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Dumo always tried not to pay too much attention to rut. It wasn't something he could forget about completely but at least he could ignore it and put it out of his mind, not waste any time thinking about it. He had actually been mostly successful that year, up until he saw a poster at the the supermarket for a log splitting competition over in Frick Park. The poster hadn't said that it was a rut specific event, but really, why else would they be doing timbersports in Pittsburgh at the beginning of August? The date was two days away, and sure enough when it rolled around Dumo couldn’t have escaped the rut unless he just stayed home and played video games for a week. Which had been his plan. Up until he realized that he had forgotten something important in his locker at the arena and -

Fuck it. If he was fast, he could get in and get out and get back home without incident.

Dumo drove past a corner lot where five or six female-secondary alphas are playing a very aggressive game of frisbee. A few blocks later, he passed a guy who was actually lifting a kettlebell while he waits to cross the street, what the hell. But it wasn’t all shirtless physical displays. Dumo knew from past experience that every bar and coffee shop would have a some alpha playing soulful songs on a guitar, sometimes multiple guys in a sort of dueling-instrumental situation.

Terrible.

Dumo wasn't surprised to see a handful of guys in the locker room when he showed up, chirping each other as they gear up to go lek even though there wasn't anyone around to see. Unlike the Hurricanes and the Islanders, the Penguins didn't allow for public lekking at their arena during rut week. But it was still only the first day, and Dumo knew that it had to be sort of a warm-up for the more laid back alphas - talk shit and show off on the ice and get their blood pumping before they headed out into the city.

Shearsy is standing right inside the door with bag on his shoulder like he had just shown up, talking to Murray and Muzz who were both already on skates and grinning at some story they were telling. Geno was over to the side, elbowing Schultzy, and it was sort of a surprise to see him there since everyone on the team knew Geno wasn't an athletic display type of alpha during rut. He could have been easily enough, given his size. But once he was done getting amped up with skating Dumo figured that Geno was probably going to put on the gaudiest shirt in his closet and go out to peacock it up in some loud club somewhere.

Dumo had to pass them to get to his stall, trying to be as unobtrusive as possible and failing right off the bat thanks to his size.

“Stop objectifying me Dumo!” Schultzy chirped, even though Dumo hadn’t so much as looked at him sideways. “I'm not a piece of meat!”

“You wish Schultz.”

Shearsy was still standing by the door, and Dumo started to accidentally catch his scent when he went to squeeze by so that he could get out of there. Dumo needed to shut that down immediately, so he had to sort of breathing through his mouth and keep his mind far away from anything that had to do with rutting alphas.

“You aren't gonna stick around?” Shearsy asked, and Dumo thought that his tone of voice was all wrong for it to be a chirp, too honest and curious.

But there was no way that Shearsy wasn't just giving Dumo a hard time for showing up in the locker room when his alpha teammates were getting ready to lek, a move that would have seemed weird and desperate if Dumo wouldn't have actually had a perfectly valid reason to be at the arena.

“Nah, Schultzy’s sister is waiting for me outside.” Dumo said, and then he was out the door with Schultzy’s indignant squawk echoing behind him.

Dumo didn't make it more than ten steps before he was intercepted by one of the trainers.

“Oh, Dumoulin. Good. You're here for your shot?”

“Um. No?”

The trainer drug her finger down the screen of the iPad she was carrying, scrolling as her eyebrows drew together. “Did you get it already? The doc should've marked it down, but you're the only omega-primary on the list who hasn't been checked off. Maybe he just forgot.”

When she stared back at him, the look on her face made it clear that she did not for one second believe it to be the case that Dumo already got his shot and the doc just forgot to mark him off the list. Damn.

It was standard procedure for all omegas on the team to get a contraceptive injection prior to rut. A proactive measure to stop any accidents from happening right before the season. It didn't matter to the staff whether or not someone planned to find an alpha to heat for, and in the end it was easier and less embarrassing for Dumo to just follow the trainer down the hall and accept the stinging shot in his arm.

He maybe lost track of why, exactly, he had wanted to get out of there so quickly. Because when he went to leave he headed out past the ice automatically, going on muscle memory, and -

He wasn't even looking. Not really. But a movement caught his attention out if the corner of his eye and saw Shearsy, out on the other side of the ice from Dumo. Shearsy, skating backwards and laughing at something that Schultzy had said, but then in a quick flash of his blades he changed direction in an instant to avoid a check into the boards from Geno, who had come barreling up behind him.

There was one hyperclear instant where Dumo saw Shearsy’s sharp grin, brighter than anything, before Geno started to chase him again and Shearsy skated away, taunting. The whole thing couldn't have taken more than four seconds, and Dumo hadn’t realized that his mouth had gone dry until it was flooded with saliva.

Oh . Oh shit .

All of a sudden his heart was kicking up gears in his chest, and he felt the weird little lightning zings down his spine and into the muscles of his thighs that could only mean one thing. Dumo turned and hurried out of there as fast as he could without running and drawing attention to himself, but it was already too late. He managed to get back to his car and shove all his stuff in the trunk, but when he sat down behind the steering wheel all he could do was lean forward and press his forehead against the smooth curve of it.

How fucking pathetic was he, that watching an alpha he liked just skate around could cause him to heat so quick. Jesus. Shearsy hadn’t even been lekking yet, much less lekking for Dumo of all people. But yet here Dumo was, getting wet over it on the first damn day of rut.

Most omegas heated four times a year on their own personal schedules, in addition to whatever may or may not have happened during the population-wide rut. It was rare for Dumo to have more than one normal heat, something the doctors attributed to all of the physical exertion from hockey in combination with his size. Dumo was actually thankful for it, since it wasn't like he missed going into heat or got sad that he didn't. He was happier only having one time a year when he was needy and alone, shivering all over as he pushed the fingernails on his free hand into the side of his neck, a pale imitation of having an alpha who would want to bite him there.

Heating during rut was always way worse, though. It was about a hundred times more physically intense with the added bonus of the fact that the biology of it was a little bit different. Because if an omega ended up going into heat during rut, they would only want the one alpha who had kicked off that hormonal reaction. Which was great, if the alpha reciprocated - that's why there were so many fucking sappy love songs about ruts. For Dumo, it only meant that the next three days were going to be a constant, aching reminder of the fact that he'd gone all wet and hot for someone who didn't want him back.

The last time that Dumo had heated for an alpha during rut had been four years ago. But the guy had taken one look at Dumo - who had a good six inches on him - and turned him down on the spot. Even though Dumo had been a sure thing. It was a real special type of shitty to know that someone would rather take their chances, maybe end up rutting alone, rather than go with Dumo.

A knock on his window startled Dumo, and when he looked over he saw Shearsy standing there with his knuckles still resting against the glass. Shit, how long had he been sitting there if the guys were already done skating and heading out? Shearsy looked at Dumo looking at him and knocked on the glass again. When Dumo rolled the window down, Shearsy actually physically recoiled for a second. Dumo couldn’t figure out why until he realized that he had to smell like heat, hadn't noticed it ramping up because he had been in the stuffy car so long.

Shearsy’s eyes had gone wide and he had taken a step back when the window opened, but then he moved forward again to look closely at Dumo.

“Shit, Dumo, I thought you were joking about Schultzy’s sister.”

Dumo blinked back at him, slow, trying to figure out what that meant and try not to make a fool out of himself.

“What?” His tongue felt huge in his mouth, and he couldn’t help but smell Shearsy now that he was standing right outside the open window in the quiet fall evening.

“Never- nevermind.” Shearsy looked at Dumo for a second like he wasn't sure what to say, and then “How long have you been sitting here? Whoever you're heating for has got to be worried that you're not back yet, Jesus. You want me to call them to come pick you up?”

Dumo was so hot that he was shivering with it, but he would have rather died than wrap his arms around him own middle, to self soothe like that in front in front of Shearsy. Shearsy was a good guy, Dumo didn't think he would tell anyone or chirp him about it later, but the shame of the whole situation was already almost choking, or. Maybe that was just Shearsy’s scent, the best thing Dumo could remember smelling in his entire fucking life.

He tightened his fingers around the wheel, knuckles going white as he muttered. “No, it's. There's no one, it's fine. I was just leaving.”

“Oh.” Shearsy said, and Dumo had to look away from the tone of his voice to dig his keys out of where he had dropped them in the cupholder.

“I don't think you're good to drive, man.”

“I'm fine.” Dumo said, turned the keys in the ignition but -

He hadn’t thought to put the window up, and Shearsy’s hand shot through to grab the steering wheel. His hand was less than and inch away from Dumo’s, bare skin so close, and if Shearsy touched him Dumo would actually die, because then Shearsy would know for sure and Dumo would have to deal with being explicitly turned down. He was already miserable enough from expecting the inevitable, he didn't need it to actually happen and destroy what was left of his ego.

“You know they always do extra patrols during rut. If you get picked up for heat impaired driving the team’ll never let you live it down.”

Dumo took the hand that was closest to Shearsy’s off the wheel, scrubbed it across his face to stop himself from looking at Shearsy. “Don't you have somewhere to be?”

“Uh, no. Not really. We're team, man, we look out for each other. Now let me just get you home.”

Dumo sighed and waited a second longer before he took his hand off his face and reached for the door handle. He could sit around and argue with Shearsy, but Shearsy was never going to give up so Dumo might as well just -

Dumo hadn’t meant for it to happen. He really hadn’t. He had just been reaching for the door as Shearsy had taken his hand away from the wheel and somehow their knuckles had brushed. But that was all it took. That skin to skin contact, during rut, bioelectrical information that pulsed across the contact in the split second before Dumo was able to pull his hand back and then. Dumo had heard alphas say that it changed the way things smelled, that they would immediately be able to lock in and tell that an omega was heating just for them.

Fuck, Dumo.”

Dumo took a deep breath, tried to stay calm. Shearsy was a good guy, he was Dumo’s friend. He wasn’t going to tell the entire locker room that Dumo had gone into heat for a teammate during rut. Shearsy wouldn't do that. But now he knew, and now Dumo was going to have to smile and say that it was alright, that he understood, that it was fine that he wasn't Shearsy’s type and Shearsy didn't want to rut with him.

Fuck, Dumo.” Shearsy said again, and Dumo realized belatedly that Shearsy didn't sound disgusted or mad or anything that Dumo had been expecting. “When did…”

“I saw you while I was leaving.” Dumo admitted, shifting in his seat, feeling where he was already so wet. If Shearsy didn't want to take him home then maybe he would do Dumo in the back of the car. They probably wouldn't bother be able to fit but Dumo thought that he could spread his legs up against the seats and Shearsy could stand outside the door fuck into him right in the middle of the parking lot and -. Dumo pushed his hair back out of his eyes. God, he was fucking easy. “Skating, when you dodged Geno.”

“Oh.” Shearsy said, and when Dumo looked up he saw that Shearsy’s pupils were blown so wide that the color was almost gone, wondered suddenly if he looked the same.

“Oh.” He said again, and then, after drawing in another deep breath added “So do you wanna get-”

“Yes.” Dumo cut him off, couldn't stop himself. “ Please .”

They left their cars at the arena parking lot and caught a beta-driven cab back to Shearsy’s place. Dumo was mostly concerned with how good they smelled together and how long the drive was taking, watching Shearsy fidget and try to keep his hands to himself. Dumo took a deep breath, nose filling with the overwhelming scent of rut, and... Dumo was only wearing a pair of basketball shorts and a t-shirt. If Shearsy wanted to he could have reached over and put his hand on Dumo’s knee, slid it up the bare, tender skin of his thigh and up, up until he could get his fingers into Dumo, feel him where he was slick and dripping. Dumo would let him do it too, even right here in the back of this cab. But when he looked over at Shearsy he managed to hold his tongue, suddenly sure that once they got started they weren't going to be able to stop. Then they were finally there, and Shearsy hadn't even blinked at the jacked up rut-transport rates, hadn't seemed to care, barely even looking away from Dumo as he paid at the bored cab driver.

There had been a long lull in conversation during the ride, mostly because Dumo didn't trust himself to speak without asking Shearsy to fuck him, and Dumo still hung back a couple of steps, feeling huge and awkward and so horny that he could almost not care about the first two things, while Shearsy fumbled with the locks on his door. Dumo had worried a that maybe Shearsy had cooled off on the idea of rutting with him, but as soon as he heard the lock click open Shearsy was turning, smiling helplessly as he hooked a finger over the waistband of Dumo’s basketball shorts to pull him in and through the door.

When Shearsy nudged him back against the wall next to the door Dumo went without hesitation, nerves thrilling at the way Shearsy directed him. Put Dumo’s big body right where he wanted it, stepping in close to nuzzle up under the hot spot on the side of Dumo’s jaw. Shearsy had caught Dumo’s hands in his own and his thumb rubbed soothing circles in the tender inside of Dumo’s wrist while they kissed. Dumo twisted away, gasping, the scents pouring off of both of them thick and overwhelming and he didn't need to breathe, really, just as long as Shearsy kept touching him and those lightning flashes of heat kept sinking into his spine.

“You alright?” Shearsy asked with a sharp nip to Dumo’s jaw that had him drawing in a deep gulp of air and opening his eyes for the first time since since stepping through the door, and -. Dumo had thought, in the cab, that Shearsy’s grin was the brightest thing that he had ever seen. Now he realized that he had been wrong, blinking wide-eyed as he looked around entryway of Shearsy’s place.

“Dumo?” Shearsy sounded more concerned now, thumb stilling over the pulse point on Dumo’s wrist where his heart was kicking like a wild thing.

“Yeah.” Dumo said, a little breathless, deep enough in heat that his inflection was seriously off. Shearsy looked up then, following Dumo line of sight.

“Oh, uh. Do you like ‘em?”

Windchimes, had been Dumo’s first thought. But even through the heat haze he realized that wasn't quite right - the things that Shearsy had strung up all over the place didn't look like they were supposed to make noise, just reflect light which they were doing in spades. Mobiles of shiny silver disks that shone bright sprays of light everywhere. It was beautiful, shocking, even more so since Dumo had come over to play videogames with Shearsy plenty of times, just a week ago even, and those definitely had not been there. Even if Dumo had never seen anything like it before he realized, instinctively, that it had to be a rut thing.

Dumo had been so distracted by the shiny mobiles that he didn't even notice Shearsy staring to fidget until he felt a tug on the waistband of his shorts and looked down. He thought that Shearsy looked like he couldn't decide whether to be proud or embarrassed that Dumo was paying so much attention to his weird rut decor display, a little pink across his nose as he shifted his weight back and forth and didn't really look Dumo in the eye, clearly waiting for some type of judgement.

“Did you make those yourself?” Dumo asked, voice pitched low in the quiet of the room “They're awesome, man.”

“You really think so?” Shearsy seemed to almost preen with the compliment, an entirely different type of pleased expression on his face than what Dumo was used to seeing after Shearsy scored goals, and just like that his blood was running hot and fast again.


“Yeah.” Dumo swallowed, thick, watching Shearsy watch his mouth “I really do.”