For those of you who don’t know, A/B/O stands for Alpha/Beta/Omega. The basic idea is, what if humans had characteristics of other animals, especially pack animals? What if we had societal structures based on these new nonhuman biological characteristics? The best A/B/O, in my experience, creates a conversation about gender and expectations. It wonders how the world would be different, how our ideas about maleness and femaleness would change, what new institutions would be necessary. It’s a jumping off point for some amazing worldbuilding and social commentary. Also, fun creative porn that often involves things like D/s, collars, breeding, knotting, and heats. Here are some great A/B/O fics that have given me food for thought and/or raging boners!
- Nico Comes to a Decision by razielim (Percy Jackson): Sometimes you want plot, sometimes you just want simple hot dirty knotting porn. This is the latter. Nico’s an omega who decides that he actually does want to be Will’s after all, he just wants to respected in the process and not make decisions until everyone’s in their right mind. Huzzah for consent-conscious kink!
- Dynamics by Not_You (The Avengers): I’m not usually a huge fan of the “our world meets some kind of magical alternate world” trope- there’s usually way too many awkward situations and too much secondhand embarrassment for me, and I just don’t find it that interesting. This fic is the exception. The Avengers, who are heading in a poly direction, get their asses transported into an A/B/O alternate universe. The alphas, Steve, Natasha, and Thor, have to figure out the pecking order between them before omega Clint goes into heat. I love it when wrestling matches end in sex. And I adore how being forced into this weird contrived situation helps the Avengers solve their real-world relationship problems. It’s a metaphor!
- All You Ever Needed to Know About Knotting by KuriKuri (Teen Wolf): Derek likes to read this relationship advice column written by a witty, anonymous omega. Also, he has a crush on his adorable omega neighbor, Stiles. I’m sure you can see where this is going. I love the use of the advice column to give us a glimpse into the broader context of this particular A/B/O verse, and the rom-com style, complete with mistaken identity and mutual pining.
- Politically Incorrect by Not_You (The Avengers): Remember how I love how creative A/B/O can be, especially subversions of it that go against the traditional archetype? This is none of that. This is pure self-indulgent classic A/B/O. Clint is an omega who’s stereotypically submissive and has some guilt feelings about wanting Phil to take him and claim him and use him. (Dude, I can relate.) Includes beautiful D/s knotting porn with lots of biting!
- The Domestic Lives of Superheroes by The Notorious Trollop Vo the Terrible (The Avengers): This is a series, and with all of the parts together, it is fairly long. But it is so, so worth it. It mostly looks at omega Bucky and alpha Steve. The main story, “The Winter Soldier Becomes a Parent,” deals with Bucky’s accidental pregnancy and his difficulties adjusting to a normal human life after being an abused soldier for so long. Maybe my favorite part of this fic is when Bucky asks Natasha to accompany him on an errand, she assumes they’re going to assassinate someone, and they’re actually going to see a doctor for an ultrasound and all of that. It’s the kind of fic that manages to be heartwrenching and hilarious in turns, and is somehow so relatable in its discussion of recovery and the importance of social support even though it’s about a pregnant male omega superhero. The rest of the series is also great!
- Entangled by antennapedia (Buffy the Vampire Slayer): Female alphas are always so interesting to me. Both female alphas and male omegas are really fascinating ways of re-imagining gender and power, but the former get way less attention in fanfiction than the latter. In this fic, Buffy is an alpha and Giles is an omega, which turns their mentor/student power dynamic on its head. Giles has an inconveniently timed heat, because you gotta kickstart the porn somehow. Also, the idea of pack is explored in a way that imagines packs as polyamourous systems, and I always love a good poly plot twist.
- a little advice for aspiring fires by The Byger (Teen Wolf): Stiles is an omega who sells himself at auction. Derek bought him impulsively and doesn’t really know how to alpha. Here be Stiles being talkative and adorable and Derek slowly letting his guard down and starting to snark back at him. And then, y’know, Stiles gets his heat. I like Stiles’ narrative voice here, he’s earnest and young in a way that really shines through. Derek’s alpha possessiveness and Stiles’ omega clinginess cause some problems, and they have to actually use their words and talk about their problems like adults. Also, adorable children at the end.
- Will Graham’s Home For Fucked Up Omegas by Not_You (Hannibal): This is maybe my favorite A/B/O fic I have ever encountered. The world building is just so good and fleshed out! Will Graham is an alpha who runs what is essentially a halfway house for omegas, and is also really really bad at self care. Hannibal is an omega who runs a similar home for alphas. One of my favorite things about this fic is that it imagines humans with much better senses of smell in addition to the other animalistic characteristics that are common to A/B/O verse. Emotions all have their own scents, and are a big part of how humans communicate. Having an impaired sense of smell is therefore much more of a disability in this world, which is also explored. It also looks at how the idea of queerness would change, and how same-dynamic attraction would be viewed as queer in such a world. I adore all of the different details and nuances that the author came up with. Huzzah for creative and exciting world building!
What’s your experience with A/B/O been? Got a favorite A/B/O fic?