Art by @a-zebra-was-here on deviantart
I drew back for a second and eyed the man sitting on my treatment table.
“Are you actually complaining right now?”, I asked in a tone that might’ve sounded nice to an outsider, the guy twitched and shook his head.
“I told you not to go crazy on the extra practice sessions”, my gloved hands prodded at his shoulder blade, “does that hurt?”.
I suppressed a chuckle at the obvious attempt of the guy to look calm and collected, but said nothing.
Let the alpha keep his tattered pride.
“You’re new here aren’t you? If you keep doing these reckless things at some point your AC-joint will strain and you’ll be out for a while”, I pushed against the dip on top of his shoulder, you’re lucky it’s just a badly tensed muscle”.
“Thank ya, I’m new but I feel like m’treated well here”, he snickered as I rubbed a pain relieving cream onto his shoulder, “don’t wanna pass up too much varsity practice ya know?”
Varsity volleyball huh?
“I get it. Just don’t go overboard. Next time you’re sent here because you’re overworking yourself I’m kicking you out!”, I mused and smiled at him.
A grin came right back from him and I gestured for him to hop off the table.
He rolled his shoulder tentatively and I watched him with furrowed brows, a typical D1 athlete. They all boast and shout until they go to lengths so they can stay a starting player. And when they get hurt they all come running.
“Right, so you take that prescription for the ointment and put it on for a couple of weeks even when it hurts less”, I scribbled down the name of the cream, “Atsumu Miya right?”
“That’s the one!”, he chimed and I chuckled as I passed him the small sticky note.
“Take care!”, as he started walking to the door I lowered my maks out of habit and took a quick breath in and out. Relaxing and letting myself go for a moment before the next client came rushing in.
Atsumu froze from where he stood and slowly, as if in slow motion, turned back to me.
“Why do ya smell like that?”, he spat dumbfounded.
“Ah, well you didn’t expect that guy to be an omega hm?”, another Alpha loomed at the doorway and I shook my head as Kuroo waltzed in as he talked to Atsumu.
“Omega?!”, the blonde quickly looked between me and Kuroo and I shrugged.
“Yup, I know. I don’t look like it, I get that a lot”, I chimed, trying to smile through my annoyance.
“But you’re a guy?”
“Whoa, pump the breaks Tsumu”, Kuroo walked and stood next to him now, “it got nothing to do with that. What’s that about?”
I sighed and couldn’t contain a smile, “happens a lot Kuroo, people think I’m a beta because I work in the infirmary. I might look all nice and calm, but don’t test me”, I held a finger to Atsumu.
He held up his hands in defeat, “Yer the second omega I’ve ever seen so I’m j’st surprised! No hard feelins’”
With a wave of my hands I ushered him out and now looked at the guy in front of me.
He just shook his head and shrugged, “Youth. So gullible, right Suga?”.
“I’m older than you?”
He let his hands fall to his sides and pouted.
“Come on up now, let’s look at that inflammation”.
Kuroo trotted towards me and I ushered him to sit in front of me.
With a quick movement I placed my mask over my face again and noticed his eyes squinting for a moment.
“What is it? “, I asked as I tapped his shoulder to check his responses.
“Do you have to wear that? Even with me?”
I followed his eyes to my mask, and a sigh escaped my lips as I kept working.
“I always wear that when I’m working. Especially when it’s alphas. You know why”, I hoped my tone was as calm as I wanted it to be.
It was true that I wore a scent blocking mask to not get affected by any kind of scent around me, as I believed that I should treat all of my patients equally no matter what secondary gender they were.
“I know, I know, it doesn’t bother me I mean I’m used to it”, Kuroo let his head flop to the side when I pushed at his neck to prod at his bandages, “but I though, you know we know each other for a while now and you don’t wear it when you’re out of the infirmary right? “
But did I really want to tell him though?
I knew Kuroo from my psychology classes, which I took out of pure interest and curiosity at first, but since I was coming close to the end of my nursing program, I was even considering minoring in it.
We got along quickly after that, and I knew a lot of other athletes through varsity and other clubs, so Kuroo and I got to be close friends quicker than I would like to admit.
“Let’s just say”, and I let that sentence hang in the air for a bit before I continued,”I like to keep a safe distance from my clients. That’s what my mask and my scent blockers are for. And not everyone is as laid-back as you are Kuroo”.
Or has as much self-restraint.
I regretted the words the second they came out of my mouth, because I could basically feel the pity drooping off of him. If I took off my mask I was pretty sure I could smell it too.
“Oh come on, don’t give me that, just make a weird joke about it”, I hoped to restore the tense air in the room back into the joking attitude we had beforehand.
Kuroo sharply exhaled out of his nose, which was probably supposed to be a laugh and I chuckled as I retracted my fingers from his injury.
I turned around in my swivel chair to grab the laptop on the side and typed in the updated findings into his chart.
“If you don’t stop pouting over there I will have to bring Shiro in here, she would punch you if I asked her right?”
At that, Kuroo groaned but laughed in the end, and I finally exhaled and relaxed my shoulders.
He shouldn’t worry.
“So, what’s the news? Am I dying?”, snorting at the alphas lame joke I shook my head.
“You’re not dying! But the injury is still severe. You’re working on it with physical therapy and ice?”
He nodded and I quickly typed away on my laptop.
“Any unusual pain? Can you show me how much you can rotate your arm before it starts hurting?”
With that, Kuroo heaved his arm up horizontally until he strained and gritted his teeth, and before he could do any more damage I pulled his arm back down.
“Easy there, I said before it started hurting! Still, that’s better than last time so you’re improving. Keep at it with the exercises and no practice or hard labour!”
He saluted and I slapped him onto his healthy shoulder, “up with you!”.
“You still shouldn’t take scent blocker all the time. I heard those can really mess up your hormone balance and stuff”
I couldn’t help the big snort then came out of me, “is that so? I was so unaware, you know since I am a nursing student working with imbalanced clients all day!”
Kuroo actually looked embarrassed as he ducked his head, and I just exploded with laughter.
“Stop laughing! I was trying to give you advice!”
I stopped laughing for a moment.
He sounded absolutely mortified, but I had to give him credit where it was due. The scent blockers I took effectively took away most of my scent which almost made me invisible, but the side effects of the drug weren’t fun.
Differently from heat blockers, which were so commonly used and tested that they didn’t have much of an influence on an omega’s body, scent blockers were still a bit more experimental and definitely strained the body.
Still, I have to take them.
Before I could think any further, my mind stopped at that and I looked at Kuroo again.
“You’re right I’m sorry, but don’t worry about me I’ll be fine!”
My smile was brighter than ever, and not even Kuroo dared to dig deeper on that.
“Alright, if you say so”, he nodded and started to walk off adn out of my reach, I’ll see you later for lunch?”
“Yup!”, I chimed back and he raised his arm in a goodbye without even looking at me.
The door felt closed behind him and I quickly turned around and tore off the mask that clung to my labored breath.
Don’t you think I want to take this off?
Don’t you think I want to walk about not having to worry about my scent?
No way, this is better. This way at least I don’t get into weird situations.
Scrambling to put up my mask again and slanting my eyes at the person who just darted in, my gaze fell on a small woman looking at me with concern dancing in her eyes.
“Hey, uhm sorry can I help you?”
“Huh?”, I blubbered out.
Help me? I’m the nurse?
“No, you just look a bit pale, uh sorry for intruding but are you-”, as she moved towards me her steps suddenly faltered and her nostrils flared up.
Ah, here we go.
It all starts over again, the first time I meet a person.
Why do you have no scent?
You smell funny…
Why are you wearing a mask?
They are all the same.
“I just realised I have no appointment, ah- but I just wanted to ask for an application for the infirmary. I heard you guys need new people all the time?”
“I don’t have a practitioner’s license yet but I can help with other stuff I’m sure!”
She doesn’t care?
Or better yet, she doesn’t perceive it?
“Uh, sure yeah but uhm”, I fumbled with my words, “do you not? Uh?”
“Hm?”, her Caramel scent waved off of her in steady streams, a typical scent pattern for an omega I presumed.
She scented the air again and I waited for her shocked response, but nothing came.
“You don’t seem stressed, so I’m assuming it’s not because my scent disturbs you?”
Her comment made me do a double take.
Why would that be a problem?
Unless she has a harder time perceiving scents? That would make sense, because it sounds as if she didn’t assume me to be a beta.
“Right, application! Uhm”, I turned around to check for my patient list and realised I had no appointments lined up for today, “do you have time for a quick chat now? It’ll spare me the paperwork?”
The omega piped up with a smile and nodded.
With a smile myself I walked to the phone plastered on the wall and dialed a quick number.
“Kiyoko? Yeah I’m done with appointments, I’ll leave you with any emergencies if they happen can you cover for me? Great, thank you!”, I hung up the phone and smiled at the girl.
“Would you like a coffee?”
After a bit of small talk and standing in the line of the nearest school Cafe we sat down for a nice chat.
“So Mikoto, did you actually not notice that I have no scent?”
With huge eyes she looked at me and took a deep inhale before she looked at me in disbelief.
“I didn’t notice at all! But my beta friend always tells me I’m dense about scents anyways”.
I knew it, it was probably less about her being dense than her perception of scents was different.
I’ve never met a girl like her, especially an omega.
“Well, that’s no matter for us anyway, it’s actually better if you want to work at the infirmary because you won’t get affected so much by the clients”
“OH okay, I’m glad that works out!”, she took a tiny sip from her drink and I nodded.
“You can just send me most of your data per Mail, and skip the CV I just need to see if you like the work and you’ll be set!”
Her giddy attitude made it easy to converse with her, and I haven’t felt as relaxed as I did right now in a while.
“Thank you so much Sugawara, I really appreciate all of this”.
I smiled back at her and took a gulp of my iced Chai as well.
“It will be good to have new people at the infirmary. It’s only Kiyoko and I so far and two other interns like you so we’re always in search of more students. Again, I thank you too!”
I saw how her eyes glinted at ‘other interns’ and I was glad to find a sociable person in our ranks now.
“So tell me, how long have you been aware of your own scent pattern to make it flow that way?”
Mikoto stopped dead in her tracks and looked at me dumbfounded.
“You mean to tell me you don’t actively work on your scent pattern?
Mikoto looked at me with a rather irritated expression, her scent still wafting off of her but with a note of slight burn.
“Uhm, I really don’t know what you’re talking about but I guess if my scent is weird I can-”
Immediately I drew my hands up to stop her, “no way! No, no! I was just wondering if uh okay let me explain. Scent patterns are like your signature”
The omega looked at me quite intently and I tried to explain it further.
“You know the scent glands produce oil that makes our scents, and every person has a scent pattern that they exhibit. There is lots of theories and even more people speculating, but I think that betas are the best at detecting them”
“Betas?”, the surprise in her voice was evident and I nodded.
“As they are naturally inclined to diffuse situations they have a very strong sense of smell but are less affected by pheromones. Therefore most of them can almost feel or see the scent pattern of other people”
“Wow, that’s extremely interesting… I have a lot of beta friends, but I didn’t know this!”
I took a sip from my drink before I continued, “Yeah, it’s a very instinctive thing and most betas don’t make a big deal of it. I’m an omega that can detect these patterns very well too, and I just saw that yours is really special. I thought you did that consciously!”
Mikoto shook her head vigorously,” No, I never knew. I didn’t even know that patterns can be an active thing to control. My beta friend always says I’m dense when it comes to scents”, she laughed it off but I felt like that actually bothered her.
This world lived off of the fact that we had to work with our scents. I was surprised an omega like her would be dense about smells.
“That’s totally fine, I think your scent is really soothing. Also sweet”
“Thank you!”, she smiled, but her eyes were not quite looking at me.
“Wanna work on your scent awareness?”