Title: Paradigm Shift
Author: Harper Kingsley
Genre: mm sci-fi
*Because you're stubborn about your miseries,* he thought.
From the minute he'd first realized what he was, he'd been aware of that his life was never going to be normal. People were going to want to own him, control him, and he'd been born of the lowest class of Society. There was nothing to protect him.
Finding out that he was a Third had been the end of his every dream and he had been sure that his life was over. Then he'd discovered the existence of suppressant drugs and he'd leapt at the chance to be something else.
Only he'd been discovered anyway and now his body wasn't even going to be his own anymore. He was a possession to be owned. The unfairness of it all swelled up in his chest, but he swallowed it back down.
Life was never fair, so it was up to him to make the best of things. Because there wasn't anyone else looking out for him and no one cared.
So he would let Park and the Duadenora care for him and he would play their games. But at the end of the day, he only had himself to depend on.
Because he'd been failed by too many people in his life and he was the only person that really cared for *him*. Everyone else just saw him for what his body could do.
Even Park saw him as just an asset for the Duadenora to use to their advantage, which is why Gregor would never let himself fall for the man. He'd been bitten and betrayed before, though he would never think to call himself shy.
* * *
The first moment he got without Park hovering over him, Gregor pushed down his loose pajama pants and looked at himself.
A discontented moan escaped his throat. There was no hiding he was a Third now, not unless he wanted to claim some disfiguring disease.
The swollen head of his penis was deep red and scabby looking from torn tissues. It was supposed to heal up all right with no permanent scarring, but that was in the future. Currently he was horrified by the state of it, and when he dared reach down with tentative fingers he hurriedly winced away at the stinging pain.
"Ugh." He was actually thinking that he would have been better off waiting to start the suppressants until after his first Flare. It wouldn't have been nearly so traumatic and very few Thirds experienced any lasting damage.
As it was, the suppressants had delayed some aspects of his puberty and now he was paying the price. Namely an aching penis and the worry that it was only going to get worse as he'd never even seen a Heat before, much less experienced one.
He was afraid of what was going to happen to him. Not just the changes in his body, but what he was going to let someone do to him.
When the Heat hit, he was going to turn into some mindless animal, driven by his instinct to breed. He would be drawn to the strongest man he could find, either a First or a high-level Two. And when it happened, he wouldn't have enough mind left to hold himself back.
He would be nothing but instinct and hormones. And then he would give birth and be forced to sign a five year Contract with the father of his child.
Gregor stared down at his changing genitals and felt sick to his stomach. He was losing himself. Becoming something he had never wanted to be.
He pulled up his pants and tossed the blanket back over his lap. He stared up at the ceiling, biting down the despair that threatened to overtake him.
"What am I supposed to do now?"
"Excuse me?" Park asked, coming into the room with no warning. Gregor was glad that he wasn't still lounging around half-naked; that would have been embarrassing to explain.
Gregor forced a faint smile. "Nothing. I was just thinking out loud."
Park carried a tray in and set it on the bedside table. "Here's your lunch. I expect you to eat it all."
Gregor watched as Park lifted the cover off the plate with an air of "Voila!" that had Gregor giving a genuine smile of amusement. "Thank you."
It was strange seeing Park so playful, but it made Gregor feel as if he was special. He wanted to believe he was the only one that saw that expression on Park's face, that he was the only one that heard his soft huff of a laugh.
It was yet another sign that he was being changed by his biology. He was becoming someone else and he couldn't stop it.
*Because I'm a Third. I was a fool to ever imagine that I would be able to live as anything else.*
Despair tasted like fancy spices and ginger dressing on a beautifully arranged salad. It was a tiny consolation. He ate every bite.