Part 13: Under One Roof

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Summary The primes and their mates arrive. A big discussion ensues. Part one of three covering the primes visit.

Dean was pretty much a wreck by the time the alpha primes arrived. He’d never done well with anticipation, especially when punishment was the thing he was anticipating. He was happy to have his family visit, happy to have them see his alpha house, the way he and his other alphas interacted. He knew the alpha primes would be proud of most of what they’d done. He had no doubt. He and the others had worked hard.

“Incoming,” Sam yelled from the living room.

Dean felt his stomach clench. He tried to keep calm. He didn’t need to greet his family looking like a deer in the headlights. And his parents loved him, had never abused him. The worry over disappointing them was the worst part. He’d done worse things in the past and they still loved him, forgave him.

By the time Dean got down to the living room, everyone was inside and there were hugs and friendly greetings between everybody. Meg saw Dean first, and she rushed over to him, hugging him so tightly he nearly squeaked, as per usual.

“I didn’t come into the house last time,” she said as she pulled out of the hug and smiled at him. “It’s beautiful.”

“Thanks,” he said, smiling back at her.

Meg grabbed his face in her hands and pulled him close. “Chill out. Your parents aren’t going to kill you, sweet cheeks.”

Dean chuckled nervously. “They might once they find out what an asshole I was,” he said with a nervous glance over to the larger group.

Meg snorted “I didn’t say they wouldn’t tan your hide. I said they wouldn’t kill you,” she said, then ruffled his hair.

His dad was the next to see that Dean was downstairs, and he headed over to where Dean and Meg were at the bottom of the stairs.

“Hey, kiddo,” John said as he pulled his son into a hug.

“Hey, Dad,” Dean said, pushing his face into his dad’s neck, the familiar smell helping to calm his nerves.

“You know I gotta be the protective dad and ask you if you’re okay even though multiple people, including Sam, have told me you are,” John said, giving Dean a squeeze.

Dean smiled. “Yeah. I’m okay.”

John pulled out of the hug and cupped Dean’s cheek with his right hand. “I’m going to want full details later, both because I’m your dad and I wanna make sure you’re okay and also because it’s my job.”

“I know,” Dean said with a nod.

“Try to calm down a little,” John said, pulling Dean closer and giving him a kiss on the forehead. “It’s not as bad as you think it’s gonna be. You both stepped in some shit, but we’ll deal with both of you.”

“Mom’s not pissed?” Dean asked hopefully.

“Oh, she’s pissed,” John said with a nod. “But neither of us have decided to stop loving you,” he said with a grin.

Dean huffed out a laugh and gave John a shaky smile, but he actually did feel better. Completely disappointing his parents was too much to think about. If that wasn’t the case, everything else was bearable.

“There’s my kid,” Mary said as she nearly knocked her husband out of the way to hug Dean.

Dean’s eyes burned as she held him tight. “Sorry, Mom,” he said into her neck.

“I know. And we’ll deal with it,” she said confidently. “Ellen is going to check the both of you out, and then we’re going to have a talk.”

Dean groaned. “Gabe already checked me out,” he said, trying to ignore the last part of her sentence.

“I’m sure Gabe did a wonderful job,” she said as she pulled out of the hug and took him by the wrist, leading the way at a brisk pace.

Dean felt like a child, but he supposed in a house full of his elders, he would be hard pressed to feel like an adult.

Ellen raised an eyebrow, her hands crossed over her chest. “Let’s head to the infirmary,” she said, then turned and walked with the confidence one has when they know exactly where they’re going. She’d never been in the house, but he knew the primes had approved the plans for renovation.

Dean looked behind him as he was pulled away, seeing Gabe and John trailing behind them. Great, more people to watch.

The lights were already on in the infirmary and Kevin was standing there looking as if he was trying to keep the contents of his stomach from making an appearance. His eyes were wide and he was standing with his back to one of the counter tops.

John motioned to Kevin, beckoning him closer, and Kevin obeyed. John put his left arm around Kevin’s shoulders, giving him a little squeeze before turning the both of them so they could see the examination table. Kevin looked surprised at John’s casual touches, obviously expecting John to be pissed at him, but Kevin also looked relieved once he realized what was happening, and it made Dean breathe a little sigh of relief himself.

Dean knew this was what family meant. Fucking up was going to happen no matter what you hoped for, but family stayed when shit hit the fan. Family worked things through instead of giving up when there was a problem.

Ellen pulled out some gloves and put them on. “Clothes off and up on the table,” she said, looking at Dean. “We’ll start with you on your back,” she said as she tapped the padded surface of the examination table with her finger.

Dean froze. “Um, you don’t have to do a full exam. Gabe already checked me out and fixed me up,” he said.

Ellen’s right eyebrow rose slowly. “One,” she drawled.

“Shit,” Dean hissed as he sprang into action.

Dean knew that when Ellen counted, she didn’t stop until whoever she was counting at had done what she’d told them to do, which gave him about two and a half seconds to get his clothes off and get on the table. His shirt went flying off and may have landed on one of the other people in the room, but he wasn’t paying attention. He nearly broke the buttons on his jeans as he pulled.

“Two,” Ellen said slowly.

“Wait!” Dean yelped as he shoved his jeans and boxers down to his ankles, then boosted himself up onto the table, swinging his legs up. “I’m almost there!” he said, his voice strained as he hurried.

He unlaced his boots so fast he was surprised he didn’t break the laces. He was kicking off the second shoe when he heard Ellen take in another breath.

“Ellen! Please!” he begged breathlessly as he shoved at his pants and boxers.

“Th-,” she started.

“Ellen!” he whimpered as he ripped one sock off.

“-ree,” she finished just as he pulled off the second sock.

Dean flopped backward onto the table, panting as he looked up at her. She had a grin on her face and he smiled at her. “Made it,” he said.

“One of these days, you’re going to stop pushing me,” Ellen said, shaking her head, but obviously impressed by his speed.

Dean chuckled. “You like the challenge. What would you do without me?” he asked with what he hoped was an adorable smile.

“Meg keeps me busy enough,” Ellen said as she ran her fingers over his head, checking for injuries. “Open your mouth.”

Dean obeyed, and she pulled a penlight off the table next to her, shining it into his mouth. She grunted as she looked.

“Drink some warm tea tonight. I’ll ask Nick to make a pot,” she said. As Dean started to complain, she put her finger over his lips. “I don’t care that you hate tea. You’re drinking some.”

“Yes, ma’am,” Dean said.

“The reason I’m examining him is because I’m the state’s alpha prime healer,” Ellen said, glancing over at Gabriel. “I’m sure you did a thorough examination, Gabe, and I’m not questioning your assessment, but in situations like this, I need to do my own exam.”

Gabe nodded. “Understood, ma’am.”

Ellen ran her finger over Dean’s split lip, then looked up at John and Mary. “Kevin was rough, but other than some redness at the back of his throat and the split lip, his mouth and head are okay. No loose teeth or cuts,” she said, and Dean heard Kevin let out a shaky breath.

She quickly looked over his chest and arms, taking a little more time to inspect his fingers, then went back to his neck. She spread her hand out over his neck and pushed with her fingers, feeling around for any damage from being choked.

“Your throat has some dark areas that will probably be some decent-sized bruises tomorrow,” she said. “Is there any sharp pain when I squeeze?”

“No,” he said. “It actually doesn’t hurt that much. Computer geeks don’t have strong hands,” he said with a grin. He glanced over at Kevin and saw a barely-there smile.

Ellen tried to hide her smirk, but Dean saw it when he looked up at her. “I’m assuming he didn’t touch your penis,” she said with a raised eyebrow.

Dean snorted. “Nobody’s doing much of that,” he grumbled.

This time Ellen let out a little chuckle. “Poor baby,” she said under her breath.

Dean pouted at her as she pushed down on his stomach, feeling around a little. She moved on to his balls, a quick but thorough exam, then ran her hands over his legs, picking up each foot to take a look.

She walked back up to his side and held out her hand. “I’ll help you turn over,” she said.

“This isn’t a trick, right?” he asked. “I really did get undressed and on the table before you finished saying three,” he reminded her as he took her hand and used her firm grip to get onto his stomach.

“It was a close call, but you managed to make it in time,” she said, her hands running over his back and sides.

“I put some cream inside him,” Gabriel said. “He had minimal bleeding that had stopped by the time I examined him, and there is a small tear, but I didn’t feel it needed stitches.”

“Thank you, Gabe,” she said pleasantly as she spread Dean’s ass cheeks.

Dean blushed, thinking of his parents being in the room for this. He turned his head, pushing his face into the soft padding and wrapping his arms up over his head. His parents had seen him naked before, but having his parents get a good look at his asshole was a bit different than his mom walking in on him while he was in the shower. He gasped as Ellen pushed a finger into him.

“Did that hurt?” Ellen asked, her finger gentle inside him. “Or were you just surprised?”

Dean chuckled nervously. “Surprised. It’s a little sore to the right side, but it’s not a sharp pain,” he said, knowing Ellen would want specifics.

“Did Gabe tell you to take it easy for a couple of days?” Ellen asked.

“Yes, ma’am,” Dean replied.

“Okay, this might sting a little,” she warned, “but I want to be thorough, so I’m going a little deeper and I’m going to push on your prostate.”

“Okay,” he said, then squirmed as she gently pushed in deeper. “Ah!” Dean yelped as she firmly stroked his prostate.

“You’re a little swollen,” she commented. “Does this hurt or did you scream like a girl because it felt good?” she asked, and Dean could tell she was grinning without even looking at her.

Dean groaned. “It doesn’t hurt,” he said instead of saying it felt good.

Ellen chuckled, and Dean felt his cheeks flush. He imagined that his face would light up a room with the glow from his blushing.

“How often are you being fucked?” she asked.

“Ellen,” he whined.

“Don’t whine at me, Dean Winchester,” Ellen said.

“I haven’t counted,” he mumbled into the table.

“We’ve had quite a lot of sex,” Gabe said. “And because Dean’s had trouble coming untouched, we’ve done a lot of prostate stimulation to get him going.”

“Dude!” Dean barked. “TMI.”

“Dude,” Ellen barked as she pulled her finger out, “no such thing as TMI when it comes to being honest with your doctor.”

“Gabe is my doctor,” Dean snarled, then realized that probably wasn’t a good idea and he waited for a smack on the ass. “Ah!” he yelped, and yes, that was Ellen’s firm hand that had smacked his ass. “Sorry, Ellen,” he said.

“All right, sit up,” she said, giving his ass a little pat, then she turned to Kevin. “Your turn. Clothes off, up on the table.”

“Yes, ma’am,” Kevin said softly, immediately taking his clothes off.

Dean got off the table. “Do you want me to leave, Ellen?” he asked. He didn’t put his clothes back on. He knew better than to do that without Ellen saying she was done with him.

“Nope,” Ellen replied. “When things happen in an alpha house, everyone is involved. That’s why I wanted Kevin in here for your examination. You’re a family. You stay here to support each other and so that you know any damage you’ve inflicted on each other. There’s no running and hiding from what you do to each other. The only reason I didn’t ask everyone to come in here is because the room is too small.”

Dean’s chest tightened. He didn’t look at Kevin, but he knew Kevin probably was just as upset as Dean was, probably more. He glanced toward the door and saw Nick standing in the doorway. He was looking at Kevin, an odd look on his face, and Dean couldn’t read anything beyond the tight lips, the tense posture, but Nick didn’t come into the room, didn’t say anything.

“Use what you’re feeling right now,” Mary said. “I know it hurts, it feels awful, but there are a lot of things in life that hurt. This will bring you closer and you’ll all learn from it. Next time one of you decides to fuck up, remember this.”

“Yes, ma’am,” both Dean and Kevin said.

Dean stood between his parents, first his mom reaching over and giving him a quick squeeze on the arm, then his dad reached over, giving him an encouraging pat on the lower back.

Kevin was stretched out on the table, his breathing still a little fast, his eyes wide. It looked as if he didn’t know where to put his hands, so he moved them from the table to his stomach and back again.

“Relax,” Ellen said, resting her hand on Kevin’s belly for a moment, giving him time to control himself. “Does anything hurt?”

Kevin took a cleansing breath. “There’s an ache in my left side, but I don’t feel any sharp pains and I don’t hear or feel crunching, so I don’t think my ribs are broken.”

“Anything else?” Ellen asked. Kevin blushed, but didn’t say anything. “What is it, sweetheart?” she asked, her voice gentle and so caring, so concerned and motherly that Dean felt an ache in his chest.

“Um, I,” Kevin started, then sighed. “One of the times I shoved — it’s nothing. I’m okay,” he said, shaking his head.

Ellen ran the fingers of her right hand over Kevin’s hair in a gentling gesture. “One of the hard parts about being a good alpha is admitting when you’ve done something wrong, humbling yourself. Another hard part is asking for help. The two of you hurt each other, but I looked at Dean’s right hand even though I knew any injuries to his hand would’ve been because he’d punched you. If you have an injury because of something you did to Dean, it’s still an injury.”

“Okay,” Kevin said, but that’s all he said. He still looked up at Ellen with wide eyes.

Ellen didn’t push, and Dean was impressed with the way she was handling him. He’d never been in the infirmary at home when she’d examined the others. She was always tough on Dean, but he needed it. She loved him like a son, but she didn’t let him get away with shit.

The way she was treating Kevin was so different from the way she’d ever been with Dean that he nearly forgot to breathe. She was dealing with Kevin the way Kevin needed her to, and she was good enough, caring enough that it was damn near beautiful.

“What Mary said about family still holds true,” Ellen said. “Look at Dean,” she said, tilting her head toward Dean.

Kevin winced as he turned his head and looked at Dean. Dean gave Kevin a little smile, an encouraging look. Sure, he didn’t like what Kevin had done, but Kevin seemed remorseful.

“Do you think Dean wants you to ignore an injury?” Ellen asked.

Kevin hissed, his hands clenching into fists. He looked back up at Ellen, tears in his eyes. “I fucking hurt him!”

“You didn’t answer my question, so Dean, answer the question for me,” Ellen said.

“No, I don’t want him to ignore an injury, no matter how he got hurt,” Dean said with confidence, and it was the truth.

Kevin shivered, his breathing ragged. “What if the injury is on my dick because I rammed it into your mouth and you didn’t get your teeth out of the way quick enough,” Kevin said, his voice raising as he turned to pin Dean with a challenging look, daring him to say it was still an injury to be concerned over.

Dean shook his head. “I still don’t want you to ignore it.”

“Bullshit!” Kevin growled, obviously more upset at himself than he was at Dean.

“Did you hear what Ellen said about family?” Dean asked.

“I forced my cock in your mouth because I didn’t know how to deal with you,” Kevin hissed, “to teach you a lesson.”

“Yeah, and it was a really shitty thing to do,” Dean said. “But I wanna ask you something. Do you still wanna make this work?”

“Do you?” Kevin asked, the fight gone from his words. It was a loaded question, and Dean could see that Kevin really wanted to know. The look on Kevin’s face, the tone of his voice said Dean’s answer meant the difference between Kevin having a chance or his time in the house coming to an end.

“Hell yeah!” Dean barked. “You don’t give up on family.”

Kevin huffed. “You consider me family after what I did to you?” he asked, his words soft.

“I considered you family all along,” Dean said with a snort. “The primes are here to help us work it all out. If I ran at the first sign of trouble, I’d be a terrible alpha and wouldn’t deserve a position here in this house,” he said, shaking his head, then pointing at Kevin, “And you’re still here. You didn’t run when you’ve had plenty of opportunities. I respect that. You’re embarrassed, you’re upset, you know you’ve fucked up, you know the primes are going to punish you, yet you’re still here, facing it.”

Kevin’s face changed, his features relaxing as what Dean said sank in. The room was silent except for the breathing of the seven alphas for so long that Dean wondered if anyone else was going to say something, but it appeared everyone was letting Kevin have time to process.

“Thank you, Dean,” Kevin said, his voice stronger than before, a hint of surprise in there. “For the compliment and for your willingness to work with me. Thank you.”

“You’re welcome,” Dean said with a nod, then grinned. “Now get your dick checked out.”

Kevin snorted. “Yeah, thanks for that,” he said, rolling his eyes.

Ellen went straight for Kevin’s dick, picking it up in her right hand and using the fingers of her left hand to check for breaks in the skin.

“Mmm,” she said as she looked a little closer. “Right here?” she asked, gently running her finger over a spot.

Kevin hissed. “Yeah, right there.”

She let go of his cock and pulled out a swab and a bottle of disinfectant. “Because it’s a cut from Dean’s mouth, I’m going to want you to keep an eye on this,” Ellen said to Gabe.

“Yes, ma’am,” Gabe said with a nod as he got closer to take a look at the wound.

Kevin hissed again as Ellen swabbed the skin with the disinfectant. He held still as she put a small dab of cream on the wound.

“Leave this open,” Ellen said. “No oral sex for two days and no anal sex for five days.”

“Ugh, that sounds like such a long time,” Kevin complained.

“Handjobs are okay if you’re careful, nothing rough,” Ellen said with a grin. “And maybe the guys can help you learn how to come on a cock,” she said, her eyebrows waggling, making Kevin groan.

Ellen finished a quick and efficient examination of Kevin, then patted him on the shoulder. “Go ahead and get dressed,” she said as she put away her things and cleaned up.

When Kevin had finished dressing, he stood by the door, close to Nick. He still looked nervous, but not as bad as when Dean had first seen him standing in the infirmary.

“I’d like some privacy with Dean, please,” Ellen said as she looked up at the others in the room.

Dean tensed as everyone else left. He had no idea what Ellen was going to do. Sure, she’d never been more than firm with him, and he knew she loved him, but she could be scary.

“Get up on the table again,” she said as she patted the spot in front of her.

Dean did as he was told, still naked. He didn’t know what she wanted, but he wondered if maybe she wanted to look him over again. She pushed herself between his legs and looked him in the eye, standing close and oozing authority like a good alpha had the ability to do.

He knew full well that she had chosen this way of approaching him to get him to open up. She’d done it before, and it had always worked well. It disarmed him, and it was a smart move on her part. He didn’t have room to hide. Dean had only tried lying once when she was this close, and he’d never done it again.

“Is it all fully consensual?” she asked him.

“Um, huh?” he said, a frown on his face.

“You heard me. All that sex you’ve been having. Is it completely consensual?” she asked again.

Dean felt a thrill of anger burn through him and he scowled at her. “I’ve never forced myself on anyone,” he growled.

Ellen put a hand on his shoulder and squeezed. “That’s not what I’m asking,” she said, calming him with her demeanor. “I’m asking if anyone has forced sex on you?”

Dean’s jaw dropped. “Ah, well, I mean, I didn’t really get a kick out of Kevin facefucking me that hard, if that’s what you mean,” he said.

“And the rest of it?” she asked, pinning him with a look that made him squirm.

Dean snorted. “Well, um, I don’t know,” he said with a shrug. “I mean, I’ve been able to come a lot over the last few days. The guys are actually being really cool about that and trying to help because I’ve never been able to come without some kind of stimulation to my dick before.”

“Okay,” Ellen said with a frustrated sigh, “let me put it this way. Sometimes new alpha houses have problems, especially with kids who grew up in alpha houses themselves. They grow up knowing that a carus gets a lot of sex, and they know that a carus ranks lowest in the house and has to be submissive to everyone who ranks higher, and no matter how much we try to explain things, to help kids understand how an alpha house works, it’s different when you have one of your own.”

“What do you mean?” Dean asked.

“Do you think we all use Meg any time, any way we feel like using her?” Ellen asked.

Dean frowned. “I know she likes sex, but you guys also give her orders,” he said with a shrug.

“She does,” Ellen said with a nod. “But do you like what all the alphas are doing with you beside Kevin’s little display earlier? Are you perfectly happy with all the sex you’ve been having?” she asked, sounding dubious.

“They don’t force me,” he said with a scowl.

And he was telling the truth. They had pushed some, but had he really not wanted something to happen, he was no weakling. He could’ve fought them, especially Kevin. If Benny wanted to make an issue out of it, Dean would’ve told him the truth and he doubted Benny would’ve had a problem with it.

“I know you. Probably better than you know yourself. I helped raise you,” she said. “You’re telling me that every time they ask for some type of sex act or every time you ask for a sex act, you’re totally on board and happy about it.”

“I haven’t initiated any of it myself,” he said, shaking his head. “And there are times I’m busy and they pull me away from what I’m doing because they’re horny, but like I said, they’re never assholes about it. Nick wanted a cock warmer the other day, and I was in the middle of something, so I was a little pissed, but the night ended in orgasms for all,” he said with a shrug.

Ellen sighed. “All right. You’re probably gonna fight me on this, especially given your evasive answers just now, but I’m gonna insist upon it,” she said firmly.

Dean squirmed again. This didn’t sound good. He started to open his mouth to argue without ever even hearing what she wanted to do, but the look on her face made him close his mouth again.

“The two houses are going to have a little pow-wow tonight,” she said. “We’re going to talk about feelings and actions and responsibilities and all that other good stuff you love opening up and talking about.”

Dean groaned. “Ellen, this isn’t-ow!” he yelped as Ellen smacked his thigh.

“It’s not up for negotiation,” she said, shaking her head. “Put yourself in our shoes. You send your pups off to start up their own alpha house, pups you know are gonna be wonderful at their job. They’re still your pups even though they’re fully grown and have become so much more than you’d even dreamed. Would you want to check up on them and make sure that their view of the world was straight and things were running the way they should in that new alpha house?”

He nodded, then looked down at Ellen’s shirt. The pattern suddenly interesting, though later he’d never be able to describe it. “Did I do something wrong?” he asked.

Ellen grunted. “No,” she said, a confidence in her voice that settled Dean. “You guys are all so young, and you’ve never done anything like this before. We can try to prepare you guys the best we know how, but shit happens. All of you are doing what you think is best for the community, right?”

Dean looked her in the eye. “Yes,” he said with confidence.

“That’s wonderful,” she said with a small smile. “You’ve got good motives and are doing good in the community, you just need some small adjustments on things inside the house. That’s what we’re here for. Usually in the first few weeks of a new alpha house, alpha primes go in and see how things are going. You know that.”

He nodded. “Yeah.”

“Every house we’ve gone to needs help,” she said. “Some of them have big problems, some not so big, but no house has ever been free of problems. The true measure of all seven of you will be how you act on the information we give you,” she said as she cupped the left side of his neck, her thumb rubbing his cheek in an affectionate gesture.

Dean snorted. “I suppose once I’ve been through my parents checking out my asshole, talking about my sex life isn’t that bad,” he said with a smile.

Ellen chuckled. “It’s not as bad as you’re thinking it’ll be,” she said, patting his leg. “Now get your clothes on unless you want to have this discussion naked,” she said with a grin.

“Yes, ma’am,” he said.

Dean dressed slowly, his stomach feeling nearly as heavy as his chest. Ellen was puttering around in the room, and he knew she’d done that on purpose. Leaving him alone would give him time to really freak out and he’d have a hard time leaving the room without a little push from her.

He finished dressing and stood in the middle of the room looking at the door. He heard Ellen come up behind him, and she reached up and briskly rubbed his back in encouragement.

“Not as bad as you’re thinkin’, kid,” Ellen said again, then gave him a little shove toward the door.

He chuckled nervously as he opened the door and headed to the living room with Ellen’s hand a reassuring presence on his back.

***

Dean waved at the betas in the kitchen. Bobby, Victor, Anna, and Jody all smiled and waved back. He knew they were taking over making dinner for everyone so Nick could concentrate on the discussion they were about to have.

That didn’t mean the betas wouldn’t be part of the discussion if need be. Being part of an alpha prime house meant greater responsibility, and every member of the adult household would lend a hand where needed.

It was very rare for an alpha mated to an omega to be part of an alpha or alpha prime house. Omegas didn’t like the attention and great responsibility of running an alpha house, and going into heat twice a year was difficult on everyone in the house, necessitating the alpha and omega taking an extended vacation away from the house.

Betas didn’t have a problem with attention or responsibility, and the ones who were mated to alphas in alpha houses and alpha prime houses usually tended to show alpha tendencies themselves such as leadership skills and an enhanced sense of duty and responsibility.

The way societies and relationships worked out, betas who showed alpha tendencies were more likely to mate with alphas on their way to alpha houses and alpha prime houses while omegas didn’t develop relationships with these kinds of alphas and betas at all.

Researchers had done their best to figure out why it worked out this way, but in the end all they came up with was instinct and gut feeling.

Dean looked around the living room and smiled. This was his family. All of them. He instantly felt more at ease. It wasn’t a tense air that he walked into. It was a loving family enjoying each other’s company.

Some of the younger alphas had taken to the floor to allow their elders to sit on the couches and chairs. John and Mary were smooshed up together on one of the overstuffed chairs, something his parents tended to do when they were relaxing, something he’d always found very sweet.

Pamela and Missouri had left a spot open on the couch to Dean’s right for Ellen, and after a last reassuring pat to Dean’s back, Ellen walked over to take her seat between them, Kevin at Pamela’s feet. The couch facing Dean was occupied by Meg and Gabe, who were patting the space between them and looking at Dean.

Dean made his way over and sat down, Cas scooting over to sit on the floor with an arm over Dean’s lap. Benny was in the other overstuffed chair with Sam on the floor in front of the chair, resting his back against the chair and Benny’s legs. Nick was sitting cross-legged on the floor between Benny’s chair and the one John and Mary were in. All together the group formed a circle.

Gabe put his arm over Dean’s shoulders, snuggling up against him and giving him a quick kiss on the side of the head. Everyone turned and looked to Mary as the highest ranking alpha of the alpha prime house to start the discussion.

“All right,” Mary started. “First of all I want to say I’m proud of you boys. Don’t let problems in the house dull your sense of accomplishment and the pride you deserve for running an alpha house and caring for a community.”

“Agreed,” Missouri said with a nod. “The good news we’ve gotten from people in the community tells us we’ve made good decisions in choosing the seven of you for this house,” she said, and all the primes nodded in agreement.

Dean smiled, Sam nodded, and Gabe squeezed Dean’s shoulder. It was a good feeling to know they’d been doing a good job in the community.

“What we have to deal with now,” Mary said, “is what happens from here.”

Ellen cleared her throat. “I think you’ll all agree that no books, no discussions, no amount of lessons in school fully prepare you for when you get your own house. Putting into practice what you’ve learned growing up is difficult, things are different than you expected, and things never go by the book.”

All the primes nodded along with the younger alphas.

Ellen spread her hand out in an all-encompassing gesture. “That’s why we primes are here. We want to help.”

“We’re going to start,” Mary said, “by talking about any changes that have happened in the house, then we’ll talk about what each of you did so far, including Kevin and Dean. We’ll talk about what we’re going to do about it, then we’ll talk about everyone’s roles in the house to make sure everyone’s on the same page.”

Ellen nodded. “Some of it may be new to you, but a lot of it you’ve heard before. Listen anyway. We need to openly talk about what’s been going on, see where the problems lie, and help you learn from them so things can run smoothly in the future. What’s been happening in the house needs changing. All of you are doing some things wrong, but this discussion isn’t meant to be an attack.”

“Kevin and Dean both admit they’ve done wrong,” John said, “they’re both sorry for what they’ve done, and both of them have said they’re willing to work on this. We’re not going to excuse the behavior of anyone in this house. It’ll all be addressed, but give everyone a chance to show they’re willing to change. Don’t condemn each other and don’t even think about revenge.”

All the primes nodded in agreement, and Dean was pleased to see all the younger alphas agreeing as well. He looked over at Kevin and saw some surprise and a whole hell of a lot of relief on his face, even if he did still look upset.

“We’re not going to leave,” Mary said, pausing for effect, “before things are going smoothly around here.”

“We need to start with roles,” Meg said. “Are there any changes in relationships or roles in the house?” she asked, and she gave Dean a subtle look that said ‘now’s the time to talk.’

Dean was happy Meg didn’t force the issue. She was allowing the guys to tell everyone themselves. Dean nodded, giving Meg a small smile. “Benny is still the warrior, Sam’s in charge of the knowledge department, Cas is in charge of the labor boards and human resources, Gabe is the healer, Nick is in charge of food and the internal workings of the house, Kevin is our geek, and I’m the handyman along with my duties as carus. And I can’t speak for the rest of us, but,” he said, looking to see if Gabe and Cas were on board, smiling when they both nodded at him, “Cas, Gabe, and I are courting.”

Missouri nearly squealed, wiggling in her seat. “Oh, I’m so happy for you boys!” she said with a huge smile on her face. The other primes all looked pleased as well, and Meg’s smile was close to being brighter than Missouri’s.

“Congratulations, guys,” Mary said. It wasn’t news to her, but she looked excited nonetheless. “We’ll work this into the discussion today so everything goes as smoothly as possible. And as your mom,” Mary said with a little grin as she turned to Cas and Gabe, “I want to say welcome to the family.”

“Thank you, ma’am,” Cas and Gabe said in unison.

Dean looked over at his father, and he couldn’t remember ever seeing such a fond look on the man’s face before. It warmed Dean to see that John was directing that look toward his new mates.

“We’ll talk more about it later,” Mary said, “but you boys need to put some serious thought into how you want the others to behave with the three of you. They need to know their limits, and they need to know if those limits change, so keep communication open. Remember that it’s your choice,” she said as she pointed to each of Gabe, Cas, and Dean in turn, “how the interaction goes, sexual and otherwise. No one gets to decide for you, but you need to be open about it.”

“Yes, ma’am,” all three of them replied.

Mary smiled at them. “Our boys are growing up,” she said softly.

“She tries to come off like she’s a hardass,” Ellen said with a grin, “but everyone knows she’s a big softie.”

“Well, you would know exactly how hard my ass is, Ellie,” Mary said with a smirk.

Dean nearly choked. Not only had he never heard anyone call Ellen Ellie, but the words were said with a sultry drawl that was totally unlike what he’d ever heard his mom say. In a totally objective way, Dean could admit his mom was hot. And he was proud of that. She could take care of business and she could charm the pants off of anyone. Meg liked to say that’s where Dean got his skills, and he’d never fully realized it before.

“All right, girls,” John said, hiding a smirk of his own. “Let’s get down to discussing why we’re here.”

Everyone chuckled as Ellen stuck her tongue out at Mary. Dean was getting a huge kick out of seeing Ellen’s playful side. She very rarely let it out around anyone beside the other primes.

“Okay, first we’re going to address Kevin, then Dean,” Pam said with a nod. “Nick called me yesterday,” she said as she gestured to Nick. Dean knew they’d always gotten along well, so it would make sense Nick would call her. “After I discussed his concerns with the other primes, we made plans to visit you boys this weekend. But when Nick called us today about the incident earlier, we decided to move faster.”

Dean looked over at Nick. “Why did you call her yesterday?” he asked, concerned. And now that he took a closer look, he could see that Nick looked upset.

Nick took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “You were tense,” he said, then grimaced. He shook his head, obviously trying to figure out what exactly he wanted to say. “When I told you to sit on me the other night on the couch, you were tense in a way that I thought at the time was odd, but because of things I’d been told, I let it go. But the more I thought about it later, the more it just didn’t feel right.”

“What do you mean?” Dean asked.

“You didn’t want to do that, did you?” Nick asked with a wince as he played with the hem of his shirt nervously.

“I was in the middle of something,” Dean said. “So I was a little annoyed that you did it, but we all ended up having a good time,” he said with a shrug.

“No,” Nick said, nearly barking it out, his eyes wide, but then he pulled himself back, visibly calmed himself with a wince.

Kevin cleared his throat. “I told him it was a fantasy of yours to be a cock warmer.”

Dean chuckled. “Huh,” he said lightly, as if it was a little oddity, something to brush off.

“Dean,” Nick said, sounding frustrated, his teeth bared.

“Answer the question, kid,” Ellen said. “Did you want Nick to use you as a cock warmer?”

“Okay,” Dean said with a nod. “If you want to get right down to it, no. If you would’ve asked me if I wanted to be your cock warmer right at that moment, I would’ve said no because I was busy, and the way you pushed me to do it annoyed me.”

“Fuck,” Nick breathed as he put his hands over his face. “I fucking, oh, I, fuck,” he breathed, his hands shaking.

Dean’s eyes widened. He had no idea why Nick was so upset. When he looked to Sam, he was surprised to see Sam looked pissed. Dean didn’t know who Sam was pissed at, but then he looked to Mary and John, hoping they’d help.

“You’re great at empathizing with other people, sweetheart,” Mary said with a smile. “Put yourself in Nick’s shoes and see if you can figure out why he’s upset.”

Dean looked at Kevin, who had tears running down his cheeks. Then Dean looked back at Nick, who still had his hands over his face. When the realization hit, Dean felt as though someone had punched him in the stomach.

“Fuck,” Dean breathed, then quickly slid off the couch and crawled to Nick.

He sat on his heels in front of Nick, and now that he was closer, he could tell Nick had his hands over his face to hide the fact that he was crying.

“Nick,” Dean said softly.

Nick put his hands down on his thighs, rubbing his palms over his jeans nervously. His cheeks were red and there were tear tracks on them, but he looked Dean in the eye.

Dean gave Nick a small smile. “You were given false information. The blame for this doesn’t lie with you at all.”

“I’m sorry,” Nick said, his voice cracking.

Dean shook his head, deciding to do what he was born to do. He was an alpha. He knew how to handle distressed people, whether they were alphas or not. It was in his nature.

“Listen to me,” Dean said, authority in his voice as he straightened up taller, his body language exuding confidence. He could see the change in Nick instantly, responding to Dean positively. “What Kevin did was fucked up, and telling you I had that fantasy wasn’t the only false information he gave.”

Nick gave him a tight nod, his lips thin and his eyes watery. He was still rubbing his palms on his jeans.

“I like sex,” Dean said with a cocky grin, and he was delighted when Nick made a very indelicate noise somewhere between a bark of laughter and a snort. “I wasn’t thrilled about my position in the house, and I was fighting it. Kevin knew I was, and because Kevin didn’t know what to do with me, he tried to put me in my place.”

Nick growled. “That’s no excuse,” he said, shaking his head.

Dean held up his hands. “You’re right, and I’m not excusing him. I’m just telling you what happened wasn’t your fault, and I’m saying that I don’t blame you for it.”

Nick paused, working through it in his head for a moment. Dean could see when Nick had finally decided what he would do with Dean’s words because Nick nodded. “Okay,” Nick said, and it sounded as if he’d accepted it, even if he wasn’t happy about it.

“He manipulated all of you,” Dean said. “But even considering that, I’ve had some of the best sex of my life over the last few days,” he said with a grin.

Nick huffed out a laugh, rolling his eyes. “I knew you were having a good time with some of it. I just wish I would’ve known you weren’t on board for all of it.”

“Yeah,” Sam growled. “I would’ve liked that information too.”

Dean shrugged. “After the scowl on Ellen’s face when we were in the infirmary, I’m assuming the alpha primes are gonna set us straight on this, but I’m gonna tell you my reasoning.”

“Okay,” Nick said with a nod.

“I knew carus took orders, that they were submissive to everyone else in the house,” Dean began. “I was following orders, and I think I went a little too far, because Meg tried to tell me the other day that I needed to stand up for myself, but I’m thinking I took her advice the wrong way, and she didn’t know the full story, because if she had known, she would’ve paddled my ass, and then she would’ve gotten herself in trouble kicking all your asses,” he said with a grin.

“Damn straight,” Meg said from the couch.

Dean smiled and Nick snorted again. “You guys thought you were doing what I wanted, I thought I was doing what was expected of me, Kevin was trying to deal with my behavior in a really shitty way when all he’s ever known is two prime houses that ran smoothly, and none of us were talking to each other about it because I hate that shit, and the only one who doesn’t hate that shit is my whiny bitch of a little brother.”

“Hey,” Sam barked as he tapped Dean’s ass with his foot.

Dean winked at Nick, and finally saw some of the tension leaving Nick’s shoulders. “After Mom just reminded me to think about it from your viewpoint, I realized there’s a pretty good chance you’re thinking you forced sex on me. Is that true?”

Nick’s eyes widened and he winced. “Yeah,” he said with a nod.

Dean shook his head. “No. I was annoyed at getting interrupted so much, I was upset about my position in the house, and I was rebelling, which Mom has promised to talk to me about later,” Dean said with a grimace. “When it comes to you, even though I pushed you,” he said, pointing at Nick, “you were firm with me, but you cared about me. You talked me down from freaking out.”

Nick smiled at Dean. “I really didn’t mean to scare the shit out of you.”

Dean nodded. “I know.”

“I also want to apologize for my behavior the first day we were here,” Nick said. “I got a little carried away and I called you a slut. That was uncalled for, dominance displays or not.”

Dean smiled. “Yeah, I didn’t like that so much. Thanks for the apology.”

“I just want you to know I respect you,” Nick said.

“Thanks,” Dean said with a nod, keeping eye contact with Nick so Nick would know Dean really did appreciate it.

“And that’s what we encourage,” Meg said. “Everyone has rights, everyone is a respected member of the pack no matter what their role or rank.”

“I joined in on the cock-warming,” Sam said, his voice tight. “Kevin told me the same thing about it being Dean’s fantasy. Dean had never mentioned it to me, but I know he likes sex, so I went along with it. Dean was hesitant and complained that he was sore.”

“And you asked me if it was too much,” Dean added with a snort.

“Yeah, but –,” Sam started.

Dean cut him off. “But what? Kevin said it was a fantasy. You were doing it for me, even if you did have a good time yourself,” Dean said with a shrug. “If I would’ve said my ass hurt too much, you would’ve let me up, right?”

Sam nodded. “Yeah.”

“I didn’t tell any of you guys that I didn’t want to do it,” Dean said. “I suck at communication, so you guys had Kevin feeding you lies and I didn’t say what I really wanted, and I didn’t tell you what I didn’t want. How is this your fault? How is it Nick’s fault?”

“Because you’re my brother,” Sam growled.

“My baby brother who thinks the best of people?” Dean asked with a smirk. “Yeah, you’re such an asshole for believing everything Kevin said,” he said with a snort.

“This isn’t funny,” Sam said with a frown.

“Remember,” Mary said, loudly enough to get everyone’s attention, “that we’re learning from this. You had good intentions,” she said to Sam, then looked at Nick to include him. “You should’ve asked more questions, all of you should’ve talked. You’ll be doing that from now on. This isn’t a time to drag everything out for blaming and attacking one another, even yourselves. This is the time to talk about what happened, see what went wrong, and learn how to keep it from happening again. Understood?”

Sam took a cleansing breath, then nodded. “Okay.”

Dean turned and sat down next to Nick, crossing his legs and sitting close enough to brush his own knee against Nick’s. Dean gave Nick a little nudge with his knee and Nick turned and gave him a smile in return. Dean was happy to see Nick looked a little less like he was going to puke or pass out. Kevin still had a few tears running down his face, and he was looking down at his hands, nervously picking at his jeans.

“I knew you’d fallen asleep on Nick,” Sam said, “and that can make the muscles in your asshole a little sore, but it’s not all that bad. I’ve done it before. Did you mean it when you said you were okay?”

Dean nodded. “Yeah. My muscles were a little sore, but it was more of an ache, and it went away pretty quick. Though I’ve gotta say it was kinda weird having you guys act like I wasn’t there while you were watchin’ TV.”

Kevin growled, and by the look on his face, he was upset at himself. “I told them you liked that too,” Kevin said as he shook his head. “I said it was part of the cock warming fantasy, that you wanted to feel like a toy that was there for convenience. It was another thing I did to try and take you down a peg or two.”

“Everyone here should learn to trust their instincts,” Pam said, “but don’t be ruled by them. Dean was rebelling, and it was most likely because he saw something in Kevin he didn’t like. Sam, you know Dean well enough that if you felt the cock warming situation was odd, you should’ve questioned it.”

“That’s something you all failed to do,” Ellen said. “Kevin didn’t know how to handle Dean, so he took care of it himself. Dean knew something was wrong, but instead of taking care of it, he made the situation worse by getting an attitude and disobeying. I have a feeling the rest of you questioned things all along, but you didn’t say anything, am I right?”

Dean’s eyes widened as he watched Sam, Cas, Gabe, and Benny nod. “Like what?” Dean asked.

“Okay,” Missouri said as she smacked her hands down on her thighs, “I’d like to get this all out. It all needs to be discussed so we can move on. I want you to go ahead and tell us what Kevin told you boys behind Dean’s back,” she said as she looked around at the younger alphas.

“It’s not an attack,” Pam said softly as she leaned forward and patted Kevin on the shoulder. Kevin nodded, leaning into the touch.

“No, honey,” Missouri said kindly. “It’s a discussion,” she said in such a comforting tone that Dean could see Kevin relax.

Cas moved himself from the floor to the couch in between Gabe and Meg as if he just realized Dean had left the space open. “Kevin told me Dean likes rough sex, but that statement is true.”

Dean chuckled. “Not all the time, but yeah, I enjoy it from time to time.”

“I told Dean that all of you asked for the breeding bench,” Kevin said, his voice loud, as if announcing his sins.

Sam huffed, his eyes holding a fire that would probably make anyone squirm. “You told me that Dean was excited about trying the breeding bench,” Sam said, his words clipped and short.

Dean snorted. “Yeah, I didn’t like that thing so much. It wasn’t horrible. I wouldn’t be totally against it in the future, but it wasn’t my favorite, and I never asked for it.”

Sam growled, but he didn’t look as if he was going to go after Kevin. “When I said I hadn’t expected Dean to want to use the bench because he has trust issues with being tied down, Kevin said Dean had been insistent, and Kevin told me to watch as he tied Dean down if I didn’t believe him, so I did. Dean didn’t know I was there, but it didn’t look like Dean was upset about it other than when he mouthed off to Nick.”

“Stay calm, sweetheart,” Mary said to Sam.

Sam shook his head, leaning back on Benny’s legs harder than before, almost as if wanting support. Dean saw Benny reach out and gently touch the back of Sam’s neck.

“I’m calm,” Sam said. “I just feel like I didn’t do my job. I know Dean better than that.”

Benny grunted, shaking his head. “You did what you thought was right at the time with the information you were given. I would’ve done the same thing.”

Nick nodded. “Kevin told me the same thing, but I didn’t know about Dean’s bondage issues. When Dean mouthed off to me, I figured it was because he was pushing his boundaries with me, which is why I pushed right back and ended up scaring the shit out of him.”

Dean snorted. “Yeah, you did, but being tied down is what scared me the most about it” he said.

“It was my fault, Sam,” Kevin said. “I knew what I was doing. I didn’t know Dean had bondage issues, but I figured being at my mercy, tied down tight, that it would force a change of attitude. It didn’t, and we ended up getting a little heated when I took him off the table.”

Dean grimaced. “Yeah, I felt like an idiot after that. You warned me I shouldn’t get up quickly, but I was being an asshole.”

“You surprised me,” Kevin said. “You’re so fucking stubborn even to the point where you hurt the both of us. When you did that, I stepped up my game. I should’ve taken it to Benny or Sam, but I wanted to handle it myself.”

“We’re going to help you,” Mary said. “You need to learn how to deal with that the right way instead of manipulating everyone to do what you want,” she said, and Dean was impressed that she managed to make it sound encouraging instead of accusing.

Nick sighed. “You guys already know that Kevin told me Dean had the cock-warming fantasy, but he also told me Dean likes cock and ball torture.”

Gabe growled just as Dean barked out a laugh and Kevin cringed. “He twisted that,” Gabe said. “Dean likes having his balls played with like plenty of guys do, but he gets a kick out of just a little bit of pain right as he comes, a gentle tug, but that’s it.”

Missouri shifted in her seat, a scowl on her face. “Ooh, that was dangerous, boy,” she said to Kevin, her shoulders tense. “That right there could get dangerous quickly because cock and ball torture is difficult even for men who like it, making safewords a must along with a knowledgeable partner so no damage is done.”

“Yes, ma’am,” Kevin said, and Dean was happy to see that even though Kevin looked chastised, he didn’t look devastated anymore.

John nodded. “Second-hand knowledge is never a good idea no matter how much you trust each other,” he said as he looked around at everyone. “Misunderstandings can get people hurt. What I’m hearing from you guys is that every one of you is guilty of second-hand knowledge.”

Dean then turned to Kevin again. “Did you tell them I liked foodplay?” he asked him.

“That’s on me,” Benny said. He sat forward, resting his hand on Sam’s shoulder. It was a casual touch that spoke of a comfort level between the two of them that Dean hadn’t fully realized before now.

“Earlier in the day I asked Nick to bake a pie for dinner,” Benny said. “I know Dean loves pie, and I figured he’d get a kick out of it. I ended up havin’ to punish Dean for touchin’ his cock just before dinner, and he told me he’d never come untouched, so that just confirmed in my head that the plan for dinner was a good one ’cause I was fairly confident we could get him to come with all the attention.”

Nick chuckled. “Benny told me what he had planned, and so I baked one that wouldn’t stain the carpet or our clothes.”

Benny smiled at Dean. “That one was my plan, with a little help from Nick. Kevin had nothing to do with it. I wanted us to give you a good time, and I’m hopin’ the smile on your face as you fell asleep that night in my arms meant you had a good time.”

Dean grinned. “It was awesome,” he said with a nod. “And I’d like to try it again one of these days because Nick’s pies are amazing.”

“Thank you, pumpkin,” Nick said, and Dean felt warmed by the affection in Nick’s voice.

“Sam and I were gonna discuss another situation with Kevin today,” Benny said.

Kevin’s face went white again, and he looked down at the floor. “I wondered why you hadn’t talked to me about it.”

“I’d like you to tell them yourself, Kevin,” Benny said, the look on his face and the tone of his voice letting Kevin know it was an order.

Kevin nodded, then sat up straighter. “I went out into the garage while Dean was putting new salt into the water treatment tank. Dean had been pushing me still, so I told him I wanted him to bend over, let me fuck him.”

“You’ve been demanding it?” Meg asked, an eyebrow raised.

Kevin’s shoulders slumped a little. “Yes, ma’am,” he said with a nod.

Meg sat forward, pinning Kevin with a dark look. “Are you demanding it because you’re trying to get him to behave or because you think you can demand sex from a carus?”

Kevin opened his mouth, but nothing came out. Dean could see he was trembling slightly. Meg looked around the room.

“Do any of you think you can demand sex from a carus?” Meg asked, then looked straight at Dean. “Did you think you had to let them?”

“I did it because he was rebelling,” Kevin said, his voice shaky. “And I told the others he liked being told to bend over.”

“Meg,” Mary said calmly, though Dean could tell she was upset, “let Kevin finish telling his story, then we’ll work this out.”

Meg’s teeth were bared, but she did as she was told. She sat back on the couch, her hands clenched into fists at her sides.

Kevin cleared his throat nervously, glancing between Meg and Mary as if Meg was going to pounce on him at any second. “When he wouldn’t do it, I pushed the bag of salt out of his hands and told him to get on his knees.”

“In the salt?” Mary asked, her voice tightly controlled. Meg growled, but remained in her seat.

“Yes, ma’am,” Kevin said softly. “I figured it would be a good lesson to remind him to listen to me if he had to get fucked kneeling in salt.”

“Do you realize that’s a form of torture?” Mary asked, her tone deceptively calm.

“Yes, ma’am,” Kevin whispered, nodding. “I didn’t know what else to do with him at the time, and I know that’s no excuse, and I felt really bad about it later after I calmed down.”

“Did you ask Benny or Sam what to do with him?” she asked.

“No,” Kevin said, shaking his head. “I wanted to handle it myself.”

“Did it work?” she asked.

Kevin shook his head again. “No, Sam stopped me, and when I mouthed off to him, he spanked me.”

“Do you feel he used excessive discipline on you?” Mary asked.

“No. I was mad about it at the time, but later when I cooled off I realized he probably should’ve done a lot more to me. What I did was sick,” Kevin said as he wiped at his eyes. “I still can’t believe I did it. But Sam was actually really nice about it. I know he was upset, but he was so nice it pissed me off.”

“Why did it piss you off?” Mary asked.

Kevin snorted, a few tears running down his cheeks. “Because I should’ve been able to do that with Dean. Sam’s a good alpha, not me. I’m not trying to get pity, but I do wanna ask why you’re all being so nice to me when I manipulated all of them. I hurt your son! I forced him into uncomfortable situations, and I used the rest of these guys to do it. Dean may not want to call it rape, but I’m not gonna hide from it by calling it something pretty. I fucked him out in the driveway when I knew he was busy and would get annoyed, and I was gonna do it again in the garage if Sam hadn’t stopped me, and it was all so he would fucking listen to me. How can you even look at me?”

“Because,” John drawled, “you’re clearly remorseful, you’re admitting what you did without sugar-coating it, and it appears you want to learn how to do it properly. Am I right?”

“I do want to learn how to be a good alpha, but fuck,” Kevin growled. “I hurt them all!”

“Yes, you did,” John said. “The both of you were asked in the infirmary if you were sorry for what you’d done and if you were willing to work on it. You both said yes. Dean would’ve been within his rights to say no, to say you should be kicked out, and everyone would’ve supported that decision, but he gave you his answer then.”

Kevin looked at Dean with misery etched into his face. “I know what he said, but if the situation were reversed, I don’t know if I could do it for someone else.”

“It’s not just anybody else,” Dean said, shaking his head. “Would you do it for one of us? Your alpha pack? Let’s say I fucked up. I manipulated all of you. I did everything to you. If I was truly sorry, if I came here and admitted it in front of everybody, knowing I ran the risk of everyone hating me for what I’d done, would you have just a little respect for me because of it? Would you remember that we’re family? That everybody makes mistakes, but that everybody deserves a chance to change? A chance to prove they’re sorry and they can learn?”

“As hard as it is to believe,” Missouri said as she reached down and wrapped her fingers around Kevin’s neck, giving him a little shake to get his attention, “there’s a point where you can be so deep in self-pity, so down on yourself, you can hate yourself so much for what you did that you can’t see there are people around you willing to forgive, people who don’t want to give up on you, and you can slap them in the face with that forgiveness instead of accepting it humbly. Don’t be that man. Start being a good alpha.”

Kevin’s eyes widened and he froze in Missouri’s grip. Dean watched as Kevin’s body deflated, as he sank down against the couch and floor, the fight leaving his body as Missouri’s words hit right where she’d meant them to.

“I-I’m sorry,” Kevin said. “You’re right,” he said with a nod.

Dean watched a look of determination come over Kevin’s face. It was amazing to watch Kevin transform before his eyes from a beaten down and miserable man to an alpha ready to face the future.

“I want to make this work,” Kevin said as he wiped the tears from his face.

“Good,” Missouri said, letting go of Kevin’s neck and patting him on the shoulder.

Mary nodded. “Very good,” she said with a small smile. “Now we can move on to what we’re going to do about it.”

“Yes, ma’am,” Kevin said respectfully.

Dean didn’t think he could love his mother any more than he did. She’d always amazed him with her ability to remain calm. She’d just been told everything Kevin had done to her son, yet she’d forced herself to talk it out instead of letting her emotions get the best of her. Dean knew his dad had a lot to do with the control his mom had learned over the years, especially after his talk with Meg at the lake. He hoped he’d be able to walk in their footsteps and be a great alpha himself.

“We’re setting aside a time of two months,” Mary said. “In that time one of your fellow alphas is going to take you under his wing. Your sexual contact will be limited to him, you’ll be dependent on his say-so, and he’ll be preparing you on a daily basis after you’ve prepared Dean every day.”

“Okay,” Kevin said.

“In that two months, you’re going to work hard at learning how to deal with problems,” Mary said. “Pay attention to how he deals with you, ask him questions, and be honest when he asks you questions. When we come back to check up on you guys, we’re going to talk with every one of you to see how things are going, and if you’ve improved, your restrictions will be lifted and you’ll resume your position in the house.”

“Thank you,” Kevin said, and Dean could see by the look on his face he was happy to be given the opportunity to prove himself. “May I ask who it’s going to be?”

“It’s not a requirement, Nick,” Mary said as she turned to look at Nick. “We’d like to assign this to you, but you can say no.”

Nick nodded. “Yes, ma’am. I understand. And I’d like to accept.”

“Thank you, Nick,” Mary said with a smile.

Nick nodded again. “Could I ask why you chose me?” and Dean nodded, curious himself.

“Certainly,” Mary said with a smile. “Because of your role in the house, you’re the one who will be home most often. You also have a milder personality for an alpha. I’m sure Dean has forced the issue with you more than once because I know him, but we all know you’re the kind of alpha that only enforces his authority when it’s needed.”

Nick smiled. “Yes, ma’am, he’s challenged that more than once,” he said with a nod.

Mary nodded. “Alpha Tran’s house is run in much the same way. She may be a strict woman, but she rarely needs to bare her teeth. She shares your understated dominance, and that’ll make it easier for Kevin. You’ll be the main disciplinarian for him over the next two months, and we’d suggest he sleep in your bed to allow more time together since Kevin has a busy schedule. You’ll be showing by example how to treat a fellow alpha, and more specifically a carus, and that’s the way you’ll be treating him.”

“Okay,” Nick said with a nod. “How will sexual activities in the house be affected by this?”

“You’re free to carry on as you have been unless you guys decide to make some changes after we talk about more of the issues around here and after you talk about Dean, Cas, and Gabe’s new relationship,” Mary said. “We’d suggest holding Kevin strictly to the rules because they can be frustrating, and he needs experience in what he expected of someone else, not as punishment, but to gain empathy for others.”

“I’m sorry, but can I ask why you’re limiting his sexual activity to me?” Nick asked, a bit of a frown on his face. “Wouldn’t it make more sense to allow him to still deal with everyone else?”

“Sex is a distraction,” Mary said. “If he’s not able to join in when everyone else is fucking, he’ll be able to focus on how you’re all treating Dean. Not that he should be left frustrated as if it’s a punishment, but if he’s dependent on you for sex, he’ll have to wait until you’re done with what everyone else is doing, giving him time to observe.”

“Understood,” Nick said, nodding.

“Any other questions?” Mary asked.

“How are the rest of us to treat Kevin?” Cas asked.

Mary shrugged. “Like you always have. As a member of the house. The ranks still apply, your skills are still being used, and he’s not restricted to the house. He’s being given time to learn how to behave, to learn coping skills, to learn how to show authority without using manipulation. The sex is limited for him right now, but as far as the rest of you go, that’s the only change. Benny, Sam, you, and Gabe still have authority over him, but we’d suggest letting Nick deal with issues that come up just because this is a learning time for Kevin.”

“This is not a time for revenge,” John said. “Mary and I will be taking Kevin and Nick upstairs later tonight in private for a more intimate discussion. He’s being punished, and that’s going to be the end of it. The rest of these two months isn’t punishment, it’s learning.”

All the younger alphas nodded, and Cas sat forward a little. “What about Dean?” Cas asked.

John pointed at Benny. “Benny and Missouri will be taking Dean somewhere private to discuss things while Mary and I deal with Kevin.”

Dean’s stomach clenched and he squirmed on the carpet. He really hoped Missouri hadn’t brought her wooden spoon.

“The rest of it we’d like to discuss now,” John said. “These are things all of you need to hear.”

“To get us started, I’d like to ask Dean a question,” Mary said, looking over at Dean. “Have you initiated sex with anyone?”

Dean winced. “No. Well, other than Sam last night.”

“Why?” she asked.

Dean couldn’t figure out what to say. It was a simple question, but the answer made him sound like an asshole. Again, he wasn’t scared of punishment, but rather disappointment. He let out a huff and looked down at his boots, playing with the laces.

He was in his own alpha house now. He wasn’t a pup. The primes were here to help, but they weren’t here to disband them or they wouldn’t be trying to work things out. Dean took a cleansing breath and lifted his head, looking his mother in the eye with confidence.

“I was upset about my position, frustrated over the no-touching rule,” he said as he gestured toward his lap, “and I was taking it out on everyone else.”

Mary nodded. “Thank you for being honest. It took guts, especially to say it in front of everyone involved and all of your primes.”

Dean felt a little of the load he’d been carrying on his shoulders disappear, not only because he admitted it out loud, but because when he looked around at the others in the room, no one looked angry.

“When it comes to your behavior,” Missouri said, “were there any particular instances or were you bucking authority?”

Dean winced. “Yeah, I was fighting pretty much everything. Most of the time it wasn’t flat out refusal, but I was purposely pushing all of them, especially Kevin.”

Missouri nodded. “Did you know from the beginning why you were pushing Kevin so hard?”

Dean shook his head. “I didn’t figure it out until after he made me kneel in the salt. I didn’t really feel bad that Kevin got in trouble because of his reaction to my attitude, and once I realized that, I also realized my instincts were why I was pushing.”

Missouri nodded again, obviously taking the lead in this part of the discussion, which was reasonable given she was going to be handling him later. “Once you figured that out, did you talk to anyone about it? Did you mention your concerns about Kevin? Because I’m assuming your instincts were telling you his way of dealing with you wasn’t correct, am I right?”

“Yes, ma’am,” Dean said with a nod. “But I didn’t talk with anybody about it beyond just mentioning to Sam I was concerned.”

“Just like Pam said,” Missouri said, “you need to trust your instincts, but not be ruled by them. You knew something was wrong, but you let it go, deciding to take care of it by yourself. You could’ve told anybody about it, including any of the primes.”

“As alphas,” Mary said, “we feel a need to take care of everything ourselves.” She looked at John. “But it’s not a weakness to have the support of others in your house,” she said with a smile.

John chuckled. “It took your mom years to learn that,” he said as he looked down at Dean. “Try and learn that faster than her.”

Dean smiled, then looked around at his fellow alphas. “I know everybody else would’ve listened to me, but I wanted to take care of it myself,” he said, then looked at Kevin. “We’re both guilty of that,” he said with a sheepish look, making Kevin chuckle.

“I’d like to make a point about consent,” Meg said. “It’s a biggie and we’ve kinda touched on it, but I really want this to be clear,” she said, pausing so she had the attention of all the alphas. “I enjoy, welcome, and want every bit of sex I get. It’s never a chore. It’s never something I do because everybody else wants to and I’m just going along with it.”

Ellen nodded. “There are times Meg hands herself over to us to do whatever we want, but even then we know her well enough to keep it consensual. We know what she likes and doesn’t like. Meg isn’t our slave, she’s not a toy, and she sure as hell has an opinion and a right to say yes or no.”

“The open communication will help,” Meg said, “but if any of you is fucking over a sense of duty? Stop that shit right now. Sexual activity in a house should bring you together, closer on an intimate level, and it helps everyone’s stress levels. Running a house is a highly stressful job Be there for each other.”

“If you want sex,” Ellen said, “you ask for it.”

“You wanna try somethin’ new,” Missouri said with a grin, “you tell somebody. Chances are someone is going to be up for it, and you’ll find a lot of times even when not everyone is into a certain kink, your close relationships mean that everybody has a good time just participating in some way.”

“Does that mean I get to say my cock shouldn’t be off limits?” Dean asked hopefully.

Ellen smirked. “That’s a great subject to talk about next,” she said with a nod. “Can you boys tell us why a male carus’ cock is off limits? Why a female carus’ clit is off limits?”

Cas gasped, as if he knew the answer and was excited to share it. “It’s to remind the carus of their rank, to remind him or her to be submissive to the rest of the alphas, and to remind the rest of the alphas in the house to focus on the whole person instead of their sexual organ.”

Missouri huffed, shaking her head. “Does that boy have a photographic memory or has he just memorized the rules?” she asked with a very impressed look on her face.

“I don’t have a photographic memory,” Cas said. “The rules are important to learn,” he said with a nod.

“Yes, they are, sugar,” Missouri with a smile directed at Cas.

“Does everyone here know,” Ellen drawled, “that the rule book can be thrown out the window if you decide it’s not right for you?”

Dean’s eyes widened. “You’re shitting me,” he said, and as he looked around at all the younger alphas, he knew he’d said what they were thinking. He nearly bounced with excitement. “I say my cock gets touched!”

Ellen shook her head. “It should be a house decision that’s for the good of everyone, not one of you disgruntled over something and deciding there needs to be a change.”

“Aww,” Dean whined.

Ellen shook her head again, a look on her face Dean had grown to love over the years. It said ‘that was adorable enough I’d be laughing if I wasn’t a hardass.’ Or maybe Dean just liked to think that was what it meant. Either way, he loved it because it was almost an indulgent look, and the only other one who managed to put that look on Ellen’s face was Meg.

“Talk it over,” Ellen said, “and if you think it’ll work for all of you, no one’s going to stop you.”

Dean snorted, throwing a look at Sam and then Benny. “I’m so doing a shitload of research and writing a fucking novel-length report on this to get the approval of my geeky little brother, and then he can get Benny on board.”

“I’m open to discussing it,” Benny said with a nod.

Sam elbowed Benny’s leg. “Let him write the report. Make him work for it,” he said with a grin.

“Hey,” Gabe said, “what about me and Cas? You’re not going to convince us?”

“Please,” Dean said with a snort as he waved off Gabe. “I don’t have to worry about you two. You’ll both say yes.”

Cas smiled as if he knew it was true. Gabe shook his head, a smirk on his face. “Little shit,” Gabe said affectionately.

“I’d like to talk a little about the punishment for Dean touching his cock,” Meg said. “I’m not saying you were wrong, Benny. What I will say is that you guys need to figure out what’s right for you, make sure everyone knows what the rules of your house are, and follow through with punishments. Dean knew he wasn’t supposed to touch?” she asked.

“That was clear,” Benny said with a nod.

“Okay,” Meg said. “John and Mary usually handle discipline, but everyone is involved to an extent, we all check each other. Make sure the punishment fits the crime, make sure you stay calm, and make sure everyone knows things are forgiven, that everything is okay afterward.”

“Yes, ma’am,” Benny said. “I believe it did fit the crime. Dean didn’t just touch after being told not to, he mouthed off some, tried to convince me to ignore it and not tell anyone else.”

“Okay,” she said with a nod. “I just want to make sure discipline is carried out in such a way as to make it a learning experience. The focus isn’t punishment, it’s learning from your mistakes.”

“It stung like a bitch,” Dean said with a smile, “but I didn’t think he did it out of anger, and he made sure I knew what I’d done wrong.”

“And Benny was sweet to him afterward,” Sam said.

“Good,” Meg said.

“The same discipline doesn’t work for everyone,” Mary said.

“That’s a good point,” John said. “What works for Mary does the opposite for Anna.”

Anna nodded. “Mary needs someone to get right in her face, tell her what she did, and call her on any bullshit.”

“Anna,” Mary said with a small smile directed at Anna, “needs some time alone to think things over, to calm down before you talk to her or she gets more pissed and gets in more trouble.”

“Mary doesn’t like being held afterward,” Anna said, “but I need lots of touching.”

“I still need to be reassured I’m forgiven,” Mary said, “but I need to be left alone afterward.”

“And all Bobby needs,” Ellen said, “is a stern look and maybe a smack on the ass.”

Bobby poked his head through the doorway. “I may be stubborn, but I ain’t stupid.”

Everyone laughed, and Ellen shook her head. “Yes, he’s very stubborn, and my baby sure ain’t stupid.”

Missouri smiled, shaking her head. “Now can someone beside Cas tell me why the carus is prepared by the one closest in rank?”

Dean nearly giggled at the frown on Cas’ face. It was obvious Cas knew the answer and wanted to share. Missouri gave Cas a wink.

“It’s along the same lines as keeping the cock off limits,” Benny said. “But it also has to do with showing the carus appreciation, a quiet time to show you care about the carus’ needs.”

Dean’s jaw dropped, his eyes wide. He must’ve missed that one as he was growing up. He immediately felt stupid.

Missouri huffed. “There’s a whole lotta strong feelings of shame and foolishness coming from you, honey,” she said to Dean. “You didn’t know, so you fought preparation,” Missouri said instead of asked. “What did you think it was for?”

Dean huffed. “Well, to prepare me. Nothing more, nothing less,” he said.

“When all of us set up house,” Missouri said, “I asked for second to last ranking because of my telepathy and empathy skills. It’s a special time every day for me and Meg,” she said as she threw a little smile Meg’s way. “It’s relaxing, it starts her day out knowing somebody is thinking about her, that she’s appreciated and deserves care and attention.”

“Missouri is very respectful,” Meg said, and Dean felt humbled by the way Meg was looking at Missouri, as if their whole morning ritual was an expression of love. “She never makes me feel as if I’m a child she has to care for, never rushes through it like it’s a chore.”

“Oh,” Dean said softly, looking over at Kevin. “Did you know that?” he asked.

Kevin nodded. “It’s the same in the Vancouver House. There are alphas who ask to be in Missouri’s position because our skills lend themselves to that sort of thing. I don’t have Missouri’s empathic skills, but I can see auras. I wanted to make it nice for you, but you fought me from the beginning, and I let myself get too emotional over it. I didn’t want it to turn out the way it did, and I’m really sorry I used it against you this morning. I’m sorry I hurt you.”

Dean winced. “I’m sorry too. I really didn’t know it was for anything other than preparation. The way you guys talk about it,” he said, shaking his head, unable to say that it sounded damn near beautiful. “I’m sorry.”

Kevin gave Dean a small smile. “Thank you, Dean.”

“You didn’t know,” Mary said kindly, a small smile directed at Dean. “And again, that’s why we’re here for you boys. We want to clear these things up. Nobody’s going to get it right first time out, and I don’t want any of you to think us primes are beyond mistakes.”

“Any related questions from you guys before we move on?” Meg asked.

Cas raised his hand again, but put it down quickly when Meg giggled. He threw a sour look at her, but seemed to get over it quickly. “What about the ranks? Is there no need for them if everyone does what they want anyway?”

“Excellent question,” Mary said, and Cas beamed. “Ranking is very important. There needs to be leadership, especially in a house with nothing but born leaders. Benny has a higher responsibility than the rest of you when it comes to keeping everything running smoothly in the house, and it goes on down the line.”

“Not that the rest of you get off with no responsibilities,” Missouri added. “You all have important jobs, but if there weren’t order in a house, it would lead to confusion, misunderstandings, and a lot of conflict. Ranking means everyone knows who they answer to, who has the ability to make final decisions. And Benny has the option to make those decisions or put it up for vote.”

“The rules say,” John said, “that sexual activity should reflect that ranking to remind everyone of their place at all times. For a lot of houses that works, but not every house. In the beginning, I’d suggest sticking by it on a trial basis, but keeping communication open in case everyone sees it as unnecessary.”

“We always suggest that at first,” Mary said. “We gather a group of alphas, put them in a house together, and for the first time in their lives they’re not only gaining huge responsibilities, but they’re also settling into what everyone else’s role is. There’s a lot of adjusting, and though it sounds like a minor thing to be concerned over, keeping the ranks in mind during sexual activity reinforces it in everyone’s minds.”

“Basically what we’re saying,” Pam said, “is do what’s right for you and your house, and take the rules as a strong suggestion of what has worked well in the past, but only a suggestion.”

“Oh!” Meg said loudly, holding up her hands to get everyone’s attention. “And don’t tell me you guys are following that stupid only-coming-on-a-cock,” she paused for effect, using air quotes as she said, “rule.”

Dean’s jaw dropped, then he looked around at his fellow alphas, who all looked surprised. Dean’s look of surprise turned into a glare. “It’s not a rule?” Dean drawled, still glaring at everyone.

“No, not so much,” Meg said. “It’s more of a rumor that goes around every once in a while, and it gets stuck in the minds of young, impressionable alphas.”

“Yeah,” Sam said with a wince, “we’d be some of those young, impressionable alphas.”

“We’d better be the ones that also cut that shit out right now,” Dean said with a huff. “Thanks for the info, Meggie,” he said.

Meg chuckled. “You’re welcome, sweet cheeks.”

Mary cleared her throat. “Moving on,” she said, though Dean could see she was trying to control a grin.

“Okay, if you don’t mind my asking, what about you guys?” Nick asked. “How does the prime house ranking work?”

“We started out keeping sex within ranks, higher ranks can only fuck lower ranks,” Mary said. “But it quickly became more of a hassle than anything else.”

Missouri nodded. “We never had a problem remembering ranking, so it was a moot point to keep sex limited that way.”

“The more betas we had in the house,” Pam said, “the more it became a frustration.”

“We unanimously decided it was unnecessary,” Mary said.

“The only time it’s different,” Meg said, “is when we all need something different, and a lot of times I stick to it because of my needs.”

“The main reason sex is so open in an alpha house,” Mary said, “is because it’s a high-stress job, and what relieves stress better than sex? If the rules are getting in the way of your stress relief, that’s counterproductive. A lot of carus find they enjoy being the center of attention, being able to relax inside the house and let everyone else worry about things for a change.”

“Knowing my son,” John said with a smirk, “he’s having trouble with that part of it. Am I right?”

Dean nodded. “I don’t need to be taken care of,” he said.

“Of course you don’t need to,” Meg said with a huff. “But have you ever gotten home at the end of a long day and you didn’t even wanna bother jerking yourself off because it seemed like too much effort?”

“Yeah,” Dean said.

“Let these guys show their appreciation for your hard work by helping you blow off some steam without lifting a finger!” Meg said with a chuckle.

“But they’re not letting me blow off steam!” Dean said, his eyes wide.

“Uhm, huh?” Meg said, a puzzled look on her face.

Benny shook his head. “We were stickin’ to the rules.”

Gabe nodded. “It took Chuck four months to learn how to come on a cock.”

“Oh, boys,” Meg said, shaking her head, “do you really think Chuck didn’t get to come for those four months?”

Dean looked around the room, at the shocked expression on the faces of his fellow alphas. He figured his face showed the same.

“Stress relief,” Meg said, “doesn’t include a case of blue balls. Punishing Dean for mouthing off and trying to sneak around the rules is understandable, but orgasm denial is not gonna help with the stress relief.”

As the shock wore off, Dean felt like getting up and doing a victory dance, but he settled with just grinning so hard his face hurt.

“We’re always there for Meg when we can be,” Pam said. “She’s a very sexual person. She’s horny most of the time. And it doesn’t seem to matter what mood she’s in, what has happened during the day, or how tired she is, she’s still horny enough to be happy someone’s taking care of it. She’s come home so tired she doesn’t wanna move her arms, and when I provide a very willing mouth, it makes her day.”

Meg giggled. “Pam really likes the way I taste,” she said.

Dean groaned loudly, shoving down on his cock. “Ouch,” he grumbled. “Not fair.”

“That’s what I’m talking about, Dean!” Pam said. “Out of all the younger alphas in this room, you’re the only one trying to keep from coming in your pants.”

Dean looked up and blushed. “Sorry,” he said, though he was more embarrassed than sorry.

“Nothing to be sorry about,” Pam said, shaking her head. “You have a stronger sex drive than the rest of them just like Meg has a stronger sex drive than the rest of us.”

“Carus usually have stronger sex drives,” Ellen said. “It’s another one of those things we can’t really explain, but it works out that way.”

Meg smiled. “I like to think that a carus is much more intelligent and capable of handling their role outside the house by nature, and we recharge our batteries with sex.”

Dean barked out a laugh, then he realized no one else was laughing. “Oh, you’re not joking.”

Sam snorted. “He thinks he’s stupid,” he said, rolling his eyes.

Meg huffed. “Dean Winchester!” she growled, frowning at him.

“Shh,” Gabe said, holding a finger up to his mouth. Gabe stage-whispered, “He thought he was getting away with most people thinking he was stupid despite how he accidentally shows his smarts all the time.”

“You think you’d be carus if you were stupid?” Meg asked, a dangerous tone to her voice.

“No, ma’am,” Dean said, shaking his head. He knew he wasn’t the smartest guy in the world, but he wasn’t stupid enough to ignore Meg’s tone.

Meg’s eyes narrowed and Dean squirmed. “All right, then,” she said with a nod, letting him off the hook.

“I want all of you,” Missouri said, pointing to each of the younger alphas, “to use this time to ask questions, be open, and be ready to listen and learn. You can ask any of us anything you want, including direct questions about sex. I don’t care if it’s uncomfortable. I don’t care if somebody would rather keep things private. This is serious, and being open about all of this will keep you guys from getting hurt.”

John chuckled. “You boys may not like to think about it, but all of us have quite a lot of sex.”

Cas raised his hand, and Dean tried to keep himself from chuckling. It was such a Cas thing to do. Gabe grinned and gave Dean a look that said ‘he’s doing that adorable business-like thing again.’

“May I ask a question about Victor?” Cas asked.

“Yes, you can, Cas,” Victor yelled from the kitchen, and Dean chuckled. He knew the betas were listening in, and to have Vic so readily agree was very telling about how all the primes felt about the younger alphas.

Cas nodded. “Victor told me he’s asexual,” he said, a frown on his face as he lowered his hand, “yet you say all of you participate in sex.”

“Victor and I are mated,” Pam said, “but there are more ways to be intimate than just fucking, and when John says we all have lots of sex, what he probably should’ve said is we all participate. Victor enjoys kissing and touching, intimacy, sensation, and there are times I think he’s more satisfied by the end of the night than the rest of us because what he gets the most joy from is being included in what makes all of us happy and satisfied. Vic enjoys companionship, and even though he has no interest in penetrative sex, that doesn’t mean he gets left out of fun times.”

Cas was thinking so hard that Dean swore he could feel it, but after a few moments, it was obvious Cas had let it sink in and he could see a different side to the situation. He smiled at Pam. “Thank you,” he said.

“You’re welcome,” Pam said.

There was a clang from the kitchen and then a yelled “Pam!” from Victor.

Pam waggled her eyebrows. “Vic also loves when I use my telekinesis to feel him up,” she said with a grin.

“Oh,” Sam groaned, looking at Pam. “Teach me,” he breathed, his eyes wide in amazement.

Pam laughed, her head falling back on her shoulders. “Oh, Sam, I’d love to teach you,” she said flirtatiously as she smiled at Sam.

“All right,” Vic said as he stepped into the living room, “dinner’s ready. Any more conversation can wait until we’ve all got food in front of us.”

Meg chuckled. “And we can continue that part of the conversation at dinner.”

“I’m starving!” Dean said as he stood up.

“Your mate is rather bossy,” Cas said, a very small smirk tugging at the corners of his lips.

Pam barked out a laugh. “I wouldn’t have him any other way,” she said as she wrapped an arm around Cas’ back and led him to the dining room.

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