Alpha-Beta-Omega: one take on Touched

Mar 12, 2013 19:07

I took a last-minute date at Big Damn Fest, which is celebrating different episodes of the Jossverse. I wanted to write fic (duh), but also explore the alpha-beta-omega trope. Partly for a challenge, but also because it didn't really take off in Buffyverse but has become *really* popular elsewhere. Which is intriguing.

I also wanted to do something for Touched, which is this week's BtVS ep at fantas_magoria. And Lo! It is full of two-person encounters that allow the trope to be looked at from many angles. So! Read the ficlets and/or the notes and see what you think...

Alpha-beta-omega dynamics come in many versions, some of them very graphic body modifications. These do underlie this fic, but it's not very explicit. G-rated a/b/o if you will. I've chosen to link them to the powers people display. Roughly speaking, alphas are dominant types, large and physical. Omegas may be smaller, and are perceived as submissive. They can take a lot of abuse for being different.

Most people are betas - ordinary humans like Xander, Dawn, Giles are all betas, as were Joyce, Riley, Cordelia before she was demonised, Oz before he was wolfed etc. Magical types have a tendency to be omega, and omegas are fairly common, especially among women (lots of Wicca omegas, in fact). They are pretty well managed with pharma products, but that has an impact on sex drive. Male human alphas do occur though they are fairly rare; again, it tends to come with magical powers. (Robin is one, probably because his mother was a Slayer. I suspect Wesley's dad is an alpha, and pissed off that Wes isn't. Also that Rack was an alpha, which explains why Willow responded to him and the rest of us betas could see he was gross.) Vampires of both genders often become alphas on being sired (not invariably). Slayers are the *only* female alphas, and they only get the knot when they are called; potentials are therefore nearly alphas but not quite anything, and effectively live like betas. It's how the Council knows who is a potential.

Faith looked on disgustedly as the Potentials babbled. Nobody taking charge. Nobody in control. Bunch of damn beta adults, and the Slayerettes. (Who might be alphas, technically, but they'd never pop a knot while Faith was alive. Nor B.)

But Faith didn't want to think about Buffy.

Time to get alpha on their asses. She jumped up. "Okay team! You all talked it out, very nice, but you need a leader, and that leader is me now."

It felt unfamiliar. She kept the alpha under wraps in jail. Had to. Faith's alpha side came with a downside the size of Oklahoma, had done ever since she was called. Plus, who lot of omegas in jail. If they'd sniffed her out wrong time of the year, she'd have been gang banged to creation. And Faith didn't specially want to die that way, under a sticky pile of heaving potential baby-mamas.

But that was then. Now, she welcomed the alpha back. Felt it surge like authority and power; spread her feet, wide stance, hands on hips. Asserting. Could swear she felt her knot grow, just a fraction, though there wasn't one person in this room she'd fuck.

Or not right now.


"You're a bloody omega, aren't you?"

Five hours into the enforced monastery vigil and Spike had run out of conversation, desire for conversation and (nearly) reasons to keep from killing Andrew. He was antsy as anything, needed to be away back to Buffy. Hoped that pointing out the obvious might shame the little twink into shutting his cakehole.

No such luck. Andrew blushed, thrilled. "Oh my god! How can you tell? Am I scenting? I'm on suppressants, but… Are you going to ravish me?"

Dick. Spike had been an omega, back when. He knew what it was really like, in the days before chemistry made it all a bit more bearable. Near got fucked to death at school more than once. And Andrew was on so much hormone suppressant he might as well have been a eunuch.

Soul told him it was the wrong thing to do, but Spike was never aiming for sainthood. So he said as much, and watched Andrew wilt. "But you're a freak, and a demon-summoner, and that usually spells omega.”

The boy brightened. “So true! Me and Jonathan-“ and he did flimch a little, at the name of the friend he murdered, but it was a pretty feeble effort “-we were totally Omega Pride, you know? Hereabouts, people get omega, what you can do with the powers.” Which Spike could understand. Wondered whether his previous life would have been better if someone ever mentioned he could try to call up a demon spawn for the hell of it.

Probably not. William would probably have been devoured. Just his style.


What's an alpha without a pack?

Not much.

Buffy walked the Sunnydale streets, bewildered. She was never alone. Ever.

This was wrong.

But she was too tired to fix it.


“Some guys are scared of Slayers, you know? Hear that word ‘knot’ and they go a-running.” Not omegas, of course, but Robin was an alpha through and through.

Faith wasn’t even a little bit surprised when Robin just smiled, stretched all that well-honed alpha muscle and replied, “I’m pretty comfortable with my own sexuality, thank you. Shall we see about yours?”

Got to love a challenge. And Faith’s gonna enjoy seeing how this guy takes her on.


Willow looks at the pack of suppressants, and takes half her usual dose. Kennedy watches. “Is that a good idea?” House full of near-alpha girls is not, generally, a place to mess with hormonal surges.

“We’re all about to die, you know that right? Heats suck, but suppressants… they aren’t so good for the sex life. Plus, I have some herbs that help, when I need them.” Willow's’s been trying to keep them for emergencies, in line with the whole non-magicking idea, but just now, she feels like she’s identified an emergency.

The pills wear off fast, when they go, and Willow shudders as the hormone surge washes through. Artificially held back, the tidal release is stronger than it should be. Experience says it’ll dissipate fast enough, leaving her nicely mellow.

Meantime, there’s kissing to be done.


“I used to be an omega. Did you know that?” Anya said it quite suddenly, as Anya did say that kind of thing, as they sat awkwardly at the kitchen island eating ice cream to the sound of orgiastic alpha sex upstairs, and the smell of Willow off her suppressants wafting down the hall. All of which sucked pretty bad, thank you.

“When you were a demon? I didn’t think most demons did that stuff?” Xander should probably have known about this earlier, what with years of boyfriending plus the whole demon magnet angle.

Anya’s expression said so, anyway. “Human-appearance demons are usually something. Omega often enough. And you know vampires are. Honestly, have you spent any time thinking these past seven years at all?” But she said it affectionately, with a hint of how their relationship once was, and Xander chose not to take offence.

Besides: curious. “Was it better?”

“God no! I was at the mercy of my hormones. Endlessly humping some guy, or some dildo, or my own hand." It's possibly Xander was a little glazed at this point. Anya ignored it, and continued. "No chance to make sensible life choices at all. No wonder I never settled down with a nice guy till-“ She paused. Did not admit to anything, but Xander could read the unspoken ending perfectly well. She gave a firm nod. “Beta is better.”

He waggled his eyebrows, shamelessly.

“Yes please,” she said, and slipped off the kitchen stool. Ice cream was temporarily not the best offer for either of them.


They used to go alpha on alpha, hard and brutal and kinky as fuck, because that was not an option for any other straight couple in the world just now. (Not unless or until Faith found herself an alpha male, and Buffy wasn’t convinced she would. Pretty sure Faith liked to be top dog.)

And Buffy was thinking about this right now, because she had the luxury. Because she’d stepped down from being the leader of the pack. And Spike was not just another rival threat, snapping at her heels. He followed her, found her and knelt for her. Submitting, to someone who wasn’t even an alpha anymore, not where it counted. Admit that there’s nothing inevitable about your destiny, admit that you need to step back, just for once, and you recharge.

Buffy tried it once before, when Angel died. Had to get away, away from pack and responsibility. Remember what it’s like to be alone. That time, she found her alpha again in months. Wouldn’t take that long this time. It was coming.

Somewhere, deep down, her bruised, slunk-away, resented alpha stirred, just a fraction. Just enough that Spike felt it. Not a knot, but an instinct, he turned his head and looked her in the eye. “Not quite beaten, huh, Slayer?”

She smiled back, at his too-close blurry face. “Not quite.” But she wasn’t about to leave this retreat. Not quite yet. She’d gather her strength. Then, look out, Sunnydale, Caleb, the First, the whole lot.

Buffy Summers would be back.


trope bingo

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