1 1.1 FATED LOVE: Summer Heat

Ouros: Well, if it isn't our resident clown.

Ouros: Did you really believe you could tear apart the fabrics of Time and Space without consequence? You're much too old for these acts of compulsory idiocy.

Ouros: Never mind. What's done has been done.

Ouros: I have fashioned a simplified version of [ FATE ]. I implore that you use it to its full capacity should you wish to correct your erroneous ways.

Ouros: Get a move on now, Bird Brain, we cannot leave things as they are now. Not even Eternity would wait for an imbecile like you.


[ fate comes when it is least expected, passionate, intoxicating and completely unforgiving ]

Fate is—

— the single most important concept that fuels history and motivates the human race to trudge forward. In a world over-saturated by tales of omega and alpha pairs, of true love and true mates, wayward dreamers conjure fantasies of their long-awaited destiny. A single glance is said to be enough to unlock the secrets of love, passion and devotion. That's all it takes to change one's life. That's all it takes to know true happiness.

But Liu Lianyu, despite being an omega, does not dream about rose-tinted futures or strong alpha arms around his waist.

Instead, his dreams are all filled with an endless cycle of death; one of a Cosmic Serpent and a Cosmic Eagle devouring each other in an endless loop. When he wakes, he's sweating, gasping and has goosebumps spread all over his flesh.

Rest does not come easy. There is no reason for his persistent night terrors, their origins a mystery that none of his therapists can solve. Liu Lianyu has lived with it his entire life. He knows it well by now and can recall the nightmare in perfect detail.

He remembers that the serpent has a body of obsidian scales, fangs as long as a grown man's arm and its eyes shine like lava, molten. The eagle is equally as magnificent, with brown feathers tipped with vermilion red. Its hooked beak is golden, used to feast upon the flesh behind the serpent's skull.

The imagery never fails at making Liu Lianyu nauseous. His morning routine ends up becoming inconveniently long because he has to fold over the toilet and splash his face with icy water enough times for the world to right itself back beneath his feet. For his mind to stop swaying.

But those things are minor gripes.

Because aside from the recurring nightmares that haunt him around every evening, Liu Lianyu's life is the pinnacle of ease and tranquility. He might not have a lover, but there's a roof over his head, there's money in his bank account and he always has food on the table. Good food.

His parents are both alive, well and healthy. He lives in the city and has a job that he doesn't love, but doesn't hate either. He's not a workaholic and makes sure to have time for himself and his hobbies. He's healthy, he's well, he's—


That changes on a hot, summer day.

… … …

It's the end of August and the weather should have been cooling but there's a heatwave that devours the city. The air is sweltering. Cicadas are singing and the sun beams down, leaving the pavement with a charred smell.

Within a gated campus, teenagers organize themselves into tidy lines, awaiting roll calls. Their chatter rises with the heat. The scent of sweat is thick, they're practically swimming in it.

It's the first day back to school.

Liu Lianyu waits in his homeroom. His class materials are organized and he's already done this a hundred times so there's no need to be nervous. They're just a bunch of brats after all, and he's learned their patterns and cues over the years. He's supposed to be outside, doing the roll call but he feels faint, a dizzy spell came fast upon him and it became difficult to move. A PE teacher took pity on him and went in his stead.

Liu Lianyu wonders if perhaps his heat is sneaking up on him early but that can't be. He's been on the same birth control pills for months without issue.

It has to be summer's fault. The air conditioning units installed in the classrooms are shabby decorations at best and buzzing annoyances at worst. Liu Lianyu only turns the one in his classroom on in hopes it might inspire some sort of placebo effect to lessen the roast.

It doesn't.

He rests on the chair behind the teacher's desk and drinks some more water but his throat continues to feel parched.

Even if they're in the city, the school is situated on the outskirts. The campus itself isn't bad by any means, in fact, the leaders love boasting about their student's academic achievements. And yet they still don't bother updating the facilities. Greed always finds its way.

The fake leather of the chair sticks to Liu Lianyu's back. It's cooking him alive but he's too tired to even move. If he just closes his eyes for a little bit then maybe…just maybe, sleep will steal him away from the hell-like summer scorch.

But he's at work and the CCTV camera watches him from the corner of the room. There's the sound of chattering outside and Liu Lianyu groans, forcing himself up from his chair. He plucks a few tissues and dabs his brow, hoping that he doesn't look too absurd when meeting the new batch of students.

It's futile because his cheeks are completely flushed, red to the tip of his ears. Dark hair sticks to his forehead, shiny with sweat. His breathing comes unnaturally quick.

Liu Lianyu's features are delicate for a man, with a heart-shaped face and fanning lashes on grey-blue eyes. His lips are plump with a natural glistening pink and his frame was lithe, unable to put on any real muscle mass no matter how hard he tries.

It's a typical appearance for a male omega, but luckily he's not short so he can still sometimes get away with parading as a very pretty beta.

The door is pushed open and the poor PE teacher is yelling at them to maintain order as they file in.

That's when Liu Lianyu's world completely falls away.

He cannot breathe and his vision narrows. Dark chocolate eyes meet his own, electricity thunders in his heart and he short-circuits. The man— the teenage boy— who is no doubt but eighteen springs, locks onto him. Stars align, galaxies collide and black holes are born.

Before Liu Lianyu gets a chance to curse his fate, he faints and the world is falling.

"Teacher Liu! Teacher Liu! Are you alright? I'll take you to the infirmary at once."

Wide hands are spread over his sticky back and Liu Lianyu wants to puke because they're wrong. No one but his alpha should be touching him. His consciousness comes back in flashes and the PE teacher— what was his name again— is crowding in Liu Lianyu's vision, hunching over him and trying to hold him up. The man's alpha scent is stifling and Liu Lianyu coughs and almost gags.

He wants to hyperventilate, he wants to cry. But Liu Lianyu would rather die than make an utter fool out of himself. So he takes in a breath and calms his expression. A steady hand pushes the invasive PE teacher's chest away and Liu Lianyu finds his balance on his own.

"I'm fine…" but he's clearly not fine so he adds, "by myself. It seems that the heat has gotten to me and I'll have to go to the infirmary. Please notify the principal about my short-notice absence. If a substitute cannot be found then I find a way to make up for the class."

The PE teacher blinks at him stupidly, "But Teacher Liu—"

Liu Lianyu has neither time nor care for him. With a brisk step, he turns around and makes for the exit only to hesitate at the person blocking the door.

Liu Lianyu has never been so terrified in his entire life. His heart throbs loudly, punching his ribs with each rapid beat, trying to claw its way out of his chest. Badump. Badump badumpbadumpbadumpba—

He refuses to look up, eye stuck on the white-blue uniform worn by the students of the school. A student, his mind echoes with horror, he's a student. Beneath that uniform is a broad chest on a tall form, this kid is at least half a head taller than him and Liu Lianyu isn't even that short.

"Move out of the way," Liu Lianyu's rasps.

"Teacher—" His voice is boyish but perfectly melodic to the ear, scratchy and deep. It calls to the depths of Liu Lianyu's soul and makes him shudder, melt. He wants to listen to it forever and he's only ever heard the kid say a single word.

"I said move. Did you not hear that I'm unwell?"

He has no time. The fainting spell is coming again and his own skin is cooking him alive. Liu Lianyu barrels past the student and doesn't look back. The brief contact from when he pushed the kid aside is enough to paint white in the corners of his vision and he's terrified he might collapse in the middle of the hall. There's tingling in his muscles and he wants to fold over. He wants to surrender.

Luckily, he doesn't and makes it to the infirmary by some sort of miracle.

Next chapter