From Ye Shaoyang's perspective, this was a very simple thing.
It was just a matter of biting down on someone's nape. At most, some teeth marks would be left behind. Those would fade in just a few days.
However, a long while passed after Ye Shaoyang turned around. Chi Shuo was, for some reason, not reacting.
What was going on?
The total silence in the room was a bit frightening. It was like time had suddenly frozen in place.
Ye Shaoyang hesitantly turned back to look at Chi Shuo, only to see an extremely complicated expression showing on Chi Shuo's face. That sort of expression was very difficult to describe. It was most akin to… the expression of someone who'd seen a ghost in the middle of the night.
Could it be that, to people in the A/B/O world, this sort of thing was a bit weird? Ye Shaoyang mulled it over for a moment, then tentatively asked, "Captain Chi is single, right?"
When he looked up information on Team Tianhuan, he hadn't seen any sort of relationship gossip about Captain Chi. This captain devoted himself wholly to the professional league. That was another reason Ye Shaoyang had asked Chi Shuo for a mark.
If Chi Shuo had had a partner, then asking Chi Shuo to bite him could have created misunderstandings, feelings of jealousy, and all sorts of trouble. But since they were both single, then a bite could just be considered a helping hand between friends. That should have been nothing significant, right?
Ye Shaoyang earnestly explained, "The doctor said that developing new medication would take at least a year or two. I can't possibly stay at home and not step outside for a year or two. So, the best solution is to have an alpha give me a temporary mark."
The discomfort in his body was growing more and more intense. When he spoke, his voice trembled faintly. But his tone of voice was still very calm and unperturbed, like he was simply announcing that they would have rice with dinner. There wasn't the slightest trace of shyness or awkwardness in his words.
Chi Shuo finally recovered somewhat from his abject shock. He quietly asked, "So… you want me to bite you?"
"Mm," Ye Shaoyang confirmed. "I'll have to inconvenience you, Captain Chi."
Chi Shuo fell silent again.
He had spent all these years focused on playing professionally. Although he didn't know the first thing about romantic relationships, he at least knew that giving someone a mark was something done between lovers—something even more intimate than a kiss. An alpha would only mark an omega when they were in a committed relationship. It was a declaration of possessiveness of an omega, and a means for an alpha to stain an omega's skin with their own pheromones.
He and Ye Shaoyang were… what, exactly?
They'd only known each other for a month! They hadn't even met five times yet!
Chi Shuo only saw Ye Shaoyang as a teammate. But now, Ye Shaoyang was taking the initiative to ask for a mark from Chi Shuo? Chi Shuo's whole worldview was being shaken up. He really couldn't just bite.
However, Ye Shaoyang's situation was very unique. Chi Shuo had never met an omega who was allergic to pheromone suppressants before, but he'd heard of these cases. The chances were one in a hundred thousand. For these omegas to control their pheromones, their only option was to be marked by an alpha.
Chi Shuo had been the one to bring Ye Shaoyang to Team Tianhuan. He couldn't just abandon Ye Shaoyang now, right?
The scent of sunflowers became stronger and stronger in the room, constantly reminding Chi Shuo that if he did nothing, this omega could go straight from differentiating to experiencing his first heat. That would be even more troublesome. There would be basically no way to deal with that!
Chi Shuo tightly balled his hands into fists and forced himself to stay calm as he said, "You're saying that… it'll take a year or two for a new suppressant to be developed, so during this time you'll need me to give you a temporary mark once in a while, to help you control your pheromones?"
"Right," Ye Shaoyang said. "Once every one to three months."
He paused there, then quickly reassured, "With a temporary mark, my pheromones will be under control. Captain Chi, you don't need to worry. It won't affect my ability to compete."
Chi Shuo fell silent.
Even if Ye Shaoyang was differentiating as an omega, his reaction speed and his understanding of the game wouldn't change. He was still the Xiao Bai who'd gotten eight national rankings in just one short month. He was still the Xiao Bai who could keep up with Chi Shuo's rhythm, the Xiao Bai who had a deep tacit understanding with Chi Shuo.
So, as long as it meant he could keep playing, then what did it matter?
It wasn't like Chi Shuo could possibly make Ye Shaoyang find some other unfamiliar alpha to mark him, right?
Chi Shuo turned these thoughts over in his head.
He thought and thought, and realized that him marking Ye Shaoyang… seemed to be their only option.
Chi Shuo quickly regained his calm and convinced himself—as Tianhuan's captain, he couldn't turn a blind eye to any teammate who was having a problem. These were special circumstances. He would just be giving Ye Shaoyang some pheromones. That wasn't too difficult to accept, right?
Seeing Ye Shaoyang grow weaker and weaker right before his eyes, Chi Shuo didn't hesitate any longer. He took a step up and lightly set both hands on Ye Shaoyang's shoulders. He leaned down and drew closer to Ye Shaoyang's nape. With the sight of that delicate neck before him, Chi Shuo couldn't stop his breathing from quickening by a notch.
He took a deep breath and didn't think any more. He took aim at Ye Shaoyang's pheromone secretion glands and bit down, hard.
Ye Shaoyang's skin was so pale. He'd just differentiated as an omega, so the glands at his nape were tender and delicate. When they were pierced by Chi Shuo's teeth, an even denser aroma of omega pheromones filled up the air. The thick scent of pheromones that flooded out made Chi Shuo's ears turn faintly red. He could only do his level best to control his own reaction.
Based on what he remembered reading in physiology textbooks, he started to release his own pheromones, letting them flood into the omega's glands.
Ye Shaoyang remained silent.
This seemed to be… different from what he'd imagined 'just a bite' would be?
A strange sort of numbness spread from his nape to the rest of his body.
His previously scorched body seemed to have received the best possible relief.
It was like the distinctly cool, clean scent of bamboo bathed in moonlight suddenly flowed into his bloodstream, flooding him to his extremities. All the feelings of unrest that had filled Ye Shaoyang up were slowly suppressed by this refreshing scent.
Ye Shaoyang closed his eyes. He couldn't help the sound that fell from his lips. "Oh…"
After hearing that noise, Chi Shuo's ears grew even redder. This was his first time marking an omega. He didn't have much experience, and he was afraid of hurting Ye Shaoyang, so he tried to be gentle and also dragged the process out over a longer time.
In the isolation room, the floral scent of sunflowers and the cool scent of bamboo gradually intertwined and became one.
Ye Shaoyang's body started to tremble faintly. He felt a warm sort of comfort spread through all his pores. He felt like he'd been burning up under the summer sun all day, and now he was suddenly submerged in a clear, refreshing stream.
That penetrating coolness swiftly dispersed the heat in his body.
Chi Shuo's pheromones smelled so good.
That was what Ye Shaoyang was thinking, hazily.
After an unknown period of time passed, and after their pheromones became thoroughly intertwined, Chi Shuo released Ye Shaoyang and instantly took a step back. He looked away and started to try to regulate his wildly racing heart.
Ye Shaoyang also came back to his senses. His eyes gradually started to clear up.
He looked back and smiled. "That's it? We're done?"
Ye Shaoyang lifted a hand and touched the nape of his neck. The teeth marks Chi Shuo had left were still there, and they felt pretty deep.
Chi Shuo looked at Ye Shaoyang a bit embarrassedly. His ears were still red, and his voice was a bit stiff. "Done."
Ye Shaoyang let out a breath, like a student who'd just completed their homework. He smiled again and said, "That's good, then. Thank you, Captain Chi."
Chi Shuo said nothing.
Ye Shaoyang could see that Chi Shuo's whole expression was pretty stiff, so he took a step up and lifted his head to look into Chi Shuo's eyes. He earnestly said, "That felt pretty good just now, and Captain Chi's pheromones smell very nice. Thank you for giving me a mark, Captain Chi."
Chi Shuo remained silent.
Could this be considered blatant obscenity?
Couldn't this omega be at least a tiny bit more reserved?
But what was being 'reserved', anyway? Ye Shaoyang didn't get it. He had simply spoken the truth.
The refreshing bamboo scent of Chi Shuo's pheromones was even better than the scent of a freshly brewed cup of luxurious bamboo leaf tea. And the process of receiving a temporary mark had felt pretty good.
Being marked again after a while wouldn't be a big problem at all.
That was what Ye Shaoyang was thinking as he swiftly straightened out his messy hair and clothes. His usual calm, honest smile returned to his face. "Let's go. The doctor asked me to do some more exams once we finished up here."
Chi Shuo followed him with a complex expression on his face, returning to the doctor's office.
The doctor was already waiting for them there. Seeing that Ye Shaoyang's complexion had returned to normal, she smiled slightly and asked, "The mark is all done?"
Ye Shaoyang nodded. "Mm. Please help me check it out, doctor."
The doctor checked his pheromone values again and said, "It's a good thing you got it under control, or you might have gone into heat."
Immediately afterwards, she lifted her head and looked towards Chi Shuo. "Family member, please let the nurse draw some blood from you. We need to take a sample to study your pheromones."
Chi Shuo, once again deemed a 'family member', rigidly sat down nearby and expressionlessly extended an arm.
The nurse pricked him with a needle, and the blood drawn from Chi Shuo was sent to the lab along with a sample of Ye Shaoyang's pheromones.
The doctor said, "The test will take ten minutes, you guys wait just a moment. I'll review some important information with you."
She opened a drawer and took out a brand new electronic device from within, which she passed to Ye Shaoyang. "This is a pheromone monitoring device. It'll be best if you take your own pheromone value measurement every day. If your pheromone value is under 6.0, you don't need to worry about it. If it goes over 6.0, then you'll need to be marked again. Understood?"
Ye Shaoyang instantly took out his cell phone and wrote down these important details.
Chi Shuo saw a bunch of notes about 'how to mark an omega' on his phone. His expression nearly crumbled again.
After taking his notes, Ye Shaoyang politely accepted the monitoring device. "Thank you, doctor."
The doctor warmly continued, "Your body will need a few days to adjust after differentiating, and you may feel weak during this time. Sometimes you might feel feverish, so be sure to get enough nourishment. Be careful not to catch a cold."
Ye Shaoyang nodded. "Got it, doctor."
A while later, the nurse returned with the test results. The doctor took a look, then smiled as she passed the results over to Chi Shuo. "Congratulations, your pheromones have a 100% compatibility rate. In this case, you'll be fine renewing the mark in around three months."
Chi Shuo stared at the results.
He couldn't believe what he was seeing after taking just one look.
A 100% compatibility rate was extremely rare. It meant two people were born to be a perfect match for each other. Was his compatibility with Ye Shaoyang really that high?
When he once again thought of the experience of marking an omega for the first time, Chi Shuo felt his ears start to burn slightly once more. The sensation of biting down on an omega's glands had been so enthralling—they were soft, fragrant, sweet. He couldn't help but want to… bite a few more times.
In contrast to Chi Shuo, Ye Shaoyang was clearly more composed. He didn't know what the significance of a 100% compatibility rate was, and he was even assuming it was something most people could achieve. He was just focusing on the fact that they would only need to renew the mark once every three months. That was much easier to accept than making it a monthly thing.
Once his pheromones were under control, Ye Shaoyang felt much better all over. He was all smiles. After accepting the pheromone monitoring device from the doctor and paying their bill, he turned to leave the hospital.
Chi Shuo expressionlessly followed Ye Shaoyang to the car and got them back on the road.
On the way back to the base, Chi Shuo didn't say a single word. Ye Shaoyang was lost in thought as well. After the mark was given, the two of them each had a faint scent of the other on their body. It was a mystifying sensation.
It felt like there was a part of Chi Shuo in Ye Shaoyang, and a part of Ye Shaoyang in Chi Shuo.
Chi Shuo gripped the steering wheel so tightly that light blue veins popped up along the backs of his hands. He was clearly forcing himself to keep his cool, lest he be influenced by Ye Shaoyang's pheromones.
It was only when they were nearly back at the base that Ye Shaoyang broke the silence.
"Now that I've differentiated as an omega, will there be any issues with the contract?" he asked. "Would the team refuse to sign me because I've become an omega?"
Chi Shuo had more or less managed to calm down. He turned and looked towards Ye Shaoyang. "That wouldn't happen. If we rejected you because you were an omega, Tianhuan would be endlessly criticized by all sorts of media tabloids. The club isn't that dumb. Furthermore, a player's skill level has nothing to do with whether or not they're an omega. The league doesn't discriminate based on sex. The contract signing will go on as planned."
Ye Shaoyang let out a breath of relief. "That's good."
Chi Shuo couldn't help but let his gaze wander to the nape of Ye Shaoyang's neck. A vividly obvious set of teeth marks had been left on that pale, beautiful stretch of skin. That was the mark Chi Shuo had given Ye Shaoyang, the mark which seemed to declare to anyone in the vicinity: This person is mine.
If Ye Shaoyang reported to the team with those marks showing tomorrow, then the entirety of Team Tianhuan would know that their captain had marked their new omega teammate.
What would everyone think?
They definitely wouldn't believe that Ye Shaoyang had asked their captain for a mark of his own volition. They would think that Chi Shuo had impatiently marked their new teammate who'd only just differentiated.
What would Chi Shuo become in their eyes?
A ravenous, perverted wolf who'd impulsively marked their brand new omega teammate?
When that thought popped into his mind, Chi Shuo felt the corners of his lips quirk down. In his deep voice, he said, "It would be best if you didn't let our teammates see your nape… it wouldn't give off a good impression."
Ye Shaoyang curiously touched the back of his neck. "You mean these teeth marks?"
Chi Shuo nodded stiffly. "Mm."
Ye Shaoyang flashed a carefree smile. He fished a pheromone suppressing patch out from his pocket and swiftly stuck it to his nape, covering up the bite mark. "Don't worry, Captain Chi. I won't ruin your reputation. I'll put this on whenever I go out in the future, and I won't tell anyone you marked me. No one will know what we do in private."
"We… haven't done anything in private."
"That's right," Ye Shaoyang said. "We're just good friends, good teammates. Nothing more."
Chi Shuo fell silent.
He was really just making things worse and worse.
When he parked in the base's parking lot, Chi Shuo lightly let out a breath. He turned to look at Ye Shaoyang again. The other party's expression was completely free of shyness and embarrassment. His smile lit up his whole face, just like the two of them had simply gone out for a quick barbecue.
This omega was really… open-minded. He didn't seem to have the slightest reaction to being marked.
Chi Shuo's head was aching something awful. "In any case… when you sign your contract tomorrow, make it clear that you've differentiated as an omega. As for your allergy to suppressants and me marking you, we can keep those details just between us. It'll be our secret, there's no need to advertise it out loud."
Ye Shaoyang nodded. "I understand."
"Tianhuan has a lot of alpha and beta players," Chi Shuo continued. "You'll be the only omega, so you can continue to live with me. 301 has private bathrooms for each bedroom, so living together will be relatively more convenient. Test your pheromone value every morning. If there's any change, I…"
His ears reddened once more, like he'd just made up his mind about something.
"I'll mark you again."
Ye Shaoyang earnestly said, "Thank you, Captain Chi."
"…no need for thanks."
Ye Shaoyang opened the car door and stepped outside. Chi Shuo got out as well. The two of them walked into the building, one after the other.
The players in a training room on the second floor, who had yet to go to sleep, were once again drawn to the window by the bright headlights. A group of people stuck their heads up and peered outside.
Qu Jiang stretched up to see, then quietly said, "Someone's next to Captain Chi."
Cheng Xing curiously asked, "What kind of person would be with him in the middle of the night? They're coming towards the base."
Qu Jiang guessed, "Probably a new teammate. It couldn't be that your master is bringing back a boyfriend, right?"
Cheng Xing was dumbstruck. "New teammate? We're getting a new teammate?"
Chi Shuo didn't make his way to the training room. He led Ye Shaoyang straight back up to the dorms on the third floor.
When Xiao Bai heard the noise of their arrival, it instantly scampered over to rub up against Ye Shaoyang's pants leg. Ye Shaoyang picked up the cat and stroked its fur, then turned to head to his bedroom. At the door, he stopped and turned around to say, "Thank you, Captain Chi. I've really made a lot of trouble for you today."
Chi Shuo met his calm and unperturbed gaze. His ears were burning again. "It's nothing. Get some rest early."
Once Ye Shaoyang entered his room, Chi Shuo took a deep breath and went into his own room to take a cold shower.
His first time was gone, just like that.
No, an alpha's first mark had been given away just like that.
Chi Shuo felt that his ears were burning more and more intensely, so he turned the showerhead to the highest setting, letting the cool water douse the reaction in his body. When he thought of the fact that he would mark Ye Shaoyang again in a few months, Chi Shuo really…
He'd just wanted to find a teammate. He just wanted to compete.
Why was it this hard?
A bold omega who never thinks of himself as an omega, and a more reserved alpha captain, haha.
Keep calm, Captain Chi. There's more where that came from. ^_^