Chapter 2 A proposition
John slowly blinked his eyes, his vision blurred then started to sharpen. Groaning he sat up, wincing at the ache in his side and back. The room was unfamiliar and the strong scent of coffee and tobacco flooded his senses causing him to gasp. Instinct snapped him out of his haze, there was an Alpha near by and this was the Alpha's domain.
It wasn't a familiar scent, not that John made it a point to hang out with Alphas. His sister on the other hand, "Oh Harry." John groaned clasping his eyes shut, the room started to spin and all he managed was to sit up. The couch he was on wasn't exactly uncomfortable but it was well worn and John's body sunk into the cushions, his head resting on the back of the brown coarse furniture.
Flashes of memory started to stream in and he remembered his sister, her instance that he sit, she'd poured him some tea. Her agitation put John on edge almost immediately, he wanted to calm her. So he obediently drank the tea she'd made even though it tasted overly sweet and Harry was normally crap at making tea. Then again she was rarely ever sober, oddly she was then. Rather she appeared to be as close to sober as she'd ever be.
John recalled how he'd tried to ease her anxiety by offering to make her something to eat. Her eyes had heavy bags and were red rimmed, he worried for her. He'd been deployed for three years and it was always like this when he returned home, she was a mess. He'd cleaned up the small flat they shared, and he'd hoped she would try and stay sober just until his leave was up.
"John, drink that." She had demanded wringing her hands in her lap slumping into the chair across from him at the small wooden kitchen table.
"I will. It's a bit sweet. Would you like me to maybe make another-"
"NO!" She nearly shouted placing her cold hands over his, willing him to keep hold of the cup. "I mean-" She gave a weak smile. "Just drink. I have something to uh tell you."
John could read there was something wrong, seriously wrong. His sister had her hair pushed back into a messy pony tail, and she was wearing the same clothes she'd worn yesterday before she'd left the flat. It was already late into the day, obviously she hadn't slept yet.
"Harry ?" John realized she wasn't even trying to meet his expression, she'd been acting funny the whole time he'd been home for leave. And not to mention the small amount of money he had squirreled away in his wallet as well as the wallet had gone missing.
"Just, please drink." She moved away from the table and went to grab the kettle once more. John did as she said in hopes to quiet her clear distress.
"Alright. Alright." John smiled taking a swig of the overly sweet hot tea. "See all gone." He recalled how things had started to become fuzzy after that.
"I'm so sorry Johnny." That's what she'd said standing and facing him from across the table. "I-I-thought it was a sure win. I wouldn't have." Her voice trailed or perhaps it cut out John couldn't remember. He remembered hearing her mention a card game and lack of funds. Then there was a hard knock on the door and she was at his side. Begging him? Pleading with him to just stay calm.
He could smell them, the strong scent of Alphas, and despite the heaviness of his body he'd jumped out of his chair, pushed away from her. "Harry what have you done?" She didn't reply she only put her hands up turning to the three men that entered the flat. Or had they kicked the door open?
John held his head in his hands now trying to pull up the details of the distorted memory.
Was it all a dream? The feeling of hands roughly pulling him towards the door, he'd hit someone. That he could remember, the feel of bone meeting fist. The crunch of a nose and the wet stickiness of blood. He'd broken someone's nose, and that someone hadn't been gentle about subduing John.
"Don't hurt him! You said you wouldn't hurt him!" His sister had shouted before everything went completely black.
"Here, take this. I was told by a somewhat intelligent source that these will make your head feel better. As well as lots of water to counter act the dehydration. You being a doctor should already know this."
John flinched from the stranger's deep baritone that sharply interrupted his thoughts. He glared, well more like squinted at the offered hand. He could see the pills and knew what they were; still he wasn't overly trusting at this point.
"Please if I was going to do anything lascivious I would have already while you were in your sedated state." Came the chilly voice.
John shakily accepted the now offered bottle of water and Paracetamol. "Where am I? Who are you?"
"Of course you have questions. It seems your sister Harriet Watson I believe her name was, lost a rather large sum of money in a poker game. She then opted to dig herself out of a hole by offering you as collateral."
John swallowed the water eagerly, his mouth feeling as if it had been stuffed with cotton balls. It took a moment for the stranger's bored tone to get through to him, blue eyes met gray.
"As you can easily deduce by the situation you now find yourself. She lost. And I won." The words were cold and formal, Sherlock braced himself for dramatics. After all that's how Omegas acted, overly dramatic the lot of them. It was disgusting really, and he wasn't in the mood for tears or pleading.
Except this Omega, this small man with the soft blond hair and the clear blue eyes surprised the Consulting Detective with his reaction or lack there of.
"Is my sister alright?"
Sherlock frowned perhaps the sedative still had hold of the Omega. Sherlock could only sense quiet resignation in the man drinking slowly from the water bottle in his shaking hands.
The blue eyes were concerned and Sherlock couldn't help but scowl. "As far as I know she hasn't been harmed. Obviously when her debt was paid there was no other business Sebastian had with her." Sherlock didn't mention it was Sebastian Wilkes that had won John originally and Sherlock just happened to take the opportunity to win John from the idiot soon after.
It wasn't exactly cheating, Sherlock didn't count the cards although he could have, no, instead he deduced the idiot's next moves.
John, yes that was the Omega's name. He was a Doctor in the RAMC, interesting that his sister was the polar opposite. Whereas Doctor John Watson was successful in school and as a doctor. His sister was a compulsive gambler and alcoholic. She lived off of the money her brother sent to her and the percentage the army gave her for allowing John to maintain his service.
Omegas didn't have rights until twenty five, that's if they remained unbounded, something of a rarity these days. Until they were of age or bonded the eldest Alpha in the family had control over their finances and life. John would have made a higher rank than Sargent if he'd been bonded. The army frowned down upon Omegas and even more so unbounded ones.
It was interesting to see this Omega had made it this far without bonding or being forced into a contract. Sherlock wondered why Harry hadn't sold her brother earlier, he had a pleasant enough face and from what the Alpha had seen last night. The younger man had a nice enough figure, well toned albeit bruised, but well-built for an Omega that is.
"Well there's that." John sighed staring back at his empty water bottle. "So you have my papers?" John sighed softly wincing he put a hand to his side.
"Yes, I do. My signature as well as your sister's are clearly here at the bottom." Sherlock produced the documents. The Omega accepted them without looking up.
"Can I get another one?" He shook the empty water bottle at Sherlock. The Alpha bit back a grammar correction and instead went to retrieve another one for the surprisingly calm blond.
It wasn't until Sherlock had turned his back on the shorter man that he discovered his mistake. "Sorry mate, nothing personal. "
The Omega apologized after bringing a rather heavy book across the back of Sherlock's head. Stunned and unprepared the Alpha stumbled forward and just ducked away from the knee meant to collide with his jaw.
"Well this is a surprise." Sherlock grunted to himself blocking a kick meant for his stomach.
"I'm two years short of twenty five. I m not belonging to anyone." The Omega panted, obviously his strength wasn't a hundred percent. This was Sherlock's advantage, it didn't take long before he had the small blond pinned beneath him. He hadn't been challenged physically in quite a while, this was somewhat irritating. He straddled the wiggling Omega, trapping his wrists above his head, Sherlock growled and snapped his teeth near the Omega's neck. The struggles ceased instantly and the reek of fear seeped into the room.
The Alpha could feel the drumming of his prey's heart, could taste the delicious scent that lead to submission. Then those eyes, those clear blue eyes met his, the tilt of the Omega's chin the stiffening of the muscles beneath Sherlock's hold all of it was an open challenge. Despite his abhorrence for physical contact Sherlock felt a warmth spread straight to his groin. Interesting.
"Don't." Sherlock's voice was husky and came across almost as a plea. What was it about this seemingly ordinary man that put Sherlock on edge? The reactions were not that of a normal Omega, thus sparking a sudden and intense interest in the usually bored genius.
"Get off!" The Omega demanded his breathing heavy and labored. Sherlock examined the pale face staring up at him, enjoying the feel of dominance.
"Please. I can't breath." Said through clenched teeth.
John did seem to be having a hard time taking in deep breaths, Sherlock wondered if this was an act. Then he remembered the bruises that lined the younger man's torso. Perhaps his weight was causing the Omega pain. This bothered the consulting detective and he couldn't understand exactly why.
"I will move as you so politely asked. But first I want your reassurance you aren't going to try and run."
The Omega struggled helplessly, his face going more insipid by the second. "Stubborn fool." Sherlock snapped. "Would it make you feel more secure if I told you I have no wish to bond with you? In fact I have a rather beneficial business proposition for you. One in which I would gladly discuss civilly, if you would just allow me without fear of further attack on my person."
The Omega halted in his struggles, and Sherlock took this as acquiescence. He moved away from the shorter man, sure to keep himself from striking distance and at the same time blocking the only exit.
John sat up slowly attempting to ease his own breathing, Sherlock made no move to assist although his biology demanded he offer comfort. He unlike most was not a slave to his biology, so he kept his feet firmly planted and his fists in his pockets.
"I need an Omega and you need an Alpha. My brother holds my trust. And you can't seem to be promoted without the necessity of an Alpha. I will offer my name if you would play the part of dutiful soon to be mate. If you agree I'll be sure to pad your personal account with ten thousand pounds at the end of the year. My terms are simple; there will be no physical contact unless the situation calls for it. I will not however in any way wish for a bond or bonding. In fact I would require you to stay on your suppressors. And for you a promised bond obviously would break through the red tape you find yourself coming up against in your position. At the end of the year I will have my trust secured firmly and you will receive your payment. Simple as that. You continue with your life, and I with mine. "
"That's it?" John held a hand to his aching side, damn he hoped nothing was broken. Was this a dream? A nightmare?
"This I assure you is real and not a poorly thought up dream. And yes, that is all. Of course we would have to appear to be a couple in public and for show. However once we return home you can depart to your own room and I mine."
"Why? Why do you need an Omega?" John was studying the strange Alpha in the rather expensive purple shirt. He was handsome enough, he could find a mate easy.
"Yes, I could find a mate but I do not want one. My brother is an over bearing ass that has seized my trust until I can prove I am responsible and ready to carry on the family name. He doesn't deem himself inferior enough to have to fulfill the family obligations. Self important prick that he is has like I said seized my trust until I can act accordingly. " Sherlock threw himself into a comfortable looking chair across from John.
"So you think you can just suddenly show up with a fiancé and he'll let it go? Your money I mean?" John couldn't help but look skeptical.
"It's a loophole, it's not my fault my mother wasn't more descriptive. It only states that I have to be engaged with intent of bonding at the end of the year. You see, I can easily write it off at the end of the year. Simply by saying we've gone our separate ways. And the threat of my brother will finally be out of my business and my life."
"Just a year? And only for show?" John slowly climbed to his feet. "Nothing else."
"Yes. A year. And nothing overly intimate. I detest sentiment."
"If I say no." John tried to take a steady breath he was swaying on his feet and damn if the room wasn't starting to spin.
"Then, I'll give you your papers now and you are free to go." Sherlock snapped irritably not even looking in John's direction.
"Fine. I'll do it. God help me. I'll agree. As long as you keep your hands to yourself." John wondered if he could make it to the couch just a few feet away before passing out. Then he realized something rather important. "I don't even know your name. Or where I am?" he almost laughed out loud at the insanity of it all.
"Sherlock Holmes. You are in my home at 221B Baker Street." The dark haired Alpha was on his feet a curious expression playing across his pale features. Definitely not concern. He didn't seem the type to care.
"I'm sorry Sherlock, but it looks like I'm about to-" And for John everything went black.