, and he had an early miscarriage before he got pregnant again, so he’s extra nervous. Everything’s looking good though, so I’m just trying to get him to relax more.”

Byou nodded, still slightly embarrassed. Toshiya quickly diverted their attention to other things. “This is the house we would like your help building,” he said. “We hope to have it done before winter, and once it’s ready, it will have four separate flats, so to speak.“ He proceeded to explain the layout of the village, letting them know where meals were served and that they would be put up in the big house for now, until the new cottages were done. Toll listened impatiently for a while, looking over the village for clues, but eventually he couldn’t stay quiet and broke in.

“And Masa? Does he stay at the big house?”

Toshiya watched him in silence for a second, before he shook his head. “No, he’s staying in a cottage with Miya and Tora. You will get to meet him soon, but I would like to ask you to wait until Miya has talked to Masa and says it’s ok.”

Toll clenched his jaws, clearly wanting to go find his son immediately, but he took a deep breath and then bowed his head in acknowledgement. Toshiya watched him, compassion in his eyes, but he was not about to let one of his friends be forced into a meeting he wasn’t ready for or wanted. Instead, he led the group up to the big house. Kouki, Yuuki and Tsuzuku were watching over the remaining kids, who were playing in the grass to the side of the stairs. The group stopped again, exchanging introductions, hellos and how are yous, while they all watched the kids with awe in their eyes. Tsuzuku and Yuuki picked up their respective sons and introduced them to the group, while Tora hid behind Kouki’s legs, peeking out at everyone while they said hi to him.

Toll, however, didn’t take part in the greetings. His eyes were fixed on Tora, and it didn’t take long for everyone else to notice the likeness as well. The alpha was watching the boy silently, his chest heaving with emotion and a single tear trickling down his cheek. Hyde reached out to pat his friend’s arm, and Toll threw him a grateful glance but couldn’t take his eyes off Tora for long.

“Tora, honey,” Kouki said gently, the boy looking between him and the group. “Say hello to the nice people.”

Tora watched them with wide eyes, before he grabbed Kouki’s hand hard and said a quiet ‘hello’, dragging his left foot a little on the grass. “Kouki-san?” he asked, looking up at the omega.

“Yes sweetheart?” Kouki crouched down next to him, putting his arm around the boy.

“Where is Ju-ken? I want to play with him.” Tora scanned the group, biting his lip, and the question caused an adoring mumble among the omegas. Toll smiled, still fighting his emotions, and he slowly crouched down to Tora’s level.

“Ju-ken couldn’t come visit this time, he’s at home. You can see him some other time. But if you want, I can play with you instead. My name is Toll.”

Tora watched the alpha for a moment, clearly thinking about it, but he didn’t dare give an answer. Instead, he backed into Kouki’s arms, leaning against him for safety and comfort. The omega hugged him and gave him a big kiss to the hair, and shot off an apologetic look at Toll. The alpha nodded and smiled at the boy.

“It’s ok. Maybe later?” he asked and stood up, his legs a little unsteady. Toshiya was just about to invite everyone inside to relieve the tension, when a loud call stopped him.

“Tora!” Miya came walking over the grass, his steps determined. His son quickly freed himself from Kouki’s grasp and ran to his dad, Miya picking him up and holding him protectively in his arms as he came up to the group. The alpha nodded his greeting to the rest, before his eyes fixed on Masa’s father with an almost unnerving intensity.

“Toll,” he greeted, his voice short and clipped but not hostile.

“Miya-san.” Toll bowed to the alpha, looking slightly nervous now. “I’m so happy to see you’re alive.”

Miya watched him for a moment, apparently debating what to answer. Then he sighed. “The same,” he said, looking a little less on edge. “I see you’ve met Tora?”

Toll looked at the boy, his face softening immediately. “I have,” he said, his voice filled with emotion. “He’s beautiful.”

“He is, isn’t he?” Miya smiled a little, looking down at the boy in his arms. “Are you a good boy, Tora?”

His son pouted, confused by the whole situation and all the strange adult talk. “No!” he exclaimed, putting his chin up. Miya couldn’t help laughing at that, kissing his son’s forehead. “You are when you’re sleeping,” he teased, Tora pouting even more and wriggling to get down. Miya snickered and let him down on the ground, his son quickly grabbing Shou by the arm, and the two shot off around the corner of the house.

“I’ll go,” Kouki grinned before anyone could say something, and he followed the two boys around the corner, leaving the group behind. Miya and Toll watched each other warily, not quite knowing what to say now that the boy was no longer there to take the focus. Toll opened his mouth, but shut it again before he had spoken. Miya sighed, dragging his hand through his hair.

“Give him a little time,” he said finally. “He didn’t expect you. He needs some time to get over the shock.” He gazed at the alpha, Toll nodding, a pained expression on his face. “Maybe tonight,” Miya added, patting the alpha’s shoulder lightly before he turned and walked back towards their cottage to be with his mate. Toll watched him go, swallowing.

“Let’s go inside for lunch,” Toshiya said softly. Hyde looked at him gratefully and nodded, grabbing Toll by the arm and leading his friend into the big house.

. . . . .

Kai and his team were just about finished with a simple but tasty lunch by the time they came in, and the group was shown seats while they waited for the rest to come. Hikaru, Yo-Ka and Ruki were setting the tables, and though not much was said, many curious glances were exchanged between them and their guests. Hyde quietly asked Toshiya for a word, and the tall islander nodded and waved him into the hallway.

“I would like to see Kaz as soon as possible,” the short leader started, gazing at Toshiya. “And I would prefer for us to meet in a bit more… private… setting than the dining room.” He watched Toshiya for any sign of disapproval, but the leader just nodded.

“Of course. He and Meto are in the library, I think. I can show you where. Right now?”

Hyde made a small grimace and made a gesture as if to ask Toshiya to lead the way. They walked up the stairs, and the islander gave the door a short knock before he opened it, revealing Meto sleeping on the couch and Kaz reading a book at the table. The alpha looked up at Toshiya as the door opened, but his gaze quickly shifted and fell on the short alpha behind him. Toshiya stepped aside and let Hyde pass him into the room, Kaz blinking and getting up from the chair.

“Hyde…” he started, but was cut off immediately as the leader slapped him hard across the face. Toshiya jumped, not expecting it, but he soon relaxed again as Kaz opened his arms and pulled Hyde into a hug, the pretty alpha soon melting into him and hugging him back.

“You scared the shit out of me, you asshole,” Hyde mumbled, his face buried against Kaz's neck.

“I know baby, I’m so sorry,” Kaz whispered in reply, holding the other alpha tight. “I’ve missed you so much.” He turned his head and pressed a kiss on Hyde’s cheek, the alpha sniffing but turning his head to offer his lips instead. Toshiya smiled softly and quietly backed out, throwing a last glance at the two alphas tenderly kissing each other before he closed the door behind him.

Shuse waited beneath the stairs as he came down. “So they’re a couple, right?” he asked, Toshiya nodding.

“Did he tell you?”

“He didn’t have to.” Shuse cast a glance up the stairs. “He’s a good guy, Toshiya, a good leader. But he’s got a lot against him, his looks being one, his boyfriend being another. He took a risk coming here, there’s a group back at the resort who would probably like him not to come back. But I really think we should keep this alliance going, and help him in any way we can. They’re good people, and I think we can all benefit from it.”

Toshiya nodded thoughtfully. “Yeah, that’s the impression I got, that he’s a good person who cares about his friends. I don’t think anyone will have a problem with the alliance continuing, not from our end at least.” He glanced at Shuse. “And you?”

The sergeant looked confused. “Me?”

“Yeah, you. How have you been?”

“Good. As I said, they’re nice people, and they’re struggling a bit but gladly share what they have.”

“That’s not what I meant,” Toshiya said, Shuse frowning in confusion. The curly-headed leader smiled crookedly. “I saw you at the docks, Shuse, and I watched you all the way up here. I’m talking about Manabu. He’s pretty.”

The sergeant stared in surprise, but before he could talk, Toshiya just patted his shoulder. “Go for it. He can probably use all the support he can get right now, anyway. And welcome home, we've missed you guys.” And then he turned and walked into the dining room, leaving a stunned alpha behind.

. . . . .

Bonus images: Kaz and Hyde

Kaz and Hyde

Kaz and Hyde

Chapter Text

As the dining room filled up with people, the eyes of the couples that were here to stay got bigger and bigger. The sheer number of omegas was one thing, the kids running around happily and being cared for by everyone was another. Tatsurou and Shuse sat down with the expecting couples, Shuse sneakily making sure he got a seat next to Manabu. Toshiya invited Toll and Mitsuki to sit with him, Shinya and Kaoru, saving seats for Hyde, Kaz and Meto for when they came down. They had all started eating when Hyde and Kaz came down the stairs, stepping into the dining room hand in hand. Toshiya waved them over, and Kaz steered a somewhat stunned Hyde around the tables to his seat, where he left his boyfriend to go get them food.

“Wow, you really do have a lot of omegas here,” Hyde said, looking around, still looking a bit dizzy.

“We do,” Toshiya said. “I hope you will feel more comfortable with leaving your friends here, once you have seen how we live.”

“I’m sure of it.” Hyde smiled and accepted the plate from Kaz as the alpha returned, letting a finger lightly caress the other’s hand as he reached for it. His eyes were fixed on his boyfriend, the look in his eyes nearly unbelieving. Kaz leaned over to give him a kiss on the cheek before he sat down, smiling softly at his lover and making the pretty leader actually blush slightly. Kaz’s eyes met Kaoru’s for a moment, and then the two smiled at each other, Kaoru giving the short alpha a quick nod.

“Wow, it’s good to see you guys!” Kaz said, turning to his friends. He smiled at Mitsuki. “Meto will be down in moment. He’s still a bit groggy from sleep.”

The statement made Mitsuki practically jump with anticipation, casting glances towards the door every few seconds. Toshiya looked around the room to see where Tsuzuku and Koichi were, a bit afraid of how the two would react at seeing the two friends reunite. So far, Kuina had become Meto’s best friend on the island, and even though the other two accepted it, Toshiya could see that they were hurting. He wasn’t sure what would happen when Mitsuki came into the picture, but he was hoping for the best.

Toll was nervously looking for Masa and Miya, but the couple chose to stay in their cabin for lunch, Kouki taking care of Tora for them. The alpha looked with longing at his grandson, but did nothing to approach him, afraid to scare the boy. Shou, on the other hand, quickly got tired of eating in his own seat and bounded across the room to climb up into Shuse’s lap.

“Hi there, big fella,” Shuse laughed. “Isn’t your plate over there?”

“I’m done,” Shou proclaimed and made himself comfortable, looking curiously at the newcomers. He tilted his head and watched Manabu intently, pointing to his belly. “You look like my ada did," he stated.

“Oh?” Manabu smiled. “Are you getting a little brother then?”

“I have one. I wanted a big brother, but daddy says that’s impossible,” Shou pouted. “He says little brothers are fun too, but Hiroto isn't.”

“I think your dad’s right,” Manabu said, trying not to laugh. “Besides, you have friends here to play with, right?”

“U-hu.” Shou nodded fervently. “Uncle Shuse always plays with me too, when the babies sleep.”

Manabu blinked, looking at Shuse with a smile. “That’s nice of him.” The alpha blushed when the big eyes were directed his way, and he tried to cover it up by tickling Shou, the boy laughing hysterically. He wriggled out of the alpha’s lap and ran off, and a second later they heard Reika call out in surprise as his lap got a visit from a little boy on speed. When Shuse looked back up, he still found Manabu’s gorgeous eyes watching him, and he blushed again. And then Tatsurou started to ask the omegas when they were due and Manabu’s gaze shifted towards the nurse, making Shuse breathe easier again.

“I’m not exactly sure,” Byou said. We don’t count weeks and months like you do, but I made a mark for every day since I realized my heat was late. So I think, if I’ve counted it right, that I’m somewhere around seven months and two to three weeks pregnant.” He looked at Ibuki who nodded and squeezed his hand gently.

“That sounds probable,” Tatsurou said, looking at his belly. “And what about you?” he asked Hiyori. The young omega bit his lip and glanced at his mate before he answered. “I did like Byou, and I think… about five months?” He glanced across the room at Koichi and his belly, frowning uncertainly.

Tatsurou nodded. “Ok, that could be about right as well.” He followed Hiyori’s eyes and understood the hesitation. “Not everyone is the same size,” he said, smiling reassuringly. “It can vary a lot without anything being wrong.” Hiyori nodded gratefully, Junji giving him a quick hug.

When Tatsurou turned to Manabu, however, the omega shook his head before he could be asked. “I don’t know,” he whispered, looking down into his lap, his cheeks reddening. K reached out to pat his back, and Tatsurou smiled. “That’s ok,” he said. “We’ll do the check-up and see what seems probable. Ok?” Manabu nodded without looking up, and Shuse ached to reach out and comfort him, but didn’t dare to. He hated that K did, but Manabu feeling safe was the most important thing.

“I think we should just get you settled today, and then we’ll meet tomorrow for check-ups. Is that ok?” Tatsurou got affirmative answers from around the table, and they went on to talk about other things, the alphas answering questions about the island.

From across the room, Cazqui watched Shuse, frowning slightly. He glanced at Uruha, and the two pursed their lips for a moment as they looked at each other, and then went back to their meal.

. . . . .

Meto stepped into the room about halfway through lunch, rubbing his eyes as he looked around. He didn’t have time to react before he was pounced by an ecstatic Mitsuki, spinning him around. It took a moment for the young boy to get his bearings, but when he realized who it was, he hugged the omega back and the two jumped up and down in excitement. Kaz watched with a smile on his lips, his arm around Hyde’s shoulders. Toshiya, however, glanced at Koichi and Tsuzuku, and saw both omegas blink away tears before they buried their faces in their mates’ chests. He sighed. This was a day of both joy and sadness, it seemed.

. . . . .

After lunch, Toshiya sent Asanao and Ruka over to Ryo in one of the smaller boats with more food, blankets, a tarp and an offer to watch the horse for the night that Ryo kindly declined. So they stayed with him, helping with the guard duties, and started making a better shelter for the night.

Hazuki and Reo disappeared with their mates to their cabins, most probably to comfort them in their distress over Meto and Mitsuki. Tatsurou watched them go and made a mental note to speak to both omegas later. He has started bringing them up a little in conversation with Meto, and though the young omega seemed a little uncomfortable with the discussion, the nurse had every faith that they would get there eventually. He just needed to make the two omegas believe the same.

The expecting couples were shown to their quarters, and Toll was put up in the library for the time being. Tatsurou pulled Hyde and Kaz to the side to quietly offer them to spend the night in the room next to the sickroom for some alone time. Kuina had offered Meto and Mitsuki to squeeze in with him in his small room, and the omegas had happily agreed. The two alphas gratefully accepted, and Kaz squeezed Hyde’s hand in his as he made a joking comment about poor Kuina probably not getting a lot of sleep tonight. Manabu and K were set up in the larger room upstairs (separate beds already made for them) together with Junji and Hiyori (who had a double bed to share). Byou and Ibuki got Shinya’s old room by the kitchen, which had previously been filled with things. With some creative packing and storing, they had managed to clear the extra room, so that the sickroom with its adjacent room could both be used for medical purposes.

Once they were done, it was almost time for dinner, and Toll was almost crawling out of his skin by then, his nerves killing him. There was still no sign of Miya or Masa, and Kouki had brought Tora back to his parents when he started getting tired and cranky, crying for Masa. When Miya finally appeared in the doorway to the library, Toll jumped and swallowed nervously. Miya didn’t speak immediately, and Toll felt about to get a heart attack, waiting for the younger alpha to give the verdict.

“You’re not gonna hurt him, you understand?” Miya looked serious as he fixed Toll with his dark eyes. “He’s agreed to see you, but he’s fragile and scared, and don’t you dare make him feel bad.”

Toll shook his head, nearly shaking. “I won’t,” he whispered. “I just… I want to see him. See that he’s alive, and… I want to say I’m sorry.”

Miya watched him for a moment, pursing his lips, and then he nodded and waved at the alpha to follow him. Toll walked down the stairs and over the grass on unsteady legs, watching Miya’s tense back all the way. When they stood in front of the cabin, the young alpha gave him another warning glance before he opened the door and showed a trembling father inside.

. . . . .

Masa had been extremely anxious all day, ever since Miya had come by to tell him his father had come to see him. He had spent hours crying into his mate’s chest, and now his eyes were swollen and red-rimmed. Tora had taken a nap in his bearer’s arms efter lunch, and Masa had kept it together while his son was around. But now Miya had taken the boy to Kouki after his nap and gone to fetch Toll, and he was not keeping it together anymore. He was breathing hard, caressing his belly to try to comfort both himself and the baby inside. When he heard sounds outside the door, he instinctively wanted to crawl under the covers and hide, but he turned his scared eyes towards the door instead. Miya came in first, quickly walking up to the bed and sitting down next to his mate, putting an arm around him. Masa leaned into his mate, taking a deep breath of the alpha’s scent to try to calm himself down.

And then, there he was. His father. The man he had been hating for so long, when everything had happened between them. When he had shunned Masa, when he had stopped talking to him. And yet, now that he was here, all Masa could feel was sadness. Sadness at what had been, and what was. They didn’t speak for a long while, and then suddenly, Masa burst into tears, hugging Miya tightly. Toll looked horrified, uncertainly reaching out a hand towards his son, before he let it fall helplessly to his side again. Miya eyed him while he held his crying mate, caressing his back.

“There’s a chair over there,” he said quietly, nodding his head toward the table. Toll bit his lip but pulled the chair up next to the bed and sat down, waiting in silence for his son to calm down. It took what felt like forever, but eventually, Masa turned his tearstained cheeks to his father again. Toll watched the pretty face, so alike his lost mate, and he felt a stab in the heart at the thought.

“I’m sorry,” he whispered before he could stop himself. “I’m so sorry for everything.”

Masa hiccupped, sniffing and sniveling as he dried his tears off on his sleeve. Miya handed him a handkerchief and he blew his nose before he said anything.

“I hated you,” he finally said. “I hated you for so long. It was all so unfair, to me and to Miya. We loved each other, and all you could see was his age.”

Toll looked down, feeling the words pierce his heart, knowing he deserved them.

“I even said you were no longer my father, when Ju-ken told us you were alive. I didn’t want to see you,” Masa continued, sniffing again as more tears started trickling down his cheeks. Toll had known this could happen, but still, he felt about to break as he heard his son say the words he had dreaded the most. He couldn’t help crying as well, and the tears dripped from his eyes down on his hands. Masa was quiet for a moment, shocked into silence by the sight of his father – his father, of all people – crying. It had never happened before, and he almost forgot to continue, but caught himself and forced himself to go on.

“When Ju-ken left, I started thinking about you, and I… I’m glad you’re alive. And when Miya told me you were here, I couldn’t believe it, but…” He sniffed again, and dried his cheeks. “But I decided I did want to see you. And I don’t know if we can ever be father and son again, but I think we need to talk this out. For Tora’s sake. For this little guy.” He caressed his belly gently, looking at his father earnestly. Toll lifted his head and just looked at his son for a long time, tears still running down his cheeks. And then he smiled through the tears.

“I’d like that,” he said, hesitantly reaching out a hand towards Masa. The omega just looked at it for a long moment, and then he slowly, tentatively reached out and put his hand in his father’s, feeling warmth flood between their fingers.

Chapter Text

“Come on, babe,” Hazuki said, gently stroking Koichi’s hair out of his eyes. They were sitting on the bed, the omega snuggled up in his mate’s lap, his head leaned against the alpha’s chest.

“I don’t want to,” Koichi mumbled, creeping even closer.

“You need to eat,” Hazuki gently scolded him. “The baby needs food as well.”

Koichi closed his eyes as if he could shut the fact out by doing so. He let out a soft whine that made Hazuki’s heart clench, and he pulled his arms tighter around his lover.

“Ok, sweetie, ok. I’ll go get us some food and we’ll eat here instead. I’ll be right back.” He gently nudged an unwilling omega off of his lap and got up. Koichi rolled up into a ball on the bed, reaching for a pillow that he clutched to his chest, breathing unsteadily. Hazuki sighed and leaned down to give him a kiss to the temple before he put his shoes on and left. As soon as the door closed behind the alpha, Koichi started crying again.

. . . . .

Reo had done a bit better with Tsuzuku, getting him to leave the cabin for some food. The omega looked tired and his eyes were slightly puffy, but he sat at a table with Tatsuya in his lap, Ruki sitting on his side and doing his best to cheer his friend up. It wasn’t really Ruki’s expertise, but him trying was enough to bring a tired smile to Tsuzuku’s lips. Reo sat on his mate’s other side, but got up when he saw Hazuki come in.

“Hey,” he greeted, eyeing his friend worriedly. “Is he ok?”

Hazuki just shook his head in silence, his face revealing just how bad it was. Reo made a face, patting his friend’s shoulder. “I’m sorry. Maybe you should talk to Tatsu about it?”

“Yeah. I will. I’m gonna get us some food and try to get him to eat as well,” he sighed, giving his friend a tired smile before he made his way over to Tatsurou’s table. The nurse was seated with the two community leaders, Shinya, Kaz, Kaoru and two ecstatic omegas, one saying nothing and the other talking at the speed of a machine gun. They all looked up when Hazuki approached, noting the alpha’s troubled look. Hazuki crouched down next to Tatsurou, face scrunched up in worry. “Could you come down and have a look at Kou after dinner?” he asked quietly, but not so silent that the others around the table couldn’t hear him. The two omegas were too immersed in their happy reunion to notice, but the islanders all frowned in worry and Kaz threw Meto a glance with a troubled look on his face.

The nurse nodded. “I’ll be right down. Try to get him to eat something in the meantime.” Hazuki nodded and rose, putting his hand gratefully on Tatsurou’s shoulder.

“Let me know if there’s anything we can do,” Toshiya said gently, and Hazuki just nodded before he went over to wrap up some dinner for him and his mate.

Hyde gazed between the other alphas, frowning. “What am I missing here?” he asked, Kaz sighing. He glanced over at his mate to make sure he was still caught up in his one-way discussion with Mitsuki before he leaned over and explained quietly, whispering in Hyde’s ear. The pretty alpha closed his eyes and sighed as he realized what was happening.

“I’m sorry,” he said, making a nearly invisible gesture with his head towards Mitsuki, who was blissfully unaware of the attention to his person. “Though it was unintentional, I’m still sorry.”

Tatsurou nodded. “Not your fault. I’m hoping we can get past it soon, but…” He looked worried, and Kaoru scooted over a bit and put his arm around his lover’s shoulder and took his hand, squeezing it gently in comfort. The nurse looked at his lover, a small smile on his lips as he squeezed back, and left their fingers nested together on the table as he lifted the fork with his other hand and took another bite. Hyde watched them for a moment, his eyes lingering a bit on the matching rings on their fingers, before he turned back to Toshiya and continued their earlier conversation.

. . . . .

Tatsurou didn’t wait until dinner was over before he went down to have a look at Koichi. By the time he got there, Hazuki had managed to convince his mate to eat just a little, but the omega still looked awful, his eyes red-rimmed and swollen, holding a far-away look in them. He answered the nurse’s questions, but his responses were slow and didn’t make much sense. Tatsurou became more than a little worried. He didn’t want to give any medicine for the omega to sleep on, since he didn’t know how it would affect the baby, and so he was left with just trying to talk him down.

Together, he and Hazuki convinced Koichi to eat a bit more, getting his strength and energy back. After that, the omega got a bit clearer and it was easier to reason with him. Finally, he accepted the nurse’s words that Meto was making progress, and that his memory loss had nothing to do with Koichi and Tsuzuku, but a reaction to the stress of what had happened to Mia. When he finally left, it was rather late, but he had finally managed to get the omega to calm down a bit. Hazuki let him out, giving him a grateful hug before he closed the door and went to put his mate to bed. Tatsurou took a deep breath of the still slightly chilly night air, before he walked back to his own cabin, longing to feel Kaoru’s strong arms around him so that he, too, could calm down enough to sleep.

. . . . .

Hyde and Kaz withdrew as quickly as was polite after dinner, and closed the door to their room. The lock barely had time to click shut before Kaz grabbed Hyde, pushing him harshly up towards the wall as he kissed him heatedly. Hyde responded instantly, throwing his arms around his lover and opening his mouth to let their tongues dance against each other. It didn’t take them long to start tearing at each other’s clothes, trying to get them off as soon as possible. Two buttons from Hyde’s shirt made a small plinking noise on the floor as they were ripped off in Kaz’s haste to get his boyfriend naked. He lifted the smaller alpha easily and carried him over to the bed, Hyde nestling his legs around his boyfriend’s hips and letting himself be manhandled by the other.

He groaned in want when he was tossed down on the bed, Kaz hurriedly working on his jeans and pulling them off before he did the same with his own. Next came the underwear, and Hyde arched his back and moaned as the slight cool of the room hit his skin and made his nipples harden. He desperately reached for his lover and pulled him down into a crushing kiss, finally feeling naked skin against naked skin. They kissed for a long while, hands caressing everywhere they could reach, rubbing their cocks together eagerly. Hyde licked his boyfriend’s lips hungrily, sucking his bottom lip into his mouth as they both groaned with desire.

“Need you,” Hyde whispered, desperately clinging to his boyfriend as Kaz started moving down his lover’s body, stopping to lick a brown nipple. He worked his way down the belly, kissing, licking and nibbling his way towards Hyde’s cock.

“Oh god, I’ve missed this,” he mumbled, reaching his tongue out to play lightly over the head, dipping into the slit. Hyde gasped and bit his lip as that sinful tongue started playing with his cock, sometimes with just teasing licks, sometimes with light sucking on the head that made his toes curl. He reached a hand down and grabbed his lover’s hair as Kaz finally took his cock into his mouth properly, and he had to bite his tongue not to moan loud enough to be heard into the dining room.

It didn’t take too long before he had to push Kaz off of him, panting harshly. “Gonna cum,” he whispered, reaching for his boyfriend. Kaz smirked and moved back up to kiss Hyde deeply. “Isn’t that the point?” he answered, grinning cheekily when Hyde frowned. But the pretty alpha had no chance to answer, as Kaz plundered his mouth and made him forget everything he was about to say.

All of a sudden, Kaz pulled away and got off the bed, reaching for his pants. Hyde sat up on his elbows, blinking confusedly, suddenly afraid the other had changed his mind. But the alpha only fished a little something out of his pocket, before he was back in his lover’s bed and showed him a small plastic jar.

“Here, Tatsurou slipped me some lube,” he mumbled, opening the jar and showing Hyde. The alpha stared in surprise, feeling a sudden flare of jealousy. “Wait, what? Tatsurou? What the…” He didn’t get further before Kaz leaned down and stopped him with a kiss. “He’s together with Kaoru, remember? And well, apparently, the good engineer had a bottle of this. Tatsurou was just good enough to share some. If you want to, that is…?” He smirked at Hyde, who took one more look at the jar and then reached out and pulled Kaz in for a searing kiss.

“Fuck me,” he whispered, spreading his legs to invite his lover in. Kaz groaned at the gorgeous body displayed before him, and he licked his lips before he dipped his finger into the jar, smearing lube around his lover’s entrance. Hyde couldn’t help moaning loudly as the first finger slipped into him, and he put his arm over his mouth and bit into it to keep silent. Kaz prepared him as quickly as he could, and then he slicked up his own cock and positioned himself.

“Ready?” he whispered, Hyde whimpering in answer and throwing his legs around his boyfriend’s hips to try to pull him in. As the big cock sunk into him to just before the knot, Hyde’s eyes rolled back into his head, a small whine of need leaving his lips. When Kaz put up a hard and fast rhythm, he felt like he was in heaven. It didn’t take long before he arched up and moaned as blistering white exploded behind his eyelids and he came all over his own chest. Kaz groaned at the sight, and it didn’t take him long to follow Hyde over the edge. He fell down on his lover, and for a long while they just lay there in each other’s arms, panting and enjoying the sated afterglow. And then Kaz pulled out and slipped down on Hyde’s side, snuggling close in the narrow bed.

Hyde turned his head and gave the alpha a kiss, before he pulled back and let his fingers gently caress his lover’s cheek. “I’m so sorry,” he whispered, regret in his voice. Kaz opened his eyes to look at him and then turned his head to press his lips to the slender fingers.

“You already apologized, baby,” he said, smiling gently.

“So, I’m apologizing again. I never meant to hit you. I’m such an asshole, I’m so, so sorr…” Once again, Hyde was cut off by a kiss.

“I know, baby. And I forgive you.” He smiled a crooked smile. “But just this once, you hear? I don’t want this to become a habit.”

“God, no, of course not! I…” Hyde sputtered, trying to explain.

“Hyde, baby, slow down. I know.” Kaz looked deep into his boyfriend’s eyes. “Will you tell me about it? Clear the air a bit?”

Hyde bit his lip, but then he nodded, creeping even closer as if he wanted to be sure Kaz was still there, not pushing him away. “I was so scared when you left. That fight we had… I know you said we were good when you left, that you just needed some time alone, but I couldn’t stop thinking about it. And the longer it took before you came back, the more I imagined something bad happening to you so I wouldn’t be able to apologize. Or that you had lied about us being good, and that you found a better place to stay and left me…” He paused, heaving an unsteady sigh, and Kaz tightened his arms around him a bit.

“And then you didn’t come back, and when they told me, I thought I was gonna die, I was so scared. I didn’t know if you were hurt, or dead, or had just left me finally. So I masked it with anger, or I would have broken down, and I couldn’t let that happen.” He glanced up at Kaz. “They’ve started to question me even more. Everything is a struggle with them, all the time, and since you left, I have no one to talk to about it. I can’t be weak in front of the council, I have to stay strong, but… God, it’s been so hard. And when you didn’t come back, I thought I was going to break, finally.” He sniffed and buried his face in his boyfriend’s chest, Kaz’s face twisted in worry and regret as he felt the body in his arms shivering.

“But Kiyoharu kept me on track, he convinced me you had stayed for Ototo... Meto… Whatever. For his sake only. So I kept myself standing and got on with work, but when it was time to leave, I just couldn’t… I had to come see you. I know it was a stupid risk to take, but I had to convince myself with my own eyes that you were still here, still mine. And when I finally saw you, it was as if all those pent up emotions just came flooding out, and all the anger and pain and fear and… I’m so sorry.” Hyde hid his face against Kaz’s chest, but the alpha could feel the hot tears running down onto his skin, and he pulled his lover up so he could look into his tear-filled eyes.

“Hey, sweetie, don’t cry. I’m here, and I will always, always be yours. No matter if we’re together or not, I am yours forever. Do you hear me? I’m so sorry I wasn’t there for you when you needed me, and I hate that you were so scared. And I forgive you, ok? I love you. Always.”

Hyde looked at him for a moment, before he finally fell apart completely in his lover’s arms. Kaz held the shaking body as he cried, Hyde finally letting himself feel all the emotions of the past few months. It took a long time for the tears to stop, and the two hugged tightly for an even longer time before they finally fell asleep, snuggled impossibly close.

Chapter Text

Hyde blinked at the light from the window as he slowly woke up the next morning. He was wrapped in Kaz’s arms, the other alpha still sleeping, looking peaceful. For a long while Hyde just lay there, studying his lover’s features, taking in every detail of his face. He gently let his fingertips trace the snake and dragon tattoo on his arm, feeling the warmth of the soft skin. He felt so much better than he had yesterday, like all of the insecurities and pain and hurt and fear had come out in the open and evaporated in the face of Kaz’s love for him. They had been through another rough patch but come out the other side, stronger than ever, he could feel it. He smiled, tilting his head slightly so he could press a gentle kiss on the corner of his boyfriend’s mouth. Kaz made a soft noise and licked his lips, the tip of his tongue flicking over Hyde’s lips, and the unexpected feeling woke him up fully. He opened his eyes sleepily to find Hyde’s face only centimeters away, eyes intently fixed on his.

“Hi,” Kaz smiled, stifling a yawn and reaching up to let his fingers play with Hyde’s hair. “Did you sleep ok?”

“M-hm,” Hyde mumbled, smiling back. “I’m in your arms, of course I slept well.”

Kaz let his fingers tighten just a tad in his pretty boyfriend’s hair and pulled his head closer, leaning in to kiss him tenderly, soft lips playing against each other. It was a moment filled by love, amazingly tender, and when their eyes met again there was no doubt in either of their minds that the other felt the same way.

“Feeling better today?” Kaz mumbled eventually, letting his fingers slowly glide down Hyde’s side, letting them dip into the hip grooves he loved so much. Hyde stifled a gasp at the feeling of his boyfriend’s fingers on his body, but smiled and nodded quickly.

“Mmm. So much better. I had kept too much inside for too long. But you always know how to make me come down from the anxious heights and let all the worries out, don’t you?”

“Of course. I just fuck it out of you,” Kaz teased, chuckling at Hyde’s huff. When his lover tried to pull back with a pretend pout, he pulled him back in harshly and pressed his lips onto his boyfriend’s, yanking his mouth open and plunging his tongue into the warm cavern in a deep, needy kiss. Hyde moaned and let Kaz take control of the kiss, their bodies heating up immediately. After a long while, Kaz pulled back, panting, his hands still roaming over his lover’s chest.

“I think we can still get some more lube out of that jar,” he mumbled, raising an eyebrow in question. The answer came quickly in the form of a needy whine and the bucking of hips, and he bit his lip at the luscious sight beneath him. It didn’t take long before moans of pleasure filled the room again, together with the creaking sounds of the bed.

. . . . .

Koichi still looked a little pale the next morning, but his breaths were calm and his body relaxed. Hazuki watched him for a long while as he was sleeping, before he got up and made them some flower tea and put it on the night stand, leaning in and gently waking his mate up with a kiss. Koichi stretched and yawned widely, turning his face to his alpha.

“Good morning sweetie. I made us some tea,” Hazuki smiled, handing the omega a cup of the warm liquid.

“Mmm, thanks.” Koichi accepted the cup and put his small hands around it, taking a sip before he looked at his lover over the edge of the cup.

“I’m sorry,” he said, looking suddenly shy.

“What for?” Hazuki asked, sitting down on the bed next to his mate with his own cup in his hand.

“For freaking out. Again.”

Hazuki sighed and put his cup down, shaking his head. “Babe, I told you not to apologize. You’re entitled to your feelings, and I understand this is hard on you. I just wish you wouldn’t worry so much, and let Tatsurou handle this.”

Koichi nodded. “I am! I mean, I’m trying to. It’s just, you know… He looked so happy to meet his friend, and I guess I just… It hurt. We used to be that close, as well. And now…” He took a large gulp of his tea, burning his throat in the process and coughing. Hazuki quickly helped him take the cup as the omega swore a bit at his own clumsiness. The alpha patted his back gently and sighed.

“I know, baby. Just remember it’s not you, ok? What you guys went through was horrible, and you were stronger than him, that’s all.”

Koichi nodded, smiling weakly. “Yeah. I’ll keep it in mind.”

“Good. Ready for some breakfast then?” The alpha smiled brightly as his mate nodded, throwing the blankets off to get dressed for the day. Things were looking up today.

. . . . .

With everything going on since he came back, Shuse hadn’t really had time to catch up with his friends, but now that he finally did, he was in for a major shock.

“Boyfriends!?” He stared at Jun-ji who nodded happily, enjoying being the one to deliver such exiting news. Shuse blinked, still gaping. “Oh… wow…”

“I know, right? Who would have thought our dear Acchan would actually find the courage to talk to Uta, or that he would say yes?” Jun-ji shook his head in amazement. “Of course, they’re still the same, awkward, ‘I’ve almost got the guts to look at you’ couple, but still!”

Shuse chuckled at Jun-ji’s, actually rather accurate, description. “Yeah, well, I’m happy for them. Hope they get somewhere eventually.”

“Says the one who never dares to say how he feels…” Jun-ji pointed out, earning himself a vicious glare.

“Not you too!” Shuse muttered, Jun-ji affecting an innocent look.

“What? I have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about.”

Shuse glared at him. “Did Reika put you up to this?”

Jun-ji sighed, shaking his head. “Shuse, Shuse, Shuse… Has it ever occurred to you that you’ve gotten worse at hiding your feelings in your older days?”

“I’m not that old,” Shuse muttered, and Jun-ji hurried to correct his mistake.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it like that. You’re not old. But you’re too old to let this opportunity slip through your fingers.”

Shuse shrugged. “Yeah, well… I’m trying. In my own way.”

“Good.” Jun-ji gave his friend a quick one-armed hug before he stepped back and grinned cheekily. “Because I can’t wait to have you move out so I can fuck Kazuki every night.”

Shuse couldn’t help laughing at that. “Yeah, yeah. So living together was a hit, I take it?”

“Mmmm…” Jun-ji’s dreamy look was answer enough, and his friend grinned and shook his head.

“You horny bastard. Come on, let’s go show the newbies around instead.”

. . . . .

Uta nearly collided with Atsushi as he rounded the corner of the house, on his way to the hen house. He jumped back, and then suddenly realized who he was seeing, turning blushing red. Atsushi looked equally embarrassed, but tried on a small smile.

“Hi. Heading to the hens?” he asked, standing at a respectful distance from the pretty omega, currently busy hiding behind his bangs as usual.

“Um… yeah. To see so the new chickens are doing ok,” Uta mumbled.

“Oh, that’s right. We got two chickens from the resort. Are they the same kind we had?” Atsushi asked, desperately trying to think of things to ask to keep the conversation going.

Uta shook his head. “No. These are black,” he offered quietly, before falling silent again, nervously shuffling his feet.

“Oh.” Atsushi’s brain had stopped working, and he didn’t know what else to say, so he just smiled weakly and got out of the way so Uta could pass him. The omega blinked and quickly walked past him, Atsushi swearing internally as he turned to go.

“Ehm… Atsushi?” Uta’s weak voice behind him was startling, despite the fact that it was so low the major could hardly hear it.

“Yeah?” He turned around, watching Uta nervously hugging himself.

“Would… Would you like to see them?” The omega bit his lip, looking as if he was about to faint, but he still looked so adorable that Atsushi couldn’t help feel a stab to the heart.

“The chickens? Yeah… Yeah, I would.” He smiled at the omega, trying to hide his inner turmoil.

“Ok,” Uta whispered, and stumbled a bit as he turned and led the way to the hen house. Atsushi followed at a proper distance, watching when Uta let the hens and chickens out to pluck at the ground. Standing there, just watching Uta taking care of the animals, he was the happiest he’d been in ages.

. . . . .

Ibuki held Byou’s hand tightly all through the check-up, keeping a nervous eye on Tatsurou’s hands so that nothing improper happened. The nurse couldn’t help smiling a bit at the expecting father’s nerves, but he could understand it. An unknown alpha touching his mate was enough to make anyone nervous, and he made sure Tomo was present all the time to do the more intimate touching required. He was relieved to see that everything seemed fine, and he felt the belly carefully to feel the baby’s position. A hard kick made Byou groan, and Tatsurou smiled a bit.

“That’s good, he’s feisty. It’s a good sign,” he smiled, Byou smiling weakly back. The check-up was soon over and done with, the omega still too shy around him to want to ask any questions. Tatsurou hinted at the fact that Uruha had two kids, and could probably answer any questions he had, knowing the young omega would probably feel more comfortable with talking to another bearer. Then he let them go, letting Tomo fetch the next couple.

Hiyori’s check-up was quick and easy. The omega was still relatively spry and moved quite easily, though Junji kept his eyes on him at all times. Hiyori scolded him more than once, pointing out he wasn’t as fragile as he looked, his mate apologizing only to do the exact same thing a few moments later. Tatsurou let them go with a few good advice, scheduling another check-up in two weeks if nothing else happened.

And then there was Manabu. Tatsurou could sense the difference between the two mated couples he had met, and the two friends he had in front of him now. K was very sweet and supportive of the omega, helping him in, holding his hand and reassuring him throughout their visit. But it was clear to the nurse that these two were not lovers, and though Manabu appreciated and accepted K’s support, he wasn’t totally calmed by it.

The omega was a little shy, but Tatsurou sensed it had less to do with his natural disposition and more to do with the fact that he was to be a single parent and was a little ashamed because of it. The nurse did his best to calm him, but realized quickly this was something he couldn’t help with. He made a mental note to talk to Uruha and see if he could persuade the omega it was nothing to be ashamed of.

His guess was that Manabu had about two months left, and would give birth just a few weeks after Byou, if the baby was on time. He gave the omega some good advice, including talking to Uruha, and sent him off with K helping him. He looked after the two, feeling more than a little overwhelmed. Right now he had seven – seven – pregnant omegas to care for, with at least two in deep emotional turmoil, and also one emotionally scarred teenager to boot. He could only hope that nothing else big or serious would happen in the next few month, or he would be in big trouble. He threw a tired look at Tomo, who was also looking after the couple with an unreadable expression on his face. Tatsurou shook his head as if to clear it and patted Tomo’s shoulder lightly.

“Good job today,” he smiled, Tomo bowing his head in thanks. Tatsurou could still see the thorn in his heart, though, and he felt for the omega. It couldn’t be easy to see all the happy couples around when he was longing for love himself. He hoped deeply that things would turn out alright for his assistant, but he let the subject be as Kei came wobbling in, belly first, to report for duty.

Just get on with it, he sighed to himself, and put his two assistants to work sorting through the medicine cabinet and writing down what they needed to make more of. They had started getting at least some basic herbal medicines going, even though the effects were limited and they still had plenty of things they needed to research and try out. More work to do. Just get on with it.

. . . . .

Kouki was watching the older children while Tsuzuku and Yuuki put the younger ones to bed for their nap. Uruha had gone down to see Masa for a moment, the omega still feeling a bit upset after his long talk with Toll the day before. Apparently, nothing had been solved, but nothing had become worse either. The words Uruha had used after talking to Masa that morning was ‘it’s a start’, and at least that sounded better to Kouki than what could have been.

He watched Tora and Shou play tag on the grass, laughing happily. He smiled a bit to himself, watching them. He loved kids, had hoped to get some of his own one day, but that was Before. He had never met ‘the one’, the alpha he wanted to have children with, but watching the two boys play on the grass made him feel like there was still hope.

Someone cleared his throat next to him, and he jumped as he was pulled out of his daydreams. Reika stood beside him, smiling uncertainly, and Kouki felt his heart beat a little harder at the sight.

“Hi! I didn’t hear you coming,” he said, smiling at the alpha. Reika smiled back, a bit more certain now, and he glanced at the kids.

“Where are the little ones?” he asked casually, trying to make conversation and not having to dive into his intended subject just yet.

“They’re being put to bed,” Kouki said, waving his hand at the two giggly kids on the lawn. “These two claim they are too old for naps. Which of course means they will get cranky and crash in about two hours.”

Reika laughed, a pleasant, full laugh that set off butterflies in Kouki’s stomach. “I’m sure they will. Practical to hand them over to their parents then, I guess?”

“A bit,” Kouki admitted, blinking at the alpha. As curious as he was to why the alpha was here, he didn’t want to ask and risk cutting this moment short. Reika watched the two children play for a moment, not saying anything, and then he turned those bright eyes to Kouki again.

“I made a promise to Shuse when we were away,” he said, looking nervous again.

“Oh? What?” Kouki looked at the way the alpha’s strong chin was framed by fluffy, tousled hair. The way the lips moved when he spoke. When he… Say what?!

“I’m sorry… Could you say that again?” he stuttered, blinking. He couldn’t have heard that right, could he? Reika swallowed and bit his lip, almost backing away at the shocked look in Kouki’s eyes, but he steeled himself and repeated the words.

“I promised him I was going to tell you I like you, and ask you out for a date when I got back,” he said, voice a little unsteady.

Kouki was quiet for another moment, and Reika felt like he wanted to run away and hide. “But… What… Me?” Kouki mumbled, looking completely thrown off.

“Yes, you. I like you. I would like to date you. If you want.” Reika felt like a teenager all over again, his heart pounding and his knees trembling as he waited for Kouki’s answer. And then Kouki slowly opened his mouth, and…

“Say yes, say yes, say yes,” two little boy voices suddenly chanted at their feet, and startled them both. Tora and Shou stood leaning against each other, giggling and staring at the adults. Apparently, they had heard the whole thing, and approved. Kouki hadn’t realized it was possible to blush this deeply because of two little boys before, but now he knew. His cheeks were burning up and he was stammering, which the two children found hilarious. Reika got over his surprise first, and he couldn’t help chuckling a bit.

“Come on boys, run off and play and let the grown-ups talk alone for a moment, ok?”

“Don’t wanna!” Shou reached out his tongue, but as Reika pretended to lean down and chase him he suddenly grabbed Tora by the hand and ran off out into the grass again, laughing hysterically like only Shou could. Reika stood back up and turned to Kouki, who was still beet red.

“Well,” the alpha said, “that could have gone more smoothly.” He smiled a little crookedly at the omega, who was fighting to regain his voice.

“I… Me? I mean… I’d like to…”

Reika took a step closer, gently taking the omega’s hand in his. “Is that a yes?” he asked, looking straight into Kouki’s dark eyes.

“I… Yes…” the omega whispered, reveling in the warmth of the hand holding his. Reika’s answering smile was like the light of a million suns, and he squeezed the hand in his and leaned over to give the omega a soft kiss on the cheek.

“Great!” he said, suddenly elated. “Sunday? We can go for a picnic somewhere. Maybe row over and pet the horse they brought?”

Kouki nodded, lost for words, and then the alpha kissed his cheek again and was gone. He raised his hand to touch his cheek, feeling completely stunned, until he was attacked by two happy boys hugging his legs.

“You said yes, you said yes,” Shou chanted, Tora jumping up and down without really understanding what went on except that it was fun. The omega couldn’t stop himself from laughing, leaning down to ruffle the boys’ hair as he shook his head. God. Sunday. Two more days to panic then.

Chapter Text

Minase hadn’t managed to get Kuina alone since he had been allowed to walk free. He was itching to talk to the omega, but he just couldn’t seem to find the right time. It had been a gradual thing since he came here, the feelings slowly building up. They often found themselves talking for some reason or other, and before he knew it, he had started to long for every new moment with the omega. Kuina was happy, easy-going, bright and with a cheeky side that sometimes made Minase blush. He often felt like he was a step behind, not as used to giving snappy comebacks and quick retorts as the omega, but still he couldn’t seem to care that the omega ran circles around him in their conversations. Kuina didn’t seem to mind either, since he came back for more.

Lately, Minase had begun to suspect that maybe he wasn’t alone in seeking the other out. While he was still forced to stay with at least one alpha, it had been hard to decide for himself where to go or who to talk to, but more often than not, Kuina appeared somewhere in his vicinity so that he could take the extra few steps to talk to the omega. Now that he was no longer tied to Shuse and Jun-ji, he was anxious to find out if he was right. If he could only find the right moment, that was.

It came after lunch, when Kuina was in the kitchen garden helping Shinya with the weeding. The alpha wasn’t much use in the building process, they realized rather quickly, so he had opted to try out the fields instead. Shinya and Hazuki had agreed to share his time between them, and since the kitchen garden had the most to do right now, he had the perfect excuse to get near Kuina. Kazuki and Shinya surreptitiously excused themselves to go work in one of the greenhouses, planting some of the small plants that had been sown indoors earlier in the spring, which left Minase’s intended conversation victim on his own. The alpha thought he could see Shinya eyeing him with a small, amused smirk on his lips just as he walked into the greenhouse, but he might have imagined it.

Heart beating fast, he took the gloves he had been offered and went over to Kuina, smiling down at the omega.

“Uhm… So, what should I do?” he asked, making a gesture out over the kitchen garden.

Kuina sat back and looked up at him, grinning. He patted the ground next to him.

“Here, help me weed. Sit here and I’ll start by showing you what to weed and what to leave. We wouldn’t want you to pull up all of our food, right?”

Minase made a face. “That wouldn’t be good, no. Ok, show me.” He sat down on his knees next to the omega, who smiled before he started pointing out different sorts of leaves. Minase watched for a while, nodding as he tried to memorize what was what. After almost five minutes Kuina sat back up, smirking slightly.

“So, basically, leave only the ones with the red leaves.”

The alpha stared at him. “What? Why didn’t you just say that from the start?!”

“Because you’re too cute when you try to memorize things,” Kuina teased, laughing at the alpha’s expression. And god, was he cute laughing… Before he could help it or stop what he was doing, Minase leaned over and pressed his lips on Kuina’s, giving him a gentle kiss. He just held his lips there for a second or two, and then he pulled back in horror. Oh shit, what had he done? This was not what he had planned, and it could even count as forcing himself onto an omega, and he might be kicked out, idiot, less than a week after his sentence was over and he made the first transgression, and…

Kuina’s sudden pounce on him made him loose his balance. A second later, he found himself on his back on the ground, Kuina hovering over him, kissing him hungrily. He blinked in shock for a few moments, before one hand came up and nestled itself in the omega’s hair, the other settling on the small of his back, as he opened his mouth and let the omega in.

In the greenhouse, two omegas stood peering out, making a little victory dance as the make-out session started.

. . . . .

“Are we sure though?” Cazqui looked at Uruha over Masa’s bed, the pregnant omega’s head going back and forth between his two friends with a dumbfounded expression on his face.

“Oh, come on,” Uruha said. “You saw his face. He’s head over heels. Especially considering he’s been plastered to Manabu’s side whenever he has the chance.”

Cazqui hummed in agreement, pursing his lips. Masa was still perplexed.

“Wait, so, you guys were planning to shove Shuse and Tomo together? Is that what you’re saying?”

Uruha had the decency to look a little ashamed. “Well, yeah… But it was only for their own good!”

Masa shook his head in amazement. “You two are too much sometimes, you know that?” he chuckled and shifted to try to sit up a bit more. Uruha was instantly there with another pillow and Cazqui helped fixing the covers. It was sweet, buy annoying, and Masa sighed as he leaned back down. “I can do that myself, you know,” he muttered.

“We know,” Cazqui said, “but we care about you and want to help.”

Masa smiled at him, reaching out to pat his hand. “I know. Thank you. It’s just that I hate staying here all day. I feel useless. Plus it’s tiring to talk to Toll so much.”

Cazqui grabbed the hand in answer, smiling. “How are you two doing?”

“We’re… talking, I guess. It could be worse. He’s changed, and it feels kinda good to get some stuff out in the open, but… I have trouble letting go of all that’s been, I guess. And it’s exhausting to talk about such heartache, so I either fall asleep instantly when he leaves or cry all night in Miya’s arms. I feel like such a shitty mate right now.”

“You’re not,” Uruha butted in. “And Miya loves you and wants to take care of you. He’d never even think of seeing you as a bad mate for needing help for a little while.”

Masa smiled faintly. “I know. He’s too good to me.” He sniffed and looked up at the other two. “But what’s this about Shuse and Tomo? Is Shuse being difficult, or what?”

Cazqui threw Uruha a glance, before he sighed. “No, or yes. He’s fallen for one of the new pregnant omegas.”

Masa blinked. “What? One of the mated ones?”

“No, the single one,” Uruha said. “He’s got an alpha friend with him, a real cutie pie by the way, but he’s really pregnant now. And Shuse’s going all in with holding out the chairs and helping him up stairs and just generally being around.”

“And what does the cutie pie friend think of that?” Masa was curious, not having met any of the new people apart from Toll yet.

“He doesn’t seem to mind,” Uruha said, looking to Cazqui to see if he agreed. The pale omega shrugged and nodded. “They’re not together, he’s just here for support and to pay for Manabu’s care with work.”

“Hm, and the omega, Manabu? Does Shuse stand a chance, do you think?” Masa was enjoying the gossip, after being cooped up in his cabin for what felt like ages (that it was in fact under two weeks in reality didn’t change what it felt like).

“I’m not sure,” Cazqui said. “He doesn’t say much, though he’s friendly. He seems shy.”

“Tatsurou told me he thinks he’s ashamed of being pregnant without a mate or boyfriend,” Uruha said, looking sympathetic. “Apparently, he got his heat on the road and had no suppressants, so the father is some random passerby alpha who just took off and left him there after.”

“Poor thing.” Masa frowned. “Hey, why don’t you guys invite him down here and I’ll talk to him? I’m tired of being the only one who hasn’t met these new guys anyway.”

Uruha shrugged. “Sure. I’ve tried talking to him, but there’s always other people around. Maybe you’ll have better luck.”

. . . . .

After Hyde gave his permission, the kids were taken over on the boat to see and pet the horse. It was the first time for any of them to see such a large animal, and even Shou was subdued and wide eyed as he got to pet the stallion. The large horse was calm and friendly, and snorted into Saga’s hair, making the boy so shocked he didn’t utter another word for the entire visit. Ryo helped them, seemingly charmed by the children and happy about people being interested. Eventually, he even accepted the offer of spending a night on the island, somewhat nervously leaving the care of the horse in Asanao and Ruka’s hands.

He was shown around the village and the big house, admiring all their books in the library. Hyde was anxious to show him that their friends were well taken care of, so that no one would doubt his and Toll’s word for it when they got back to the resort. Though Ryo didn’t say much, he was happy to receive a warm dinner and a futon to sleep on for the night. After an early breakfast and a quick check-up by Tatsurou, however, he thanked them for their hospitality and was rowed back to the other shore and the horse, where Asanao and Ruka waited to be relieved by Aki and Reo.

. . . . .

For the first few days, Mitsuki had been so immersed in seeing Meto again that he hadn’t really noticed much else. On the third morning, however, he got out of the tiny room he shared with Meto and Kuina and almost bumped into someone on the landing. He stutteringly apologized, and as the beautiful angel smiled and passed him to walk downstairs, the usually so loud-mouthed omega stood silent and stared after him, heart pounding in his chest and knees suddenly wobbly.

Kuina came out of the room behind him, saw Mitsuki’s face and quickly took two steps forward to look down the stairwell to see who he had missed, to make such an impression on his new friend. He turned back to Mitsuki with a cheeky grin on his face. “Aryu. He’s pretty, isn’t he?” And while Mitsuki still couldn’t speak, his brain was still going in its usual 180 miles per hour. Pretty? He wasn’t pretty, he was perfect. An angel. Those eyes, oh god, and he looked at me. I want him. Holy shit, he’s too good for me, but god, I want him. Is he into omegas? Fuck, he’s probably got an alpha somewhere. Oh crap, he had the bite marks! But he didn’t smell mated? He smelled… different? What does that mean? His name’s Aryu. It’s so pretty. But not as pretty as he is. And the smile…

Kuina grinned even wider, watching Mitsuki fall harder, faster than he’d ever seen anyone fall before, and Meto looked strangely at them when he came out. The teenager just shrugged, however, and turned his back at them and walked down for breakfast. Mitsuki was still immobile, and Kuina chuckled as he grabbed the omega by the arm and started to slowly lead him downstairs, one dazed step at a time.

Chapter Text

Meto was annoyed. Meeting Mitsuki again had been fun, to start with. But now his friend just sat staring at Aryu all day, every day. He had done it all through today’s breakfast as well, instead of talking to Meto like he used to. Aryu noticed halfway through breakfast when Yomi discreetly pointed in their direction. Mitsuki barely had time to close his mouth that had been hanging open before Aryu turned to look at him, and the rest of the meal was spent with Aryu throwing glances their way while giggling with Yomi, while Mitsuki was in a complete daze and couldn’t look away.

If it had happened once, Meto could understand it, but this had been going on for two days! It was boring. Meto pouted, and when that didn’t work, he poked Mitsuki’s side, which resulted in his friend slapping his hand away. Eventually he got tired of even trying, and looked around the room with a frown on his face. Kuina was no fun either, sitting next to Minase, the two of them completely engrossed in each other to everyone’s delight but Meto’s. What was with everyone, always hunting around for someone else and making eyes at them, instead of hanging out with him? Right now, even his mate ignored him most of the time, all because of Hyde. It wasn’t like Meto didn’t like Hyde, he did, and he knew Kaz really did. He could feel his mate’s happiness through the bond whenever he was with Hyde, and the spikes of pleasure sometimes when the two locked themselves away in a room somewhere. It was almost enough to make Meto curious to know what they were doing in there, but then again, not really. He didn’t really mind as long as Kaz saw him as well, and he usually did. But now that his mate hadn’t seen Hyde in ages, it was almost impossible for him to get attention.

He hated it. He felt lonely and abandoned by everyone, as he sat there, looking over the room. His eyes glided past an omega with a young child in his lap, and he felt something stir inside him that he didn’t like, so he quickly looked away. He felt that itch now and then, and it made him feel uneasy. It was like something clawing to get out, something big and dark and scary, and he didn’t like it one bit. He hugged Ruana closer to him, hiding slightly behind the teddy bear as he tugged at one of the ears. The feeling got stronger again when his eyes fell on pink hair, and he whined a little to himself and buried his face in Ruana’s fur. The sound was enough to make Mitsuki look at him, finally, and the omega actually spent a few minutes talking to him after that. But the conversation was mainly a long monologue about Aryu and how beautiful he was, and did Meto know anything about him and was he mated and why didn’t he smell mated and did he like omegas and was he single at all and what did he like that Mitsuki could use to start a conversation…? Eventually, Meto threw his tongue out at his friend and got up, huffing as he left the dining room to take a breath of fresh air on the porch.

He leaned against the wall next to the door, sinking down onto the stone floor and pulling his knees up to his chest. B-O-R-I-N-G.

. . . . .

Koichi was feeling much better, especially since it was Sunday and Hazuki had promised him a slow and lazy day together, where he would be waited on and get foot massages and tea and whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted. They had breakfast in the dining room with everyone else, being annoyingly cute, feeding each other breakfast and cuddling. Eventually even Subaru claimed he was tired of seeing them tease and tickle, and told them jokingly to take a hike until they were ready to be among normal people again. Hazuki grinned and pulled his mate up, pinching his butt to get him to start walking back to their cabin. Koichi yelped and ran off, giggling as his mate followed him, pretending to chase him down. Now and then he got a little tickle in from a distance, but Koichi wriggled his way out of Hazuki’s grip and was always one step ahead.

Everyone chuckled and shook their heads at the two as they left, closing the front door behind them. “Well, at least it’s good to see them in a good mood,” Toshiya grinned. “Maybe I should chase you down like that as well? Tickle you senseless?” He winked at Shinya, who cast him a warning glance that made it very obvious how such an action would be received. Kaz laughed at Shinya’s glare, but he was truthfully a bit relieved that Koichi seemed to be feeling better. He felt guilty about the whole Meto thing and what it did to the islanders, even though it hadn’t been intentional. He smiled and opened his mouth to say something when his chest suddenly contracted with such immense panic and fear that he had to gasp and clench the sweater over his heart. He didn’t even notice Hyde gripping his arm in worry, or Tatsurou’s voice asking if he was alright. Meto!

A second later, and a shrill, loud shriek cut through the air. It didn’t stop, just went on and on, the panic searing through the air affecting everyone that heard it. Kaz didn’t even care that the chair fell back as he got up and ran for the door. He didn’t know how he got there, he was just so focused on reaching his mate that his body moved on its own, flying across the room.

Out on the porch, Meto sat pushed against the wall, eyes huge and his mouth open, screaming, screaming, screaming, until he had no more air in his lungs, and then he just took another breath and started all over again. Kaz threw himself down next to his mate and pulled him into his arms, his protective instincts on red alert, trying to understand what was happening. Hyde, Toshiya and Tatsurou were right behind him and stopped on the stairs, staring at the boy and following his eyes to watch Hazuki and Koichi on the grass, frozen in shock. For a moment, everything seemed to be frozen while everyone just stood staring, uncomprehending.

And then Koichi moved. He was pale and shaking, but he looked determined as he walked the short distance over the grass, up the stairs and sat down clumsily next to Meto, grabbing his hand.

“Meto, it’s ok! I’m ok! He wasn’t hurting me, I swear, look, I’m fine. We were only playing, he wasn’t biting me for real, it was just a game. Here, see? I’m not bleeding. See? I’m ok!”

It took a while, Meto staring at him, and then the scream seemed to weaken and end up in a whine. When Koichi reached out and took his hand, Meto let him guide it up to his neck where the bite marks were long since healed. “See?” The omega whispered again, soothingly. “I’m not bleeding. He’s good to me, and I love him. It’s nothing like what happened to Mia, I swear.” Meto whined a bit louder at the mention of Mia’s name, but he still petted Koichi’s neck, touching the healed marks there. His lower lip was shaking and tears ran down his face, the makeup he seemed to have an endless supply of running down his cheeks in black streaks. And yet, he was actually looking at Koichi properly for the first time since he got to the island, seeing him. Kaz still held the boy tight, looking between the two omegas, his jaws clenched and his adrenaline pumping. He tried to get his heart to slow down, breathing deeply, and when Koichi tentatively reached out to offer Meto a hug, the alpha forced himself to let go of his mate and let him. Meto was shivering and whimpering as he was enclosed in Koichi’s arms, but after a moment he relaxed and sank into the hug. He started to cry again, his shoulders shaking, and his arms came up to cling to Koichi’s small form.

Through the open door, several faces peeked out at them, everyone still shocked and scared by the horrifying shriek. Tatsurou turned to Uruha in the doorway and kept his voice low. “Get Tsuzuku,” he asked, and Uruha hesitated for only a heartbeat before he nodded and disappeared inside, returning in a minute with Tsuzuku. Uruha reached over and took Tatsuya in his arms, gently pushing the omega out the door, where Tatsurou slowly led him over to the pair on the porch. Tsuzuku gasped as he took in the situation, but he soon sat down and reached out to Meto, caressing his cheek tenderly. The boy opened his eyes at the touch and stared at the omega, but he made no move to pull away or scream again. When his old friend gently reached over to enclose both of his friends in a hug, Meto let him, leaning his forehead on Tsuzuku’s shoulder.

Kaz was still sitting next to them on the cold stone, breathing heavily and trying to force the adrenaline to stop surging through him. When arms enclosed him from behind, he gratefully leaned his head back on Hyde’s shoulder and tilted his face to nuzzle his neck, breathing in his boyfriend’s scent.

Toshiya stared at the scene for another moment, before he turned and started to herd everyone inside who wasn’t currently involved in a hug on the stone floor, or was Tatsurou, Reo or Hazuki. “Come on, give them some room,” he murmured quietly as he gently shoved everyone in and closed the door behind them, leaning his back on the closed door. Holy shit. Well, that was one way to break down emotional barriers…

. . . . .

Tatsurou came back inside after a long while, accompanied by Hyde and Kaz, who was carrying Meto in his arms. They all went upstairs into the library, before the nurse came back down to talk to Toshiya.

“Kou and Tsu are in their cabins, taking the day to process what happened together with their mates,” he told the leader. “Though I think they are ok. This was emotional, but it was still a breakthrough, and they know it. I think Hazuki’s really upset with himself though, and he feels responsible.” He glanced upstairs. “Meto is another thing. He’s upset, and I’m gonna stay with them today to see what we can figure out to make him deal with it all. It sure as hell wasn’t the slow thing I had planned, but somehow… I think this was violent, maybe unnecessarily so, but still a good thing for him in the long run. Painful now, but less painful in a while.”

Toshiya nodded. “Then maybe it was all for the best after all. I think I’ve got a pretty good idea what happened, but could you fill me in anyway?”

“Sure, though I think you’ve got the right idea. Hazuki and Koichi say they didn’t even see Meto when they left, they were too busy goofing around and play-fighting. Apparently, Hazuki chased Koichi down the stairs and over the grass until he caught up with him, grabbed him in a big hug and pretended to bite him. And then suddenly Meto screamed, and well… We know the rest.”

“Yeah, pretty much what I thought then. Well, it’s no one’s fault really. We’ll just have to deal with what is,” Toshiya sighed.

“We’ll deal,” Tatsurou agreed. “But you might need to talk to the rest and calm some nerves. That sound must have been one of the scariest things I’ve ever heard, and I doubt I’m the only one who feels that way. And Mitsuki is probably in need of some extra attention as well.”

“You’re right, I’ll talk to the rest. And Tatsurou? Thank you.”

The nurse smiled at his friend and took a small bow. “It’s what I’m here for,” he said, turning and walking back upstairs to try to figure out how to deal with a devastated teen.

Chapter Text

The lazy Sunday wasn’t really as relaxed as they had all planned. Toshiya told everyone what had happened, and then let everyone continue with their plans for the day, letting them know he was available for anyone who wanted to talk. Hikaru spent the day curled up in Yo-Ka’s arms, his boyfriend petting his hair soothingly, and most omegas ended up glued to their boyfriends or mates eventually. Thankfully, the children seemed to get over the shock a lot easier than everyone else, and before long they were playing as usual. Uta, however, was not feeling well at all. He would normally seek comfort from Cazqui or Ryoga at a time like this, but they were both in the arms of their boyfriends. So he went to the hen house and sat down on the grass, trying to calm himself down by watching the animals’ slow, relaxed pace. Uta wasn’t sure what else to do. He had had a fleeting thought about going to find Atsushi, but he was scared to, and so he ended up here, arms around his knees and head hanging.

“Uta?” Atsushi’s soft voice made him start and look up. The alpha was standing a few paces off, with the sun behind him, making it difficult to see his face. Uta felt a shudder go through him, and he quickly looked down. “Uta? Are you alright?” Atsushi wouldn’t let it go, but he sensed the omega’s unease and didn’t come closer. Instead he sat down on the grass where he was, getting down on Uta’s level, and just waited for the omega to answer.

After a long silence, Uta shook his head slightly. “No,” he whispered.

The major looked at his boyfriend with compassion in his eyes. “It was scary today, wasn’t it? Poor Meto,” he said, voice soft.

Uta nodded wordlessly, sniffing a bit and bowing his head so that even more hair fell down over his face.

“Is there anything I can do to help?” Atsushi asked, still not moving.

Uta shook his head, still not talking. The major just watched him for a minute, and then he nodded. “Ok. Is it ok if I just sit here then? Keep you company? Watching the chickens is actually pretty calming.”

Uta blinked and glanced at the major. Was he mocking him? But no, he looked dead serious, and he was actually looking at the chickens. So the omega said nothing, just stayed in the same position for a long while, Atsushi sitting near but not close. Uta just waited for the alpha to get tired of it and get up and leave, or start laughing at him or something. But he never did, and when it was time for lunch, the omega had slowly started to enjoy the silent company and felt almost soothed by it. When Kuina rang the lunch bell on the porch, they both got up and walked back inside, their shared silence a lot more comfortable now.

. . . . .

Mitsuki felt pretty damn shitty. If he hadn’t been so caught up in looking at and talking about Aryu, Meto wouldn’t have been out there on the porch, and none of this would have happened. Also, he had known Meto had probably been through bad things, but he hadn’t been able to grasp just how bad until he heard his friend’s screams today. The pure fear and panic had shocked Mitsuki, and he was about to cry when Toshiya had told everyone what had happened.

He sat crouched up on the floor in a corner of the dining room, just feeling generally bad about himself and worried about Meto, when he felt a hand on his shoulder. He lifted his chin and looked straight into Aryu’s big eyes, blinking uncertainly at him. The shock of having the angelic figure touch him was (almost) as bad as hearing Meto scream, and he had to concentrate really hard to be able to focus on the words when those gorgeous lips moved.

“Are you ok? I know you and I don’t really know each other, but you look like you could need someone to talk to right now.”

Oh. My. GOD. Mitsuki’s brain tripped over itself a few times before it managed to get enough control of his tongue to answer. “Uhm… Yeah. I don’t feel so good,” he admitted, still watching the other omega incredulously. Aryu didn’t look too bright himself, rather pale and uneasy after the whole thing. When he glanced around the room, Mitsuki noticed that almost everyone else had paired up, including Aryu’s two friends who were leaned against an alpha each, leaving Aryu with no one to talk to. And Mitsuki was many things, but he was never one to pass up on an opportunity when it presented itself, despite how shocked he may be. And so he smiled weakly at the omega, patting the floor next to him. “Sit down and we can comfort each other?” he said, hoping against hope the omega would say yes. Aryu shrugged, but sat down. He didn’t say anything when the other omega put his arm around him either, and he just sighed tiredly and let Mitsuki do it when he gently nudged his head down on his shoulder. For a moment they just sat like that, Mitsuki’s heart beating like a jackhammer.

“It brings back bad memories,” Aryu said without preamble. Mitsuki stroked his arm gently as he let the omega continue his story without interference.

“I was force bitten. He’s dead now, thank god, but I still… I still remember…” Aryu made a face at the memory, and he was clearly fighting to keep it together. When Mitsuki pulled him closer, leaning his cheek on his head, Aryu made a small unhappy noise and curled into the omega. Slowly, with many pauses for deep breaths and fighting not to cry, the pretty omega told his story. As Mitsuki listened, he was horrified at what Aryu was telling him, but it made him forget his own feelings of guilt and concentrate on the omega in his arms. He was happy to just sit there, comforting this beautiful being until he was feeling better.

. . . . .

Shuse watched across the room as K took care of Manabu, jealousy eating away at him. The omega seemed to be doing ok though, and Shuse felt he had made a correct assessment of him when he first saw him – the omega looked frail but was strong underneath. And K was friendly, sweet and not overly pushy, but Manabu had his arms around him instead of Shuse’s and it freaking hurt. The sergeant had still not figured out exactly what K and Manabu’s relationship was, but right now, all he wanted was to go over there and tear the alpha away from his omega. He knew it was so wrong, that Manabu wasn’t his at all, but god…

Eventually he just left to do his rounds so he wouldn’t have to watch them, swearing at himself internally.

. . . . .

Reika and Kouki’s date got off to a slow start due to the events of the morning. Reika sought the omega out immediately after Toshiya’s speech, wanting to see if he was alright. When he noticed Kouki’s slightly shivering bottom lip, he put his arms around him and pulled him gently into a hug. The omega hesitated for only a second before he lifted his arms and put them around Reika’s waist, leaning his head on the alpha’s shoulder. Reika’s scent was warm and safe, and Kouki took a deep breath, letting himself drown in it. He knew it was only pheromones affecting him, calming him down, but he didn’t care as long as it worked. They just stayed like that for a long while, until Kouki eventually felt calmer and more ready to deal with the day. He smiled at the alpha as he pulled back.

“Thanks. I needed that.”

“No problem,” Reika said softly, gently pulling Kouki’s bangs behind his ear. “Feeling ok? Or do you want to postpone the date?”

“Hell no!” Kouki exclaimed, until he caught himself and blushed profoundly. “I mean… I’ll be fine.”

Reika laughed, but it was a sweet laughter. “Ok, if you feel up to it. Let’s go get some picnic food in the kitchen and then we can be on our way.”

Kouki nodded shyly but happily, and the feeling didn’t go away as they made their way down to the docks. Halfway, Reika tentatively reached out his hand and loosely weaved his fingers with Kouki’s, testing the waters so to speak. He relaxed when Kouki didn’t let go, and hand in hand they walked down to the boat.

On the ride over, Kouki was starting to get nervous. He hadn’t seen a horse up close since he was a kid, and he remembered them as big. But when he stood before the animal, all his hesitation disappeared. Wow, it was beautiful! Large, black, silky and shiny. Ryo held the horse’s reigns while Kouki petted the horse, his eyes shining. Reika watched his glee with a soft smile on his lips, feeling good about his choice of activity for their first date. He exchanged a look with Asanao, back on guard duty with Ryo, and the older alpha smirked at him, winking approvingly. When Kouki looked back at Reika, biting his bottom lip as he tried to contain his happiness, the alpha felt all his doubts and insecurities about his feelings melt away. He had been unsure for so long about whether he should even try to pursue something with the omega, but that was all blown to the wind after today. Nothing short of Kouki telling him off could dissuade him from now on.

After almost half an hour of petting the horse, they finally wandered off for their picnic. Reika led the way to a clearing near the water, where they could sit with a beautiful view of the lake and the island. As he led Kouki in, he was pleasantly surprised to find that the clearing was filled with flowers, looking like a green bed of grass filled with lots of pretty blue flower cushions. When he had seen the spot last, it had been autumn, and he had no idea the flowers would be blooming here now, but he considered it to be the stars shining favorably on him when he saw Kouki’s eyes widen at the beauty.

“Like it?” he asked, the omega nodding reverently as he took in the surroundings. When he turned to the alpha, those beautiful shining eyes directed at him again, Reika couldn’t help slipping an arm around the slim waist and pulling Kouki in for a hug and a quick kiss to the cheek. The omega made a tiny pleased sound and melted into his arms, Reika smiling widely as he felt the warm body against his. When he finally pulled back, he let a finger gently trace the omega’s jaw line before he turned away and pulled out a blanket for them to sit on. He made sure not to crush any of the flowers beneath it, and then he reached out a hand and helped Kouki sit down (not that the omega needed any help, but it made Reika feel like a gentleman, and he hoped Kouki might appreciate it. Kouki did. Very much.)

They didn’t say much as they ate the food, looking out over the view, but they exchanged many a meaningful, flirty look. Once the eating part was done and the basket tucked away, they lay down on the blanket and looked up at the sky, pointing out clouds that looked like everything from dragons to dogs with hats. Kouki scooted closer to try to point out an old steam train in the sky, and both their pulses sped up at the increased closeness. Reika glanced over at Kouki as he gestured and pointed, smiling to himself as he watched the omega’s animated face while he was explaining what was where. Eventually Kouki glanced back at him to see if he followed what was the smoke from the train’s chimney and what was the wagon, and found Reika not looking at the sky, but at him. Their faces were almost close enough to kiss, but only almost. They were close enough, however, to look deeply into each other’s eyes in silence. And then Reika shifted slightly, leaning his head forward and oh so gently pressed his lips on the omega’s. It was a soft kiss, sweet and longing rather than heated, and Kouki quickly closed his eyes and succumbed to it. He could feel the alpha’s emotions through the gentleness of his lips against his, and he felt butterflies fill him from head to toe.

They spent a long while just lying there, kissing sweetly without tongue or any attempts to take it in a more sexual direction. When Reika finally pulled back, both of their lips were a little swollen from their kissing. They smiled at each other, having trouble shifting since that would been they had to break eye contact. Eventually, though, they had to start making their way back to the island, and Reika sighed internally as he got up and offered his hand to Kouki. When they had packed up their things and made their way back to the boat, Reika’s arm was firmly placed around Kouki’s waist, the omega leaning slightly into the embrace.

. . . . .

“I feel so guilty,” Hazuki sighed, cradling his mate in his arms as they lay on the bed.

“It’s not your fault,” Koichi mumbled for the umpteenth time, gently caressing his alpha’s cheek.

“I know, but still. Both for his sake and for yours,” the alpha sighed. “You were already feeling bad about this, and I…”

“You did nothing wrong. You didn’t know he was there. And besides…” The omega hesitated slightly before he continued. “I know it’s awful of me to say it since he’s so upset, but I’m… I’m kind of… glad it happened.” He blushed at the admission, but it was the blunt truth.

Hazuki looked a little confused, and he hurried to explain. “I mean, he hasn’t looked at me like that since… Actually, he hasn’t looked at me at all since he got here. Not really. But he did now. And I could see it in his eyes, Zu. He knew it was me. He recognized me. He finally, really did.”

The alpha saw the omega was serious, and beneath it, a strength was simmering that he hadn’t seen in his lover’s eyes for a long time. It made him want to cry with relief and happiness. Maybe something good could come out of this mess, after all?

Chapter Text

Uruha brought Manabu down to talk to Masa, just saying he wanted the omega to meet all the other bearers on the island. Manabu seemed nervous, anxious to make a good impression on the people he were to stay with for the better part of a year. He bowed as deeply as the belly allowed when the two came into the cottage, sucking on the corner of his bottom lip as he took in the other on the bed, propped up against numerous pillows.

“No need to bow like that,” Masa smiled. “Come on in and make yourselves at home.”

Uruha pulled up a chair for the guest before he went to get one for himself, and Manabu sat down heavily on it, grimacing slightly. Masa watched him, curiously.

“Wow, you’re due pretty soon, right?” he asked, Manabu nodding quietly before he dared answer out loud.

“The nurse says he thinks it will be around the middle of August,” he said quietly, looking at the other’s belly. “And you?”

Masa made a small grimace. “Should be September, but… I’ve been having some problems, which I’m sure Uru’s told you already.” He eyed his friend with a raised eyebrow, getting an affirming nod in reply.

“I’m sorry to hear that,” Manabu said politely, a little stiff.

“Yeah, Tatsurou ordered me to stay in bed until it’s time, so I’ll be bored out of my brains down here. You’re welcome to visit any time and help me pass the time.” Masa smiled, hoping he could get the young omega to relax.

Manabu blinked, hesitating for a second. “I’d like that,” he said softly after a moment, offering the first little smile. They settled down to talk for a while, getting to know each other a bit. Uruha soon excused himself, saying he needed to check on Hiroto who had been whiny all day, and left the two pregnant omegas to themselves. Eventually, Manabu relaxed enough to start talking more about himself, and Masa felt it was safe to start leading things into more sensitive subjects.

“So you came here with a friend, right?”

Manabu nodded. “K. He’s nice. It was kind of him to come with me.”

“Yeah, I heard he’s a real cutie,” Masa grinned.

“I guess.” Manabu shrugged. “We’re just friends, so…”

“Oh?” Masa smiled encouragingly. “Is there anyone else you like then?”

Immediately, Manabu seemed to withdraw into himself, and Masa cursed internally. “I don’t… have anyone,” the young omega mumbled, his cheeks slightly pink.

“That’s alright,” Masa said, soothingly. “Who says you need an alpha anyway?”

Manabu made a face, looking sad but trying to hide it with a smirk. “Well, it would be nice to have someone to raise my son with, but…” He didn’t continue. Masa felt sorry for him, seeing the hurt, the shame and the insecurity beneath the surface.

“You know,” the older omega said softly, “no one here thinks any less of you for being single and pregnant. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, even less so in this kind of world. You do what you have to, and when it can’t be helped, that’s just the way it is. We’ll support you and be here for you either way.”

Manabu seemed dumbstruck by Masa’s words, staring at the omega, before he looked down into his lap to hide the tears that threatened to overflow. “Thanks,” he whispered, sniffing a bit, and Masa felt his heart clench, suddenly feeling very protective of the younger omega.

“Hey, come here,” he said, patting the bed next to him. “Why sit on a hard chair when you can relax with me on a soft bed?”

The younger omega looked up in surprise, scanning Masa’s face intently to see if he was serious. But when the omega patted the bed again, encouragingly, he got off the chair and clumsily lay down on the bed, groaning as he stretched out his back.

“Feels better, doesn’t it?” Masa smiled at him, and Manabu nodded gratefully. Masa reached out and patted the omega’s hands, and they soon relaxed. When Uruha came back a while later, both omegas had fallen asleep, heads leaning towards each other, soft snoring filling the room.

. . . . .

Toll watched Tora play with Shou from the open window in the dining room. The boy was so beautiful, and though he had Miya’s hair and Masa’s eyes, he could still see his own features as well. It was so strange to think he had a grandson, but the fact that they were so alike made the whole thing feel more real. Masa had always been so alike his bearer, and Toll had loved that, finding the both of them the most beautiful beings on earth. But watching Tora really drove in the fact that the boy was his grandson, and it made him feel strangely elated and sad at the same time.

During the last few days, he had talked more to Masa than the two had since his son had hit puberty. Something had happened then, something Toll couldn’t really understand now, but they had started butting heads about everything. And it may have started small, with petty arguments and normal teenage rebellion, but then Miya came into the picture. Masa hade kept his boyfriend a secret for five whole months, sneaking off to see the much older alpha without telling his parents where he was. He lied about it, saying he was at a friend’s house or went to a karaoke bar, but in reality, he was with Miya every time. Toll had started suspecting something was up, and one night, he and his mate came home early from a dinner with friends and caught their son in action in his boys’ room, half naked and moaning under the alpha. Toll had felt so betrayed, so angry, the lies the worst part of it. And so, that night all of it had started, the fights that had led up to him losing his son.

Or nearly losing. He had thought it was over, that he had lost the two most important people in his life forever, but now he at least had a chance to rebuild some of what was lost. Seeing Masa again had meant more to him than he could ever have imagined, and finding out about Tora… He couldn’t fuck this up. He needed to make his son understand how sorry he was, he needed to fix this. And he felt like they were making progress, but he was still shy about approaching Tora, afraid to anger his parents and mess something up.

He was deep in thought, just watching the children play with a smile on his lips, and the hand on his shoulder made him jump high. “Sorry, didn’t mean to scare you,” Miya said, smirking a bit at the amusing dance the older alpha had done.

Toll smiled back, a little nervous to be approached by the younger alpha. He had talked to Masa, but Miya and him had only exchanged a few pleasantries, enough to be civil to each other but no more than that. He knew now that he had been wrong about the alpha and his intentions with his son all along, but that didn’t change the fact that Toll had treated the younger male dreadfully in the past.

Miya watched him for a moment, and then looked out the window at the children playing. “Listen, Toll… I know you’re here for Masa,” he started. “But I really think it’s time you and I clear the air a bit as well.” He looked back at the other alpha, an eyebrow raised.

“Yeah, you’re right,” Toll sighed. “And I want to start with an apology. I was wrong. I regret all that happened between us.”

Miya shook his head. “No. Don’t. Yes, you were an asshole. But since I got Tora, I sort of understand better where it all came from. It can’t have been easy to have your sweet little boy suddenly grow up into a sexual being, let alone have him date someone like me.”

Toll huffed. “Don’t remind me. In my head, he’s still a virgin,” he said jokingly, Miya chuckling in reply. “But yeah. You must understand, he was only 16, and you were so much older. I thought you just wanted to play with him and that you would break his heart, and I just wanted to protect him from that. I went about it all wrong, but… The intentions were good.”

“I know.” Miya sighed. “I just wish you had seen how much you hurt him with your rejection. He was devastated for so long, and I was so angry with you because of it.”

Toll swallowed, his chest contracting. “I wish I had understood, too,” he mumbled. “Believe me when I say I wish I could take it all back.”

They stood in silence for a while, just watching Tora through the window. “I thought you would abandon him on the road,” Toll finally admitted, cheeks slightly flushed. “I’m sorry I had such low thoughts about you, but I was just so scared that he’d have gone through the same things I saw other omegas go through. I felt I had let him down, and I guess I might have projected that feeling on you as well.”

Miya stiffened at first, but then he just sighed and shook his head. “I could never leave him behind. You never believed me then, but I hope you will believe me now when I say I will stand by his side for the rest of my life. I would do anything for him. Anything.” He turned and met Toll’s gaze steadily. “I love him more than life itself. Him and Tora, and our unborn son. They are my everything.”

Toll made a face as he tried to keep it together, and then he nodded. “Yeah,” he whispered, “I believe you, and I’m grateful you’re there for him.” He took a deep breath to gather his frayed composure, and then he looked Miya in the eyes. “And I hope you will believe me when I say I am truly sorry, and I will do my utmost to make things right.”

Miya watched the alpha for a second, and then he smiled a tired smile. “I do,” he said. “The final word is Masa’s, as always. But I am glad you two are talking again.” He looked back out at Tora, laughing and running around with Shou. “Do you want to go out and play with your grandson?” he asked suddenly. Toll couldn’t help the tears of joy that fell as he nodded, smiling at his son’s mate and the father of his grandson.

. . . . .

Tatsurou brought Koichi and Tsuzuku in to talk about their memories together with Meto, now that the floodgates had opened. The youngster got agitated and upset by the subject, but he allowed his two friends to comfort him now, and he acknowledged them in a way that made Tatsurou sure that he remembered them from their time on the road rather than as new acquaintances from the island. The nurse felt that they would make progress a lot faster now, and he told Kaz and Hyde as much, the two alphas sitting in a corner and listening in on the sessions. At first, Kou and Tsu had been nervous to speak in front of the two, but soon enough they had gotten over it for Meto’s sake. After the first two sessions, they all felt more hopeful things would work out.

Hyde sighed when Tatsurou told him it would still be at least a few more moths before he was ready to let Meto go home, but he accepted it with a nod and a regretful glance at his boyfriend.

“I can’t stay for much longer,” he said, Kaz reaching out to slide an arm around the pretty leader’s waist. “People need me back home. But I feel a lot better going home, knowing that everyone here is in good hands.” He turned his head to Kaz, who quickly leaned in to steal a kiss.

“I’ll miss you,” the alpha whispered, nuzzling Hyde’s neck, holding him tight.

“I’ll miss you too,” Hyde mumbled. “But you’d better hurry up and come home to me, you hear?”

Kaz smiled softly. “I will. As soon as I can.”

“Good.” Hyde leaned in for another kiss, Tatsurou smiling as he looked away to give them some privacy. Meto sat in a corner, hugging Ruana, glaring at the two before he started going through his favorite magazine once again. The nurse nodded to himself. Yeah, Meto would be ok. Hopefully they all would be.

Chapter Text

“I’m thinking we can stay for three more days, but then we need to go,” Hyde said after dinner, Kaz sighing deeply next to him. “Sorry baby, but you know why,” the pretty alpha said and leaned over to give Kaz’s pout a kiss.

Toshiya smiled at the couple. “So how did you end up at the resort to start with?” he asked.

“I lived nearby,” Hyde said, “and I had friends working there. So when it all happened I got up there, thinking it was a better place than the town I was in. It was off-season, only a few people there, and most left immediately to go home to their families. But a bunch was still there, and a few of us ended up taking charge since people were panicking. I have a bossy streak, so I guess that’s why I ended up leader,” he grinned, Kaz nodding emphatically next to him and getting a light punch to the arm as punishment. “As if you know, you weren’t there then. Anyway,” the alpha continued, “more people came by now and then and the group grew, but we kept the council going. It has worked until now.”

“Until now?” Kyo asked, sitting next to Toshiya with Ruki in his lap, arms possessively wrapped around his mate.

“Yeah, last year a group of alphas showed up, and they don’t like that I’m in charge. They keep trying to undermine my authority. So far they haven’t had anyone support them, but that’s why I can’t stay for too long. I’m worried about what they’ll do now that two council members are away on a journey. Thankfully, the trip home will be faster than the trip here since we can all go in the cart and let the horse set a higher pace.”

“I hope everything is fine back home,” Kaz murmured, pressing a kiss to Hyde’s cheek. His boyfriends smiled and leaned his head on the other’s shoulder.

“I hope so too,” he sighed. “I hope so too.”

. . . . .

Tatsurou felt Masa’s belly carefully. The omega grimaced now and then but let him get on with the examination. Once it was done, Tatsurou sat down next to the omega on the bed, looking at him with concern.

“How are you feeling? Are you still in as much pain?”

Masa sighed and made a grimace. “Kind of. It hurts less while I sit still, but any tiny movement hurts, and after a while I hurt from sitting still, so…”

“I’m sorry, I know it must be both boring and painful. But every extra day he stays in your belly gives him a better chance once he’s born.” Tatsurou smiled at Masa, trying to look reassuring and confident. “Do you want anything? Can I get you some tea?”

“Thanks, but I’m fine. More tea means bathroom breaks, and getting up for that hurts, so…” Masa put on a brave face, but the nurse wasn’t fooled, sighing.

“Ok. I’ll ask someone to come down to keep you company.”

“Mmm. Ask Manabu. He’s sweet, and I think he needs a friend right now,” Masa said, Tatsurou nodding.

“I will. Thanks for looking out for him as well, I’m sure it means a lot to him.” With that he got up and waved his goodbyes. As soon as he was alone again, Masa fell back against the cushions and groaned in pain.

. . . . .

The construction was progressing nicely, and Kaoru was already working on the plans for the next terraced house, knowing they’d fill up the new house quickly and still be in need of more space. K, Junji and Ibuki worked hard and diligently, and soon became a part of the team. The alphas were starting to be calmer about their omegas spending the day out of their sight, slowly starting to trust the islanders. Junji still spent every break with Hiyori, checking on and doting on his mate, and Ibuki wasn’t far behind with checking in on Byou. The fact that the newcomers weren’t used to building soon became obvious, but they did their best and worked hard, learning as they went.

On their fifth day, however, a loud yelp and a curse could be heard from the front of the house. Yukke quickly ran out to see what had happened, remembering all too well Koichi’s unfortunate fall. Luckily, everyone was standing up when he got out, and he breathed a little easier.

“What happened?” he asked, noticing that K’s face was contorted in pain.

“He slipped and smacked his leg into the tools over there,” Satochi answered, standing next to K and supporting him as the alpha was massaging his leg. Ibuki and Junji stood next to them, looking nervously at their friend.

“Ok, let me see.” Yukke motioned K over to a log to sit down and crouched down, pulling the leg of K’s pants up a bit. Ibuki gasped when he caught sight of blood, and K grimaced. Yukke looked at it, keeping his fingers away so he wouldn’t get the wound dirty.

“I don’t think it’s too bad,” he said, “but you’d better go see Tatsurou either way. Can you make it there on your own or do you need someone to help you?”

K shook his head. “I’ll be fine, I can walk there myself. Sorry to be such a klutz.”

“Hey, don’t worry about it.” Yukke grinned suddenly, eyeing their engineer, standing in the group on his left. “Kaoru had to go see Tatsurou at least twice a week while he was still helping with the building.” The engineer narrowed his eyes at the alpha, but then he chuckled, knowing it was true.

They helped K get up from the log, and the alpha limped off, making his way to the big house.

. . . . .

Tomo was in the sickroom, reading a book Tatsurou had given him as homework. It was rather graphic, and covered just about everything there was to know about childbirth. It also made the omega question his previous dreams about starting a family in the future, because… yuck. There were just so many things that could happen, and he winced as he read about some of it.

“Excuse me, but is Tatsurou here?”

Tomo jumped at the voice, looking up at K standing by the door, leaning on one leg. The omega quickly put the book down and got up to help the alpha sit down on the bed.

“He’s with Masa, doing his daily check-up,” he said. “What’s happened?”

“I slipped and hurt my leg.” K made a face and pulled up the leg of his pants, showing the wound. Tomo leaned down to have a look, examining it quickly.

“I’d better get some water and clean it properly. Keep it elevated,” he said, giving the alpha a quick smile before he left the room. K looked after him, before he lay down on the bed and put the foot up on the bedframe. Tomo was soon back with the water, and he started cleaning the wound gently. The alpha watched him for a while, hissing now and then when the omega hit an extra sore spot.

“Sorry,” Tomo breathed, K shaking his head quickly.

“No, it’s ok, you have to clean it. I appreciate the help,” he smiled. Tomo blushed slightly under the alpha’s gaze and finished up quickly.

“It’s not that deep,” he said, looking closely at the wound. “But you’ve scraped off a lot of skin, and it’s gonna hurt for a while. We should probably check on it and change the bandages once a day to make sure it doesn’t get infected.”

K nodded as Tomo got the bandages and started to put them on gently. “Ok. Will you do it for me?” he asked, eyeing the omega with an unreadable look in his eyes, making Tomo blush again.

“If you want,” he said. “Me or Tatsurou both, it doesn’t matter.” He tried to play it cool, but he felt his ears burning and his words came out slightly wavering. K took his leg down from the bed as Tomo finished off the bandage.

“Ok, thanks! See you tomorrow then,” he said, smirking a bit at the omega as he turned and left, feeling a bit smug as he left a stuttering omega in the room behind him.

. . . . .

They had entered July, and it was warm and sunny, a hot summer to contrast the cold winter. After work was done for the day, most of them made their way down to the beach for a swim. True to his word, Kei hobbled down and got out into the water, eyeing Yukihiro with a grin on his face to make sure he had the alpha’s attention. When he was far enough out in the water, he tentatively lifted his feet and lay on his back in the water. Yup, it was working, he could float on his back, only his head and the belly showing above the surface. He threw the alpha a glance and then he made a weird tooting sound that made everyone turn and stare at him in surprise. Yukihiro caught on immediately though, remembering their talk on the stairs a few months ago, and started laughing loudly.

“That’s great, my sweet little hippo,” he called out to Kei, still laughing. “Just as cute as I said you would be!”

Kei started laughing as well, loosing his balance and splashing around a bit until he found the bottom with his feet. He ignored the others' stares and just reached his arms out to Yukihiro, pouting cutely. His alpha chuckled and got up from the blanket he was sitting on, wading out into the water until he reached the omega. He leaned down and kissed his temple, before he suddenly pulled the omega down into the water with him, Kei yelping and giggling as he flailed his arms, splashing water everywhere.

On the shore, Die grinned at them and then eyed his mate, who had just put everything down on the ground and stood with his back to the alpha. A second later, the omega was thrown over Die’s shoulder, the alpha speeding them out into the water. Unfortunately for Die, Subaru held on when he tried to dump his mate into the cold water. The alpha lost his balance and tripped face first into the lake, Subaru keeping his balance better and ending up on his feet. As soon as Die came up to the surface, he threw himself at the omega, tugging him under, and the whole thing turned into a playful tussle.

Kei and Yukihiro watched them from the side, laughing at their friend’s antics. “Now look what you started,” Yukihiro mumbled jokingly in his lover’s ear, pulling the omega to his chest, holding his arms protectively around the big belly. Kei just laughed and leaned up to kiss his boyfriend, feeling rather good about today.

. . . . .

Mitsuki played around with Aryu, Yomi and Kouki, chasing them in the water and splashing them with cold droplets. It was obvious to everyone that Aryu was the center of his attention, though, Mitsuki doing his very best to chase down and pull the omega into the water (and by chance get to touch some skin in the process). When the pretty omega took a break and got up on the beach, sitting down on a towel next to Natsu, his friend smirked at him.

“So, Mitsuki, huh?”

Aryu looked up at him, confused. “What do you mean?”

Natsu raised an eyebrow, grinning. “You guys seem to have a good time together? He’s clearly into you.”

“He is?” Aryu looked stunned, staring at Mitsuki who was still playing in the water, throwing the pretty omega a wanton glance now and then.

“Oh come on, don’t tell me you didn’t notice?” Natsu couldn’t help laughing. “How oblivious are you?”

“Uhm… I don’t know? I just… didn’t think that way. I mean, I figured he wanted to get to know me, but…” Aryu blushed and looked a little uncomfortable. “Anyway, we’re just friends, so…”

Natsu pursed his lips. “Just friends? Uh-hu. I don’t think he sees it that way.”

Aryu squirmed on the blanket, suddenly looking troubled. “Well, I’m not really into omegas, so…" He looked at his friend again, uncertainly, eyes wide. "Are you sure?”

Natsu eyed him and threw a stealthy glance at Mitsuki, suddenly concerned. “Well, yeah. Everyone knows. I was sure you did as well.” He furrowed his brows. “If you’re really not into him, you’d better let him know, and soon.”

Aryu sighed. “But I like him! I mean, as a friend. And I don’t want to hurt him.”

“You’re gonna hurt him more if you string him along,” Natsu said.

Aryu looked dejected, but nodded. “I guess you’re right. I’ll tell him tonight, when we’re alone.”

Natsu reached out and gave Aryu a quick hug for strength that the omega gratefully answered. Neither of them saw the grim look in Mitsuki’s eyes when he watched their hug from the lake.

. . . . .

The sound of hooves approaching made Ryo and Asanao lift their heads, looking at each other before they got up and looked up the road. A horse was coming down the road, a lone rider on its back. The alphas took up a defensive position, getting ready, but Ryo soon relaxed and put his hand on Asanao’s arm, lowering his bat.

“It’s Ju-ken,” he said quietly. Asanao squinted at the approaching rider, but soon realized as the horse came closer that he was right. Ryo quickly grabbed the reigns as the horse came to a halt, Ju-ken sliding off its back immediately. He got straight to the point without preamble, his face serious.

“I need to see Hyde right away.”

Chapter Text

“What’s going on?” Hyde didn’t waste time on greetings as he met up with Ju-ken just as he came into the village. Toshiya, Kaoru, Toll and Kaz looked just as worried as the short leader, and they didn’t become any calmer from watching Ju-ken’s tired face. They turned back towards the big house, Ju-ken starting to explain on the way.

“Two days after you left, they started stirring people up, claiming you had left us for good and that we should elect a new leader. When people didn’t want to listen, they took the few that did and tried to proclaim themselves the new council. This was on day five, and naturally, they pissed people off. The council – the real council I mean – of course stepped up and told them to fuck off, but it actually got to be pretty nasty there for a while.”

“Is everyone ok?” Hyde asked, looking worried, only relaxing when Ju-ken nodded.

“Yeah, just a bunch of bruises, a split lip and a few cracked ribs. Kiyoharu’s got a black eye and Yuu got a shallow cut from a knife, but nothing serious. But most people supported you and the council, so those assholes got bundled up and thrown out eventually, together with the four bastards that saw their chance to advance by supporting them.”

“Who supported them?” Hyde seemed hesitant to know, yet he needed to hear it.

“Saburo, Takayuki, Hotaka and Isamu,” Ju-ken said, snarling.

Hyde nodded, as if those were the names he had expected, but still didn’t want to believe had done such a thing. Ju-ken grimaced.

“We’ve been keeping extra close guard since, but they still managed to steal some of the early crops before we finally managed to scare them off. But people are getting worried, and everyone is a bit uneasy. They’re scared that they’ll stay just out of sight and then come out and attack us, or steal more food. Some have even started to think those assholes were right, and that you won’t come back. They need you there,” he concluded, Hyde clenching his jaws and nodding.

“We’ll leave first thing tomorrow morning,” he said, glaring at the dusk that was settling as if nightfall was to blame for all that had happened. Toshiya put his hand on the alpha’s shoulder.

“We’ll fix you food and make sure you have everything you need for the trip ready by tomorrow morning,” he said, Hyde nodding gratefully. They had reached the dining room just in time for dinner, and Ju-ken gratefully sank down on a chair and dug into the food he was offered, tired and hungry. Murmuring filled the room as everyone was worried about Ju-ken’s sudden appearance.

“I should go,” Kaz muttered, looking very uncomfortable.

“No,” Hyde said, determined. “Meto needs you, and he needs to stay. I won’t mess up his healing now that he’s finally getting somewhere. You two come once you’re ready, and not before.”

“But…” Hyde cut off Kaz’s protest with a kiss, letting his thumb caress his boyfriend’s lips.

“I love you, and I want you to come, you know that. But not at his expense.”

Kaz sighed but relented, leaning his forehead on Hyde’s for a moment. The pretty alpha was just about to say something when Miya came in, Tora just ahead of him. The boy discovered Ju-ken after only a second, and came running at full speed, throwing himself in the alpha’s arms. Toll looked slightly jealous when Ju-ken laughed and lifted the boy up for a big hug, but he quickly shrugged it off, smiling at the boy’s obvious glee.

“Hey there, big guy,” Ju-ken grinned. “I missed you!”

“Me too!!!!” Tora wailed happily, jumping up and down in his favorite uncle’s lap. Miya came up and leaned down for a quick hug, smiling widely in greeting as he sat down next to the alpha.

“Good to see you again, cousin,” he said. “What brings you here so soon?” His grin soon faded as he Ju-ken recapped the story quickly. He threw a glance at Toll. “Does that mean you’re leaving as well?” he asked, Toll looking decidedly unhappy as he thought of his choices.

“I don’t want to leave Masa,” he said, furrowing his brow. “But I have obligations to the people at the resort as well,” he continued, looking to Hyde for guidance. His leader looked equally troubled.

“I can’t tell you what to do, Toll,” he sighed. “I can’t order you to leave your son now that you’ve found each other again. But I’d also be lying if I didn’t say we need you at the resort.”

The alpha nodded, looking dejected. “I know,” he mumbled. “I’d… I’d better go talk to Masa about this.” He got up from the chair, Miya getting up to join him. Tora looked after his dad as he left, but was soon distracted by Ju-ken again, happily chatting away with the alpha.

“Ok,” Hyde said, looking around. “So we’ll see what Toll decides, but me and Ryo will go of course, and we’ll bring Mitsuki.”

“I’m not sure he wants to go,” Kaz said, nodding meaningfully in the omega’s direction. Mitsuki was sitting next to Aryu, glaring at them, clearly trying to distance himself from whatever was going on.

Hyde made a face. “No, I’m sure he doesn’t. But his staying was not a part of the deal, and I don’t want to take advantage of your hospitality by leaving him behind.” He smiled tiredly at Toshiya, who shook his head softly.

“It’s ok,” the islander said. “If he wants to stay, he can. We’ll expect him to work for it, just like everyone else here, but it’s fine with us if he stays.”

“Are you sure?” Hyde looked tired now, and Toshiya felt a bit sorry for him. He had had a vacation of sorts, and now he had to go back into decision mode, fixing the trouble back home. Toshiya knew all to well how it felt to be responsible for so many people, and he knew the pressure that Hyde must be under. He smiled reassuringly at the other leader and pulled a curly lock behind his ear.

“I’m sure,” he said. “Let’s ask Mitsuki and see what he wants though, before we decide.”

“Of course.” Hyde nodded, Kaz putting his arm around his shoulders in support.

“Ok, we’d better get ready and go to bed early then,” the alpha said, Kaz squeezing his shoulder, fighting off a grimace. Their eyes met, and neither had to say what they both thought. Better make our last night together in a while something to remember.

. . . . .

“I’m not going!” Mitsuki was angry and defensive even before Hyde and Toshiya had the time to say anything.

“But you….” Hyde started, only to be interrupted immediately.

“I’m not! My best friend is here, and so’s… a lot of new friends.” The furtive glance towards Aryu was almost unnoticeable. Almost. “There’s nothing for me back home anyway, except bullshit alphas fighting with each other. No way!”

Toshiya opened his mouth, but didn’t even get a word in before Mitsuki continued. “I’ll do anything, any work you need me to do. But I won’t go back, and you can’t make me.”

At the table next to him, his new friends looked equally upset. Kuina joined in. “He can stay in my room, we’ll make it work. Please, Toshiya, don’t throw him out!”

“That’s right,” Mitsuki agreed, “I can sleep anywhere, I don’t even need a bed.”

“Shut up for a second and listen,” Hyde barked, shocking the omegas into silence. “What I was trying to say, if you had stopped to listen, is that Toshiya has graciously invited you to stay here if you wish.”

Mitsuki was stunned, at a loss for words for once. “Oh,” he just said eventually. “Thanks.”

Toshiya couldn’t help laughing. “You’re welcome,” he said. “But as you said, you are expected to work for it. Are you any good at construction, by any chance?”

Mitsuki’s eyes widened, as if he couldn’t believe the chance he was offered. “Well, yeah… Actually, I am. I helped grandpa when he built our summerhouse, so I know some things. I mean, he was the boss, but…”

“Great!” Toshiya grinned. “So if it’s ok with everyone, we do need extra hands for building.” The omega nodded eagerly, and Hyde just shrugged, not really caring as long as everyone else was happy with the deal. “Ok then. You start tomorrow,” the islander said, Mitsuki bowing gratefully, a happy grin on his face. When the two alphas turned to leave and finish up what needed to be done before bed, the omega sat down and looked around at his friends, beaming.

. . . . .

“I thought you were gonna talk to him tonight,” Yomi said later as they went upstairs to go to bed.

Aryu shrugged, uncomfortably. “I just couldn’t. First he was too upset, and then he was too happy. I’ll tell him after the rest of them leaves, when things have cooled down a bit.”

Yomi nodded in understanding and changed the subject, and though nothing more was said, Aryu’s mind told himself plenty. The pretty omega went to bed feeling very guilty, dreaming about a sad Mitsuki all night.

. . . . .

The next morning, the alphas got ready to leave. Toll had finally decided to join them on the journey home, after Masa told him to go take care of his friends. “I have Miya here,” the omega told his father, “I’ll be fine. But your friends need you. Besides, you can come visit after everything’s settled. I want you to meet your new grandson.”

And so Toll agreed to leave, but also to come back as soon as possible to see them. He gave Masa a tight hug before he left, both of them wiping away a few tears. Before he left, Toll grabbed Miya’s hand, looking him straight in the eye. “I trust you to take care of them for me,” he said, earnestly. Miya smiled back, somewhat emotional himself, and nodded. “I will,” he said, putting his other hand over their joined hands. “I will. And you come back and visit, you hear?”

And with another promise to come back, Toll left, Masa staring for a long while at the closed door. Miya lay down beside him, putting his arms around his mate, stroking his hair gently.

“I think,” Masa said eventually, “that maybe I’ll miss him.”

Miya smiled, pressing his lips to his mate’s cheek. “I’m glad,” he whispered, gently caressing his lover’s cheek.

Chapter Text

Kaz was restless for a whole week after Hyde and the others had left. He was worried about his friends and what they would find back at the resort, and about the possibility that the group they threw out would be waiting to ambush Hyde on his way back, as a means of grabbing control. His mood was rubbing off on Meto, and it wasn’t until Tatsurou talked to the alpha that he made a conscious effort to calm down for his mate’s sake. After a few more days, the youngster was finally calm enough to continue with the therapy sessions.

Shinya, Tatsurou and Reika got to work trying to get a trial recipe for birth control ready. The biggest problem was knowing if it worked, since not everyone got pregnant from just one heat. Also, they had to try it on someone who wouldn’t mind getting pregnant if the experiment didn’t work, and they thought it through thoroughly before they approached Cazqui, Subaru and Kazuki with their significant others. The plan was to start with one of them, and if everything seemed ok, let the other two try as well. Cazqui and Kazuki agreed, while Subaru dithered a bit, wanting to think about it for a while before he said yes or no. Die threw his mate a glance but said nothing, just held his hand as he let the omega decide. Eventually, it was decided Kazuki would be the first to try the birth control, his heat a few weeks off. Cazqui was to be next, but he more or less danced out of the sickroom already, clutching his boyfriend’s arm, eyes shining. He doesn’t mind having a baby with me if it doesn’t work. He wants to stay with me. If Satochi guessed what was going through his boyfriend’s head, he didn’t say. He just leaned down to give his omega a kiss on the cheek before he went back to work, smiling to himself.

Meanwhile, Mitsuki settled in well with the construction team, and Kaoru informed Toshiya that they were actually ahead of schedule. The engineer started on a new plan for the fall, in case they would have time left to work after the terraced house was done. They planned for add-ons to some of the cottages, doubling their size while making use of a shared wall to cut down on timber used. Yukke also sent a few from the team to cut down trees, preparing for next year's building projects.

Slowly, things got back to normal, with the addition of their seven guests. The pregnant omegas soon settled in, helping with household chores where they could, making friends with the islanders. Byou formed an unexpected bond with Ruki, as the visiting omega turned out to have two completely different personality traits – utterly sweet and complete pervert. Ruki immediately caught on to the perverted part, and the two exchanged crude jokes that made their mates cringe. While Ruki was off doing other things, Byou was a total sweetheart, and the contrast confused and amused everyone. Ibuki just shrugged and grinned when someone asked him about it, simply stating ‘that’s why I love him’ and leaving it at that.

Meanwhile, Manabu and Masa continued to spend time together, and Hiyori made an instant friend in Daichi. It seemed everyone was settling in, slowly but surely.

. . . . .

It was mid July when Subaru came running down to the construction site at full speed just before they were finished for the day. Everyone halted what they were doing and watched the omega approach.

“Ibuki,” Subaru panted, his head swiveling as he searched for the alpha. “Where is he?”

“What’s wrong? Is it Byou?” A panicked Ibuki stepped out of the house immediately, ready to run to his mate the moment Subaru said the word.

“It’s time,” Subaru said, “his water broke. The baby’s coming.”

He almost didn’t have time to finish before Ibuki was halfway to the big house. The alpha almost broke down the door in his haste to get in to see his mate, lying on the bed in the room next to the sickroom. Tatsurou was already there, as was Kei and Tomo, and the omegas were cleaning Byou while Tatsurou got his tools ready. Ibuki immediately grabbed his mate’s hand, leaning down to kiss his forehead and gently stroking the hair out of his face.

“I’m here, babe. You’re doing fine, we’ll get through this together,” he said gently, Byou looking up at him with fear-filled eyes.

“That’s right, you’re doing just fine,” Tatsurou added, calmingly. “Just breathe like we talked about and follow my instructions and everything will be ok.” He gave the couple a reassuring smile as he put on some gloves they still had left from their hospital loot. Kuina walked in with another big bowl of boiled water, leaving quickly before he had to see more than he wanted to. The nurse gave his two assistants a few final orders, and then they all settled down to wait for the newest member of their community.

. . . . .

Everyone waited in the dining room the whole evening, but by two o’clock at night, most of them dropped off to go rest when there were still no news. They were all back again for an early breakfast, nervously listening to the screams coming from the back of the house at regular intervals.

“Is something wrong?” Hiyori asked nervously, Junji almost crushing his mate’s hand while they waited anxiously.

“I’m sure it’s fine,” Uruha said, trying to calm them down. “It takes longer sometimes. Shou took all night, while Hiroto was much faster.”

Hiyori made an effort to look calm and collected, but he was still clearly nervous. How can he not be, Uruha thought, when he’s seen three friends die during childbirth. He felt sorry for the visitors, having to sit through this torturous waiting, knowing they were going to have to go through the same thing. He did his best to distract them and assure them the nurse knew what he was doing, that everything would be fine. Still, as the hours passed, he too fell silent and just waited.

Manabu sat still, anxiously waiting without a word. K sat next to him, stroking his back soothingly, but when Shuse came into the room, he got up and went over to the alpha.

“Listen, could you do me a favor?” he asked the sergeant, keeping his voice down so no one could overhear them.

Shuse eyed him suspiciously. “What?”

“Could you help me take care of Manabu for a moment? I really need to use the privy, but I don’t want to leave him. Could you just… keep him company? Hold his hand for a while?” K smiled at the older alpha, the look in his eyes completely innocent. Shuse’s breath hitched slightly as he glanced at the omega, looking down at his hands, chewing his lip. Then he nodded, K grinning widely and patting his shoulder. “Great! Thanks! I’ll be a while. Nature’s call, you know. I trust you to take care of him.” And with that, the young alpha was gone, leaving a very nervous sergeant alone. Shuse took a deep breath before he went up to Manabu and carefully sat down next to him.

“Hey… How are you doing?” he asked, Manabu blinking at him and shrugging. He looked so adorable that the alpha’s heart was about to melt, and he couldn’t help reaching out for the omega’s hand, taking it in his and stroking it with his thumb. “He’ll be ok. Tatsurou’s good,” he said, trying to sound more certain than he was. At that moment, Byou let out a long, loud scream, and Manabu flinched and leaned into Shuse, breathing quickly and whimpering softly. The alpha found himself hugging the omega to his chest, whispering soothing words and stroking his back gently. He wasn’t quite sure how it happened, but it did, and he hardly noticed K come back after a long while, slipping back out into the hallway with a smug look on his face.

. . . . .

Byou was drenched in sweat and completely exhausted, his mate looking nearly as tired. But they didn’t care, not when Tatsurou gently put the little boy on the omega’s chest and put a small towel over his tiny body to keep him warm. Byou smiled at the child, nearly crying from happiness as he looked up at his mate, all the pain and exhaustion forgotten. Ibuki leaned down to give him a kiss, before both their attentions were directed back at their son.

“Hi there,” Byou whispered. “You’re so beautiful. I can’t believe you’re mine.”

Ibuki carefully wound the tiny hand around his finger, reverently looking at the miniature limbs. “He looks like you,” he smiled, kissing Byou’s sweaty temple again.

“And you,” Byou countered, leaning his cheek on the small head.

Tatsurou smiled at the little family, just as exhausted. At half past two in the morning, he had sent Kei home to sleep, not wanting to risk the pregnant omega’s health. Tomo, however, had worked hard all night, and now looked as if he was about to fall asleep on his feet. After telling the little family to rest for a few hours, letting them know where he’d be if they needed him, the nurse gently took his assistant by the arm and led him out of the room.

K was still in the hallway, sitting on the stairs, waiting. He looked up at the two, but quickly relaxed when he saw the nurse’s happy smile. Tatsurou looked at him in surprise.

“Where’s Manabu?” he asked, K smirking slightly.

“Oh, I left him in Shuse’s care while I went to the privy. Two hours ago.”

As tired as he was, Tatsurou couldn’t help snort at the alpha’s words, chuckling. “Ok, good. I approve. But that means you’re free to help this tired guy to his room then?” he asked, not missing K’s nervous blink or the eagerness with which he agreed. Tomo, on his end, was too tired to notice who it was that wound their arm around his waist and helped him up the stairs. He just leaned in, put his head on the strong shoulder and breathed in a musky and comforting alpha scent, yawning sleepily as he was led up to his room.

By now, people had noticed the nurse in the hallway, Kaoru quickly coming up to wrap his arms around his boyfriend with a worried frown on his face. Tatsurou smiled at him, patting his cheek before he yawned widely. He turned to the room, meeting all the troubled faces with a happy grin.

“Everything’s fine. He’s an alpha, healthy and beautiful. The whole family’s fine and resting, and so will I right now.” He yawned again, waving at the room and ignoring all the happy and relieved gasps as he leaned heavily on Kaoru, letting his lover lead him to bed.

Behind him, Hiyori and Junji hugged tightly, Hiyori crying from relief. Manabu stayed in Shuse’s arms, neither of them acknowledging the fact out loud. When K came back down from putting Tomo to bed, he stepped into the dining room and joined the happy celebrations. For a moment, his eyes met Shuse’s, the sergeant still with his arm around Manabu. And then the younger alpha smiled widely, winking at Shuse, before he turned away and started talking to Die. The sergeant watched him turn his back, unbelieving, but his attention soon returned to the very relieved omega in his arms.

Chapter Text

They stayed after dinner, talking. Kuina, Yomi and Kouki abandoned them one after the other, and eventually, only Aryu and Mitsuki were still sitting there. The dining room was slowly being emptied, and still they sat talking, Mitsuki excitedly telling Aryu stories to make the pretty omega laugh. Which he did. A lot.

By the time Mitsuki took a break in his fast-as-lightning speech, they were the only ones still in the room. Aryu looked around him, surprised. He hadn’t noticed how time had passed, he had had too much fun. He turned around to Mitsuki, lips already parting to say as much, when he was met by another set of lips, pressing against his own. He stilled in shock, feeling the heat of the lips on his, before he pulled back and stared at his friend. He hadn’t gotten around to talking to the other omega yet, something always getting in the way, but he had somehow thought that Mitsuki had understood anyway. But here he was, staring in shock at a hopeful omega, blinking and biting his lips, quiet for once.

“I’m…” Aryu started, taking a deep breath as he looked into the hopeful eyes. “I’m not into omegas… I’m… I’m sorry, Miki…”

Mitsuki drew a sharp breath at that, shaking his head violently, pain written all over his face. “No! Please, no… I thought we were on the same…” He broke off, fighting to keep his composure. “Won’t you give me a chance at least? Please, let me convince you! I’ll do anything.”

Aryu felt like shit. He didn’t want to deal with this, the confusion, the pain. He didn’t want to be the asshole that let his friend down. But god, it was all too much, and he just shook his head, fighting the tears.

“Please? Just… Think about it? Until morning at least.” Mitsuki looked broken, disheartened, so full of pain, and it broke Aryu in turn. And he didn’t know why. It was just stupid, and it would lead to more heartache, but…

“Ok. Until tomorrow morning,” he agreed quietly, looking down on his own hands, shoulders slumped.

He heard Mitsuki draw a surprised breath, and he pinched his eyes closed, not wanting to see the sudden hope that he was sure had flared up in the omega’s eyes. The other got the hint and slowly got up from his chair, shuffling his feet a bit as he tried to think of something to say. In the end, he just mumbled a ‘see you tomorrow then’ and left, leaving Aryu alone in the dining room. The pretty omega heard the footsteps going upstairs, and his shoulder slumped even more as he buried his face in his hands and started sobbing softly.

. . . . .

He wasn’t the only one sobbing. Mitsuki sat wrapped in Kuina’s arms, head leaning on his friend’s shoulder as he cried his eyes out.

“Why?” he cried, “why is no one ever interested in me? It’s always ‘I’m not into omegas’ or ‘I’m in love with someone else’. Why not me? What’s wrong with me?”

“Nothing,” Kuina soothed, stroking his hair. “You’ve just been unlucky, that’s all. You’ll meet someone eventually.”

Mitsuki pulled back and glared at his friend through the tears. “But I don’t want a ‘someone’. I want him! I’ve never felt like this before. I’ve accepted all the rejections, always, and I’m sick of it. I want him, I love him, and I just want… I want…” His voice broke and he started sobbing again, Kuina reaching over to hug him.

“I know,” he mumbled. “And I’m so sorry.”

Mitsuki didn’t have enough words left in him to answer.

. . . . .

Aryu sat in the dining room until Kazuki came down to look for him, his roommate looking worried as he found his pretty friend crying. He didn’t look any less worried after Aryu had explained it all, but he wrapped his arm around the omega and led him up to their room.

Aryu crawled onto his bed, rolling up into a little ball. This was all so confusing, and difficult. He honestly didn’t know what to do. He wasn’t gay, not in the slightest. But he really enjoyed Mitsuki’s company, and the two had lots of fun together. If he was truly honest with himself, he might even feel a twinge in his chest now and then when his friend came near. But he had never been interested in an omega before, only had alpha lovers, and he was used to the horny dizziness that came with breathing in the alpha pheromones. Without it, he didn’t know what to think of his feelings.

And it was his own fault for putting off talking to Mitsuki, but how do you go about telling a friend you don’t want him without said friend openly confessing to having any such feelings?

(And if he was to be truly honest with himself, those lips had felt pretty good against his. Soft, sweet, loving. Comfortable in a way he’d never felt before. But honesty was overrated.)

Kazuki tried making him talk about it, but soon gave up, just tucking his friend in and keeping an eye on him as he lay there, crying and mumbling to himself.

He wasn’t into omegas. He so wasn’t. (Not even if they were really funny and sweet and had the softest lips.) Never had been. (Because that determined who you were going to be interested in in the future as well.) And he didn’t want a relationship ever again, not after Gackt. (Not even with an omega who was the exact opposite of that disgusting alpha.) He was going to remain single for the rest of his life. (Even if Mitsuki was kind of hot.) He was never gonna have sex again. Ever. (Oooookey… Maybe not… quite.) But never with an alpha again, he was never gonna let anyone make him feel like Gackt had, ever again! (But Mitsuki was not an alpha…)

When he finally fell asleep, his dreams were jumbled and strange, and they all had Mitsuki in them in some way or other.

. . . . .

Byou and Ibuki made their first public appearance the next morning. They were looking a lot more rested as they came into the dining room with their little baby boy dressed in a light grey jumpsuit, wrapped in a cute red blanket with white hearts on it, all courtesy of Ruki. The whole room gathered around the three, cooing over the baby, admiring the tiny hands and the cute button nose.

“His name’s Tomoya,” Ibuki said, proud father all the way. Hiyori, Junji and Manabu were especially happy to see the baby, sleeping soundly with his thumb in his mouth. They had been more nervous than they had been willing to admit even to themselves, as they agreed to go on this journey to the unknown, and it was an immense relief to see the first of the babies safely delivered into this world.

K was back at Manabu’s side, doing his job in looking after the omega, but he made sure to leave enough room for Shuse to step in whenever he wanted to. The sergeant was still trying to be respectful and give Manabu space and at the same time he did everything to be as close to him as possible. It was somehow adorable to see the rough alpha trip over his own feet in his attempts to make the young omega comfortable, but since they all suspected Shuse would back off if anyone pointed it out, they pretended not to notice.

When Tomo came up to coo over little Tomoya, K sidled up next to him and slyly put his hand on the small of the omega’s back, pretending like nothing had happened as he congratulated the happy couple. Tomo straightened up and stared at the alpha, but he made no move to step away, and since K didn’t even acknowledge that the hand was there, the omega just let it happen. Manabu quietly watched the whole thing, saying nothing at all. Shuse felt a sting in his chest. Was the omega jealous? Did he wish K was interested in him instead? But then Manabu looked up at him and smiled, and the sergeant felt the rest of the world melt away as he gazed into those amazing eyes. What had he been thinking again? It probably wasn’t important anyway.

. . . . .

Mitsuki watched everyone else greet the baby, but he didn’t have the strength to do so himself right now. He hadn’t slept for more than a few hours, and now he was feeling like a ghost, or a zombie, or something equally dead. Aryu still wasn’t here, and Mitsuki feared the worst. He had been here before. Rejection, followed by distancing, ignoring, looking away… It had hurt then, always had, but it had nothing on the pain he felt now. Aryu was… perfect, for lack of a better word. He was the one, he who would always hold the key to Mitsuki’s heart, he was sure of it. And if he couldn’t have Aryu… The whole world fell apart. Could he stay here then? Probably not. But leaving would hurt just as much. The thoughts made the omega’s head spin, and he felt sick to his stomach as he waited for his doom.

Aryu didn’t show up until breakfast was basically over, most of them already out working. He looked equally sleep-deprived and zombielike as he came into the room, his eyes seeking Mitsuki out where the omega sat in the corner, looking dejected. The pretty omega took a deep breath and forced himself to walk over, swaying slightly on his feet from exhaustion. Tatsurou had lingered in the dining room, keeping his eye on the two omegas while trying to look like he really wasn’t. He noted their near sleepwalking and the apprehension on their faces, getting ready to step in and take care of the mess that might be left behind after this little talk.

Aryu sat down heavily on a chair next to Mitsuki. The other omega didn’t look up, just sat there, waiting for the words of rejection he was sure to hear. He flinched when Aryu reached out to take one of his hands, squeezing it gently, but still neither of them spoke for a long while.

“No promises. But I’ll give it a try.” Aryu’s words came as a shock, without preamble, saying the exact last thing Mitsuki had expected to hear. He looked up, finally, staring wide-eyed into those beautiful dark orbs. It took him at least a minute to find his voice to answer, and when he did, it was just a whispered ‘what?’.

“I’ll give it a try,” Aryu repeated, his voice wavering a bit. “I’ve never… I’m not… But I’ll give it a try. Because I like you, I really do.” He looked up at Mitsuki, suddenly looking fearful. “But I’m not making any promises! If it feels weird, or I don’t like it, I’m not…”

He was cut off by Mitsuki’s lips on his, and he let out a soft sigh as the other omega gently held his face in his hands. And then Mitsuki tilted his head, slowly deepening the kiss, and Aryu closed his eyes as his breathing became unsteady. There it was again, that strange feeling he didn’t know what to do with, and he nearly pulled away. But by now, Mitsuki’s hands had made their way into his hair, his tongue gently probing Aryu’s lips, trying to find its way inside. And god, Aryu realized that he’d let him. He didn’t know how, but suddenly they were kissing – with tongue! – and he was feeling even more weak-kneed than he’d been when he had come downstairs.

They both ignored the sound of Tatsurou’s boots leaving the room as they explored this new, strange sensation together.

Chapter Text

Later that day, Yomi and Kouki pulled Aryu into their room to ask what his talk with Mitsuki had been about.

“Did you tell him you’re not interested?” Yomi asked, Aryu’s ears turning pink. “Wait, you didn’t?! Oh Aryu, you’ve got to be honest with him or you’re gonna break his heart.” Yomi was frowning at him now, but Aryu put his chin up defiantly.

“I was, ok? I was honest with him, and with myself, finally!”

Kouki eyed him curiously. “Yourself? What’s that supposed to mean?”

Aryu blushed deep red and said nothing, to Yomi’s annoyance. “You’d better not mess around with him, Aryu,” he said, eyeing his friend menacingly. Yomi had always had a high sensitivity to what was proper and ok to do in regards to matters of the heart. It was almost sweet how protective he was over a new friend’s feelings rather than worry about how his old friend was doing. Almost sweet. It was also bloody annoying that he’d think Aryu would stoop so low as to toy with someone else’s feelings.

“Of course I not messing around,” he snapped, glowering at Yomi. “I’m not an asshole.” (Well, not always anyway, his own mind reminded him surreptitiously.)

“So what then?” Kouki asked, calmly, trying to pour oil on the troubled waters. “What did you guys say?”

Aryu dithered for a moment, feeling Yomi’s stare on him almost burn a hole in his head. “He’s my boyfriend, ok?” he finally half-screamed, before he clamped his lips shut, his hand over his mouth. Kouki and Yomi both stared at him.

“Boyfriend?” Yomi asked, incredulous. “But I thought you didn’t like omegas.”

“I don’t,” Aryu mumbled, taking on a deeper shade of red than anyone had ever seen on him. “Not usually. But he’s not really like an omega is he? And I like him. He makes me laugh. And I told him I’d give it a try, but if it doesn’t work out…” He was slowly returning to the defiant look, despite the fact that he felt like his cheeks were about to explode.

Kouki smiled at him. “That’s great! I’m happy for you. I think Mitsuki will be good for you.” He gave his friend a hug, ignoring the muffled protests, and then stepped back, looking at Yomi expectantly.

The tiny omega pouted for a second, before he finally shrugged. “Ok, fine. I’m happy to. Just be nice to each other,” he muttered, stepping up to give Aryu a hug as well. The pretty omega blinked, feeling overwhelmed. They weren’t gonna start telling him he was wrong or disgusting? That he should break it off?

When Aryu walked away, he felt lightheaded again, something he’d almost gotten used to in these last few days. Was getting accepted as bi by his friends really this easy? And if so, why had he feared it so much?

. . . . .

Die waited until they were alone and back in their cabin for the night, making sure his mate was relaxed in his arms before he brought up the subject that had been on his mind since they had their talk with the nurse.

“Baru, sweetheart?” he asked tentatively, a bit scared to bring it up. He felt like his nerves were on the outside of his body, sensitive to every shift his omega made, physically and mentally.

Subaru didn’t pick up on it at first, the tension in his mate’s muscles, the slight tightness to Die’s voice. He was happily snuggled in, enjoying their closeness. “Mmm?” he mumbled, eyes closed as he let his fingers slide over his mate’s chest.

“I was wondering…” Die paused as he tried to find the right way to ask such a delicate question. And now his mate definitely noticed, eyes popping open. Die sighed. The look in Subaru’s eyes told him this would not be easily said, so he just asked the question that had been bothering him. “Why did you hesitate about the medicine trials?”

Subaru’s eyes widened, a fear in them that Die hated seeing there, and he hurried to explain further. “I mean, it’s fine if you don’t want to, it’s your body and your decision, and I support you, you know that. It’s just… I was wondering what the reason behind it was. Are you worried about the effects it might have on your health? Or…” He took a deep, trembling breath, his stomach suddenly churning. “Is it that you don’t want to risk getting pregnant with me?”

There, he had said it, put his fear out there. And now he waited, not breathing at all, as Subaru’s eyes widened, his cheeks turned pink and his mouth opened and closed again. Die could read the guilt all over his mate’s face, and it felt like an arrow to the heart. So that was it. He didn’t want to have Die’s children.

When Subaru finally managed to get his mouth to produce words, Die had already sunk deep into himself, anguish making his chest tighten. “That’s not it at all! Baby, I swear!” Subaru pressed himself into his mate’s chest, burying his face against Die. The alpha desperately needed his mate’s reassurance right then, and he shuddered at the touch, clinging to it as a lifeline.

Subaru watched Die’s face intently, feeling slightly light-headed and strange about this reversal of roles, where he was comforting a Die in obvious distress. There was nothing to it, he had to tell his mate the truth, as embarrassing as it was to admit. “Die,” he whispered, feeling incredibly nervous. “The reason I hesitated was…” His voice lowered until he was nearly impossible to hear. “I’m scared it will work.”

Die pulled back to stare at his mate’s face, examining his face closely. “What are you saying?” he asked. Even though he thought he had understood correctly, he still needed it spelled out. Subaru swallowed, trying to look away, but couldn’t as his mate caught his chin and tilted his head up so that he could look into the omega’s eyes.

“I’m saying… I don’t want them to work…” Subaru mumbled, blushing fiercely by now. He had been so scared to let on what he wanted, thinking Die wouldn’t see him fit to be a parent after his… mental issues. Admitting to it now made him feel physically sick, like every bone in his body hurt and his lungs clawed for air as he pressed on. “I don’t want to wait for another year, or whatever time those trials will take. I want us to try for a baby… now.“

The alpha didn’t really know what to say at that. Here he had been thinking the exact opposite, worrying that Subaru had regrets about them, that his mate didn’t want a family after all. As it turned out, he was wrong. Completely and utterly wrong. And he couldn’t be happier about it.

His lips crushed down on Subaru’s in a desperate and needy kiss, the omega stiffening in surprise before he happily gave himself to the kiss, easily letting Die roll him over onto his back. Hands started roaming over his body, and he moaned loudly as he felt the thrill of his mate’s fingers brushing over his nipples, relaxing into the touch.

Everything would be just fine.

. . . . .

There was something in the trap, the color of a fox but way too small to be one. Color was wrong and ears much too small to be a rabbit. Atsushi moved closer cautiously, curiously eyeing the reddish fluff in the cage, trying to be quiet as not to scare the animal further. When the tiny animal lifted its head and looked at him, he blinked in surprise. Oh.

“It’s mine,” he stated to Yukihiro behind him, the hunter looking at him in surprise but just shrugging in response. As they returned to the island, Atsushi held the cage on his lap protectively while a plan was forming in his head.

. . . . .

Koichi sat on the bed in the sickroom, as usual eyeing Tatsurou nervously while the nurse gently pressed his belly and measured how much it had grown, putting it down in his charts. He was humming, furrowing his brows in concentration as he felt the belly, coming back to two spots over and over again. It made the omega nervous, and eventually Tomo cleared his throat to make Tatsurou pay attention to his patient’s nerves.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” the nurse smiled at Koichi. “I’m just trying to learn and figure out more about which of the baby’s limbs is where as I feel your belly. That’s all. Nothing’s wrong, I promise.”

The omega visibly relaxed at that, smiling weakly at the alpha. Tatsurou patted his hand gently and stood up, gesturing to him that it was ok to put his T-shirt back on. When the pregnant omega left and closed the door behind him, the nurse turned to see Tomo with his arms crossed over his chest, an eyebrow raised.

“What?” Tatsurou said, though he knew the answer already.

“You’re not just feeling for what is where. You’ve learnt that by now.”

The alpha shrugged, making a face.

“So why did you lie to him?” Tomo asked, a little concerned now. Was something wrong after all?

Tatsurou sighed. “I’m not one hundred percent sure yet, so I’d rather not say,” he muttered. “I need to read up on some stuff. Also, I think that when I am sure, we should have Hazuki here as well as I deliver the news.”

He wouldn’t say anything else apart from answering Tomo’s direct question on whether the baby was in trouble with a firm ‘no’. The assistant felt somewhat relieved at that, but he was still a bit anxious that his friend was in for more rough news. He wasn’t sure he could handle that too well after the whole Meto business. But since Tatsurou clammed up, he had no choice but to pretend like nothing was up in front of Koichi. He just hoped Tatsurou would figure it out soon.

. . . . .

Uta was in his favorite room, the library, reading a book. He was done with his chores for the day and preferred to relax with a book up here by himself rather than go swim with the others. When he heard steps on the stairs outside he looked up, waiting to see who it was.

His boyfriend. Yikes.

Uta quickly put his feet down on the floor again, biting his lip nervously as he put the book on the table and looked up at the alpha. He really did like Atsushi, he did! And they talked sometimes, infinitely slowly getting closer to each other. Well, mentally anyway. But he was still desperately nervous every time, worrying he would mess up or that the alpha would get tired of trying. He wringed his hands as he tried a small smile, the major smiling back at him.

Atsushi looked happy but nervous, and the omega wondered what was going on. Uta hadn’t seen Atsushi this nervous since they had… He blushed as he thought about that day when they had confessed to each other. Oh my. Back to the present, Uta!

The major sauntered in, hands behind his back. He stopped a few paces off as usual, weighing back and forth on the soles of his feet for a moment before he spoke. “Hi. How is everything?”

Uta was extremely nervous by now. His boyfriend had never behaved quite like this before, and he wasn’t sure what it meant. “I’m fine thanks. And you?” His answer was quiet as always, polite and careful.

A small peep in the room somewhere made the omega startle, and he blinked, looking around to locate the source. Atsushi grinned all of a sudden, his hands coming out from behind his back. But it wasn’t just hands, no. In a basket in the major’s firm grasp, a red kitten sat staring at the world around it. It wasn’t too young, probably at least six months old, but it was still small and skinny, and its coat was matted. One eye was a little gooey, and it seemed shy but not too afraid of these huge beings that were handling it.

Uta’s eyes almost popped out his head when he saw the kitten, raising his hand to his mouth to cover his gasp.

Atsushi smiled, finding the omega’s reaction adorable. “I found it when hunting, it had wandered into a trap and got caught. The poor thing was so hungry and thirsty, and Tatsu says it had lots of ticks, but he took care of them and rinsed the eye. But the little guy needs someone to take care of him and nurse him back to health, and make him learn to trust people, and I figured… You’re good with animals, so… Maybe you’d like to help him?”

“What… You mean… Mine?” Uta stammered, but his hands were eagerly reaching for the basket, and the major quickly handed it over. Their fingers brushed against each other as the basket traded hands, and the omega blushed deep red and quickly pulled the kitten towards him, nestling it in his lap and petting it gently, cooing. The kitten meowed weakly, looking up at the omega, before it started purring without warning. It was so unexpected and adorable that Uta couldn’t help smiling widely with joy, lifting the kitten to his chest.

Atsushi was speechless. Breathless. Powerless to resist the emotions that washed over him as he saw Uta smile, really smile, for the very first time. It was so sweet, so beautiful, and it transformed the omega’s already beautiful face into that of an absolute angel’s. The major drew in a deep, sharp breath as Uta looked up at him. The omega looked happy. It was something completely new and oh so wonderful, and Atsushi stood there and just took in the amazing sight.

It was over quickly, of course, Uta immediately getting nervous under the major’s intense looks, hiding behind his bangs and turning back to the cat. But it had happened, and Atsushi felt mighty pleased with himself as he stood watching the two for a while, slender fingers caressing soft, warm fur. When he finally left, Uta was still sitting on the couch, completely mesmerized by the little red ball that had fallen asleep on his lap.

. . . . .

For once, Ruki wasn’t seething with envy. He was a dog person, and he had Koron, so he was happy enough, only making a comment about that Koron could use another friend some day. Kyo mentally let out a sigh of relief, while pretending like the thought of Ruki freaking out hadn’t entered his mind. Koron displayed some initial interest in the little fluff ball, but was soon put in his place by a claw placed right on his sensitive nose. The dog immediately backed away and acknowledged who was the new master of the house, and Uta found it hilarious. He even smiled twice – twice – that the major could see that night, and the alpha was feeling mighty fine as he watched Uta revel in the kitten’s antics. The kitten also stole all the attention of his friends and the kids, everyone falling more in love with the tiny animal by the second. Toshiya grinned knowingly at the major, and Atsushi couldn’t help smirking as he shrugged. He had done good, and he knew it.

When Uta went to bed that night, he of course brought the kitten with him. For once he fell asleep easily, a warm feeling in his chest chasing away the troubling thoughts that usually festered him before sleep. Beneath the blankets, a warm red softness snuggled up to his belly, his own tiny love radiator.

Chapter Text

Kaz was getting restless again. He had tried to relax for Meto’s sake, but Hyde should be there by now, and it killed him not to know what had happened. He wished, not for the first time, that multiple mate bonds were possible, or for that matter, mate bonds between alphas. At least then, he would’ve known Hyde was alive and well. He itched to go, but knew he couldn’t leave Meto behind like that, and though the youngster was doing better, he was nowhere near ready to go. He had started accepting it when Kou and Tsu talked about Mia in his presence, rather than running out of the room or throwing a fit. Tatsurou had told Kaz he shouldn’t expect Meto to ever start talking again, but that he was making big progress. When he could sit with his friends and reminisce about Mia, even cry openly about what had happened, then he was ready to move on. But only then.

And now Kaz found himself stuck between a rock and a hard place. Both men in his life needed him, and he desperately longed for the one who wasn’t there, at least needed news about him. Shuse and Reika reluctantly offered to go, but Toshiya said no, and Kaz didn’t think he could live with himself if he let those two leave again when they were finally finding happiness here.

Reika and Kouki were continuing with their dates, slowly but surely working themselves up from handholding and chaste kissing to half-naked caresses and tongues plunged into each other’s mouths. They still hadn’t gone all the way, though, but with Kouki’s eyes shining that brightly and Reika’s constant smile, it was no secret to anyone those two were meant to be.

Meanwhile, Shuse and Manabu continued on the path of ‘nothing happening and nothing being said but we just want to be close to each other’. Kaz hoped they would have their little chat soon, he had talked to K as well and knew the alpha was doing what he could to encourage Manabu to open up to Shuse. The omega was shy and scared, however, and K thought he was too afraid of rejection. Though he hadn’t said it, K believed Manabu did like the sergeant, but wasn’t confident enough to do something about it. Still, it was just a guess, as Manabu kept his cards close to his chest.

Either way, sending anyone off to find out things for him did seem pretty shitty, especially since there were no perfect candidates for leaving. Also, it was dangerous, with the Grumpies out there. One or two people could easily get into trouble, even if Hyde and the others had made it through. It was enough to make him go crazy, thinking about it, and he needed to keep himself occupied and his mind distracted. He talked to the nurse, who cleared him to work full days now, thinking Meto was well enough to be on his own for a whole day. And so Kaz threw himself into the building and the farming, alternating between tasks, working longer hours than anyone. Meto grumbled about it, but eventually settled and had fun with his friends instead, something that would not have been possible a few months ago.

If only some news would come.

. . . . .

July passed, with good things happening all around. Their vegetables grew like crazy, this year having the perfect weather for crops – sunny daytime, raining nighttime. Building was coming along nicely, and they would probably finish in record time. Yukke even divided some of the crew to start preparing the ground behind Die and Subaru’s cottage, since it was the easiest place to prepare for fast building. If they were lucky, they would be able to double that cottage in size before winter was here, or at least get enough of a head start so it would be quickly finished this spring. They were getting the hang of this now, and having so many extra hands really helped.

Shinya were beginning to have problems moving around in the kitchen garden, but he stubbornly kept going with the help of his aides, much to Toshiya’s grumbling dissent. When they harvested the first of the tomatoes, however, even the curly-headed leader admitted it was worth it.

Uta and the kitten, named simply Neko, became inseparable. Neko came and went as he pleased in the house, but when he was there, he was always glued to Uta’s side. Unfortunately, he also thought Uta deserved daily gifts of mice and birds, which the omega had to call in Atsushi to remove for him. The major was all too happy to help, and they started to bond over the kitten, the alpha often spending his evenings with Uta (on a respectable distance, of course), playing with the kitten and talking. Two weeks after Neko came into their lives, Uta even carefully offered his boyfriend a quick hug to thank him for the cat. Even though the hug was so loose and quick the major hadn’t even really felt Uta’s arms around him, just the knowledge he had been hugged was enough to bring tears of joy to his eyes.

One night after dinner, Tatsurou casually asked Koichi and Hazuki into the sickroom, instantly sending the omega into flailing panic. It took some convincing from the nurse and some hugging from his mate to calm him enough to get him into the room and sit down to listen. Tomo sneaked in as well, positioning himself in the corner by the door. Tatsurou threw him a glance, but let him stay without comment.

“What is it? What’s wrong?” Koichi asked the second the door shut behind them all, clinging to his mate in desperation.

“Nothing is wrong, Kou,” the nurse sighed. “Please, sit down and I’ll explain.”

Koichi started protesting, but Hazuki grabbed him and steered him off to the bed, sitting down on it and wrapping his arms around his mate. “Shh, babe, let’s just hear what he has to say, ok?” he said, making a valiant effort not to sound as nervous as he was.

Tatsurou pulled the stool up and sat down in front of them, smiling reassuringly. He heard Tomo shift in the corner, but kept his focus on the mated couple before him. “As you know,” he started, “I’ve been checking your progress extra, since your stomach has grown pretty quickly.” He hurried to continue as all color drenched from Koichi’s face at the words. “But I think I know why now. I’m not a hundred percent sure, but maybe… 98%?”

“Sure of what?” Hazuki wasn’t looking too good either, clenching his mate to his chest, eyes a little wild.

“I think you’re gonna have twins.”

If he had expected them to jump up and shout, or laugh, or be relieved, he was wrong. The couple were both looking completely blank for a moment, staring at the nurse with open mouths, the news seemingly not registering. It was Tomo who reacted first, his little shout of glee waking the two up from their zombie mode, only to shove them into stammer mode instead.

“But… Wha… How are… Twins? Is that… Are you sure?” Tatsurou couldn’t help laughing at the two, their shocked expressions actually rather amusing as they processed the news.

“Yes,” he said patiently. “You are going to have twins. I caught on to it when I felt for the head and found two. “

“He’s got two heads?!” Koichi turned white again, too shocked to be thinking clearly, but by now Hazuki had recovered enough to laugh at and rein his lover’s panicky thoughts in.

“No, honey, he means two heads and two bodies. As in twins. Two babies.” The alpha was starting to come back to reality, the truth sinking in, and his grin was getting wider by the second. “We’re gonna have two babies, sweetie,” he said, hugging the other tightly as he started laughing. It took his omega at least five more good minutes to actually realize what was being said, and when he finally did, he started crying. Hazuki was alarmed at first, but soon caught on to the relief in his lover’s eyes, and just held him while he cried it all out.

“Are you feeling better?” Tatsurou asked gently when the sobs started subsiding, Koichi nodding. “Good, I’m glad. Now, promise me you’ll give up on all the worrying and comparing yourself with everyone else’s bellies and just be happy, ok?”

Koichi sniffed a bit, but nodded, biting his lip as a big smile erupted. He looked up at his mate, eyes finally twinkling again, and the alpha leaned down for the most tender and loving kiss Tatsurou had ever seen. In the corner, Tomo was starting to squirm, and after a moment of confusion, the nurse guessed the reason.

“You know,” he said to the adorable couple before him. “I think you two need to go tell everyone or let Tomo do it for you, or he’s gonna explode over in the corner.”

Two pairs of eyes turned to the omega, who made sort of an embarrassed grimace. “But it’s such good news! Everyone will want to know!” he mumbled, cheeks a little flushed.

Koichi couldn’t help laugh at his friend, reaching out his arms to call the omega over for a big hug. Once that was done, Tomo whispering words of congratulations in his ears, Koichi wiped his cheeks from the tears and smiled to Hazuki. “Shall we?” he asked, Hazuki giving him a kiss in response before he helped his lover up and nodded towards the dining room, where most people were still lounging after dinner.

“Lead on!” he said, Tomo lighting up and opening the door for them. Tatsurou could hear the hoorays and happy laughter into the sick room even before he could follow them out for the celebrations. Today was a good day.

. . . . .

Another week into August, and Masa, Manabu and Byou sat in Masa’s cabin, talking to pass the time. Everyone else was busy working, even Ibuki worked again but were allowed short days so he could spend as much time with his new family as possible. Byou was happy to spend time with his friends, but admittedly, most of the time was spent oooh-ing and aaah-ing at Tomoya. The child was growing steadily after a short spell of jaundice that had Byou fretting, despite Tatsurou’s assurances that half of all babies got it after birth, and it would pass in a few days. Which it did, but not until after Byou had worn himself out from the stress. Luckily, that was all over now and the boy was sleeping in his bearer’s arms, slobbering all over the fist he was trying to shove into his mouth.

“He’s beautiful,” Masa said, again, like they all did at least fifteen times a day. But the compliment lit up Byou’s face every time, proudly looking down at his son and leaning down to kiss his little head.

“I’m so grateful,” he said. Again. Their conversations as of late seemed to be an endless repetition, but it was a sweet and happy one.

Manabu shifted a bit on the bed where he was lying next to Masa. Them cuddling on the bed had become a regular occurrence, and Miya jokingly said Manabu spent more time in bed with his mate than he did (which earned him a smack to the head and a grin from his mate). When the young omega clumsily sat up and swung his legs over the side of the bed, the other two finally shifted their eyes from the baby to their friend.

“You ok?” Masa asked, reaching out to stroke his friend’s back, the only thing he could reach from where he was.

“Yeah, I just need to pee. Again.” Manabu sounded annoyed, and his two friends understood the feeling. Nature’s call was pretty damn frequent in those last few months before you gave birth. Manabu took a deep breath and pushed himself off the bed, massaging his lower back as he was finally standing up. When he started hobbling towards the door, Byou looked after him.

“Want help?”

“Thanks, but I’ll be fine.”

The eyes of the other two were soon back on Tomoya, slowly waking up and making a cute noise that caught their attention. Therefore, it took Masa a few moments to realize Manabu still hadn’t left the cabin. He glanced over, and saw the omega standing motionless, his hand on the doorknob.

“Bu, honey? Is something wrong?” Masa was getting worried now, as Manabu still stood still, not answering. Byou also tore his eyes off his son and looked over, frowning in worry. “Manabu?” he asked, making as if to get up, when the omega by the door finally moved, slowly turning around to face them both, fear and shock in his face.

“I think my water just broke,” he whispered, blinking at his friends.

. . . . .

After Byou had come rushing in to find Tatsurou, things happened quickly. The nurse and Subaru quickly went down to help Manabu into the big house, while Tomo prepared the bed and Kuina started boiling the water. Kei’s belly was way too big by now, only a few weeks from giving birth himself, and he settled for holding Manabu’s hand until K got there.

Except, K was off the island, hunting. They hadn’t expected anything to happen today, as the omega had felt no different than usual that morning, and so Manabu had assured K he would be fine and that the alpha should get off the island for the day. Oh, how he regretted that decision now. Not that Kei wasn’t a good hand-holder, but he wouldn’t have minded the scent of an alpha comforting him right about now. When Kuina came in with the water, he took one look at Manabu’s face and ran off again. It was only when he returned with Shuse that Manabu realized where the omega had gone.

The sergeant stepped in, looking a little uncertain as he walked up to the bed. Kei smiled softly and stepped away, and the alpha tentatively reached out to grasp Manabu’s hand. “I can… stand in for K… if you want,” he offered quietly, the omega blinking at him in shock. “I mean, only until he gets here. Or Kei can be here for you,” Shuse rambled, beyond nervous, but at that moment Manabu felt his stomach clench and he yelled in surprise and pain, gripping the alpha’s hand tight as he rode it out. There was no more discussion after that, Shuse just taking up a position by the omega’s head to be out of the way, and they were off.

In contrast to Tomoya’s birth, this was over almost before it started. When K came back from his hunting trip three hours later and found out that Manabu was in labor, he rushed into the sickroom, ashamed that he hadn’t been there for his friend. Only, as he discovered, he was too late. Once he stepped into the room, Manabu was already washed off and moved to a clean bed, a beautiful little omega boy lying on his chest. Next to him, Shuse sat, smiling brightly at the young omega and the baby.

Manabu looked up, seeing K standing there, and for a moment they just gazed at each other, eyes warm. And then K came over and leaned down to give both the omega and the child a chaste kiss each on their heads. “Congratulations,” he said softly, smiling at his friend, before he left the room with a last wink at the sergeant. Manabu looked after him for a second, smiling, before he went back to admiring his son. Next to him, Shuse quietly watched the exchange, a hope he hadn’t dared to feel suddenly flaring up inside.

Chapter Text

“What are you going to name him?” All Manabu’s friends from the resort plus a bunch from the island were all gathered around the bed in the sickroom, and they had a thousand questions for him.

“I’m thinking of naming him Yutaka,” Manabu answered, blushing a bit as Hiyori smiled knowingly.

“I think that’s a perfect name,” K said, putting his hand on Manabu’s shoulder, the omega looking up at him with gratitude. “He’s someone who matters to you. He will be honored when he hears about it.”

The others murmured their consent, and Manabu smiled before he looked down on his child and cooed at him. “Are you a Yutaka, my baby? Sound good to you?” The baby made a cute sound and stretched his arm out, yawning widely.

“I think he agrees,” Hiyori laughed. “And I see Ruki gave you some baby clothes as well!”

Manabu was all too happy to show them the tiny blue pajamas with little crowns on them, and a matching hat. He hadn’t expected anything like what Byou had received, since Byou and Ruki had become fast friends. So when the omega showed up with the clothes, handing them over like it was no big deal and definitely not worth crying about, Manabu had been extremely surprised and very, very happy (yes, he cried, to Ruki’s chagrin). It had meant a lot to him to be included into the group of omegas Ruki had found worthy. He had been mostly on his own in the years After, at least until he came to the resort where Yutaka took him under his wings. But before that, he had sometimes been allowed to tag along to different groups, but always on the outskirts, not really a part of the group. Usually, he ended up alone after a while for different reasons – there had been jealous omegas who thought he was after their mates, threatening alphas who tried to make him theirs (thankfully without succeeding) and so on and so forth. And then there was the alpha who had made him pregnant. He hadn’t been threatening, but it wasn’t like he wanted Manabu either. He had just latched on to the opportunity to get a nice fuck, and then he had discarded the omega like a useless piece of trash. He didn’t even say goodbye when he left.

The resort and the island had both welcomed him with open arms, but he was still unsure of whether he really belonged. Would they throw him out after a while? Would he be allowed to stay but never be a part of things for real? And so to sit here in bed, with his boy in his arms and surrounded by friends, was a new concept and something that warmed his heart immensely. He just hoped it would last.

He wished that Masa could be here. The omega had been so sweet to him, making him feel welcome and cared for, almost like Yutaka had at the resort. Yutaka reminded him more of his bearer, though, and he had really been there for Manabu when he realized he was pregnant and started panicking. Either way, he resolved to go down to see Masa as soon as possible. He wanted to keep the friendships he made here, no matter what.

After a while, the rest left to go back to work, leaving only Hiyori and Byou in the room. Byou sat with Tomoya in his arms on the foot of the bed, smiling at their friend and his little baby boy, while Hiyori handed Manabu a glass of water.

“So,” Byou said suddenly, “are you gonna ask Shuse if he wants to be his dad?”

Manabu nearly spat out the water onto the bed, coughing and startling his son who started to cry. Byou had the decency to look a little guilty as Manabu soothed his son, humming a nursery rhyme until he finally calmed down.

“Sorry,” Byou mumbled, but grinned a second later. “So, are you?”

Manabu glared at him. “No. Of course not.”

“Why not?” Byou pouted. “Don’t you want to fuck him?”

Manabu narrowed his eyes at his friend, and Hiyori rolled his eyes. “Damn, Byou, why do you have to be so crude sometimes? He just had a baby for god’s sake!”

“So?” Byou seemed genuinely confused as to why that should matter. “I get that you don’t want to fuck right now, but I meant later of course.”

“Byou!” Manabu looked scandalized, as he glared at the pervert on the bed. “I can’t just go up to an alpha who’s never even hinted that he likes me and ask him to be my kid’s father!”

“Yeah you can,” Byou insisted. “He adores you, anyone can see it. Don’t lose this chance because you’re scared.”

Hiyori made a face that suggested he agreed. “I’m sorry to be the one to say it, but our resident pervert’s right. He does like you. Maybe not follow his advice all the way… But give it some thought at least.”

Manabu was eternally grateful to Yutaka for choosing this moment to start crying, giving him a respite and making sure he didn’t need to talk anymore about the subject. Goodness knew he was confused enough on his own. He didn’t need them to confuse him even more.

. . . . .

Meto was bored. Kaz was working, and so was everyone else, one way or the other. After reading through the magazines – again – and getting thrown out of the kitchen by Ruki for sampling the dinner in advance, he tried to find something else fun to do. Some poking around later, he decided to go find Kuina instead. Maybe the omega had worked enough for the day? He had seen Shinya go to his cabin to rest, and Kazuki had gone upstairs, so maybe Kuina was off as well? Said and done, he wandered off into the kitchen garden to try to find his friend.

There was no one around at first glance, and he almost turned around and left when he heard a muffled sound from somewhere. It sounded like it came from a thicket of bushes over in the back of the garden, but he couldn’t see anything. Meto was confused. What could Kuina be doing? Or was it the kids playing? But no, they had all gone down to the beach with their bearers, he had seen them go a while back. Maybe it was an animal in there? Neko? Yes, Neko! Cute kitty! He carefully walked up to sneak a peek, expecting a read tail and a fluffy bottom to peak out of the bushes.

Instead, there was Kuina. Naked. And Minase. Mostly naked. And Kuina was sitting on top of Minase and making some sort of strange motions, his hands on the alpha’s chest. His head was thrown back and his eyes were closed as he bit his lip to keep the moans in. The couple didn’t notice a thing, too wrapped up in what they were doing, panting heavily. When Minase grabbed Kuina’s hips and pushed his own hips upwards, making them both groan, Meto turned around and fled.

. . . . .

Kaz was working the fields today. They were just wrapping up for the day when he felt a twitch in the bond, which usually meant Meto had freaked out about something. He sighed and put his shovel down, turning to Hazuki.

“Sorry, I have to go. Meto’s gotten himself into trouble again.”

The alpha frowned in worry. “Is he ok?”

Kaz felt for him, tentatively feeling the bond. “Yeah, he is, but he’s upset about something. Not completely panicky or hurt though.”

Hazuki didn’t have time to answer before Meto came running up the hill at full speed, throwing himself into Kaz’s arms. The young omega buried his face in his mate’s chest while the alpha wrapped his arms around him in a comforting hug.

“What’s going on? What happened?” he asked his mate, Meto shaking his head vigorously. With an apologetic glance at Hazuki, Kaz led his mate back to the big house and the library, where he seemed to be most comfortable and relaxed.

Half an hour later, he was still trying to figure out what Meto was trying to tell him, and it was only when the omega pulled out a book and riffled through it until he found a picture to show his mate that Kaz understood. Or thought he did.

“Did someone do that to you? Who?” He was suddenly furious, and Meto looked scared as he quickly shook his head. He hadn’t seen Kaz that angry in… ever, and it was scary. He whined and dropped the book, which was enough for Kaz to snap out of it and pull the boy into his arms.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to be upset. I though someone tried to hurt you,” he tried to explain, which to his confusion only made Meto more upset. Minase was hurting Kuina? Meto had to help him! It took Kaz’s whole strength to pull the boy back and make him sit down and try to explain from the beginning. He crouched down before the omega and looked him in the eye.

“Ok, let’s try again. Someone did this?” Kaz pointed at the book and Meto nodded, anxiously glancing to the door, wanting to go rescue Kuina. “But not to you?” Kaz prodded, and Meto shook his head, frowning. The alpha relaxed at that, patting his mate’s knee. “Ok, that’s good. Who did it?” Meto blinked and then he pointed to the bridge of his nose, the hand signal they had worked out for Kuina, signifying the piercing he had there. “Kuina did it? With someone else?” Kaz was starting to guess what had happened, but he wanted to hear all of it before jumping to conclusions. At Meto’s nod, he smirked a bit. “With Minase?” His mate’s wide eyes said all he needed to know. “Ok,” he said, trying not to smile, “so you saw Kuina and Minase do the thing in that book. Where?” Meto ran over to the window overlooking the back and pointed, biting his lip.

Kaz had to stop himself from laughing out loud. So Kuina and Minase were having some fun in the garden, huh? He walked over to the window, looking out over the empty kitchen garden, no trace left of the two lovers. He smiled reassuringly at Meto. “Did they see you?” At the omega’s headshake, he patted the boy’s cheek. “Ok, that’s good then. That’ll save them some embarrassment.” Meto looked confused and worried, and Kaz realized he had to explain what was going on more in detail. Oh god. The Talk. He’d never expected to have to have a talk such as this, especially not with his young mate, but…

He led Meto over to the sofa and sat him down, trying to think of how to phrase this. “You see, when two people like each other very, very much, they like to do the things you saw. It’s natural and nice. But people usually want to do it when they’re alone.” Ok, he was not doing a god job of explaining this. Meto looked even more confused now. The youngster pointed between the two of them, looking a little scared and hesitant, and Kaz hurried to stop that train of thought immediately. “No! No, we’re not… Listen, you can like each other a lot without doing that. It’s a special thing between people, it’s called having sex. And you only do it if you feel like you want to, both of you.”

Meto furrowed his brows in thought. He looked skeptical, and Kaz sighed. How the hell was he going to explain this, especially without knowing exactly what went through that boy’s head? “Meto, I... If it’s something you ever want to do with someone, you’ll know it. And you never have to do it if you don’t want to. Remember that for me? If someone tries to touch you and it doesn’t feel good and you don’t want to, you tell them to stop and come find me, ok?”

The omega nodded slowly, before he thoughtfully poked the bridge of his nose again. Kaz smiled. “I’m sure Kuina and Minase both wanted to do it, because they like each other a lot in that special way that you do when you want to have sex.” His mate seemed relieved at that, but he still seemed to have something on his chest, and glanced curiously at his mate. Damn. Kaz thought he knew what that look meant, and he wasn’t feeling too comfortable about the topic. But Meto was his responsibility, and if anyone should tell him about this, it was his mate.

“I like to do that as well, with Hyde. You know how he and I like each other a lot? That we kiss and hug and hold hands, things like that? Well, this is just… more… of that. And we do it because we love each other and it feels good.” Meto suddenly pouted, and it took Kaz a second to interpret the flare that spiked in the bond. Jealousy? “Meto, I love you too, you know that. And I know you love me too. But we don’t want to have sex, do we?” Meto frowned for a second and then he shook his head, the flare dying down again. Kaz sighed in relief as Meto leaned against him for a moment, just a normal show of affection between the two, and then Meto was off again to new adventures, his mind at ease again.

His mate, however, felt more exhausted than he had in ages. Jeez. His first talk of birds and bees. Please god let it be his last.

Chapter Text

Tomo sat on the bench in the garden, enjoying the warm evening air. Things had been a bit hectic for a while, and he enjoyed a moment of peace and quiet, alone, now and then. Except lately, peace and quiet didn’t seem to come no matter how silent it was around him. His brain was always having a rather loud discussion with him, no matter how much he tried to relax. It had started with the arrival of their guests, and gotten worse after every encounter with a certain alpha.

K. What kind of a name was that, anyway? And why did he have to come here, all gorgeous and nice, playing around and making eyes at Tomo? It wasn’t fair that he was falling like a damsel in distress when that damn alpha was going to leave again come spring and break his heart, if he didn’t before. It wasn’t like that guy was ever serious, always joking around, so it was safe to assume he was just having some fun with one of the few single omegas. Casual flirting. God, Tomo hated it. He hated being uncertain, not knowing what the other party was thinking. This feeling of possibly (probably?) being played.

But then again, maybe not. Was he missing a chance here when he wasn’t flinging himself into K’s arms just like that? Should he take the chance and maybe end up with a broken heart? Or ask the alpha straight on – just putting it out there. But no, what if he was imagining the flirting? Then it would be really awkward for a long time. Besides, it was highly unlikely K meant anything by it even if he actually was flirting, so… Better to just play it cool.

The omega was so immersed in his own thoughts that he didn’t notice he had gotten company. When a hand gently touched his shoulder he jumped high, a quite undignified squeal leaving his lips. Damn. He was laughing. That damn, perfect alpha was laughing at him. Well, so much for playing it cool.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you,” K said, still chuckling. “But in my defense, I did try to talk to you several times first.”

Tomo blushed fiercely. “Yeah, well, I was thinking,” he mumbled.

“What about?” K looked genuinely interested, even curious. Tomo was immediately suspicious.

“Nothing special,” he said, putting on his best aloof expression in an attempt to hide his pink cheeks. “I’ve just had a lot to think about lately. We’ve been so busy.”

To his relief, K backed off and just smiled at him. “Yeah, I guess we came with a lot of work, huh? Sorry about that.”

The omega was surprised by the way K just ignored his aloof-ness and continued to smile brightly, as if Tomo had welcomed him with open arms. The alpha leaned back on the bench and looked out over the garden, seemingly relaxed and carefree. God, Tomo was jealous. He himself was as tense as the string of a bow.

“So, this Shuse guy,” K suddenly said, throwing Tomo’s hyperactive brain into another loop. “He’s gonna be good to Manabu, right? Treat him well?”

Tomo just blinked for a moment as he processed the alpha’s words. This was why he had come out here to talk in private? Just wanting to know his friend was in good hands? Well, why shouldn’t he. There was no other reason for him to come talk to Tomo, after all.

“Yeah, of course, he’s a great guy,” he answered, fighting down the feeling of vague disappointment.

K nodded, pursing his lips for a moment as he thought about it. “Yeah, that’s what I thought,” he said finally. “Good, I’m glad. Bu deserves a break. He’s a bit of a slow goer though, Shuse. I’m not.”

God, any more mental loops and Tomo would get motion sickness. “Eeeh… what?” he asked, trying to get this whole thing to make sense in his head.

“I’m not a slow goer. If I see someone I like, and I think he might like me back, I go for it. No point in waiting around, you know? Wasting time is stupid.”

“O… Oh…kay?” Tomo was no closer to getting to grips with this than he had been a minute ago. K smiled at his confusion, his eyes trailing the omega’s features before he settled for looking earnestly into his dark eyes.

“So that’s why I’m going to do this, and hope I’m right,” the alpha continued, smiling softly as he reached up and cupped Tomo’s cheek with his hand. He was slow and tentative when he very deliberately leaned over and pressed his lips to the omegas’ in a short but sweet kiss. When he pulled back, his eyes scanned the stunned face, looking for some sort of reaction to show him he hadn’t messed everything up. Tomo just stared at him for a long moment.

Then, without warning, he suddenly burst out crying.

K was horrified. Shit, what had he done? Was Tomo one of the omegas that had had a rough time on the road? No one had told him as much, but maybe they didn’t expect him to do something quite to stupid… “God, I’m sorry,” he sputtered, reaching out for the omega and immediately pulling the hand back in case touching would make it worse. “I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean…”

“It’s not fair,” Tomo blurted out, interrupting his apology. “I don’t want to be toyed with and played for a fool, and go and fall for you when you’re gonna leave after the winter and I’ll be left here with a broken heart, again. It’s not fair!”

K looked shocked. “Wait, what? Toyed with? Played for a fool? Why would I…? Tomo, who do you think I am?”

The omega blinked, suddenly uncertain. “But… You’re never serious. And no one’s ever…” His words trailed off, and he looked away quickly. K narrowed his eyes, tilting his head as he reached out and cupped the omega’s cheek, pulling him back so he could see the his face.

“No one’s ever what?” he asked, dark eyes fixed on Tomo with an intensity the omega wasn’t used to having directed at him. He fidgeted and tried to pull away again. When K wouldn’t let go of his cheek, he closed his eyes instead, as he said the words that he had been thinking all along, always there in the back of his head.

“No one’s ever serious about me.”

The complete silence that followed the mumbled statement was nearly painful. And then another hand cupped his other cheek, and soft lips claimed his again, the shock of the action forcing Tomo’s eyes open again as K pulled back just a tad. The alpha intently gazed into his eyes, his thumbs caressing the omega’s cheeks softly.

“I am,” he whispered, and the gentle words made Tomo’s bottom lip start shivering again as he fought against the tears. K quickly kissed him again, a sweet kiss meant to calm and soothe, and when he broke away he gently pulled the omega into his arms and stroked his back. “I am,” he whispered again, closing his eyes as he felt Tomo cling onto him, still shivering. For a long while, they just stayed like that, the alpha’s arms wrapped around the omega, not a word being said. And then K slowly pulled back enough so that he could see Tomo’s face, lifting his chin gently.

“One day, when you’re ready, you’re gonna tell me what happened to make you doubt me like that. But for now, just hear me when I say this. I. Like. You. I’m not playing around, or toying with you, or pretending to like you. I really, really do. And I can’t promise you forever, because we’ve just met, but I can promise you it’s what I’m hoping for and aim to have with you.”

Tomo didn’t know what to say. His thoughts were swirling, his feelings ranging from deliriously happy to scared out of his wits, all jumbled up into a maelstrom of emotions rushing through him. Did he dare? Could he take the risk? Maybe… He wanted to, desperately, but the memory of all those lonely nights nursing a broken heart was keeping him from taking the final leap of faith. K’s warm lips on his once again was the thing that bridged the gap. He let himself be drawn in, giving himself to the kiss and ignoring the part of his mind that was still screaming at him not to put himself up to be hurt again.

If he could have this for now, maybe it would make up for the hurt when K left?

. . . . .

Aryu was surprised at how well everything had gone between him and Mitsuki since he agreed to be the omega’s boyfriend. They got along well, laughed and talked just as they had before, with the added bonus of kissing now and then. Mitsuki was a good kisser, and though the lack of alpha scent still confused Aryu, he also found it rather comforting. But now, it seemed they had hit their first real hurdle. Mitsuki was still lying on Aryu’s bed, looking confused and hurt, and Aryu was standing on the other side of the room, his arms locked around his waist, nervously fidgeting with his shirt where Mitsuki had pulled it up to touch him.

“What did I do?” Mitsuki was genuinely at a loss to what had happened. They had been lying on the bed, kissing, and everything was just fine. And then he put his hand up his boyfriend’s shirt, carefully caressing the soft skin of his stomach, when Aryu suddenly pushed him away and scrambled out of bed, looking at Mitsuki as if he had tried to rape him. Aryu was still breathing heavily, shaking his head.

“I didn’t say you could do that. I’m not ready… It’s too weird. I can’t…” he sputtered, confusing Mitsuki even more, not to mention the hurt he felt.

“Weird?” he asked, sitting up on the bed. “What’s weird? I caressed your stomach, gently, for maybe two seconds. It’s what boyfriends do.” He swallowed, his face suddenly hardening, as if he was getting himself ready to hear a hurtful truth. “It’s because I’m not an alpha, isn’t it?”

“No! Or, yes, but… I don’t know…” Aryu couldn’t explain it, why his reaction to the touch had been so immediate and violent. He hadn’t had any problems with the kissing, after all, or the caresses on top of clothing. Not even caresses on bare skin on his arms or cheeks, so why did he freak out so much now?

Mitsuki was looking hurt and sad, his brain only catching on to the ‘yes’ in that sentence, a stab to the heart once again. He got up from the bed, feeling numb. He had been so close. The boy of his dreams had said yes to him, and they had had a few perfect weeks together, and then when push came to shove… He wasn’t good enough after all. All because he had been born into this body that he didn’t even want.

Aryu didn’t say a word as Mitsuki stumbled over to the door, just standing there looking down on the floor with his arms around his waist, as if protecting his belly from being touched again. When he got to the door, the omega turned to look at his (former?) boyfriend, trying to say something. But he couldn’t think of a single thing to say that wouldn’t make things even worse, and so he just opened the door and stepped out. The sound of the door closing again behind him cut into both of them, and they both cringed, closing their eyes in pain.

. . . . .

Natsu and Ichirou were just about to push the boat out to go bring in the nets when Mitsuki came down the path to the dock, waving at them to wait. He climbed into the boat, a resolute look in his eyes, and asked if he could hitch a ride over the lake. He wouldn’t take no for an answer, or tell them why, apart from that he needed a break and some time alone. Eventually, they agreed. After all, as Ichirou said, they had no right to keep someone there who wanted off the island. And so they rowed him over and watched as Mitsuki hitched his backpack up onto his shoulder and walked off, not even waving goodbye.

Chapter Text

“He left?” Aryu stared at Yomi, uncomprehending. “Left where?”

“Left the island, apparently. Walked off up the road. Yo-Ka says he came by the kitchen and picked up some food and a water bottle, and Natsu and Ichirou rowed him over.” Yomi looked decidedly unhappy as he frowned at his friend. “What did you do to him?”

Aryu was still taking in the information, his lower lip trembling slightly. “He left me…” he whispered, sitting down clumsily on the bed, throwing his arms around himself. Yomi’s frown eased up a little as he started getting worried instead. He sat down next to his friend, putting his arm around his shoulders in support.

“What happened?” he asked softly, watching Aryu crumble before him. As the omega broke down and started sobbing, he sighed and pulled his friend close, letting him just cry it out for a while. When the worst had subsided, he stroked Aryu’s hair gently as he asked the same question once again. The pretty omega drew an unsteady breath, and then he mumbled out the story in a jumbled sort of way. Yomi couldn’t believe it.

“What, he was pissed because you got scared? Even though he knows what you’ve been through? I never thought he would do something like that.” Aryu’s hesitation made him stop for a second, looking down at his friend, narrowing his eyes. “Aryu… You did tell him about Gackt, right?”

The omega nodded, though a little uncertainly. Yomi sighed. “Oh Aryu… What did you tell him, exactly?”

“I… I told him that Gackt bit me though I didn’t want to, and that he died.”


“That’s all.” Aryu looked a bit ashamed, sniffing and drying his cheek on his sleeve.

Yomi was in disbelief. “Wait, what? You didn’t tell him about what he forced us to do? Or… the baby?”

“I couldn’t!” Aryu looked at his friend pleadingly. “How do you go about telling the guy you like that an asshole raped you repeatedly and knocked you up, but that you killed the baby? It’s not like that’s what you want to say when you start kissing. ‘And oh, by the way, I was raped a lot. Please, do continue.’ He won’t want to touch me at all after that.” Aryu sniffed, looking miserable.

“Aryu, honey… Of course he will, if you want him to. It’s not your fault, what happened, and he’ll understand that.” Yomi gave his friend a squeeze, looking a little uncomfortable as Aryu’s insecurities hit a bit close to home. The pretty omega sniffed and made a non-committing sound.

“Maybe. Did you tell Ruka everything?” he mumbled.

Yomi nodded. “Yeah, I did. He knew most of it anyway, since he was here when we came. But yeah, we’ve talked about it, and he’s really understanding and sweet to me when I get scared.”

Aryu untangled himself from his friend and crawled up into the corner, pulling his legs up to his chest. “Well, aren’t you Mr Perfect,” he muttered, though there was no malice in his voice.

Yomi sighed. “Listen, I know how you feel, you know I do, better than anyone. But you need to tell him. Mitsuki isn’t Ruka. He’s much more fragile and scared of rejection, so if you don’t tell him it’s because of what happened, of course he’s gonna think it’s his fault.” He crawled over to the corner and sat next to Aryu again, leaning his head on his friend’s shoulder. “And you didn’t kill the baby. You had an abortion of a dead fetus, that was conceived through rape. I know it was painful for you, but you have to let it go and move on. You have to forgive yourself.” He heard Aryu’s breathing grow unsteady once more, and he put his arms around the other as the tears started flowing again.

“He left me, Yomi,” Aryu finally managed, breathing heavily. “He left the island. What if he doesn’t come back? What if he gets hurt?”

Yomi closed his eyes as he hugged the shivering body close. “I’m sure he’ll be back. Mitsuki can take care of himself, I’m certain of it.” He tried to sound sure of himself, ignoring the fear he felt growing inside his own chest. He had to give Aryu hope right now. His own insecurities could wait until later.

. . . . .

Mitsuki walked slowly up the road. The angry resolution to just get away from it all had faded, and now he only felt a sadness that crept into his bones and made him infinitely tired. He had been so happy in the last few weeks, ever since Aryu had agreed to be his boyfriend. Or no, agreed to try it out. But it had gone great, and he had felt a peace within that he had never felt before, like Aryu healed something inside of him. And god, he was so beautiful, and when he laughed…

And now it had all fallen apart. His first attempt at something that just hinted at sex, and Aryu had freaked out completely. The look in Aryu’s eyes when he pushed Mitsuki off was the worst thing he had ever seen, and he was sure it would haunt his dreams. And all because of this damn body. Mitsuki kicked at a stick angrily, sending it into the ditch where it hit the water with a small splash. Damn it! He had never felt good enough before, never felt like he mattered to someone, that someone could love him for who he was. Not until Aryu. Sure, it had been a little shaky as his pretty boyfriend got used to being with an omega, but still, he felt welcome and longed for and enough. But not anymore.

Mitsuki stopped and sat down on a rock by the side of the road, burying his face in his hands. What should he do now? He hadn’t really planned anything, he just needed to get away from people for a while. He hadn’t packed for more than a night or two, so going back to the resort was out of the question. But going back to the island and facing Aryu was just as scary and impossible right now. Still, he had no idea who or what was out here, and maybe the Grumpies could show up? He didn’t know if they were still around the resort or if they had left for the island, and he didn’t want to risk meeting them here. They had never liked him or approved of his nature, they thought all omegas should work in the kitchen and have babies. What to do?

He sat there for hours, his head hanging, as he thought about his options. He went from despair to hope and back again as the thoughts went this way and that, but when dusk started to fall he had come to a conclusion. It was too late to do anything but set up camp in the woods for tonight, but tomorrow, he would go back to the island. He had to try and win Aryu back. He would prove himself, he would fight tooth and nail to show Aryu he was worthy of his love. He needed Aryu, needed him to feel complete. Yes, tomorrow, he would do his best to make everything right again.

But for tonight, he would make sure he found a good spot to stay, near the road but hidden. And so he went to work, setting up camp. He felt better now that he had a goal in mind, and he crawled under the blanket that night thinking about what he would say when he saw Aryu again. He fell asleep with a whole speech laid out in his head.

When he woke up, it was to an alpha staring at him in the faint light of the early dawn.

. . . . .

Aryu had hardly slept at all, tossing and turning. Kazuki tried to talk him down from his nervous heights, but eventually he fell asleep and left his roommate to stare into the ceiling. Aryu hadn’t thought he could miss Mitsuki this much, not until he went away. Although they had been a proper couple, somewhere in his mind he had still always treated this as a trial relationship. It hadn’t been for real, not really. Not until he lost it.

And now all he could think about was that Mitsuki had to come back, so he could explain that it wasn’t his fault, that Aryu freaking out had nothing to do with Mitsuki. That he was sorry, that he loved him, that he… loved him? Yeah. He did, didn’t he? It was almost a shock to realize, but he really had fallen in love with that cheeky loudmouth.

If he could only come home, Aryu would tell him. Please, baby, come home to me.

. . . . .

“I’m not gonna hurt you, don’t worry.” The alpha held his hands up and stepped back when Mitsuki scrambled to his feet, reaching for his knife. They stood for a moment and assessed each other, the alpha with his hands up and his knife still in his belt, the omega at the ready. The alpha looked starving, his skin seemingly hanging off his bones. His cheeks were hollow and he looked weak and tired. The voice was raspy, as if it hadn’t been used in a long time. He made no move to approach the omega, just watched as Mitsuki slowly relaxed and let his arms fall to his sides again, though he still held on to the knife.

“Are you alone?” the alpha finally asked. Mitsuki quickly raised the knife again and peered suspiciously at the alpha as he shook his head. The man smiled and took another step back. He slowly and carefully sat down on the grass and put his backpack down next to him. “I didn’t ask so I could take advantage,” he said, groaning a bit as he leaned his back against the tree. “It’s just… You look healthy. Well fed. It’s unusual nowadays. And I was wondering if there were others. If maybe… you could use another hand?”

Mitsuki just watched the alpha in silence for a while. Finally, he carefully reached for his bag, knife still in hand, and pulled out the rest of the food he had packed. It wasn’t much, just a piece of dried meat, some nuts and a small piece of fresh zucchini. He divided it into two portions while the alpha’s eyes followed his hands intently. He didn’t say anything though, didn’t beg or make any move to grab the food. Mitsuki tossed his share over to the alpha, watching as the man accepted the food with a grateful nod in thanks. His hands were shaking as he raised them to his mouth and took the first bite. Mitsuki watched as he closed his eyes and chewed slowly, a blissful look on his face.

They ate their small shares in silence, and once they were done, the alpha put his hands together in gratitude and bowed his head. “Thank you. I am forever in your debt.” The alpha smiled at Mitsuki again, patting his belly happily. “I haven’t had so much to eat in ages. And fresh vegetables… Where on earth did you get those?”

“None of your business,” Mitsuki said quickly, before he could stop himself. Should he reveal that the island existed? The others wouldn’t let the alpha join them if they hadn’t felt him out first, so it wasn’t really a risk to the islanders. At least this wasn’t one of the Grumpies, he thought, feeling a slight twinge at the thought of what could’ve happened if one of them had found him instead.

His rude response didn’t anger the alpha, who just nodded in understanding. “I’m sorry. I won’t pry. I’m just grateful that you chose to share your food with me when you had the choice not to.”

The omega pursed his lips as he narrowed his eyes at the alpha. He seemed nice, but looks could deceive. What to do? Finally, he made a decision. “I’m Mitsuki,” he said, bowing shortly to the alpha.

The alpha smiled, bowing back as well as he could, sitting down. “Pleased to meet you, Mitsuki. My name is Shinji.”

“Pleased to meet you. Ok, Shinji. Are you alone?” Mitsuki raised one eyebrow and put on his tough act, hoping to take charge of the situation before the alpha decided to do so. Shinji looked somewhat amused but didn’t try to protest.

“I am,” he said. “For quite a while now, I’m afraid. I had a companion, another alpha, but he died this winter. He got sick in the cold and never recovered.” He looked sad at that, closing his eyes for a moment and taking a deep breath. When he opened them again, he tilted his head and watched Mitsuki quizzically. “I’d ask if you are alone, but I got the hint. I won’t ask again. But maybe… with the food and the round cheeks… maybe you know of a place to stay? We heard rumors, my friend and I, a long time ago now, about a settlement in the north. We haven’t met anyone else in ages, and I don’t even know, it might just be stories but… Seeing you kind of gives me hope again.”

Mitsuki swallowed. Maybe this was stupid. But he didn’t get any bad vibes off of this guy, and he obviously needed help. Also, the omega had faith in the island’s defenses. Even if this alpha wasn’t alone as he claimed, they could protect themselves. And somehow, he doubted that the man was lying to him.

Fine. He’d go through with it. Besides, he wanted to go home to win back Aryu anyway.

“Ok, Shinji,” he said, quickly packing away the blanket and standing up, swinging the backpack up onto his back. “You walk on the other side of the road, two steps ahead of me at all times. Now, let’s go.”

. . . . .

Toshiya stood at the building site talking to Satochi when Jun-ji came jogging up to them.

“We think Mitsuki’s back,” the sergeant said, turning to Toshiya.

“Oh, thank god for that,” Toshiya started, but stopped himself when he saw Jun-ji’s face. “And…?” he asked, suddenly nervous. Was the omega in the hands of the Grumpies? Had he been hurt?

“He’s not alone. One more guy. We can’t tell if it’s an alpha or an omega since he’s sitting down in a hunched sort of way, like he’s really tired. Miki seems ok though, he’s jumping and waving at the island, so I’m guessing he wants to be seen at least.”

Toshiya nodded. “Ok, let’s go and see who it is then.” He turned to Kaoru who had been showing Koichi something, but had stopped and listened when Jun-ji came running. “Kao, I need you. I think you, Atsushi, me, Die and Kaz. And then I want you and Shuse at the docks,” he said, turning back to Jun-ji who nodded.

“Not Yukke?” the sergeant asked, but Toshiya smirked and shook his head.

“He took Natsu to the heat cabin this morning, after you went to the docks. He barely had time to give instructions and put Satochi in charge. His boyfriend was… somewhat eager.“

Jun-ji grinned and nodded in understanding. “Ah, I see. Ok, I’ll get Shuse and wait for you guys at the docks then. Atsushi is already there.”

Koichi had listened intently, and when the alphas started getting ready, he hobbled off towards the big house, his big belly making the walk rather slow but determined. He needed to find Aryu and tell him his boyfriend had returned.

. . . . .




Chapter Text

The alpha hardly looked up when the boat hit the shore. Toshiya eyed him warily when they climbed out. He was skeletal, and he looked completely exhausted. The islander turned to Mitsuki, looking him over.

“Are you ok?” he asked, relaxing a bit at the omega’s nod. He had felt uneasy when he had realized Mitsuki had left them to go off on his own, and had quietly resolved to send out a search party tomorrow had the omega not come back by then. Now that he was certain that his friend was ok, he relaxed and turned to look at the alpha again. “Who is he?”

Mitsuki’s story surprised him. The alpha was clearly starving, yet he had not attacked the omega for food? He glanced at Kaz to see if he recognized the man, but the short alpha just shook his head slightly in response. Right, someone completely new to all of them then. Toshiya signaled the others to stay by the boat as he walked over to the alpha. He didn’t want to scare the newcomer, and he was clearly too weak to be a threat. When the islander came near, the alpha lifted his head and watched him as he crouched down.

“I’m Toshiya,” the curly-headed alpha said gently. “Welcome to our island.”

The alpha smiled weakly and glanced out over the lake before he answered. “Shinji. Pleased to meet you.” He coughed, his whole body shaking at the effort. “I had heard there was a place, but I was almost convinced it was a fairytale by now.”

Toshiya could understand how the alpha thought so. The conditions on the road now had to be horrible. The fact that the man had survived this long on his own was a miracle, considering the state he was in. The islander couldn’t really imagine leaving the man to die here, no matter what. He started to wish he had brought Tatsurou as well, but decided to make the interview short so he could get the man some medical care as fast as possible. But first, food. He turned around and held his hand out to Kaoru. The engineer didn’t have to guess what he asked for, and quickly handed over the food they had brought. Adhering to Tatsurou’s advice, he handed Shinji just a bit of food, careful not to overdo it and shock the man’s starving body. The alpha accepted it gratefully and waved off the islander’s explanation of why he was only given a little. “I know,” was all he said, before he carefully ate every scrap of the food he was given almost religiously.

“How long have you been on your own?” Atsushi asked, coming up behind Toshiya and crouching next to him. The alpha turned his eyes slowly to the major, his eyes a tad unfocused when he answered.

“Since the beginning of winter. My friend and I had found a place to stay, an orchard. We planned to try to survive on the apples and meat from hunting. We had just gotten all the apples in when he fell ill. We had no medicine, and he just got worse no matter what I did. He died from pneumonia after three weeks. I stayed there during the winter, trying to make the fruit last as long as possible and hunt what I could. But I was never a good hunter, my friend was the one who kept us fed when it came to meat. So eventually, when spring came, I had to move on. So I packed whatever fruit was left that hadn’t gone completely bad and left. And now I’m here.”

Toshiya and Atsushi exchanged a glance. No wonder the guy looked like he was about to collapse. A quick nod between them, and Toshiya turned to offer the newcomer to join them for a while at least, while he rested and got stronger. However, he was too late. Shinji had started to keel over, his eyes rolling back into his head as he fainted. Atsushi caught him before he could hit the beach, and the others came over at the commotion. It didn’t take long before Shinji had been carried onto the boat, and they were rowing their way back to the island with heavy strokes.

Mitsuki sat up front, watching the island approach. His stomach had turned into a little knot as he thought about meeting Aryu again. Yes, he would fight to get him back, but that didn’t make him any less nervous. The boat ride had never seemed so long.

. . . . .

They quickly had the alpha carried up to the big house and put to bed in the sick room, where Tatsurou and Tomo took care of him. The nurse questioned Mitsuki and Toshiya about how much and which food he had been given, nodding in approval at their answers. He seemed as surprised as the others had been at the alpha’s diet of apples and meat, but he just filed the information away into his brain and went to work.

After talking to Tatsurou, Mitsuki stood fidgeting for a while in the hallway. He had to go find Aryu now, but the thought of what could happen petrified him. Steps on the stairs made him look up, and a jolt went through him as he looked into Aryu’s big beautiful eyes. For a second they just stood still, staring at each other, and then Aryu nearly fell down the stairs in his haste to reach his boyfriend. Mitsuki couldn’t believe it when his love pounced and plastered himself onto him. The thin arms around his neck felt amazing, like they were meant to be there, and Aryu’s breath against his neck was like the sweetest caress.

“I’m sorry,” the pretty omega whispered, desperately clinging to Mitsuki. “I’m sorry, it’s me, not you, I’m so sorry, please forgive me.”

Mitsuki took Aryu’s arms in a firm grip and twisted around so that he could kiss him firmly, effectively shutting him up. The omega quickly melted into the kiss, and they held onto each other tightly as they kissed hungrily. A discreet cough next to them made them disentangle unwillingly, and Mitsuki turned his head to frown at a grinning Koichi and a smug Yomi standing next to him. “What?” he muttered, his arms possessively drawing Aryu even closer.

“Nothing,” Yomi smirked. “Just that Kazuki’s not in your room right now. And we can make sure to keep it that way.” He eyed Aryu meaningfully, the omega blushing deeply but not protesting. Mitsuki felt giddy with happiness. The kiss alone had been much more than he could have hoped for. It gave him hope that if they could just get some time alone and talk, maybe this could all be worked out right now. He looked at his boyfriend questioningly, and was met by big hopeful eyes. Those long lashes made his knees weak, and without any more prompt than that, he grabbed Aryu’s hand and pulled him upstairs, leaving two sniggering omegas behind in the hallway.

. . . . .

“He’s extremely malnourished,” Tatsurou told Toshiya, Atsushi and Kaoru later. “I’ve never seen anyone this thin. Not even Shinya was close to this. It’s a miracle he’s alive, no less walking. He must be one tough guy.”

“Will he survive?” Atsushi asked, the nurse shrugging.

“Maybe. I hope so, but I can’t promise anything. I’m gonna talk to Kai, make him a food schedule, and we’ll have to wake him up to eat, but other than that he needs rest.”

Toshiya looked troubled. “With the babies coming, I’m not too happy with the sick room being occupied. What do you say, who can we move easier, him or an omega about to give birth?”

“We still have the other room as well,” Tatsurou said thoughtfully. “But if it should be necessary, we can carry him up to the library quite easily. I’m sorry, but I have to put the babies first.”

“Don’t be sorry. I just want to be prepared if the time comes,” Toshiya said, smiling. “But let’s hope it won’t be necessary.”

They all agreed to that. There had been enough excitement here for one summer, and smooth sailing from now on couldn’t be too much to ask, now could it?

. . . . .

“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you before,” Aryu said quietly, nervously looking down on his hands. “It was just hard to…”

“God, baby, don’t apologize. I hate that this happened to you. And I’m so, so sorry I was such a jerk about it when you… I just assumed it was me. It usually is, and I overreacted instead of just asking you what was wrong.”

Aryu sniffed. “I’m not sure I could’ve told you then anyway. I’ve felt guilty about the…”He swallowed, and tried again. “The… abortion… for a while now. I mean, I know he was already dead, and his dad was a monster, but… still…”

The bed rustled as Mitsuki shifted next to him, and the next moment he was pulled into a warm embrace. “It wasn’t your fault, sweetie. None of it.” Mitsuki’s warm breath at his ear was just what Aryu needed at that moment, and he snuggled deeper into the embrace, just letting his boyfriend’s scent calm him. No, it wasn’t an alpha scent, but it was no longer confusing to Aryu. Just warm, comfortable and safe.

. . . . .

Two days later, Tatsurou cautiously gave Jun-ji and Kazuki instructions on how much to drink of the contraceptive potion, and sent them on their way to the second heat cabin. He watched them go with a sense of dread, mixed with hope. This could mean a lot to them. There were several omegas that would be grateful for the contraceptive, Masa for one, and Ruki of course. Ruki’s pills were running low, and they were very old by now, but the omega insisted he take them despite the risk. So far so good, but Tatsurou was on the verge of refusing to give him the pills every time. Ruki always managed to persuade him in the end though, blankly refusing to use the suppressants.

The worst thing, Tatsurou thought, was how long they’d have to wait to know if it had worked. This was going to be a long process to get through, especially since Subaru had turned down the offer and he only had two omegas to test it. But he had to believe it would work eventually. If nothing else, for Masa’s sake. The closer to birth he got, the more obvious it was that he should never have any more children. The nurse was very concerned by now, scared by Masa’s pain and the memory of Tora’s birth. He had already been too close once, taking three whole months to recover. If the same thing happened again, it might not be so easy.

Masa had about a month to go now, which was better than Tatsurou had dared hope for. The child should be mostly developed by now, just needing extra time to grow. The nurse felt the child’s chances had left the ‘abysmal’ area, gone passed ‘coin toss’ and into ‘hopeful’. His bearer, however… All Tatsurou could do was hope that the pain didn’t mean that the birthing would be difficult.

Miya took care of his mate as much as he possibly could, waiting on him and getting him anything he asked for. During the days, when Miya worked, Manabu brought Yutaka down and spent time with his friend, and usually at least one or two other friends were with him to help Masa pass the time. Tora spent a lot of time with Shou, even staying nights occasionally to give his parents a break. The boy didn’t understand what was going on, and complained he missed Ju-Ken, but he didn’t mind playing with Shou and staying over. Miya and Masa was eternally grateful to Kai and Uruha for helping out, but the couple only brushed it off as nothing. “We love having him here,” Uruha said simply. “Besides, they’re best friends, so why shouldn’t they have sleepovers now and then?”

And so the days slowly passed. Shinji was still really weak and spent most of his time asleep, but he was slowly gaining strength through constant care and carefully prepared meals. Mainly though, everyone was just anxiously waiting for news about Masa while trying to pretend nothing was wrong.

Still, Kei beat him to it.

Chapter Text

Kei woke up early one morning, still a bit groggy while he tried to figure out what was going on. Yukihiro was lying next to him, his back turned towards Kei, his breathing slow and deep. Everything was quiet, apart from an owl hooting somewhere in the distance. He was warm and comfortable and… wet. The bed was all wet between his legs. In his sleepy state he thought he had peed the bed at first, shame flooding over him, until he woke up enough for the truth to hit home like a giant sledgehammer.

“Yuki?” he said, his voice trembling. The alpha didn’t move a muscle, and Kei was starting to panic. His voice cracked as he tried again, louder this time. “Yuki!”

The alpha woke with a jerk, twisting around to stare at his boyfriend with wild eyes. “What? What’s wrong?” He took in Kei’s trembling lower lip and panicked eyes, and was about to panic himself until he noticed the wet patch. “Is it time?” he asked, suddenly breathless. When Kei nodded silently, the alpha felt like the world stopped for a moment. It is really happening. I’m gonna be a dad. And then he snapped back to the present, realizing his lover was close to freaking out completely. Yukihiro leaned down to give him a hug and a tender kiss, trying to comfort his omega with a smile and a soft caress. (But not himself, oh no, he didn't need calming. He was perfectly calm. Perfectly. Calm. Dammit.) With effort, he pulled his overwhelmed self together so that he could be there for Kei, and moved to get out of bed.

“No!” Kei desperately grabbed his arm, trying to keep him close. “Don’t leave me!”

Yukihiro smiled, leaning back down for another kiss. “I need to go get Tatsurou, honey. We need his help if you’re going to give birth, you know.”

“I’m not! I won’t! I’ve changed my mind, I don’t want a baby,” Kei whined. “Make it go away!”

His boyfriend couldn’t help a small chuckle at the absurdity of the request, but still he saw the fear in Kei’s eyes, so he leaned down and embraced him tightly for a second. “Sweetheart, I’ll just go get Tatsurou and he can help you, ok?” he soothed, trying to project all of his calm onto his boyfriend.

Kei whimpered and held onto his alpha, not wanting to let him go. Yukihiro sighed and gave him a kiss to the temple, caressing his hair gently. “I’ll be right back, I promise. I’ll go next door and send Die to go fetch Tatsu instead, it’s faster. Be strong for me for just one minute and I won’t leave your side again until this is done, I swear.” A soft whine was the only response he got, but Kei loosened his grip on his boyfriend slightly, unwilling to let go completely. Yukihiro smiled softly as he pulled back from his lover’s grasp and got up. He dressed hastily before he opened the door and slipped out into the night.

Kei had never felt so alone as he did in the dark of the cabin, the sounds of the night all he could hear. And then he vaguely heard pounding on a door, and a few minutes later, hushed voices. When Yukihiro finally came back inside after what felt like years, his presence immediately calmed the omega immensely. He hadn’t thought he’d be so scared – after all, he’d helped several babies into this world. But maybe that was why… Neither of them had looked as if they had thought it was a pleasant experience, and the pain, oh god. Kei was terrified. He quickly latched on to his alpha’s hand when he came over to the bed, but Yukihiro pulled it away for a moment so that he could settle down next to the omega on the bed instead. He lay close enough so that Kei could easily breathe in his scent, his hand soothingly caressing the belly.

“You’ll be fine, sweetie. I’ll be here for you every step of the way. Just breathe and relax, like Tatsu taught you.”

Kei nodded nervously, his eyes wider by the second as he felt the first weak contraction pull at his abdominal muscles. He forced himself to breathe slowly and steadily, clutching Yukihiro’s hand hard as he waited it out. When it had passed, the alpha helped him dress in a loose, long shirt that covered him enough so that he could at least be somewhat decent when they relocated to the big house. It didn’t take long before Tatsurou was there, but it felt like forever, and Kei was almost ready to give up even before the nurse got there. Tatsurou knocked quickly and came into the cabin, Subaru and Die in tow.

“Hey,” Tatsurou said, smiling. “So it’s time for us to finally meet your son?”

“No! Make it stop!” Kei’s panicked answer took them all aback a bit, but Yukihiro gave the nurse a meaningful look and pressed a kiss to his boyfriend’s hair.

“You’re just scared, sweetie. You’ll do fine, I promise. We’ll get there together.”

“Easy for you to say,” Kei pouted, near tears. “You’re not the one who has to push out a bowling ball!” The others couldn’t help laugh at that, a reaction that made Kei’s pout be accompanied by a frown. Yukihiro quickly wiped his amusement off his face and wrapped his arms around the omega, helping him get out of bed gingerly. “I’m sorry, I know it’s scary. But at least we can meet little Suzu soon.”

Kei’s head snapped to him, his eyes narrowing. “Suzu? I thought we weren’t gonna name him after a crane!” Yukihiro looked completely innocent, as if he was completely surprised by this. Tatsurou gently took Kei’s other arm, and they started leading the omega out of the cabin, Subaru running ahead to wake up Tomo.

“But I thought you liked Suzu! Ok, I guess it’s Orochi then.”

“A big evil snake?! No way!”

And so the discussion went on, until Kei was tucked into the bed in the big house, distracted from the worst of the fear by the increasingly ludicrous baby names Yukihiro came up with. By the time he realized what the alpha was doing, he still continued the banter to keep his mind occupied. As they got started, Kei tried to keep the noise down so he wouldn’t wake everyone up just yet. After all, it was still only four in the morning, and he probably had a long way to go.

Or so he thought.

When everyone came in for breakfast, they found a very happy Tatsurou and a yawning but smiling Tomo already washed off and hungrily downing their breakfast. Of course, Subaru and Die had been too excited to go back to sleep, and it had been inevitable that they woke up Shinji in the room next door, even though Kei had kept his groaning to a minimum. The five of them sat around a table, Shinji led there with Die’s help, and looked smug when the first people came in, curiously eyeing them. Naturally, Subaru couldn’t keep quiet for long, and he ecstatically told everyone the news – that a very tired but happy couple were resting together with their adorable omega son next door.

. . . . .

Shinji watched everyone rejoice, tiredly leaning back in his high-backed chair with a blanket around him. He was always cold, a side effect of the starvation, and even now in the summer heat, he shivered involuntarily.

He had woken up by grunting and voices, battling his drowsiness to try to understand what was happening, when he suddenly realized what it was. Someone was giving birth next door. He listened intently for a moment, trying to make out how things were going and if there was cause for concern. For a moment he contemplated getting out of bed to go see, but from the sounds and mumbled voices he heard through the wall, things were going well. It seemed to be a remarkably easy birth, and the nurse sounded calm and sure of himself, giving the omega gentle but clear instructions on how to breathe and when to push. Soon enough, he could hear a baby crying quietly. The sound almost made him cry as well, the emotion welling up inside. He had never expected to hear a baby’s voice again, ever, and to hear those first quivering breaths of a child was almost too much to bear.

After a while, enough time for the omega to get washed off and covered up, he slowly and painstakingly got out of bed and to his feet. He leaned on the wall as he made his way over to the door and knocked gently. A sudden quiet inside told him he had surprised them, but a second later, the nurse’s assistant opened the door. Four people were watching him, and he smiled softly at them.

“I’m sorry, but I couldn’t help overhear, and I just wanted to say congratulations.” A quick glance between the two new parents, and then the omega nodded and smiled back.

“Thank you.” He shifted the baby in his arms so that the alpha could see him properly, pride shining in his eyes. “His name is Kana.”

“It is?” This time Yukihiro looked genuinely surprised.

“U-hu. It is. Can’t you see it is?” Kei looked determined, and Yukihiro couldn’t help smile widely at how cute his little family was.

“Yeah, of course. How silly of me. I can see it now,” he grinned and leaned down to kiss his boyfriend sweetly. “Kana it is, then.”

Shinji smiled as he leaned onto the doorframe. “He’s beautiful,” he said, his voice a bit hoarse from emotion. He met the nurse’s eyes, nodding at him. “And you did a fine job bringing him into his world.”

Tatsurou nodded in thanks and turned back to look at the new family. “I’ve had some practice,” he smiled. “This is my seventh. And the easiest, I might add.” He eyed Kei meaningfully, but with a good-natured smile on his lips. “And here you were all panicky and then you even beat Manabu at being fast and easy!”

Kei pointedly ignored him, cooing at the baby instead and begging for a kiss from his alpha, one that Yukihiro happily delivered. Shinji watched the blissful scene for a moment, taking it all in, but soon he had to go back to his bed and sit down, his strength gone for the moment.

But that had been this morning. Now, he sat here in the dining room, watching everyone excitedly talk about this morning’s surprise, and he felt warm inside. This was the first time he had been up and out of the sick bed long enough to meet everyone, and he couldn’t think of a better day to see them all for the first time than a day when everyone was happy. There were so many children, and so many people altogether, and he soon felt overwhelmed and had to ask Die to help him back to rest for a while. He fell asleep in moments, exhausted but with a smile on his lips. A new life started today, and not only for baby Kana.

Chapter Text

Uta was frantic. Neko hadn’t come in last night, and he hadn’t seen the cat all day. He looked for the kitten everywhere, calling for him, but by late afternoon there was still no sign of the red fur ball. Eventually, the omega went to find his boyfriend to ask for help in the search. Atsushi was down by the docks, repairing a step in the ladder to the watchtower. He looked up when the omega came down the path and immediately put down his tools when he saw the look on Uta’s face.

“What’s wrong?” he asked, stepping up to reach out to the omega in worry, stopping himself at the very last minute from pulling the omega into a hug. Uta flinched at the motion, and for a moment they just stood in silence a little awkwardly, the major mentally berating himself. The shock he felt when Uta tentatively took a small step forward and infinitely slowly leaned slightly against the alpha’s shoulder could not be described in words. He fought down his instincts, wanting to wrap his arms around the slim body, and instead he just slowly raised his hand and let a finger gently trace the omega’s jawline. His heart was pounding so hard in his chest he was certain it would explode any second. When Uta flinched again he was afraid he had gone too far with the touches, but the omega stayed where he was, lightly leaning his cheek on Atsushi’s shoulder for at least another minute as the alpha caressed his other cheek lightly.

When he finally pulled back, they were both breathless. Atsushi’s fingertips were still buzzing from the sensation of touching Uta’s skin, and his heart flooded over with happiness. Uta, on his end, seemed to have almost lost track of why he was here as he realized what he had done, his mind blanking for a moment. After a minute, though, it all came back, and he blinked at his boyfriend. “I can’t find Neko,” he said, big eyes anxiously directed at the alpha. The major shook off the daze and met Uta’s gaze with a worried frown.

“Did you look everywhere in the house?” he asked, trying to focus on the problem at hand rather than those beautiful eyes.

“I’ve checked everywhere I can think of,” Uta nodded, “and he didn’t come in last night. Where could he have gone? What if something happened to him?”

“I’m sure he’s fine,” Atsushi said, reassuringly. “He’s a tough little creature. He’s probably just found an exiting game or an extra nice spot to sleep.”

Uta blinked at him again, clearly very worried. “Do you think so?”

“I do,” the major said and smiled. “Just let me bang this last nail in and we’ll go look together, ok?”

The omega smiled, one of those tiny, insecure smiles, but it was enough to take the major’s breath away. He hurried to put the last nail in, miraculously not hurting himself in the process, and then he picked up his tools and turned to Uta. “Shall we?” he asked, and in a sudden bout of bravery he offered his arm to his boyfriend. A moment of silence and hesitation, and then Uta carefully reached his hand out and put it ever so gently on the alpha’s outstretched arm. The major could feel the shivering through the light grip, and he wasn’t exactly an image of calm himself as he realized his offer had been accepted. However, he did his very best to hide his nerves as he smiled and started to lead his boyfriend up the path to the village, ready to search for red fur.

. . . . .

Toshiya came up the stairs to the big house and stopped on the porch, where Shinji sat wrapped in a blanket and looked out over the village. The curly-headed leader smiled and sat down next to the alpha, happy to see some color returned to his face and a hint of roundness on the cheekbones.

“Do you mind if I join you?” he asked, Shinji smiling back and shaking his head.

“Of course not. I haven’t had a chance to thank you properly for all that you’ve done for me. If it hadn’t been for you guys, I would have died.”

Toshiya didn’t really see the point of denying what they both knew was true, so he just smiled and bowed his head. “No worries. We couldn’t leave you there. It’s not who we are.”

“Well, you have my eternal gratitude either way,” Shinji said, smiling.

“So what’s your story?” Toshiya enquired, settling himself comfortably next to the newcomer.

“The same as most, I guess,” Shinji sighed. “Short version? There were four of us that made it out of town together. I’m the only one left. Slightly longer version – it was me and my best friend Hiroki, and then Hiroki’s brother Jirou and his mate Kohaku. I was lucky – or unlucky – enough to be single at the time, so I was spared the fate of Jirou and Kohaku. They were killed in the second year, when we had a run-in with some bandits. The bastards tried to take Kohaku, and Jirou defended him. It ended badly, and the worst part was that we were cut off and couldn’t do anything to help. We barely got away ourselves. Hiroki never really recovered from that mentally, but we kept going, eating what we found, hunting and scavenging like everyone else. And then last fall we found the orchard, and decided it was as good a place as any to stay. We had lots to eat, at least, more than we’d seen in years. Sure, it wasn’t the most balanced diet, but it gave us the vitals and made us stay alive. Turns out it didn’t do Hiroki much good, since he got pneumonia and died some time after the first snow came. I tried to help him, but there’s only so much you can do without medicine. He had mostly given up by then, so he didn’t really try to fight it either, no matter how I tried to convince him.” Shinji blinked away a tear and took a few deep breaths before he could continue. “Anyway, the rest, you know.”

Toshiya sighed. “For what it’s worth, I’m sorry. Some of us here have had it rougher than others. I’m one of the luckier ones, since I got here soon After, and we’ve managed to feed ourselves even though it was hard that first year. Some who came later was much worse off.”

“Life isn’t easy when everything you know disappears over night,” Shinji hummed. “But what’s important is how you keep going. I’m glad you seem to have gotten this community working well. Just seeing children again… I can’t tell you how happy that makes me.”

Toshiya smiled. “Yeah, it’s incredible. Actually, my mate is eight months pregnant. I can’t really believe I’m gonna be a dad, it seems too good to be true sometimes.”

“Congratulations. Enjoy it, soon enough he’ll be all grown up and you’ll wonder where the baby years went,” Shinji chuckled, pulling the blanket a bit tighter as a shiver ran through him.

The islander watched him with brows furrowed in worry. “How are you feeling?”

“Much better,” the alpha said, smiling weakly. “I’ve got a long way to go, and I’ll probably have a whole number of problems over the years caused by the starvation. But I’ll be ok, and I promise I will work hard to earn my living.”

Toshiya patted his shoulder. “I’m sure you will. Tatsurou has told you about our community, yes?” At Shinji’s nod he continued. “We believe in people doing what they are good at, for the benefit of the community. As you can see, we have construction going on over there.” He waved his arm at the near-finished building, and then pointed in the direction of the fields. “Up there, we have the fields, and of course the kitchen garden at the back. And then there’s the kitchen, and other tasks you could help with if you choose to stay.”

Shinji huffed out a short laugh at that. “Oh, I’ll stay, if you’ll have me of course. And I’ll do any job you need me for. But as for what I’m good at… In the old days, Before… I was a surgeon.”

Toshiya’s neck nearly snapped at the speed with which he turned his head towards the alpha. “Surgeon?!”

“Yeah. My specialty is… was… hand surgery, but on a smaller hospital like mine, of course I did everything.” He looked uncertainly at Toshiya, who was still gaping at him without saying a word. “Of course, I have no intention of butting in if you need me somewhere else. Your nurse seems very good, from what I’ve seen, and I understand it’s hard to trust a stranger with such things, but maybe I could assist…”

“Are you kidding me?!” Toshiya exclaimed, shaking his head in amazement. “Of course we want you to work as a doctor! Yes, Tatsurou is a fantastic nurse. He’s been our only doctor for years now, and he’s saved so many of us countless times. But he’s alone on the job, training two assistants and trying to keep on top of everything all at once. He deserves someone to share the responsibilities with.” He shook his head in disbelief, laughing softly to himself. “I can’t believe this. Have you told him? Does he know what you used to do?”

Shinji shrugged and looked a little guilty. “No, I haven’t. It’s not like I can do anything right now, and he’s been on top of everything. I didn’t want to seem like I was second-guessing him or trying to take over.”

Toshiya laughed at that, knowing Tatsurou would probably cry from relief rather than feel threatened by another physician on the island. “I think we should tell him,” he smiled. “Are you up for it?”

“Right now?” Shinji looked surprised, but nodded. Toshiya helped him up, and led him slowly through the doors into the house to deliver the best surprise he could think of to his long-time friend.

. . . . .

Jun-ji and Kazuki came back from the heat cabin to find a new member of their community sleeping peacefully in Kei’s arms. Yukihiro sat with his arm around his boyfriend, the two new parents completely wrapped up in each other and their son. They proudly showed Kana off to the other couple, Kazuki smiling softly as he watched the sleeping boy. Jun-ji watched him for a moment, and when they got up and left the little family to cuddle again, the sergeant wrapped his arms around his young boyfriend. As they stepped into Kazuki’s bedroom, he locked the door behind them with a little grin. Aryu was at Masa’s, leaving them the room to themselves for a while, something Jun-ji intended to use to his advantage. The fact that they had just come back from fucking for five days straight didn’t really do much to deter him, and he slithered his hands in underneath the omega’s shirt.

“You’re hoping the birth control didn’t take, aren’t you?” he whispered in Kazuki’s ear, chuckling when the omega stiffened and blushed deeply, feeling busted. “It’s ok, babe,” Jun-ji calmed his lover. “It’s not like I’d mind either.”

Kazuki turned around and looked at his boyfriend with wide eyes. He looked so adorable Jun-ji had to kiss him, and Kazuki responded hungrily. After that, not much more was said for a long while.

. . . . .

The search hadn’t produced any kitten, and Uta was devastated. By now, he clung to Atsushi’s arm, and though the major was worried about Neko, the elation he felt at having his boyfriend touching him overshadowed everything else. They had tried everywhere, including knocking on people’s doors in search for the cat. No luck, and Uta was on the verge of tears as they walked up the stairs to the big house.

“I’m sure he’ll be fine,” Atsushi comforted him gently.

“But what if he doesn’t come back? What if he’s fallen down a hole somewhere, or the fox got him, or…” Atsushi couldn’t help himself, he reached out and gently cupped Uta’s cheek in his hand, the nervous rambling stopping instantly. Uta blinked and stared at him, his wide eyes like black orbs. And yet, he didn’t pull away. He just stood there and stared, Atsushi gazing back into those wide eyes.

The door opened, making them both jump in surprise. Nao stood there, blushing slightly as he saw the two standing so close. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt,” he started, a little awkwardly. Uta quickly stepped away from the major, and Atsushi felt the omega’s warmth disappear with regret. He was just about to open his mouth to tell Nao it was fine, when a red fluff leisurely sauntered past them and into the house. The cat stopped in the hallway and looked back at Uta, calling for him with a sharp meow as if to ask why he was standing out there instead of coming in to feed him.

Atsushi went to bed that night smiling to himself, treasuring the memories of Uta’s warm smile as he sat with Neko in his arms all night, his cheek leaned on the soft fur. As wonderful as that was though, it was nothing compared to the rest of the day. He could almost still feel the omega’s hand on his arm, and it gave him a sudden hope for the future.

Chapter Text

Byou and Ruki were on a roll. They had been exchanging jokes for the better part of an hour, with their friends cringing more and more as the jokes got cruder and cruder. Yomi seemed rather unfazed by the whole thing, while Kouki and Tomo squirmed as they giggled embarrassedly, glad that baby Tomoya couldn’t understand what his bearer was saying. The library door was closed, much to their relief, since this could have become even more embarrassing if anyone heard them. Eventually, the two compadres turned their attention to the people around them, concentrating on a blushing Kouki.

“Hey, I heard you and Reika spent some time in his cottage alone yesterday,” Ruki said with a smirk. “You looked awfully happy afterwards. So you two finally fucked, huh?”

Kouki took on a tinge of red that was almost dangerous as he looked down, but he couldn’t hide the tiny smile that the memories brought out.

“Ha! I knew it! You did fuck!” Ruki exclaimed triumphantly, while Byou giggled at his friend’s deep red cheeks. “Does he have a nice cock then?” he added gleefully.

Byou!” Kouki looked scandalized, but he couldn’t help smiling anyway. “Well, for your information, yes, we did have sex, and yes, we both enjoyed it a lot. And that’s all I’m gonna say about it.”

“Yay!” the shameless couple said in unison, and then completely ignored Kouki’s statement that he would say no more and instead bombarded him with intimate questions about positions, sizes and the taste of Reika’s cum. To their disappointment, Kouki kept true to his word and said no more, though he took on a dreamy look as he thought of his boyfriend and their actions the previous day. Bored when no more indecent details could be pried from the omega, Byou changed target.

“So, Tomo, what’s K like in bed then? I’ve always been curious. He looks like he could be packing a hidden punch, if you know what I mean.” He winked, grinning widely at the nurse’s assistant. Tomo suddenly looked very uncomfortable, looking away as he mumbled something quietly.

“What?” Ruki asked, oblivious to the change in his friend’s attitude.

“I said I don’t know, we haven’t done anything like that,” Tomo muttered, the smile long gone. He looked almost sad, and Byou seemed a bit embarrassed as he suddenly realized he had overstepped his boundaries. Ruki blinked, suddenly sensing how the mood of the group had changed, and he looked a bit troubled as he watched his friend.

“But why not?” he asked, reaching out to grab Tomo’s hand gently. “You like each other a lot, and you’ve kissed, I’ve seen you.”

Tomo seemed embarrassed now, his eyes darting everywhere but to his friends. “We just haven’t,” he mumbled, Byou frowning at the answer.

“What, he hasn’t offered? I’ll talk him right, I swear. He’s too into you to wait.”

“No!” Tomo looked panicked for a moment. “Don’t say anything!”

Byou was perplexed, but Kouki frowned, reacting to the omega’s unease. “Knock it off, Byou. If Tomo doesn’t want to have sex with K, it’s his business.”

“But he does!” Ruki said, clearly dumbfounded. “You do!” he stated again, turning to Tomo. “I’ve seen the way you look at him, the heavy breathing going on when you two part after a kiss. You both want each other. So what’s with the waiting?”

Tomo bit his lower lip and hesitated for a moment, looking down. “I don’t want to lose him,” he mumbled finally, blinking back a tear.

Kouki leaned over and wrapped an arm around his friend, who gratefully hid his face on the omega’s shoulder. “What makes you think you’ll lose him?” he asked softly, rubbing Tomo’s back. “He likes you a lot.”

Tomo sniffed, the held-back tears making his speech a little hard to understand. “Because they always leave once I have sex with them. They all do, even Ruka. And I don’t know if it’s no fun anymore once the chase is over, or if it’s… me. Maybe I’m just not sexy enough, I know I’m not as cute as everyone else. Or maybe I just suck in bed, I don’t know...” The words were cut off by a deep sob, and the others blinked in surprise by the revelation. Kouki quickly tightened his hold on the omega, whispering reassuring words that of course he was pretty and sexy, and he was sure K would love him to bits. After a moment, Ruki caught up with the shock and joined in on Kouki’s words, Byou also humming along, all of them trying to comfort their crying friend.

Meanwhile, Yomi sat silent, feeling very uncomfortable. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to comfort his friend, not at all. And he knew of course that Tomo and Ruka had had something going for a while that never took off, and that since he got here, Ruka had only had his eyes on Yomi. But right now, he felt an overwhelming mix of sadness for Tomo’s sake, guilt that he stole Ruka away from him, relief that his boyfriend seemed to enjoy his body at least, and anger at the alpha for making his friend think there was something wrong with him. As Kouki led a still crying Tomo up to his room, the others got up and left, regretting the chosen topic. Left on the sofa was Yomi, deep in thought.

. . . . .

As Tatsurou climbed into bed that night, he was exhausted but had the happiest grin on his face that Kaoru had ever seen. Well, apart from post-sex smiling of course. And the day they exchanged rings. But still. Really happy.

“Mmm, I’m almost wondering if I should be jealous,” he joked, climbing into bed seductively and draping himself on top of his lover. “What happened to make you look like that?”

The nurse grinned, sliding his arms around his boyfriend’s neck and shoulders and pulling him down into a deep kiss before he answered. “Well, if you hadn’t worked late and missed the announcement at dinner, you would know,” he teased, grinning at Kaoru’s huff.

“Well, why don’t you fill me in on it then, oh you-who-know-everything,” he chuckled, leaning down to nip on Tatsurou’s lower lip and making it impossible for his lover to answer for a moment. When they parted again, Kaoru licking his lip sweetly, Tatsurou smiled widely.

“Toshiya and Shinji came by this afternoon, and then they announced it to everyone at dinner,” he started, drawing it out so he could tease Kaoru for a moment longer.

“And?” Kaoru snorted at his boyfriend’s smug face.

“And they told us what Shinji used to do Before.” Tatsurou shrieked suddenly and laughed out loud as Kaoru tickled him in reprimand.

And?” the engineer said again, stressing the question. His boyfriend had to fight down the laughter before he finally settled, his grin turning into a genuine smile.

“He’s a surgeon. An actual, honest to god surgeon.”

Kaoru blinked. “What? Are you kidding me?” When Tatsurou happily shook his head, his boyfriend broke out into a huge smile as well. “So that means you’ll have help? You won’t have to do everything yourself anymore?”

“Well, I have to get him back on his feet properly first, of course, but yeah. It means I can stop worrying a bit about being the only one.”

“Oh baby.” The words were said with feeling and contained everything Kaoru wanted to say, and Tatsurou understood perfectly as his lips were caught in a kiss once more. “Finally,” Kaoru whispered, kissing along the line of Tatsurou’s jaw, up to his ear and down his neck. A few moments later, the smiles had been replaced by lustful moans and touches. Soon enough, the two were completely oblivious to the world as they got lost in the heat of each other, the sex slow and relaxed but filled with emotion. They snuggled close afterwards, wrapped in each other’s arms, and Tatsurou slept better that night than he’d had for years.

. . . . .

Toshiya was also very happy as he snuggled down next to his mate that night. Shinya was radiant, his pregnancy so much easier than all of the others’ so far. The alpha smiled at him and leaned over to give him a soft kiss to the cheek.

“You’re glowing,” he said, resting his hand on the round belly as he watched his mate affectionately.

“Thank you,” Shinya said with pink cheeks, still adorably shy when it came to compliments.

“Well, you are,” Toshiya smiled. At that moment, the baby chose to kick his hand, and the omega groaned at the same time as his alpha let out a delighted laugh.

“Hey, it hurts when you do that,” Shinya berated the belly softly. “Be nice.”

Toshiya chuckled. “Maybe he was being nice to his dad? He knows I love to feel he’s in there.”

“Well then you carry him for a while,” the omega joked, poking his mate in the side.

“I would if I could, sweetie,” the alpha smiled and pulled a few curls off his face. “But you’re still beautiful. And it’s not far to go now.”

“I know.” Shinya looked somewhat stunned by the thought. “I can hardly believe it. Just a few weeks left. How did that happen? It feels like I’ve been pregnant for ages, and yet it feels like no time at all has passed.”

Toshiya hummed in agreement. “I know what you mean. I’m so glad, though, that we have two doctors now. Not that I don’t trust Tatsurou, but…”

“…you like to know there’s a backup,” Shinya nodded. “I like that too.”

The baby kicked again, making his bearer huff. “Stop it, I said,” he mumbled playfully.

“We’ll have to decide on a name soon, you know,” Toshiya grinned. “So you can tell him off properly.”

Shinya snorted and poked his mate’s side again. “Not until he’s out, I said. I don’t want to jinx it.”

Toshiya laughed, throwing his hands up. “I know, I know. No jinxing.” He pulled the omega as close as the belly would allow and gave him a sweet kiss. “I love you.”

His mate’s answering smile was enough to make the alpha giddy with happiness.

“I love you too.”

. . . . .

Tomo was still embarrassed the next day, and he slunk off and wouldn’t meet his friends’ eyes, hiding in the sickroom all day. He wouldn’t tell Tatsurou what was wrong, and the nurse had to let it go, the day filled with things that needed to be done. Shinji and Tatsurou went down to meet Masa, the surgeon leaning heavily on the nurse’s arm as they went, and Tomo shut the door behind them so he could be alone.

He wished vehemently that he hadn’t said anything yesterday. Ruki and Byou pretended like nothing had happened, which Tomo appreciated, but Kouki was being too nice, and Yomi… God, he wished he hadn’t mentioned Ruka. It had just slipped out, and now he had to live with the embarrassment. He didn’t want his friend to feel bad, and he didn’t want to make Yomi think of him and Ruka together. That was just not fair, even though the omega of course knew the two had been to the heat cabin together.

But still, Tomo couldn’t think of any other reason than that he was the one to blame. After all, all of his boyfriends through the years had left soon after they had sex for the first time. Some were clearly just after the sex, leaving as soon as they got what they wanted, but others, alphas that had gotten Tomo’s hopes up… They all left. Ruka had seemed to enjoy himself, as far as Tomo could remember, and of course he had never said anything to the omega about something being wrong. But Ruka was a nice guy, and he probably just didn’t want Tomo to feel bad about it. After all, what else could there be? What other explanation than that Tomo was a bad fuck. Ugly. A turn-off.

And god help him, but he really, really liked K. And he didn’t want to lose him as well, like all the others. So if that meant no sex while trying to string him along for as long as possible before the inevitable happened, so be it. Sooner or later he would have to give in before the alpha gave up anyway, but then at least he would have one last fuck before he was alone again. If he could save that heartache for a while longer, he would.

So he ignored the pain and tried to bury himself in work and not think about the day K would leave. It didn’t really work.

Chapter Text

Shuse watched Manabu from across the room. The omega sat nursing baby Yutaka, a sweet smile on his face as he looked at the little boy in his arms, caressing his head lovingly. The light from the window surrounded them with a soft glow. To the sergeant, it looked like a painting, more beautiful than anything he’d ever seen. He was transfixed, and he jumped slightly when Jun-ji spoke next to him.

“Come on, go talk to him. Everyone’s dying from anticipation here.”

Shuse narrowed his eyes at his friend. “Everyone?”

“Yeah, yeah, ok, me and Kazuki at least. But I’m pretty sure everyone else is waiting for you to make your move as well.”

Shuse sighed, casting a glance back to the adorable image by the window. “It’s not that easy. I can’t just go up to him and ask him to stay with me.”

“Of course you can. Remember what you told me when I was dithering about talking to Kazuki? And see how well that worked out.”

The alpha just hummed in reply and put his fingers through his hair, pulling at the strands a bit in frustration. “Yeah. Soon. When the time is right.”

Jun-ji shook his head. “Honestly, Shuse… What does it take for the time to be right for you? When he’s about to go home?”

“Knock it off. I’ll get there, ok?” The sergeant was muttering now, glowering at his friend. He got that Jun-ji just wanted what was best for him, but it wasn’t just that easy. It wasn’t. With a long-suffering glance he looked back at the omega, frowning to see K coming up to crouch next to them, cooing a bit at the baby as he tickled him lightly on his belly. Manabu smiled happily at him, and Shuse felt a tug at his heart. Damn. That should be him, not some random guy. By the way, what was K doing with Manabu, shouldn’t he be wooing Tomo instead? Damn it. With a grunt he nodded to Jun-ji and left the room, his friend sighing and shaking his head at his retreating back.

. . . . .

Tatsurou was cleaning the sickroom while talking to Kaz when K knocked on the door and stuck his head in.

“Oh, sorry,” he said, glancing between the two alphas, “did I disturb you?”

Kaz smiled, getting up from the chair he had been sitting on. “Not at all. I’d better go find Meto anyway, I feel an excitement building through the bond that I recognize from the last time he tried to get a new piercing. Better go stop that foolishness right away before he’s got time to stick the needle somewhere stupid.”

Tatsurou looked at his friend with a half amused, half worried expression. “Need me there in case he succeeds?”

“Nah. He’s close, I’ll get there in time.” Kaz smirked and waved his goodbye, patting K’s shoulder as he passed in the doorway.

Tatsurou raised his eyebrow at K, who was looking a bit uncomfortable. “So, what can I do for you? Leg healing ok?”

“Yeah, it’s fine. Tomo did a good job,” K nodded while he carefully closed the door behind him. “I have a question… And it’s kind of… hard to ask.”

Tatsurou furrowed his brow, wondering what would get the usually so cheerful and forward alpha look so uncomfortable. He sat down on the chair and gestured to the bed in an invitation to sit. K sat down gingerly, biting his lip and making a small grimace as he sighed.

“The thing is… It’s not about me. And I feel like I’m betraying him a bit by asking you, but I can’t ask him directly either. So I feel bad about it, but I really need to know…”

He took a deep breath and looked earnestly at the nurse. Tatsurou tilted his head a bit, eyeing the alpha. He had a slight idea where this was going, but he could be wrong. “Go ahead. I won’t tell whoever it is you asked, but I might not answer either if it’s something that I think should be kept in confidence.”

K nodded. “I accept that, that’s fine. You might have guessed it already, but it’s about Tomo.” Tatsurou bowed his head in acknowledgement. So he was right.

The other alpha fidgeted a bit before he got around to asking the actual question. “It’s… Did… Is he one of the omegas who got abused on the road? Has he been… raped?” He looked physically ill as he said the last word, and Tatsurou could see the fear in his eyes about what the answer would be.

“No,” he said gingerly. “As far as I know, he hasn’t been assaulted sexually. It might have happened Before and he hasn’t wanted to tell me about it, but he’s been with friends who have kept him safe After.”

The relief on K’s face was immense, and his shoulders slumped a bit as the tension left him. “Oh, thank god. I was afraid that was why he…” He trailed off, biting his lip again.

“Why he what?” the nurse asked, furrowing his brow. The other alpha seemed hesitant to say it, apparently not comfortable with revealing too much about Tomo’s and his interactions to someone else. In the end, the hunger to know why won over his hesitation.

“Why he’s pulling away every time I get too close,” he said, eyeing Tatsurou warily. “He doesn’t mind kissing and cuddling with clothes on, but the second I try to put my hand on bare skin, even just putting my hand on the small of his back underneath his sweater, he pulls back and is suddenly really busy and need to go do something else. I was scared he’d been hurt.” He looked worried more than anything, and Tatsurou felt a quick wave of gratitude that this was the alpha that had caught Tomo’s eye. He felt the omega would be in good hands with K. If they ever got that far, that was.

“I think,” the nurse started slowly and pulled his hair back as he thought about his friend, “that he’s just scared. From what little I’ve been able to piece together, I think he’s got really low self-esteem. He’s afraid you’ll leave him. That you’ll find someone else.”

K looked confused and somewhat frustrated. “But I really like him, and I do everything I can to show him I do. Why won’t he trust me when I say I want him? I’ve started to think he doesn’t want me back.”

Tatsurou shook his head. He wasn’t too comfortable about discussing Tomo’s feelings either, but he could see these two needed some help, and he felt the end justified the means. He wanted his assistant to be happy, and he clearly wasn’t right now, despite the budding relationship with K. If Tatsurou could help him find some happiness, it would have to be worth the slight betrayal he felt he was involved in. He eyed K as he thought about how to phrase his friend’s situation. “Well, you know he and Ruka had a fling before Yomi and Ruka hit it off, right?” He looked at K questioningly, relieved when the alpha nodded. “Well, I’ve gotten the feeling that wasn’t his first fling. He’s never talked about any longer relationship in his past, and I know he felt bad when he and Ruka never took off. It wasn’t anyone’s fault,” he added quickly, eager not to make K angry with Ruka. “It was just one of those times when the spark wasn’t there. But I think Tomo blames himself, thinking it’s his fault. And I think he’s basically just scared to be hurt again.”

K looked troubled and sad at the nurse’s words. “But he’s so amazing. I wish he didn’t doubt himself like that.” He bit his lip for a moment , deep in thought, before he looked up at the nurse again. “But why is he ok with kissing then? I mean, he was a little hesitant at first, but he’s more than happy to let me kiss him now. It’s when I start to take it one step further that he’s off at the speed of light.”

Tatsurou shrugged with frown. “That I don’t know. Maybe it’s the increased intimacy? Something that would make the two of you bond tighter together, and that would make him sadder if you left? I don’t know, I’m just guessing here. But you only came here for Manabu, after all. He’s expecting you to go back to the resort.”

K nodded. “Maybe. But I’d stay for him, if you guys would let me. Or bring him, if he wanted to go.”

“I say tell him that. Tell him you want him. Make him believe it.” Tatsurou smiled a bit sadly at the other alpha, and K returned the smile tiredly.

“Yeah. I guess. I just don’t want to scare him away either, make him close himself off to me. I do like him a lot, you know.”

Tatsurou smiled again, this time without sadness. “I know. I can see that.” He reached out and gave K’s shoulder a quick squeeze. “But just so you know, there is a whole island of people here that will hunt you down if you hurt him,” he added cheekily. K laughed, the tension of the conversation leaving them slowly.

“Yeah, I know. And rightly so. If I ever hurt him, you have my permission to kill me slowly.”

“Oh, don’t worry. We’ll make it quick. We’re not assholes,” Tatsurou joked as he got up from the chair, the two alphas grinning.

K walked over to the door, pausing for a second with his hand on the handle. “Thanks though. For the talk,” he added, smiling at the nurse’s short nod, and then he was gone. Tatsurou sighed, turning back to put the chair in its rightful place. He hoped he had done the right thing for Tomo.

. . . . .

The new terraced house was almost finished, the shell finished. Now they were working on finishing up indoors, installing stoves, putting in doors and so on. Toshiya, Kaoru and Yukke stood watching the flurry of action, admiring the house.

“It’s beautiful,” Toshiya said, smiling widely.

“And more importantly, it’s almost done,” Yukke grinned. “And I know of a few eager someones with their eyes on the top left apartment.”

“Oh?” Toshiya raised an eyebrow in question, but when Yukke smirked he nodded. “Let me guess. Jun-ji and Kazuki?”

“Yup. Of course, they’d take any room, as long as they get one. Like I said. Eager.”

Kaoru snorted next to them, looking amused. “I swear, only Kyo and Ruki can rival those two when it comes to wandering hands at any possible time or place.”

The other two laughed, knowing it was true, and then continued discussing the plans for more construction. Since they were sure to be finished with this house in a few weeks, they had gotten started on the extension of other cottages. They were well immersed into the discussion when Shuse came jogging up to them, turning to Toshiya.

“We’ve got a visitor on horseback. From the resort, we assume, but we can’t make out who it is through the binoculars. He’s waving like crazy so that we’ll be able to see him, though.”

“Ok,” Toshiya said. “Prepare the boat, and I’ll go get Kaz. Yukke? Kao? Feel like coming?”

As the two alphas nodded, Shuse smirked. “Boat’s almost ready. We’re just waiting for you.”

“Great, we’ll be there shortly. I want Kaz there though, in case it’s someone we don’t know. We’ll bring Asanao to help with the horse as well. I’ll get something from the kitchen and then we can go,” Toshiya said, and the sergeant nodded and turned back to jog back down to the docks, Kaoru and Yukke giving a few orders to the builders before they followed leisurely.

. . . . .

Kaz was exited and terrified all at once. He was finally getting news about his friends, and more importantly his lover, and he was dreading what it could be. Meto pouted at not being allowed to come, but when Kaz promised him that he could get that piercing if Kuina agreed and was the one who did it, the omega happily bounded off to go find his friend instead. The alpha walked nervously down to the boats with Toshiya, trying to focus on the conversation and failing. Eventually, the islander gave up trying and left him to his own thoughts, realizing he had a lot on his mind. Kaz was fretting all the way to the docks and through the entire boat ride over the lake. When they approached the other shore, he squinted to see who was there, and soon made out Ju-ken’s beard and tall, lean frame.

“Ju-ken,” he reported back, Toshiya nodding in relief. Good, someone they knew. But what brought him here now?

As the boat hit the shore, they got out and pulled it up on the sand. Ju-ken stood with the reins in his hand, petting the horse as he waited. When the others came up to him, he smiled and gave them each a one-armed hug.

“Hey, it’s so good to see you guys,” he smiled. Toshiya noted his tired face though, and a not yet healed cut on his left arm.

“Are you ok? How is everyone? Is Hyde ok?” Kaz spurted out questions at high speed, anxiously looking over his friend.

“Hyde’s fine,” Ju-ken said, knowing this was the question that was most important to his friend right now. “The rest are mostly fine, but we’ve had some troubles from the assholes we threw out. I came here for two reasons, one being to see if you were ok and if they came this way when we finally drove them off.”

“We’re fine and we haven’t seen them,” Toshiya said, frowning in worry. “And what was the second reason?”

Ju-ken looked miserable, and he lowered his voice as he spoke the words no one wanted to hear. “To tell Masa that his father is dead.”

Chapter Text

The shocked silence was broken by the horse, huffing and pulling at his reins. Ju-ken calmed him before he turned back to the others.

“I don’t want to leave the horse here, but I don’t want Masa to hear this second hand either,” he said quietly. “And we do need to talk about everything that’s happened.”

Without a word, Asanao and Shuse stepped up to take the reins, Ju-ken gratefully handing them over. Toshiya showed him to the boat with a hand gesture, and they all climbed in, Shuse helping to push the boat out. On the way over, Ju-ken ate while the others rowed, apparently very hungry. The tension was still strong, and as they came to the docks where Aoi let them in, Toshiya stopped them on the shore before they could continue up to the village.

“We need to run this by Miya and Tatsurou first,” he said. “Masa is not doing too well. The baby has three more weeks to go, and he’s been stuck in that cabin for a long time now. He’s not in a great place mentally, and I’m scared of what will happen if we tell him now. I want Tatsurou and Miya to decide if they think he can handle it first.”

Ju-ken eyed him nervously. “That bad? I had hoped… But of course. We’ll talk to Miya first, he knows Masa better than anyone.”

With that, they walked up to the village, and Ju-ken started to fill them in on what had happened on the way. “They were after Hyde. He’s ok, they didn’t get to him,” he added quickly with a glance at Kaz. “They tried to ambush us when we got back, but the horses were too big, so when they tried to get in the way we rode through them. I know we hurt at least one badly straight away, and at least two more were probably badly bruised. But Toll sat behind Hyde on the horse, and someone threw a rock after us when we rode away. It hit Toll in the head, and he almost fell off. With Hyde’s help, he managed to stay on the horse until we got through the gates, but as soon as we got him down he was unconscious and bleeding heavily. We did our best, but there was nothing we could do. He never woke up again, and passed away two days later.” Ju-ken stopped to wipe tears off of his cheek, making a grimace. “Sorry,” he whispered. Toshiya shook his head mutely and put a hand on the alpha’s shoulder. Kaz was also crying by now, and the group stopped to give them time to calm down before they entered the village.

After a long while, Ju-ken nodded and gestured that he was ready to continue. “They kept trying to steal our food,” he continued as they started to walk up the path again. “And we had to harvest as much as possible to keep them from getting it. We just don’t have the men to protect both the resort and the fields well, and since we never knew when or where they were about to hit… It just got to a point where we were in some kind of guerilla war. It all came to some sort of conclusion when they tried to go over the fence to get into the resort in a coordinated attack. Thanks to Shuse’s help with the guard schedules, we saw them in time and got everyone there.”

Ju-ken’s face was slightly grey, and it was clear that it was taking a toll on him to tell them what happened. “We had a huge fight. It was like a battlefield… But nine of them – the guy who was trampled by the horse must have died – against about thirty-five of us. They wounded a bunch of us, but we killed four of them and wounded at least two more before they pulled back. We haven’t seen them since, and we’re not sure how many of them there are left. Somewhere between three to five, but I think they won’t last too long. Still, we were worried they had managed to get here.”

“God,” Toshiya breathed. “I’m so sorry. The ones who were wounded at the resort, how are they doing?”

“They’ll live. A few cuts,” he held his arm up to show them, “a broken arm and some other minor injuries. The worst is Hidehiko, who lost his sight on one eye.” He made a grimace. “But Yutaka is caring for him, and I think it’s actually helping them find their way back together. At least something good might come of this,” he added bitterly.

They had reached the village by now, and they stayed silent as they went up to the big house, Yukke and Kaoru quietly going off to find Miya and Tatsurou. Toshiya showed Ju-ken up to the library for some privacy, but when they stepped inside they found the room occupied. Byou, Hiyori, Manabu and Kei sat around the table, while Shinya and Koichi sat more comfortably on the sofa. On a thick duvet on the floor, three babies were sleeping, all snuggled up together. The omegas looked up as the alphas entered, Byou rising as he recognized their visitor.

“Ju-ken!” he exclaimed, though somewhat muted so as not to wake the babies.

Ju-ken looked at the omega in surprise, letting his eyes glide over the now slim figure and then over to the babies on the floor. “Byou! Wow, you’re a lot less balloon-sized than when I last saw you,” he teased, the omega huffing and reaching his tongue out at the alpha. Ju-ken looked over the others, a big smile on his face now as he saw Manabu equally slim. “Wow,” he repeated a little breathlessly, carefully stepping over to the babies and crouching next to them. “Who belongs to whom?” he asked, and Byou and Manabu came over and sat down next to the babies, Byou pointing.

“This is my boy, Tomoya. Isn’t he precious?” He looked infinitely proud, and Ju-ken smiled widely. “He is,” he agreed, reaching out to give Byou’s hand a quick squeeze. Byou grinned and continued with the introductions. “This is Kana, he’s Kei’s boy. And that’s Yutaka.”

“And he’s mine,” Manabu said, smiling affectionately at the child before he met Ju-ken’s gaze. The alpha smiled widely, looking down at the boy. “He’s beautiful,” he said. “He’s got your nose.” Manabu lit up at the compliment, smiling sweetly at the alpha. (Over by the door, Shuse drew a deep breath, swearing to himself.)

“Yutaka, huh? I know someone who will be very happy to hear what you named him,” Ju-ken grinned. Manabu blushed a bit, but said nothing else. At that moment, Kana woke up and started whining, swinging his little arms around and waking the others up as well. The children were quickly swept up into their bearer’s arms, and the omegas all gathered up their things to leave. Before he left though, Manabu stopped in front of Ju-ken, eyeing him worriedly.

“Are you ok? What happened to your arm?”

“I’m fine. A little tired from the trip. We’ll talk more later,” Ju-ken promised. Manabu didn’t look convinced, but didn’t say anything more as he left the room to join the others downstairs.

. . . . .

Tomo was folding clean towels when K came into the sickroom, looking rather serious. The omega looked at the alpha anxiously. What was going on? He had seen Ju-ken come in with the others, looking a little worse for wear, and he had been worried something bad had happened. And now K came to see him, looking all serious, and Tomo instantly had a bad feeling about it. Was Ju-ken hurt and needed medical help?

The alpha came up to him and smiled a little uncertainly. “Hi babe. What are you up to?”

The omega swallowed, trying to find his voice to answer. “Folding towels,” he said, as if the alpha couldn’t see that for himself. This was not a lead-up to ‘bring some bandages, Ju-ken is hurt’. So what was it then? He watched K with large eyes, tense and scared, and the alpha quickly realized that there was no point in trying to lead into the conversation. He sighed internally and threw himself in there, trying to sound non-threatening.

“Listen, I need to talk to you about something.”

Tomo’s heart almost stopped at the words. What? Not that, already? God, no, not now, they hadn’t even had sex yet and K was already tired of him. It couldn’t be true. He felt all color disappear from his face and his hands were white-knuckling the towel he was holding. He couldn’t hear this now, not yet, not again. He understood, he knew what was coming, but he didn’t want to hear the words. His legs were shaking and he felt like fainting. His stomach kept telling him to throw up. Instead, he forced himself to speak.

“I… I’m sorry… I can’t…” But he couldn’t get the words out, couldn’t explain that he didn’t want to hear this, that he understood anyway, just please don’t say it again. And so he dropped the towel on the floor and rushed past K towards the door, tears pressing against his eyelids and a large lump forming in his throat.

He didn’t make it to the door. A hand caught him and pulled him back, and all of a sudden he found himself wrapped in K’s arms, the alpha pressing his face into Tomo’s neck. “Don’t run from me, sweetie,” he whispered, holding the omega tightly to his chest.

“I can’t hear this,” Tomo stuttered, trying to pull back. “I just can’t. Please don’t make me.” He couldn’t hold back the tears now, and his voice was distorted with pain.

“I’m not breaking up with you, idiot,” K mumbled, reaching up a hand to cup Tomo’s cheek and turn his face up so he could look into the omega’s eyes. “I’m in love with you.”

Tomo blinked, his words lost for a moment. But then his consciousness caught up with him, and he realized what the alpha was saying. And it was too much, entirely too much, and he broke down in tears again. Only this time he didn’t try to pull away, and let K guide him to his shoulder, the alpha’s strong arms holding him close. His soothing voice whispered words of love and devotion, and the omega could hardly believe what he was hearing. This couldn’t be true, could it? But K held him closely, kissed his cheek and temple and stroked his back soothingly, all the while mumbling sweet words.

“You’re perfect just the way you are. You’re beautiful inside and out. I’ve never felt so comfortable with anyone before. I want you so, so much, in every way.”

But the words that made Tomo’s breath hitch and his eyes widen in shock were whispered into his ear. “I’ll stay here for you. I won’t go back unless they force me to, and if I have to go, I’m taking you with me. I’m not gonna leave you, no matter what.”

The omega pulled away enough so he could look into K’s eyes, unbelieving. “But… On the bench, when we first… You said you couldn’t promise me forever.”

K smiled. “I did. I also remember saying I was aiming for it, but that we had just met. But we’ve known each other for a while now. Granted, a short while, but enough for me to want to stay with you. We’re not ready to mate yet, neither of us are. But I can definitely see it happen in the future. Can you?”

Tomo couldn’t breathe, the emotions too strong, and K seemed to understand because he just pulled the omega to his chest and kissed his cheek. They stood like that for a long while, just holding onto each other in the stillness of the room.

. . . . .

Miya, Tatsurou and Atsushi stepped into the library amongst a flurry of little legs. The kids were playing hide and seek, and out on the landing, Shou was counting down from ten in an almost correct way (though eight and six traded places, and four was cutely mispronounced.) A bunch of laughing little boys all headed for the library to hide, and had to be chased out again under pouting protests. Saga fell and hit his knee, and there had to be a pause for comforting and blowing the invisible wound, while Hiroto stood next to Saga and wailed in sympathy. Finally, Miya shut the door behind them and sighed.

“Ok, what’s going on?”

Ju-ken came up and the two cousins gave each other a quick hug. Miya also noticed the wound on the arm and the tired expression in the other’s eyes. They sat down, and Ju-ken retold the story, focusing on Toll and what had happened. Tatsurou and Miya gasped at the news, exchanging a worried glance.

“So the question is,” Toshiya said once Ju-ken was finished, “do we tell Masa?”

Miya shook his head even before anyone had time to say anything more. “He’ll probably hate me later once he finds out, but I can’t put him through that right now. I can’t.”

Tatsurou hummed in agreement. “You’re right, I don’t think it would be wise. Wait a few weeks.”

“Ok, you know best what he can take right now,” Toshiya said. “But we’d better tell the rest, so that we’re not starting any rumors. We’ll have to trust that they won’t tell Masa. Everyone will understand. It’s almost time for dinner, I’ll tell them then. The short version, I think, save the details?” He cast a questioning glance at Atsushi who nodded affirmatively.

With that, the group got up and went down to the dining room, their spirits low. As they left the room, no one noticed the two little feet that peeked out beneath a curtain. It took a few minutes before Tora dared step out, looking worried and scared by the adults’ apparent grief. But mostly, he was confused. He didn’t understand why everyone was so upset, and what it meant that Toll hadn’t woken up. He had liked Toll, he had been nice to him. Was he going to sleep forever now? Did some evil witch throw a curse at him? Maybe Tora could hug him and he would wake up, like in the fairy tales?

Tora was confused and scared, and did what any little boy did when things were too much to handle. He ran to his bearer.

Chapter Text

They had only just started on dinner when Miya suddenly stopped mid-motion and stared blankly into nothing. Then he abruptly dropped his fork and got up, his chair falling backwards with a loud bang that made everyone jump and fall silent. It took a few moments for anyone to realize what was happening, and Tatsurou and Ju-ken didn’t react until Miya was almost out the door. They followed hurriedly – no need to guess what was going on – and the nurse yelled over his shoulder for Tomo to start preparing, in case this was it. For a second everything was quiet, and then the omega took charge, barking orders to Kuina and Ruki to start boiling water and fetch towels to the room adjacent to the sickroom, since Shinji was still staying there. Kei didn’t need any prompt to wordlessly hand over Kana to Yukihiro, though it took him an extra moment and a few kisses to the boy’s head before he could leave and go help prepare. Yukke blinked when Tomo turned to him, but he immediately obeyed the order to go get a stretcher and get his ass down to Masa’s cottage. Behind him, Satochi followed without hesitation.

And then there was Shinji. The omega hesitated a bit now, not sure how to treat the newest member of their medical team. The alpha was still too weak to follow down to the cabin, but he got up from his chair slowly before Tomo could say anything and smiled reassuringly at the omega.

“Didn’t we have a high chair on wheels in the sickroom? If I could borrow that, I could sit down and still be of use,” he said, Tomo nodding gratefully.

“I’ll get it,” Kuina said as he rushed by with a bunch of clean towels in his hands. Meanwhile, Ryo stepped up and took Shinji under the arm, supporting him as he made his way to the back.

K sat on a chair watching everything, the flurry of activity everywhere, and in the center of it, Tomo. The omega was a true professional, directing the whole thing as if he had done this a thousand times before. Though K could see in his boyfriend’s eyes that he was scared shitless, the omega was still calmly making everything happen in the right way, in the right order. It was amazing to watch, and the alpha felt pride fill his chest, a soft smile on his lips despite everything. God he’s gorgeous. And he’s mine. I’ll make damn sure of it.

. . . . .

Miya burst through the door to find Uruha desperately trying to be there for both bearer and child. The omega was sitting on a chair next to the bed, clutching a crying Tora to his chest with one arm while holding Masa’s hand with his other hand. Masa was trying to keep it together for Tora’s sake, but the shock was too great and he fought a loosing battle. When Miya came in, Uruha got up and looked at him with wild eyes.

“Go,” Miya ordered quickly, and Uruha nodded and turned to the door with Tora in his arms.

“Daddyyyy,” the boy cried, sobbing hysterically, and Miya forced himself to stop for a second and put his hands on Tora’s cheeks.

“It’s gonna be ok, Tora, I promise. Daddy’s gonna take care of your ada, ok? But you have to go with Uruha-san now, and be a big boy for daddy. I know it’s hard, sweetie, but Uruha will take care of you until daddy’s back. Can you be a good boy for me?” he said gently, leaning down to kiss his son’s hair.

Tora’s bottom lip was shivering, but he nodded shakily and buried his head in Uruha’s shoulder as he started sobbing again. The omega gave Miya a quick and anxious smile before he turned to the door, waiting for a moment to let Tatsurou and Ju-ken in before he went out into the evening. The second they were out the door, Masa let it all out, a desperate cry leaving his lips as he reached for his mate. Miya was at his side immediately, wrapping his arms around his mate, pressing a wailing Masa to his chest. Tatsurou quickly sat down on the bed, trying to talk calmly to the omega while he reached for his wrist to check his pulse, but Masa didn’t hear him. He was hyperventilating, and strangled noises left him as he tried to cry without enough air in his lungs.

“His pulse is racing,” Tatsurou mumbled worriedly, Miya casting him a look full of fear. The nurse met his gaze, trying to look reassuring. “I think we’d better get him to the big house just in case,” he mumbled. Miya swallowed hard and nodded, holding his mate close as Masa fought to breathe. Yukke and Aoi arrived with the stretcher just as Tatsurou had gotten the omega’s breathing to slow down just a tad, but Masa was still wild-eyed and shivering all over from the shock. They wrapped him up in a blanket before they lifted him onto the stretcher, and Miya held his hand tightly all the way up to the big house, whispering words of love and comfort to ears that wouldn’t, couldn’t, listen.

. . . . .

Tora ended up in Kouki’s arms after both Shou and Hiroto freaked out over the situation, leaving Uruha with his hands full. After comforting him for a long while, assuring him that his parents weren’t mad at him and that nothing was his fault, he eventually got the boy to calm down. The teacher kept him snuggled up in his lap and read stories to him, singing songs and doing everything he could think of to keep the boy’s mind occupied. Eventually, as the hour got late, the kids fell asleep one by one, while the rest waited in nervous silence for any word on how things were going. Toshiya told them what had happened to Toll once the kids had fallen asleep, and everyone gasped at the news. They still didn’t know if Masa was battling the shock of hearing his father was dead, or if the news had also made him go into labor. It wasn’t until two hours later, when Kuina rushed by to get more water, that they learned that it had started, and that it wasn’t easy.

No one wanted to go to bed, and as the night wore on, a few fell asleep right where they were. Kei came out now and then to feed Kana, but he wouldn’t say anything other than that it would take time and that it wasn’t easy for Masa. Everyone huddled up in little groups or couples, trying to take comfort in each other. Aryu was plastered on Mitsuki who held him tightly, and even Uta came to sit next to Atsushi. The major’s eyes turned huge when he felt Uta’s long fingers carefully slipping into his hand, and he had to fight not to grip the hand tightly and scare his boyfriend. Instead, he forced himself to smile at the omega and gently close his fingers around the smaller hand in his, just enough to actually be holding hands, but not enough for Uta to feel trapped. Apparently he was doing it right, because Uta stayed put as the night wore on. Eventually, even Atsushi’s pulse slowed to a more normal pace.

It was long past midnight when Manabu got up and quietly slipped past those sleeping to go out on the porch. Shuse and K watched him go and then shared a long look, before K made a nod at the door, making a face that clearly told Shuse to follow. The sergeant hesitated for another moment, but an insistent frown and a second nod from K made him get up and follow the omega quietly.

Manabu was sitting on the stairs, holding a sleeping Yutaka to his chest, sobbing softly. When Shuse sat down next to him, he tried to look away to hide his tears, but the muffled sounds gave him away. The sergeant just couldn’t help himself. He wordlessly put his arms around the omega and pulled him to his shoulder, gently caressing the soft locks as Manabu buried his face against the alpha and cried heartbreakingly. They sat still for a long while, until Manabu’s sobs had finally slowly subsided.

“I’m scared,” the omega finally whispered, leaning into the alpha and breathing deeply to calm himself with the sergeant’s comforting scent. “Everything is crazy. What happened at the resort, and Masa…“ He closed his eyes for a moment to gather his thoughts. “I feel like it’s all falling apart. There’s nowhere safe for me, for Yutaka… I want him to have a good life, a safe life, but I don’t know how to give him that. There’s just me between him and a whole big bad world out there, and what if I can’t protect him?” He sniffed, pressing the baby closer to his chest as if he needed to shield him from harm this very second.

Shuse listened quietly, his chest contracting at the omega’s words. He could understand Manabu’s fear and doubts, but he was wrong. He wasn’t alone. Shuse would always be there for him, for Yutaka, no matter what.

“I’ll keep you safe,” he suddenly heard himself say, his mind not quite grasping what his mouth was doing. “I’ll keep you both safe, take care of you. If you want me to.”

Manabu sat up and pulled back to look at the alpha, blinking in shock. Shuse stiffened, hardly looking at the omega as he swallowed hard.

“You would… do that for me? For Yutaka?” Manabu said quietly, looking at Shuse with those large eyes. And god help him, but his mouth ran away again and had a field day on its own, without his brain having anything to say about it. “I can be his dad… If you’ll have me.” And that’s where his brain applied the brakes to his mouth, and he started stuttering. “I mean, I understand if you don’t want me to, and I could just be, like, his uncle, and help you guys out, but not…”

Manabu’s long fingers pressed over his lips all of a sudden, and Shuse blinked, startled into silence. Those long lashes fluttered for a moment, the omega biting his lip uncertainly, but then he slowly leaned forward and let his lips press ever so softly against the alpha’s.

Shuse couldn’t really remember anything else that happened after that, but when the light of dawn broke, he found himself sitting on a pillow on the floor in the dining room. Manabu and Yutaka were sleeping nestled in his arms, the omega’s head leaning on his chest. The sergeant watched him in awe for a long while, and when he lifted his head to look around a little dazedly, he found K sitting on the other side of the room, smirking at him. The alpha looked very tired but extremely smug, and he grinned at Shuse and made two thumbs up. The sergeant promptly ignored him and looked back down to the two beautiful angels in his lap, trying to understand if this was really real.

. . . . .

In the early morning hours, Tomo showed up, looking rather harried. Still, his voice was firm and calm as he asked if anyone knew for certain they were blood type B or O? A few hands were raised, and Tomo glided over them before he settled on Ryo, quietly asking if he would join them for a while. Ryo just nodded and went with him after squeezing Nao’s hand firmly. He didn’t come back for many hours, and when he did, he was pale and had a bandage around his left arm from where a needle had been stuck, pumping blood into Masa. Kai quickly fixed him something to eat, and after his meal, Yukke and Nao supported him back to his cabin to get some rest.

The episode only served to make everyone else more nervous and scared.

. . . . .

It was past noon before Kei and Tomo came out. They both looked deadly tired, and Yukihiro quickly caught his boyfriend before he had time to collapse. The omega was obviously in no shape to answer any questions, and Yukihiro led him away quickly to their cottage, Kana on his other arm. Tomo was in just as bad shape, hanging on K as if the alpha was the only thing that kept him standing (which to be honest, he probably was). Although they were all dying to know what had happened, they realized there was no point in pestering Tomo either, as he was half asleep already.

Toshiya got up and looked around, motioning them all to sit down. The murmur died down a little and the nerves came back as the islanders watched their leader disappear into the back of the house. He was gone for at least fifteen minutes, and when he finally came back, he looked troubled, pushing a hand through his curls. He waved for them to quiet down, and everyone quickly fell silent as they anxiously waited to hear the news.

“The child is alive and well, a little alpha,” he started, everyone taking a deep breath of relief. “Though Shinji and Tatsurou had to perform a cesarean eventually, since the birth was too difficult. Masa is still unconscious after the operation, as you can understand. They have good hope for his recovery, if no infections occur, but the next few days will be vital. Miya will take care of the boy with Kei’s help in the meantime, but Tatsurou asked for your understanding in letting the family stay undisturbed until we know Masa is out of the woods. Tatsurou and his team will care for them, until they are ready to meet us all.”

He paused, looking around at all the troubled faces. This would be a hard time for them, and even though they all understood, he knew they would be upset and on edge until Masa was well again. He tried to look reassuring when he continued. “Miya will speak to Tora later, to explain what is happening and give him some comfort, but the boy will need to stay with another adult until Miya can take care of him full time again. Uruha, Kai – can you help out? Let the boys have a sleep-over?” The couple quickly nodded, looking worried but determined.

Toshiya closed his eyes for a moment, before he looked up again. The news he was saving for last wouldn’t help with everyone’s worry either, but it had to be said so that the reactions of surprise wouldn’t come later, in front of the parents, and be misinterpreted.

“There’s one more thing you should know,” he said, looking out over his friends’ tired faces. “The child has Down’s syndrome.”

Chapter Text

K missed the entire thing, as he led a nearly sleepwalking Tomo up the stairs to his room. Once inside, he carefully put the omega down on his bed, Tomo mumbling something and reaching for the pillow. K smiled and reached down to give his boyfriend a chaste kiss.

“Wait just a moment, sweetie, then you can sleep. We need to get you out of these pants or it’ll be uncomfortable.” A muffled ‘hmpf’ from Tomo made K smile again, and he realized he wouldn’t get any help from the omega on this one. He gently rolled his boyfriend over on his back and started to unbutton his pants, the action making him feel a little strange and creepy. Here he was, taking off his boyfriend’s pants while he was completely out of it… Stalker alert. He sighed before he carefully pulled the jeans and socks off, making very sure the underwear didn’t slide down by accident. For a moment, he debated whether he should remove the shirt as well, but eventually decided against it, since he didn’t want Tomo to believe he had taken advantage. Instead, he helped the semi-conscious omega crawl beneath his blankets and tucked him in gently, before he turned towards the door.

“Wait.” Tomo’s voice was a little slurred as he mumbled for K to stop, but his hand reached for the alpha, beckoning him back. When K returned to his side he grabbed his arm, nearly missing him as sleepiness made his limbs uncoordinated, and mumbled something.

“I can’t hear you, baby. What did you say?” the alpha asked, leaning down to listen intently.

“Stay for a while?” Tomo mumbled again, his hand pulling a little at K’s arm, trying weakly to pull him into bed.

“Are you sure?” K tried to see if the omega was conscious enough to know what he was saying. He was, if barely. The alpha hesitated for another moment, before he smiled and nodded.

“Ok, just let me lose my pants as well. Jeans aren’t made for sleeping in.” He stood up and quickly dropped his pants and pulled off his sweater, leaving him, like Tomo, in underwear and a T-shirt. Then he crawled into bed next to his boyfriend, planning to lie on top of the blankets next to him for a while until the omega was fast asleep. But Tomo had other plans, as he clumsily threw the blanket over K and snuggled up next to the alpha, putting his head on his shoulder. For a moment K blinked in surprise, but then he just went with it, putting his arm around Tomo and kissing his temple softly, before he put his head down and closed his eyes, feeling the tiredness coming over him as well. After only a few minutes, they were both sound asleep.

. . . . .

Miya’s face was grey from worry and lack of sleep, but he was afraid to nod off and miss anything happening to Masa. All the medical staff were too tired and needed to rest if they were to help his mate, but Tatsurou had helped Shinji to bed in the adjacent sickroom and then rolled out a futon there to sleep on himself, so he could be near if he was needed. He had offered Miya to have someone come in and sit with the omega as the alpha slept, but the new father had declined, wanting to keep an eye on his mate for as long as possible. He shared his attention between Masa and the little boy in his arms, sleeping now after being fed. Miya had been scared that the boy would starve while Masa was still out of it, but Tatsurou had quietly delivered a bottle of milk before he went to bed, handing it over with a small smile. When Miya looked startled, he just said it was courtesy of Manabu, and that the other omegas with babies had all offered to help out with keeping the newborn fed until Masa could do it himself.

Miya felt like crying, the kindness of others overwhelming his tired mind. He looked down on the baby, taking in his features, getting to know his face. Tatsurou had asked if he had questions about the boy’s condition, but Miya shook his head at that. He’d keep them for when Masa was well enough to hear the answers as well. It didn’t matter right now, as long as he did the right things to take care of his son properly. Right now he needed Masa to pull through, that was the most important thing. Anything else could come later.

When Tatsurou stuck his head in the door a little later, Miya had nodded off, his arms protectively wrapped around the baby. Instead of waking him, the nurse backed out and went to quietly fetch Hiyuu, asking if he could sit with Masa for a while to keep watch while Miya slept. The omega agreed instantly, eager to help, and as soon as he was installed on a chair next to the sickbed, the nurse returned to the sickroom. He checked on Shinji, the alpha completely worn out from the night’s work. The surgeon had been the support and expertise Tatsurou had needed to save Masa’s life, and for that, the nurse would be forever grateful. When he had made sure Shinji was asleep and well, he finally let himself return to his futon for a dreamless sleep.

. . . . .

Ju-ken felt incredibly guilty. If he hadn’t come with such horrible news, maybe things had gone easier for Masa? Since Tatsurou weren’t there to tell him otherwise, he fretted on his own for a long while until Toshiya noticed and came over.

“Hey,” the islander said, sitting down. “How are you doing?”

“Worried. And ashamed.” Ju-ken hung his head as he answered, but Toshiya wouldn’t hear of it.

“Don’t be. Yes, it was a shock, but this would have been hard for Masa no matter when it happened. It’s not your fault.”

“It feels like it,” Ju-ken said. “And poor Tora, he must’ve been scared to death when Masa freaked out.”

Toshiya sighed. “You know what? Maybe you should go play with Tora then. Help him understand a bit of what happened, be there for him. He adores you, and looks up to you. Miya talked to him earlier, but he needs as much support as he can get until Masa is awake again.”

Ju-ken looked up at the islander, smiling a little crookedly. “You know, I understand why you are the leader of this place. Always calm, always wise. You seem to know just what to say and do at any given moment.”

Toshiya blushed a bit at that, but bowed his head in thanks. When Ju-ken left to go find Tora, however, he drew a deep breath. The whole episode with Masa had scared him half to death, but he kept up appearances in front of others, playing the role of the strong leader. He felt anything but calm and wise right now. And so he gave in when he felt the sudden urge to go find Shinya and check on him and the belly, for the fifteenth time today.

. . . . .

Tomo finally woke up when it was nearing dinner, still tired but a lot more lucid. The fact that he was lying next to a warm body was enough to wake him up properly, and his breath hitched when he opened his eyes to find K lying on his side with his face turned towards him. The alpha was sleeping, his face relaxed. Tomo studied it breathlessly for a moment, before he realized they were both underneath the blankets. Together. Oh shit, what had happened? He had very hazy memories of the last hour before he went to bed, but he thought he would have remembered if they had had sex. He moved his hand a little under the blanket, relieved to feel that he had his shirt and underwear on. The movement made K stir, and he opened his eyes and yawned, stretching a bit.

“Mmm, morning… Or evening, I guess,” he mumbled softly, throwing a glance out the window before he turned to the omega again. “How are you feeling? Better?” He gently lifted his hand and let his fingers trace the outline of Tomo’s face lightly, the omega’s eyes widening at the touch.

“Yeah, better,” he whispered. “Still tired though.”

“I can imagine,” K said and yawned again. “I’m tired from just waiting. I can’t begin to imagine how you must feel.” He looked the omega deep into the eyes. “You were amazing. So on top of everything even in the midst of chaos. You were fantastic to watch. I’m so proud of you.”

Tomo blushed deeply, not quite believing the alpha’s words. “I only did what Tatsurou trained me to,” he mumbled, but K shook his head with determination.

“No way. He might have taught you the medical part, but leading, making everyone do what was necessary… That was all you. You should believe more in yourself. You have so much to be proud of,” he smiled, gently caressing the omega’s cheek and hair.

“I do?” Tomo looked disbelieving but still happy, and K liked to see the little smile that played at the corner of his mouth at the praise.

“You do, so much,” he said. For a long moment they just lay there, gazing into each other’s eyes while the alpha gently caressed Tomo’s face. And then, slowly and deliberately, he leaned over to kiss the omega softly on the lips. He pulled back just a tad to assess the reaction, and when he noticed the slightly rosy cheeks and the fluttering eyelashes, he smiled and leaned in for another kiss. Their lips were soon dancing against each other, slowly and sensually. K took it slow, feeling out every new step before he took it, not wanting to scare his boyfriend through going too fast.

He felt every tiny shiver as he ran his fingers lightly up and down the omega’s arm as they kissed. He smiled inwardly when he felt a hand shift, carefully being placed on his waist. Encouraged by the fact that Tomo touched him of his own accord, he leaned into the kiss more, gently pushing his tongue into that gorgeous mouth as he let his fingers continue to wander lightly up and down the omega’s side, on top of the shirt. The omega let him, but after a few moments he pulled away and sat up, nervously biting is lip. Before K could say anything to apologize for going too far, however, Tomo shifted and, to K’s amazement, slowly and uncertainly pulled off his T-shirt. He blinked anxiously at the alpha, his bare chest and torso exposed to him for the first time.

K could see the scared look in Tomo’s eyes, hear the unsteady breathing, and he felt so conflicted. Yes, he wanted this, god, he wanted it. But not at the cost of Tomo’s trust. Not if it scared him and made him uncomfortable. But still, he didn’t want to just say no and leave it at that without letting Tomo know how much he enjoyed the sight, so he let his eyes wander over the omega’s body for a moment, unconsciously licking his bottom lip. “God, you’re so beautiful,” he breathed, letting his eyes follow the curves of the hip grooves and feast on the sight of those delicious looking nipples. Tomo’s shape was a bit square, not so typically soft omega. Instead, strong muscles played underneath the skin, and K felt his cock press rather insistently against the fabric of his underwear at the sight. “Perfect,” he added, carefully reaching out a hand to touch the skin softly, drawing it back at Tomo’s hiss. The alpha looked up at the omega, expecting to see fear, not… relief? Why was he relieved? Oh. Suddenly it all clicked into place in K’s head, and he though he understood what this had been all about.

He reached out, letting his hand caress the stomach once again, murmuring ‘gorgeous’ under his breath, before he pulled the omega close again for another kiss. He let his hands run more freely now, letting fingers and mouth explore, all the while keeping tabs on Tomo’s reactions. He kept mumbling words of appreciation, feeling the omega relax more and more with each compliment. When he felt the time was ready, he drew back and pulled his own shirt off, enjoying Tomo’s eyes on him, taking him in.

When he lay down again, close enough for skin to touch skin, slim fingers started to explore him as his had explored the omega just minutes ago. For a long while, they just enjoyed the closeness, kissing languidly, gently caressing each other. Tomo’s shivers had stopped almost completely, and K felt very relieved. He wouldn’t do anything the omega didn’t want, but god how he hoped he wanted it, because K was about to burst through his underwear by now. Eventually, he couldn’t keep himself from gently letting his hand leave the torso and make it’s way down to that gorgeous butt, squeezing it lightly through the fabric. Tomo’s breathing was heavier now, but the hand on his ass still made him gasp and shiver. Immediately, the alpha pulled back, though with some regret.

“Babe, you’re shivering. Are you sure you’re ready for this? Maybe we should stop.”

“No,” Tomo whimpered, suddenly looking scared again. “Don’t… You said I was beautiful.”

K smiled reassuringly. “You are. You have no idea how much. But you’re shivering, sweetie, and as much as I want you, I don’t want to force you into something you’re not ready for.”

“But I’m ready,” Tomo said, the fear and uncertainty shining out of almost black eyes. I need to know if you’re turned on by me, that I’m good enough, was the thought that never graced his lips. Instead he chose to voice another thought, so often running through his head that he believed it to be fact. “I know I’m not as cute as the others, but…”

K interrupted him quickly before he got any further. So he was right, this whole thing boiled down to low self-esteem. He wouldn’t accept that the omega thought so lowly of himself, not when he was so amazing, and so he decided to show him just how wrong he was. The tangible way. Tomo’s eyes widened when he was interrupted by K grabbing his hand, pulling it to his crotch without hesitation, letting the omega feel the cock standing at attention in his underwear.

“Still think I don’t want you?” the alpha breathed, groaning from the slight friction of the omega’s hand on his cock through the thin fabric. Tomo swallowed, but he didn’t pull his hand back when K let go. Instead he felt up and down the hard cock, as if he couldn’t believe it was because of him. The alpha’s breathing got heavier, and it was increasingly hard to keep from bucking his hips into the hand caressing him. He groaned and bit his lip, gazing lustfully into Tomo’s eyes.

The shivering had stopped, he noticed, and the uncertainty had been replaced by budding lust once again. He smiled, reaching out to pull Tomo’s head close so that he could kiss him again, this time a lot hungrier, more demanding. The omega let out an involuntary moan and closed his eyes as the alpha took charge, plunging his tongue into his mouth eagerly. K rolled them over so that he was on top, pressing his crotch to the omega’s. Tomo gasped, spreading his legs so that K could lie more comfortably, rubbing their cocks together. After a few more hungry kisses, K sat back up and gazed down on the omega through hooded eyes. Slowly, licking his lips, he pulled his underwear down and off, groaning at the relief as his cock finally popped out. He watched as Tomo bit his lip and carefully reached out to touch, and he moaned as he finally felt the omega’s fingers on him.

For a moment, he closed his eyes and let himself just enjoy the gentle exploring. But then he reached down and let his fingers slide in underneath Tomo’s underwear, giving him a questioning look as he tugged lightly. For a moment, the insecurity was back in those beautiful eyes, but the omega fought it down and nodded, lifting his hips slightly so that the alpha could pull his underwear off. He nervously watched as K’s eyes slid over his now naked body, waiting for the rejection to happen, but the alpha just smiled and lay down, positioning himself between the omega’s legs. He pulled Tomo into a soft kiss before he moved over and started kissing his cheek, jawline and neck, mumbling appreciative words between each kiss.

“You’re beautiful, amazing, gorgeous, so hot, sexy…” The words kept coming, punctuated by the sensual kisses, and Tomo felt himself relax and allow himself to just enjoy the caresses and the soft lips on his skin. When he was finally completely relaxed, K looked him deeply in the eyes and gave him a kiss filled with as much love as he could muster, carefully positioning himself and sliding into the omega’s slick passage.

It was fantastic. There was just no other word for it, as the large cock caressed his insides. Tomo moaned, whimpered and mewled as K pushed into him and pulled out again in a languid rhythm, caressing him in all the right ways. Somewhere along the line the omega threw his legs around the alpha’s hips, bucking up into the motions, his head thrown back as he lost himself in the sensations. When he felt his orgasm coming on, he opened his eyes to meet K’s gaze, and they kept eye contact as the tension grew and finally crested. It only took two more thrusts after Tomo’s orgasm for K to come, shooting his cum into the omega with a grunt, his knot locking them together firmly. For a moment, the alpha just collapsed on top of him, breathing heavily into his neck. Once K had caught his breath, he rolled over, pulling Tomo with him so that the omega was on top, snuggled onto his chest. He reached down and pulled the blankets up over them, before he wrapped his arms around the omega, pressing a kiss against his temple.

“That was amazing,” he mumbled tiredly. “You’re so amazing. I love you.”

Tomo couldn’t find the words to answer, he was too overwhelmed. Instead he settled for hugging the alpha tightly and pressing a kiss to his neck, wordlessly expressing his emotions. K smiled in response and nuzzled Tomo’s hair, breathing in the omega scent. “I love you,” he whispered again. “But as much as I’d like to stay here in bed with you all night, I think we might have to get ready to go down for dinner soon if we’re not gonna starve to death.” As if to prove him right, his stomach rumbled at the idea of food, and Tomo couldn’t help but burst into a giggle.

“We’d better. After all, I want you to keep your strength up so you can do this to me again,” he mumbled, cheeks turning rosy at the presumptuous suggestion. K just chuckled, arms tightening around the omega as he nuzzled his hair again.

“Gladly,” he whispered. He was about to say more when a knock on the door interrupted them, and Cazqui stuck his head in through a crack in the door. He blinked and blushed as he realized Tomo was not alone, the room filled with the smell of sex, and he stuttered a bit.

“I’m… Sorry, Tatsurou asked for you. No rush, nothing’s happened. Just… Sorry again. I didn’t mean to…”

Tomo grinned, suddenly feeling light and happy, sure of himself in a way he hadn’t felt in quite a while. “Don’t worry about it. I’ll be down in a while, as soon as I’m… free…” He giggled a bit at the last part, Cazqui blushing even more as he nodded quickly and pulled back, shutting the door behind him.

K grinned, poking Tomo on the nose. “I think you enjoyed that way too much,” he joked. “Poor Cazqui. We should have locked the door.”

“He’ll live,” Tomo pouted. “Just let me enjoy this for a while. I’m not used to this.”

The alpha chuckled, giving him a big kiss. “Enjoy it all you like, sweetie. I love seeing you happy. And I love you.”

The answering blush and smile was enough to keep K happy for the rest of the day, long after they had disentangled and Tomo had gone back to his duties, leaving the alpha to dream about their next time.

Chapter Text

Miya woke up, still sitting in the chair Tatsurou had put in for him. He shook his head to clear it, trying to understand what was wrong, when he suddenly realized his lap was empty. His head jerked up and he looked around him in terror to find the boy. His eyes soon fell on Kei, sitting across the room with the baby in his arms, feeding him. He looked up quickly as Miya fell back in the chair, his heart still pounding hard as he tried to relax. Our son is fine. Come on. Breathe. He gave Kei a thankful smile, and the omega smiled back before he focused on the feeding baby again, Kana sleeping on a duvet on the floor next to him.

He turned his head to look at Masa. The omega looked the same as when Miya had fallen asleep, and the alpha bit his lip as he reached out to grab his hand gently. He leaned over and pressed a chaste kiss to Masa’s temple, whispering softly in his ear.

“It’s time to wake up now, sweetie. Just for a while, so you can see our son, then you can sleep some more. Come on, my angel, wake up for me.” When Masa didn’t react, he sighed and gave him another kiss, leaning back into the chair again.

“Where is Tora?” he asked, looking over at Kei.

“He’s playing with Shou and Ju-ken. The boys are having sleepovers at Uruha and Kai’s until…” He trailed off and bit his lip. “Do you want me to get him for you?”

Miya thought about it for a moment. He didn’t want to leave Masa, but Tora deserved his dad as well. Eventually, he nodded. “Could you sit with Masa for a while? I want Tora to meet his brother,” he said.

Kei nodded, looking down on the boy in his arms, making content little noises as he ate. “Of course. I think this little guy is finished soon. Tomo is just outside, we can ask him to go get Tora in the meantime.”

Miya nodded thankfully. “That’s perfect, thanks. I’ll ask him.”

Kei smiled as Miya got up and went over to the door, opening it to find Tomo helping Shinji with his pillows. He quickly nodded and went off to find Tora, and, on Miya’s request, Ju-ken as well. When the door closed behind him, the alpha turned his eyes to the surgeon on the bed. Shinji still looked exhausted, the nightly work having used up every ounce of his energy. On the bedside table, several empty bowls indicated the alpha had gotten lots to eat to regain his strength, and Miya nodded gratefully at the surgeon, as he looked tiredly his way.

“Hi. Feeling ok?” he asked, Shinji smiling in response.

“Better now, since your mate and son is still alive,” he said. “But I must admit I miss being able to stand and eat on my own.”

“I’ll never be able to thank you enough,” Miya started, but the alpha just waved his hand.

“No need. It’s my job, and I’m glad I can give something back to you guys for taking care of me.” He leaned back onto the pillows, smiling tiredly. “Could I… Could I see the boy?”

Miya swallowed, but nodded. “Sure. Masa is still asleep and I don’t want Tora to see him and worry, so maybe I can introduce him to his brother in here? I’d rather not go out into the dining room just yet.”

Shinji made a gesture to indicate it was fine, just as Kei cleared his throat behind Miya, ready to hand over the child. Miya carefully took the boy into his arms, throwing one last glance at Masa.

“I’ll take care of him, don’t worry,” Kei said calmly. “I’ll call if anything happens.”

The alpha nodded quickly, nervously, and then stepped out so that Kei could close the door behind him. At that moment, Tomo came back with Ju-ken and Tora. The nurse’s assistant quietly slipped into the next room to help Kei. At the same time, the four-year-old came rushing up to his father and hugged his leg tightly. Miya smiled widely at his son and ruffled his hair, crouching next to him and pulling him in for a tight hug.

“Hi darling,” he said, giving the boy a big kiss on the cheek. “Have you been playing with Ju-ken all day?”

“U-hu,” Tora affirmed, curiously eyeing the baby in his dad’s arms. “Who’s that?”

Miya smiled, showing his eldest son the baby. “This is your little brother,” he said, trying not to look nervous as Tora examined the baby with his eyes.

“He’s tiny,” he said suddenly, pouting. “Shou’s little brother is much bigger.”

Miya couldn’t help a relieved chuckle at the boys comment. “He’ll grow,” he said, ruffling his son’s hair again. “You were this tiny too when you were born. Babies need to be tiny at first, but they grow up to be big boys.”

Tora frowned a bit as he thought about it. Then he turned to Ju-ken, pointing to the baby. “Look, I have a little brother,” he stated, and Ju-ken grinned widely in response as he crouched down next to them, looking at the sleeping baby.

“So you do. Wow, look at him. That means you’re a big brother now!” he said, Tora nodding proudly. And then his brows furrowed as he thought about something, turning to his dad.

“What’s his name, daddy? Are all little brothers called Hiroto?”

Miya laughed and shook his head. “No, sweetie, he’ll have a name all of his own. We just haven’t decided what his name will be yet.”

“Why not?” Tora said, looking puzzled and a little uneasy.

Miya swallowed, trying to look calm as he answered. “Remember how I told you that your ada is very tired from giving birth to your brother? He’s still sleeping. We’ll name your brother later when he wakes up, ok?” He ignored the stab in his heart and smiled at his son, trying to divert his son’s worry with a question. “So you’re having a sleepover at Shou’s, huh? Are you being nice to Uruha-san and Kai-san, like a good boy?”

Tora nodded, letting his father lead him into the new conversation for a while as he blabbered on about what he and Shou was doing, and how Ju-ken didn’t know how to play hide-and-seek so he always lost. Behind him, the alpha smirked at Miya, who gave his cousin a grateful look. ‘Thank you’, he mouthed, Ju-ken just smiling in response.

After another few minutes of Tora’s monologue, Ju-ken patted the boy’s head. “Hey, Tora, what do you say we go play catch with Shou? I want to run for a bit.” Tora thought about it, looking up at his dad.

“Is it ok, daddy? You won’t be sad if I go play?” he asked, wide eyes gazing at his father worriedly. Miya’s heart swelled with love, and he leaned down to kiss his son’s forehead.

“Of course not, darling. Go win over Ju-ken, ok? I love you,” he said, smiling softly.

“Love you too,” Tora yelled over his shoulder, already halfway out the door after his father’s approval. Ju-ken chuckled as the two alphas got up from their crouching position. “Well, that went pretty well, I think,” he said, Miya nodding gratefully.

“Yeah, it did. He’s such a great kid.”

“Must be all Masa,” Ju-ken teased, and Miya smiled despite himself. “It is,” he said. His cousin smiled uncertainly, about to say something more when Tora appeared in the doorway.

“Ju-ken-san, come on!” he exclaimed, impatiently, and the alpha chuckled. He patted his cousin’s shoulder and left, following Tora out of the room and closing the door behind him. Miya looked after them for a moment before he closed his eyes and gave a deep sigh.

“You have a wonderful son.” Shinji’s voice startled him – he had already forgotten about the other alpha’s presence. He looked to the surgeon and smiled tiredly. “He is,” he said, and then looked down at the boy in his arms. “They are,” he corrected himself. Shinji smiled warmly as he walked over to show him the sleeping baby, the surgeon cooing at the boy for a while, until Miya felt he needed to go back to his mate’s side.

When he sank back into the chair next to Masa, he let out a long breath, feeling his strength leave him for a second. Kei gently offered to put the child next to Kana on the duvet, and Miya let him, feeling completely drained. He pulled the chair closer to Masa’s bed, putting his arm up on the bed as a temporary pillow. He fell asleep hanging over the bed, clutching his mate’s hand in his.

. . . . .

“Do you think he’ll like this one?” Ruki held up the tiny pajamas in white with happy monkeys in every color imaginable printed on it, waiting for Kyo’s answer impatiently. The alpha looked over from the corner, where he sat, sharpening his knives.

“It’s cute. He’ll love it.”

Ruki pursed his lips and furrowed his brow. “Maybe… Or maybe this one is better?” He held up a similar number, only this time in dark blue. Kyo looked up again.

“It’s also cute. He’d love either one.”

Ruki frowned. “You’re not helping! No, the dark blue is too somber, he might think I think the baby is something sad. I’ll go with the white. But wait – what if he thinks I mean that the baby is a monkey?” He suddenly looked panicked, and Kyo sighed, putting his tools and knife down. He went over to Ruki, putting his hand under the omega’s chin and tilting his head up, looking sternly down at him.

“Ruki. Stop it.”

The omega blinked. “But…”

“No buts. Masa will love either one of those two, or any other pajamas you give him. He will not take it as an insult to the baby, but as a kind gesture from a friend. Ok?” Kyo frowned at his mate.

Ruki sniffed, nodding quietly. Kyo watched him for a moment before he pulled up a chair and sat down next to his mate, reaching for his hand. “Baby? Does it bother you that the baby has a disability?”

The omega immediately shook his head, looking upset at the accusation. “Of course not!”

“Then what?” Kyo prodded. “Something is bothering you.”

Ruki fidgeted a bit, putting the pajamas on the table and sighing. “It’s just… You know how I don’t like kids?” Kyo nodded, curious as to where this was going. “Well, when I was little, I had a rough time, as you know. And there was this one foster home I stayed in... They had taken in another kid, Haru, with Down’s. He was such a sweetheart, always happy and kind, no matter what they did to him. But everyone else was so mean, and called him names, and sometimes other kids even hit him. I tried to protect him and stand up for him, but, you know…” He gestured down his petite body, making a grimace. “Anyway, he started calling me his brother for real after maybe two months, and I let him. I guess I liked it. He couldn’t speak very well, so he called me Lu-Lu. I tried to help him with the other kids, as much as I could, but he didn’t go to my school, and things would happen to him when I was away so that I came home to him crying. And then, out of the blue, the family had decided he was too much to handle, so they shipped him off to another home. When I got home from school one day he wasn’t there anymore. The old lady across the road said he had cried for me when he was forced into the car, shouting for Lu-Lu…” Ruki sniffed again and looked away for a moment, clenching his jaws at the memory. “I got so angry I ran away. I tried to find him, but of course, I couldn’t. I was only eleven, after all. Eventually, the cops found me and brought me back, and I got to change foster homes again. But no one would ever tell me where they took Haru.”

He paused, taking a deep breath before he turned to look at Kyo earnestly.

“And Masa’s kid will be special, and I don’t want him to grow up like Haru. I don’t want people to think he’s too much trouble, or make fun of him, or hit him. He’s just as worthy as the rest of us, probably even more!” He glared at Kyo as if the alpha was about to disagree.

Kyo shook his head, squeezing his mate’s hand. “Oh Ruki, you have such a beautiful heart, do you know that?” Ruki blinked in surprise, but Kyo continued. “You care so much about others, and yet you’re so scared to show it. You shouldn’t be.” He leaned over to give the omega a chaste kiss. “But do you honestly think anyone here will treat this child any different? Do you think he won’t be loved? That people will be mean to him?”

Ruki looked a little ashamed as he shook his head. “No,” he whispered, and he looked so cute that Kyo had to kiss him again.

“My darling hedgehog,” he mumbled affectionately, before he turned to the table and examined the pajamas again. “Go with the monkeys. Lots of colors will be pretty on him, and make Masa happy.”

“Do you really think so?” Ruki said, but he was already folding the pajamas and reaching for the fabric to make a matching hat. He stayed up late that night, working in the candlelight. Finally, Kyo forced him to stop through physically pulling the things from his hands and carrying him to bed.

Chapter Text

It took Masa two days to wake up properly. He had moments before that when he was semi-conscious for a minute or two, moments Tatsurou used to make him swallow as much of the nourishing broth as possible. Miya stayed by his side the entire time, only leaving the room to talk to Tora at regular intervals. The four-year-old was getting increasingly anxious about his bearer still sleeping, and Miya did his best to calm him down, hiding his own fears deep in his chest. When the omega finally opened his eyes properly, relief flooded through him, and he felt about to faint as all the tension seemed to leave him at once.

“Hi baby,” he whispered tenderly, letting his fingers caress his mate’s cheek. The omega’s eyelids flickered a bit as he tried to focus.

“Miya?” he murmured, his voice hoarse.

“I’m right here, baby.” Miya’s voice trembled as he spoke, his hand shivering as he drew Masa’s hair away from his face and pulled it behind his ear gently. The omega made a small groan and closed his eyes for a second, and then he suddenly opened them again, looking panicked.

“My baby? Is he…?”

“He’s fine,” Miya said hurriedly, “he’s right here.” He reluctantly let go of Masa’s hand and turned to the cot Tatsurou had put in the corner. The little boy was sleeping, and whined a little in his sleep as his father lifted him and gently held him up so Masa could see him.

“… hold him,” Masa mumbled and weakly lifted his arm. Miya felt his heart clench in his chest, but obeyed and carefully put the boy down on his mate’s chest, holding a hand on his side so he wouldn’t fall off if Masa blacked out again. He watched nervously as the omega studied their son through hooded eyes, his hand lying limply on the tiny back. After a long moment of silence, his mate finally looked up and met his mate’s eyes tiredly. Miya bit his lip, hoping the omega wouldn’t be upset or scared. What if Masa was upset about the baby’s condition? After all, it was another shock on top of everything else, something they hadn’t expected or even thought about. He needn’t have worried.

“He’s perfect,” Masa whispered, smiling sweetly at his mate. Miya smiled back and leaned down to kiss a soft cheek. “Isn’t he just?” he whispered back, just as Tatsurou came in and noticed Masa being awake. The nurse was obviously unwilling to break up the tender moment, but as a caretaker, he had to see to his patient. That meant making Masa drink some broth and then check him for fever and ask him a bunch of questions about how he felt. Masa answered tiredly. No, he didn’t feel feverish. Yes, his stomach hurt. No, it didn’t hurt anywhere else. Yes, he was thirsty, and felt very weak. Masa answered the questions patiently, all the while keeping his eyes glued to his son. When Tatsurou finally let him be, he turned to Miya again.

“Tora?” he whispered, looking a little fearful. “Is he ok?”

“He’s fine,” Miya reassured him. “He misses you, but he’s fine. Kouki’s taken him and Shou to go swimming today. You can see him tonight, I’ll bring him in.”

“I scared him.” Masa frowned in worry, but Miya quelled his fears as quickly as he could.

“He’s fine, baby. I promise. He likes his new brother, and he’s really proud that he’s a big brother now. Though he complained that he was too tiny, and not the same size as Hiroto.”

Masa started laughing, which quickly turned into a coughing fit. Miya hurriedly lifted the baby off of his chest as the omega coughed, grimacing at the pain. When it eventually passed, he looked even more tired. Tatsurou checked on him, offering him water to drink, and after taking a few sips, the omega’s head fell back down on the pillows. His eyelids were drooping, and Miya leaned down to kiss him softly.

“Sleep, baby,” he whispered. “I’ll be right here, and next time you wake up we can talk about what to name him.”

“Kiyoshi,” Masa mumbled, already drifting off to sleep. Miya blinked in surprise. “What did you say, angel?” he asked, leaning down to put his ear near the omega’s mouth.

“His name’s Kiyoshi,” the omega repeated in a murmur, before he sighed softly and fell fast asleep. Miya looked down at his mate, and then up at Tatsurou. The nurse chuckled at the stunned expression in the alpha’s face. “Seems like you have no choice in the matter,” he joked, but smiled. “It’s not a bad name though. ‘Pure.’ I like it.”

Miya looked down at the baby in his arms, tilting his head a bit. “Kiyoshi? Do you like that?” The baby had woken up from all the coughing and moving, and lay blinking at his father, the little mouth moving silently.

“I think he does,” Miya smiled, looking up at the nurse with a smile. “Hey, Tatsu, I’d like to introduce you to someone. His name’s Kiyoshi.”

. . . . .

Shuse sat next to Manabu on the omega’s bed, his arm nervously draped over the slim shoulders while Yutaka fed, content little noises escaping the boy. The sergeant was part exhilarated, part shocked and part scared to death as he watched the child he was about to adopt as his own. What if Yutaka wouldn’t like him? What if Manabu decided he didn’t want the alpha to be a part of his life after all? What if he would turn out to be a bad father? The questions were swirling around in his head, and it seemed as if Manabu sensed it, because he turned his head and gazed at the sergeant with a nervous look in his eyes.

“Are you having second thoughts?” he asked quietly, swallowing as he fluttered his long lashes anxiously.

The alpha was startled by the sudden question, but immediately shook his head. “Me? God, no. I… I guess I fell for you a long while ago, and that’s not about to change.” He smiled a little sheepishly and drew a hand through his hair. “I… I’m more worried that you will change your mind, I guess,” he mumbled.

Manabu seemed to relax at the answer, smiling shyly. “I don’t think I will,” he said silently. “I… I like you…” He was quiet for a second, biting his lip before he added a whispered “A lot.”

Shuse felt the words penetrate his heart like an arrow, and he could hardly breathe for a second. He cursed his disobedient mouth as he heard himself answer the omega, revealing his inner thoughts without asking his brain for permission first. “But I’m old and ugly, and you’re young and beautiful. Why would you like me?”

Manabu frowned suddenly. “Ugly? I don’t think so. You have character, I like that. Besides, how old are you, really?”

“47,” Shuse mumbled, his face slightly ashen.

“Oh? I would have guessed a few years younger,” Manabu said lightly. “Anyways, you’ve got plenty of years left to be there for Yutaka and teach him all about life.”

“And for you?” Shuse couldn’t help asking. He would love to take care of Yutaka, of course he would, he’d be his dad in every way for the rest of his life. But he wasn’t the only one the sergeant wanted to be there for.

“And for me,” Manabu answered, smiling softly as he studied the alpha through those long lashes that never ceased to amaze Shuse. The alpha leaned forward carefully and ever so gently pressed his lips to Manabu’s, feeling the softness and heat as the omega opened his mouth slightly and tilted his head, allowing him access if he wanted it. And boy, did he want it. If it hadn’t been for Yutaka’s presence, he would have taken this whole thing a lot further, feeling his body respond to the omega’s scent and the taste of the soft lips. But the baby was done eating and pulled back from the nipple with a satisfied sound, a hiccup suddenly shaking the small body. Manabu pulled back and looked down, lifting the boy to his shoulder and patted his back to make him burp, and the pause gave the alpha a chance to calm himself down. He sat back and just watched for a moment, before a movement in the corner of his eye caught his attention.

Hiyori was standing in the doorway, one hand on his belly, watching the two with a happy grin on his face. As their eyes met, the omega just nodded at Shuse and took two steps into his side of the room to grab a sweater. Manabu reacted to the sound and blushed cutely as he saw Hiyori smirk at them. And then both their breaths hitched as Hiyori held out his arms in question, one eyebrow raised as he grinned cheekily at the couple. Manabu blushed a dark crimson, but couldn’t keep from glancing at Shuse, biting his lip as their gazes met. And then he looked down at Yutaka, the baby already fast asleep with a full, round belly. A quick look up at Shuse again, and then he nodded nervously. Hiyori’s face took on a smug look, but he didn’t say anything as he came over and took Yutaka into his arms, pressing a kiss to the boy’s head.

“I’ll fetch you if he needs you,” he said calmly, and with a final wink at the two, he turned and left the room with the baby in his arms, pulling the door shut behind him.

The sergeant stared at the closed door for a moment, his mind racing, and then Manabu moved next to him, and he turned to gaze into large, nervous eyes. After that, things became a little blurry as they sank down on the bed together, tongues swirling in each other’s mouths, hands roaming over new territory.

. . . . .

Byou, Ruki and Kei looked up when Hiyori came into the dining room, carrying a baby in his arms. For a moment, there was a certain confusion, as the omegas stared at Hiyori’s belly that was still very much present. And then it slowly dawned on them which little boy the omega was carrying, Hiyori’s cheeky smirk an obvious lead.

“Finally!” Ruki exclaimed, high-fiving Byou with his free hand.

“Good for Bu,” Byou agreed, nodding. “He needs a good fuck right about now. Oh. Do you think Shuse’s a good fuck?” He turned to Ruki, the two pursing their lips as they thought about it.

“I think there’s more to the sergeant than he lets on,” Hiyori quipped, surprising the other three. “If the bulge in his pants is anything to go by…” he added, looking smug as Byou laughed out loud and Ruki grinned widely. Kei just shook his head at them, but he couldn’t help smiling as well. Manabu and Shuse both needed each other, and it had taken them enough time already to get to this point, he thought.

A muffled cry and the sound of a bed moving on the floor above made them all glance up, and Byou laughed again. “That’s good, Shuse. Give it to him hard,” he said cheekily, Kei smacking his arm in a light reprimand. No one could hide their happy smiles, though. By the time the rhythmic sounds of a bed hitting a wall had stopped, they were all a little antsy, starting to wonder where their own respective alphas had gone off to, and maybe Kouki wouldn’t mind babysitting all of the babies for a while?

. . . . .

That evening, Tora finally got to see Masa, and he happily snuggled down in bed next to his bearer as he told him about everything that had happened in the last few days, especially about the funny frog they had seen down by the lake. Masa smiled and hummed and listened, stroking his son’s hair tiredly with one hand, his other petting the baby on his chest tenderly. Miya sat at the foot of the bed, watching the cute little scene with tears of joy in his eyes.

Everything was going to be alright, he thought as he handed a happy Tora over to Uruha for his bedtime a while later, returning to the sickroom to find Masa fast asleep again, his arm protectively curled around the baby snuggled against him. The alpha carefully lifted the boy off of his mate’s chest, stepping aside so that Tatsurou could check on the wound. Masa didn’t stir as Tatsurou worked, cleaning the wound and smearing some salve on it to keep infections out. When he was done, he smiled at Miya, nodding to let him know everything was as it should be, and left the room.

As the alpha sat down, Kiyoshi put down into his cot for the night, he reached out for Masa’s hand and carefully nestled their fingers together before he leaned back and closed his eyes. They still hadn’t mentioned Toll, or what had happened to him, or the fact that their son had Down’s syndrome. But still, he felt calm and confident again as he felt the warmth of his mate’s hand in his. Everything was going to be alright.

Chapter Text

Tomo had just gone to bed when he heard a knock on the door. He sighed and swung his legs back over the edge of the bed. To be a nurse’s assistant meant to be called for at any hour, but he had hoped to be allowed to rest tonight after everything that had happened in the last few days. Tatsurou had promised to take the night shift, sleeping on a futon on the floor in the sickroom (much to Kaoru’s chagrin). Apparently something had happened that took more than one person.

When he opened the door, however, it wasn’t Tatsurou who stood there, nor anyone else who had come to pick him up for work. Instead, K was smiling dazzlingly at him, dressed ready for bed.

“Hi,” the alpha said. “Can I come in?”

“Uhm… I guess?” Tomo didn’t really know what to think or how he was supposed to react, but he took a step back and let the alpha come in, closing the door behind him.

“Listen, can I maybe sleep here tonight? I sort of promised Shuse he could stay with Manabu tonight, and though we have separate beds, it would be sort of awkward.” He smiled a little sheepishly. “I’m not expecting anything, I just…”

Tomo couldn’t help grinning at his boyfriend’s awkwardness, and he reached out and took him by the hand, walking backwards to the bed. K followed, more sure of himself now that the omega didn’t seem averse to the idea. When Tomo crawled into bed, making room for the alpha next to him, he smiled widely.

“Do you mind if I sleep without a shirt? I get so warm otherwise,” he asked, and when Tomo shook his head he pulled the shirt off and tossed it on the chair in the corner, sighing when he missed and the shirt fell to the floor. He ignored it and instead crawled down underneath the blanket, hesitantly reaching out to caress Tomo’s hair and press a kiss to his forehead.

“Good night, sweetie,” he mumbled as he pulled back, but the last word came out a little huffed as Tomo pounced him, kissing him hungrily. They parted a long moment later, breathing heavily, and the omega looked sternly at his boyfriend.

“If you think you’re getting away with just a kiss on the forehead, think again,” he muttered jokingly, snuggling up to the alpha for another kiss. K chuckled but took the opportunity he was given, and a while later, his shirt was not the only garment on the floor, moans filling the room.

. . . . .

Masa still slept most of the time, and he had been given a second blood transfusion to help with his recovery. This morning, however, he was awake for a while, enough to talk to his mate and son for a bit before breakfast. Tora had to be reminded constantly that he had to hug his bearer carefully, but beyond that, he was his own happy self, telling Masa about Ju-ken’s inability to play games properly. When it was time for breakfast, he ran into the dining room, leaving his father behind. Miya smiled and sat down next to his mate, pressing a kiss to his hand.

“Aren’t you going for breakfast?” Masa asked, frowning a bit.

“I’d rather stay here with you,” the alpha said, smiling.

“You should go. I’ll be fine, but you need to eat. I should sleep some more anyway,” the omega scolded him. “Have the others seen Kiyoshi yet?” he added, looking curious.

“No, I wanted to wait for you so we could introduce him together,” Miya mumbled.

Masa sighed. “Honey, I’ll be stuck in this bed for quite a while longer. It’s gonna take forever if you wait for me.” He smiled weakly. “You know what? Let Tora announce it, as a big brother. He’d be so proud.”

Miya just looked at his mate for a moment, shaking his head in wonder. “How are you so wise and wonderful?” he asked, an affectionate smile on his lips. “I love you, my sweetest angel,” he said, leaning down to kiss his mate on the lips.

“And I love you, you big oaf,” Masa countered, somehow making the nickname sound like the sweetest endearment.

The alpha smiled, and then he nodded. “Ok, I’ll do it, but I’ll be back before you know it. You sleep and get better, you hear? Heal fast.”

“I’m trying,” the omega chuckled, and stole a quick kiss from his mate before the alpha had time to move away. “Now go.”

When Miya left the room, Kiyoshi in his arms, Masa leaned back against the pillows with a tired smile.

. . . . .

As Miya stepped into the dining room, heads turned and conversations suddenly ceased as everyone turned to him. Tora noticed his dad enter and came running up to him, red berries staining his lips and chin.

“Hey, darling,” Miya said and crouched next to his son, absentmindedly wiping the boy’s chin with his thumb as he spoke. “Listen, I wanted to introduce your brother to everyone, but I’m kind of nervous. Do you think you could help me out? Could you introduce him for me, like a big brother?”

Tora’s eyes widened and he seemed to grow two inches as he nodded vigorously. Miya grinned and kissed his forehead. “Thank you, darling, you’re such a life saver.” He rose slowly and took Tora’s hand, helping his son climb up onto a table so that everyone could see him properly.

“Now?” Tora whispered, turning to his father with shining eyes.

“Now,” Miya agreed, his heart about to burst with pride as Tora turned to everyone and made a shushing sound to silence them (as if everyone hadn’t already been dead silent, smiling at the adorable boy).

“I have a little brother now!” Tora stated proudly, and pointed at the baby in his father’s arms. “That means I’m a big brother now, just like Shou!” He beamed as everyone clapped their hands, chuckling.

“Tell them his name,” Miya whispered, leaning over to the boy.

“His name is… KIYOSHI!” Tora yelled excitedly and threw his arms in the air, making a grand show of the introduction and enjoying every last second of it. More clapping, and quite a few omegas who couldn’t hold in an ‘aww’, though it was unclear whether it was directed at Tora or the name. Miya grinned at everyone as he grabbed Tora’s hand again and helped the boy climb down from the table. “Good job,” he whispered in his son’s ear and watched affectionately as the boy rushed back over to Shou and his breakfast plate.

Now it was time for the adults to come greet him, and they soon lined up to say hello and greet the little boy, awake now and staring around him with the unseeing eyes of newborns.

Koichi was one of the first in line, dragging Hazuki with him in a steel grip. He smiled sweetly at the boy, but immediately asked about Masa, looking nervous. He looked slightly calmer when Miya told him he was resting, but that everything seemed ok so far. Hazuki threw him a glance that Miya interpreted as ‘sorry, he’s worrying again’, and he smiled back at the alpha reassuringly.

Toshiya and Shinya of course came next, congratulating him and making cute faces at the boy, and then a seemingly endless queue of people wanted to offer their congratulations and see the child. Somewhere halfway, Kiyoshi fell asleep again. When Miya finally thought they were done and that he could go get some breakfast, he turned and was faced with Ruki, biting his lip and frowning as he shoved a little pajamas and a hat at Miya. The alpha blinked in surprise and looked down on the items, beautifully made in an adorable fabric with happy monkeys in lots of colors on it.

“Oh, Ruki, thank you!” he exclaimed, smiling widely as he accepted the gifts. Ruki seemed to relax slightly as Miya immediately put the little hat on his sleeping son. “It’s adorable,” he said, turning back to the omega. “Masa will love it.”

“Do you think so?” Ruki mumbled, a tad uncertainly, but he quickly went back to his cocky stance. “Well, I just wanted to hand it over. Anyway. Cute baby,” he said hastily, and then turned his back and stomped off. Miya looked after him, a little stunned, when he heard Kyo’s voice next to him.

“He worked really hard on that one,” the short alpha said, looking up at Miya. “He’d never tell you, but he put his heart and soul into it to make it special. Because, as he said, Kiyoshi is special and worth only the best.”

Miya blinked at Kyo, and then he smiled. “I suddenly understand why you love him so much,” he murmured, grinning to show he didn’t mean it that way. “It’s adorable. Masa will love it. I love it. Thank him again for me, will you?”

Kyo smiled proudly and nodded. “I will.”

And then, finally, Miya was allowed to go get some breakfast, which he ate while a whole bunch of omegas sat at the table, quibbling about whose turn it was to hold the baby.

. . . . .

“Honey, there’s no use hiding it from me. I can feel that you’re scared and worried, remember? And this time I have no doubt whatsoever about what you’re fretting about.” Hazuki watched his mate sternly, as they made their way to the cabin to change into work clothes after breakfast. It was still hot out, even though it had just turned September, and the long-sleeved sweater Hazuki had put on this morning had quickly proved too warm to work in as the sun rose.

Koichi wobbled beside him, a little slower now, his belly big enough to look as if it was time to have the baby. Only there were two babies, and they were nowhere near due. And Masa’s ordeal had scared the omega immensely, making his worrying start up all over again. What if he had to have a cesarean as well? What if he had to have blood transfusions, and be cut open, and what if the babies got stuck and got hurt? His mate’s words pulled him out of his thoughts, and he sighed.

“I know, I’m sorry. It’s just… Masa… and…”

Hazuki stopped, startling Koichi so that he took two more steps before he stopped as well, turning to his mate.

“Kou… I know you’re the worrying kind, and I know you’re scared. But please, talk to Tatsu about it instead of just keeping it inside and driving us both crazy. You will be fine. The babies will be fine. And if, through some extremely bad luck, something happens, we’ll deal. I’ll be there for you, forever and ever, ok? No matter what happens, we’ll get through it together.” Hazuki looked at his mate, his eyes intensely focused on the omega, as if trying to bore the words into his head. When the omega bowed his head and bit his lip, nodding a little, he sighed and pulled Koichi into his arms, wrapping them protectively around him. “We’ll be fine, baby. We’ll have two babies to call our own. I promise.”

Koichi leaned his head on his mate’s chest and took a deep breath before he nodded again. “Yeah. We will,” he murmured, holding his mate close as he breathed him in, taking comfort in his scent.

Chapter Text

Uta woke up early as usual, and made his way down to breakfast, yawning widely. To be honest, he wouldn’t have minded a little more sleep, but Atsushi was always early. Often, the two were the only ones in the dining room apart from the kitchen crew setting the tables, and he had come to treasure these little moments together before the day started properly. Most of the time, they hardly spoke, just sitting at the same table quietly eating their breakfast. But sometimes, one of them said something, and the other answered, and they had actual conversation. Uta liked it.

Today, he was more tired than usual, having slept badly due to the warmth. He didn’t like the damp heat they had had in the last week, and he couldn’t long for autumn more than he did. Almost sleepwalking, he made his way into the dining room, Atsushi waiting for him at their usual table. Of course, he pretended not to wait at all, but when Uta entered, he got up from his chair and smiled. The omega smiled tiredly back, completely missing the surprised hitch of breath from the major as he sat down on a chair next to him, his breakfast already put on the table for him. He blinked and tried to focus on the food in front of him, but soon felt his eyelids droop as he yawned widely again.

“Are you ok?” The major’s worried voice next to him made him nod tiredly.

“Sleepy,” he mumbled, closing his eyes for a moment. Then, without thinking, he put his head down on the alpha’s shoulder. Atsushi stiffened for a moment, but when the omega didn’t seem to move, he ever so gently lifted his arm and put it around Uta’s shoulders, holding him to his side in a careful hug. Hikaru came in to put a stack of plates on the table, and stopped wide-eyed as he caught wind of what was happening with the couple at the corner table. He quietly slipped back into the kitchen, and during the next few minutes, every single person working in the kitchen that morning suddenly made an errand to the dining room. Atsushi frowned a little at them, but he couldn’t really be annoyed. Not when he sat here with his arm around the most precious omega in the whole world, a head full of soft, silky hair leaning on his shoulder and tickling his neck.

It wasn’t until someone opened the front door that Uta sat up with a jerk, waking up from his slumber, the alpha’s arm still lightly around his shoulders. When he realized what was happening, he blushed a deep crimson, casting a furtive glance at his boyfriend to gauge his reaction. Atsushi just swallowed and eyed the omega anxiously, but he didn’t remove his arm. For a while, the omega sat there, just feeling the slight weight of the hand on his shoulder, assessing just how he felt about it. And then, to the alpha’s shock and glee, he reached out and grabbed his egg, taking a small bite before he leaned his head back down on the strong shoulder.

It was, quite frankly, the island’s sensational news of the day.

. . . . .

“It’s done.” Yukke looked proudly at the cottage, grinning at Toshiya and Kaoru. The terraced house was finished, ready for its new inhabitants, and they were all amazed as they looked at it. Not only had they finished it in record time, they had also come a long way on the construction and extension of Die and Subaru’s cottage.

“It’s beautiful,” Toshiya said. “You’ve done an amazing job, all of you.”

The other two grinned widely, their eyes still fixed as they watched the fruit of their labor. It wasn’t the prettiest house ever built, despite Toshiya’s claim, but it was a nice house. Sturdy, practical, warm in winter and lots of extra space that they hadn’t had before.

“So, now all we have to do is decide who moves where,” Kaoru said, peering curiously at Toshiya. “Do you have a plan?”

“I do,” Toshiya said. “We’ll discuss it at lunch with everyone, but I think people will be ok with it. A few couples get to move in together, and some might need to think about it. Maybe we’ll end up with some new roommates among the omegas. But I think it will be fine.”

“And Jun-ji and Kazuki get a place of their own, right?” Shuse’s voice from behind startled them, but Toshiya chuckled.

“Don’t worry, Manabu and Yutaka will be able to move in with you, if you guys wish it.” He smirked at the sergeant, who was doing his very best to pretend that wasn’t at all what he had wanted to know. Not at all.

“Oh, that’s nice, I guess,” he said with the worst attempt at faking indifference in the history of mankind. “I’ll ask him then.”

“You do that,” Toshiya said, highly amused. “I figured you guys get the cottage and the other two lovebirds get a new flat here, so Manabu won’t have to carry Yutaka up and down stairs as much.”

Shuse nodded, sidling away while trying to make it look like he was just getting on with his business, no worries, nothing happening here. Once he were a few feet off his stride suddenly doubled in pace, and Yukke couldn’t help laughing as he watched the alpha disappear into the big house.

“Someone’s eager,” he said between laugh attacks, shaking his head.

“As if you and Natsu weren’t,” Kaoru countered, remembering his friend’s obvious problems to keep his hands off his boyfriend on their moving day. Yukke just made a grimace and lifted his hand as if to say ‘so what’, before he grinned and turned back to the house, pointing out details of the construction to their curly-headed leader.

. . . . .

Everyone agreed to the plan at lunch, some more readily than others (Jun-ji nearly had to be pried off Kazuki, not that the omega seemed to mind). A huge flurry of activity broke out in the afternoon as people started moving their things into new rooms and cottages. The four new apartments, as they called them, were given to the aforementioned lovebirds as well as Satochi and Cazqui, Aki and Ryoga plus Minase and Kuina. The newest couple of the bunch eyed each other a little nervously, wondering if they were ready to move in together, but both very much willing to try it out.

With all of them moving out of their previous residences, Manabu could move in with Shuse (which he had agreed to with a shy smile, making Shuse smile giddily for the rest of the week). Yomi moved in with Ruka (a little nervously), while Asanao was once again given some more space to himself until Shinji was well enough to move out of the big house.

For now, the surgeon was given Cazqui’s small room at the top floor, after a discussion about whether it was ok to start mixing alphas with omegas in the big house as well. Though Uta, Hikaru and Yo-Ka were a bit guarded, they all realized they had no choice in the matter anymore if they were all to live in decent quarters. Aryu and Mitsuki quite happily moved in together, while Uta got a room of his own (one with a good, sturdy lock). Kaz and Meto moved in next door to Uta, separate beds on either side of the room. Kouki and Reika decided against moving in together just yet, not wanting to rush things between them, and so Kouki took one of the two smaller rooms. That way, it was easy to have Reika stay over when they felt like it, but they still had their separate homes for now for when they needed some time apart.

The plan was for K to stay with Hiyori and Junji for a while, but soon enough it was clear to them all that K would stay in Tomo’s room from now on. Nothing was said out loud, but the alpha suddenly showed up outside Tomo’s door, holding the handful of clothes and belongings he had brought from the resort, looking at the omega pleadingly with a shy smile. Tomo tugged a little in his braids as he thought about it for a while, and then he stepped back and let the alpha enter his room, quietly closing the door behind them. That night, Hiyori and Junji found they had the room all to themselves, and the next day they quietly took down the curtains separating the room into two.

When night came after what was dubbed ‘the Great Migration’ by an amused Die, they were all exhausted, and happily downed the hearty meal Kai and his team had prepared. For once, the night was slightly chilly, announcing the coming of fall.

. . . . .

Hazuki came back to the cottage late, after helping Jun-ji move the last of his things. The alpha felt a bit bad about leaving Koichi on his own, the omega having had a rough week with too little sleep, but he hurried to finish up and went straight to their cottage after. When he stepped inside, he found his mate lying on his back on the bed, naked, intently staring at his own belly.

“Uhm… honey? What are you doing?” The alpha peered curiously at his mate. “Don’t get me wrong, it’s a nice view, but…”

Koichi grunted and frowned, not taking his eyes off his belly as he answered. “I’m trying to see who’s winning.”

Hazuki blinked. “You what?”

“I’m trying to see who’s winning. They’ve got a kick-boxing match going on in there, and so far the right ring corner is in the lead, I think.”

The alpha just gaped at his mate. Had Koichi finally lost it? And then he saw it. One of the babies kicked hard, the foot almost visible as the belly moved. “See? Right side,” the omega said, grinning. Hazuki just stared at him, and then he burst out laughing. Shaking his head, he went about removing his shoes and clothes, before he lay down next to Koichi, still chuckling.

“Oh, but look, left side is gaining,” Koichi said and groaned as the belly jumped from another hard kick on the opposite side. “Which of them do you bet on?” Hazuki grinned in answer and put his hand on the belly, feeling the movement in there as the babies tried to find room for the both of them.

“Are we sure we want to take bets on our own babies, cupcake?” he asked, smiling as he leaned over and kissed his mate’s nose.

Koichi huffed, narrowing his eyes suspiciously at his alpha. “Cupcake? What are you after?”

“After?” Hazuki affected an innocent expression.

“You only invent new nicknames when you want me to do something,” the omega stated, still glaring at his mate with pursed lips.

“What? No I don’t!” Hazuki exclaimed, trying to feign hurt, though doing a pretty lousy job at it since he was grinning widely. “Besides, you are my cupcake. And you will be even more so tomorrow.”

“Why tomorrow? What’s happening tomorrow?” Koichi was curious now, though he was still suspicious.

“You’ll see,” the alpha answered lightly, sitting up so he could put his ear to the belly, listening on the boxing match inside. He ignored all further questions from the omega, and eventually, Koichi gave up. Still, long after the alpha was asleep, his mate stayed awake, thinking and wondering.

. . . . .

The next morning, Hazuki woke a groggy omega with a big kiss. When Koichi tried to go back to sleep, his mate tickled him until he squirmed away and huffed, pouting.

“That’s not fair,” he muttered. “Why can’t I sleep some more?”

“Because you’re my cupcake. And cupcakes don’t sleep through surprises,” Hazuki answered, as if it was the most natural thing in the world.

Koichi huffed again, but curiosity quickly got the better of him and he groaned as he climbed slowly and clumsily out of bed. “I feel like a whale,” he pouted, “or one of those blimps they had to fly in in the old days.”

“You’re beautiful.” Hazuki stopped with his shirt only half on, hands still on the buttons as he eyed the omega up and down. “Gorgeous.”

His mate blushed and couldn’t help the happiness that suddenly surged through him at the alpha’s words. “You really think so?” he breathed out, shyly glancing at his mate through thick lashes. Hazuki just smiled and walked up to him, embracing him tightly and burying his nose in the other’s neck, nuzzling him softly.

“You will always be the most beautiful person in this world to me, Kou,” he whispered, pressing his lips to the slim neck. He felt his mate’s scent grow stronger and he smiled softly to himself as their emotions surged through the bond, building on the other person’s and enveloping them both in such a strong love that they had trouble letting go of each other. Eventually Hazuki pulled himself together and let go of his mate after a final kiss.

“Come on, cupcake. Time to get dressed. Can’t have surprises without breakfast first.”

. . . . .

As they ate their breakfast in the dining room, Koichi pestered his mate with questions about what he was planning. Hazuki refused to answer him, making sure the omega ate properly before he agreed they were done and ready. He reached over and took the smaller hand in his, as he gently tugged the omega up from his chair. Walking ahead, he led Koichi into the kitchen and out through the back door, where Yuki waited on the grass with a chair at the ready and a grin on his face.

“A haircut?” Koichi guessed, quirking an eyebrow and frowning when Hazuki shook his head. The alpha led the way, tugging his mate along and plopping him down on the chair, before he stepped back and let Yuki take the lead. The hairdresser grinned widely as he reached over to the small table he had set up next to them, scissors and a towel neatly placed on top. With a quick flick of the hand, he pulled the towel away.

Koichi gasped and threw his hands over his mouth, staring at the boxes of bleach and pink hair dye that had been hiding underneath the towel, tears rising in his eyes. He blinked them away and turned to his lover, another surge of love through the bond making simple words like ‘thank you’ unnecessary.

“Reika found them for me when he went to the resort. I was saving them for your birthday, but with the week you’ve been having… I figured maybe you’d feel better if you got it now instead,” Hazuki said softly, his eyes caressing his mate’s face. “He found two more boxes of dye, and Yuki says if you can settle for pink highlights, he can help you stretch it out over most of next year. So you can continue to be my pink cupcake for a whole other year.”

The hairdresser hummed in agreement, smiling widely at Koichi’s incredulous look. The omega still had his hands over his mouth, breathing deeply, no longer capable of holding back his tears. “I love you,” he managed to get out eventually, and Hazuki couldn’t help leaning in for a tight hug.

“I love you too, baby,” he whispered, kissing his mate’s temple and stroked his hair a he basked in their love.

Chapter Text

Masa was feeling a little better. Unfortunately, that also meant he had more strength for thinking and remembering, and all the shock and sadness about his father’s death came back to rear its ugly head. Miya had thought about staying in their cottage a night now and then, partly for Tora’s sake, and partly so he wouldn’t take advantage of Uruha and Kai’s kindness too much despite the couple’s protests, saying they didn’t mind. But with Kiyoshi needing to be fed at night and Masa still bed-ridden, crying more often than not, he just couldn’t see how he was going to handle everyone’s needs.

Ju-ken saw his plight and quietly offered to stay with Tora instead of sleeping in the library, the boy ecstatic about getting his favorite uncle as a baby sitter. Miya accepted the help gratefully, but not without the sting of a guilty conscience. He knew that the longer Ju-ken stayed, the more people would start to wonder at the resort. Also, they had to keep people posted across the lake, taking care of the horse, and it had already been too long. Even though no one complained about it, Miya felt the weight of the situation on his shoulders, and he was starting to fray at the edges. Toshiya and Tatsurou did their best to help ease his mind, but it seemed Miya was finally reaching his limit. Masa also felt guilty for getting his mate down, which made Miya feel guilty for not being able to be his mate’s strong rock when he needed him, and it was all starting to take a dangerous path, spiraling downwards.

Kaz was equally worried, in part because he saw what was happening with Miya, Masa and Ju-ken, and in part because the news from the resort had awoken his need to be there for Hyde once again. He, too, was feeling torn between two places, feeling like he was letting both of his men down. He did his best to help with the harvest, which was exceptional this year, and also did his part in finishing up the extension of Die and Subaru’s cottage. Anything to keep his mind off of Hyde’s situation, or of how he was making Meto anxious by being high strung.

He was doing his best to ignore everything right now as well, where he sat quietly under a tree during a break in building. He was sipping his water, leaning back against the trunk as he watched the others joke around a little way off. He was trying to keep focused, but it all came tumbling down when he saw Meto coming up to him over the grass, fidgeting nervously and almost turning back. The boy circled him uncertainly, as if he was afraid to approach, until Kaz held out his am to beckon his mate over. The alpha sighed inwardly, scolding himself for making the omega feel this way, and when Meto sat down next to him, eyeing him with hesitation, he reached out to pull him into a hug.

“I’m sorry,” he sighed quietly. “It’s not your fault that I’m cranky. You haven’t done anything wrong.”

Meto leaned into the embrace, just breathing softly for a while, his head on his mate’s shoulder. After a few minutes, he lifted his head and watched Kaz earnestly for a moment. The alpha was just about to ask what he was thinking about, when the omega reached out his hand and carefully let his finger trail an imaginary tear from his mate’s eye down his cheek. He looked concerned, biting his lip piercing before he leaned into the shoulder again, sliding his arms around the alpha’s waist in an endearing attempt to make everything better with a hug. Kaz thought his heart was about to burst as he hugged his mate back, ruffling his hair a bit before leaning his cheek on the top of the omega’s head.

“I’m so sorry,” he mumbled again. “I’m just worried about Hyde, and I miss him, and I don’t mean to make you feel bad as well. I’m sorry.”

Meto snuggled into his neck, sighing, and for a moment they just sat close, arms around each other. Meto was drawing a little heart with his finger on Kaz chest, trailing another imaginary tear from the heart. At least the alpha hoped that was what the boy meant, or it would be… yeah. Kind of creepy. In the corner of his eye, Kaz saw Yukke throw a glance his way as the break was over, but he said nothing as he called the others back to work. After a long while, Meto pulled back, his nervous gaze replaced by determination. He pointed between the two of them, and then drew the heart again, poking his mate harshly in the chest afterwards. Someone less used to Meto being Meto would have been confused by the gesture, but Kaz realized instantly what the boy was trying to say. Home is where the heart is. Home. I want to, so damn much, but…

“No, we’re not leaving yet. You need to talk to Tatsurou some more first.”

Meto frowned at him as if to ask why, and Kaz struggled to find the words to explain the need for therapy without saying ‘therapy’. Eventually, he just gave up and said it straight out. “I want you to be completely at ease with Koichi and Tsuzuku, and I want you to be able to remember the good things about your friend Mia and be able to mourn him properly,” he said, looking the omega deeply into his eyes to assess any possible damage his words might cause. But Meto just frowned again, grabbing him by the hand and pulling him up from the grass. Kaz was too surprised to resist as his mate dragged him away over the grass up to the big house, where Shinya, Tsuzuku and Koichi sat on the porch, talking quietly between themselves while watching Tatsuya explore the world a few steps at a time. The child was slightly wobbly as he happily walked at least five yards on his own before he plunked down on his round bottom and explored the wonders of a blade of grass. The two omegas looked up when Meto came stalking over to them, dragging Kaz with him.

“Hey, you little brat, wait up,” Kaz said finally, though not without a great deal of curiosity. What was his wayward kid up to?

Meto released his hand and stomped up to the omegas, wriggling himself determinedly down between his two old friends, forcing them to make room for him. Once he was seated, he reached over and gave Tsuzuku a big, wet kiss on the cheek, the same way Tora or Shou did occasionally when they decided someone deserved their affection. While Tsuzuku was still drying his cheek, slightly shocked by Meto’s display, the young omega leaned over and wrapped his arms around Koichi, hugging him tightly while petting his belly in the same way he would stroke Neko’s soft fur. Though they were slightly confused, the two omegas gleefully accepted their friend’s ministrations. Kaz couldn’t help laughing. Meto glared daggers at him, all the while petting Koichi’s belly sweetly, and the contrast made it even more hilarious. Kaz chuckled and shook his head as he crouched before his mate.

“Fine, fine, you’re feeling comfortable around your friends. I’m glad,” he grinned, throwing an apologetic glance at the two omegas. Shinya was just watching them all quietly, in that way he did that made people feel like he saw right through them. Up on the porch, the alpha noticed Tatsurou stepping out through the open door, quietly observing them. Kaz looked back to Meto, softening his voice as he spoke carefully, afraid to ruin everything.

“And Mia? Do you remember Mia?”

Meto’s hand stopped mid-pet and he swallowed hard as he glanced at his two friends and then back to his mate. For a shuddering moment, Kaz thought he had really stepped in it, but then, finally, his mate slowly nodded. A single tear trickled down his cheek, and he bit his lower lip hard enough for it to start bleeding. An uneasy shift of his hips, an insecure shuffle of feet, and then the youngster leaned into Koichi again, resuming the hug. Tsuzuku tentatively reached out to grab his friend’s hand, and Meto squeezed it in response.

“Did you like Mia?” Kaz prodded. “Was he nice to you? Your friend?”

Meto nodded again, more certain now, and tears flowed freely down his cheeks as he let himself remember. Koichi threw his arms around the youngster to hug him back as best he could in this position, letting his fingers play gently with the boy’s hair as he sobbed along with him. Tsuzuku also leaned in and hugged all the other two, and the three friends leaned their heads together and let out their feelings simultaneously. Kaz looked on in astonishment as he saw his mate grieve his dearest friend openly for the first time, his heart clenching a bit at the emotions pouring out of his mate through the bond.

Next to them, Shinya quietly got up and walked over to Tatsuya to steer him away from the tiny slope he was heading towards, letting his friends mourn in peace, as he made sure nothing bad happened in the meantime. Kaz threw a glance up at the porch and met Tatsurou’s eyes. The nurse smiled at him, nodding encouragingly. This is good news.

It wasn’t until they were all cried out that Meto entangled himself from the other two and walked the two steps over to Kaz, leaning in and burying his face against his mate’s chest. His movements were somewhat unsteady as he lifted his arm and poked the alpha in the chest again. Home.

. . . . .

“…so I’m thinking you can stay here and hang out with Tora some more without feeling guilty about it, and we go back home and let everyone know people are ok here.” Kaz looked at Ju-ken, his friend’s forehead creased as he thought about it. Toshiya, Tatsurou and Kaoru sat quietly listening to the conversation, not wanting to butt in as the entire resort bunch had gathered to discuss Kaz idea. K had brought Tomo, his arm slung comfortably around the omega’s waist as he listened. Next to them, Shuse held Manabu to his chest, wanting the omega to be close in any way possible. Once Kaz had stopped talking, they all pondered his words in silence for a while, before Ju-ken nodded.

“If it’s ok with you all… I’d love to stay. I’d feel like shit if I came here and hurt Masa with the bad news and then just took off again, leaving them in a mess. And Miya needs me. We’re family, after all.”

The others murmured their assent immediately, of course it was ok. What they were more worried about was Kaz and Meto leaving, and after a few questioning glances in his direction, the nurse pitched in, weighing his words carefully so as not to make Meto feel too singled out. “I think it’ll be alright, and you can always come back if you need to.”

Kaz nodded gratefully at his new friend. “I think so too. It’s actually this little brat’s idea. Apparently I’m a boring mate when I mope around, worrying about Hyde.” He smirked at the omega, sitting next to him, and reached over to ruffle his short unruly locks. Meto frowned and tried to escape his hand, but he didn’t look too annoyed. Mitsuki looked upset, not at all happy about Meto leaving. Still, he was not about to give up his new life with Aryu for it. “I’m staying,” he muttered defiantly, almost disappointed that no one argued.

K looked thoughtful. “And me?” he asked, Tomo stiffening at the words, feeling as if he was suddenly made out of ice. No, no, he couldn’t, he had promised… K felt the change in his boyfriend, and he tightened his grip on the omega possessively as he continued. “I was supposed to come here to pay for Manabu’s care, and to learn about things we need at the resort. But things have changed, in a way,” he said and nodded at Manabu and Shuse, before he carefully placed a kiss on Tomo’s cheek to try to reassure the omega. Tomo had almost stopped listening, however, feeling his heart clench in his chest, a panic attack coming nearer every second. He promised he wouldn’t leave me, and I believed him. He promised. God I’m stupid. Of course he’s gonna leave, he’s gonna go home to find someone cuter than me. K paused, looking worriedly at his boyfriend who was breathing in short, painful bursts.

“Tomo,” he said, lifting the omega’s chin with two fingers and looking earnestly into his panicked eyes. “I’m not going anywhere without you. I promised I wouldn’t, didn’t I? If I go, you go with me. If you stay, I stay.”

The omega stared at him, but the words didn’t seem to sink in. The alpha decided to try a different tactic. He leaned in to press a dominant kiss to Tomo’s lips, his possessive grasp tightening again as he tried to play out all of his alpha-ness. “Snap out of it, baby,” he murmured. “You’re mine now, and I intend to keep you.” The unexpectedness of this seemed to do the trick, and Tomo blinked in surprise. But he didn’t say anything, only leaned into the embrace quietly, a lot more submissive than his usual self. K kissed his temple gently before he turned back to the crowd, his arms still holding Tomo tightly.

“So, as I see it, we have two choices. One; me and Tomo go to the resort, since Manabu has Shuse to care for him here. The resort could use someone with his knowledge and skill, and I promised to teach them what I’ve learned here once I got back. However, that means we’re breaking the deal for Manabu’s care. Or two; we stay here, and the resort have to send someone else here to learn. That would mean I work for you, but also that you have one more mouth to feed.”

He looked around at his friends, all frowning as they thought about the options. Both had merit and both had disadvantages, but K wasn’t about to let others decide. He leaned into his boyfriend, pressing another kiss to his temple and weaving his fingers through the omega’s multitude of long braids before speaking softly.

“What do you say, baby? Can you imagine coming with me to the resort, or do you want us to stay here?”

Tomo blinked again, shaking his head. “I don’t know,” he murmured, the sound muffled against K’s chest. “As long as I get to be with you…”

It was horribly cute and a bit disconcerting at the same time, and K sighed. “Maybe we can think about it and decide together before you guys leave?” he suggested, Kaz and Toshiya both nodding.

“You are of course welcome to stay,” Toshiya said, “and we’ll miss both of you terribly if you go. Tomo’s been with us for so long. But it’s up to you. The decision has to be yours.”

“We won’t leave for a few more days,” Kaz said. “Think about it.”

And with that, the gathering was over. The others scattered soon enough, leaving a shivering Tomo standing pressed against his boyfriend’s chest. K held him patiently, trying to reassure him through just being there. “We’ll be together either way, sweetheart, he whispered finally. “Always and forever.”

Chapter Text

Toshiya was lying on his side, head propped up on his hand, watching Shinya sleep. His mate was snoring lightly, something very unusual for him, but the big belly pressed on his lungs and he groaned and made all sorts of noises in his sleep. The alpha watched him turn over on his other side, struggling to move in his sleep until he was facing Toshiya. His slender hand lay between them, and Toshiya admired the long fingers and the soft looking skin, fingertips slightly roughened by the work in the garden.

Shinya had finally been forced to give up taking care of the plants himself. Instead he sat in a chair and pointed out things for Kuina, Kazuki and Minase to do, unable to completely let go of the work. The harvest was amazing this year, thanks to the perfect weather they had had, and they had even gotten several harvests in from some fast-growing vegetables. They had stocked up their storages, Kai testing new ways to preserves vegetables, and everything looked very promising for the winter. Toshiya felt very happy with the way things were going for their community, for once entering winter with lots of food and shelter for all of them.

And soon, he was about to become a father.

He was ready now. He had worried, of course, but all in all, Shinya had had a perfect pregnancy despite all the morning sickness at the beginning of it. ‘Made to bear children’, Tatsurou had joked at one point, and Toshiya was eternally grateful that his mate hadn’t had as hard a time as Masa. But now, he was ready. He wanted to meet his son, he wanted to see his face, recognize his own features and Shinya’s blended into one.

Shinya mumbled in his sleep, and Toshiya reached out to carefully trace the outline of his face with his fingers, before he put his hand on Shinya’s smaller one, taking care not to wake him. The omega needed his rest, and Toshiya was content just to lie here and watch the most beautiful face in the world.

Soon. He was ready for it.

. . . . .

Miya looked so relieved at Ju-ken’s news that he nearly gave in and cried. “Thank you,” he mumbled, “but are you sure? I mean, I don’t want to keep you from your friends, and…”’

“You’re family. You guys come first, no matter what. Besides, I want to stay. I want to hang out more with Tora, and get to know Kiyoshi. Also, for some strange reason, I seem to like you too, cousin, even though I still don’t know what that perfect mate of yours sees in you,” Ju-ken interrupted.

Miya laughed, amazed by his cousin’s offer. “Jealous, much?” he teased, knowing full well what Ju-ken meant. If anyone had been there for the two over the years, it was Ju-ken. His cousin had supported them even when things had been at their craziest, and he’d done everything to help the two once he realized jus how in love they were. Miya felt like he could never repay Ju-ken for everything he had done for them, but he hoped he could give something back one day. For now, he just smiled, feeling a part of the tension drain slowly from him. With Ju-ken staying, Miya could be there for Masa more, and he knew both Tora and Kiyoshi would have someone there for them, no matter what. Of course everyone else would be as well, but it wasn’t the same as family.

He couldn’t wait to tell Masa.

. . . . .

Manabu was nervous the first few nights in Shuse’s cabin. What would this be like? Had he been too fast to agree to this? Would people think he was desperate, a slut even? But he really, honestly liked the alpha a lot, and yes, he might be a little bit desperate to give Yutaka a good life. But he wasn’t so desperate as to agree to something he didn’t believe in or want. And Shuse was a good man. He would be a great father to Yutaka, and a good boyfriend to him. It was still new, and they were getting to know each other better, but he wanted this. He knew Shuse wanted it too, and it felt good to belong, to be wanted. When Shuse looked at him, he felt beautiful, sexy, special. Not just a quick fuck or a tag-along, but needed in a way he wasn’t used to After.

And he soon discovered that no one looked at him funny, or said anything bad, or even smirked at the two when they were together. Manabu was young, and he had been called pretty many a time Before. But the sergeant had his own charm - his warm heart, open mind and wicked sense of humor sexier to the omega than any good looks could be. They were a little awkward around each other still, testing the waters so to speak, but they had had sex twice and Manabu most certainly didn’t have anything to complain about in that regard. Shuse was a considerate lover, always making sure Manabu enjoyed himself as much as possible. He was deliciously dominant, but in a way that made the omega feel wanted and cared for. Yeah, he was happy with his choice. He was sure things would be a little bumpy sometimes, but he believed in their future together.

He stood by their little iron stove, making them tea, and while he waited for the water to boil, he surreptitiously watched Shuse sit on a chair by the table with Yutaka in his arms. The alpha was waving a small plushy toy in front of the boy’s face, smiling at the giggle that arose from the baby as bright colors danced before his eyes. Manabu had to bite his lip in an attempt to contain his emotions as he watched the two, and when Shuse looked up at him and their eyes met, electricity shot through the omega’s body. Yeah. He had made the right choice.

. . . . .

“So what do you say?” K was sitting next to Tomo on the bed, wrapping himself around the omega like an octopus. “I will do whatever you want me to do. I want us to be together, no matter what. But I think we could be useful there. They have no one with medical skills, and all the things I’ve learned... I’m dying to show them to my friends.”

Tomo sighed and leaned into his boyfriend’s embrace as he mulled it over. He had all his friends here. This was what he knew. The resort seemed dangerous after all the stories about fights and people getting hurt and even killed. But still, that meant he was needed. And K wanted to go, he could tell even though the alpha let him decide. He missed his friends just as much as Tomo would miss his.

“Tell me about the resort,” he murmured against K’s chest, enjoying the alpha’s calming scent. “Tell me about your friends.”

And so K told him, first about the resort, the buildings and the layout. Then about the way they had built their community, with the council as their leaders. And finally, he told him about his friends.

“Sakito is my best friend. He’s sort of calm but friendly, quiet and observing rather than open and outgoing. A bit like Uta without the bad experiences, I guess? That would be a good way to describe him, I think. His boyfriend Ni-ya kind of comes with the package, but that’s fine, he’s a good guy. They’re both alphas, like Tatsurou and Kaoru. And then there’s Inoran, we get along really well. He’s pretty serious, maybe because he’s on the council. Takemasa is the funny guy, cheeky and always hiding behind a joke. He got hurt in the fires during the disaster and burned his face, so he always covers it with something. I feel bad for him, I think it still hurts sometimes. He’s a real sweetheart though. And Yutaka is like my bearer. He’s everyone’s bearer, basically, no matter how old they are. He’s just such a caring and loving guy, always making sure everyone is taken care of. Actually, he’s the one Bu named his son after. You’ll love him.”

The longer K spoke, the calmer Tomo felt. It wasn’t just that the people sounded nice, or the fact that they would have a nice hotel bed to sleep in. It was the warmth with which the alpha talked about them, the happiness in his voice when he talked about when he and Takemasa joked around, or when Sakito and he played guitar together sometimes. The sound of K’s voice was also soothing, and his musky scent got stronger as he animatedly talked about his friends. It brought a surge of arousal through the omega, and he felt himself starting to harden in his pants, the alpha’s deep voice sending shivers up and down his spine. Soon, he could no longer ignore the need that made his thighs burn and his insides clench with want. He leaned his chin up and caught K’s lips with his in the middle of a word, and the alpha immediately stopped and accepted this sudden change of direction. He pushed his tongue into the warm cavern, suckling on Tomo’s tongue for a moment as he shifted around on the bed. And then, without warning, the omega found himself lying on his back, moaning wantonly as the alpha explored his body.

In the back of his mind, something tried to tell him he was nearing his heat and shouldn’t make any life-changing decisions until he was on the suppressants, but he ignored his brain and nibbled on K’s earlobe as it came into reach. “Take me there, take me with you,” he mumbled in his ear, before he threw his head to the side and mewled when the alpha nipped his neck lightly. He would go anywhere, he decided somewhere in his mind's haze, as long as K was with him.

Not much more was said until they were done, snuggling happily. K was kissing Tomo’s hair and temple lovingly, looking thoughtful. “Are you sure?” he mumbled finally, not wanting to force his boyfriend into something he wasn’t ready for. To his own surprise, Tomo found himself whispering a soft “Yes” in reply.

. . . . .

Shinya was feeling a little off that day. The baby wasn’t moving around anymore, which Tatsurou said was because its head was fixed. It meant it was almost time, he said, and Shinya nearly panicked at the thought. God, where had the time gone? Toshiya was running around like a happy puppy, making sure he always had everything he needed, fetching him tea or a blanket or a pillow, while the once thin and willowy omega sat like a blob on a chair somewhere.

He knew his mate was eager to become a dad, and Shinya wanted him to have that feeling. But somehow, the closer he got, the more scared he got. What it he would be a bad bearer? What if something happened to the baby? To him? There were a thousand, a million what ifs and Shinya hated it. He wanted this to be over and done with. He wanted to be like Kei, snuggling up to Yukihiro with Kana in his arms. Or like Manabu, who had let Shuse carry Yutaka as they went in for lunch, the alpha’s smile wider than the biggest ocean and brighter than a million stars. The sergeant looked so proud, and Manabu so content, and Shinya wanted that. Now, please. Without the pain first, and the blood, and the possibility of something going wrong. Without the fear, and the overwhelming doubts, and the worry.

He sighed and slowly got up from his chair to get some more kale. Tatsurou had ordered that he ate extra iron, and Kai made sure he got lots of meat and all the super healthy veggies he could find. It wasn’t like he could fit much food in his stomach now anyway, but for some reason, he craved kale. Like, lots. All the time. Toshiya saw him get up and immediately jumped to his feet, wanting to help his mate, but Shinya waved him off with an annoyed frown. He wasn’t so far gone that he couldn’t get up to get his own kale, thank you very much.

And so he slowly waddled over to the table, putting his plate down and reaching for the bowl of fresh kale, when all of a sudden, his legs were wet. Looking down, he noticed he was standing in a small puddle. Oh shit. His brain mulled it over for a few seconds before the realization made it all the way up into his consciousness, and he closed his eyes at the sudden surge of nervousness that grabbed his lungs and heart. Ok. Deep breath. He could do this.

“Toshiya?” he said carefully, and as he waited for the alpha to react, he reached out to snatch a piece of kale and stuff it in his mouth. He’d be damned if he’d go into this hungry.

Chapter Text

“Oh my god oh my god oh my god!” Toshiya was wild-eyed and rambling as he stared at the puddle on the floor and then at Shinya. “Is it time? Oh my god! Sit down! Or… lie down, on the bed, here.” He patted unnecessarily on the bed, while his voice was pitching up towards hysteria. “Hang in there, I’ll go get Tatsurou. No, wait, do I dare leave you alone?! What if something happens! Oh my god.”

Shinya almost had to laugh. Almost. “Toshiya, I can walk up to the house on my own. It’s fine.” His mate widened his eyes and stared in horror at the suggestion. The omega sighed, realizing it was no good – his alpha was going to get a heart attack if he didn’t obey. “Fine, go get Tatsurou. I’ll be ok for a few minutes. He’s only next door. See, I’ll sit here on the bed in the meantime. Just go get him.”

Toshiya nodded mutely, but didn’t make a move to leave. “Totchi!” Shinya’s voice had a bit of an edge to it, enough to rouse his mate’s wits from the depths of terror and get him going.

“Right! I’ll go!” The alpha turned and ran out the door, fast enough that he almost stumbled on the steps and just barely avoided a face plant on the grass. Shinya couldn’t help his chuckle now, as he grabbed the bowl of kale from the table and obediently sat down on the bed, stuffing his mouth while he waited. Three seconds later Tatsurou stepped inside, looking very worried until his eyes fell on a very calm omega chomping on his greens. “Are you ok, Shinya?” he asked, looking more amused now, and he glanced at their leader who had clearly been over-exaggerating the urgency. Somewhere along the way, Toshiya’s hair had managed to become ruffled and was now standing on end, a crazed look in his eyes.

Shinya swallowed. “I’m fine. My water broke,” he stated, before stuffing the last of the kale in his mouth.

“I see,” the nurse grinned. “Let’s get you inside then, shall we? We’ve cleared out Shinji’s stuff, so there’s room for you.”

“Mmmfmf,” the omega agreed around his mouthful and started to get up. A bold move, apparently, as his mate dove to stop him.

“You can’t walk! Can he walk? He’s… The baby’s… Should we get the gurney?!”

The nursed paused and peered at the leader for a second, before he stepped up and grabbed the alpha’s shoulders. “Toshiya,” he said, seriously. “Shinya can walk. It only just started, and it will probably be a long while before we’re anywhere close to start. So just breathe and relax, ok? Come on, breathe with me. 1…. 2…. 3…. 4….”

Slowly, the alpha came down from his anxious heights and was starting to resemble a semi-rational being again. At least he was rational enough to follow Tatsurou’s directions as they gathered their stuff (Shinya making sure to bring the green blanket Ruki had made for him) and slowly made their way to the big house. Tomo, Kei and Shinji were already waiting, looking very nervous since they had all been roused by a panicky leader. Once they got a look at the omega in question, everyone calmed down considerably, and just started to prepare and make Shinya comfortable as they waited for it to really get going. Tatsurou discreetly told Shinji that he could go rest, and they would call for him if he was needed, the surgeon smirking slightly before he just as discreetly slipped away and left Tatsurou to take care of business. Meanwhile, Toshiya was doing his best to support Shinya while being half hysterical and completely in the way, until Tatsurou ordered him to sit on a chair and hold Shinya’s hand until he was told otherwise.

. . . . .

Afterwards, Tatsurou joked to Kaoru that it was almost more work to deal with Toshiya’s panic attacks than the actual birth. The baby alpha made his way into this world just the way he had spent his time in his bearer’s belly – calmly and easily. Once the baby was born and Toshiya had counted all the fingers and toes and heard the baby cry, he finally calmed down, nearly as exhausted as his mate. Instead of panicking, he started crying from happiness at how beautiful the boy was, and about how they were finally parents. Tatsurou left Shinya to deal with his mate’s emotional state and let the little family rest together, as he made his way to the dining room to bring the news to the others.

“He’s adorable and perfectly healthy, and Shinya’s fine. Even Toshiya’s heart rate should be down to normal in an hour or so,” he joked, the others laughing.

Meanwhile, Kaoru walked up to his boyfriend and snuggled close, wrapping his arms around him and kissing his cheek. “You’re amazing, babe,” he mumbled in the nurse’s ear, enjoying the reddening to Tatsurou’s ears as he blushed at the compliment.

“It wasn’t very difficult this time,” he mumbled, “and I had great help by Kei and Tomo. We didn’t even need Shinji’s help this time.”

“That doesn’t make you any less amazing, my love,” Kaoru reproached mildly. He kissed his boyfriend’s cheek again and reluctantly let go as the nurse noticed Tomo come into the room and waved the omega over. Tomo came up to the nurse a little hesitantly, as if he expected to be reproached, and Tatsurou frowned a bit as he took his assistant by the elbow and maneuvered him out onto the porch for a quiet chat just between them. He met K’s questioning gaze quickly before they left the room, but nodded to him in a silent plea to let them talk alone. K furrowed his brow a bit but sat back, curious to get the full story from his boyfriend later.

Tomo swallowed as he watched Tatsurou close the door behind them. Tatsurou sighed at the sight, and made a gesture at the omega to sit. Once they were seated, the nurse pursed his lips as he tried to find the right way to start the conversation.

“So you’ve decided to go with K to the resort,” he said slowly. Tomo blinked and swallowed again, his mouth dry as sand. He settled for just bowing his head, whispering a quiet “I’m sorry”. Tatsurou frowned.

“Sorry? What for?”

Tomo looked perplexed and nervous. “Well, for… abandoning you, after all you’ve done to train me. And I know I have lots left to learn, it’s not like I think I can be some kind of real nurse to them. I just don’t want K to… leave…”

This time it was Tatsurou’s turn to look perplexed. “What do you mean, not a ‘real nurse’?” He shook his head and put his hand on the omega’s shoulder, squeezing it while he looked into the omega’s eyes. “Tomo, you started as my assistant. You’re not, anymore. You’re a nurse all in your own right by now. You’re really skilled, and I am so glad to have had the chance to work with you. But I understand why you wish to go, and you have no idea how happy I am that you and K found love together. You guys are a perfect couple.” The nurse smiled, trying to make his point abundantly clear to his friend. “But Tomo, you’ve got to understand your own value. The resort will have a real nurse, as you call it, the second you put your foot there. They will be extremely lucky to have you, and you will do well there. Just remember that you are more than good enough, both as a person and as a nurse.”

Tomo looked down for a long moment, and Tatsurou worried he had pressed a sore spot, but then the omega looked up again, fighting tears and a smile at once. “Thank you. It means a lot, coming from you,” he whispered. “I’ll miss you. All of you.”

Tatsurou smiled and pulled his friend in for a quick hug. “We’ll miss you too. I’ll miss you. But you can always come back and visit, you hear? You can even move back home if you don’t like it there. You’ll always have a home here, ok? Now, you go and knock ‘em dead for me!”

Tomo couldn’t help chuckling a bit at that, but he nodded. “I will. Thank you. For everything.”

The alpha smiled, and then gestured to the door with a nod of his head. “What do you say we go back inside and grab something to eat? I think we missed dinner.”

The omega nodded eagerly, braids flying around his head at the motion, and the two got up and went back inside. Kai had already put out plates with leftovers for the medical team, as well as sent food in to the new parents. Kuina had gone in with the food, and was now eagerly telling an interested audience how the baby was sooo cute and Shinya had said he would be named Shoya, and he had such chubby little cheeks, and…

Tatsurou grinned as he sat down to eat, watching K come up to his boyfriend and wrap his arms around him, giving him a big kiss. Kei was almost done with dinner already, Yukihiro sitting next to him with Kana on his lap, the two talking quietly. The love in the alpha’s eyes as he looked at his younger boyfriend warmed the nurse’s heart, and it was with a light heart that he finished his dinner and let Kaoru drag him back to their cabin. Before he went he left instructions about where to find him should anything go wrong – he was not one to abandon a patient – but Shinji just nodded and waved him off, saying he’d take care of it if anything was needed, and he’d send for Tatsurou otherwise.

For the first time After, Tatsurou let himself relax completely, leaving his patient in the care of someone else. It was such a novel notion that it took a while to come down to earth again, but Kaoru soon managed to get his thoughts occupied by other things. Eventually, the nurse fell asleep in his lover’s arms, completely calm for once.

. . . . .

Tatsurou woke up the next morning to Kaoru’s limbs completely intertwined with his, trapping him effectively where he was. At first he thought the alpha was asleep, but when he turned his head to look at him, two eyes peered at him through a mass of curls.

“Morning, baby,” Tatsurou mumbled, trying to stretch and untangle their limbs. To his surprise, Kaoru tightened his grasp in response.

“Baby? What the… I have to get up.”

“Nope. It’s Sunday today.” Kaoru looked completely serious, and his boyfriend had to laugh.

“Actually, baby, I’m pretty sure it’s Wednesday, and we’ve got work.”

“Nope.” Kaoru ignored his squirming and held on, if anything shifting to trap his boyfriend’s legs even more effectively. “It’s Tatsunday today.”

Tatsurou gaped at his lover for a moment, before he shook his head and smirked. “And what, pray, is a ‘Tatsunday’?”

Kaoru looked at him as if he was an idiot, explaining slowly and clearly. “It’s a special Sunday made for nurses called Tatsurou, when they’ve worked hard and done good. I believe you have to deliver a certain number of babies for it to come, though.”

“Oh, really? And what does everyone else have to say about Tatsundays?” He was beginning to understand where this was going, still keeping another mini vacation day in fond memory, but he wanted to make sure he had understood his boyfriend correctly.

“Oh, it’s sort of an island holiday. Everyone agrees it’s made only for nurses called Tatsurou and their boyfriends, to be used on this day.”

“U-hu.” Tatsurou couldn’t help laughing now. “Even Toshiya?”

“Especially Toshiya.” Kaoru grinned. “Besides, he’s too occupied being a new dad to care. Shinji’s with them, and so he’s happy. Cute kid, by the way. Takes after Shinya, thank god.” He smiled to show he was kidding, but also made clear that this was a day sanctioned by everyone, and an offer Tatsurou couldn’t turn down. The nurse sighed over-dramatically (just for the hell of it) and fell back on the pillows, letting himself relax.

“Ok, if you say so. I’d better obey then. So, what does a Tatsunday entail?” He looked expectantly at Kaoru, who released his death grip now that he knew his boyfriend had agreed to stay in bed. Instead, the engineer let his hand slide down the other’s firm stomach, licking his lips seductively.

“Anything you want,” Kaoru breathed into Tatsurou’s ear huskily before he leaned down to kiss his neck and nibble at his earlobe. The nurse couldn’t help the jolt of sexual energy that went through him, already making his cock harden a bit.

“Oh god, yes please,” he mumbled as Kaoru’s fingers grazed his cock before they travelled further down and caressed his entrance sinfully. “Fuck, Kaoru… Give it to me.”

“Hm? You want my cock?” Kaoru mumbled in his ear, sounding quite pleased with himself at the whine that left his boyfriend when he pressed his fingertip carefully into him. “Want to feel me pound into you? Make you mine?”

Tatsurou was quickly loosing his mind, and he bucked his hips to try to get more of the delicious sensation. “Please… fuck me,” he moaned, trying to catch Kaoru’s lips with his.

Many hot kisses, lots of lube and several fingers later, he finally got his wish.

Chapter Text

Two days later, Kaz, Meto, K and Tomo prepared to leave. Everyone came out to see them off, even Masa, who was allowed to spend his day’s worth of physiotherapy on saying goodbye to Tomo. The nurse was overwhelmed by all the hugs and earnest whispers of “I’ll miss you”, as the entire island lined up for him. The day before, they had had a big party, a combined “Welcome to this world” to all the babies and “Take care and we’ll miss you” to the people who were leaving. After careful deliberation, they had even chanced leaving the horse alone for the night so that all of them could be there for the party, tying the animal to a tree and making sure it had a blanket on and plenty of food and water. It had gotten rather late before the couples in question were finally in bed. Meto spent the evening running around and hugging first Kuina, then Mitsuki, then Koichi and finally Tsuzuku, before he started from the beginning again. Still, he seemed ok with leaving, Kaz quietly told Tatsurou and Kaoru as they watched the omega zoom around the room for constant hug attacks. Sure, Mitsuki had been his best friend at the resort, but far from his only friend, and Kaz felt confident that his mate would do fine. This morning was no different, as the youngster said his goodbyes without too much distress.

Tomo, on the other hand, had kept it together at the party, but now that the time had come to say goodbye to all of his friends indefinitely, he was about to break down in tears. The thing that pushed him over the edge was the warm hat that Ruki had made for him ‘so he wouldn’t get cold on the way there’, and a very embarrassed Ruki found himself enveloped in a crying hug-heap named Tomo.

Meanwhile, Manabu gave K a sincere goodbye hug, which the alpha warmly reciprocated. “Thanks for everything,” the omega said, smiling shyly. “You’ve really been there for me from day one, and without you I wouldn’t be here today.” He flicked his eyes to Shuse, blushing a bit when he noticed that the alpha was watching them. K smirked at the sergeant and waved him over, giving him a hug as well.

“You take care of him for me now, you hear?” he said playfully, the sergeant grinning back with a hint of red to his cheeks.

“Always,” he said, putting his arm around Manabu’s waist. The omega looked up at his new boyfriend, and K smiled to himself as he noticed the soft look in his friend’s eyes. Yeah, they’re both in good hands. My work here is done. He leaned down to give Yutaka a kiss on the head as well, cooing a bit at him.

“Uhm… K?” Manabu hesitated a bit, but at the alpha’s expectant gaze he finally pulled out a folded piece of paper from his pocket. “Could you maybe… give this to Yutaka? I mean, grown-up Yutaka,” he rambled, and the alpha chuckled.

“I knew who you meant. And of course I will.” He reached out for the letter, putting it in a pocket in his jacket and pulling the zipper up for safekeeping. He peered at the omega for a moment, before he added a soft “He’ll understand, you know.”

Manabu swallowed and looked up at him with those doe eyes of his, making Shuse draw a deep breath next to them. “Do you think so?” the omega asked, his voice trembling a bit.

“I know he will. He loves you and wants what’s best for you, and he’ll be happy you’ve found love and a future here.”

Manabu nodded, a little tearfully, and leaned into Shuse’s side. Beside them, Ruki had finally escaped Tomo’s hug and left the nurse to hug an equally wailing Kei tightly instead, and now he listened thoughtfully to the last bit of conversation.

“Yutaka… That’s the guy your baby is named after, right?”

Manabu just nodded wordlessly. Ruki pursed his lips, thinking about something, before he suddenly seemed to make up his mind. “Wait here, I’ll be right back,” he said, shooting off to the cottage he shared with Kyo. A few minutes later he was back, holding an old polaroid camera in his hands. He blushed a bit when he came up to them, trying to seem cocky but only managing to look cute instead.

“So, yeah, I have this. I’ve been sort of saving it for something important. It’s kinda crappy after so many years, and there’s only like three photos left, but yeah. I thought maybe your Yutaka would like a picture of his namesake. Or not. No matter.” Ruki did his damnedest to look like he didn’t care about the light that suddenly shone in Manabu’s eyes, or about the second tear-drenched hug of the morning, but he was quietly very pleased with himself. As he snapped the pic of Manabu with Yutaka in his arms and Shuse’s arm around his shoulders, the happiness evident in the little family’s eyes, he felt Kyo’s proud eyes on him. He pointedly ignored his mate (and the inevitable butterflies in his stomach that always came with Kyo’s approval of something he did) and instead waved the photo for a bit so it would dry before he handed it to Manabu. It was completely off, color-wise, and a little bit blurry, but you could still clearly see their faces. Manabu handed the photo reverently to K, after admiring it for a long while with Shuse, and the alpha put it in his pocket with the letter.

Kyo came up to them and slid his arm around his mate’s waist, kissing his cheek. “You’ve got a beautiful soul,” he whispered into Ruki’s ear, so that only the omega could hear it. A little louder, he added “Do you think we should sacrifice one more of the pictures and take a group picture of all of us, before they leave? Something to serve as a memory of the early days.” Ruki thought about it for a moment, wondering just how far his chivalry-ness should reach, but eventually he nodded.

“It’ll go completely bad anyway soon. We might just as well use it,” he sighed, but lit up when the statement earned him another kiss and a little nip to his neck. He turned to Kyo and whispered into his ear. “Will I get a reward for this?”

Kyo smirked. “A reward… or a punishment perhaps?”

Ruki felt an excited shiver run down his spine at the prospect, and licked his lips. “Ok,” he mumbled, too breathless to say anything else. He stayed in his happy daze while Kyo talked to Toshiya and arranged it, and everyone lined up outside the big house, some on the porch and some below. Ju-ken offered to take the picture, seeing as he would be going back to the resort later, but when Ruki told them that the camera had a self-timer, he happily took his place with the others. It took two tries, the first picture a little low with lots of grass in front of them and a very blurry dynamic duo running away in two different directions. But once Uruha and Miya had captured their respective sons again and told them to stand very still, the last photo of the camera managed to capture the entire group, and they all crowded around to see the result. It was somewhat strange to be looking at a newly taken picture again, no matter how poor the quality of the colors were, and they were all a little bit lost in thought as the photo was handed over to Reika for safekeeping in the library.

Once the picture-taking was done and they had finally said the last goodbyes, a small group made their way down to the docks to see them off at the other shore. Toshiya struggled for a while to leave Shinya and Shoya behind at the house, but he was not about to let his friends leave without him waving at them from the shore, so he finally kissed his family goodbye and went with the group down to the docks.

. . . . .

The horse stood munching on hay when they arrived, fine after a night on its own, but it still seemed happy to see them. It sniffed Tomo curiously, but seemed to remember the others just fine, and after packing everything up, they said their final goodbyes and left, waving to the islanders on the shore before they turned the first bend of the road.

Tomo was nervous, feeling his whole future changing. He walked in silence as Kaz and K chatted about the resort and people he had never met. Had he made the right choice? What if everything would turn out to be a disaster? Maybe he wouldn’t like it there, or the people didn’t like him, or he’d be in over his head with the whole nursing stuff, or… K’s warm hand grabbing his snapped him out of his dark thoughts, and he gratefully let the alpha weave their fingers together in a firm grip.

“And my darling here is going to be a raging success, won’t he, Kaz?” the alpha said, as if continuing a conversation they’d already been having. Well, to be truthful, maybe they had – Tomo had failed to listen for a good ten minutes while his mind had raged on about everything going wrong.

“You will be,” Kaz answered calmly. “You’ll fit right in. Besides, Yutaka will take you under his wings the second you set foot in there. Also, I kind of see you and Gara being friends. I don’t know why though, he’s kind of spiky, a bit like Ruki I guess. But I think you’ll like each other.”

“See? You’ll do fine. And you’ll always have me,” K added, lifting his boyfriend’s hand to his lips for a reassuring kiss. “And if you truly hate it, we’ll just move back to the island in the spring,” he smiled.

Tomo chewed a little on his lip before he smiled an insecure smile. “Ok,” he whispered, squeezing K’s hand. Meto, who had fallen back to look at something interesting by the side of the road, came running up to them and fell in next to Tomo, peering at the omega curiously. A second later, he stopped and flung his arms around Tomo in a hug clearly meant to be friendly and comforting. The nurse couldn’t help smiling as he hugged the youngster back, Kaz and K both grinning at them. With so many people rooting for me, I’d better pull myself together and make the best out of it, he thought, feeling the tightness in his chest slowly ease up. When they continued their walk, Tomo’s steps were much lighter, his fingers firmly interweaved in K’s.

Chapter Text

A week passed, where they all focused on their work, taking care of the harvest before the nights got too cold. The days were still fairly warm, but at night the chill made itself known. Fall was most definitely coming. They also finished up the extension of Die and Subaru’s cottage, using it as storage for now, saving it for when Reika and Kouki would move in together. Cazqui and Uta started on their expeditions to pick mushrooms again, and they also had orders from Shinya to pick the right flower for their tea, seeing as he couldn’t go out and pick them himself this year.

Toshiya was somewhat distracted from his duties, checking on his family constantly, but no one blamed him for it. Their leader exuded happiness wherever he went and whatever he did, and they were all really happy for him and Shinya. A strange mix of excitement and disappointment also arose when Kazuki’s heat didn’t start on time, indicating that the birth control had failed. As happy as everyone was to have another baby on the island, especially the two parents-to-be, they were also a bit troubled by the fact that they needed the birth control to work. Cazqui was very high-strung and walking on the balls of his feet, still having to wait a few more weeks to know if the same was true for him. After being approached by Tatsurou, Natsu agreed to try out the birth control, despite the fact that he and Yukke had started enjoying his heats together in spite of what could happen. The couple decided that they weren’t desperate for a kid right now, and if it helped the other islanders that Natsu tried the medicine out, it was worth it. It helped that Yukke mumbled a little question in Natsu’s ear about the possibility of maybe mating soon, if the omega wanted to. It was decided that they would think about it for a few weeks, but they were both pretty certain about the outcome.

As the days passed, though, Hiro started noticing a change in his mate. Hiyuu was more subdued, quiet. When the alpha thought back on it, he realized it had started earlier this summer, slowly but surely. The omega worked just as hard as always, was just as nice and friendly to people and so on and so forth. But the bond always told the truth, eventually, and Hiro was getting worried. He waited a few days to be sure, observing his mate closely when Hiyuu wasn’t watching, and he came to the conclusion that he was right. Hiyuu wasn’t happy.

One night after dinner, they stepped into their cabin, a bit chilled by the autumn air. Hiyuu blew his fingers and massaged them to get the heat back into them, while Hiro got the fire going in their iron stove. Once the flames were crackling, the alpha put a kettle of water on the stove. Hiyuu finished warming his fingers and reached for the pot of flower tea on the shelf over the table and started fixing the cups while waiting for the water to boil.

“We’re running out.” He shook the jar a bit to let Hiro hear a few leaves rustling on the bottom of it.

“Good thing Shinya’s making more then,” Hiro said, watching his mate put the pot away.

“Mmm.” The answer was mumbled, and Hiro felt a spark of fear as he noticed that Hiyuu’s thoughts were elsewhere. His movements were a little clumsy, mainly because he didn’t seem to think about what he was doing, and he looked so down it cut the alpha’s heart.

“Baby?” he said, bracing himself for the talk that was to come. He knew they had to have it, but he was honestly afraid of what Hiyuu’s sadness meant. He had seen Subaru during his depression, and he really didn’t want his beloved mate to go through something like that. The fact that he had to repeat himself didn’t help with the fear, he omega not hearing him the first time. “Hiyuu, baby?”

Hiyuu shook his head slowly and looked up at his mate, fighting off the vacant stare in his eyes. “Sorry, I was miles away. What were you saying?”

The alpha furrowed his brows in worry. “You seem to be miles away a lot lately.”

The omega shrugged, looking down at the cup he was holding without really knowing why he was staring at it.

“Hiyuu, is something wrong? Is there something you want to tell me?” Hiro cast a glance at the water, still not even simmering, and went over to wrap his mate in his muscular arms. Hiyuu melted into his embrace but said nothing, just leaned against the alpha and breathed deeply. Hiro sighed and leaned his cheek on the top of his mate’s head. “Baby, I can feel you’re not happy. Talk to me.”

The omega sniffed and kept his face buried against his mate’s shirt, shaking his head slightly. “I don’t want to talk about it,” he murmured into the chest. Hiro could feel the trembling in his mate’s muscles, and he tightened his grip as if he could stop them by holding Hiyuu close enough.

“Sweetie, I think we need to. Whatever it is, you know I’ll be there for you, right? I’ll do everything I can to help you,” he whispered, kissing the top of the omega’s head. “I love you more than anything.”

“You can’t do anything about this,” Hiyuu mumbled into his chest, still refusing to look up but holding on to Hiro’s waist as if he was afraid the alpha would disappear if he let go.

Hiro frowned, the concern evident on his face. “What is ‘this’, baby? What can’t I do anything about?”

Hiyuu shook his head again, and Hiro could hear how his breathing was getting heavier as he fought the tears that threatened to break forth. For a while, they just stood there, Hiro holding his trembling omega close. His heart was aching at seeing Hiyuu like this. His mate had always been the happy type, sweet and caring, laughing more often than not. To see him on the verge of breaking down, to feel the pain through the bond – it scared him more than anything ever had.

“Please baby, talk to me,” he pleaded. “Are you ill? Has anyone hurt you? Have I hurt you? Please… I need to know so I can fix it.”

Hiyuu let out a small whine, shaking his head. “You can’t fix my damaged body,” he mumbled eventually, tears starting to fall as he was no longer able to keep them in.

Hiro blinked. “Damaged…?” His mind went through a million possible things that could be wrong, when it suddenly dawned on him. Oh. He closed his eyes and pulled Hiyuu impossibly closer. “All the babies.”

The omega let out a choked sort of sound before he started crying with abandon. Hiro sighed and just held him close for a long while, letting his mate cry it all out. Behind them, the water started boiling, but he ignored it until Hiyuu was at least somewhat calm again. Once he was confident he could leave the omega’s side for a minute, he gently let go. “I’ll just fix us some tea, and we’ll talk about this properly, ok?” he said and pressed a gentle kiss to his omega’s temple before he grabbed the cups and quickly poured the water. Behind him, he heard Hiyuu blow his nose and wipe the tears from his cheeks. In less than two minutes, Hiro had the cups ready on the table, and he sat down on a chair and pulled his mate down into his lap, slithering his arms around his waist. Hiyuu leaned his forehead to Hiro’s, and for a moment, they sat there in silence. And then Hiyuu lifted his head, looking down into his lap, sniffing.

“I thought… I though I had made my peace with it, you know. I had. I can’t have kids, I’ve known that for so many years I should’ve dealt with that by now. But then everyone started getting pregnant, and then all the babies came, and… And they’re all so cute, and everyone is so happy, and…” He burst into tears again. Hiro sighed and pulled him close, closing his eyes in pain. Hiyuu wrapped his arms around him and cried into his shoulder, finally giving in to the pain.

“I’m so sorry, baby,” Hiro whispered, caressing his hair as he cried.

“And you can’t fix it, because I’m the one who’s broken.” The words were muffled against his shoulder, but they cut Hiro as sharply as any knife. God, he wanted to fix it, he wanted to make his mate happy again, but he really couldn’t. If the doctors Before, with all of their equipment and knowledge, couldn’t fix Hiyuu’s barren womb, then there was nothing he could do now. He just couldn’t give his mate a child, and it hurt to know he couldn’t do a thing to alleviate his mate’s pain.

“I love you more than anything,” he whispered, doing the only thing he could – he couldn’t fix the problem, but he could offer his undying love. Hiyuu pressed into his shoulder, and Hiro caressed his back soothingly. They sat like that for a long time, their tea getting cold before they eventually let go of each other. The alpha tucked his mate into bed, snuggling close with his arm around his mate’s waist. But long after Hiyuu’s breathing slowed down in sleep, Hiro lay awake and stared out into the night.

. . . . .

Cazqui was pouting. It was such a non-Cazqui thing to do that Uruha got worried. He steered his friend away from the others after dinner and shut them both into the library, ignoring his friend’s confused protests.

“What’s up with you?”

Cazqui stared at him. “What do you mean, what’s up with me?”

Uruha sat his friend down on the couch, taking a seat next to him. “You’re pouting, and being surly. It’s not like you. I’m worried.”

He was not prepared for the bright red hue that suddenly took over Cazqui’s face as he blushed profusely. The omega even sounded a bit ashamed as he mumbled some excuse that explained absolutely nothing. Uruha put on his sternest look, the one he used on Shou when he was completely impossible, and was amused to realize it worked on adults as well. Cazqui looked even more ashamed, and finally took a deep breath.

“It’s nothing really. It’s just… Satochi refuses to tell me something. I really want to know, and he’s just being a tease.”

“Oh?” Uruha was surprised, and curious now. “What about?”

“He… I happened to tell him that we might’ve gossiped a bit about… him and Yukke… And he knows the answer, and he just won’t tell me, and he’s being all teasing about it.”

“Tell you what?” Uruha was deeply amused now, watching Cazqui’s face take on a deeper color every second.

“Who’s got the biggest… You know… like… the biggest…” He gestured vaguely down towards his crotch, looking away from his friend.

Uruha let out a laugh and shook his head. “Oh, it’s about that bet you and Natsu have going, huh?” He leaned forward and reached out to lift Cazqui’s chin. “You’re both losers though.” Seeing Cazqui’s confused frown was worth a million in gold, and Uruha grinned widely. “The pleasure of having the biggest cock inside of him is mine, thank you very much.”

“What?” Cazqui stared at him. “How do you know that?”

“Oh, honey,” Uruha smirked. “Kai’s huge. Delicious, beautiful and fucking enormous.” He held out his hands, measuring the air to indicate length and then circled his fingers for girth, and proceeded to enjoy Cazqui’s already wide eyes almost popping out of his head.

“You’re making this up!” The omega exclaimed, disbelieving.

Uruha chuckled, shaking his head again. “I swear to you I’m not. He’s really that big.”

“But… How… Can you even…?”

“What, fuck? Oh yeah. It takes some care at first, but then it’s a-ma-zing.” Uruha looked suddenly dreamy, licking his lips as he thought about his mate’s endowments. Then he smirked, looking back at Cazqui. “So I think you two can put your little friendly feud to rest and just enjoy your mates’ apparently rather sizeable attributes,” he said, patting Cazqui’s knee before he got up. “So that’s that. I’m gonna go downstairs. Are you coming?”

Cazqui just frowned at him and stayed on the couch. Uruha grinned and left him to his own thoughts, walking back downstairs. He went to find Natsu and sent a confused omega up to the library to talk to his friend, before he went to find his mate to see if maybe he was in the mood for some fun and games that evening.

Chapter Text

Cazqui was disappointed when he felt his heat coming on, though he hid it well from Satochi and Tatsurou. The nurse upped the dosage before sending the two off to the heat cabin, making sure Satochi knew when and how much to give the omega. He also called Ruki and Kyo in for a chat, since the omega’s heat was only a few weeks away. Ruki was pouting and putting up a harsh attitude even before Tatsurou had gotten started, certain that the nurse was trying to persuade him to go on the suppressants again. He wasn’t too happy about the fact that Kyo was there with him either, nervous about where this discussion would lead. However, the fact that Kyo was there was the only thing that kept him somewhat civil, the alpha giving him a stern look that clearly told him to behave.

“The reason I called you in is not what you think, Ruki,” Tatsurou started. “Even though I don’t like that you’ve taken the old pills, the problem is not their age anymore. The problem is that you’re almost out.”

He paused while the news sunk in, Kyo frowning a bit and Ruki looking dumbstruck. “But,” the omega finally managed to say, “Kei said we have plenty.”

“We do,” Tatsurou said. “But Kei didn’t know you’re allergic to the other brands. We only have one more chart of your brand, enough for one more heat. You both know why I’d prefer for you not to take them at all, but soon, you won’t be able to for other reasons.”

Ruki almost said that he’d take the other brands anyway, but Kyo stopped him by putting a hand on his thigh and squeezing slightly, his jaw clenched. “I’m afraid we don’t both know,” Kyo said, casting a hard glance at his mate. “What could happen if he takes the pills?”

Tatsurou cast the couple a surprised glance, before he understood what was going on here. Ruki had lied to him about talking it over with Kyo before taking the pills. Oh shit. This could be bad.

“The ones he’s been taking could not work, for one. Other things that could go wrong is that they make him sick, or make the womb inflamed. But he already knew this.” Kyo threw an angry glance at his mate at the nurse’s words, and Tatsurou guessed that Ruki would be yelled at later, but this had to be said. “If he takes the other brands, the ones he’s allergic to, it’s all of the above but worse. On top of it, he’ll probably get a rash, maybe swollen mucous membranes, possibly even problems with his breathing.”

Kyo’s face grew darker with every word, and he glared at his mate, fire burning in his eyes. “Ruki, when were you going to tell me this?” he asked with a deceptively calm voice. “Because I clearly remember you saying there was no danger to you involved.” Ruki seemed to shrink in front of his mate, but he spoke up anyway, defiant as always.

“I’m ok, aren’t I? It’s my body and my decision,” he muttered, pouting. Kyo apparently disagreed, but he wasn’t too keen about having a fight here in front of the nurse.

“Well, you’re not taking them anymore,” he stated, before turning to the nurse. “Don’t give him any. Hide them so he can’t sneak in and steal them, or better yet, destroy them.”

“What?!” Ruki had no qualms about fighting in public, his voice louder with every word. “You don’t get to decide that for me! It’s my choice! My body! And if I want to have my heat with you, I damn well can!” He was practically screaming now. Tatsurou was trying to quietly blend into the background to give the two some privacy, but he realized that at least Masa would hear every word next door, and quite possibly everyone in the dining room as well.

“It’s your choice only for as long as you don’t hurt yourself,” Kyo barked, getting up from the bed and starting to pace the room. “But if you knowingly do things that could damage your body, it’s my fucking duty as your mate to step in and stop you!”

“It’s my choice!” Ruki repeated, screaming at the top of his lungs now.

“Not when you’re a stupid, selfish brat who only think about yourself!” Kyo roared back, clenching his fists at his sides.

The second the words left his mouth, he wished he could take them back. Ruki seemed to deflate and crumble in front of him, folding into himself.

“Is that… what you really think of me?” The words were merely whispered, and Ruki looked so utterly hurt that Kyo had to close his eyes for a moment so he wouldn’t see the pain in his lover’s eyes.

“No, sweetie, you know it’s not,” he said, his anger dissolving immediately. “Baby, I love you, and I think you’re amazing, you know that.” He sat down next to the omega and pulled him into a hug, Ruki fighting him weakly but eventually settling against his mate’s chest.

Kyo sighed deeply, and pressed a kiss to his mate’s hair. “I’m so sorry I called you stupid and selfish, baby. But taking these meds… It’s really, really dangerous, and frankly… I’m scared shitless of losing you. So I guess maybe I’m the selfish one.”

Ruki made a half-choked sound against his chest. Next door, Kiyoshi started crying loudly, and the sound brought them all back to reality. Kyo looked between Ruki and the nurse, frowning a bit.

“What other options are there? Besides the pills, I mean?” the alpha asked. Ruki whined against his chest, but didn’t say anything else.

Tatsurou sighed. “Well, there are no fire-proof ways anymore, I’m afraid, even with the pills. Not if he doesn’t want the suppressants, and we’ve discussed them enough times that I know he won’t take those. And then, well, the only other option is trying out the contraceptives that we’re not done with. Cazqui is trying out the higher dose now, and Natsu will soon, but we can’t be sure it’ll work.”

Kyo looked troubled. “And if we go with the contraceptives and it doesn’t work… There’s abortion, right?”

The nurse made a grimace at that. “Yes and no. Any procedure nowadays is risky, and I can’t guarantee there won’t be complications. It will hurt like hell, either way, and there’s always the chance of infection after. I wouldn’t recommend it as a means of birth control.”

Kyo nodded, still holding a shivering omega to his chest. “Ok. We’ll go home and discuss this, and get back to you.” He gently coaxed Ruki up from the bed, the omega sniffing and looking more than a little heartbroken, and the alpha nodded a thanks to the nurse before he led his mate outside and down to their cottage. Tatsurou felt conflicted when he looked after the two, seeing Ruki’s broken stance. On the one hand, he was glad that Kyo was stopping Ruki from possibly hurting himself in a bad way. But on the other, the omega seemed so upset and broken by the fight, especially by his mate calling him stupid and selfish. Tatsurou had long since guessed that Ruki was fighting with fears of being left behind, of being unloved, and it took no genious to understand what he was feeling now. The nurse hoped they would be able to talk it out, so that Ruki would feel safe about his mate’s feelings again. If there was one thing he was sure of, it was that Kyo adored his mate more than anything, and so he hoped the alpha would be able to get through to the omega and soothe his fears.

Next door, Kiyoshi was working himself into a rage, and he could faintly hear Masa trying to calm the boy down. With a sigh, he knocked on the door and entered after a quiet ‘yes’, trying to see if he could do anything to help.

. . . . .

Kyo didn’t let go of Ruki until they were home, and he closed the cabin door behind them. The omega hadn’t said a word since they left the nurse, and now he just stood in a hunched down sort of way by the wall, looking miserable. Kyo eyed him with regret, pulling his fingers through his short hair.

“Ruki,” he started, his gut wrenching as the omega cringed at the sound of his name. “Ruki, I don’t think you’re stupid, or selfish. A bit of a brat, maybe, but that’s why I love you.” The attempt at a joke didn’t work, as Ruki just seemed to get smaller every second. Kyo sighed and walked up to his mate, gently lifting his chin so that he could see his eyes properly. He was met with black pools full of fear, and hurt, and uncertainty.

“Ruki, baby,” he whispered. “I’m sorry I got mad at you. I just got so worried, that’s all. I don’t want you to get hurt, or put yourself in danger in any way. I couldn’t stand losing you.”

Ruki just shook his head, trying to pull away from the alpha. “You said you cared about me,” he mumbled. “That you liked me the way I am.”

“I do,” Kyo protested. “I love your feistiness, and your sassiness, and the way your soul shines through sometimes.”

“No one ever wanted me because I’m a stupid, selfish brat,” the omega mumbled, looking like he was about to shut down completely, all wrapped up in his own pain and memories of being hurt. He had finally started to trust that Kyo wanted him, liked him for him, and now…

“But I do want you! Ruki…” Kyo felt utterly helpless. How was he to undo the words he had thrown out in anger? He knew Ruki was sensitive about this, he knew he had had a tough life with not enough love and too much loneliness and pain. And yet he had managed to stick the knife in and twist it around, and now the love of his life was bleeding out in front of him.

“Why were you even so hell-bent on taking the pills if they could hurt you?” he asked, finally, not knowing what else to say.

Ruki flinched at the question, and closed his eyes tightly, tears starting to trickle down his cheek. “I just wanted to make sure you wouldn’t be disappointed in me,” he whispered. “I know you like my heats, and I didn’t want to let you down, in case…”

Kyo stared at his mate, his mouth hanging open. “In case, what?” he finally managed to ask.

“In case you wouldn’t like me anymore if I wasn’t good enough for you,” Ruki mumbled, so quietly Kyo almost couldn’t make out the words.

Kyo was shocked. Ruki thought he would leave him if…? God damn it! He could feel the anger rising within him again, but of a different kind. It was directed at himself, for apparently not doing enough to make his beloved mate feel secure in their love. And as the anger got stronger, so did the pain in seeing what he’d done to his mate, and it all mixed with confusion about what to do to fix the mess he had made. It finally erupted in something he couldn’t have held back for the life of him. It wasn’t right, and it wasn’t what he wanted or planned, but he couldn’t stop himself. He stepped forward and grabbed his mate’s wrists in his hands and slammed him up against the wall, Ruki’s eyes widening in shock.

“Don’t you dare think for one second that I don’t love you.” The alpha’s growl was deep and terrifying, and Ruki felt a shiver run down his spine as he stared at his mate, his breath shallow. “Yes, you’re selfish sometimes, and a brat, but I love every damn part of you. And if you think for one second I would ever be disappointed in you, or anything you did, you’re wrong. Do you honestly think I would leave you behind if I didn’t get to fuck you during heats?! I would love you even if I never got to fuck you again, you little punk! You are mine, you hear me?! I fucking mated you for a reason, and I am not letting go of you. Ever! So you better just fucking deal with it!”

He was furious by now, all of it self-loathing born from hurting his mate, and he was nearly drowning in it. Ruki’s choked sob brought him back down to earth in an instant, and he stared at his mate in fear. Oh god, what had he done? But then he slowly realized that Ruki’s face shone not with fear, but with relief. He quickly let go of the omega’s wrists and wrapped his arms around the slim waist, pulling the sobbing omega into his arms, rubbing his back.

“God, Ruki, I’m sorry,” he mumbled. “I love you baby, please forgive me, I love you so much.”

The omega didn’t answer with words, he just hugged the alpha back just as tightly, crying tears of relief. Kyo caressed his hair gently, kissing him over and over, mumbling excuses and declarations of love and devotion until Ruki finally started to get a hold of himself.

“Will you forgive me?” Kyo asked anxiously, lifting his mate’s chin with two fingers and looking deeply into his eyes. Ruki hiccupped before he directed a big, teary smile at his mate. “I forgive you,” he whispered, “if you forgive me.”

Kyo smiled widely, pressing soft lips to his mate’s. “There’s nothing to forgive, baby.” Ruki smiled back and accepted him eagerly, wanting to feel his mate’s love for him through the kiss. For a moment, it was chaste and loving, speaking only of love and devotion. But then the kiss slowly deepened as Kyo’s tongue found its way into his lover’s mouth, and Ruki moaned softly. When Kyo pushed him back up against the wall, a spike of arousal made the omega’s cock twitch, and he mewled wantonly.

“Take me. Force me,” he mumbled as Kyo pressed open-mouthed kisses and little nips on his neck. He could feel the alpha smiling against his skin, and the next second he was hoisted in the air, Kyo’s thigh wedged between his legs, holding him up while the alpha’s hands were back at Ruki’s wrists, holding him in place. “Force you, huh?” he breathed, lust evident in his voice. “Want to be tied up? Used?” Ruki whimpered at the thought, his cock quickly hardening in his pants. There was no mistaking Kyo’s arousal either, as he felt the alpha’s hard cock pressing against his thigh.

“Please,” Ruki pleaded, whining in the back of his throat as Kyo shifted his wrists over into one hand and tightened his grip, while his other hand travelled down his chest and found a nipple. He pinched it through the fabric of Ruki’s shirt, and grinned when the omega responded instantly with a needy moan. Kyo made quick work of the buttons in Ruki’s shirt and shifted the fabric out of the way so he could get a look at the chest underneath. “Gorgeous,” he breathed, before he leaned down to lick a nipple, gently closing his teeth around it and pulling.

Ruki was quickly losing it as his alpha licked and bit his chest, and he was moaning and wriggling to get as much friction as possible to his now fully hard cock, straining in his pants. He was completely unprepared for when Kyo suddenly yanked him up over his shoulder, and he yelped in surprise when he found himself tossed to their bed a few seconds later.

“Stay,” Kyo ordered, his tone of voice making it clear that the omega had no choice in the matter. He breathed heavily as he stayed put, his shirt hanging halfway off his shoulder and his hair mussed. His eyes followed Kyo when he pulled their toy box out from under the bed, opening the lid and sifting through it. The alpha pursed his lips as he chose carefully, throwing a glance at the omega now and then to make sure he wasn’t moving. Ruki’s pants were painfully tight by now, and he longed to reach down and touch himself to get some relief, but Kyo’s raised eyebrow kept him where he was. Though disobedience could be fun sometimes, the alpha having to fight for his dominance, it wasn’t what he wanted today. Today, he wanted to be completely and utterly under his mate’s control. He wanted to feel owned, like a valued possession or a pet, something that belonged to Kyo. Of course he realized where the need came from, but he ignored it as long as they both enjoyed the result.

And enjoyed it they did. Kyo finally settled for a pair of cuffs that he quickly tied to the bedposts, and in no time at all, Ruki found himself completely naked and tied up in a spread eagle, arms and legs attached to each bedpost. Next came the blindfold, shutting out all light and robbing him of one of his senses. Ruki was completely ramped up when he suddenly felt – nothing. The alpha had left the bed, and there was no sound to indicate what he was doing. The omega whined, tilting his head to try to hear something, anything, but the blindfold was neatly tied so it also covered his ears, and he could only hear the muffled sounds of the cloth against his ears, and the sound of his own breath and heartbeat. It seemed to go on forever, even though his rational mind told him it was probably just a few minutes, before a light touch to his inner thigh made him buck his hips and whimper. The teasingly light touches made their way up his thigh, closer and closer to his aching erection, and then it suddenly disappeared again.

“Please,” Ruki mewled. “Need you.”

A soft chuckle next to his ear penetrated the cloth, and a finger gently pushed the blindfold up a bit so that he could hear better. He could feel hot breath against his ear before a slick tongue swiped out and licked his earlobe.

“Oh, need me, do you, pretty? Well, too bad. I’m in charge now, and I decide how and when you’ll get your pleasure,” the alpha purred into his ear, before he moved away again. God, the words turned Ruki on even more, and he waited eagerly to see what they meant. He could hear and feel the alpha climb onto the bed and settle between his legs, and he moaned at the fingers that suddenly caressed the wet skin around his slick hole. But he wasn’t prepared for the dildo that was shoved into him a second later, and he arched his back and nearly screamed at the sudden pleasure that coursed through him. Kyo set up a hard rhythm, fucking him thoroughly with the toy, and Ruki was soon floating in a daze as the sensations washed over him. And then the alpha shifted, and wet lips closed around his cock, while the dildo continued to pound into him harshly. Ruki’s senses went completely haywire, and he was starting to see stars under his closed eyelids as his body got near orgasm.

“No,” he breathed, “want you. Want to cum… with you…”

The alpha hummed around his cock but didn’t relent, and soon enough, Ruki couldn’t hold back and exploded, the first of his cum shooting into Kyo’s mouth before the alpha slipped off of him. The omega panted, his whole body feeling like he was floating on clouds, and he hardly noticed when Kyo pulled the dildo out of him and tossed it aside to be cleaned later. The alpha shifted around some more, and then nimble fingers untied the blindfold and slipped it off. Ruki blinked at the sudden light, still panting harshly as he sought his mate’s eyes with his. Kyo’s cheek and lips were covered in Ruki’s cum, and the omega stared as the alpha licked his lips clean with a delighted hum. He started to open his mouth to speak, but Kyo smirked at him and put a finger on his lips to silence him.

“No talking, baby. Not a word, or you won’t get to feel me inside of you.”

Now there was a risk he was not about to take. Ruki’s mouth snapped shut in a microsecond, and his eyes wandered down to between his alpha’s legs. Oh god, yes. Kyo was still hard as a rock, pre-cum weeping from the slit. God, he was so hot, and despite how spent he was from his first round, Ruki couldn’t help the arousal that started to slowly wake up again. When Kyo teasingly started to play with his balls, his eyes fixed on Ruki’s, the omega moaned and pulled ineffectually in his cuffs, wanting to feel that he really was completely helpless to anything Kyo subjected him to. It didn’t take long for Kyo’s teasing touches to make him hard again, and he wanted to beg for Kyo to take him, to fuck him senseless. But the alpha hadn’t lifted his ban on speech, and so he was forced to suffer in silence, begging with his eyes and body instead.

Kyo dragged it out a little longer than necessary, just to see Ruki squirm and drive home the lesson of who was in charge. And then he finally relented and lifted the omega’s hips a little, shoving a pillow under his ass before he leaned forward, letting the head of his cock slide teasingly over the twitching hole. Ruki couldn’t hold in a needy whine at the feeling, and he stiffened, scared that Kyo would sit back and deny him pleasure because of the sound. But Kyo just smirked and leaned over him before he slowly, teasingly slid into the omega all the way in, pushing his knot in with some force since it was beginning to swell considerably. He set up a slow, sensual rhythm, so unlike what he had done with the dildo, and at first Ruki blinked in surprise. But soon, he gave himself to the pleasure, and before long they were panting in sync, moving their hips together as their eyes were locked to each other’s.

There was something so tender about the whole thing. Ruki had never felt so sexy, so revered, so loved as he did right then, and when they finally came together, it was as if the heavens had opened up and shone down on him.

Kyo collapsed over Ruki once they had both stopped cumming, breathing deeply into his neck. For a long while they just lay there together, feeling the other’s presence, feeling the love and desire that pulsed through the bond. Maybe twenty minutes later, Kyo fought himself up on his elbows and started to slowly pull his shrinking knot out of the omega, tiredly reaching to untie him from the cuffs. Once Ruki was free, Kyo pulled him into his arms and nuzzled his neck affectionately. The omega snuggled close and relaxed again, feeling safe in his mate’s arms once again.

“I love you. I need you. You’re mine.” Kyo’s whisper in his ear made Ruki smile uncontrollably, and he turned his head to steal a soft kiss before sleep overtook him.

. . . . .

Tatsurou was relieved to see Kyo and Ruki snuggling at breakfast the next day. He had worried about them after they had left, and he could hardly contain his joy at seeing the two closer than ever. Later that day, Ruki came by to inform him somewhat defiantly that he would be taking the suppressants this time, until they were sure the new contraceptive worked. Tatsurou just nodded in agreement and patiently waited until the omega had left the room before he made his victory gesture.

Chapter Text

Tomo’s nerves had mostly settled during their two-week walk, but now that he caught his first glimpse of the gates to the resort, the large hotel building standing like a dark wall behind it, he felt it all come back into full swing. He stared at the building, the ski slopes turned cultivation beds rising up high behind it, dreading what could be behind those gates. With the barbed wire on the fences, it gave him the impression of a prison, and he briefly wondered how he could have given up the beauty of the island for this. But then K’s hand grasped his in a tight grip, and the alpha leaned over to whisper in his ear.

“Everything will be fine. I love you.”

Those three little words at the end were what made him believe the first four words, and so he nodded, smiling shyly at the alpha, and pressed closer to his boyfriend as they made their way up the road to the gates.

“About time you came home, eh?” A tough and scary looking alpha came climbing down from the tower, staring at Kaz, eyes narrowed.

“Well, I can’t leave you here to run this place to the ground, now can I?” Kaz deadpanned, before he split up in a huge grin. “Good to see you, Arimatsu,” he said as the alpha proceeded to open the gate enough for them to walk through.

Arimatsu turned to him, laughing now. “No, who knows what I could have done without you here to stop me. Made Hyde wear a pink tutu, perhaps?”

Kaz burst out laughing at that. “I’d like to see you try!” he said, offering his arms in a hug that Arimatsu happily accepted. The next second, the alpha was enveloped in a hug by Meto, and he blinked in surprise, hesitating a few seconds before he hugged the youngster back with a dumbstruck glance at Kaz.

“It’s good to see you too, Ototo,” he finally said as the youngster let go, but was met by a sudden huge frown instead of the happy smile he had just received.

“Meto. His name’s Meto,” Kaz offered, amused by his mate’s reaction.

“Oh, sorry, of course. It’s good to see you, Meto,” Arimatsu quickly agreed, and was rewarded with a sunny smile again before the omega turned to Kaz, practically jumping in one spot.

“Yeah, yeah, off you go,” Kaz grinned and watched Meto shoot off towards the house. “Don’t throw yourself onto people and scare anyone!” the alpha yelled after his mate’s retreating back, shaking his head and chuckling as the omega completely ignored him.

Arimatsu looked in awe after the disappearing omega. “Woah,” he said in wonder. “A hug! For me! He’s really changed, huh?”

Kaz nodded proudly. “Yup. Expect lots of hugs in the future. He’s discovered hugging others can be nice even though they’re not me, so now he hugs everyone he likes at least twice a day.”

“I’m honored to be someone he likes, then,” Arimatsu said, smiling, before he turned to K and Tomo, eyeing the omega and their entwined fingers curiously. “I didn’t expect you here so soon though,” he said to K, a glimpse of worry coming over his features. “Is Manabu…?”

“He’s fine,” K said quickly. “He’s just gotten himself someone else to take care of him and Yutaka instead of me.”

The other alpha looked confused. “Yutaka?”

“His son,” K smiled.

As realization dawned on Arimatsu, his biggest grin yet lit up his face, and Tomo found himself thinking that maybe the alpha didn’t look as grim as he first had thought. “Oh, that’s so sweet! He’s gonna be so thrilled!” he exclaimed, laughing. “I almost wish I didn’t have to man the gate so that I could come inside and see his reaction.”

“I expect tears,” Kaz interjected, smirking.

“Probably!” K laughed. “Wanna take a guess at who my replacement is?”

Arimatsu narrowed his eyes in thought. “If you say it like that it means it’s someone I know,” he said. “And Junji and Ibuki couldn’t be pried off of their mates with a crowbar. So that leaves Reika and… It’s Shuse, isn’t it?!” He looked expectantly at K, who nodded vigorously. “Yes! Fantastic!” the older alpha exclaimed. “He was throwing eyes at Bu even while they were here!”

K laughed before he looked at his boyfriend, who hadn’t said a word since they came through the gates, shifting from foot to foot. “And he’s not the only guy to have found the one,” he said, smiling sunnily at the omega. “I’d like you to meet my boyfriend Tomo.”

Arimatsu turned his gaze at Tomo, who was looking a bit nervous now, biting his lip. “Hi,” the alpha said, smiling softly and making his best to look non-threatening. With his weathered features and many tattoos, it was a bit of a struggle, but he managed. Tomo smiled back, whispering a quiet ‘Hi’ back.

“Welcome to your new home,” Arimatsu said, curiously peering at the omega. K let go of Tomo’s hand, feeling his boyfriend’s nervous shivers through his fingers, and put his arm around the omega’s waist instead, pressing a kiss to his cheek.

“Thanks,” Tomo managed after swallowing twice. “I’ll do my best to be of use to you here.”

“I’m sure you will be,” Arimatsu nodded. “Now, if you hurry, there might be some dinner left for you guys. Besides, now that Meto’s alerted everyone, I doubt it will take many more seconds for Hyde to burst through that door.” He nodded at the house with a grin, and Kaz laughed. “Yeah, well, I kind of want to see him as well,” he winked, before they waved their goodbyes at the alpha and made their way up to the house, Arimatsu getting back up into the guard tower.

To his surprise, Kaz wasn’t met by Hyde in the lobby, and he frowned a little worriedly as he led the way to the open double doors into the dining room. And there he stopped, staring in surprise at the scene in front of him. Hyde stood in the middle of the room, and onto him, a young octopus named Meto had attached itself, squeezing the alpha tightly. Everyone else were still seated or half-standing to see better, chattering excitedly at seeing their leader being locked in place by his boyfriend’s mate. Once he was over the initial surprise, Kaz couldn’t help chuckling at the sight.

“Meto, don’t forget everyone else! And I want a chance to hug Hyde as well,” he grinned, his boyfriend’s head snapping in his direction at the sound of his voice. Meto grumbled and detached himself, only to throw himself over Rui to smother him with a big hug, but Hyde hardly noticed. He just stared into Kaz’s eyes for a long moment, the two alphas both swallowing and breathing heavier. And then they finally moved, closing the distance between them in a few steps, throwing themselves in each other’s arms. A collective ‘Aaawww’ could be heard from the crowd, though everyone kept it quiet so as not to draw attention to themselves in case Hyde took offense.

“Hi baby,” Kaz finally mumbled into his boyfriend’s ear, still hugging him tightly.

Hyde gave a breathless laugh before he pulled back just enough so that he could see his lover’s face. “Hi there,” he whispered back, smiling with a tear threatening to leave his eye. The kiss that followed was passionate enough for people to look away, trying to give the two some privacy. Instead, K and Tomo caught their eyes where they stood in the doorway.

“Hi! Surprise!” K exclaimed, grinning and waving at the room, Tomo nervously pressing into his side, thankful for the arm still around his waist. At a table near the kitchen door, an omega rose halfway from his chair, a look of near panic on his face. Tomo caught the motion in the corner of his eyes, and looked over to see the omega staring wide-eyed, not breathing, while an alpha with an eye-patch over his left eye reached for his hand in an attempt to calm and comfort. The fear in the older omega’s eyes made Tomo’s stomach clench, and he poked K’s side to get his attention, gesturing at the table. K turned his head to look, and the grin immediately left his face.

“Yutaka, it’s ok! Manabu’s fine, I swear!”

The omega seemed to relax a tad at the words, but he still looked nervously at K, so the alpha explained quickly, deciding it was just as good a time as any since everyone except those on guard duty was here and listening anyway.

“Not only does Manabu have a beautiful omega son, he’s gotten him a father as well,” he smiled. “He’s moved in with Shuse, and the two seem ridiculously happy together.” He looked around the room at all the happy and relieved faces, before he faced the older omega again and, a little smugly, delivered the punch line. “He named the boy Yutaka.”

The surprised gasp and the hands that came up to cover Yutaka’s mouth was totally worth it. K grinned widely as the room erupted in happy cheers. Yutaka fell back down to his chair, unable to believe his ears, and when his mate put his arm around him and hugged him, the floodgates opened and the tears Kaz had foreseen came pouring out in bucketfulls.

Kaz and Hyde had stopped kissing now but were still standing with their arms around each other, Hyde listening closely to what K had to say. The resort leader nodded at K to continue, glancing curiously at Tomo. The omega felt he was getting way too much attention by now, everyone watching him, either full on staring or surreptitiously glancing. K’s arm tightened a little possessively around his waist, and the alpha pressed a kiss to his temple before he spoke again.

“Since Bu didn’t need me anymore, I stole the best omega they had and brought him here instead,” he joked, looking at his boyfriend with adoring eyes. “Everyone, this is my boyfriend Tomo. He’s our new nurse.” Tomo nearly choked at the words and suppressed the urge to glare viciously at his lover as the room erupted in gasps and cheers again. Geez, way to go with raising the expectations!

“Uhm… I’m really just a nurse’s apprentice,” he corrected K quickly, swallowing nervously. “But I’ll do my best.” His heart beat like a jackhammer, and if there was any time he needed the strong arm around him, it was now. He looked over the crowd with wide eyes. God, there were so many of them! What if he… He didn’t get any further with his thoughts of catastrophes, before Hyde detached himself from Kaz with a final squeeze and stepped up to Tomo, holding out his hand in greeting.

“Welcome, Tomo,” he smiled. “We’ve met, remember? So I think I can safely say you’ll do just fine here. We’re happy to have you here, no matter what.”

The omega smiled gratefully at the short leader, nodding his thanks. Hyde waved Kaz up next to him and the two stepped up to the side of the younger couple so that everyone could see the newcomers properly. “Won’t you tell us about our other friends as well?” he asked, smiling encouragingly at the returning alphas.

Kaz grinned and nodded, looking out at his friends, happy to see them all again. “Sure thing! Hiyori’s got about a month to go. He’s just as slim as ever, it looks like he’s got a balloon under his sweater. You can’t even see anything from the back until he turns around and then there’s suddenly a huge belly right there! Junji dotes on him like he’s super fragile. I think Hiyori’s ready to have the baby just so his mate will stop it,” he smirked, laughter meeting his story. Everyone knew exactly how Junji treated his mate, and it was good to hear that hadn’t changed.

“Byou had a bit of a slow and tough birth, but he made it just fine. Now, he and Ibuki have an adorable alpha boy named Tomoya,” K continued. “He’s about two months old now, and I’ve never seen a prouder dad than Ibuki.”

Kaz nodded and waited until the murmur had died down again before he shared the next bit of news. “Mitsuki won’t be joining us here again, I think. He’s too happy snuggling up with his boyfriend Aryu.”

Hyde looked at him in surprise. “Oh? Those two got together? That’s great! Aryu seemed like a really sweet guy.”

“He is,” Kaz agreed, but was interrupted by a yelp from the back of the room, where Meto had surprised Takemasa with a sudden hug attack. The alpha sighed and rolled his eyes at his mate. “Meto, you little brat, what did I say about jumping people and hugging them without warning?” he scolded lightly, his affectionate smile giving him away, the pride shining through.

“Anyway, that only leaves Ju-ken,” Hyde said questioningly.

Kaz nodded. “He staying there for a while to help his cousin and his mate out with the kids. Masa had a difficult birth, he had to have a cesarean eventually, and the baby’s got Down’s syndrome so he’ll need extra attention.” He sighed before he continued in a lower voice. “It was a real shock to Masa to hear about his father.” And just like that, the happy mood evaporated, everyone feeling the sting of Toll’s death once again. Kaz made a face, but continued, not wanting to end on the saddest note. “But Ju-ken and their older son Tora are besties, so he’s staying around for a while to hang out with Tora and give Masa time to heal and for everything to settle with Kiyoshi.”

Hyde nodded, smiling at his boyfriend, a hint of sadness still in his eyes. “Thanks baby. We’re so happy to have you guys here again, you wouldn’t believe it. Now, lets get you off your feet and get you some food! The kitchen team made a great pumpkin soup today – it’s from the pumpkins we grew from the island’s seeds.”

And just like that, they were whisked away to a table, plates set in front of them. Eventually, even the hug monster was captured and made to sit on a chair to eat for a while next to his mate, before he was off again. Hyde seemed shocked by the affection he was suddenly receiving from Meto, and he looked incredulously at Kaz when he was offered the third hug of the evening, his boyfriend only chuckling in response.

Tomo was overwhelmed by everything that had happened, and all the people coming up to say hi, and once they had eaten he gratefully accepted K’s offer to show him to their room. After they had stretched out on the comfortable double bed, it didn’t take many minutes for him to drift off to sleep in K’s arms, exhausted by all the new impressions of his new home.

Chapter Text

Tomo woke to the sound of someone knocking on their door. K was snoring lightly, his arm loosely cast over Tomo’s belly. He didn’t move an inch when the omega carefully lifted his arm off, climbed out of bed and pulled on some clothing. He pulled the thick curtains a bit to the side and took a peak outside. The gloomy, low light told him it must still be early morning. The mist hid most of the world from his view, and made him feel disoriented, lost in the unknown. The knock came again, a little harder this time, and Tomo moved to open the door when he stopped mid-motion, his hand hovering over the handle. He didn’t know anyone here, and though they had all seemed nice yesterday, he couldn’t be sure that they hadn’t put on a show for him. Still, he would have to get to know them sooner or later, and to ignore the knock would be plain rude. With an irritated huff at his own insecurities, he reached down and opened the door.

Yutaka was standing outside the door, wringing his hands nervously. The two omegas just stared at each other for a second before Yutaka caught himself and smiled a thin smile.

“Hi, I’m sorry to bother you on your first day here, and so early, but Hide… His eye, it’s hurting him, and I don’t know what to do.” The older omega looked heart-wrenched, and Tomo instantly and instinctively wanted to help him. He smiled reassuringly (never mind that he didn’t feel reassured himself, not in the slightest), and nodded.

“Let me just get my things,” he said, closing the door and tip-toeing over to his bag so he wouldn’t wake K. He quickly rifled through the things Tatsurou had given him. It was a meager supply, but still more than the island could really spare. He found some gloves, a few tools, bandages, a clinical thermometer and a bottle of their homemade disinfectant and shoved it all into a smaller bag. Then he moved over to give K a feather-light kiss on the lips before he went back to the door and slid out into the corridor, quietly closing the door behind him.

“Ok, I’m ready,” he said, trying to sound sure of himself. Yutaka started to lead the way, thanking him profusely, and Tomo felt compelled to try to lower his expectations a bit, saying he wasn’t a doctor but he’d do what he could, and so on and so forth. The two were equally flustered when they reached a room a bit down the hall and to the right. Yutaka opened the door and let them in, closing it softly behind them. The room was dark, the curtains still hanging over the windows, shutting out most of the light. Tomo could just barely make out the shape of Hide sitting on the bed with his back towards them, his head in his hands.

“Hide, love? I brought the nurse to look at your eye,” Yutaka said softly, the alpha turning his head towards them.

“Yutaka…” Hide sighed, shaking his head. “I said it wasn’t necessary. It’s just a bit of pain, it’ll go away eventually.”

Yutaka looked helplessly on his mate. “Please… You’re awake all night because it hurts,” he pleaded.

Tomo looked between the two, seeing the worry in the omega’s eyes and recognizing the stubborn alphaness of his mate. That was one side of alphas he would never understand, the need to pretend they were alright when they were hurt, and so he decided to pitch in on Yutaka’s behalf.

“Now that I’m here I might as well take a look,” he offered quietly. He saw Yutaka’s grateful glance from the side, and Hide frowned but waved his hand vaguely in the air as if to say ‘fine, whatever’. Tomo winked at the older omega before he stepped up and put his bag on the edge of the bed. “I’m gonna need more light,” he said, and Yutaka hurried over to the window to pull away the curtains. Hide frowned against the morning light, covering his face with his hand for a moment. The low light was quickly getting stronger and lifting the fog, and Tomo could finally see the alpha better. He was wearing a grey t-shirt and some loose sweatpants, and his long and wavy grey-streaked hair covered part of the eye-patch. He looked kind, but tired, and Tomo quickly pulled up a chair to get this over with as quickly as possible so that the alpha could hopefully get some rest.

“What happened with your eye?” he asked, pulling out his gloves and putting them on.

“Did you hear about the big fight here?” Hide asked, and at Tomo’s nod he continued. “Well, one of the assholes poked me in the eye with something sharp. He took me by surprise, and I have no idea what it was.”

Tomo hummed as he gently reached out to remove the eye-patch. “Yutaka, could you help me put his hair up with a hair band or something? I want to keep it away from the eye,” he asked, the omega eagerly obeying. A minute later, Hide had a high knot on his head (which, in Tomo’s opinion, made him look like a stern samurai) and the eye-patch was put to the side. Behind it, the eye was red, swollen and a bit gooey, and Tomo swallowed as he saw the state of it. It was very clear that his sight would never be restored, and all he could hope to do was make sure the wound healed.

“Uhm, Yutaka? I’m sorry to have to ask you to run errands for me, but could you go boil some water for me? We need to clean this thoroughly,” he said with an apologetic look at the other omega. The older omega was gone in a flash, and while they waited, Tomo cleaned his tools with the disinfectant and carefully examined the eye while trying to make small talk to distract the alpha. Considering the pain he caused, poking around in the wound as gently as he could, it did little to serve as a distraction. Hide seemed to appreciate the effort nonetheless, and once Yutaka was back with the water, Tomo had made a disturbing discovery. Lodged in the back of the wound, he could spot a tiny black fleck that he soon realized was a piece of the something that had punctured Hide’s eye. He could only imagine the pain of walking around for weeks with something like that in his eye, and he made a grimace at the thought.

“I’m afraid this is going to hurt a lot,” he said. “Maybe you should find something to bite down on? And Yutaka, if you could hold his head for me so he doesn’t pull it away on reflex?” He quickly directed the two mates the way he wanted them before he grabbed his long tweezers and took a deep breath, trying to make Hide breathe calmly with him. When the alpha got ready, he carefully reached into the swollen mess of an eye. Luckily, he got hold of the object on the second try, and gently started to pull. Hide made a sound like none Tomo had ever heard, but he managed to sit still with Yutaka’s help and a lot of willpower, until the nurse had gotten the splinter out. Once it was gone, the alpha was completely white in the face and had to lie down for a moment, and Yutaka tucked a towel beneath his head so that Tomo could rinse out his eye.

When he was done he put a clean bandage over the eye and gave Yutaka strict orders to wash the eye-patch thoroughly before it came near his mate’s eye again. Afterwards, Hide was completely exhausted. His face had gone from white to grey, and he was shivering. Yutaka tucked him into bed, fussing over him, before he came over to Tomo by the window. The two omegas looked with horror on the small piece of rusty metal that the nurse had pulled out of the eye.

“Oh my god,” Yutaka breathed. “He’s been walking around with that in him?”

Tomo cast a glance at the alpha and lowered his voice. “He’s damn lucky he hasn’t gotten blood poisoning, at least not yet. Can I trust you to keep an eye on him for me for a while, and get me if he suddenly gets worse?” The irony of the expression ‘keep an eye on’ wasn’t lost on either of them, but Yutaka just sighed and nodded.

“Of course. Thank you for everything you’ve done,” he said, impulsively reaching out to give Tomo a hug.

“Don’t thank me yet,” Tomo tried to say, but the words were muffled into Yutaka’s shoulder. The hug felt warm and safe and he gratefully returned it, if nothing else to feel welcome here, to make a connection. He smiled at the older omega once he had let go. “By the way, K have something for you from Manabu. Should I ask him to bring it after breakfast?”

Yutaka’s entire face lit up. “Oh, would you?” he asked, and clearly would have continued interrogating the nurse about Manabu and the other omegas if Hide hadn’t groaned from his bed. Tomo quickly excused himself, after making sure Hide wasn’t getting worse, and left the room. He got out into the corridor and started walking back to his room, deep in thought about what to do in case Hide got worse. Suddenly, he stopped and looked up. Was this the right way? He turned around. The corridor looked exactly the same in both directions. Crap, what was his room number again? He had been far too tired and overwhelmed yesterday to notice. He turned back, thinking he could ask Yutaka, but stopped again after a few steps. But what room was Yutaka and Hide in? Was it one or two doors down? Three? He couldn’t very well knock on any door to ask, people were still asleep. He groaned and put his hand over his face, rubbing his eyes. Typical, getting lost on your first day. And even more ridiculous, getting lost within a few meters of his own room! This was too embarrassing. Now what should he do?

“Is everything ok?”

The voice behind him made Tomo jump, and he swung around, heart in his throat. A very young and very pretty omega with a baby on his arm was watching him curiously. Tomo released a nervous breath, shaking his head and huffing.

“Oh god, you scared me.”

“I’m sorry. It’s the carpet, it muffles every sound. Hell to keep clean now that we don’t have vacuums anymore,” the omega smiled warmly, tilting his head so that the two enormous pigtails on each side of his head bobbed up and down. Tomo found himself smiling back.

“No, it’s my fault. I’ve gone and gotten myself lost on my first day. I guess I forgot to check my room number yesterday, and then Yutaka needed me, and now I can’t find my way back,” he admitted, cheeks flushed.

The omega just smiled. “Don’t worry, these corridors are confusing at first. I got lost all the time when I first got here. You’ll get used to it. Your room is over here, number 207,” he pointed and walked with Tomo past three doors up to his room. “I’m Pitty, by the way. Nice to meet you.” He extended a hand and shook Tomo’s before shifting the baby in his arms. “And this little early morning alarm clock is Setsuna.” He smiled down on the baby in his arms, reaching down to kiss the boy’s head.

Tomo introduced himself (though the omega’s indulgent smile told him he already knew everything about him) and greeted the baby by lifting his little hand with a finger, marveling at the strong grip. He remembered Reika telling him that there was one baby and one boy about Shou's age at the resort - it seemed he had met the younger of the two straight off. The nurse peered curiously at the omega’s neck to try to see if he was mated, the scent of new bearer hiding any mate scent there would be, but the fluffy pigtails effectively hid his neck. Tomo made a mental note to ask K later, so that he wouldn’t make a fool out of himself in case something bad had happened to the baby’s father.

Just as he thought of his boyfriend, the door opened and a sleep-mussed alpha looked out, shirtless with only a pair of loose pants on. As always, Tomo was struck by how handsome K was, no matter if he had just gotten out of bed or made an effort to look good. A warm feeling spread in his belly as the alpha looked at him, smiling sleepily.

“Oh, there you are. I woke up to an empty bed and got worried,” he yawned.

“I’m coming,” Tomo said, blushing a bit as Pitty watched them with a knowing look on his face. “Thanks for the help,” he said to the omega. “See you later at breakfast?”

“Of course. See you there!” And with a last sunny smile the omega was gone, strolling down the corridor and around a corner. Tomo looked after him until he disappeared, relieved to have met a possible new friend. K had other plans than watching Pitty walk away though, and slid an arm around Tomo’s waist and yanked him into their room, pushing him up onto the wall and sliding the door shut with his foot.

“It’s very cold and boring in the bed when you’re alone in it,” the alpha mumbled and leaned in to kiss Tomo’s jaw, pressing hot lips against his jawline, down the neck to the collarbones. “What are you doing up anyway?” he asked, ignoring Tomo’s whimper as he licked down the shoulder, frowning when the shirt got in the way.

“I… helped… Yutaka… and Hide,” Tomo gasped, yelping as K found a sensitive spot on his neck and sucked hard.

“Oh yeah?” The alpha pulled back enough so he could yank the t-shirt over the omega’s head, tossing it carelessly on the floor. “You’ll have to tell me all about it.” He lifted the omega and carried him the three steps to the bed, tossing him down on it and crawling up to stretch out over him. Tomo was breathless by now, reaching up to let his fingers slide over the alpha’s firm chest.

“Later,” he breathed, K humming in reply before he claimed the omega’s mouth with his. Two hours and some rather amazing sex later, they finally got out of bed and got ready for breakfast, Tomo looking forward to the day much more than he had thought possible only yesterday.

. . . . .




Chapter Text

Life sucked, in Ruki’s opinion. The suppressant tasted like shit, and he didn’t get to go to the heat cabin and get fucked for five days straight, and Kyo had to work and so did he, so they couldn’t even hole up in bed and pretend that they were away for his heat, and… Life sucked.

He grumbled to himself as he put the plates out for lunch, ignoring Hikaru’s worried questions of how he was doing and if something was wrong. It was so unfair! Just because he didn’t want a family, he lost all the perks of being an omega. No weeks off from work for fun and games, no sex marathons with food delivered to your doorstep. Instead, work as usual. Un-freakin’-fair!

It wasn’t until Kyo’s arm slid around his waist and pulled him close, back pressed against the alpha’s chest, that he was torn away from his dark thoughts. His mate’s lips brushed over his earlobe, making Ruki immediately weak to the knees.

“What’s with the dark cloud over your head, hm? You look like you’re about to kill someone. You’re scaring Hikaru,” the alpha whispered into his ear.

Ruki huffed. He did not scare… A quick glance up at Hikaru a few meters away, cowering under Ruki’s glare, proved him wrong. He sighed and tried to smile to the meek omega, but it came out more like a grimace, and it made Hikaru squeak and back away in through the kitchen door.

“Fine,” Ruki muttered. “But I didn’t mean to scare him.”

Kyo’s warm breath against his ear was very distracting, and those hard muscles holding him in place didn’t exactly clear his head either. It was all so frustrating!

“No?” Kyo mumbled. “So what did you mean?”

Ruki frowned and tried to turn to face his mate, but no matter how much he wriggled, he couldn’t move. It only served to piss him off even more, and he finally spat it out. “It’s just unfair! I wanted to have my heat with you, and instead I get to work all week and hardly see you at all, and drink that disgusting shit to boot. We have to work every damn day, and I want a sex vacation too sometimes!”

Kyo was quiet for a moment, stunned by his mate’s fiery speech, but then he shook his head slowly. “A sex vacation? Is that it? Oh honey, you know why this is necessary. We all need to pitch in, and someone has to repopulate the earth when we won’t. And the others are using a test drug and taking the risk of getting pregnant, so you won’t have to.”

Ruki pouted. “I know,” he muttered, trying to sound reasonable while all he really wanted to do was scream. “I just… want you.” He knew he was being petty and envious, but he just wanted to have his mate to himself sometimes. What was a few days off like five times a year anyway?

Finally, he felt the alpha’s steel grip lighten, and he tried to pull away, only to be spun around and locked into a steel grip once again, this time in a tight hug with his face nested against Kyo’s neck. The alpha held on for a long while, before he let go and looked deep into Ruki’s eyes.

“I want you too baby, you know that right?”

Ruki nodded, the anger slowly seeping out of him. He hung his head, trying to ignore his own burning cheeks. He didn’t like it when his mate caught him at being petty, or silly. He wanted to be one of those always-doing-the-right-thing omegas, like Hiyuu or Uruha, but he never seemed to get the hang of it. He wanted his mate to be proud of him, not see him like this, and the shame burned within.

Kyo wasn’t slow on the uptake, watching his mate’s demeanor. He had practiced his Ruki interpreting for a long time now, and he was no fool. He quickly stepped up and lifted Ruki’s cheek, pressing his lips against his mate’s in a soft, reassuring kiss. “I love you, baby, always. No matter what. And I know life is unfair sometimes, but that’s just how it is. Now, go back to work like a good boy, and tonight I promise I’ll make it up to you. Tonight is your night. Anything you want.”

Ruki swallowed and blinked at Kyo, scanning the alpha’s face for signs of whether he meant what he said. He did. And just like that, Ruki’s mood changed, and he licked his lips with a sultry look at his mate. “A spanking?” he mumbled so no one else would hear, his cheeks flushing red. Kyo smirked and leaned in to kiss him again. “If that’s what you want, I’ll give it to you, and then I’ll pound into your oversensitive ass relentlessly. I won’t let you come until I say so. And then for round two I could tie you up in some pretty shibari and make you ride me to oblivion. I love how that always makes you moan in staccato.”

“Ok,” Ruki mumbled, busy trying to catch his breath, naughty images flying through his head.

Kyo smirked and patted the omega’s ass before he turned away with a last meaningful glance at his mate, getting ready for lunch.

. . . . .

As it turned out, K couldn’t give Yutaka the letter and photo until the afternoon. After breakfast, where Tomo found out that Pitty indeed was mated to a young alpha named Kuloe, the council wanted a full report from K and Kaz. That took all morning, and meanwhile, Pitty showed Tomo around the resort. In daylight, it looked a lot less ominous, especially in the company of the very calm and laid-back omega. Pitty introduced him to even more people, including the Gara that Kaz had mentioned on the way here. At first, he struck Tomo as a bit of an asshole, haughty and arrogant, but when they left, Pitty assured the nurse that Gara grew on you, ‘like mold in a way’. Tomo couldn’t help laugh at the simile, but Pitty just shrugged and claimed it was accurate.

The nurse went past Yutaka and Hide’s room to make sure the alpha was still ok, and to let Yutaka know he hadn’t forgotten to tell K, he would come by as soon as he could. The older omega thanked him again, only slightly disappointed at the delay. He got infinitely happier after lunch, when Tomo returned with K by his side. The omega let them in, his eyes shining in anticipation. Hide had just woken up after a long nap, and though he was still in pain, he claimed to feel a little better. The nurse checked his temperature for fever and brought water with a little salt in it to rinse the wound again. The alpha groaned, but accepted Tomo’s ministrations, and once it was all done, he leaned back against the headboard and watched in anticipation as K held out the letter for the omega. The younger alpha had hid the Polaroid in the fold of the letter, wanting it to be a surprise. Yutaka’s hands shook as he slowly reached out to accept the piece of paper, and he clutched it in his hands for a long moment, not daring to open it. Finally, Hide spoke, patting the bed by his side.

“Come here, love. Sit with me and read it.”

Yutaka nodded shakily, but he obeyed and slowly sat down next to his mate. Hide put his arm around his shoulders, Yutaka leaning into him gratefully as he carefully unfolded the letter. The Polaroid fell out into his lap, and the omega stared at it in confusion for a second before he picked it up.

The shock was written all over his face, as he watched the little family smile happily against him from the piece of paper. He made a sound somewhere between a gasp and a cry, putting a hand over his mouth as he let his eyes wander over the picture as if he couldn’t believe what he was seeing.

“He thought you’d might like to see baby Yutaka,” K said softly, and the omega nodded, still stunned to silence. Hide pulled him closer, peering at the photo, smiling widely.

“He’s beautiful,” the alpha said, leaning his head to his mate’s. “And Bu looks so happy.”

Yutaka couldn’t answer before he gave in to the tears, leaning into his mate’s shoulder, laughing and crying at the same time. His slim shoulders were shaking, and Hide did his best to comfort him with caresses and soothing words. It was almost too intimate a moment to watch, and Tomo and K threw each other a look before they quietly backed away towards the door. Hide glanced their way as they moved, but he just smiled and mouthed ‘Thank you’ before he went back to comforting his trembling mate.

When they shut the door behind them, K and Tomo looked at each other in wonder.

“Wow,” Tomo finally said, K letting out a huff.

“Wow indeed.”

. . . . .

Uta ran through the night, feet drumming against the small path, the soft thuds of his sneakers creating a rhythm that almost matched his ragged breath and thumping heart. He was stumbling, falling on his knee and getting up again. He was out of breath, and his chest hurt, but the fear gave him fuel to go on. Behind him, the heavier steps of the alphas were getting closer. No, no, no, I have to run, I can’t let them catch me, I can’t… The next second he was splayed out on the ground, the wind knocked out of him, a heavy alpha pressing him to the ground. He could feel the foul breath against his neck as the alpha grabbed his arms and locked them in a steel grip behind his back. And now the others were there, all of them, laughing and howling, pumped up by the hunt and the wriggling prey they had caught. Hands started working on his pants, and he tried to scream, tried to get loose, but it was useless. Someone put their hand over his mouth, and someone else yanked his pants off. The path was cold and full of fir needles, the sting of them nothing to what was to come. Someone spread his legs, and he screamed against the hand over his mouth. No no no no no no, please god no… And then came the pain.

Uta gasped and sat up straight in bed, his mind still caught in the nightmare. He tried to crawl away and bumped against the headboard before he realized where he was. His pajamas were soaking wet from sweat and he was panting hard as if he had actually been running down the path in real life and not only in his dream. His anxiety levels were spiking, and they weren’t subsiding like they usually did once he was awake. Uta stared wildly around him, trying to find his bearings. He was in his room, alone. No one was here to hurt him, he wasn’t running away from anyone, the door was locked. He was safe.

Oh. He was alone. Usually, at this point, Ryoga would be by his side, throwing his arms around him, comforting him. But Ryoga had moved out and lived with Aki now, and he was alone. Alone. The silence was crushing, and the usual relief that it was all a dream was nowhere to be found. He had never felt so alone, not since… Oh god, the pain, he could still feel it, and he clumsily got out of bed and ran over to the trashcan, where he promptly emptied his stomach. His chest still felt constricted, and instead of dissipating, the panic was rising. Alone.

Uta scrambled up from the floor, and still in his pajamas, he clumsily got the door unlocked and open, stumbling out of his room.

. . . . .

It was raining cats and dogs, and Atsushi’s first hazy thought was that he had been awoken by the sound of rain on the roof or the window. But then the sound came again, a frantic knock on his door, and he was instantly wide awake. He got up, swearing as he put his naked feet down on the cold floor. He heard Reika move and make a sleepy noise from his bed, but couldn’t see him in the darkness. He made his way over to the door, expecting to find one of his sergeants, or maybe Tatsurou or Toshiya. He shivered from the cold, bracing himself for what was to come, before he reached out and opened the door.

At first he didn’t realize what he was seeing. In the dark, all he could see was a shadowy figure, soaking wet, shaking badly with his arms locked around the slim body. Strange noises were coming from the figure, as if he was trying to cry but choking on his tears. When his mind caught up with him a few seconds later, he drew a sharp breath and pulled Uta out of the rain and into his arms. The omega leaned into him, and it was like he was hugging a melting block of ice.

“God, Uta, what’s wrong? Are you hurt? You’re freezing to death! What’s happened?”

The omega mumbled something unintelligible against his chest, and Atsushi strained to hear it, holding his boyfriend tightly to his chest. “I can’t hear you, Uta. What happened?” he asked again, his body pumping enough adrenaline for him to take on an army single-handedly. In the corner of his eye, he saw Reika get up and quickly get dressed in case there was an emergency at the big house.

“Nightmare… I… alone,” Uta mumbled, too low for the major to catch more than a few words, but it was enough to understand that the crisis was in Uta’s mind, not the big house. He glanced at Reika, raising his voice enough for the other alpha to hear. “I’ll make the nightmares go away, I swear. You’re safe now, I’ll protect you forever.” Uta didn’t answer, just leaned his forehead on his boyfriend’s shoulder and let himself be held, shivering violently.

The sigh of relief from inside the room told him Reika had heard him, and the other alpha quietly made his way over to the door. In the faint light from the window the major saw him mouth ‘Kouki’ before he put his shoes and jacket on, pulling up the hood against the rain before he slid out into the night and was gone. Atsushi was eternally grateful to Reika for leaving him alone to take care of his boyfriend, without any distractions that could scare the omega.

“Uta, sweetie, we need to get you out of your wet clothes. You’re gonna catch a cold,” he said softly, receiving a quiet hum in response. He gently led Uta into the room and took his arms off of him long enough to pull out some dry clothes for both himself and Uta, and a towel for the omega’s hair. He put the things on his bed and hugged his boyfriend again, sensing that the omega needed his strength and calm.

“You need to put some dry clothes on and dry your hair, sweetie. I’ll start a fire so you can get warm, and then I’ll be right back by your side all night. Come on, I promise not to peek,” he said gently and nudged the omega towards the dry clothes. Uta whimpered but released him, picking up the towel with shaking hands. Atsushi smiled encouragingly and reached out for his own dry clothes before he turned his back and went up to the fireplace to start a fire. He was almost as soaked as the omega just from hugging him, and he shivered in the cool air as he quickly rid himself of his wet shirt and pulled on a sweater instead. He hesitated a bit before he changed pants, but settled for doing it quickly and behind the table so that he was a bit out of the omega’s sight. He kept his promise not to look, no matter how tempting it was to see if his dream image was correct, and he dutifully kept his back towards Uta all the time while he was building and starting the fire. He heard rustling behind him, and once he had got the fire going, soft steps behind him made him feel it was safe to look up.

Uta’s eyes were puffy from tears and his nose red from the cold and rain, but he was still the most beautiful thing the major had ever seen. His stomach did a somersault at seeing him here, in his cabin, and he had to fight down the urge to get up and kiss the omega then and there. Uta looked slightly embarrassed as he held the wet clothing and towel awkwardly in his hands. Atsushi smiled and stood, taking the things from his hands and hanging them over a chair in front of the fireplace before he gently reached out a hand and caressed the omega’s cheek.

“Are you feeling better?” he asked, looking at the omega with concern. Uta nodded, not sure where to look, but he leaned his head into the touch as if trying to get as much comfort as possible. His boyfriend tried to ignore the extra beat his heart did at the gesture, and he embraced the omega again, holding him closely to his chest. They stood there for a long while, the fire crackling happily next to them. It was warm, and comforting, and Uta felt the last of the panic finally give way to peace and calm. Eventually, he couldn’t help a small yawn to slip from him, and Atsushi smiled down at him.

“Time to sleep?” he asked, but didn’t wait for an answer before he took Uta’s hand and led him over to the beds. For a second, the omega hesitated, but Atsushi let go of his hand and quickly fixed his bed up and got it ready for him. “Here,” he said, “you sleep in my bed and I’ll tuck you in. I’ll sit next to you until you’re asleep, and then I’ll be over there, in Reika’s bed. If you get another nightmare or just feel scared for any reason, you wake me up, ok?”

Uta blinked, but nodded and quietly crawled down under the blankets in Atsushi’s bed. The alpha tucked him in, carefully leaning down to give Uta’s damp hair a peck with his lips, before he pulled up a chair and sat down next to the bed. “There, sleep tight,” he whispered, smiling at his boyfriend.

The fire was slowly dying, but it still gave enough light for the omega to see his boyfriend sitting next to him, ready to chase the nightmares away if need be. The pillow smelled of Atsushi, and he gratefully nuzzled it, slowly giving in to sleep.

. . . . .

Kuloe (mentioned in passing for now)


Chapter Text

Koichi sat on the sofa in the library, reading a book Kaoru had given him about physics. He couldn’t do much else right now except study, and though he was interested, it got kind of tiring after a while. The babies were fighting for space again, and he grumbled at them for kicking the book so it fell off his belly bookstand.

He found himself envious of Hiyori, who had gone into labor a few hours ago. That meant that he would soon get the reward for going through all this – the mood swings, the internal kick-boxing tournaments, the absolute… whale-ness of it all. Well, not that Hiyori ever looked like a whale, but still. If everything went as planned (please god let everything go as planned), Hiyori and his über-nervous mate should be parents soon.

Koichi groaned as he tried to stretch his back as much as he could, shuffling the pillow around until he was happy with its placement. He had already given up all ideas of ever reaching a book that had fallen on the floor ever again, but luckily Kazuki saw his plight and came over to help him. The omega handed him the book and sat down next to him, eyeing his belly with something akin to dread.

“Getting nervous that you’ll look like me soon?” Koichi smirked, but Kazuki shook his head quickly.

“No, no! That’s not it! Or, well… I guess I’d rather have one at a time,” he admitted with a sheepish grin.

Koichi snorted quite inelegantly and leaned back, watching the others in the room. Today, a bunch of omegas had opted for waiting in the library rather than the dining room, and even Masa had gotten out of bed for a while to socialize. Shinji had ordered him to move around a little bit every day, to make the scar tissue more flexible so he wouldn’t have problems later in life. Masa happily took the advice, now that he felt well enough to even brave the stairs, albeit slowly and one step at a time. He sat talking to Byou, Manabu and Kouki, and across the table, Shinya and Tsuzuku were having a quiet discussion while Tatsuya was having his midday nap in his bearer’s lap. All the babies were lying on a duvet on the floor, waving their little arms about and looking around at the world. Kouki was babysitting Kana while Kei worked on Hiyori, and the omega took his job very seriously, checking on the baby every few seconds. Even though everyone flinched and listened intently each time a sound came from downstairs, no one panicked anymore after a number of successful births.

Things looked, for lack of a better word, peaceful.

“I guess one had been easier,” Koichi said finally, looking back at Kazuki. “But I’m counting on double the happiness once they’re here, or I’ll be pissed.”

Kazuki chuckled at that, showing off his maneki neko eyes that made his boyfriend go all heart-eyed. “Mm, I’m sure you will.” The grin was replaced by a hesitant smile and a little shrug. “Uhm… Can I… ask you something?”

Koichi lifted one eyebrow, peering curiously at his friend. “Of course. What’s up?”

The omega shifted around a bit on his seat, unconsciously putting his hand on his (still very tiny) baby bump. “Are you ever… nervous?”

Koichi let out a giggle that startled Kazuki and made the others look up in surprise. The omega waved his hand dismissively at the others, and after they had gone back to their conversations, he smiled at Kazuki.

“I’m sorry, but… I’m like the king of worry. I drive my poor mate crazy with all my worries and thoughts of possible disasters. So… Yeah. You could say I’m nervous sometimes.” He grinned. “Why, getting second thoughts?

“No, absolutely not!” Kazuki shook his head firmly. “I want this baby, and I’m really glad it’s with Jun-ji, but… You know. Things could go wrong, and I guess I just worry a bit.”

Koichi made a sound that could be interpreted as agreement, watching the babies on the floor. “Yeah. But you know, right now I’m just so over worrying. I just want these little boys to come out so I can move like a human being again, instead of a walrus.”

Kazuki laughed. “You’re no walrus. You’re pretty. What does Tatsu and Shinji have to say about it?”

“They think they will come early because of the twin thing. Cramped quarters and all that. But Tatsurou keep saying I shouldn’t worry, so I try not to, even though it’s hard.”

Kazuki hummed, and nothing more was said for a while, until Tatsuya woke up and started wriggling out of his bearer’s lap, going around giving everyone his absolute favorite (drool-y) toy so he could take it back. He was getting really stable by now, walking on his own and rarely falling, but Tsuzuku still kept his hawk eyes on him every second. Soon enough, it was time for dinner, and after that, the announcement of another little alpha born into this world.

. . . . .

Uta was a little bit embarrassed. Everyone knew where he had spent the night after his nightmare – it had been sort of difficult to hide when they had come in to breakfast together. He had told Cazqui, cheeks burning, that he absolutely had not slept in the same bed as the alpha. His friend told him that no one thought he had, and even if he had, no one would think it was a bad thing to do. That soothed Uta’s nerves a bit, but he still felt shy to even talk about it. Either way, he didn’t regret it one bit. The alpha had chased away the nightmares just by being there, and when Uta woke up, he had been over in Reika’s bed sleeping. The omega was incredibly grateful that the major was so gentle, letting him decide the pace of their relationship. He knew he was ridiculously slow, but he figured he had something to blame it on, and the alpha never once complained.

He spent at least a half-hour in bed, just watching Atsushi from across the room while being enveloped by his scent. He nuzzled deeper into the pillow and took a deep breath, wanting to put this scent away in his ‘safety’ archive. He wanted to remember this scent when he was afraid and be able to bring it forward in his memory to soothe him. When Atsushi woke up a while later, he quickly closed his eyes and pretended to sleep. He couldn’t really say why, but he felt utterly shy all of a sudden. He listened as the alpha got out of bed, started a fire and put a kettle on for some flower tea. When everything was finished, he walked over and kneeled beside the bed. Uta waited for him to shake his shoulder or something, but nothing happened for a long while. What was the alpha doing? Eventually Uta got so nervous he couldn’t resist opening his eyes, only to find the alpha watching him, a soft smile on his lips. As the omega’s eyelids fluttered open, his smile grew even wider.

“Hi,” he said quietly. “I was just about to wake you. The tea is ready.”

Just about to wake me? For the last five minutes? Uta’s face flushed bright red as he realized that the alpha had watched him sleep (well, sort of), just like he had watched the major sleep earlier. He carefully sat up, holding the blankets tightly around him.

“Thanks,” he mumbled, blushing an even darker crimson when he realized that he was fully clothed and didn’t need to hide behind a blanket. When the alpha got up and went back to the stove to pour their tea, he carefully extracted himself from the bedding and swung his legs over the edge of the bed. The clothes were huge on him, but they were warm and smelled of Atsushi and so he didn’t mind. He gratefully accepted the cup of tea the alpha handed him and drank deeply, almost burning his throat in the process. Strengthened by the tea, he mumbled a quiet apology.

“Sorry? What for?” Atsushi looked genuinely surprised, and the omega felt his cheeks go red again.

“For coming down here last night and waking you up, and getting you cold and wet, and making Reika leave.” Uta felt like he would sink through the floor, and he wasn’t prepared for the alpha’s hand under his chin, lifting his head so that their eyes met.

“Uta, never ever apologize for coming to me when you need me. Ever. If you’re scared, or lonely, or sad, or anything... You come to me, and I’ll be here for you. I promise.”

Atsushi looked dead serious, and the omega blinked nervously at him. “Oh…O-k…” He whispered, biting his lip. The major looked at him so intensely that he almost, almost got scared. But then the alpha stepped back and took his hand off Uta’s chin, looking away hastily as if he felt he was about to cross a line.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to come on so strong,” he mumbled, looking slightly embarrassed. “I just want you to know that I’m here for you, no matter what or when.”

“Thank you,” Uta whispered, looking at his feet again. The alpha had been so good to him last night, and he was always so sweet, and Uta wanted to tell him, show him... He thought about it for a good five minutes while they stood there awkwardly, drinking their tea in silence. When they’d finished, Atsushi took Uta’s cup and put it down on the table behind him, turning his back to the omega for a moment. And suddenly, just like that, he decided to do it, despite his pounding heart. He took a step forward and threw his arms around Atsushi’s waist, leaning his cheek on the alpha’s back. It was nothing like his usual loose, quick hugs, but a real hug, where he actually allowed himself to feel the other body close to his. Atsushi froze for a moment in shock, but then he relaxed. He carefully put his hands over Uta’s and closed his eyes, feeling the warmth of the other’s body against his back, radiating into him, all the way into his heart.

It was over far too quick for the major’s taste, a minute or two and it was gone. But still, he was the happiest man on earth when he offered Uta his arm and led the omega up to the big house for breakfast.

. . . . .

“We’ll call him Yoshiatsu,” Hiyori smiled cutely. “Yoshi for short. It’s after my brother.” He and Junji were showing off their baby alpha to everyone the next day, and their eyes sparkled almost as much as the gold print on Yoshi’s tiny hat. Ruki had gotten tired of the tastefully cute, and cut up an old sweater with a cool print that no one could wear, making it into a pajamas. The little black hat had gold stars on it, and the baby looked like a teeny tiny gangster. Hiyori loved it, and Junji just smiled and appreciated the kind gesture, so Ruki was happy.

“This was more what I thought he would make from the start. I guess we were lucky to get at least some clothing before the bling era started,” Hazuki whispered into his mate’s ear, making Koichi giggle and punch his arm lightly.

Tatsurou stood a bit to the side, smiling as everyone gathered around the new parents. His gaze was caught by something, and for a second he didn’t understand what it was. Not until Hiyuu turned back from the happy couple and looked his way, and their eyes met. Hiyuu’s lips were smiling. His eyes were not. If Tatsurou had ever seen pain and longing, this was it. A moment later, Hiro turned to his mate and put his arm around him, making some excuse about needing Hiyuu to help him out with something in their cabin before leading the omega away. Tatsurou looked after them, a sudden sadness coming over him. This was one broken heart he didn’t know how to heal.

Chapter Text

“Are you sure?” Yukke looked Natsu straight in the eye. “100 percent sure?”

Yes! For god’s sake, how many times do I have to tell you? I. Want. To mate. With you.” Natsu glared at his boyfriend, tired of the drawn out process of reassuring Yukke. The alpha could be so insecure sometimes, and then at other times he was completely cool and steady as a rock. When it came to their relationship and emotions, he always seemed to fall into the first category. No wonder it took us two years to start dating, Natsu thought as he watched the alpha blush at being berated. “Are you sure then?”

“Yes!” The answer was lightning fast. Yukke’s arms around his waist tightened as he shifted on the bed, nuzzling into Natsu’s neck. “And I’m not just saying that because I’m still high on your sex scent,” he added cheekily, grinning at his boyfriend’s answering huff. Natsu soon dropped the annoyed act and giggled instead. He was too happily snuggled up with his lover, Yukke's knot still inside of him, to be anything but content.

“So… When, then?” he asked, fighting his urge to yawn.

Yukke seemed to think it over, lifting his fingers to play with Natsu’s black locks as he studied the omega’s face. “Let me surprise you,” he suggested, smiling softly. “I want to make it special for you.”

Natsu could feel his cheeks go pink. It was the sweetest thing he could think of, and somehow he hadn’t thought Yukke would be quite so sentimental. His alpha was usually straight to the point, no fluff. This was unexpected, but in a perfect way.

“I’d like that,” he whispered. They shared a soft, loving kiss, before they snuggled up into a single sleepy ball. As Yukke started to drift off, his mind started making plans. The discussion led to a night of particularly weird dreams, in which they mated surrounded by clapping monkeys on a flying carpet that looked just like the one in the library, stains and all. Probably not the most plausible way, he decided the next morning. That carpet was dirty.

. . . . .

“Is Koron wearing clothing?” Daichi whispered into Hiyori’s ear. They both tried to look without gawking, which was pretty much impossible as the dog came strutting in, wearing a red turtleneck sweater with a black skull patch on the back. One after another, people stopped eating their breakfast and gaped at the dog, and then up to Ruki who was strutting just as much as the dog. Behind him, Kyo looked like he was trying to decide whether he was mortified by shame or thoroughly amused.

“Dog sweater!” Hiroto announced loudly, and that broke the spell as everyone started laughing.

“Isn’t it cute?” Ruki asked the kids as they gathered around Koron, petting him and feeling the sweater.

“U-hu,” Hiroto agreed, his eyes shining. “You should make one for Neko!”

“Over Neko’s dead body. Or Ruki’s,” Uta mumbled under his breath, where he sat next to his boyfriend. Surprised by Uta’s first real joke in his presence, Atsushi couldn’t help laughing out loud, drawing the attention of everyone, including their resident fashion designer. At Ruki’s glare, Uta blinked and blushed, but offered a careful “I doubt he’d let you put it on” before he looked away, hiding against Atsushi’s shoulder. Ruki shrugged and lost interest, and everyone’s eyes were drawn back to the dog. Everyone’s but Atsushi’s. The major’s attention was firmly fixed on the omega leaning heavily into him and on the arm he had carefully slid around the slim waist. The omega had gone back to sleeping in his own room immediately after their night together, but he seemed more comfortable with hugs and being close in the wake of the nightmare episode, and Atsushi loved it. Oh yes, he could get used to this.

. . . . .

A week and a half after Yoshiatsu’s birth and almost three weeks early, Koichi woke up with a start early in the morning. Things felt different somehow. The wet sheet, for one. The sudden pressure downwards, another. It felt weird, and the small tendrils of pain that started in his groin and spread out into his legs and abdomen scared him enough to reach out to shake Hazuki awake.

“Zu, I think it’s time,” he whispered breathlessly, his mind starting to play the current catastrophe reel. Now on cinemas in Koichi’s head – Siamese, the tale of the two-headed baby! Amoeba, when babies are not what you think they are! Ninja fighters, the adventures of two warriors as they cut their way out of the womb!

He pinched his eyes shut, trying to drown out the worry by just breathing, but it proved difficult as his body started reminding him that there was something called ‘contractions’ and they wouldn’t be ignored. Hazuki sat up, still a little disoriented from sleep, and stared at his mate for a few moments before he jumped into action.

“Holy shit! Ok, relax babe, things will be just fine! I’ll go wake up Tatsurou, and then I’ll come back straight away.” He leaned over and pressed a reassuring kiss to Koichi’s temple, before he got out of bed and hastily threw on some clothing. “Don’t start without me,” he joked with a crooked grin before he left, the omega glaring after him.

It didn’t take long before his mate was back, and a few minutes later, Tatsurou showed up to help Koichi into the big house, while the latest hit movie Is it a man or a monster? – horrible aliens emerge from the womb! were playing to full theaters in Koichi’s head.

. . . . .

“It takes forever,” Tsuzuku complained, nervously glancing in the direction where his friend had been locked away all day.

“So did yours,” Ruki reminded him while he stood behind his friend and braided his hair.

“I know, but…” Tsuzuku broke off whatever he was about to say and sighed, frowning.

“It’s bound to take longer with two,” Shinya offered quietly from another table. Shoya was happily ignorant of any tension and suckled away on his bearer’s nipple, the omega caressing the little head with a look of wonder in his eyes. Toshiya hummed in agreement, raising his voice a bit so the entire room could hear.

“Twins have to take longer by definition. No need to start worrying yet.” He looked around the room, almost challengingly. “Both Tatsurou and Shinji are in there, and Kei and Kuina as well. They’ll be fine.”

A soft murmur from the room said that no one wanted to contend their leader’s words, but the worry still hung in the air like a suffocating blanket. It wasn’t any less suffocating the following morning, when no news had left the sickroom. Things were becoming rather strained in the dining room, where people sat on needles.

When Tatsurou finally came out, the room fell dead quiet. The nurse looked more tired than he had in ages, and he had to lean against the doorframe until Kaoru could come up and take over as support.

“It’s finished,” he said, a yawn breaking through the last word. “Kou is very tired and has lost more blood than I’d like, but both boys are fine. We’ve got ourselves a couple of omega twins.”

The cheer that arose was loud enough to startle several of the babies, and both Byou and Shinya had to comfort their little ones. Everyone quieted down a bit after that, but there was no mistaking the relief in the air. The nurse yawned again and leaned his head on Kaoru as he turned to their cook.

“Kai, could you please make sure he drinks some broth before he passes out completely?”

The alpha nodded and disappeared into the kitchen without a word, Yo-Ka and Hikaru following suit. Soon, Hikaru rushed by with broth for Koichi and a plate for Hazuki. He came back with a wide-eyed expression, telling Yo-Ka that Koichi looked ‘buried in babies’ with both of them on his chest at once. They were tiny and all red-faced and not very cute, he confided to his lover. Yo-Ka couldn’t help laughing, to his young boyfriend’s annoyance.

“They’re babies,” Yo-Ka said. “They’re all red-faced and grumpy-looking when they come out, and they’re all cute soon enough.”

Hikaru pouted. “I knew that!” he muttered. “It’s just that they are even worse since they’re so tiny.”

Yo-Ka sniggered and threw his arms around his boyfriend. “Tiny like you!” he smirked, burying Hikaru in kisses until the omega had to laugh, half-heartedly fighting him off.

The mood was light-hearted again, and everyone went about their day with a lot more spring in their step. The medical team all stumbled to bed, everyone but Shinji assisted by boyfriends. Soon, they slept almost as soundly as the new little family in the sickroom.

. . . . .

“Jin and Jun? Really?” Koichi looked skeptical, but Hazuki was adamant.

“Yes! It’s the perfect combination for twins!”

“But I thought we had decided to name them…” Koichi started, but was interrupted by his mate.

“Jin and Jun! Look, this is Jin, he’s got this little cute birthmark here, and this is Jun, with the pouty lips. Wait… Is he gonna grow up with plush looking lips? I have to start practicing my ‘stay away from my son’ look.” He looked concerned, as if he was actually worried about Jun’s future boyfriends misbehaving, and Koichi couldn’t help laughing.

“Hey, I thought I was the worrying one. Leave it for their teenage years, will you?”

Hazuki grinned. “You’ve got to plan ahead! That Tomoya is looking cheeky. He might grow up to mean trouble,” he joked, hissing at his mate’s light reproaching slap on his arm. Koichi giggled, wordlessly begging for and receiving a kiss from his mate before he looked at his two sons with awe in his eyes.

“They’re actually here,” he mumbled, and Hazuki hummed in agreement as he snuggled down on the bed next to his little family.

“Yup. Jin and Jun are here to rock our world,” he said, peering at his mate to see if he would take the bait.

Koichi shook his head, chuckling. “Ok, fine, Jin and Jun it is, but…” he agreed and was interrupted by a happy ‘Yesss!’ from his mate. “But,” he continued, a bit more solemn now, “I want one to be named Mia as well.”

Hazuki immediately stopped grinning and nodded. “Of course. Which one?”

Koichi looked from one boy to the other for a moment, before he finally decided. “Jin. He’s got the same long guitar fingers as Mia did. His name will be Jin Mia, and only we will know.” He hesitated, biting his lip. “Do you want to give Jun an extra name as well? Like… Yusuke?”

The alpha drew a quick breath, looking at the little boy while playing with his tiny fingers in silence for a moment. Then he swallowed deeply and almost shyly met Koichi’s gaze. “Would that… be ok?” he said softly, hesitantly. “I mean, he was my first mate, and…”

“Of course it would be,” Koichi said, ignoring the little tug in his heart at the thought that Hazuki had loved someone before him. “You loved him, right?”

Hazuki nodded slowly. “Yeah. I did. And it would be nice to honor his memory.”

The omega smiled a shy smile. “Ok, so Jin Mia and Jun Yusuke it is then?”

His mate smiled back, leaning down to kiss soft lips lovingly. “It is. Thank you.” He let his finger caress the omega’s cheek, looking deep into his eyes. “But I have never loved anyone like I love you,” he whispered. Jin whined and moved a bit, and the alpha’s attention was drawn to his sons once again. “Well, until now, that is,” he joked. “Now you’ve got two other gorgeous omegas to compete with.”

Koichi grinned and put his head back on the pillow with a tired but happy sigh. The alpha quickly offered him some more broth to drink, making sure his mate was properly tucked in before he carefully lifted Jun and held him to his chest, leaving Jin in his mate’s arms. This must be what heaven felt like, he decided as he settled in to watch his three darlings sleep.

Chapter Text

The first two weeks at the resort had been a flurry of names, faces and places for Tomo. He constantly chose the wrong way in the corridors, ending up in front of a wall instead of at a stairway, or in front of closed elevator doors instead of the dining room entrance. K laughed at him, but did his best to guide him and teach him about the resort and its people. Eventually, with the help of Pitty and Yutaka, things were starting to become easier. He had learned all sorts of useful things about the resort, sometimes as a direct result from stumbling upon them on his involuntary forays into the unknown. The heat room was one such discovery, made on his third day at the resort. It was located in the former spa section of the resort, but he was later told that it was rather underused at the moment, since most omegas didn’t dare risk getting pregnant until they had seen for themselves that their friends returned from the island with healthy babies.

The nurse – though he still hesitated to use that word about himself – was happy to see Hide’s eye improving daily, and soon, the swelling was down to a minimum and the pain as good as gone. The alpha had thanked him several times, while his mate was almost too grateful, making Tomo’s ears burn red from all the praise. He had done more work in the two weeks he’d spent at the resort than he had in a month at the island, since many had walked around with different ailments for a long time, and now sought him out to finally get some help. Some he could assist, others needed medicine they didn’t have, but they were all very grateful to get some answers either way. Thankfully, no one seemed to have any life-threatening illnesses, at least not that he could see.

Pitty had taken him under his wings, and Tomo spent the free time he had (that wasn’t spent with K, usually in bed) with the cool-headed young omega. K called them an unlikely pair, but was happy that his lover had found a friend so quickly. Pitty seemed to take everything in stride, just going with the flow, Setsuna on one arm while he did whatever was needed with the other. Tomo envied the omega his inner calm, but it slowly seemed to rub off on him, the more time he spent in the pony-tailed omega’s company. Today, however, he couldn’t keep his nerves in check no matter how much his friend tried to calm him. He was summoned to meet the council after lunch, and he was extremely nervous. Pitty tried his best to reassure him, but it didn’t really do much to soothe Tomo’s unease. He wished K could be with him, but the alpha was working, and the council’s request had come after he had left for the day.

His knees felt like they were made of jelly when he walked up to the door (guided there by Pitty so he wouldn’t get lost and be late). He took a deep breath to steady himself and then knocked carefully, listening to the steps closing in on the door on the other side. Arimatsu opened the door and smiled at him, stepping aside to let he omega in. Tomo took a step inside, uncertainly chewing on his lip, braids falling over his eyes as he eyed the seated council warily. He almost jumped high in the air when Arimatsu put his hand on his shoulder to gently steer him towards a sofa, but he let himself be guided to it and sat down on the very edge of the seat.

Hyde smiled reassuringly at him, and Tomo was happy to see Hide sitting there as well. He had gotten to know the alpha at least a tad better than the rest because of the eye, and he trusted Hide. He wasn’t sure of all of their names yet, but he recognized Kiyoharu as the one that peered at him curiously.

“Welcome,” Hyde said, smile still firmly in place. “Please, relax, we won’t bite.”

Tomo stifled a nervous giggle and nodded quietly, hiding behind his braids.

“We would like to thank you for coming here, and for everything you’ve done for us already,” Hyde continued. “Hide could have suffered for a long time without your help, and maybe even have gotten a deadly infection from that thing in his eye. So thank you, from the bottom of our hearts.”

Tomo blinked, stuttering a quiet “Thank you”, blushing deeply.

“We would like to make an offer, if you want it,” Kiyoharu said, grinning at the omega’s confused look.

Hyde nodded, smiling. “He’s right. We would like to ask you if you want to choose a room for an infirmary and maybe an adjacent office? We would of course help you set it up the way you would like, with whatever furniture you want from other rooms at the resort. But we thought it might be easier for you to not have to carry your things around to different rooms all the time. If you prefer to keep things as they are, that is of course fine as well. But we at least wanted to make the offer.”

Tomo stared for a moment, his mouth agape. “Oh,” he stuttered finally, “that would be very kind of you.” He was offered an office?

“Great!” Hyde looked very pleased. “You can choose freely from the rooms that are empty, and if you’ve really got your heart set on a room we’re using, let us know and we’ll consider it.”

“Oh, no, you don’t have to move anything for my sake!” Tomo said quickly, not wanting the council to find him greedy. “I’m sure I’ll find something empty that will be suitable. Thank you.”

“We’re the ones who should say thank you,” Hyde smiled. “Just let us know when you’ve decided, and we’ll fix it. You can tell Hide and he’ll arrange it,” he added, not oblivious to the fact that their new nurse was less nervous around his current patient than the rest of the council.

And with that, the audience seemed to be over. Arimatsu rose and Tomo followed his lead, walking over to the door after a deep bow to the council. As the door closed behind him, he leaned against the wall, letting out a deep sigh of relief.

“So, how did it go?” Pitty’s calm voice next to him made him jump, and he jokingly glared at the omega.

“Sneaking up on people isn’t very nice,” he complained, grinning to show he was joking.

“Yeah, whatever,” Pitty smirked and reached out to link arms with his friend, hoisting Setsuna onto his other hip. “So, tell me all about it.”

They walked off, Tomo relaying the news and getting an enthused promise to help search for the perfect rooms from the young omega. Now that the meeting was over, Tomo soon became as enthusiastically happy as Pitty. He couldn’t wait to tell K that evening. My own office.

. . . . .

The babies were pink. Completely and utterly pink. Sure, here and there, silver stars adorned Jun’s little body, and a silver unicorn made a leap on Jin’s chest, but mostly, they were pink. Hazuki looked down on his two sons with an expression of dread.

“They’re not gonna be pink all the time, right?” he asked worriedly. “It’s just to show Ruki we appreciate it?”

“What?” Koichi pulled on the last of Jin’s miniature (pink) socks and looked up at his mate. “They’re adorable!”

“Yeah…” Hazuki said hesitantly. “But they’re very… pink.”

“Is there something wrong with pink?” His mate glared at him, shaking his pink locks to make a point.

“No, no! Of course not! I like pink!” the alpha quickly assured him. “I love your hair, babe, why else would I get the dye for you? It’s just a bit… much… with all pink clothing, that’s all.”

Koichi smirked, letting his mate squirm for a while before he relented. “I know, but Ruki made them with love because he knows I like the color, and so we will use them and be happy. Later on, we can mix it up with the other stuff he made, but they’re so small now I’m not sure the rest will fit yet. Even these are too big, even though Ruki made them smaller than the rest.”

Hazuki sighed. “I am grateful, you know I am. I just wish he hadn’t gone all in with the cotton candy.”

Koichi laughed. “Suck it up, honey! It’s time to take our baby marshmallows and present them to everyone. Let’s go.”

And with that, he handed Jin over to his father and lifted Jun himself, tiptoeing to steal a kiss from his mate before he led the way into the dining room where their friends waited eagerly.

. . . . .

How many times can people say ‘Oh my god!’ in an hour, Hiyuu wondered glumly as he watched from the back of the group as everyone greeted the twins. He had said his congratulations and stepped back, but he couldn’t really sneak off just yet without it being strange, so he stayed at the back and tried to keep his happy face on. Hiro eyed him in worry sometimes, keeping an eye on his mate so that he could swoop in and take him away if needed. It was sweet but made Hiyuu feel even more obvious. He was pretty sure people had started noticing that he kept his distance from the babies, but no one said anything, and he wasn’t about to bring it up himself.

Instead, he watched as the crowd went bananas over two pink miniature dolls, and did his best to think of other things. Maybe he and Hiro should move to the resort? It might be easier there. He didn’t want to leave his friends or his home here, not really, but this was starting to weigh heavily on him. When Subaru started cooing and loudly demanded that Die gave him a baby immediately, Hiyuu decided that he would at least talk to Hiro about it. They could think about it all winter and decide in the spring, after all.

. . . . .

Yutaka re-read Manabu’s letter for the umpteenth time, carefully folding it again and putting it in his bedside drawer before he picked up the photo and watched it longingly for a long time. The sheets rustled when Hide turned over, reaching out to encircle his mate’s waist with his arm and pulling him closer.

“Watching it again?” he asked, brushing away a grey lock that kept falling in his eyes.

“Yeah,” Yutaka admitted. “I miss him.”

“I know.” Hide looked at the picture for a moment, his head on his mate’s shoulder, before he reached out and carefully took it from the omega’s hands. He leaned over Yutaka and placed it back in the drawer, shutting the treasures away for the night. Instead of pulling back to his side of the bed, he draped himself over his mate, letting his hands glide up his side. He smirked at Yutaka’s shiver and raised the omega’s arms above his head, grabbing his wrists firmly and holding him down onto the mattress. With a sultry look in his eyes, he sniffed along his mate’s neckline before he leaned down and nibbled at the omega’s neck, smirking at the gasp the action elicited.

“Maybe we could go visit in the spring,” he murmured into his mate’s ear, Yutaka blinking in surprise.

“Oh, could we, please?” he breathed, moaning the next second as Hide licked along his neck, finishing off with a firm bite around the mate scar. The alpha didn’t answer for a few moments, too busy licking and biting Yutaka’s neck and chest, enjoying his mate’s delicious reactions.

“Sure,” he finally mumbled. “It’s decided then.” He got no answer, but that was largely due to the fact that his cock brushed over the omega’s at that very moment and took away Yutaka’s ability to speak for the next hour or so.

Chapter Text

The November gloom was setting in. The final preparations for winter were underway, and everyone was busy. It was getting colder, the warmer days seemingly long gone, and they were all glad to be sitting indoors with a fire going and a warm cup of tea in the evenings. Reika spent more and more nights at Kouki’s, until the two finally decided it was time to move in together, and a Sunday was spent moving the couple into the latest cottage, wall to wall with Die and Subaru. Kouki and Subaru were both blushing profoundly at Byou and Ruki’s crude jokes about how they would be hearing the other couple in bed. Neither of them told the vulgar duo the truth the following day, of how it was quite a turn-on to hear another couple having sex while you were fucking wildly yourself. They did share a furtive glance, though, grinning at each other, eyeing each other’s significant other with a sudden new curiosity.

Natsu, on his part, was getting a little antsy. Yukke hadn’t said anything about mating yet, and he was starting to wonder whether the alpha had forgotten about his promise to surprise him with all the work he had been doing. He grumbled a bit about it as he went about his daily chores. Kai had put a hold on fishing for a few days, as they would be too busy taking care of all the other food they needed to preserve for winter, and so Natsu helped here and there while he waited. That was how he found himself with a handful of clean towels and extra blankets for the heat cabins in his arms, Tatsurou handing it over with instructions to leave half at the closest cabin and then carry a bag of supplies and the other half of the towels to the furthermost cabin.

The omega looked out on the gloomy weather, rain threatening to fall any moment, and sighed. “Does it have to be today?” he asked. “It’s gonna rain and it’s almost time for dinner.”

“Sorry, but we have to get the cabins in order in case snow falls soon, and besides, we need that stuff out of the way in the sickroom,” the nurse pointed out, shooing a rather grumpy Natsu off.

He was right. It started to rain just as he left the first heat cottage. Looking up at the sky with a frown, he wondered just how much trouble he would be in with Tatsurou if he skipped the second cabin and went home instead. Eventually he decided it wasn’t worth it, and so he ran the rest of the way as the rain intensified. He almost leaped up the stairs to the cabin and yanked the door open, rushing inside.

And there, he stopped. The cabin was lit up with candles, a fire crackling in the fireplace. On the small table, a dinner for two was set up, and sitting on the bed in his best attire was Yukke. The alpha smiled a little nervously at his lover as he rose and walked over to his boyfriend, relieving him of the things he were holding and putting them aside. While Natsu just stared around the cabin, fixed up as a romantic love nest, Yukke pulled off his wet jacket and used one of the towels to dry the omega’s hair and face.

“I’m sorry you got cold and wet, that wasn’t part of the plan,” Yukke mumbled, placing a warm hand on Natsu’s chilled cheek. The omega’s eyes left the setting and turned to his boyfriend, looking him up and down, admiring the clothes and the way Yukke had done his best to fix his hair nicely. He broke into a wide smile, and the alpha relaxed at the sight of a happy omega. He leaned in and pressed a soft kiss on Natsu’s lips before he took his hand and led him over to the table. “I hope you’re hungry,” he smiled almost shyly. “Kai whipped us up something special for the occasion.”

Natsu was stunned as he let the alpha pull his chair out for him. The table was set beautifully with a rare white tablecloth and a few of the season’s last flowers in a vase. The food looked delicious, and the omega suddenly realized why Kai had been nowhere to be seen this afternoon when he saw the expertly arranged food, just like at a luxury restaurant from Before. There was even a bottle of wine from Kai’s secret stash, and when Yukke had poured them a glass of wine each, he lifted his glass at his lover. Natsu couldn’t hold in the happy giggle he felt bubbling inside as he lifted his own glass for the toast, his eyes sparkling. Yukke held his gaze while they took a sip, and Natsu could feel the butterflies in his stomach turn into a flock of hummingbirds. It was finally happening! They were having a romantic dinner, and then they would move to the bed (which Yukke had made with extra pillows and fine linens, making it look extra luxurious) where his alpha would undress him, and kiss him and then...

And then, it would actually happen. He would leave this cabin with a mate. It was almost too much to take in, and Natsu was shivering with anticipation and nerves. Yukke was at least as nervous, and finally, they both burst out laughing at each other, the tension slowly easing.

“Come on, let’s eat before it gets cold,” Yukke smiled, and they dug in at the food. It was just as delicious as it looked, the meat tender and the sauce to die for. Once they were done their plates were wiped clean and the last drop of the wine gone. The alpha put the dishes away in a basket before he got up and offered his hand to his boyfriend, smiling seductively. Natsu blushed as he took the hand, a little unsteady on his feet as he got up, breathing shallowly. He hardly had time to get up before Yukke pulled him in for a deep kiss, his tongue plundering Natsu’s mouth eagerly as his hands wandered over the omega’s back and down to cup his butt cheeks. Natsu eagerly accepted the kiss, leaning into his boyfriend’s touch and putting his arms around his shoulders.

They kissed for a while, enjoying the taste of each other’s lips, before Yukke slowly started maneuvering them towards the bed. He sensually peeled off layer after layer of their clothing, pausing when he finally reached warm, soft skin and looked down to admire the omega’s toned body. Natsu shivered at the intimate gaze. He felt sexier than he’d ever felt before when Yukke unconsciously licked his lips as he let his eyes caress the omega’s abs and cute, brown nipples. He’s about to make me his forever. The thought both exited and scared the omega, and his breath hitched as he was struck by a sudden burst of jittery nerves. Yukke looked at him intently, pulling back from the touch slightly.

“Are you having second thoughts?” he asked, biting his lip in worry.

Natsu couldn’t answer, couldn’t speak, but he shook his head violently and grabbed the alpha’s hands and put them back on his body, pressing his bare chest to the alpha’s. He tilted his head and hungrily caught Yukke’s lips with his, desperate to show the alpha how much he wanted this. Apparently, Yukke took the hint, because they were soon back to their fervent kisses and caresses. Before long, they were stretched out on the bed, naked and entwined. Yukke took his time, exploring every part of his lover’s body as if it was the first time he had seen it. When he finally breached the omega, they were both panting already, Natsu seeing stars as he felt the alpha slide into him.

It was slow, sensual and loving, like nothing existed beyond the two of them and their cocoon of love. Natsu had never felt so loved, so treasured in his entire life. When he realized he wouldn’t be able to keep it together for much longer, he threw his head to the side, exposing his neck with a soft mewl. Yukke hesitated and almost held back, but at a wanton and insistent whine from his lover, he finally let himself go and took the leap. When his teeth sunk into the omega’s neck, Natsu’s insides clenched around him, and there was no way in this universe the alpha could hold back. He came harshly inside the omega, Natsu arching up at the same time, his cum spurting out in thick white ribbons between them as he moaned loudly.

Yukke’s suddenly intense scent, the feel of him inside his body and his mind – it was all so overwhelming and Natsu felt himself slowly drift off into a heavenly daze. It took him a few minutes to come down from his high, and if it had been the first time, Yukke would have freaked out as his lover became unresponsive. As it was, he just snuggled close and held the omega tightly in his arms, tasting him on his lips and feeling the first threads of the bond starting to tie them together. When Natsu was eventually back in reality, he smiled somewhat groggily at his alpha.

“Tell me I’m yours,” he whispered into his mate’s ear. “Forever.”

If he had had any doubts as to how Yukke felt, the answering smile would have blown them to smithereens. “You’re mine for all eternity,” he murmured into Natsu’s neck, kissing the wound tenderly. “I love you so, so much.”

There was no need for any more words, Natsu’s eyes said everything that needed to be said. As the fire died down, they became increasingly drowsy, the bond continuing to weave its knots between them as their bodies relaxed against each other in sleep.

. . . . .

When they came strolling into the village hand in hand just after lunchtime the following day, more than a few people waited eagerly to congratulate the pair. Once Natsu had left yesterday and there was no risk of tipping him off, rumor had spread quickly around the village. Yukke’s two accomplices, Kai and Tatsurou, grinned happily at their friend from the porch. The alpha grinned back and threw them a thumbs up before he leaned over to kiss his mate’s cheek, still entranced by the feeling of Natsu inside his own mind.

Atsushi and Uta stood next to each other on the other side of the porch, the major smiling widely while his boyfriend sported a more careful smile. The omega was of course happy for his friend, knowing he really wanted this, but at the same time, the thought of mating still intimidated him a bit. He had spent so much time worrying, fearing that this was the day one of his captors would decided to bite him against his will, that the act itself had become somewhat ambiguous to him. It wasn’t like he was against it per se, but he felt it was such a long way off for himself, that even the thought was enough to make him shiver.

Unfortunately, his boyfriend was too caught up in the joy of the moment as he congratulated the new mates to notice Uta’s apprehension. When Yukke and Natsu waved to the others and made their way down to their cottage, the rest breaking up and going their different ways, the alpha turned to Uta and pulled him in for a happy hug, pressing his lips unthinkingly against the omega’s cheek. Uta went stiff as a board, and the major’s eyes widened as he realized his mistake and immediately pulled back, but it was too late. Uta had already gone into flight mode, and he ran off into the house, stumbling up the stairs to his room where he slammed the door behind him and locked it firmly. Only then did he pause, shivering violently, his breathing shaky and shallow. He forced himself to take a few deep breaths to calm down, slowly backing up to the bed and sitting down on it, throwing his arms around his body. This is Atsushi, he would never hurt me, never force me. He loves me. He repeated the words over and over inside his head until the worst of the shivering subsided and he came back down to earth again. Except then, the next realization hit him. He had ran away from his boyfriend, leaving him there as if he was the villain. Oh god, he’s gonna think I don’t like him anymore. He’s gonna think I see him as a rapist and an asshole, and he’s gonna be so angry with me. He’s gonna be sick of my idiocy and want to break up with me. Uta whimpered and hid his face in his hands. What had he done?

Down on the porch, Atsushi was having similar thoughts, where he was the villain and Uta would never ever want to even look at him again. He regretted what he had done so much, it had just been a reflex, to hug and kiss the one he loved because he was happy. And now, instead, he was miserable.

Cazqui and Satochi had seen what had happened, and they quickly exchanged a glance before the omega slipped inside to go knock on Uta’s door, while his boyfriend gently walked up to the alpha. He put his hand on the major’s slumped shoulder, squeezing it in comfort.

“Don’t worry, he’ll come around. It was just a surprise, he’s not gonna hold it against you,” he murmured, keeping his voice down so that those who hadn’t noticed were none the wiser. Atsushi looked mutely at him, his eyes filled with despair.

“I ruined everything,” he mumbled, but Satochi shook his head insistently.

“Of course you didn’t. He’s just a bit jittery, but he knows you love him and would never hurt him. Just give him time to calm down and realize that.”

Atsushi shook his head. “He’s gonna hate me now,” he whispered, and Satochi had never seen anyone so dejected before. The light in his eyes seemed to have gone out completely, and he looked ten years older than he had only five minutes ago.

“Nonsense,” the alpha tried, but Atsushi just shook his head and stumbled away, making his way to his cabin, Satochi looking helplessly after him.

Neither of the two boyfriends was seen for the rest of the day.

Chapter Text

Cazqui gave up trying to convince Uta that he should talk to his boyfriend the next day. Satochi hadn’t had any luck on his end either, and by afternoon, people were starting to notice that the two were missing. Satochi and Cazqui finally decided to talk to Toshiya about it, to see what could be done to fix the situation. They found the leader in the library with Kaoru and Kyo, and the alphas paused their discussions to hear the couple out. When they were done, Toshiya looked troubled.

“So what you’re saying is that they’re both convinced it’s all their fault and the other will hate them forever now?” He sighed deeply at Cazqui’s nod, shaking his head. “Those two…” he muttered. Kyo frowned, leaning on his elbows on the table.

“But that’s just stupid!” he exclaimed, furrowing his brows. Toshiya raised an eyebrow at him, but Kyo didn’t let that stop him. “For fuck’s sake, is Atsushi an adult or not? I mean, I get that Uta’s having issues, but Atsushi’s got no damn excuse.” He glared at Satochi as if it was his fault for not being able to convince the alpha otherwise. “And you’re sure Uta would take him back if he apologized?” Kyo turned to Cazqui, and at the omega’s nod he got up from his seat.

“Where are you going?” Toshiya asked, not sure if he should stop this or not. The short alpha’s fuming face convinced him not to.

“I’m going to put an end to this shit,” Kyo growled, stomping off out the door and down the stairs. The others looked after him with a mixture of excitement and dread.

“Maybe I should have stopped him…” Toshiya’s voice trailed off, and no one spoke as they waited to see what would unfold – disaster or jubilation.

. . . . .

Atsushi took forever to come to the door, Kyo banging away without pause. When he finally opened, the shorter alpha was shocked to see his face. He looked old and tired, and there was no hope in his eyes. Kyo wouldn’t have it. He pushed the alpha aside and stomped in, slamming the door behind him.

“Now what is this shit I hear about you giving up on Uta because of one tiny mistake? That is not acceptable, major!” he growled, fixing the older alpha with his most intense stare. “Now you clean yourself up, shave and get your act together so you can go apologize to your boyfriend without looking like a complete hobo!” Kyo pointed at the washstand, not giving Atsushi a choice about whether to listen or not.

“But he’s…” Atsushi tried, silenced immediately by an icy stare from Kyo.

“He’s in love with you. He wants you to come to him and show him you won’t be chased away by his past. He needs you to be strong for him, because he can’t be. So now you grow some balls and get your ass over there to tell him you love him back, you hear me?!”

Kyo was livid, and Atsushi blinked at the alpha. He’d never seen this side of Kyo before. Sure, he could be intense, and grumpy enough for half an army, but this was something else. The major could tell he meant business, and for some reason, the stern reprimands and the military ordering pulled him out of his apathy. He started following Kyo’s instructions, shaving and cleaning himself up almost on autopilot. When he was done, Kyo kicked him out the door and herded him back towards the big house. He had to stop and grab Atsushi’s arm once when the major was about to chicken out and turn back, the younger alpha quickly turning him back towards the house while barking an order to continue. He followed the alpha all the way up to the top floor, past a gaping gang peeking out of the library, and then he stopped by the stairs, pointing sternly at Uta’s door. Atsushi almost whimpered and looked at Kyo pleadingly, but the shorter alpha crossed his arms over his chest and pursed his lips, making sure the major had no escape route. Atsushi felt about to faint, taking deep breaths to steady himself. A loud ‘hrumpf’ from Kyo made him start, and he glared at the alpha before he finally lifted his hand and knocked on the door. A moment of quiet, and then the door opened.

Uta was just as scruffy looking as Atsushi had been pre-Kyo, eyes red-rimmed from crying. The alpha nearly backed away, thinking the omega was still crying about what he had done, but a glance at the stairs made it clear he was not going past Kyo any time soon unless he had apologized to Uta first. And so he studied his toes instead, not bearing to see his boyfriend’s upset face.

“I’m so sorry,” he mumbled. “I never meant to scare you, it was a reflex, and I promise I’ll never do it again. And I know it’s asking too much, but could you ever forgive me?”

For a heartbeat, everything was so still that all Atsushi could hear was his own breathing. And then, Uta took a step forward and leaned into him, burying his face against the alpha’s shoulder and gripping his shirt firmly in his hands. The major was so shocked he didn’t react for a long moment, and then he slowly, carefully lifted his hands and put them around the slim shoulders. When Uta didn’t pull away, he closed his eyes and just held his boyfriend, so relieved he was crying. “I love you,” he murmured through the tears. “I hate that I made you scared. I never want to hurt you, ever.”

Uta shifted slightly in his arms, creeping even closer to the alpha. “I love you too,” he whispered, his voice shivering. “And I get scared sometimes, but it’s not you… I’m never scared of you.”

Atsushi didn’t know what to say to that, so he just held the omega close, breathing in his scent. Neko stroking himself against their legs and meowing finally made them part and look down, Uta lifting the cat into his arms and snuggling his face down into the mass of red fur, loud purring filling the air. The alpha reached out to scratch the cat between the ears, smiling softly at the omega. He glanced over at the stairs, where Kyo was nowhere to be seen. Uta backed into his room with the cat pressed against his chest, silently offering the alpha to join him, and the major bowed his head and accepted without a word. As he walked in and sat on his usual spot on the floor, picking up Neko’s toys, the world felt right again.

. . . . .

Shuse relayed the story to Manabu that evening, marveling that Kyo was the one to get Atsushi into his right mind. The omega smiled one of his mysterious smiles, hoisting little Yutaka up a bit on his chest, the baby making slurping noises as he ate. “Maybe Atsushi needed a shock,” he offered, lifting his eyes from his son to look at his boyfriend.

“Maybe so,” Shuse agreed. Their eyes met, and the alpha smiled a crooked smile. “Promise me something,” he said, looking serious. “Promise me that if I ever fuck up, you’ll talk to me and tell me what I did so I can fix it. I don’t want to lose you over something stupid like that.”

Manabu blinked, but nodded. “I promise, if you promise the same,” he said. Shuse nodded and came over to the bed, sitting down next to his two sweethearts. “I promise,” he said, leaning over to press a kiss to the omega’s hair. “Sometimes I still can’t believe that you agreed to be my boyfriend,” he murmured, sniffing Manabu’s hair before he pulled away a bit so he could look into his large eyes. “You’re so amazing.”

The omega blushed but didn’t look away. “So are you, you know,” he said softly. “I’m happy here, with you.”

Shuse couldn’t help the kiss, he really couldn’t. The omega’s lips were right there, oh so incredibly tempting, and he let his tongue gently find its way into his lover’s mouth. They kissed for a moment, until Yutaka released the nipple and made a cute sound, yawning widely. Shuse smiled down at the boy, gently caressing his cheek. He waited while Manabu burped the boy, and then he stretched out his hands in offer.

“Here, let me put him to bed,” he said, accepting the baby from his bearer and rocking him gently to soothe the boy. It didn’t take long for Yutaka to fall asleep in his cot, rocked by his stepdad. When Shuse turned around, he was met with the sight of his life. Manabu was lying stretched out on his side on the bed, his clothes discarded on the floor, long black locks falling down in a cascade over his shoulder. The alpha felt his mouth go dry at the omega’s sultry look, his cock reacting before his mind did with an almost primal need. He glanced down at the baby to make sure he was sleeping, and then he quickly crossed the floor to the bed, tossing his clothes to the floor as he went. As he crawled up to stretch out over the omega, naked skin on naked skin, he thanked his lucky stars for this late chance at love. When their lips met in a sweet kiss, he couldn’t imagine life without his new family. I am so, so lucky.

. . . . .

Koichi wondered what sleep felt like. He couldn’t remember. It was like a faint memory from another life, a life before the twins. Now, he was up feeding them once every two hours, and when he was done with the second one, it was nearly time to start with the first one again. Hazuki did his best to help, but feeding wasn’t really something he could do, and so he did everything else – changed Jin’s (or Jun’s) diapers and dirty clothing, made sure Koichi got some warm food, carried Jun (or Jin) around when he cried and wouldn’t sleep.

Two was way harder than one, Koichi complained to Tsuzuku, who just smirked and said nothing. Though he did help, and so did all the others. Subaru was constantly there to sit with a baby in his arms, cooing, and sometimes had to be chased out when they needed some alone time.

But still, despite the lack of sleep, and the nipples sore from constant tugging, Koichi was happier than he’d ever been. He felt as if his worries had all melted away the second he held his boys in his arms for the first time. Hazuki was amazed at the change, but didn’t dare mention it in case he’d jinx it. Instead they just enjoyed their time together as a family. On the rare moments when both boys were sleeping at once, the two parents snuggled up in bed together, too tired to do anything but sleep. When one of the babies was awake, which felt like constantly, Koichi and Hazuki sat gazing down on their sons, discovering their faces and the way they were similar and the things that made them different from each other. Jin was taller and slimmer, and more active. Jun slept more and had chubby little cheeks and plump lips. Jin had long guitarist fingers, while Jun was more compact all around. They both had Koichi’s nose, to Hazuki’s delight, and they both sported the same bushy hair that Hazuki claimed to have had as a baby.

After a few days, they discovered the boys slept better if they were snuggled up tightly in the same cot instead of having one each, and the nights got a tiny bit more bearable after that. As November passed them by, they were settling into a new schedule, getting used to this whole parenthood thing that they had wanted for so long.

The first day of December also marked the first snow of the year, and they all gathered in the windows after dinner to look out at the snowflakes dancing down to the ground. Koichi stood with Jun in his arms, Hazuki holding Jin with his right arm and holding his mate with his left, watching the world slowly turn white. Winter was here.

Chapter Text

“So, I know it’s early to ask this,” K started, “but have you thought about what to do for your heat?”

They were snuggled down together in bed, buried under a pile of thick duvets and spooning close to keep the cold at bay. (Because that was the only reason. It was. Really.) Tomo’s back was pressed tightly against K’s chest, the alpha’s arms embracing him, and when K opened his mouth to speak his breath caressed the omega’s neck softly.

“Uhm… No?” Tomo was drowsy, not far from sleep, and he was warm and comfortable in his lover’s arms.

“Only, ‘cause I was thinking… Maybe you could have it? You know… with me?”

That caught Tomo’s attention and yanked him back from the borders of dreamland. “What?!” He tried to turn around to look at his boyfriend, but K’s grip on him was too firm.

“Only if you want to, of course,” K mumbled, sounding a bit embarrassed. “I just thought it could be nice to… you know.”

The omega swallowed. “You know that I could get pregnant, right?” he whispered, just wanting to be sure they were talking about the same thing here.

“Well… Yeah. You could. So… is that a no then?” K sounded a little disappointed, but he tried to mask it with a kiss to the nape of Tomo’s neck.

“I didn’t say that.” Tomo made another attempt at turning around, and this time, K let him. The alpha looked nervously at his boyfriend as Tomo got himself comfortable again, creeping close and looking into his lover’s eyes. “I just wanted to know if you had thought that far and realized what could happen,” he said finally, apologetically. “I mean, having a heat together is one thing, dealing with what could come of it is another.”

K smiled. “I know. That’s why I said that I know it’s early.” He blushed a bit and looked away, trying to find the right words. “I just… We haven’t been together for that long, but I feel so… right… when I’m with you. I’ve never felt this way before, and I can really see us together forever, you know? And you would be such a beautiful bearer.” He blushed even more and looked back at his boyfriend, forcing himself to meet the omega’s gaze. “So I just thought I’d mention it. And you can choose what you want to do. But I’m available for… whatever.”

Tomo studied the alpha’s face carefully. Was this for real? Yes, it was. K’s eyes were honest, and the way his hand caressed the omega’s arm spoke of love. He actually, positively, meant what he said. Tomo drew a deep breath and leaned his forehead against K’s chest, closing his eyes for a second to be able to think. The alpha kept his silence, still caressing his boyfriend’s muscular body as he (pretended to) patiently wait for an answer. Tomo thought about it for a long while, weighing pros and cons against each other, not being able to reach a decision. But eventually he settled for trying to feel for an answer rather than think it. And once he had decided that, the answer was easy to give. He opened his eyes and gazed into K’s chocolate brown eyes, smiling softly.

“Yes,” he whispered. “I’ll have my heat with you.”

A second later, K had claimed his lips in a hungry kiss, and Tomo easily let the alpha take control, feeling like he was floating on clouds.

. . . . .

At the resort, the snow fell for three days straight before it finally took a break, some sun shining through. Tomo looked out onto the snow with a sense of awe and dread. The road was covered in snow now, and he felt even more cut off from his friends at the island than he had before. K noticed his hanging head and forced the truth out of him, Tomo blushing a bit. His alpha just shook his head, stating that it was only natural to miss your friends, and nothing to be ashamed about. To take his mind off things, K decided to give the omega a surprise. One morning, he took Tomo’s hand after breakfast and pulled him out into the lobby, where he told the omega to wait for him. Pitty and Kuloe came out to join the nurse, wearing lots of winter clothing, Setsuna packed into a huge bundle of blankets. They refused to say what it was about, and neither did Hide and Yutaka when they came to join them. Tomo was starting to get nervous when K returned, carrying all of their winter clothing and some extra blankets, plus a bag with cups and a thermos.

K ignored the omega’s questions while they got dressed, and when Sakito and Ni-Ya joined them, he just nodded and smiled at his boyfriend. “Ok, that’s everyone. Let’s go,” he said, dragging Tomo by the hand out into the sunny winter morning. Someone had shoveled the snow from the entrance, and made a narrow path down to the former garage where all the animals stood. Outside their makeshift stables, Ryo was waiting with one of the horses harnessed to a sleigh. The nurse gasped at the sight, disbelieving.

“Nice, isn’t it?” K grinned widely at his surprise. “We’ve actually got two, but we usually only take one out at a time. It’s a good workout for the horses so they won’t have to be in the stables all winter, and we usually take it out so that everyone gets a go each every winter.”

Tomo was beyond speech, but he let himself be led down to the sleigh and climbed in with K’s help, settling next to Pitty and Kuloe, with K on his left side. Opposite him, the other four settled in, everyone snuggling down under the blankets, adding one extra that covered everyone’s lap. Ryo checked so everyone was done before he climbed up and grabbed the reins, and then they were off.

It was beautiful and amazing, and Ryo set up a decent pace that made it feel like they were flying over the snowy road. Tomo’s eyes glistened as much as the snow, his cheeks red from the cold. He snuggled close to K for warmth, and noticed the other couples doing the same. Sakito and Ni-Ya leaned their heads together as they looked out over the scenery. For a long while, they only watched in awe, but after about half an hour, Ryo slowed down and stopped at a little hill that gave them a great view over the mountain, and they handed out the cups, pouring tea from the thermos. Ryo accepted his without a word and went to go check on the horse, putting a blanket over it to keep it warm during their little pit stop. The others sat chatting for a while, sipping their tea and enjoying the view. Tomo started to understand why Sakito and K were such good friends – they kept finishing each other’s sentences and laughed at the same things. Ni-Ya mostly listened, but he smiled at Tomo and rolled his eyes when the two friends pulled a silly joke. Everyone except Ryo took part in the conversation, and Tomo enjoyed himself immensely, happy to get to know Sakito, Ni-Ya and Kuloe better. When Ryo turned them around and started taking them back home, the omega happily rested against his boyfriend, his cheeks hurting from all the smiling.

K seemed mighty happy with himself for the rest of the day, watching his boyfriend hum as he worked. Tomo had found the perfect office and infirmary near the kitchen (and the boiled water), a bit further down the corridor so they still got some privacy. These rooms had not been used for years, and so it took a lot of cleaning to fix them up, but after the joyous morning, Tomo happily dusted and sorted things, Pitty helping him. Even Gara offered to help, and the nurse found that Pitty had been right – Gara did grow on you, if you let him. He was grumpy and spiky, but funny when he wanted to be, and a hard worker.

Tomo was exhausted when he went to bed that night, but that didn’t stop him from showing K his gratitude for the perfect day, and the alpha was all too happy to accept.

. . . . .

Hyde gave a content sigh as he leaned his head against Kaz’s shoulder, one hand caressing his boyfriend’s naked chest. They were both relaxed and sated, drunk on the endorphins from the hours spent nearly wrecking their bed. The pretty leader nuzzled a sweaty neck happily, breathing in the scent that was only Kaz and no one else.

“Mmmm… More…” Kaz mumbled drowsily, turning his head slightly to catch a kiss from his boyfriend. “Love you.”

“Love you too, babe.” Hyde’s grin was slightly dazed, and he had to suppress a yawn. “I’m so glad you’re home.”

“Me too.” Kaz clumsily turned on his side, sleepiness making his limbs uncoordinated as he snuggled up even closer to his lover. “I’ve missed you so much.”

Hyde hummed in agreement, pressing a soft kiss to Kaz’s forehead. “I can’t believe the change in Meto, though,” he said thoughtfully. “I’ve had enough hugs to last me a lifetime already.”

Kaz snorted, a sleepy chuckle leaving his lips. “Mmm, and he was the one who insisted we came back home now, because he saw how much I missed you.”

“He did?” Hyde sounded surprised. “But I guess it’s no secret he cares about you a lot. I just never thought he’d give up having you all to himself over there. That he’d choose to let me share you.”

“He’s grown up a lot,” Kaz said, stealing another soft kiss. The kiss turned into another, and it took a few more minutes before Hyde could answer him.

“He sure has. I’m glad we took a chance on the islanders. Can you imagine if we hadn’t gone to find them? We might not have Bu, or Byou, or Hiyori, with us anymore.”

“Mmm.” Kaz snuggled down sleepily, and it took a moment for him to trudge through the mists of sleep enough to answer. “And we wouldn’t have our own nurse.” He gave off a deep sigh, his resistance gone, and he slipped into dreamland with his face pressed against Hyde’s neck. His lover smiled and closed his eyes, Kaz’s soft breaths lulling him to sleep.

. . . . .

Hide and Kiyoharu put the last of the stuff down and turned to Tomo, who was looking around him, amazed at the rooms that were now his to command.

“Everything ok like this?” Kiyoharu asked, and Tomo nodded silently before he realized a verbal answer would be more polite.

“It’s perfect. Thank you so much again for this,” he said, turning his wide eyes on the alpha. Kiyoharu grinned at the stunned look on their new nurse’s face and waved his hand dismissively.

“Glad you like it. Let us know if you need any changes made later.”

Tomo nodded, smiling. “I could start with having a look at your eye, if you’d like to be the first patient of the infirmary?” he offered Hide, gesturing at the bed they had placed so that it had easy access from all sides. Hide bowed his head in a silent acceptance, and sat down on the edge of the bed to wait for the omega to wash his hands and get ready. Kiyoharu leaned against the wall and watched while the nurse examined the eye.

“It’s as good as healed,” Tomo mumbled, carefully feeling around the eye. “How does it feel?”

“The pain is gone, and that weird numb feeling underneath the eye is gone too.” Hide smiled. “I feel fine.”

“Ok then,” Tomo smiled back. “Then I will go ahead and happily pronounce you to no longer be a patient.”

After Hide had thanked him once again, the alphas left. Tomo sat down on the bed, just looking around at the room, taking it all in. His infirmary.

Chapter Text

“I’m horny.”

Kyo looked up from the book he was reading, seated at their small table. Ruki was standing in front of him, pouting, as if his alpha had already denied him sex. Kyo reached for his bookmark and neatly put it between the pages before he closed the book and stood up. Still without talking, he walked past Ruki and placed the novel on the bureau, before he turned to his mate.

“Oh? Horny?” He started to approach slowly, step by carefully calculated step. “And what is it you want me to do about it?”

Ruki took a step back unconsciously, as his mate loomed over him, one eyebrow raised. How the hell does he manage to loom over me when we are almost the same height? Ruki swallowed, fighting off the need to submit that he always felt when Kyo pulled out all his alpha cards at once, like now. He was going to demand to get what he wanted, damn it!

“I’m horny,” he repeated. “Do something about it.” He shivered as Kyo had finally reached him, pushing him backwards against the table. The tabletop cut into his butt, and he had to lean back a bit as the alpha stepped up close enough to shove his thigh in between Ruki’s, spreading his legs. A low moan left the omega at the motion, and he watched his mate through hooded eyes.

“Tsk… Such arrogance. Do you think you’re allowed to demand things from me?” Kyo murmured, leaning into Ruki’s neck. “I think I might just have to show you who’s in charge.”

Yes! Ruki was a mixture of triumphant and completely weak to the knees, and all that came out of his mouth was a whimper. It turned into a yelp when Kyo suddenly grabbed him and flipped him over, pushing him harshly against the table, holding his hands in a firm grip against the tabletop while he grinded his cock against the omega’s ass.

“Maybe I should just take you right here,” he mumbled into Ruki’s ear. “Where anyone who passes by can see you moaning like a whore while I fuck you hard.”

The omega closed his eyes and took a deep breath, his arousal growing more every second. The possibility of being seen both scared him and turned him on, and he mewled in need. Kyo started to unbutton first his own pants and then Ruki’s, all the while mumbling dirty words in the omega’s ears. “What do you say, from behind like this? So everyone can see your cock bounce in rhythm with my thrusts… Or maybe I should flip you over on your back on the table and hold your legs spread wide, so everyone who passes can see your delicious legs, and watch you writhe in pleasure? Decisions, decisions…”

Kyo’s hand left his mate’s wrist and slid down to wrap around the omega’s cock, and as a thumb flicked over the head, Ruki’s brain finally short-circuited completely.

. . . . .

Reo eyed Kyo suspiciously. The alpha’s request seemed strange. Or, no, not the actual request, but the reason the short alpha had given for it. It sounded too much like excuses, and he didn’t like it. Especially not since he had seen the bruise Ruki sported on his cheek.

“Ok, I can fix your table. If you tell me the truth about how it broke.”

Kyo flinched. “But I did!”

“Oh?” Reo raised his eyebrow at the other, his jaw set. “So you want me to believe Ruki tripped and fell onto the table so it broke? And that’s why he’s got a bruise, and a limp?”

“Yes?” Kyo tried, ready to give up the pretense after this final try.

“No, Kyo. I swear to god, if you’re abusing him…”

Kyo looked scandalized. “What?! Are you crazy? Of course not! I would never hurt him, not in a million years. Not unless he wanted me to.”

Reo blinked. “Wanted you to? Kyo, what the hell?!”

The shorter alpha sighed and sat down, and after a moment’s hesitation, Reo did the same while he waited for the explanation. Kyo pursed his lips for a moment, thinking it through, before he started.

“You know Ruki and I like it kind of… rough? Right? That can’t have escaped your notice, or you’re truly blind.”

Reo nodded shortly. “It hasn’t. But from that to hitting him is an awfully big step.”

“I didn’t hit him!” Kyo protested, frowning. “We were just having sex on the table, and I think we might have loosened a few screws while he was still on his back., because it swayed a bit. But I never thought it would break, or I would have moved him somewhere else! But then I flipped him over and took him hard from behind, and it just caved in all of a sudden. He fell straight down, with me on top, and he hit his cheek on the chair on the way down.” Kyo looked slightly uneasy, not looking straight at Reo. The other alpha, on his end, was completely stunned. He stared at Kyo, mouth open, for at least a few minutes before he shook his head.

“Are you telling me you fucked the table to pieces?”

Kyo nodded.

“In front of the window?”

Another nod.

“Where anyone could have seen you?”

“No one did!” Kyo protested. “Everyone had gone to their cabins for the night. It was just the idea of it!”

Reo couldn’t stop staring. “But why?”

Kyo looked at his friend as if he was asking why the sky was blue. “Because it’s hot! Come on, Reo, have you and Tsuzuku never done it in a weird place? Like, ever?!”

At the mention of his mate, Reo’s eyes narrowed, and he raised a warning finger at the other. “That is none of your goddamn business!” He glared for another moment, before he sighed and shook his head. “Fine, I’ll fix your goddamn table, if you swear I will never see him with bruises again.”

“Swear to god. It was an accident caused by over-eagerness.” Kyo looked earnestly at the other alpha, and Reo sighed again.

“There had better not be any cum on that table, or you can fix it yourself.”

Kyo grinned. “There might be. Quite a lot, actually. But don’t worry! I’ll wipe it off first. Thanks for the help.”

Long after the other had disappeared to go find his mate, Reo sat in his chair, shaking his head to himself.

. . . . .

Uta watched Atsushi from the corner of his eye. They sat next to each other at dinner, and everything seemed like it always had been between them. But still, there was something that had changed. Uta could feel it. The major was more careful, touching him less, as if he was scared to hurt the omega again. He was as respectful as ever, but for once, Uta wished he hadn’t been. He missed the arm around his shoulders at breakfast, the hand that held his sometimes when they walked to the henhouse so he could take care of the chickens, while the alpha watched with a soft smile on his face. They still did everything they always had, just without the touching, and Uta had started to ache for it.

No, he wasn’t ready for sex, of course not. But a hug now and then couldn’t hurt, could it? And maybe even – did he dare think it – a kiss? Not like a long kiss with tongue, but just soft lips against his. Something to make him feel wanted.

Slowly, a plan formed in his mind, and he glanced at the alpha surreptitiously as he continued with his breakfast.

. . . . .

December had started snowy, but it was nowhere near last year’s immense snowfall. Still, the cold made sure the ice quickly covered the lake, and they were soon ready for the ice fishing to start. Everyone was getting more restless, as usual this time of year, when there was less to do outdoors. Still, they kept busy, and with Christmas approaching, the alphas were sent out to find the perfect tree. Ruki started working on the wreaths and other decorations, and they all happily helped wherever they were needed. December seemed to fly by, and before anyone knew it, it was less than two weeks until Christmas.

Yo-Ka and Hikaru disappeared to the heat cabin for a week , and others were called in to cover for them in the kitchen. A few days later, Aryu and Mitsuki declared they would be spending Aryu’s heat in the other heat cabin (Mitsuki firmly on suppressants), and though no one said anything to the lovely couple, everyone was relieved that things had worked out between the two.

Both couples were back in time for Christmas. The night before the big day, they all helped to finish the last of the decorations, Ruki ordering everyone around with a satisfied grin on his face. When it was all done, they stood back and just watched the transition of the dining room into a Christmas dream. Shinya held Shoya in his arms, Toshiya holding his arms around the both of them, smiling softly as he nuzzled his mate’s hair. A tear of joy trickled down his cheek, and Shinya looked up at him with a small smile, used to his mate’s overflowing emotions by now. The older children were running around, happily chasing each other, and all the babies were quiet at the same time for once.

If the resort couples hade been wide-eyed at the preparations, it was nothing to what they were now. Byou was in his sweet mode, giving Ruki compliments on the decorations, and his friend beamed back at him. Hiyori tried, completely without success, to get baby Yoshi to look at the Christmas tree. Manabu just snuggled up agains