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The Gift of Fire

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Nights around the full moon were lonely but at least not that cold anymore. Sometimes, it felt like he was with Jimin in the woods; his dreams were so lucid that he felt groggy in the mornings, like he had not slept at all. The bed always felt too empty, when the next night came. The first full moon after their reunion, Jungkook had barely slept. He felt restless despite not feeling cold. The next full moon was no better. He felt the uneasiness within Jimin of still not having mated. They wanted to – they had established that but times were too busy to give them proper privacy. Every full moon after that was just as bad; sometimes, he could sleep but then, he was haunted by lucid dreams of Jimin running through the forest aimlessly, the need to go to him almost overwhelming. Once, Jungkook was close to running into the forest, giving in to the want to see his mate. 

The only way to feel better was in the mornings, when Jimin returned to him.

Allowing himself to sleep in, he felt the sun on his skin through his window. The bed was still too big for only him, hating how cold it felt without Jimin’s naturally higher body temperature but at least the morning sun was comforting.

They had moved into another dorm, once Yoongi had left for his honeymoon, as him and Anna would move in together, once they returned. The new dorm had the same amount of rooms but two of them were a bit bigger allowing a double bed inside them. Hoseok and Jimin had moved in with them and after an unconvincing attempt of Jungkook wanting his own room, he and the younger wolf ended up sharing anyways. Namjoon had gotten the second room with the double bed and even through Jin technically had his own room, he mostly slept in the half breed’s bed – if he was home, that was.

Just as expected, the two vampires that they had captured after the attack were bewitched, so that they could not reveal any valuable information about Cain and his whereabouts or what his plan was. Since it had definitely been Jun, who had created the spell, there was little hope breaking it. However, Jin was adamant to ask for permission to investigate. He wanted to break that spell; those two captured vampires were the only proper lead they had to ever finding out what Cain’s objective was and to maybe be one step ahead of him. Without this, they would always be surprised by whatever he planned. Usually, it was forbidden to create new spells, which was one of the reasons Jun had probably sided with Cain, as he had always been naturally curious about how strong their magic was. However, while the headmaster was strict about it being forbidden, he gave Jin permission to try and break the spell. It had been a hard decision for him, Jungkook had seen it in his eyes at the meeting they had had with him and his personal guard but it was – ultimately – their only choice.

Shifting, Jungkook sighed, opening his eyes to stare into the sun. It was too bright; he could not see a thing. At that moment, he felt at ease. It was warmer all of a sudden and the brightness felt like it soothed his longing heart. It was strange how he felt like a part of himself was missing, when Jimin was not around. They had not mated, yet he felt the bond stronger than ever. It felt like it demanded to be sealed by the bite. Recently, it had become hard for them to hold back, whenever they were alone. Their soft kisses had always ended in passionate moans and touches. Both of them wanted to connect but something would always come between them. The moment had never seemed right, or at least, that was the only reason Jungkook could explain why Jimin had not bitten him yet.

When he heard a relieved sigh on the other end of the room, Jungkook realised that that it was not the sun at all that comforted him. As he turned around to the door, there he stood in the doorframe. Jimin’s hair was tousled and his body was covered in dried mud. Jungkook had gotten used him looking like that, whenever he returned from the forest. The first two full moons, he had been surprised, especially because there was always some kind of injury. But after four full moons, he almost expected this.

         “I was hoping, you’d still be in bed” Jimin hummed, shuffling to their bed, letting himself fall onto it as well as the younger.

         “Hyung” the fire witch whined. “You’re all muddy and dirty. Go take a shower first.”

But his complaints were empty. His first concern was to check, if the wolf was hurt. He moved, kicking off the blanket, crawling on top of the elder, inspecting his body. There were some cuts here and there but Jungkook touched his skin just lightly, he watched them disappear, marvelling in how much power his touch had. Jimin’s healing powers always skyrocketed, whenever the younger was touching him tenderly. The maknae loved watching him get better thanks to him.

         “You’re not too hurt” Jungkook mumbled, biting his lip unconsciously.

Naturally, he leaned down, kissing him softly but pulled back immediately, scrunching up his nose.

         “You really reek. Please take a shower” he laughed but at that, Jimin suddenly turned them over, caging the younger under him.

         “Just a little longer” the elder blinked innocently but there was nothing innocent in his intent.

Leaning back down, he connected their lips again, indigently demanding attention that Jungkook was too weak to refuse. While one part of the maknae was put off by the smell, another needed to connect, to reassure their bond after three days apart from each other. Keening, the fire witch forgot all about the dirt and threaded his fingers into Jimin’s hair, pulling him closer. Tender touches quickly turned hasty, searching for the other and the elder’s hands wandered under Jungkook’s shirt easily. Welcoming the warmth of Jimin’s skin on his, the younger opened his mouth for him, moaning softly at Jimin’s tongue twirling around his.

It did not take long for them to work each other up. Jungkook’s shirt was long gone and the dried dirt on Jimin’s skin was liquefying, as the elder started to sweat. He was settled comfortably between the maknae’s legs, when the door was opened loudly and Taehyung stood in the doorframe just like the wolf had before.

Once again, they were interrupted.

Not realising that he was in his half human form – Jungkook had gotten so comfortable with it that he actually liked it just the same – he glared at the water witch, growling lowly.

         “Calm down pup, I wouldn’t interrupt, if it wasn’t something important” he teased, knowing how much Jimin hated being called a pup despite him being just that. “Yoongi-hyung is back. They arrived last night but were too tired to greet us. Or something. I don’t even know. I wanna see him and he said he has something to tell us, so he wants us all to come out to meet at Callam’s bar later. Please be presentable in like half an hour.”

         “A bar. At noon?” Jungkook frowned, disliking that place.

         “Well, I don’t know, he said we should meet up there, so we’re gonna do that” the water witch shrugged. “Now get moving and shower. Don’t have sex, unless it’s a quickie.”

Jungkook cringed, Taehyung laughed at him and Jimin sighed, pulling back. While Taehyung had already left their room again, the wolf still seemed reluctant to move.

         “Join me?” he asked, his eyes glowing hopefully. “I promise, I’ll behave.”

         “Spoken like a true pup” Jungkook grinned, slipping out of Jimin’s grasp and so a mini chase began.

The bathroom was close to their room, making it impossible for the maknae to escape. Ultimately, he was trapped in there, as Jimin slammed the door shut behind them, a playful smirk decorating his face. He lunged forward, caging the younger in his embrace, nosing his neck and the maknae tilted his head on instinct, his body physically asking for the bite. The wolf responded with a desperate growl, turning his head so that he was leaning on Jungkook, sighing helplessly despite his grip getting so tight, it was almost bruising.

         “Hyung” Jungkook whispered breathlessly without any particular thought behind it.

         “I can’t win against you” Jimin huffed, his voice a bit strained.

         “Why—“ the younger gulped, feeling his face heat up and his heartbeat pick up.

It was a question he had been too embarrassed to ask so far. It was clear that both of them wanted to finally connect and seal their bond but why had Jimin not bitten him yet?  

         “Why don’t you––“ he tried again. “You know––– I want––it––too. The b––“

         “Don’t” Jimin suddenly said, pulling back, his eyes glowing wildly, his pupils blown. “Don’t say it–––not now. It’s hard enough to hold myself back as it is but you telling me now that you want me to bite you––– I wouldn’t be able to control myself anymore.”

         “You already know that I want––– we talked about this before” Jungkook pouted, wanting to pull him closer again, having completely forgotten about how dirty the wolf was.

         “It has to–––I need permission in the moment too. I can’t assume that something that you said a few months ago is still the same. It needs to be a demand from you. Only then, the bite counts as a proper seal of the bond” Jimin explained, pulling away further, breathing heavily a few times, his eyes going back to normal.

Frowning, Jungkook pouted. This was new information. Of course, he had not explicitly asked for the bite when they had been intimate previously, as it was something quite embarrassing to ask in his mind and he did not know that he had to ask for them to mate, so how was he supposed to find out about this? Was this the only reason why they had not mated yet in these five months?

         “I didn’t know that” he grumbled, as Jimin turned on the shower, remembering that they had to get ready to leave. “You have to tell me these things. How am I supposed to just know the customs of your culture?”

         “I’m not supposed to tell you. You have to want it enough to ask out of your own will. I shouldn’t have said anything, actually.”

Jimin took off his pants and stood under the water, sighing, as he closed his eyes. Like that, he looked beautiful and even though Jungkook wanted to defend himself further, that he needed to know, otherwise he would not ask for that explicitly, he kept quiet, simply joining the wolf in the shower. There was no use arguing about the logic of wolf culture. Jungkook had not asked a lot about it up until now, so it was also partly his fault. All he knew was that their ways were ingrained into Jimin’s being, that he lived after them proudly and whether it was logical or not, the maknae had to respect that.

After they had finished showering, they quickly got into some clothes warm enough for the season, although they technically did not need them, since both of their body temperature was higher than the one of an average person. Of course, the others were already waiting for them and Taehyung made sure to tease them about why they had taken so long. Hoseok joined, although he knew exactly that nothing had happened because he would smell it. Jimin had once explained to Jungkook that, now that they were mostly in their half human form, they smelled arousal and any other extreme change of their emotions, especially those of someone close to them because they were used to their normal scent.

When they arrived at Callam’s bar, Jungkook quickly melted the snow on them. Contrary to the weather in the human world, Great Britain was still rather cold and had a lot of snow in winter. The water witches loved it and the children were outside more often, playing around with trying to bend the snow. Luckily, the bar was still closed and Callam looked like he had had a long night. Nevertheless, he clapped excitedly while watching Jungkook working his element. The maknae never really understood how Anna and him could be related. He was such a troublemaker, while she was truly an angel.

         “They’re already here. They look way too relaxed. I’m not used to seeing Yoongi smiling so often” Callam chuckled, as he led the others to the table the newlyweds were sitting.

The rock witch indeed looked like better than he had two months ago. They had married just before Christmas. It had been a small ceremony and Yoongi was all smiles and tears, while Anna was simply the most gorgeous bride Jungkook had ever seen. Afterwards, they had left for their honeymoon immediately, as both of them had requested leave from their duties at the academy.

Yoongi got up, when he spotted them, hugging them all affectionately. He seemed thoroughly relaxed, indeed smiling more than usual and he looked younger somehow. Maybe, it was the brown hair that was falling into his face.

         “It’s good to see you all” Yoongi started the conversation, as Callam brought them a drink – except the wolves and Jungkook, who had opted out and chose water instead. “Update me. I missed out on a lot. How’s the situation going with the two vampires? As much as you can tell me with Callam here, of course.”

         “Wow, you’re as affectionate as always” Taehyung pouted. “how about a I missed you all.”

Everyone laughed at that and patted the water witch’s shoulder. He had suffered the most during Yoongi’s absence. He had pretended to be fine but he had missed him a lot. It was the longest time they had ever spent apart, ever since they had met each other and as a water witch, he had struggled adapting. But he knew that it was his element talking and he did not want to make the elder feel bad, so he brushed it off as a joke and listened to Namjoon updating Yoongi on what had happened while he was gone. They could not go into too much detail, as Callam was listening closely, always eager for gossip from the academy but it was public knowledge that Jin had not found a spell to make the vampires talk yet.

         “I didn’t expect much development. Jun’s spells are so powerful, no one was able to break them back then either” Yoongi sighed but then, he looked at Anna, who squeezed his hand softly, making him smile. “On a more positive note, there’s a reason why we’re meeting here. Callam should be one of the firsts to hear it too.”

         “Hear what?” Jin asked, looking at Anna, as if he already knew.

         “I’m pregnant” she announced, a cute tinge of pink on her cheeks, her unoccupied hand on her stomach.

The group was silent for maybe two seconds but then congratulated them. Jungkook did not know that they were even trying to start a family, hence he asked, when they had decided on this and Yoongi’s answer surprised him.

         “Technically, it’s not a good time, I suppose” he sighed. “But then again, with my job, it will never be a good time. We never know what will happen to us, especially since I am already reborn. This is my last life and I don’t want to die without children. Someone needs to be there to take care of her, once I’m not around.”

         “Stop talking like you’re 90 years old” Anna slapped him affectionately.

         “Already bickering like an old, married couple” Taehyung giggled.

         “If we’re already making announcements” Hoseok said then, looking excited, yet strangely bashful.

Jimin’s attention turned to his pack mate immediately and Jungkook had to hold in a giggle. Whenever the elder whipped his head around so quickly, it always reminded the maknae of a dog that was called by its owner.

         “My birthday is in a week. I’m officially reaching maturity as a wolf, which is why Jiminnie and I are going back to our pack” Hoseok announced.

         “Why? Can’t we throw you a party here?” Taehyung seemed confused. “Aren’t we your pack now?”

         “No, since you’re not wolves” Jimin said matter-of-factly. “And let him finish.”

         “It’s a culture thing, I suppose but there’s a ritual that’s being performed for wolves that reach maturity. It is one of the biggest moments of a wolf’s life. It’s both honourable and important. Our alpha goes to every maturity ritual, which is a huge thing for us to invite our alpha to our sub-pack. Quite frankly, we also miss our home. The academy is great but it’s not the same as our pack. We already got permission from the headmaster and the reason why we went straight to him is that I’d love for you to join us. We asked our alpha for permission to bring you to our pack because you are important parts of my life now and part of the ritual is that the people closest to me partake as well. Our alpha agreed and thinks that it would be a great opportunity to strengthen the newly created bond between witches and wolves.”

That was a lot to take in. Jungkook only realised now that it was February and did not know that Hoseok’s birthday was this close. Time had passed so quickly. But what was a bigger concern for him was that they would join them in meeting their pack. The pack itself was not the problem. The maknae had gotten used to wolves around him and felt confident that he was not afraid of them anymore. However, going there without having mated, even though Jimin and him were clearly ready to connect in that way was a bit intimidating. He remembered their alpha quite well and he was a strange presence and he did not know what the rest of the pack would think of him. Technically, it was not even possible to imprint on a witch, or that was what they had believed, until Jimin had imprinted on him. What if they did not like him? What if, in their eyes, they should have mated a long time ago? What if they did not like him?

But at that moment, Jimin took his hand, feeling the anxiety build within him. That one touch was enough to calm him down. As long as Jimin was with him, he was going to be fine.

         “And here I thought you were abandoning us” Taehyung chuckled. “This sounds much better than a party here. It’s about time we get to see how you lived before coming here. Bet Jungkookie’s been super curious about this for a while.”

A bit absentminded, Jungkook nodded. If he was honest, he had not been as curious as Taehyung made him out to be. Of course, he had wondered about Jimin’s origins but since he had met his mother and his father once, he thought he knew where he came from. Only now, he realised that there was this entire community that Jimin had grown up in that he had yet to explore. He had not been curious before but now, he could not wait to see what the wolves’ home was like despite his worries about if the others would accept him.

It was two days before Hoseok’s birthday, when they decided to leave. This way, the wolves would have time to rekindle with their friends and the witches could adapt a little before the ritual was held. They had found out that it was held the night before Hoseok’s birthday because he was not supposed to be among the pack, when he actually turned a year older. Jimin and Hoseok had told them to sleep in, as there was not much sleep involved around a maturity ritual and since they had not been there in a while, there would probably be a feast as well.

         “Have you packed warm clothes? The cabins can get quite cold for people with normal body temperatures. Especially in winter” Hoseok reminded them, as they were ready to leave.

Indeed, they all had a bag of their own stashed with sweaters, hot packs and fluffy socks because the two wolves had warned them that there would be a lot of snow and cold breezes and the pack spent most of their time outside, which was why the witches needed to be prepared. The night before, the witches had gotten a crash course on how their society worked but Jungkook struggled remembering everything, as he had been lost in Jimin’s excited eyes. The younger wolf was so passionate about going back to the pack, which was incredibly cute but also a bit worrying. The maknae could not help but wonder, if they were not family enough for the wolves. Special Force was everything for him and he treated every single one of the members like his brothers and he would not want to leave them for anyone else – maybe not even his parents.

But Jimin was beaming talking about their pack and how they had sub-packs, which were smaller communities within the pack – Hoseok had compared them to different districts of a city. Apparently, they each had different customs, so within a pack, different members knew what sub-pack they belonged to according to their customs and gestures. Each sub-pack had two betas: one that stayed behind and took care of the sub-pack and a travel-beta. Jungkook shuddered thinking about their beta that he had met in the beginning, when they had first come to the academy. If everyone thought like Changmin did, then the time with the pack would be difficult.

However much he was thinking that it could turn out badly, he was excited nonetheless. Jungkook was looking forward to seeing Jimin in his element and he was curious about this ritual that was held for Hoseok too. That was why his heart was pounding mostly because of excitement than worry, when they went through the portal. The light felt warm as usual and the ground was soft, when he stepped onto the ground on the other side of the portal.

Snow was covering everything. The trees were hanging heavily because of all the snow and the scenery in general looked incredibly soft. It was close to sunset already due to the time difference of the two locations, delving the landscape into an interesting orange-red. They sunk into the snow up to their knees and the fire witch wanted to melt it on instinct but he did not do it, as he felt a stranger’s presence around them. When he looked around himself, he spotted that very same beta that he dreaded seeing. Changmin was standing there and strangely, he smiled but Jungkook soon realised that it was directed at the two wolves. Happily, they both ran up to him, throwing him into the snow, rubbing their faces against his.

         “I missed you too” he laughed, patting their backs, telling them to get off him.

As they got up, neither of them seemed bothered by being wet from the snow.

         “Welcome. I’m here to pick you up and lead you to our sub-pack without too many of us stopping you out of curiosity. Dinner will be ready soon, so we should head home to show you your sleeping quarters.”

         “Do we still have our room?” Hoseok asked eagerly, when all of them started following the beta through the snow.

         “Of course, you do. Nara had her baby, so the guest room is now a nursery. You will all sleep in the same room” Changmin explained.

         “All of us?” Yoongi wanted to make sure.

         “Yes. We have three cabins that each hold around 10-15 people. We don’t usually have guests, since we all go back home to our sub-packs and we recently expanded. Nara’s pup is our youngest now. Only half a year old.”

As they walked, Jungkook watched their surroundings change and the forest seemed to be getting less thick, until they saw the first cabin. A wolf was lying on the porch, barking once to greet them, amber eyes scanning one witch at the time. Jungkook was glad to wear a scarf, not having to expose his terribly bare, naked neck that was supposed to hold a bite mark.

         “Don’t worry. They’ll all love you. There’s no pressure to mate, you know” Jimin hummed quietly enough so only the fire witch could hear, sliding his hand into his, smiling comfortingly.

Blushing, Jungkook looked away, not knowing what to say. Sometimes, it was still strange how well Jimin could read him. On the other hand, it was beneficial that he knew exactly what the maknae felt, being able to reassure him.

As they got deeper into what appeared to be the pack grounds, there were more cabins. They all had a very large roof that was connected with the ground through the amounts of snow that had layered. The cabins were all very big to look at but they were actually rather small for the number of people they held. The further into the pack they got, the more looks they got from the people. Most of them just stared, some whispered something to each other, some smiled at them, some bowed. However, they all kept their distance and Jungkook wondered whether that was because they were simply giving them space or because they were wary of them. Possibly both.

So far, it had all looked rather normal. It reminded Jungkook of a mountain village in winter with all the cabins. What was surprising, was just how many people there were, especially as they got further in. They suddenly passed three very large cabins that seemed to belong together with a big courtyard in the middle of them. Children were playing in the snow, yelling in a friendly tone and in the distance, Jungkook could make out some adults watching them.

         “It’s our school” Hoseok explained, noticing Jungkook’s interested face. “I worked there, before we started living at the academy.”

         “All years go to school here. They learn both human subjects as well as things specifically related to the other dimension and wolves” Changmin informed them. “School’s almost over. That’s their playtime right before they go home, so they’re tired out and won’t bother  their sub-pack during dinner.”

         “That’s a bit harsh, no? Tiring children out on purpose” Jin wondered.

         “Trust me, you want them tired out or they won’t stop bothering you” Jimin laughed. “Picture a puppy wanting your attention while you’re trying to eat.”

         “That’s not too hard to imagine” Jungkook grinned with intent.

         “Hey!” Jimin feigned being offended.

         “He was really loud as a pup!” Changmin agreed. “He always tried to steal our food. His mother spoiled him in the human world, since he’s an only child, so he always thought he wouldn’t get enough food here.”

That made the maknae laugh. The beta joined and Jimin pouted in protest. Different from the last time they had seen Changmin, he seemed to have accepted them and was not opposed to the idea of Hoseok and Jimin staying with them, which relaxed the fire witch immensely.

The next interesting thing they walked past was something that looked like a pit that was dug into the ground a little. The snow had been removed there but no one was there. It reminded the maknae of a fighting ground.

         “We call it the fighting pit. We can challenge a wolf from another sub-pack to make out our ranking in there. Sparring between sub-pack members is normal and is usually not as official as proper ranking challenges” Jimin said.

         “Who of you has a higher rank within the pack?” Taehyung asked curiously.

         “Me, obviously” Changmin deadpanned.

         “I meant out of Jiminnie and Hoseokie-hyung” Taehyung rolled his eyes.

         “We don’t have an official rank, since we’re both still pups. Unofficially, Jiminnie is stronger” Hoseok sighed, “which is why he was part of our hunting team within our sub-pack.”

         “Hunting team?” Jungkook looked at Jimin, tilting his head.

         “You haven’t told them anything, have you” Changmin clicked his tongue in amusement. “Jiminnie was and probably still is one of our best hunters. Two sub-packs get together to send some of their members to hunt every Saturday. All of the other days, we eat vegetarian. Otherwise, any animal around the pack would go extinct within a few short weeks. We also have wolves in charge of monitoring hunting, in order to avoid overhunting.”

It was fascinating to hear all about how they lived and it ultimately made Jungkook wonder, if Jimin had felt like this, when he had first showed him around at the academy. They passed a vast clearing next, which was big enough to hold all of the pack members and a huge bonfire.

         “We gather on special occasions like the Yearly Strength Games or on one of the holidays” Jimin noted. “The Games aren’t really games, since it’s basically rearranging the ranks officially but there’s an entire festival happening around it, so we call it a game.”

         “How big is this pack?” Jungkook wondered, looking at how big the clearing was.

         “We’re around 700 wolves” Hoseok said proudly, “and we’re one of the biggest packs.”

The witches gasped collectively, not having expected such a huge number but it made sense with the number of cabins they had passed already.

Slowly, they put some distance between themselves and the centre of the pack and the forest got a little thicker again. After a while, he spotted three cabins and a bonfire in front of them. Some people were standing around it and it looked like they were cutting up meat. Two smaller wolves were playing in the background, growling and barking at each other. It all seemed intimate in a way. The aura around the pack was calm, yet exciting at the same time; it truly gave off a sense of home. At that moment, a two men exited one of the cabins and one of them, Jungkook recognised immediately. Tall, the same brown hair as Jimin had, muscular and despite Jimin having his mother’s face, there was something that seemed familiar still. Jimin’s father was here and he was looking straight at them, fond smile welcoming them.

         “Appa!” Hoseok yelled and the other man waved, all heart-shaped smile, just like his son.

Both men walked down the little porch and Hoseok’s father embraced Jimin shortly, patting him on his head before doing the same to his son, who grumbled happily at the affection.

         “I need to fully use this day to pat and dote on you, before you join the ranks of adulthood” Hoseok’s father laughed.

Jimin’s father hugged his son too and the younger sighed into the embrace, rubbing his cheek against his father’s. It was affectionate and Jimin did not seem embarrassed in front of the others at all despite the hug being awfully long. Something in Jungkook turned – a twisting feeling that felt a tad too uncomfortable to be normal but he could not say why he suddenly felt so restless. He took a deep breath, forcing himself to calm down, not wanting to ruin the moment between Jimin and his father and luckily, they parted without the younger suspecting anything.

         “Appa, these are Namjoon, Jin and Yoongi-hyung, Taehyungie and of course, you know Jungkookie already” Jimin introduced the others, who bowed politely. “Guys, this is my father, if you couldn’t tell.”

         “It’s nice to finally meet you all. Jiminnie talks about you a lot. And Jungkookie” he turned around the maknae. “It’s so very good to see you again. You can all call me Dongchun.”

More people noticed them and they were told to sit around the bonfire, as dinner was going to be ready soon. The witches found out that they would always eat outside, even in winter. There was no kitchen inside the cabins – no electricity in general, in fact. They were introduced to the adults one by one and Jungkook tried to remember all their names but eventually, he just gave up, simply smiling, whenever they came closer and cupped his cheeks. Some of them would hug him too and rub their cheeks against his, which had startled him a bit in the beginning but he realised that they did this to welcome him into the family. Not one of them were hostile or suspicious of them. They all greeted the rest of the witches nicely as well but everyone was especially interested in the fire witch. Jimin simply watched it all, proud smile constantly parting his lips.

The sun had almost set, when some of the wolves called that dinner was ready and within a few minutes, the play-fighting wolves had turned back into their half human form and three other children came running out of one of the cabins. Quickly, they noticed the witches, widening their eyes, running up to them, greeting them eagerly, curiosity glowing in their amber eyes.

         “Show us some magic!” one of them said.

         “Can you build a snowman without moving your body?” another asked.

         “After dinner, kids” one of the adults chuckled.

         “I wanna see Jiminnie-hyung’s claiming mark on his mate!” the only girl of the children said demandingly. “He’s all covered up!”

Immediately, Jungkook tensed, unconsciously hiding in his scarf. There was the situation he had dreaded the most. He could not show her because there was no mark yet. He suddenly felt so extremely far away from Jimin. Everyone seemed so close to each other here and they had welcomed him so warmly, yet he had not allowed Jimin to claim him yet despite him being ready.

         “Honey, they’re not mated yet, Jungkook can’t show you” one of the adults, probably her mother, said sweetly.

         “But why?” she protested.

         “Because it’s their business that we do not have any say in and you have to respect that.”

At that, Jimin nuzzled into the younger a little, pulling him closer, reassuring him that everything was alright. That did comfort him, as well as the woman’s words. The adults seemed to respect their privacy and it was just the children that were a bit too curious, or at least, they showed it, while the others knew how to hide it.

After that, they settled down and began to eat. It was loud but very interesting. Some bickered, some told stories about Jimin and Hoseok, when they were young. The witches also answered a lot of questions the wolves had about their powers. Most of those were the same questions that the two wolves had asked, when they had first joined Special Force. The children, of course, wanted to see some magic too, so Taehyung built a snowman, Jin and Yoongi decorated it with stones and branches and Namjoon blew out the fire.

         “That’s so cool!” one of the children said fascinated.

         “Now go grab the fire stones. It was your idea to make him blow out the fire” the child’s father laughed.

         “Oh it’s fine, I can light it” Jungkook said quickly, snapping his finger, lighting a small flame in his hand.

He leaned forward, touching the wood that was still warm from the fire, igniting the fire once again. It felt good to be so close to the fire and he realised that he lingered in the flame for too long, when the children gasped at his hand still being surrounded by fire.

         “Woah!” they all said in unison.

         “That is indeed remarkable” Jimin’s father nodded impressed.

         “His fire can’t hurt me” Jimin grinned proudly. “He likes me too much. Even when he’s mad, it doesn’t hurt me.”

         “Is that a challenge?” Jungkook turned around to him, teasing tone slipping back into his voice.

The sub-pack laughed at that, clearly liking the dynamics between the two and Jungkook felt relaxed enough to continue teasing the elder. The evening continued like that and eventually, the children were put to sleep and they all moved inside. Usually, they would stay outside for longer but Namjoon, Jin and Yoongi were starting to freeze, so they had collectively decided to go inside. It was cosy with the candlelight and there were a lot of furs lying around that could be used as blankets. As they all talked, Jungkook did not notice how he had leaned into Jimin and put his head on his shoulder, entwining their fingers but of course, Jimin had welcomed him, kissing the back of his hand. It all felt a bit too comfortable for the first night at a foreign place but everyone was so nice, it was hard not to feel content here.

         “Hoseok-ah, have you decided who will join you in the woods tomorrow night?” his father asked after a while.

         “Jiminnie, of course” he grinned, “maybe I can ask Baekhyun and Jongin, if they’re not too busy with their schedules.”

         “Hold up” Taehyung interrupted. “What’s tomorrow night? I thought the ritual was then? And those two names––“

         “Yeah, EXO’s Baekhyun and Jongin” Hoseok nodded. “They’re all wolves, you know. The three that have left simply found their mates here, so that’s why they’re not in EXO anymore because their responsibility lies elsewhere. They’re from different sub-packs, though. We used to go to school together.”

         “Amazing” Taehyung said breathlessly, shaking his head in disbelief.

         “But what about tomorrow night?” Jungkook insisted, not knowing what would actually happen.

         “We’re sleeping in the woods. It’s part of the ritual that the wolf that reaches maturity brings along some wolves to join them.”

         “Can’t we join too?” Taehyung wondered, “although that would probably be super cold.”

         “It’s wolves only” Hoseok stressed. “It’s about bonding and showing dominance towards younger wolves, which is why Jiminnie must come.”

Unconsciously, Jungkook frowned. The thought of spending a night at the pack without Jimin felt weird. Simply thinking of being separated made his insides twist again. He did not know why. They had been sleeping separately before too, even if it was not the full moon. But why did it bother him now? What had changed? Biting his bottom lip, he tried to calm his inner conflict but this time, it did not work and of course, Jimin picked up on it.

         “Can we head upstairs already? Jungkookie’s quite tired” Jimin asked, looking at Changmin, who sat at the end of the table.

         “Sure, go ahead. We prepared furs for everyone. Most of you have to sleep on the ground, however.”

         “That’s alright. Yoongi-hyung, you can have my bed, if you want.”

         “Thanks” the rock witch nodded with a smile.

Before Jungkook could really protest, Jimin was pulling him upstairs and entered the second room on the left. It was rather small, had two beds and a wardrobe, as well as two desks. It screamed Hoseok and Jimin with the way everything was decorated. It looked like their old dorm at the academy just with a more rustic look. On the ground, there were thin mats, as well as five furs that could be used as blankets. The same furs were on the beds but they looked more used than the others. Those were probably the furs that Hoseok and Jimin had been sleeping with, when they had still lived here.

         “What’s going on with you?” Jimin asked, when he had closed the door behind them. “Your feelings have been all over the place. Is it too much for you? I’m sorry, if they’re all quite clingy, it’s just our way to welcome you into the pack––“

         “No, I’m fine, they’re really nice” Jungkook shook his head, contemplating, whether he should address the reason why he felt weird.”

Jimin squinted his eyes in suspicion, walking up to him and took his hands, a habit of his to calm Jungkook’s feelings. However, it did not help.

         “You’re not fine. You know you can’t lie to me about your feelings anymore. What can I do to make you feel better?”

         “Stay with me––“ Jungkook mumbled. “Tomorrow, stay with me. Don’t go.”

He usually was not this selfish. On any other day, he would find it embarrassing to be this clingy but his heart would not stop pounding uncomfortably fast, so he used his power over Jimin deliberately for the first time. He wanted this feeling to stop so badly.

         “Jungkookie” Jimin smiled a little. “It’s cute how you’re so clingy but this is Hoseokie’s most important moment in our community.”

         “But you could say no, right? I feel weird without you close to me” Jungkook pouted.

         “Of course, I could decline. But I won’t. It would be disrespectful and it would break Hoseokie’s heart.”

         “If you explain why you can’t join, I’m sure, he’d understand” the younger insisted.

         “No!” Jimin suddenly raised his voice, his chest heaving, making Jungkook jerk, ducking his head.

He had never heard Jimin yell at him. Up until now, he thought that was not even possible because the wolf always wanted to fulfil every wish the witch had. It was so surprising that he had stumbled back a few steps, staring at the wolf with wide eyes, gulping in stupor.

         “Don’t use my nature to grant you every wish against me on this” he said, his voice soft again, as if he already regretted raising his voice. “Don’t you think I also want to stay with you? More than half of me demands to be close to, especially since we’re within my pack and we’re not mated yet. I am more protective over you than usual, since my instincts tell me there are potential rivals around.”

         “I’m sorr–“

         “But tomorrow is not about how you or I feel. Tomorrow is about Hoseokie reaching maturity. Please respect that and don’t make me stay” he finished his sentence, sighing.

Jimin was right. Despite still feeling that strange twisting inside him, he understood what the elder meant. While being here, he realised how traditional wolves were and how much they valued their ways and how things were supposed to be done. If he insisted on Jimin staying, he would only cause trouble and he did not want to anger anyone.

         “I’m sorry” he said sincerely, playing with the hem of his turtleneck, feeling bad.

         “I’m sorry, I yelled at you” Jimin apologised as well, wrapping his arms around him. “I shouldn’t have done that.”

         “No, that’s okay! I mean, you never yell at me. You should express your frustrations with me too, you know.”

Jimin nuzzled into Jungkook’s neck, grumbling in annoyance, mumbling something about the turtleneck being in the way. Instead, he started kissing along the younger’s jawline, humming in satisfaction, when he heard him whine a little.

         “I’ll take you out for a picnic, after we come back, how about that? I wanna show you some of my favourite spots in the area.”

Nodding eagerly, Jungkook leaned in, connecting their lips properly, sighing into the kiss. They stood there for a while, appreciating each other, calming their worked up hearts, until they were tired enough to sleep. The furs were almost as fluffy as Jimin’s fur as a wolf but the younger still ended up snuggling into the elder instead of the furs, rather enjoying Jimin’s body heat than the one that the furs were keeping.

Chapter Text

Warmth surrounded him, when he woke up, making him snuggle into whatever his head was leaning against. It took Jungkook a moment to realise that it wasn’t Jimin’s chest but actually Taehyung’s foot snug against his cheek. Startled, yet still slow because sleep had not left him completely, he shifted, noticing that Jimin’s arms were wrapped around him tightly and the wolf sighed contently, when the younger moved closer to him. Jimin, Hoseok, Taehyung and him had to sleep on the furs on the ground, while Namjoon and Jin were offered Hoseok’s bed and squeezed in it together and Yoongi was curled up in Jimin’s bed, still sleeping soundly. All of them were fast asleep; Jungkook was the only one awake, so he took a moment to appreciate the cosy atmosphere. All of them sleeping in one room made him remember the times at the academy, where they were all still young and the academy did not quite know what to do with such young children; thus, they had put them in a big room, where they had to sleep together and get along.

Thanks to that, Namjoon, Yoongi, Taehyung and Jungkook had become inseparable.

Jungkook felt that exact feeling right now, as he sat up and watched everyone sleep. At this moment, he felt utterly happy. He was lucky enough to have six people that were like family to him, one of them, he was proud to call lover – mate. Jimin always looked so peaceful, whenever he slept. His hair fell into his face and he always pouted a little, whenever Jungkook moved further away but smiled, when he snuggled closer. It was so heart-warming and reassuring, knowing that Jimin was always going to be at his side. He remembered first hating the thought that his life was tied to someone else’s and he still hated the thought of Jimin hurting, if he ever died before him but it was part of this bond, so Jungkook needed to cherish his life – for the wolf’s sake. He had made him go through enough pain already.

Quietly, Jungkook got up, having to giggle at Jimin’s sleepy complaint that Jungkook should stay but the wolf fell asleep again, as soon as the maknae was on his feet. He carefully moved around Taehyung and Hoseok, flinching at the sound of the creaking door, hoping that he did not wake up anyone. Then, he went downstairs, still with cautiously quiet steps, not knowing what time it was or when the people got up here. The sun was up, which meant it was at least 8am and to no surprise, the cabin was buzzing already. Downstairs, the children were playing some kind of game, which the maknae did not know and he heard voices from outside. Curiously, he slipped into his boots, forgetting about his coat and stepped outside, being blinded by the sun that was reflected by the snow covering the ground. Right in front of the cabin, there were two men and two women stirring something; one bowl looked like some kind of soup and the other was something that was unknown to the fire witch. They seemed quite concentrated but when the fire witch walked down the stairs of the porch, one of them looked up, smiling, as she noticed him.

         “Good morning Jungkookie!” she greeted him. “Wear your coat! It’s cold despite the sun.”

         “Good morning” he bowed, as he stepped into the snow to walk up to them. “I’m fine, don’t worry. My body temperature is almost as high as yours and the sun gives me strength. It’s not that cold for me.”

         “How fascinating. Is that because of your element? I’ve never heard of a witch being resistant to the cold, except some water witches” she wondered, as she stirred the strangely looking white liquid.

         “Yeah. My body temperature has always been higher. My parents were really worried, when I was a child. They’re human, so they don’t know why I always had a fever. At least until my––– someone from the academy put a suppression spell on me” Jungkook explained, wanting to leave Yugyeol out of the conversation.

         “So your parents don’t know this dimension at all?”

         “No. And they shall not know it, until they are reborn” Jungkook smiled softly. “They have the witch gene but it’s not that strong. I’m glad they can live their two lives separately. It’s strange, when I think about how I’m still going to be alive in this dimension, once they are reborn here. I’ll be older than them. But then, we also won’t be related anymore.”

         “The Gods have blessed you children with two chances of life. That’s always something I was curious about” she hummed softly.

At the mention of gods, Jungkook’s eyes widened, remembering vaguely that Hoseok and Jimin had mentioned that they were religious. Religion was a foreign concept within the other dimension, so he thought they were religious because of their human mothers. However, that did not seem to be the case. It felt strange to him that a society in the other dimension was religious but he was curious as to what they believed it.

         “What Gods?” he asked carefully.

         “Sweetheart” she seemed surprised, stopping the stirring and Jungkook blushing at the nickname. “You’ve been with Jiminnie for a while and the topic of our religion has never come up?”

         “No, not really” the maknae shook his head, suddenly feeling bad for not having asked earlier. “I always thought that him being religious came from his human mother. I didn’t know there was religion in the other dimension.”

         “Don’t beat yourself up. It’s more a way of life and respecting this world than what humans define religion as” she smiled. “just as your elements, the Gods possess them too. They created this world and gave us their power. You witches are their children, bringing part of their gifts to this dimension. We honour them by respecting nature as they gave it to us, simply taking what we need and not more.”

Interested, Jungkook nodded, listening carefully. In a way, that was beautiful. Despite him struggling to believe that there were gods out there, he did think it was logical to come up with something that explained their powers. It suddenly made sense why wolves and witches used to be natural allies, before they had betrayed each other. If the wolves believed in Gods that had the same powers as them, it was only natural that they thought that the witches were somehow related to them.

         “If you want to know more, why not ask Jiminnie? I’m sure, he would love to tell you” she proposed, as she started stirring the strange, sticky-looking liquid again, which did make Jungkook wonder what it was.

         “What’s that for? Not for eating, I hope” he cringed, hoping that his humour was not misplaced.

         “Oh dear, no. This is for tonight. It’s the paint that we need for Hoseokie’s maturity ritual.”

         “Why do you need paint?” he tilted his head curiously.

At that moment, he felt Jimin’s presence close but the wolf was faster, wrapping his arms around him from behind, placing his chin on his shoulder.

         “Morning” he mumbled, sleep still evident in his voice.

         “Jiminnie, you haven’t taught your mate anything yet” the woman scolded him fondly.

         “We’ve been kinda busy lately” he defended himself, slurring the words, nuzzling the maknae’s neck, making him shiver.

Jungkook wanted to pull away, feeling shy in front of other people but Jimin insisted, tightening his embrace. In fact, he only pulled him closer, as he released a surprisingly low, possessive grumble. People at the academy would stare, especially because Jimin was still only in his boxers, but here, no one cared, as if it was the most normal thing in the world. Then, the fire witch realised that it probably was normal here. Wolves were naturally very affectionate with each other, even more so with their mates, which made Jimin’s action nothing special. Yet, for Jungkook, it still felt somewhat unusual, since the elder normally was not that clingy. Surprisingly, it did not bother the maknae. On the contrary, that strange feeling that he still had, when he fell asleep was gone, as he heard Jimin grumble and the need to bare his neck suddenly bubbled in his stomach. However, he knew that it was an intimate gesture between mates, so he was not going to give in to this strange need – at least not in front of everyone else.

         “How about a walk before breakfast?” Jimin ripped the younger out of his thoughts.

         “Sure, I’ll wait for you” Jungkook nodded, as he turned around to shyly kiss him good morning.

         “But I’m here?”

         “In your underwear” the younger stressed, raising his brows. “I don’t care if you’re not cold. Can you please wear clothes?”

Chuckling, the wolf nodded, pecking his lips before letting go, rushing inside. Jungkook could not help but think Jimin was cute. Most of the time, he behaved like any other human would but sometimes, he had these moments, where he reminded the maknae of an excited pup that wanted to play. Of course, he never said this out loud – only, when he wanted to tease him.

It did not take Jimin long to have a hoodie and some sweatpants thrown on. Still with his mess of hair, he grabbed the fire witch’s hand, pulling him further away from the cabins. The wind was cool but the sunrays that came through the treetops were warm and with Jimin’s hand entwined with his, there was no way he was going to feel cold.

The pack seemed to be busy already. School started early here, Jimin explained, and the sub-pack usually got up with them, having enough chores to do, especially in winter, when they had less hours of the day to be productive. As they walked, Jungkook noticed more people staring at them now, making him a little uncomfortable. What had changed since yesterday that they now suddenly had their eyes on him?

         “Don’t mind them. They’re just really fascinated by you” Jimin hummed. “Now that Changmin-hyungnim isn’t with us, they stare more openly. They all just want to know you, really.”

         “But–––why?” Jungkook frowned.

         “Because you’re the fire witch” Jimin said proudly.

         “Why do they even know that?” Jungkook’s frown deepened, afraid that someone would reveal this information to a vampire that worked for Cain; that would endanger all of them.

         “Our alpha made an announcement, when he returned from the academy. We are all bound to him. He forbade us to ever talk about it with someone outside of the pack, so your secret, is our secret” Jimin tried to calm him but of course, he could feel anxiety rise in Jungkook.

Stopping, Jimin turned the younger around, so that they were facing each other. Jungkook knew that it was his fear of losing anyone that was causing his anxiety but despite that, he could not stop it. He started imagining Cain finding the pack because of him, imprisoning all the wolves, torturing them. It was a horrible image.

         “Hey, look at me” Jimin said softly, cupping his face, waiting, until the maknae finally locked eyes with him. “You’re safe. We’re safe. I got you. I promise.”

         “I know––––“ the younger mumbled, leaning down to bury his face in the elder’s neck, holding onto him tightly, needing him to ground himself. “I know–––just–––hold me, hyung.”

And that was what he did. They stood there, in the middle of some other sub-pack’s area but no one disturbed them; it was like they were all alone and Jungkook was able to take as much time as he needed to calm down, to erase those horrible pictures in his mind. Every time something like this happened, he was fascinated by how much of a rock Jimin was to him. It was true that as long as he was with the elder, he was going to be alright. Finally, it was not only Namjoon, who was able to help him through his panic attacks. He wished he could get through them by himself but he knew that asking for help was not weak but a token of strength in that moment.

After a while, Jungkook pulled back and Jimin kissed him reassuringly, before they started walking again. They passed the school and then turned around, needing to be back for breakfast. They were in no rush but Jimin wanted to make sure that they were there on time.

         “Hyung?” the fire witch broke the comfortable silence between them.

         “Mhh?”

         “Can you tell me about your religion? I always thought you were religious because of your mother but one of your sub-pack members mentioned that you believe in five gods that have the same elements as their powers just like us witches. So I wondered what the story behind it is.”

The wolf looked at him for a moment, his eyes glowing more than usual and Jungkook hoped that he had not spoken out of line. Maybe, their religion was something they were so serious about that him phrasing it as a story was already an insult. However, Jimin smiled, nodding eagerly, asking what the younger already knew, so he retold what the woman had told him just before Jimin had come down.

         “Honestly, there isn’t much more to tell. We respect the dimension for what it is, meaning we are not to destroy nature purposely or we are not to kill out of pleasure. We take what we need to survive but never more. There are no church services or anything like that because there is no institution behind our belief” he explained, his hold on Jungkook’s hand comfortably tight. “We have a place of worship within each sub-pack, which is basically the five elements aligned with the cardinal directions. We pray for good health or a good crop season. We pray for forgiveness, if we did something that goes against our belief to apologise to the Gods, so that they do not release their wrath upon us.”

Jungkook listened carefully, watching his mate talk with fervour, realising how important their religion was for wolves.

         “There are, however, five festivals to honour each God! Ironically, the Fire Festival is my favourite. Maybe, I always knew that you’d enter my life” Jimin’s eyes disappeared at that and he pulled the younger closer unconsciously.

         “Yeah?” Jungkook blushed. “What’s so special about that festival?”

         “It’s in summer on the longest day of the year. We light countless tiki torches and have a huge party. Some of us know how to do a fire dance and perform!” he explained excitedly. “But the best part is the end of the festival. We light the sky lanterns that we created during the day and let them fly. It’s the most beautiful scenery you’ll ever see!”

         “Hyung?”

         “Mhh?”

         “You’re cute” Jungkook giggled, finding the elder incredibly endearing.

In return, the wolf smiled bashfully before pulling him closer, wrapping his arms around him, nosing the younger’s exposed neck, as he had not worn his scarf. The maknae shivered on instinct, his body immediately on alert, as everything in him told him to just give himself to Jimin once and for all. It was stronger than usual. Normally, he did feel like he wanted to be claimed but now, it was physically hard not to bare his neck to the elder, to ask for the bite right here, almost being back at Jimin’s sub-pack. A whine escaped his lips before he could stop it and he found himself holding onto Jimin’s shirt tightly, his breath hitched, as he closed his eyes. Jimin grumbled lowly at that, his hold around him getting tighter, showing that it was just as hard for him to control himself, as it was for Jungkook not to just give in. A shudder ran down the maknae’s spine, when the wolf started mouthing at his neck, kissing up to his jawline, until he reached his lips, connecting them in a passionate kiss.

Jungkook wondered, if he would ever get used to the feeling of having the elder so close to him. He still felt exactly the same as when he had first touched him. His skin still burned deliciously wherever Jimin’s fingers danced over it. Greedily, the younger licked into Jimin’s mouth, almost catching his tongue on the elder’s canines, making him groan.

         “Jungkook-ah” Jimin panted, when he pulled back. “Be careful or you’ll hurt yourself.”

At that moment, however, the maknae did not care about whether he would get hurt or not. Once again, he had fallen into his element, letting his impulsiveness take over, only taking, taking, taking. He needed Jimin closer than this. The thrill of getting pricked by those sharp canines suddenly did not seem that bad anymore. Greedily, Jungkook leaned in again, wanting to take exactly what he wanted but Jimin stopped him, smiling at him apologetically.

         “We need to stop” he sighed. “You’re always sending me these signals at the worst times. I’d do nothing more gladly than kiss you senseless but today is Hoseokie’s day. We can’t steal his spotlight.”

As if he was punched out of a trance, Jungkook realised that they were still standing outside, some of the passing wolves glancing at them curiously. He blushed madly, not knowing what came over him. He was not usually this bad in controlling his impulsiveness.

         “I–––I don’t know what’s happening” he said incredulously. “I just––––I–––can’t hold myself back anymore, for some reason.”

         “I feel the same” Jimin nodded, kissing his nose. “It gets harder each day, doesn’t it?”

         “Yeah” the younger nodded, knowing fully well how red his cheeks were, as he had just admitted that he physically needed to mate with him soon.

It was only a matter of time. They were both so charged with want for the other, it would happen sooner rather than later. Without really having noticed, Jungkook’s desire to be claimed had skyrocketed and he could not wait, until they were mated. He wondered, if something would change between them; if he would feel the bond as strongly as Jimin did. It was a romantic thought, in a way, and Jungkook was surprised that he was capable of letting himself love like this. It felt good to be with the wolf. It felt right.

It was right, as they had been bound to each other, ever since the two of them were born.

They walked back to the sub-pack, arriving just in time for breakfast. It tasted incredible. The ingredients were incredibly fresh – better than any organic food his mother had ever bought. It was still a strange concept to eat outside and the witches that were not immune against the cold went back inside after a while of freezing. Taehyung seemed to enjoy himself greatly. The children loved him and he ended up playing with them in the snow, building snowmen together or creating snow angels without having to lie down into the snow. Hoseok joined them once breakfast was over but only for a little while, as he was meant to pick up his friends from the other sub-packs.

As the day moved on, preparations for the maturity ritual were starting to take over. Lanterns were placed around their little clearing between the houses and the space that was designated for all the guests was much bigger than Jungkook thought was needed. Only when the neighbouring sub-packs started to come over and help with preparations, he realised that they were all invited. He had also found out what the strange paint was for; they were all meant to paint Hoseok’s body white, before he was supposed to go hunt by himself. Jimin had explained that the paint resembled the innocence of their youth and the blessing of the pack. The kill that Hoseok was going to bring back was to be prepared as the main dish of the feast. Of course, they had hunted yesterday, as they needed more than just one animal to fill the stomachs of 90 wolves but Hoseok’s kill was the most important one.

Jungkook helped piling up wood for the huge bonfire that was going to be lit, once Hoseok returned with his kill and he found himself having really nice conversations with Jimin’s sub-pack. They were all extremely welcoming and different from the other wolves that kept glancing at him and Jimin, they seemed to simply accept Jungkook as one of their own, already having accepted that it was indeed possible for a wolf to imprint on a witch.

As the sun started to lick at the horizon, more people joined them on the clearing. Most of them went to Hoseok, who was smiling proudly, and they hugged him. The wolves that were older than him ruffled up his hair, grinning happily, while the younger ones tried to wrestle him. There were countless logs to sit down on and the lanterns that they had placed before were now lit, as the last sunrays started to disappear. It created this comfortable, almost magical atmosphere and Jungkook found himself staring in awe. There was a log that was surrounded by lanterns, where Hoseok, his father and the two betas were seated. There was another log right next to it and Jimin told him that was where they were supposed to sit later on, as they were his closest friends.

The clearing was busy by now, buzzing with conversations but then, it suddenly quieted down and everyone turned their heads into one direction. Within a second, everyone bowed their heads to the right, looking to the ground and only the witches remained on eye level with the man at the other end of the clearing. In the dim light, it took Jungkook a while to realise who it was. He should have known the moment all the wolves bowed their heads but it only made sense to him, once he saw Jinyoung’s face properly.

Their alpha had arrived.

For a moment, it was dead silent and the alpha strode along the little path that the wolves had created for him. The natural authority that radiated off him was strong, yet not intimidating at all. At that moment, the alpha locked eyes with the fire witch, who froze at the strangely intense, yet extremely welcoming smile the alpha offered.

         “Everyone, lift your heads” he said and they did as they were told. “Today, I am a mere bystander. Hoseokie is the star tonight.”

Jungkook expected them to clap but they suddenly howled – real wolf howling and it startled Jungkook, making him jump, bumping into Jimin, who chuckled at his behaviour. The buzzing sound of indistinct conversations returned, when the alpha had walked up to Hoseok, hugging him tightly before ruffling up his hair. Hoseok smiled bashfully and it was then Jungkook remembered that being embraced by their alpha was an honour to them, as it always had to be their alpha to initiate touching.

         “Let’s move to our seats” Jimin said, his hand comfortably at the small of Jungkook’s back. “The ritual is about to start, now that our alpha is here.”

The rest of the witches were already seated on the log next to the one Hoseok was sitting on. The clearing was quiet again, when their beta that stayed home rose – his name was Seulong.

        “Welcome everyone” he announced and instantly, everyone was listening to his every word. There was suspense in the air and Jungkook found himself being as excited as all the wolves seemed to be. “We have gathered here today to celebrate Hoseokie’s birthday, which also marks his maturity as a wolf. He will finally be a responsible member of our community.”

He paused; everyone cheered, so the witches did the same, albeit a little confused. Despite them having been informed how the ritual would be performed, it was still completely different actually seeing it for themselves. The pack was listening carefully despite probably having heard these speeches multiple times, especially the older generation. This showed how important the maturity ritual was to them.

         “Now, Hoseok-ah” Seulong approached him. “Please stand and undress yourself.”

That unsettled Jungkook. Why did he have to be naked? Yes, they were supposed to paint him and all but only after hugging him? Why would he undress completely? Squinting his eyes, the maknae could not quite believe that Hoseok was doing exactly that, standing there naked, waiting for the beta to continue. Jungkook did not have anything against nudity. He himself had no problem with undressing himself in front of his team, as there were barely any boundaries between them but Hoseok was standing in front of around 90 wolves, 30 of them were supposed to hug him. The thought of having to hug his naked body was not that appealing to the fire witch but he would have to deal with it, since he had no intention of disturbing the ritual.

         “With our touch, we shall give you our strength to bring back a good kill from the woods. It marks your independence as an adult but also your belonging to the pack. Are you ready?”

Hoseok nodded, his face stoic but his eyes gave his excitement away.

The youngest of the sub-pack got up with the help of his mother, walking towards Hoseok. Next to him, Changmin had gotten up and held a bowl with that white paint that they had mixed earlier. Eagerly, the boy hugged Hoseok, who had crouched down for him. Despite him being naked, there was nothing awkward about that embrace. Changmin then lowered the bowl, so the boy could dip two of his fingers in, creating a white strip on Hoseok’s shin.

After about 10 minutes, Hoseok was almost completely painted white. The younger generation had gone first and bit by bit, the elderly had walked up to him and had performed their duty as well. At first, Jungkook had wanted to go after the teenagers but Jimin reminded him that, since they were his close friends, they were supposed to go before Hoseok’s father. The oldest member of the sub-pack had just put her mark on Hoseok, when Jimin nudged him suddenly.

         “Your turn now” he mumbled, kissing his shoulder shortly, as it was the nearest body part to him that he could reach without being noticed.

Gulping, Jungkook nodded, stepping forward. The walk to Hoseok was short but Jungkook felt like it was miles long. He felt the eyes of every wolf attending the ritual on his back. He did not want to do anything wrong; there was not much to do wrong anyways but he did not want to embarrass himself or Hoseok, so of course, he felt nervous, when everyone was staring at him. But when he was standing in front of Hoseok – the maknae made sure to only look at his face – he somehow felt at peace. Hoseok was smiling proudly opening his arms to receive the hug and that calmed the younger. Encouraged, he wrapped his arms around him tightly, staying like that for a moment before pulling back. He turned to his right, where Changmin held the bowl with the paint, doing the same as the rest before him and dunking two finger into it.

There was not much space left on Hoseok’s body, so he chose the spot under his right collarbone, marking him just a bit whiter than before. Quickly, he moved back to where he was before, being welcomed by a gentle smile of his mate, who patted his back a little. Next up was Taehyung, then Namjoon, Yoongi and Seokjin. After them, Baekhyun and Jongin did the honours; Jungkook still could not quite believe that they were actually here.

When they had left their mark, it was Jimin’s turn to hug his best friend. They almost crashed into each other, hugging a little longer than everyone else and Jimin chose to mark him right under his lips. It was time for Hoseok’s father, who left his mark on his heart; the two betas chose each side of his temples. At last, it was Jinyoung’s turn. The alpha rose, and stepped forward. There was something about the way he moved that struck Jungkook every time. The way he hugged Hoseok was affectionate yet so powerful and meaningful, it was beautiful to watch. He chose to mark him between his eyebrows, before he stepped aside, making way for Hoseok to walk towards the forest. But instead, he suddenly howled and within one single second, his human form was swapped with his wolf form, standing their proudly.

Everyone howled too, including Jimin and it was always fascinating to watch as a human made such an animalistic sound. A year ago, Jungkook would have been petrified by this but now, he just felt at home. The pack really was like a big family and he understood why wolves stuck together like this. Hoseok started moving, when the pack quieted down and within less than a minute, he was gone somewhere in the woods, having to hunt by himself in the dark. It sure sounded difficult enough but others had done it, so he would be able to do it too.

Once Hoseok had vanished, people started to chatter leisurely again and Jimin seemed clingier again. Jungkook did not complain. He welcomed Jimin’s arms that wrapped around him, especially, when he realised that their alpha was approaching them. The maknae remembered distinctively, how they had first met, how he had embarrassed himself in front of him by having a panic attack.

         “Jiminnie, it’s so good to see you” Jinyoung said, pulling him into an embrace, forcing the two lovers to separate for a moment.

The younger wolf hummed happily, as he accepted the hug gladly, taking the chance to nuzzle into his alpha’s chest. When they parted, Jinyoung made sure to pat his head, smiling fondly. Then, his eyes averted to the fire witch, making him tense up. He was not intimidated; he simply did not want to embarrass himself like last time. Additionally, being in the presence of such a strong leader was always a strange feeling. He felt the same, whenever he was in the headmaster’s presence.

         “I’m glad to see that you’ve accepted Jiminnie and us as we are” he said meaningfully. “I remember the first time I met you, you were so scared.”

         “Ah yeah” Jungkook scratched the back of his head. “Don’t remind me. I still feel embarrassed about that.”

         “Nonsense! I don’t know what the cause of your trauma was but you seem to have overcome it, which is what counts.” For a moment, Jinyoung’s eyes flickered to the younger’s neck and he sighed a little before giving Jimin a comforting smile. “If you’ll excuse me, I have to greet some other guests.”

Jungkook watched him go, pursing his lips at that last gaze. Why did the alpha of all wolves have to make a remark about them not having mated yet?

         “It’s not what you think” Jimin interrupted his train of thought.

         “What?” the younger tilted his head.

         “You feel offended that Jinyoung-hyungnim noticed your unmarked neck. Don’t be. I think what he wanted to tell me with that smile was that he feels how strong our bond has gotten” Jimin explained. “I think he knows that–––it’s gonna happen–––soon.”

Blushing, the younger looked anywhere but the wolf. Yes, it was only a matter of time but talking about it this directly was still a bit strange. He still wondered, why he even physically wanted the bite. Mentally, it was somewhat logical, since he wanted to finally mate with Jimin but he could not quite comprehend why he wanted the bite physically. Why would he want fangs buried in his neck? It was strange, really.

While Hoseok was gone, the witches mingled with the wolves. Namjoon had a rather complex conversation with one of the older ones. Jin was immersed in a conversation with their sub-pack’s healer, asking about what type of healing methods they had, if their natural healing did not work. Taehyung was busy with the children and Jungkook met so many people that he could not possibly remember all of their names. Jimin was always at his side, his chest puffed out in pride.

It was around two hours later, when a howl was heard in the distance. Jungkook jerked, already on alert, not knowing what that howl meant. Maybe there was an attack? However, no one seemed alarmed at all, howling back excitedly. Confused, Jungkook locked eyes with Jimin, who grinned.

         “Hoseokie’s coming back. He was quite fast! It means that he killed something big, if he’s satisfied with it already. Let’s gather, c’mon.”

Doing as he was told, he followed Jimin back to the log they had been sitting on before. It took Hoseok about 15 minutes to appear between the others, pulling a big stag with him. He had its neck in his mouth, dragging it along and everyone around him cheered in unison, applauding him for his huge kill. He had indeed fulfilled his mission and he stood there proudly, when he presented it to his father and their alpha. Then, he morphed back into his half human form, bones cracking unnaturally. That was a sight the fire witch still was not used to, as the wolves usually changed back before re-joining with the team. Hoseok was handed his shorts, the white paint slowly starting to crumble off his skin. The alpha, the two betas, as well as his father patted his shoulder with pride, before they announced that the stag would be prepared for dinner now.

Half an hour later, everyone was sitting around a small bonfire; Everyone important was sitting around a bigger one, including the witches. Parts of the stag were already grilling next to the bonfire and Jungkook stared at it hungrily. It took him a while to notice how hungry he actually was but now that he smelled barbeque, his stomach growled demandingly. Apart from the stag, there was other meat, as well as fresh vegetables. It was a feast and the maknae made sure to dig in and so did everyone else.

By the time they had finished, the moon was hanging high up in the sky and their bellies were filled. Seulong got up and cleared his throat to gain attention, while Changmin called one of the wolves that had prepared the stag and disappeared with them for a moment.

         “Everyone, it is time to send Hoseokie off” Seulong announced, when Changmin reappeared with another bowl.

Jungkook thought it was paint again, knowing that the whole process of hugging and marking would be repeated now but it was indeed different than before. The younger generation was left out and the first one to step forward was someone that was older than Jungkook – someone that was an adult within the wolf community. The man hugged him tightly before dunking his fingers into the bowl and to Jungkook’s surprise, it was not white paint but some kind of red liquid.

         “Only mature wolves are allowed to mark him” Jimin whispered, “it’s the stag’s blood. That’s why you, Taehyungie and I can’t participate either. We’re too young.”

         “It’s blood!?” Jungkook gasped. “Why would you smear blood on him?”

         “It’s a sign of his victory as a provider for the pack. It’s supposed to bring out his pride for the pack, once morning comes.”

Nodding in interest, the maknae watched as one wolf after another marked him. Eventually, it was Namjoon’s turn, then Yoongi’s and then Jin’s. Hoseok’s father came next, then the two betas, who chose the same spot as before and when the alpha also chose the spot between Hoseok’s brows again, Jungkook was sure that it was on purpose. When they were all done, the wolves howled in unison once more, before he shifted again, making way for his huge wolf form. He trotted around a little, grumbling and howling, which Jungkook understood as showing off and the crowd loved it. It got a little louder and Jimin used the distraction to turn around to him.

         “It’s time. We’re leaving. I’m supposed to shift soon too” Jimin announced and Jungkook frowned immediately, not wanting him to go yet.

The night had crept up to him. If he had noticed how fast time was passing, he would have clung to Jimin more. He hated the fact that the elder had to leave with Hoseok despite knowing that it was necessary. A part of him simply hated to have distance between them and it was unnerving to think about having to sleep along. It was silly, since he slept alone every full moon, ever since they had reconciled. But somehow, the thought of being without him was so much more dreading now.

         “Come here” Jimin mumbled, pulling him closer to kiss him passionately.

Jungkook melted into his touch, slinging his arms around him immediately. It was like his body was on autopilot and the destination was Jimin. However, the kiss was much too short and Jimin pulled back too early, staring at him with blown pupils. It was just as hard for him to go as it was for Jungkook to let him.

         “I’ll see you in the morning.”   

         “I’ll be waiting.”

         “Sleep in, I’ll come cuddle up against you” Jimin chuckled, pecking his lips once more before letting go of him completely.

Forced to watch, Jungkook’s eyes lingered on his mate, who ridded himself off his clothes and changed into his wolf form, black fur merging with the night, while his silver fur reflected the lights of the lanterns. His eyes were warm and glowed, when he locked eyes with the maknae and Jungkook wanted to pet him, to tell him that he would be alright but he remembered that this moment was not about them. Thus, he held back; Hoseok, Jimin and the two other wolves ran off into the forest. Everyone clapped for as long as they could still be seen but then, the chatter reappeared and it looked like people were now just enjoying the festivities, as this had been the last part about the ritual. Four howls could be heard in the distance and Jungkook tensed, when he thought about Jimin being out there and him having to stay here.

He was ripped out of his thoughts by a strong hand landing on his shoulder. Confused, he looked to his right to see Jimin’s father standing next to him. While the maknae had instantly felt warm around Jimin’s mother, his father was more authoritative but it was still a comfortable feeling.

         “I’ve seen you two interact. It’s time. Even you feel the bond physically pushing you together. What’s stopping you?” he asked and Jungkook was surprised by how blunt he was.

         “Circumstances” he mumbled.

         “As long as it’s not doubt.”

         “It’s definitely not” Jungkook said strongly.

         “I’m glad” Jimin’s father smiled, patting his shoulder before tugging him closer.

Chapter Text

The forest was still quiet, when Hoseok stirred awake. Lapping at his snout lazily, he still felt too tired to open his eyes. Jimin’s warm body was pressed against his back, lulling him in to just fall back asleep. The first sunrays touched his fur, warming him further and on any other day, he would have fallen back asleep but today, he did not. Somehow, something stopped him from slipping back into dreamland. He felt different than last night but it was hard describing it. His heart was beating faster than usual and he wondered why. There was no danger near them; the forest was still sleeping just like the three wolves around him. Yawning, he decided to get up, stretching a little to activate his muscles. They were a little sore from all the running last night. Maybe, he was just thirsty and that was the reason he felt so on edge, like he needed to do something.

Leaving the three sleeping wolves, he left the spot they had chosen to sleep in – they were not allowed to look for a cave to sleep in on the night of a maturity ritual – and trotted down to the river that they had passed last night. The water was ice cold as it touched his tongue but it felt refreshing, waking him up completely. However, the strange feeling remained. Confused, he sat down, watching the reflection of himself in the water, trying to see, whether something was different about him, since he felt so weird. Maybe he had gotten hurt last night without realising and was now burning up or something.

Behind him, he suddenly heard tired paws crushing the frozen snow beneath them and Hoseok knew that it was Jimin. The younger did not even try to be silent. He settled next to the mature wolf, nuzzling in his fur. If it was not winter, they would have probably tried to throw each other into the water but having soaking wet fur was a nuisance during the cold months, as it froze and cooled them down uncomfortably. Usually, when Hoseok was close to Jimin like this, he was comforted, whatever strange feeling he would have but again, not today. The restless feeling lingered deep inside him and his heart would not calm down. Only then, he realised it might be because of the ritual. Maybe, it was his sense of belonging driving him back to the pack. It had to be that. It was the only logical explanation to it.

Getting up, he grumbled a little, telling Jimin that he wanted to go back. The other seemed surprised, as the sun had just risen and normally, wolves that went through the maturity ritual only came back around noon. Nevertheless, he rose as well, shaking his fur as to try to wake himself up. They walked back to the other two, who had only just woken up and waited for them, before they started to slowly walk back to the pack. They did not hurry, although Jimin tried to make them walk faster, as he probably wanted to return to Jungkook as fast as possible. Hoseok had seen the heartfelt goodbye last night and it was endearing but something had pulled at his heart for some reason. Maybe now that he was a mature wolf, he was longing for his mate and watching Jimin – who was still a pup – interact with his mate sparked jealousy. It was irrational, of course, but it was only natural for a wolf to long for his mate. This way, they would find them quicker and ultimately, Hoseok had the strange feeling that he was somehow close to him or her. Maybe, he would imprint on one of the pack members after all and not on a human.

When they arrived back at their sub-pack, they had said goodbye to Baekhyun and Jongin already, there were clothes on the porch, ready for them to be worn. The members of the sub-pack made sure that they had clothes to wear, once they returned from the forest and since everyone probably went to bed late yesterday, it was still rather quiet around the three cabins, which would be unusual on any other day. After changing back, they slipped into the clothes and Jimin made a point of yawning again, stretching his body.

         “It’s so early” he slurred “Bet everyone’s still sleeping.”

        “Not everyone” Namjoon came out of the cabin, wearing his thick coat and his winter boots.

         “What are you doing up?” Hoseok wondered. “Who else is up?”

         “Some of the wolves are behind the cabins preparing breakfast I think. Jinnie has bonded with your pack healer yesterday and he got up early to watch him work today. I myself want to take the chance and go for a walk. I’m in desperate need of some fresh, non-wolfy air” the last sentence was meant playfully.

The two wolves rolled their eyes but understood. Hoseok could not possibly imagine how it smelled in a vampire den and no less wanted to stay there at all. It was commendable that the half breed had not complained earlier.

         “I’m going up to cuddle up to Jungkookie” Jimin grinned.

         “Shouldn’t you have a bath first?” Hoseok arched his brows, smiling at the eagerness.

         “He always pretends to be annoyed by the smell but I think he’s gotten used to it” Jimin shrugged, one foot already at the stairs. “he’ll be happy to see me. Both him and I can’t stand distance whatsoever at the moment.”

Hoseok already knew that. Everyone around them knew that. There were all over each other everywhere. It made him wonder why they had not already mated. It was almost a little suffocating for the people around them. Of course, the mated wolves in the pack understood and just smiled at them but Hoseok felt uncomfortable at times and that meant a lot, since wolves were very accustomed to proximity.

As he went upstairs, he heard Jungkook’s fake complaints about Jimin’s smell, as he passed the room to head to the bathroom. The younger wolf had left the door open, so both noise and scent poured out. At first, he smelled Jungkook, as his hormones flared up at Jimin being close to him again but then, there was something else. Something so sweet but musky at the same time, his knees felt like putty. Without noticing, Hoseok had stopped in his tracks, frozen in place by the alluring scent, making him feel high and he could not really comprehend what was going on with his body. It was heating up and driving him to the bedroom. His feet moved without his consent, dragging him to the room he had just passed. He stood right in front the half open door, not able to see inside yet, his heart racing for some unknown reason.

         “Hyung, go shower” Jungkook pouted and there was a thud in the room and Jimin started laughing.

         “Yes, please do go shower. Not everyone can magically overlook the stench you bring in just because someone is thirsty for you” Taehyung snorted and he shifted loudly.

Gulping, Hoseok felt the need to yip or whine or just – anything. His heart felt like it was on overdrive and with the way his body was overheating, he thought he could change at any moment now. However, he somehow knew that it was not a change that cause his temperature to go up. Deep within him, he knew what was going on. With shaky fingers, he stretched his arm out, grabbing the door handle and opened the door completely, staring at the scene in front of him.

Jimin’s legs were wrapped around Jungkook but obviously, he was pushed away, lying next to him and not on top of him. The maknae was blushing but a bashful smile was tugging at his lips. Yoongi had his eyes half open to watch the scene with a frown, probably wanting to sleep longer but he also smiled a little, endeared by his dongsaengs.

For Hoseok, those three did not matter at that moment. They were all unimportant. There was only one person that mattered now.

Taehyung.

Hoseok felt like he could not breathe anymore. His entire body was drawn to the water witch, who was still complaining about Jimin’s smell, rolling on his side to look away from them but the older wolf only heard the tone of his voice, not the actual words. Taehyung’s features had always been beautiful to him and now he realised that it was meant to be, that he was supposed to find him beautiful – that he was the one he was going to spend his life with. His heart had always jumped a bit at that boxy smile. Maybe, that was the reason why he had been spending so much time with him the last few months. Maybe, his body was slowly realising that they were bound by the highest force within the wolf community.

Imprinting.

He imprinted on Taehyung.

Having fallen to his knees, he kept staring at him, wanting to say something but no sound would come out. He was rendered speechless by the way he felt, how everything in him had changed but most of all, the desire to make the water witch happy, to give him love and everything he deserved. It was overwhelming to the point that he was ready to cry, when Taehyung locked eyes with him, after he had sat up.

         “Oh, hey, the birthday boy is back too!” he grinned, not realising what was happening. “What, do I have drool on my face?”

Jimin, of course, noticed right away what was going on, looking at them, not knowing whether to feel happy or worried. Jungkook was not far behind with realising it either, his jaw dropping. Even Yoongi caught on after a moment and they were all collectively staring at Taehyung now.

         “What!?”

         “Hyung” Jungkook said but did not continue, too shocked by what had just happened.

The younger wolf moved over to Hoseok immediately, cupping his face, trying to make him come back to himself and it did help him to snap out of it. Right at this moment, he was grateful that Jimin had gone through this already, being able to get him out of this strange trance. Blinking, he averted his gaze to his best friend and Jimin hugged him, wrapping his arms tightly around him. There was so much going on while also being completely blank, Hoseok still did not know what to say.

         “I know––––I know so well, hyung” he sighed patting his back. “Use my scent to calm you down.”

         “Wait–––“ Taehyung suddenly said, making everyone look at him again.

It was like they could see the wheels turning inside his head and his eyes got bigger, once he locked eyes with Hoseok again. The wolf shrugged with a smile, trying to ease the tension between them a little but Taehyung just stared in shock, shaking his head.

         “No” he huffed, almost defiantly. “No. This is not happening. Imprinting is cute and all when watching those two love birds but I’d like to decide over who I want to spend the rest of my life with by myself, thank you very much.”

         “Tae––“ Hoseok tried but the younger got up swiftly, slipped into his clothes and fled the room, not sparing him another look.

It was dead silent after that. The older wolf’s chest hurt because Taehyung had reacted that harshly, already rejecting him before Hoseok could even utter a word. Was this what his life was going to be like? Sighing, he put more of his weight into the embrace and Jimin welcomed him gladly, comforting him.

         “Give him time” Jimin whispered calmly. “Remember, when Jungkookie first found out?” 

         “I wanted him gone” the maknae snorted. “But as you can see, that didn’t really work out as I thought it would.”

         “You’re different. You were scared of wolves. We had just invaded your home. It’s different––“ Hoseok wanted to cry but he was still too overwhelmed, trying to breathe in as much of Jimin’s scent while his mind lingered on Taehyung’s.

         “I’m gonna go talk to him” Jungkook got up as well, quickly getting dressed.

Before he left, Jimin and him shared a moment of eye contact and Hoseok knew he was the one in the way. He almost felt the need of the both of them to quickly have a moment to themselves, even if it was a simple goodbye kiss. That was why he let go of the younger wolf, shifting, so Jimin could get up.

         “Go ahead, I know you want to get up” he said, trying to smile but failed.

The younger was thankful and jumped up, quickly leaving the room to probably kiss the maknae senseless before letting him go. Hoseok got up too, sitting down on his bed. He was close to leaving the room too, as Taehyung’s scent still lingered in here and while it smelled incredible, it was only making him sadder.

         “He’s overwhelmed, that’s all” Yoongi sighed. “He once told me that he was a little jealous of Jungkookie, you know? Taehyungie really wants someone in his life but he’s also scared of commitment. His life wasn’t easy either and he’s scared to be left alone. I know he still hates that I moved out of the dorm, even though he’s happy for me and Anna. I’ve seen you two in the last two months and he’s so attached to you, he’s just scared of change.”

         “If there’s no feelings from his side, then I can’t do anything. He’s always said how he’s straight, so” Hoseok was just sad now but he did not want to cry in front of his hyung; he was too prideful for that.

         “He finds you handsome” Yoongi tried. “Taehyungie says a lot, when he wants to be the centre of attention and saying how straight he is, might give him that with the women. All I’m saying is that it’s not as black and white as you make it right now.”

Indeed, he was making it worse than it was. They had the rest of their lives to figure things out; Hoseok just wanted to know whether he had to live his life in agony of not being allowed to be with his mate.

When Jimin returned to the room, he grabbed Hoseok’s hand and pulled him towards the bathroom. He was very gentle with him, helping him into the bathtub, having lit some candles too before joining him. They used to take baths together all the time. It was something that helped them bond, when they were small. It soothed the elder’s heart a little bit but the pain of being rejected was still there, of course.

         “Jiminnie” he said after a while. “Does it get less painful? The sense of rejection. The loss of your purpose?”

The younger knew he was talking about the time, where Jungkook had first rejected him. Judging from his facial expression, the opposite was going to happen.

         “You can’t feel him yet, which is both bliss and horror at the same time” Jimin mumbled right above the water. “You’re in the dark about what he feels, which makes you more anxious than you would be, if you already knew what he felt but it’s also a blessing not knowing because if you know that he feels nothing, then that’s even worse. It’s always a double-edged sword.”

         “I still wonder, how you two had such a strong bond from the very beginning.”

         “Me too. Maybe, it’s because he’s a fire witch” Jimin shrugged.

After the bath, Hoseok got dressed and joined everyone for breakfast or more like lunch, as everyone had finally gotten up – everyone but Jungkook and Taehyung. They were still out in the woods. Some of the older members of the pack had seen them walk into the forest and they said that one of them had looked defiant. That almost made Hoseok snort. Of course, he would look defiant. It was a was a water witch not having his way.

When he was done, he got up and decided to have some time by himself. Jimin first refused to leave his side, worried about him because he knew exactly how lost he felt at the moment but Hoseok insisted, until the younger finally let him go. He wanted to have a nice run, where he could let the wind blow away his sadness. As soon as he was off pack grounds, he ridded himself from his clothes and turned, for once enjoying the pain of his bones cracking.

There was beauty in the simplicity of his thoughts, when he was a wolf. He was still himself of course but unimportant things were pushed into the back of his head. Of course, Taehyung was the least unimportant person in his life now, so he would always be on his mind but as he started running, he was able to simply enjoy the speed and the freezing cold that hit his skin beneath his fur. He did not know how long he had been running, or how far. It was beautifully freeing – at least, until he smelled him.

The same musky, yet sweet smell that was now the most compelling scent he would ever know.

Taehyung.

Without having noticed, he had followed his scent and he could hear him and Jungkook talking at the other side of the river that was close by. He should not pry but he could not help himself. Silently, he put one paw in front of the other, creeping up close enough that he could see them but that they were still unaware of his presence.

The water witch was breathing heavily, lying in a pile of snow while there was none around Jungkook at all, who stood maybe two meters away from him. The humidity was high around them, which was odd for winter, so Hoseok supposed that Jungkook must have melted some of the snow that was missing around him.

         “Feel better now?” Jungkook asked the water witch.

         “You beat me easily” he rolled his eyes dramatically. “Why would I feel better after you beat my ass?”

         “It’s ‘cause you’re not concentrated” Jungkook clicked his tongue. “I mean, I’m definitely the wrong person talking about stubbornness and how it’s stupid because I’m probably the most stubborn out of all of us but I guess that means I have experience in it, when I say that you’re being stubborn.”

There was so much truth behind that sentence, Hoseok wanted to laugh. It was a bit strange to hear Jungkook be so assertive. He had never seen this side of the maknae before. Usually, he was definitely the youngest one in mind still but he seemed so mature all of a sudden. Maybe almost losing Jimin had really showed him to be more truthful with his feelings.

         “I’m stubborn so what?” the elder huffed. “You’re still the king of stubbornness.”

         “This is not a competition” Jungkook said flatly. “You do realise that you and Hoseok-hyung have spent basically every day together for the last two months or so, right? And as far as I know, you haven’t really been sleeping out of the dorm anymore either, which means your lady game has declined drastically. Why is that? Definitely not because you got less attractive.”

Taehyung stayed quiet. He sat up and Hoseok would have loved to see his face but Taehyung’s back was turned to him, so he could not see what kind of expression he had.

         “So what, if we spend a lot of time together? That’s what I chose to do, not because of some magical bond but because of my own will” he grumbled.

         “It’s not as easy as that sounds, Tae” Jungkook shook his head, sitting down in font of him, more snow smelting around him as he started playing with a small flame in his hand. “It’s hard to describe how the bond works. I’m still myself, I can still decide on my own, whether I want to see Jiminnie-hyung or not. It’s–––nice, you know. Having someone love you so unconditionally. At first, it’s creepy and a burden almost but–––I just feel so at ease with Jiminnie-hyung at my side––“

He sighed, smiling to himself. It was cute, really. It was the first time, Hoseok heard Jungkook say these things and it soothed his petty heart, since he was still slightly angry at Jungkook for making the younger wolf go through so much pain. Now that he heard him say all these things, he did not feel as bitter anymore.

         “It’s not like I wouldn’t like that but–––“

         “It’s scary, I know” Jungkook agreed. “Especially since you don’t even know the weirdest shit about it all.”

         “Like what?” Taehyung perked up, suddenly interested in making Jungkook flustered, wanting to change topics.

         “Nope, not gonna tell you. Nope, no chance, no!” the younger shook his head but Taehyung threw a snowball at him. “no!”

         “C’mon, since when do you not tell me everything anymore!?”

         “Since you stopped bothering me about it and instead you keep on hanging out with your mate!” the fire witch protested, grinning mischievously. “But since this concerns you too, I might as well tell you. Their dicks fucking swell inside of you, when they’re in half human form! Like––– I can’t––– and the strangest fucking thing is that I’m weirdly excited about it.”

         “Size kink, huh” Taehyung snorted. “But wait, why does that concern me?”

         “Because you have a mate too now, you dumbass.”

         “Doesn’t mean, I have to take it up the ass” the elder shrugged.

         “So now you’re already debating whether or not to have sex with him? You changed your mind quickly, wow” Jungkook laughed.

         “What, he’s handsome okay!?” Taehyung pouted.

         “Thought you were straight?” the maknae teased.

         “You always knew that was a straight up lie.”

         “Yeah, I found gay porn on your laptop once.”

         “I’m not surprised you went through my browser history” the water witch shrugged.

         “Back to the point. Yes, you will take it up the ass because that’s their instinct. I mean, I guess you can switch it up, if he’s up for it but at least for mating, that’s set” Jungkook seemed to really think hard.

         “You never asked Jiminnie to switch?” Taehyung sounded surprised.

         “No” Jungkook blushed. “I don’t––– necessarily want to. I like the way it is.”

Taehyung laughed at that, making more jokes and at some point, Hoseok realised that he should not even be listening in. This was a conversation between two friends that was too intimate for him to hear. He was glad he did eavesdrop, since his heart was much calmer now, having heard Taehyung say all these things and having Jungkook explain what it was like for people that are being imprinted on. He could understand the water witch much better now. It  did not all look so grim anymore. Just as he wanted to walk away, he caught the maknae’s eyes and Jungkook smiled encouragingly, which made Hoseok wonder, if he had known that the wolf had listened in. If he did, Hoseok was glad that Jungkook chose his words like that.

With a calmer mind, Hoseok walked back to the pack, not bothering to change back. Only when he was at their cabin, he shifted and walked into his room to grab some new clothes, realising that he had forgotten to bring his clothes but as soon as he left the cabin to get them, Jimin stood there, holding them in his hand.

         “Couldn’t really leave you alone in that mood, could I?” he sighed, seeming oddly jolly.

         “You heard them talk too?”

         “Yeah” he nodded with a grin.

         “Your mate’s thirsty for you, it’s not even funny anymore” Hoseok laughed.

         “Yours seems to come around much quicker than mine, so better prepare” Jimin countered but then smiled genuinely. “I told you, with time, he’ll like the idea, if he’s already not too opposed to it anymore.”

         “Strange to think that we’re both taken already.”

         “It’s nice. We’re lucky.”

         “I suppose we are” Hoseok smiled genuinely for the first time that day.

Chapter Text

The two witches spent most of their afternoon in the woods. It was a refreshing change from all the wolf culture. It was endearing and extremely interesting but very exhausting as well. They had learnt so much about wolves in the last two days, their heads were fuming and it was nice to let off some steam together. It reminded Jungkook of the past, when he and Taehyung snuck out of the academy to freeze or burn down some trees just to let their anger out.

By the time they walked back to the right sub-pack, they were drenched and even Jungkook felt cold, since they had been out for such a long time and Jimin was not with him. When the wolf was close to him, he never felt cold ever – one of the many perks of having a mate.

It was around 4pm, when the two of them returned to the sub-pack. There were some wolves outside, already preparing for dinner, some still in their wolf forms, pulling the logs from last night back to where they were usually stored. Of course, Jungkook spotted Jimin right away, sitting on the porch, playing some kind of card game with two of the younger children. It was fast paced and at some point, one of the boys screamed in victory, jumping at the elder, pushing him off the porch and onto the ground, wrestling him with all his strength. The wolf laughed whole-heartedly, letting himself get dragged to the ground, pretending to be struggling. It was really sweet to see Jimin interact with children but Jungkook struggled understanding how he did it. The maknae had never really spoken to children that age and he could not imagine that interacting with them was as easy as it looked. Then again, it was probably Jimin’s nature to be good with children, as they were such tight-knit community.

When the elder looked up, he spotted the two witches, his smile widening just a little.

         “Jungkookie!” he gently pushed the young one off him, telling him that he was busy now, jogging up to them.

         “Don’t let me interrupt” Jungkook said, wiping some snow off Jimin’s shoulder.

Another thought suddenly rushed through his mind. Jimin loved children; it was obvious. However, he could never have some of his own with Jungkook as his mate. That hit him like a train, for some reason. Not that he specifically wanted children; it was way too early to even think about it but Jimin would surely want some sooner or later.

         “Hyung’s inside” the elder said to Taehyung. “You should talk to him. You owe him that.”

         “Already?”

         “You left him hanging the whole day thinking that he was rejected. He can’t feel your emotions yet, so there was just the feeling of rejection” Jimin sighed. “He needs to hear that you haven’t rejected him because you haven’t–––right?”

         “No, not really–––“ the water witch mumbled. “Okay, I’ll talk to him.”

         “Another thing” Jimin called after him, sounding more light-hearted now, kind of excited even. “Jungkookie and I won’t be back until late, so tell the others not to worry.”

         “We won’t?” the maknae tilted his head in question. “Where are we then?”

         “I’m taking you hiking” the elder explained, a spark glinting in his eye. “I wanna show you some of my favourite spots in the area and I want you to myself for a while. I’m not used to share you so much.”

The last sentence was meant as a joke but to some degree it was true. Usually, they always had some privacy, as soon as they retired to their room in their dorm but here, they were always with people. It did not particularly bother Jungkook, since this was how the wolves lived and he respected that but he liked the idea of having some time alone with the wolf.

         “But we’ll miss dinner” he realised.

         “Jungkookie––“ Jimin laughed. “I’m a wolf. I can hunt down a rabbit or something for us to eat. I know how to skin an animal and I’ve already packed a bag.”

         “Let me quickly change my clothes, yeah?” Jungkook smiled, feeling excited.

Quickly, he ran up to the room and changed into some dry clothes and this time, he made sure to actually wear his coat and scarf, not wanting to get too cold. He guessed that the elder would bring him to deeper parts of the forest, which meant more snow and while he was probably not going to feel cold, he did not want to risk it either.

When he came back outside, Jimin had dusted off all the excess snow and was ready to leave. His lips curled upwards, as soon as he laid his eyes on the fire witch, holding out his hand for him to take. It was all a bit surreal. It felt like they had entered a parallel universe, where all their problems had evaporated and it was just them now. As they walked through the pack hand in hand, Jungkook could not care less about the few wolves that glanced at them or the few whispers of the curious that wanted to know him. Jimin was all he cared about at this moment.

It was strange, since he obviously still cared about his team but somehow, they were pushed further back in his mind and Jimin occupied his conscious. So far, it had never quite felt like this. Obviously, it was the bond making sure that they spent enough time on each other but something was different. There was more meaning in them holding hands, them trudging through the snow. It made Jungkook’s heart jump in his chest, whenever the wolf locked eyes with him.

It’s time.

Jimin’s father’s words resonated in his mind and he realised that it was indeed time. He felt a little restless, a part of him pushing him to close the distance between them. He was ready to give himself to Jimin and somehow, he had the feeling, tonight was going to be the moment he would do it. He did not plan it particularly but he did not know, if he could go on for much longer without feeling the connection of a completed bond. 

All of this, he did not voice out, of course. Instead, he listened to Jimin talk about the forest in awe, smiling at how excited the wolf seemed to show Jungkook all of his favourite spots. They first went to a clearing deep inside the forest, where Jimin and Hoseok used to sunbathe in spring, when they snuck away from their duties. There would be hundreds of white flowers blooming and the wolf painted the image so perfectly in Jungkook’s mind that he could picture it clearly. The next stop was a tall tree with countless claw marks on it and the wolf explained that they used to try and climb this tree after they saw a forest spirit at the very top, daring them to come catch it.

The last stop, they reached when the sun was starting to set and Jimin made them hurry, as he still had to hunt for them. He stopped in front of a waterfall, icy mist had frozen the area around it. It looked truly bizarre, like a drawing out of a children’s book. Strangely, at the bottom where the falling water met a pond, it did not look like mist but like steam coming from the water. It also felt warmer, the closer they got to it.

         “It’s so warm” Jungkook said matter-of-factly, tilting his head in curiosity, drawn to the warmth that came from behind the waterfall.

         “There’s a hot spring in the cave behind the waterfall” Jimin explained. “It’s where I really wanted to bring you. Hoseokie and I found it a few years ago during a full moon. I don’t know, if anyone knows about this place besides us.”

         “Can we go in?” Jungkook asked eagerly.

         “I gotta hunt, or else we’ll have to wait, until we’re back at the pack.”

         “We can just do that” Jungkook shrugged.

         “It’s kind of too late to walk back now” Jimin stressed, his eyes glowing a pretty amber, that same glint still in his eyes. “Do you mind staying here with me tonight?”

Gulping, Jungkook realised that this had been Jimin’s plan all along. He wanted them to have a night for themselves. If the maknae already felt the bond so strongly, he could not imagine, how intense the constant pull was for the wolf. With his heart jumping against his rib cage, Jungkook squeezed Jimin’s hand, when he smiled bashfully, a little nervous maybe.

         “I’d actually like to stay here” he mumbled.

         “Good” Jimin hummed, pecking his lips, almost stopping to kiss him properly. “Could you try and find some fire wood while I hunt?”

         “Sure. Lighting a fire is my specialty” he grinned at his own joke.

Jimin laughed and shook his head, before he started to undress. He told Jungkook to go inside already, once he had found enough wood and then, he shifted. The sound was still awful and the younger always had to look away, hating how Jimin’s limbs cracked into unnatural angles before morphing into a wolf but Jimin was done quickly, standing there proudly in his fur, waiting for something, blinking at the maknae. Snorting, Jungkook caressed his head, massaging his ear a little and he could see Jimin grinning, even if he was a wolf.

After that, he was off.

It did not take too long to find some branches. They were not dry enough but that was no problem for Jungkook, slowly drying them, as he carried them back to the waterfall. The sun had set by the time he arrived there but Jimin was still nowhere to be seen, which was why he decided to already set up the fire inside. Carefully, he walked around the waterfall, his back pressed against the cold stone wall, until he was finally in the little cave. It was completely dark, so he lit a fire in his hand to see.

It was beautiful. The cave was shaped in a circle, with a smaller circle of water at the end of it, which created a sort of crescent. There was a little river that connected the water outside with the water that came from the little pond, which was why there was so much steam outside. Ice cold water hit warm water right beneath the waterfall. It felt like a sauna inside and Jungkook took off his coat and scarf, feeling too hot in such a suddenly humid climate. He was glad that he was a fire witch under these circumstances, as normal fire would not light in this air. His fire, however, would burn as long as he wanted it to. He looked up and spotted a hole in the ceiling, seeing the stars outside but the moon was still not high enough to light up the cave.

As he waited for Jimin, he set up the little fire that they needed to grill the meat Jimin would bring. It lit up the cave even more and as Jungkook waited, he noted some faint claw marks on the ground. Of course, there would be some marks, when Jimin had said that they found this during the full moon. The maknae had witnessed how Hoseok and Jimin had looked coming back from their time during the full moon, so there was no surprise in some claw marks on the rock. A year ago, Jungkook would have panicked seeing them. Now, he did not mind them. It was part of Jimin, which meant it was also part of himself.

Suddenly, there was a thud outside the cave and for a moment, Jungkook was on high alert, his nature to always be on guard spiking. However, he quickly calmed down, when he heard the familiar but grewsome sound of a wolf shifting back into its half human form, bones cracking and wincing could be heard. Then, a groan in Jimin’s human voice again and Jungkook relaxed completely, when he saw his wolf entering the cave, holding two dead rabbits at their ears. He had put on his pants again but did not bother with his shirt, as blood was still smeared around his mouth and a little bit down his throat and chest. It was quite violent but strangely, Jungkook found it only complimented Jimin’s strength.

         “I’ll clean up as soon as I skinned the rabbits” Jimin said, once he sat down next to the younger.

         “It doesn’t bother me–––too much” he hummed. “I’ll get the knife from your backpack.”

It was strangely domestic. They were in a cave somewhere in the middle of a forest but Jungkook could not help but think how incredibly domestic this entire scene was and his heart warmed at that. It felt so good to spend time with him like that and the wish to always have Jimin by his side only grew.

Watching him skin the rabbit was fascinating. Special Force had spent multiple days surviving in the forest before but they had either opted out on a vegetarian diet or they had had rations with them to eat. While they were all very capable to hunt, they had never properly learnt it. Jungkook realised that this skill was one of the few that no one out of the original members of Special Force was able to do. A part of him wanted to learn it, curious as to how it worked and by watching Jimin, he did feel like he could maybe try it himself but he realised just how much fun the wolf had showing off by doing something he was comfortable with.

Sometimes, Jungkook forgot that Jimin had probably never expected to have such a strong partner. Objectively, the fire witch was unbeatable, as soon as he used his element, so he wondered, if Jimin ever felt weak around him. However, most of the time, it was Jungkook who felt disarmed around the wolf. He made him feel vulnerable and at first, he had hated it. Now, it was almost liberating.

When Jimin was done skinning the rabbits, he grabbed two twigs that Jungkook had prepared to put the rabbits on and stuck them around the fire, so that they could slowly grill without burning. After that, the wolf got up and ridded himself from his pants, one foot already in the pond within the cave.

         “Care to join me?” he offered, as he let his body descend into the water, sighing as he was engulfed.

Swallowing hard, Jungkook got up, taking off his clothes without thinking twice. It was like he was in some sort of trance, entering the water as well. It was not too strange to be naked in front of Jimin anymore, especially, when he was so used to the wolf’s nudity. Just like Jimin, the maknae sighed, as the warm water touched his skin. There was a small ledge to sit on and the elder pulled him gently down next to him. His skin burnt, where Jimin touched him and the water around them started to steam more. Embarrassed Jungkook averted his eyes, knowing very well that the water was getting hotter because of his element and because Jimin made him feel this way.

         “I love my pack but it’s nice to have you to myself like this” Jimin hummed, as his hand started caressing the younger’s arm. “I got used to the way witches live, I suppose.”

         “Maybe” Jungkook agreed absentmindedly, his skin tingling, where the wolf touched him.

         “Maybe it’s also your eagerness to be alone with me, that makes me extra happy that we’re here” his lips parted in a grin, enjoying the way Jungkook blushed more.

         “Stop pointing out what I feel” the younger pouted. “We both feel it, so why say it out loud.”

         “To make you flustered” Jimin pulled him into his lap and Jungkook tensed at the sudden proximity, specifically at how Jimin’s naked thighs were pressed against his bottom. “Because you like that too.”

Jungkook wanted to protest but Jimin was not wrong. Letting go of control with him was easier than he had first thought. It was almost a little liberating to know that Jimin was not going to take advantage of that. The wolf slid his hands up the maknae’s thighs, caressing them softly, gripping them a little, when Jungkook tensed under his touch, before going upwards, stroking his sides. Sighing, Jungkook leaned closer, his cock twitching in interest, when it touched Jimin’s. He gasped softly, closing the distance effortlessly, this innate seeming need pushing him to kiss the wolf, the fire inside the pit of his stomach steadily growing. The elder welcomed him, sighing into his mouth, pulling him closer, massaging his ass intensely yet softly at the same time. Jungkook felt greedy, always wanted more, more, more. Nothing was enough anymore. Eagerly, he opened his mouth and Jimin licked into his immediately, his need slowly showing as well. Before they could do anything against it, they were both hard, rutting against each other in need for friction. However, as always, it was the wolf who pulled back, having to hold the younger to stop him from leaning back in, his eyes glowing with lust and longing and Jungkook almost whined, not wanting to stop.

         “We need to eat first, before I lose the rest of my self-control” he laughed out of breath.

         “I don’t mind you losing that” Jungkook let his hands wander over Jimin’s shoulders, biting his bottom lip unconsciously.

         “Jungkookie––“ the wolf groaned, carefully pushing him off his lap. “The rabbits will burn, if we don’t eat now and you need food.”

         “Fine” the maknae sighed, getting up.

         “Towels are in the backpack.”

They dried themselves and Jungkook insisted to wear at least underwear, suddenly highly aware of his nakedness. Eating calmed the fire inside of him and for a moment, he was only concentrated on filling his belly. The meat tasted great and the wolf grinned proudly, when Jungkook told him that, which made him smile too. They fell back into chitchatting and Jungkook listened attentively, as Jimin told him stories of how he used to be really bad at hunting but his father had shown him how it was done properly.

However, the tension between them returned as soon as they had both finished eating. Jimin’s hand ghosted over the back of Jungkook’s, making him shiver. He brought his hand to his mouth, kissing it tenderly, staring into his eyes and Jungkook felt absolutely powerless in that moment. He was not naked but he felt bare in front of the wolf – his wolf. The atmosphere was different from before. Jimin shifted closer, putting one hand on the younger’s thigh, the other entwined with Jungkook’s, as he craned his neck, nipping on Jungkook’s bottom lip playfully before kissing him properly. It was slow but so intense, the fire witch felt out of breath, opening his mouth for Jimin to explore, to ravish and to enjoy. His hands buried in Jimin’s hair, he scooted closer, once again finding himself in his lap, kissing back eagerly, as he started grinding softly. That desperate need to connect washed over them both and soon, their hands were everywhere. With a low growl deep within his chest, Jimin shifted, making the younger lie down on one of the towels, hovering over him.

They shared a moment of eye contact and Jungkook naturally cupped his face, wanting to watch the amber move in the elder’s eyes. They glowed a little in the dim light of the small fire, complementing Jimin’s skin tone. He was stunning like this. With a racing heart, he pulled him down into another passionate kiss, letting his hands run down his back, pulling him down, so that they were pressed against each other. Slowly, the wolf started kissing down his neck, ever so careful not to break skin. Yet.

         “H––hyung” Jungkook moaned, gripping the elder’s biceps to hold onto something, as the need slowly started consuming his mind.

Without realising it, he bared his neck, his breathing ragged already. As a response, Jimin growled possessively, his kisses getting more insistent, his hands gripping his waist tighter. He nosed the younger’s clothed cock, grumbling coming from his chest and Jungkook felt the vibration against, twitching against Jimin’s lips. Within less than a second, the wolf had ripped his underwear down, kissing his hipbone, closing in on his cock.

         “Hurry” the younger breathed, grinding his hip upwards against Jimin.

Jimin hummed in amusement but it was short-lived, as he was just as desperate as Jungkook, fidgeting with the backpack, pulling out a bottle of lube. Of course, Jimin had brought lube. He had probably planned this all along. Smiling to himself, Jungkook watched, as he coated his finger, forcing himself back into human form because his nails would hurt the younger otherwise. Usually, that was not much of an effort or bother usually but tonight, it took him longer, letting out a strangled growl. It had to be hard controlling his power like this. However, Jungkook did not really have the mind to think about anything, when Jimin teased his rim, his hands as warm as his own skin, which was most probably boiling to anyone else.

Moaning, he arched his back, as the wolf inserted a finger, licking Jungkook’s tip eagerly, taking him into his mouth. Jungkook’s toes curled at the intensity of it all. It was all too much. Everything was amplified tonight. They had not done this in a while, as Jimin was usually in his half human form, so Jungkook was not used to the sensation of Jimin’s tongue around his cock, already embarrassingly close, when the wolf had entered two fingers.

         “S––stop, stop, I don’t wanna cum yet” he pulled Jimin by the hair softly, feeling his release so close, it was almost too much already. “Just––––take me. Jiminnie-hyung, please–––“

         “You’re not prepped eno––“

         “Hyung––“ Jungkook whispered, his heart aching for the connection between them, it was close to painful, so Jimin had to feel this too. “Don’t you––– feel this? I can’t wait any longer. I’ll be alright––– as long as I’m with you––– I need to feel you, hyung.”

It was a desperate plea and Jungkook himself was not quite sure what exactly he had meant by his last sentence but it did not matter. It had been enough to compel Jimin to lose his patience. Quickly, he pulled out his fingers, just in time before his amber eyes returned, his nails naturally growing again and he crawled up to the younger to capture his lips in a fiery kiss, grinding down on him, as Jungkook spread his legs more, not even realising it anymore. When Jimin pulled back, he stared into the younger’s eyes, need so evident in them that Jungkook released a soft moan. With shaky, impatient hands, the wolf grabbed the bottle of lube again, putting a very generous amount on his hand, spreading it on his cock, pumping it a few times, a low groan escaping him. After he thought it enough, he gripped Jungkook’s waist with one hand, the other lined him up. For a short moment, time froze and the fire witch looked at Jimin with his heart in his throat, beating away at a pace the younger thought was not possible.

He was ripped out of his trance, when Jimin started to push inside, resistance much worse than usual and the younger had to concentrate not to tense up at the pain. Jimin tried his best to be careful despite his struggles to hold on to the last bit of his self-control, leaning down to kiss the younger, to distract him from the pain he automatically felt as well. It also worked the other way around. Jungkook felt the pleasure that washed over the wolf and it numbed most of the pain, when the elder had bottomed out. They both needed a minute, breathing into each other’s mouths, adjusting to the new proximity. It was always overwhelming but this time, Jimin’s feelings were just a little clearer to Jungkook; they were almost his own but not completely, as if there was still another wall between them. This was not enough yet. He needed more. More of Jimin.

         “I’m fine” he mumbled, urging the wolf to start moving.

And so he did. Carefully, he pulled out and pushed back in gently, setting a slow but sensual pace. His grip on Jungkook’s waist was surely bruising, his nails digging into his skin, even drawing a little blood but the fire witch did not even notice, too caught up in the feeling of being connected with Jimin. Closing his eyes, he moved his hips, encouraging the elder to speed up, still not finding this enough, the need inside of him only growing more. This time, he bared his neck on purpose, wanting Jimin to stop holding back. This was their night, so he wanted all of Jimin. Growling, Jimin leaned down, nosing his neck, his hips snapping against the younger much stronger now and Jungkook could not help the moans that came out of his mouth anymore. There was no reason to hold back for him either, so he let himself drown in the feeling of having Jimin so close to him. He held his breath, when he felt Jimin’s canines grazing his skin, goose-bumps all over his skin, his heart hammering in his chest.

Jimin, however, did not bite him.

He was getting frantic, his hips snapping at a speed that had Jungkook’s head reeling, feeling how close both him and Jimin were, their feelings slowly melting with one another that he could not tell who was closer. Why was the wolf still holding back? It was then, when Jungkook remembered that he had to ask for it. Only then, Jimin was allowed to complete the bond.

         “Hyung” he breathed, trying to voice out what he wanted without his voice breaking, as Jimin still snapped his hips against him mercilessly. “Bite me. I want it. Make me yours for as long as we both live.”

Jimin yipped once. A desperate cry of feelings and then Jungkook felt them. Jimin closed his jaw at the juncture of the maknae’s neck and right shoulder, his eight canines easily digging into his flesh. Jungkook cried out in pain but it was only short-lived because he suddenly felt something else. At first, it felt like something small had entered his mind, like he was not on his own anymore. Then, it all suddenly crashed down on him: overwhelming, unconditional love invaded his mind but also his body. Warmth spread within him; it felt like his skin always burnt, whenever Jimin touched him but now, he felt like this everywhere, inside and outside. Jimin was suddenly omnipresent. It was incredible. Everything was amplified and with the next snap of the elder’s hips, he suddenly felt exactly what the wolf felt. He felt how it was to be inside of him, how it was to have his canines buried in his neck, how his scent affected Jimin.

Jimin grumbled possessively, his movements getting erratic and somewhere in Jungkook’s pleasure-overwhelmed mind, he wondered, if the elder was even still able to speak. It only took them a few more moments, until they both came, Jungkook cried out the elder’s name and Jimin bit down harder. The fire witch felt him pulse inside of him and that was, when he realised what was going on. Instead of softening, Jimin’s cock only grew harder, swelling at the base. One of Jimin’s hands found Jungkook’s hair, grabbing a handful, pressing him as close as possible. Only when he stopped pulsing, his body seemed to relax, slumping on top of the younger. Jungkook sighed in relief. The knot was uncomfortable but not unbearable. It was probably this uncomfortable because he had insisted to hurry up. If he had been prepped enough, it might even feel good to be so full.

He flinched, when Jimin slowly pulled back, releasing his neck, licking at the wound immediately. He was so tender and gentle again but yet still so succumbed to his instincts, he did not respond, when Jungkook whispered his name. Instead, the younger decided to card his fingers through the wolf’s sweaty hair, letting him do what he had to. The licking felt strangely soothing, easing the sting of the bite, giving way for the witch to realise that something was different. There was a part inside of him that was not him. It belonged to Jimin, yet it was inside of him now. Something he could not rationally explain was there now, making him feel how deeply content and satisfied the elder felt at this moment, how his was tending Jungkook’s wound in pride and victory.

Time passed, Jungkook did not know how much, until Jimin finally looked up, averting his attention from the wound to the witch’s eyes, smiling softly. There was dried blood at the corner of his mouth but that was unimportant. In sync, they leaned in for a slow, passionate kiss. Sighing into it, Jungkook felt calm – calmer than he had ever felt before, like he was finally complete.

         “I love you, Jungkookie” Jimin hummed, his voice surprisingly hoarse.  

         “I love you too, Jiminnie-hyung” the witch replied but then grimaced a little. “Could you get off me, you’re getting heavy.”

Laughing, Jimin rolled them around and Jungkook still felt him hard inside him, tensing at the oversensitivity, now sitting on top of the elder.

         “Bear with me, we’re stuck together for a while.”

         “That’s still weird” the younger snorted but then leaned down to peck his lips. “Weird but okay.”

         “You can sleep. I can feel how tired you are.”

         “So are you” Jungkook pouted, resting his head on the elder’s chest. “I can feel you. It’s–––so reassuring. It so–––incredible.”

         “It truly is” the wolf sighed, caressing Jungkook’s sweaty skin.

Trying to get comfortable with Jimin still inside him, Jungkook felt sleep overcoming him. He could not stop it, which was weird because he was not done talking yet. He suddenly felt awfully powerless and not in a good way. His body felt too hot, which was odd because he never felt too hot. Maybe, it was another effect of the bite. Maybe his body first needed to get used to the completion of the bond. Paying the strange feeling no mind, he was sure his temperature would calm down and fell asleep on top of Jimin, who drifted off just as quickly.

Jungkook’s temperature only grew.

Chapter Text

He felt complete, when he woke up with Jungkook in his arms, despite the hard ground they were sleeping on. He had never felt so content in his life. Finally, he understood what his father meant by finding yourself in your mate. For the first time in his life, he felt like he was truly himself, like this was the person he was meant to be: the protector of the witch in his arms. It was his destiny to be by his side and by having finally completed the bond, it proved that this was right and that the universe had chosen Jungkook for him.

Sighing, he shifted a little, snuggling closer, pressing the younger’s back against him, softly licking at the bite mark. It was quite red and bruised and naturally, Jimin wondered, if he had bitten him too hard, if he should have been more careful. Rationally, he knew that the bite would look like this on the very first but strangely, he still felt a glint of worry. Absentmindedly, Jimin started caressing the witch’s side, appreciating his body the way he deserved to. If it was possible, the wolf would love to stay here for another day, simply bathing in the feeling of being freshly mated, getting used to the new kind of proximity between them. While for him, it was like becoming the person he was always meant to be by carrying a part of Jungkook with him in his mind at all times, it was probably very strange for the younger. He did not like having anyone in his mind but now, there was a permanent mental connection between them and he surely needed to get used to that first.

A little while of Jimin simply watching the younger sleep passed; sometimes, Jungkook would sigh or shiver a little, mumbling something in his sleep and Jimin had to stop himself from cooing. Jungkook was so cute, when he was asleep, ever so honest with his reactions to the elder’s touch. He would have loved to continue watching him sleep but he felt a slight discomfort from Jungkook and he guessed that it was hunger slowly creeping up on him. Gently, he turned him around in his embrace, kissing him softly – once, twice, three times – waiting for him to wake up from his deep slumber. Grumbling, the fire witch scrunched up his nose, pouting unconsciously, before he yawned, rubbing his eyes tiredly.

            “Morning” Jimin hummed, kissing his forehead. “Slept well?”

            “M’yeah” he slurred, shifting, as he let out a groan. “Really sore, though. My body hurts. Like a lot.”

            “I’m sorry” the elder chuckled a little.

Now that Jungkook was awake, the wolf did feel that he was in pain, more than usual but maybe that was because his sensitivity towards Jungkook’s feelings was higher now and he could sense his pain better.

            “Don’t be” Jungkook yawned again. “S’my fault. I insisted on hurrying up.”

            “I let you sleep on the ground, though” Jimin stated.

            “Okay, maybe it’s a little bit your fault to” the younger giggled, wincing, when he moved too much.

The atmosphere was light-hearted and Jimin didn’t feel any strangeness in Jungkook, so the mating had been a success. It had really been what the younger had wanted and joy settled within both of them, as they locked eyes. Tenderly, Jimin caressed his cheek, sighing with a smile on his face. However, there was something odd about it all. Something was there but he could not say what, which was strange because they were fully connected now.

Something was – different – and not in a good way. It made Jimin nervous in some way.

It was then, when he noticed that his skin was burning. Jungkook was warmer than him and that usually only happened, whenever they were intimate. This was unusual.

            “Hey, are you really okay?” Jimin asked, touching his forehead and he was really too warm. “You’re burning up and you never do that.”

Blinking slowly, he hummed, snuggling closer again.

            “Maybe my element’s still spiking up because of the bite” he shrugged.

            “It doesn’t feel like that, though” Jimin frowned, trying to concentrate on the odd feeling that was within Jungkook somehow. “It feels like you’re getting a fever.”

            “Nonsense, I’m fine” the younger huffed, sitting up. “I’m thirsty.”

He tried getting up but winced at the tension in his body. Despite that, he stood up, his legs a little wobbly, walking towards the little river that connected the cold water with the hot one from inside the cave, wanting to drink from there. Instinctively, the wolf got up as well, knowing that the younger was not well and just as he had predicted, Jungkook tripped and Jimin was there just in time to catch him. What surprised him, however, was how the witch fell into his arms, as if he was not strong enough to hold himself up.

            “You’re clearly not okay” Jimin said with more determination now. “Let’s pack up and bring you back to the pack and have Jin-hyung check up on you.”

            “I’m fine” Jungkook whined, as the elder helped him down to drink, sighing at the cold water running down his throat. “I just lost balance for a second, that’s all.”

            “Don’t be difficult, Jungkookie. Maybe I did something wrong with the bite. My saliva is supposed to clean the wound and protect it from getting infected but maybe, bacteria got to it anyways. I just wanna make sure you’re okay.”

Still pouting a little, Jungkook gave in eventually, letting Jimin grab his clothes for him. While he was getting dressed, the wolf watched him like a hawk. The strange feeling was faint but it was there and it didn’t leave, even when they were out in the cold and Jungkook seemed to be feeling better. He did not say anything, as the younger did not seem too weird anymore but he also did not let him carry anything. As long as that foreign feeling remained, Jimin would be cautious.

            “Do you think the others will notice? Even though I’m wearing a coat and scarf?” Jungkook wondered.

            “Of course, they will” Jimin laughed. “You and I both smell the same now. We share the same scent. The only difference now is that I have the general wolfy smell, while you still smell like a witch. You’ll have to listen to some comments about us. All positive, of course. They were all waiting for us to mate.”

            “Great” Jungkook cringed. “Tae will pull jokes the most, I guess. But he’s one to talk, also having a mate now. That honestly shocked me.”

            “Really? It made sense to me” Jimin shrugged. “They always clicked well and Hoseokie-hyung sat with Taehyungie, when he was wounded, even though he wasn’t badly hurt, even though he didn’t have to do that. I think wolves always believed that we couldn’t imprint on witches because we have been estranged for centuries. We don’t know much of the time right after the King and Queen died.”

Humming, Jungkook nodded, suddenly seeming far away with his thoughts and surprisingly, his feelings were quite hard to read. There was deeply rooted content, as the bond was still fresh and very omnipresent but there was also worry – probably for the newly imprinted couple – and of course, there was that strange feeling still and somehow, it was getting more prominent than Jimin liked it to be. As soon as he noticed it, Jungkook suddenly searched contact, leaning against him heavily.

            “Jungkookie?”

            “I suddenly felt dizzy––– still feel dizzy. I don’t know why. I was fine” he mumbled in confusion, his breath picking up and he blinked multiple times, as if he was trying to will away the weakness he was showing.

            “Can you still walk? I can shift, so you could get on my back” Jimin said, his brows already furrowed again, not properly worried.

The younger was close to panting now, his eyes tired despite them having slept more than enough, and that was reason enough for Jimin to stop walking and cup his face and make the younger locked eyes with him, looking for any indication of him losing consciousness soon. As expected, he looked sick. Within the last hour of walking, Jungkook had gone from completely healthy to strangely pale and he was sweating more than usual, especially because they were outside. His feelings were a mess as well, clouded and unclear, as if there was a filter that stopped Jimin from understanding.

            “Jungkookie, talk to me, please. What’s going on? I don’t understand your feelings” Jimin pleaded, desperately wanting to know what was going on.

Leaning more into the wolf’s hold, Jungkook winced, jerking at something Jimin was not aware of. He tried holding eye contact but now, even the younger was frowning, his eyes not focusing on anything in particular.

            “I don’t know––– I feel weird. Too hot. I never feel too hot, hyung. My neck hurts, too. Like thousands of needles pressing into my skin” he tried to explain.

            “That’s it, I’m changing now. You need Jin-hyung as fast as possible” he said before pulling back, stepping away far enough for him to change. 

Changing in a hurry always hurt more but in that moment, he did not care about himself at all. His instincts took over, needing to ensure his mate’s safety. Everything was heightened, as the bond was freshly consummated, so his instincts were even more prominent. Within a second, he had changed, howling at the pain to release it in some way, disregarding his ripped clothes that were now lying in the snow. Immediately, he hurried back to Jungkook, who had lost his balance without the wolf and was kneeling in the snow. Yipping at him, Jimin motioned that he should try climbing on top of him and with the wolf lying down for the younger to get on, it worked. Ignoring the backpack, Jimin started running, as soon as he felt that the Jungkook had a good grip, so that he would not fall down. He sprinted through the woods as fast as he could, feeling the witch shiver now and he did not know whether he now felt cold or if he was shuddering because of how sick he was.

Swiftly, Jimin evaded trees, jumped over a small river and avoided frozen snow parts. He wished he could run faster, feeling how Jungkook steadily got worse, his feelings of discomfort and pain seeping through the bond.  He cursed his wolf form for not being able to talk to him, wanting to reassure the younger that everything was going to be fine, hoping that could calm him down. However, he had to concentrate on bringing him back to the pack, knowing fully well that Jungkook only wanted to be treated by Jin.

As he reached the outer parts of the pack, he barely noticed the confused looks some of the other wolves threw after him, too focused on getting to his sub-pack. He felt Jungkook’s grip loosening around his fur, so he was forced to slow down a little, now also having to watch that he did not fall from his back. He whined in a desperate attempt to keep the witch awake but he could feel his consciousness slipping away and it scared him. What was happening? He was fine just a few moments ago. What could have possibly make him this sick?

When he spotted the houses of his sub-pack, he howled in panic, hoping that the others were awake and not somewhere else within the pack grounds. Thankfully, Hoseok was outside, squinting his eyes at the quickly approaching figure. Jimin watched him yell something into the house before running towards the wolf. Once they met half way, Jimin yipped miserably, lying down, so Hoseok could help Jungkook down. The other wolf noticed immediately that something was wrong, not even having to ask.

            “Jungkookie–––can you hear me?” he said in a hurry, gently slapping his face.

Jimin turned around immediately, as soon as Hoseok had lifted the younger off him, wanting to change back but he could not concentrate. He felt how hot his mate was and without cooling down his body, he could not shift back no matter how much he wanted to. As long as he was this frantic, he would not be able to change back.

            “H––hyung” the fire witch mumbled, opening his eyes just slightly, his eyes unfocused still. “Where’s J–Jiminn––ie-hyung?”

            “He’s right here, don’t worry” Hoseok calmed him down and Jimin shuffled closer, nuzzling the maknae’s head gently. “What happened Jungkookie?”

            “Dunno––“ he winced again, leaning his head to the side, baring his neck unconsciously, making Jimin even more frantic, his instincts demanding to protect the wound on his neck.

            “Is it the bite? Does it hurt?” Hoseok said and the worry in his voice was evident, glancing at the wolf.

The bite hurting a little was normal but to this extent – it was unheard of and Hoseok knew that just as well as Jimin. Jungkook tried speaking but he started shaking so much that he could not talk anymore. At that moment, Jin came rushing out of the cabin down onto the snow in just his boots and his pyjamas. The wolves had never seen him run this fast before.

            “Let me see him” he said in a hurry, kneeling down, ripping away the maknae’s scarf, opening his jacket.

Scanning his withering body quickly, he checked his pulse before tilting his head, so that he could see the bite and frowned deeply. He wanted to touch it but Jimin growled on instinct. No one could touch the bite. It was sacred between the two of them and anyone touching it would pose a threat to him.

            “Do you want me to help him or not!?” Jin snapped at him, distress obvious in his expression but it helped clearing Jimin’s head a little and he nodded to let him know it was okay.

Carefully, the healer inspected the wound quickly, touching his cheeks as well, wincing suddenly.

            “His body temperature is through the roof. The bite is infected. Hoseokie, wake up the rest, especially Taehyungie! I’m gonna carry him inside and try my best to get his temperature down” Jin instructed quickly, already pushing the other aside to lift Jungkook up.

            “Ji––“ Jungkook mumbled, already not fully conscious anymore.

            “I’m here, Jungkookie” Jin sighed, already starting to walk.

            “Jiminnie––“ the maknae tried again, trying to look around.

            “You can’t separate them. They have separation anxiety, when the bite is still fresh. It’s just gonna agitate him more!” Hoseok explained quickly.

Angrily, Jin turned around to Jimin, who did not know what to do anymore, his mind going in circles, his only concern being his suffering mate.

            “Then fucking get your shit together and shift back into your half human form! Your mate needs you and I need to get him inside!” the healer urged and Jimin jumped at the tone.

Realising that he was no help to Jungkook like this, he tried concentrating again and it was hard, especially with his body temperature still higher than usual because of the state Jungkook was in. That was why it was especially painful to turn back but he had to do it.

For Jungkook.

Meanwhile, Hoseok had gone back inside to wake up the others and as soon as Jimin had turned back, he helped Jin carry the maknae inside, lying him down on the sofa in the living room. Some wolves were there but they picked up on the situation immediately, giving them space. They were curious of course but they probably smelled Jimin’s anxiety, knowing fully well that they would be no help asking questions now.

Jungkook’s face was twisted in pain and he squirmed, whining that his body was hurting, that he felt strange. All the while, he kept calling Jimin’s name and that was the only word he could say. Whatever Jin asked him, he answered with Jimin’s name. Instinctively, he grabbed his hand, holding it tightly and thankfully, Jin let him, while his hand lit up in a soft green, as put one on Jungkook’s forehead, the other on his heart. He was careful not to go near the bite and once again, the wolf was thankful, not wanting to lose his composure because of an instinctive reaction.

            “What’s going on!?” Taehyung’s voice was in distress immediately, as the rest of Special Force came down into the living room, his eyes big with fear, when he saw how weak the fire witch was.

            “I can’t bring his temperature down. I don’t know what cause this” Jin was a little frantic. “His neck is so infected, it’s probably close to blood poisoning already. I don’t know how. The incubation time is all wrong––– Taehyungie, help me keep him cool, while I try stop this. Namjoonie, what’s he thinking? Does any of it make sense? I doubt he’s strong enough to keep you out by now.”

It struck Jimin how well they were all working despite one of their own clearly not being okay. Yoongi kept his distance, knowing that he would only be in the way; the frown was deep on his forehead but he kept quiet, letting the rest of them work. Taehyung had gathered water from outside, creating some kinds of cocoon of water around the younger, avoiding the areas where Jin was working. Namjoon was closer but just shook his head. He was even calmer than the others, almost dauntingly so.

            “No, he’s just––––in pain. The only thing on his mind is Jimin” Namjoon said, biting his lip as if thinking. “Jinnie––––the bite. It looks like a typical wolf bite on a vampire, doesn’t it?”

            “Well, yeah, but that doesn’t make any sense! Have you lost your mind!?” the nature witch snickered, turning back to the unconscious maknae, still trying to figure out what was wrong.

            “Well––“ Namjoon said in a way that everyone turned around to him except Jin, who was still focused on the maknae.

            “Well what?” Yoongi finally entered the conversation, his tone confused but suspecting at the same time. “What are you not telling us?”

            “I’m not allowed to talk about it” Namjoon sighed. “But I might have to now.”

            “What the fuck do you mean!?” Jin quickly squinted his eyes at him, sweat dripping down his temples, before turning back to Jungkook.

Jimin was confused but he was focused on Jungkook and how he steadily got worse, how his body was on fire, how his mate was slipping away right underneath his nose and he could not do anything. His eyes were already filled with tears, threatening to spill over. His mate was leaving this world; he could feel it but he did not understand why or how. Nothing made sense anymore.

            “What I mean is Jungkookie’s supposed ancestry” Namjooon specified and Yoongi widened his eyes, as if he already understood, while the wolves especially were still completely in the dark.

            “You don’t mean–––“ the rock witch gasped.

            “The Headmaster gave me the task of trying to find the line of the Princess’ descendants, once everything returned back to normal after Jun’s betrayal. I was the only one Jungkookie trusted and talked to, making me the only person to ask him about his family. For centuries, the Princess’ descendants were lost. We thought Cain had gotten to them and killed them all. But then, Jungkookie appeared in this world. Now, of course, he can be just from another line of fire witches but the Headmaster said he lost the tracks of the royal line somewhere in Asia, so it could be possible.”

            “That’s ridiculous. He’d have to be part–––vampire. Despite that gene being almost non-existent after all these years, we would have noticed. The wolves would have smelled it! It’s the royal bloodline. It’s too powerful to disappear, even after centuries” Jin argued a little out of breath and he concentrated back on Jungkook, when he started shaking again.

            “Not if the vampire side was sealed” Namjoon argued. “The Headmaster rescued the Princess all those years ago. He told me because he suspected that Jungkookie might be a descendent or the Royal Family. The Queen instructed him to seal half of her daughter’s identity, as such a strong half one would be found out by anyone. After all, the Princess was the only half one to ever have an ability. Only half breeds inherit that from their vampire parent.”

            “Just tell Jin-hyung how to save him!” Jimin exploded. “I don’t care what the reason is behind all this! Jungkookie’s dying, have you not realised!? I can feel him slip away! He’s leaving me! He’s leaving this world! Fuck, just do something! Anything! Please–––– he’s everything. He’s my world––“

            “But I can’t fix it!” Jin yelled back, tears running down his face. “Don’t you think I haven’t noticed yet that he’s dying!? I’ve tried everything in my power okay but nothing is working and I don’t know why!”

            “Because it’s a wolf bite” Namjoon concluded. “You’re powerless against the magic within wolves. We can’t do anything–––“

Suddenly, all the witches were yelling at each other. Jin still had his hand on Jungkook’s heart but he had given up trying to heal him and with that, the younger’s shaking also stopped, leaving him lying on the sofa motionless, as the witches argued with each other. However, Jimin did not hear anything they said. His attention was all on his mate, his Jungkook, his miracle that he loved so unconditionally.

His fate. His life.

And he was dying.

The bite was an angry red and it looked like it was burning into his flesh. Like the flesh of a vampire that was bitten by a wolf. Had it been his fault? Was the bite the reason he was dying? Was it Jimin who had killed him? He felt sick thinking about the bite – the final step to make them one – could cause this. What kind of sick joke were they to the universe? What did he do to anger the Gods so much that they wanted Jungkook to die after finally having mated? Letting his tears fall now, Jimin shifted closer, pushing Jin’s hand away, not wanting anyone’s scent on Jungkook other than his, weeping against his chest.

            “The Headmaster said to awaken a sealed part of someone, there needs to be an incredible amount of strong magic. If a wolf bite isn’t that, then I don’t know what else is” Namjoon explained quickly, trying to sound as calm as possible but everyone knew that this was just as hard for him to see than for anyone else in the room. “Why else would that look like a bite on a vampire? Only if he’s part vampire and since no one has noticed that, only a witch of great power could seal an identity so well. Only the Headmaster would be able to do that. He has to be the Princess’ descendant. He can’t just die like this. Jungkookie would fight this easily, if it was an infection. You all know how strong he is.”

            “But–––“ Taehyung struggled talking and he did not notice how he leaned closer to Hoseok, needing some kind of contact, someone to calm him down and it was beautiful but so extremely bittersweet for Jimin to watch. “Why–––is he––why does it look like he’s––––dying?”

            “I can feel our lives leaving this world” Jimin sobbed. “It’s not like he’s dying. He is dying!”

            “Think about it. Pure witches have two lives. Their life in the human world and the life here. When they enter this dimension before they die and if they die in this one, they will automatically finish their life in the human world but won’t be reborn, since they’ve spent their life already. But–––– if Jungkookie’s not a pure witch––if he’s actually a half one, he truly belongs to this dimension, like Yoongi does, who was already reborn, or like me, since I was born here as a half breed. He’s not dying. His human side is dying and his vampire side is awakening.”

Jimin could not think. Apparently, it started to make sense for everyone else as some of them nodded slightly but the wolf could not comprehend anything, feeling like a part of himself was dying too. He heard Jungkook’s heartbeat speeding up suddenly and he was so surprised at that that he jerked, gripping his hand stronger.

            “I think that’s why the Headmaster had always had a soft spot for him. He reminds him of the Princess” Namjoon continued.

            “We can’t imprint on vampires” Hoseok argued. “We’d kill our mates by mating them. It doesn’t make sense.”

            “Half ones don’t die. They just get seriously sick. They don’t have enough vampire genes for the bite to be lethal” Jin said matter-of-factly.  

Everyone was silent at the realisation that this could actually be possible. Jimin, however, still did not understand any of it, feeling cold and sick to his stomach. It was like he was dying with Jungkook. It was horrifying to see his mate lay there, his breathing so shallow, his chest was barely rising anymore. He had stopped struggling, his muscles were relaxed. If Jimin did not know any better, it looked like the maknae was sleeping. The wolf’s tears were still running down his cheeks but he was too exhausted to sob. All he could do was hold Jungkook’s hands and feel his body temperature drop slowly. It was like someone was carving the part out of his heart that belonged to Jungkook, like they wanted to rip him from the wolf.

He wanted to die instead. Jungkook deserved to live. This was his very purpose, after all, but he had failed his mate on the very same day they had finally mated. Jimin was probably the worst mate on earth.

            “Jiminnie” Namjoon suddenly put his hand on his shoulder, making him growl defensively, not wanting anyone near Jungkook anymore, especially not a vampire. “He’s not leaving you.”

            “Why does it feel exactly like that, then?” Jimin said painfully, shrugging off his hand.

            “Because in order to make way for his true self, a part of him has to die.”

            “You can hear his heart too. It’s so slow” the wolf mumbled so softly, the half breed almost did not catch it despite his superior hearing. “It’s hard to believe that he’s not dying, when part of me is dying too. You know what happens to mated wolves, when their mates die.”

Somehow, no one dared saying something after that statement. Frowning, having a bitter taste at the back of his mouth, Jimin turned back to Jungkook, watching him breathe shallowly, not knowing what to expect. Namjoon’s theory seemed ridiculous and even thinking so hard about anything other than Jungkook right in front of him, was nearly impossible. Hoseok excused himself and left at some point, probably to inform their sub-pack about what was happening, not being able to keep them in the dark for much longer, especially Jimin’s father. The rest of Special Force stayed in the living room but they kept their distance, as the wolf had started sobbing again, giving him space to mourn. They knew that despite it being incredibly hard to watch Jungkook like this – to watch him die – it was hardest for Jimin. They could not imagine what he was feeling.

It was a disgustingly terrifying waiting game. They were not sure, if Namjoon’s theory was even true but they all hoped it was. That was the only version, where Jungkook would stay alive. They had to believe it was true. By now, Jimin was clinging to that vague string of hope that Jungkook would come back to life, as there was no way to save him.

After another 20 minutes of dead silence in the living room and Jimin staring at his mate, Jungkook’s heart stopped beating.

He was dead.

Jimin forgot how to breathe. Everything hurt. His heart broke into a million pieces and his body felt like ice, like he did not have power over himself anymore – like he was trapped in a shell that died with Jungkook’s heart. He choked up, could not even cry anymore. Nausea overcame him and then, he only saw black, sinking into a void.

His mate was really dead.

Jungkook was lying there, unmoving.

Gone. 

Chapter Text

Cherry blossoms fell from the tree, as the girl danced beneath them, giggling freely. Her guard leaning against the tree, watching her peacefully. It was a strangely calm picture – maybe too calm. The gardens were her favourite, which was why everyone had been so surprised, when she had presented as a water witch. They had all expected her to be a nature which, as she had a rather special connection to everything green.

    “Princess, we must go to your training now. It is time. We are already delayed” her guard hummed, although he did not look like he minded being late; he was positively enchanted by how much fun the little girl was having.

After all, everyone in the castle adored her.

    “Let’s go, then” she hummed, skipping over the meadow that lead to the castle.

The castle walls were high and always lingering in the back and it was the princess’ greatest wish to see what was beyond but her father would not let her. He explained that there is evil out there trying to harm her. That the vampire king would never let her live if he could get his hands on her.

It was then, when the wind changed and despite the princess being so young, she knew something was wrong and because she was so young, she was foolish enough to run exactly where she should not be. When she spotted the big entrance of the castle walls, she watched as three riders entered, a strange aura around them. One of them was older, maybe as old as her father, the other two seemed to be teenagers still.

The older man had dark hair and a beard that was trimmed short, a wicked expression on his face, making the princess shiver. The older one of the teenagers looked like a younger version of him with the same evil aura around him. The youngest, however, seemed softer around the edges, his aura not yet tainted. The princess was curious; his face wasn’t twisted in hate like the other two. They were all vampires, it was clear at how they squinted their eyes at the brightness of the sun. Why would her father, the king of witches invite vampires into his very home?

At that moment, the youngest of them spotted her, widening his eyes a little. Her heart jumped, knowing that she was noticed, that one of them now knew she was there. Fear crawled up her spine, as her father had implemented that into her brain ever since she could comprehend language. The vampire’s expression was a soft one, though, which made it hard to believe that every vampire was bad.

    “Love, go inside, quick” her father’s voice was strong and commanding and it took her a moment to realise that he was standing behind her, gently pushing her towards her guard that had caught up to her.

    “Is that the famous princess? Dearest, what’s your name, tell me” the older man chirped, his gaze burning into her.

    “Cain, you came here to talk, not to provoke” her father warned him. “Love, follow Nico inside. Now .”

She was dragged inside by her guard Nico but her eyes lingered on the three strangers, as if she knew that this day would change everything.

 

 

    “If he doesn’t wake up soon, we’re gonna lose Jiminnie” he could here from somewhere. “Without his heartbeat, Jiminie will eventually die. We might know that he’ll come back but the bond doesn’t work like that. Without a heartbeat, the bond is slowly breaking apart, which is ultimately the end of Jiminie’s life!”

He did not know whose or where it came from. Everything was dark and cold. He could not feel his body nor his mind. It was like he was severed from the world, floating in something that numbed everything. He wanted to reach out, say something but he did not know how and before he realised, his consciousness slipped away again, plunging him into an even deeper darkness.

 

 

Scared, the princess exited the carriage, looking upon a castle with no windows. It was situated within a deep forest on top of a hill, the moon shining high above it. It could have been beautiful and maybe, it had been intended to be so once upon a time but for her, it only represented horror. She was to live here, having to marry a monster. The crown prince of the vampires. Cain. It was a life doomed in torment. However, she had saved her people. It may not be the best solution for her and she loathed her father for giving her up like this but in the end, she understood why he had done it. Marriage was a perfect way to mend feuds. It was just horrible that it had to be Cain.

She was led into the castle and she was given a room. It was all very cold and she complained; thus, she was given blankets. Of course, vampires could not feel the cold, so they usually did not bother. Once she was left alone, she started crying, letting everything out. It was terrifying being here all by herself and being in Cain’s presence was frightening too.

Suddenly there was a soft knock on the door, startling her. She ignored it at first but there it was again, and again. She shouted that she wanted to be alone but then, the door creaked open. Prepared to attack whoever dared to enter, locating anything that could contain water in this room, needing it to protect herself. However, it was not Cain nor his father.

It was Aiden.

The vampire she hat met in the woods, who helped her find the way to save her people. The one that had too soft of a heart to be a part of this family.

    “How are you feeling?” he asked carefully.

    “Please leave. I don’t want to see anyone” she sniffed, trying to hold up a front that had already been broken.

    “I just wanted to see, if you were okay. I know, this must all be terrifying. I promise, you will learn to love this house, just as I did.”

    “I’m a prisoner and I only endure it for the sake of my people. I will never like it here. It has no windows, no warmth. It truly is a vampire’s den” she clicked her tongue. “Leave now.”

Aiden sighed and left, just like she wanted, yet she felt worse as soon as he was gone. She was not dumb. She knew that there was mutual attraction between them but now that she was engaged to be married to his brother. Despite her knowing that Cain was a bad person, marriage was a holy oath and she could not jeopardize her people’s safety. It was her duty to protect them. After all, she was their princess.

Staying away turned out to be harder than she thought. He was the only light in the darkness of the vampire palace. His smile cured her sorrow and her loneliness. His presence alone cheered her up. However, he was also her biggest tormentor, a constant reminder of what she could not have. While Cain had no intentions to try and be nice to her – he enjoyed scaring her more than anything – Aiden was always sweet and respectful, never overstepping their boundaries, no matter how hard it was for them, as he clearly also had some kinds of feelings for her too. The only time the princess was safe from either one was during the day. Vampires in the castle preferred to sleep during the day, finding the sun too bright, hence staying up during the night. She disliked that, needed to feel the sun on her skin, so she always found herself outside in the gardens, watching the sun rise behind the castle walls. Once again, she was trapped. First, it was her own home. Now, it was a foreign one, which she would have to endure for the rest of her life.

 

 

    “We can’t speed things up, I’m afraid” Namjoon’s voice was close to him but far away at the same time. “He needs to fight this on his own. Jiminnie has to hold on. There’s still life in both their bodies. I can feel it.”

 

 

The first rays of sunlight were always the ones the princess enjoyed the most. They were pure and innocent, not knowing what they would bring for every being on this earth. With her eyes closed, she breathed in the chilly morning air, wishing she could sit on top of that wall, bathing in the sun instead of only getting a glimpse as it. The morning sun always gave her peace. It was the time that she spent all by herself without any servants watching her every move. She was not allowed close to the king’s quarters nor any or the political quarters. She avoided Cain’s quarters, knowing that he liked to play sick games with humans, luring them in, playing with them like they were figurines in a game that he created. Cain loved playing God, deciding over someone else’s life. It was disgusting. He did it openly too; he was proud of it even. His father was a monster already but what would happen to the countries led by vampires, once he was crowned as king?

    “Chiara” Aiden’s voice appeared behind her and she turned around in surprise, spotting him leaning against the arch of the door that led to the outside, squinting his eyes at the sun.

The princess was not used to someone using her name here. She sometimes forgot that they even knew her name and it only made it worse to hear Aiden say it.

    “Shouldn’t you be asleep?” she mumbled, averting her eyes again, knowing that it was dangerous to be alone with him.

Not because she was afraid that he would hurt her but because she feared that they would do something they would both regret eventually.

    “I couldn’t. I felt restless and I wondered why you always watch the sunrise. I can’t really understand why you like it so much. It’s so––– bright” he chuckled, walking up next to her, having his eyes closed because they were so much more sensitive to the sun than hers.

His face was lit up by the sun, practically glowing because he was so pale. It reminded her of the first time she had seen him. He was so beautiful, a part of her just wanted to give in and be with him, even if it had to be in secret. He was the only person that made living here bearable.

    “Aiden, what are you really doing here?”

    “I’ve missed you. You’ve been avoiding me and I wanted to spend some time with you.”

    “You know why I’m avoiding you” she sighed, walking towards on of the frost covered trees, choosing to be kind and let Aiden stand in the shadow, making it easier for him.

He knew indeed but in that moment, he seemed ignorant of it, suddenly invading her personal space, yet not touching her still. Her body tensed up at the proximity, not used to it, only having dreamed to experience this with him. She was speechless and frozen in place, unable to do anything to stop what was inevitably going to happen. Most of her did not even want to stop them anymore.

    “I know and I keep convincing myself that I mustn’t ever make an advance. But Chiara, there is only so much I can do to withstand your scent” his voice was shaking a little as his eyes locked with hers, red bleeding into his pupils yet she did not feel frightened.

    “You’re a vampire from the royal bloodline. You can bloody well control your thirst” she clicked her tongue, although she suspected the true meaning behind his words already; she felt it too, after all.

    “Don’t be so cold, it doesn’t suit you” he frowned, sadness seeping into his expression and the princess felt bad for being so harsh. “I tried to stay away, I really did. Nevertheless, it was inevitable that I would give in, when my soulmate lives so close to me. My whole existence cannot let go of you.”

She should step away and not let this happen but instead, her gaze softened and her heart was full. When the other leaned in and placed his hand on her cheek gently, she closed her eyes and gave in to the pull between them. It was then, when Aiden kissed her. For a moment, the princess froze, knowing that this could destroy the peace between vampires and witches that was depending on her behaviour alone but she could not help it. She kissed back.

 

    “I can hear his heartbeat! It’s faint and extremely slow but it’s there!”

    “Get Jiminnie closer to him! Put his hands on his chest! He needs to feel it too!”

 

 

The princes never saw him coming. She had been on the way to watch the sunrise. It had become a habit that Aiden would join her, the only safe space for them. She tended to let her guard down once she was almost at the door that let outside and that had been her downfall. Cain had come out of nowhere, gripping her arm, pressing her against the cold stone wall, his other hand wrapping around her throat. Shocked, she stared at him and she knew that she had lost then. His ability enabled him to control someone else’s body, if one locked eyes with him once. She wanted to fight back but her body was paralysed.

    “You dirty whore!” he yelled angrily. “On my way to see my brother, little princess? Going behind my back, doing things with him that you refused me, your fiancée !? How dare you!”

She wanted to reply, wanted to do something but her throat was constricted and it was getting hard to breathe. His eyes were fiery red, his fangs on display dangerously. His fury was seeping into his aura, intimidating her.

    “Did you think I wouldn’t know!? He leaves his scent on you! I can smell the comfort on you, whenever he’s in the same room as you! I am the crown prince! You will marry me! How dare you go to my brother!”

He suddenly got closer, the grip on her throat getting tighter. Nosing at her jawline, he chuckled eerily, making a cold shiver run down her spine. Closing her eyes, she tried to calm herself. She could not show how scared she was. It would only give him even more pleasure. However, she knew he could smell it in her blood, as adrenaline was pumping through her body in an pathetic attempt to give her enough strength that she could fight back.

    “You’re such a hypocrite. Trying to pretend that you’re pure and innocent, thinking yourself higher than me, thinking what I do to mere humans is disgusting but you, you dare break the peace treaty by getting involved with my brother! You’re pathetic!” he growled, tightening the grip even more, making her cough in the need for air.

    “Go–––to hell” she croaked out, knowing that she would not get out of this without whatever punishment he saw fit.

It was getting hard to breathe and her ears started to ring. Focusing on something other than her pulse in her ears was hard. Her heart was pumping desperately against her chest.

    “You’ve rejected my touch once and for the sake of the peace treaty, I waited, since it’s going to be my right to play with you all I want, once we’re married. The situation has changed now” he chuckled wickedly into her ear. “If my brother can have you, so can I. After all, you’re going to belong to me.”

He released her throat and she coughed strongly, inhaling as much air as she could, her body reacting to the oxygen automatically. However, there was not time to recover. He shoved her head to the side, baring her neck to him and he did not hesitate, burying his fangs into her flesh. Wincing, she tried to move but Cain’s grip was too strong and he was draining her greedily, weakening her body faster than she could react. Suddenly, he pulled back, turning her around, hitting her head against the wall and she could barely use her hands to press her chest off the wall. Her body tensed up instinctively, when the vampire worked on her dress, getting his hands under her skirt, cupping her behind harshly. Panic spread like wildfire, when she realised what he was about to do. His hand slipped between her thighs, getting higher, as he pressed his crotch against her. Tears fell without her noticing, her body too weak to even try to fight back.

There was a thud suddenly and she was free, sliding down to the ground, her surroundings blurry. She heard yelling and there was a fight but she had her own fight, trying to stay conscious. She did not know how much time had passed, when a gentle hand caressed her cheek, making her look up in fear but she immediately relaxed, when she looked into Aiden’s eyes. Sobbing, she threw herself into his embrace, for the first time hugging him like her life depended on him, which ultimately, it did.

 

 

There was warmth surrounding him. It was faint but it was there. It settled somewhere inside him, although his body did not exist; he still could not feel it. It was like he was in a dark void, hearing voices of his loved ones, as if someone wanted to torture him. He was confused why he was having these visions. For a brief moment, his consciousness had returned, at least for him, knowing that he had fainted after having returned to the pack. Now, he was in this void, bodiless and confused, his mind already back into that other world that felt so horrifying real. The last thing he heard, until he was plunged into the unknown was Jimin’s voice.

    “Come back to me, Jungkookie.”

 

 

Everything was red. The castle was burning, holes in the walls let all the foreign vampires in. There were sounds of battle everywhere, as the Queen stopped to stare at her husband, her King, in terror.

    “I must go. I cannot let them fight for us without me” he insisted, cupping her face bittersweetly. “and you must save our daughter. She needs you more than me. I cannot teach her anything about her power.”

    “Don’t leave me. I cannot be without you!” she cried but she knew it was his duty to his people.

    “Chiara, my love, my world” he smiled. “I will always love you.”

He kissed her, before he kneeled down to his daughter, who was sobbing, hiding at her mother’s feet, terrified of what was happening around them. He hugged her tightly, holding his composure beautifully, trying to make her feel safe. When he released her, he took her tiny hands and locked eyes with her.

    “Sofia, my sweet child. I love you so much. Mommy will take you somewhere safe. I will join you soon, so don’t be afraid.”

    “I love you too” she sniffled.

He got up and kissed the Queen once more before leaving straight away. Trying not to cry, the Queen watched him leave for battle, not knowing, if he truly came back after this. Nevertheless, the life of their child was the most important. Picking up Sofia, the Queen continued running to the secret tunnel they had installed, once they had been crowned. She had always been paranoid that Cain would take his revenge one day and she had been right. He was here now and their chances looked grim. She was about to head into the dungeons, when she heard her husband’s piercing cry. Her heart stopped for a moment and she turned her head into the direction it came from, terrified that something had already happened to him.

    “Daddy!” Sofia cried, trying to break away from her mother, wanting to see her father.

The Queen’s grip on her was gentle but strong enough to hold her back, despite her own wish to help her soulmate. She first had to save her daughter.

    “Daddy’s alright, I promise, love” she lied, wanting to continue into the dungeons but walked right into a taller man, young and rather thin.

For a brief moment, she was ready to attack but she noticed shortly that it was Carlo, none other than Sofia’s teacher.

    “My Queen” he curtsied shortly, wearing a worried expression.

She did not have to say anything. It was a given that he would join them. He was the most trusted person outside the family, having seen Sofia grow up, proving himself to the Queen time and time again. She would need him eventually, as he was trained to teach all elements.

The Queen intended to leave with them but her feet were not moving. Her head started to spin around ideas that started to form. This was Cain who was taking his revenge on them for stealing the throne from him. In his mind, they deserved to die and he would do anything to achieve that goal. He would not stop here. He would hunt the to the ends of this earth, maybe blackmailing a witch to do dark magic and track his own bloodline within Sofia. He had to be stopped and the Queen could not let Aiden fight him alone. She knew him. No matter how much he loved his daughter, he did not have the heart to kill his own brother. Otherwise, he would have done that years ago, when Cain had tried to rape her.

Determined, she put her daughter back down, quickly looking at Carlo, who understood her immediately, nodding as a sign of acknowledgement. He knew her plan already. Then, she averted her eyes to her daughter, wiping the tears away that were streaming down her small face. The little girl knew too.

    “Darling–––my sweet, wonderful, talented, beautiful Sofia. I can’t leave your Daddy alone in this. I must help him.”

    “Don’t leave me too, Mommy!” she begged, wrapping her tiny arms around her. “I’m scared!”

    “Carlo will be with you at all times, sweetheart. He will bring you to one of the most powerful witches in the world. She’ll keep you safe. I promise” the Queen hugged her just as tightly. “I love you. So so much. You’re the greatest gift life could have ever given me.”

They stayed like that for a while but then, Aiden’s cry made them shake once again.

    “Chiara!” Cain’s voice came from somewhere, filled with fury, so loud Sofia jerked in fear. “Come out, come out wherever you are! I know you’re still here!”

Immediately, she let go of her daughter and Carlo grabbed her hand, lifting her up, casting a sleeping spell because he knew the next words were not for the ears of a six-year-old. The two adults shared a moment of uncertain eye contact. He was waiting for his orders and the Queen knew exactly what he had to do.

    “Go to the wolves. I know, they hate us now but explain to them what is happening. They’re our last hope. Then, you must find Aurora. She is one of the oldest witches alive. She lives on top of Ben Nevis. She must seal away Sofia’s vampire side. It’s the only way to keep Cain from tracking her through her link to his bloodline” she explained hastily. “Treat her well. Be a father to her. Tell her how much we love her.”

    “It’s been an honour to serve you, my Queen” he said meaningfully.

    “Take care of her.”

He nodded once more, curtsied and then, he disappeared into the dungeons, hopefully getting to the wolves in time to beg for their help. Taking a deep breath, she braced herself for the fight to come, ripping off her skirt, knowing that it would only be in the way. Aiden’s cry reached her again, so she ran as fast as she could, fully aware that she was walking into a trap.

His torso was full of burnt cuts, gnawing at his flesh. Aiden was kneeling on the ground, his hands tied to a pole behind him. He had to have been poisoned, otherwise, he would have freed himself long ago. Since the cuts were burnt, they were not healing, which also explained, why he looked so terrifyingly weak. He had difficulties even holding up his head. Frowning, the Queen wanted to run over to him but when they locked eyes, Aiden shook his head.

    “Close your eyes, my love!” he yelled, coughing up blood.

He was right. She needed her strength and she could not let Cain take control over her body. She had defeated him like that once before. She could do it again. Aiden cried out again and Cain’s diabolic laughter followed right after. It was so incredibly hard not to open her eyes but she had to stop herself from doing so, if she wanted to have a chance against him.

    “It’s just wonderful how weak my brother is without his ability” Cain chuckled. “He always thought he was more powerful than me because his was superior to mine, as he doesn’t need eye contact to control someone’s body. That’s why he never bothered becoming physically stronger than me. Too bad that I found a vampire, whose ability nullifies all other abilities. A lethal weapon against him. Don’t you think, little princess? Oh pardon, I meant Queen , of course.”

Aiden’s pained cries got worse but there was no time to help him just yet. There was a presence so close to the Queen, she barely was able to dodge the punch that was thrown at her. She had not fought blindly in a long time, blinded by the peace that they had established and she regretted not training all these years. It was another vampire that was attacking her, so she needed to rip out their heart. Concentrating, she tried to sense his heart but she could not focus with her soulmate screaming in pain. It only took one more cry and she slipped up. The vampire threw her on the ground, her head pouncing against it violently.

    “No!” Aiden screamed desperately and it was then, she opened her eyes, looking at her love of her life, crying, yelling that he was sorry.

In the next moment, she could not move her body anymore, trapped in Cain’s control. It was over. They had lost. If the wolves had decided to help, they would have been here by now but they were alone in their burning castle.

    “You see, love is weakness” Cain was horrifyingly calm. “It makes you want to fight for others and that distracts you from yourself. And that is why you will die, little princess. But first, I will make you watch, as I burn your dear husband alive.”

She was pulled up to her knees, her hands held together at her back. Cain circled his brother like a predator. He was enjoying this. He had always been cruel but this was worse than the Queen thought he could ever be. Holding up a torch, he stepped right next to his own brother, smiling at him and it was cruelly content. Without even a single word, he lit his brother’s clothes, which ultimately burnt and the flames touched his skin.

    “No–––“ the Queen whimpered, shaking her head vigorously. “Please no–––“

    “I love you” Aiden said softly, before his voice morphed into cries of pain and sorrow, the flames burning him alive.

Crying, the Queen watched him, screaming out his name, her heart shattering into pieces. She should look away but she could not do so. He was her love of her life, her light in the darkness of the palace that she once hated. While it was unbelievably painful, she was aware that she was going to join him soon. There was no reason why Cain would ever let her live and just as expected, as soon as Aiden had stopped screaming, he was suddenly at her side.

    “Leave us, she’s mine to kill” he said to the vampire holding her captive.

Within a second, he was gone and her hands were free but Cain still had her under his control. Sighing, she looked him dead in the eye, prepared to leave this earth. She regretted not having seen this coming, to be blinded by her happiness that she had with her family, with the peace that they had restored. She wished she had had more time with Sofia, to see her grow up, to see her master her element, to fall in love, to find someone she wanted to share her life with.

Cain smiled at her wickedly, as his fingers wrapped around her throat. It brought her back to that day everything had changed, where he had tried to strangle her too. It hurt but it was necessary to see her love again. If she died, Cain would not be able to track Sofia through her and her vampire side would be sealed away, protecting her. Once she was strong enough, Carlo would make sure that she knew how to defeat him. It was only a matter of time, until balance would be restored.

    “You’ll never win” she croaked out. “You will die at the hand of our blood combined. I can promise you that. Even if it takes hundreds of years. My bloodline will survive and you will suffer the same death you put your brother through. Eventually, you will burn.”

    “Die! Die already!” he yelled at her tightening his grip.

Slowly, her body started shaking, in desperate need of air but she did not fight it. It hurt but she did not want to give Cain the satisfaction of seeing her suffer too. Darkness surrounded her soon and she accepted it, plunged into it willingly, knowing that the love of her life was waiting for her on the other side.

 

 

    “I’m right here, Jungkookie. I’m not going anywhere. I’m waiting for you to come back to me” Jimin’s voice was broken, almost desperate. “I can feel your heartbeat. I know you’re there. You just need to find your way back to me.”

Jungkook could feel him. He was somewhere close. His warmth was inside him, somewhere he could not pint point just yet. He wanted to grasp it, reach out to him so desperately but he was numb, could not feel his body. Once more, he felt the darkness take over but this time it was different. It was his own memory; one that had been buried for so long. His brother, Yugyeol, lying in his arms, unmoving and with his eyes open. His body covered in his own blood and the surroundings burnt with blue flames still flickering in the background.

It was that memory that brought him back to his body, made him open his eyes in terror.

Chapter Text

Everything was different. His heart was pounding in his chest, pumping adrenaline through his body. The world was too bright and too sharp, the light in the ceiling blinding him. There were people standing around him but it was too bright to see their faces. Jungkook was about to panic, when scents hit him; they were familiar to him but strange to smell them in this context. It was his team, his closest friends – the people he trusted the most – but he was too far away from them to be able to pick up their personal scents, so how was it possible that all of them were so present in his nose? Trying to focus, he blinked a few times but all he saw was Yugyeol’s dead body in front of him. Panicking, Jungkook shook his head, not wanting to see it. He had forgotten about it for so long but now it was so awfully clear in his mind, it was almost taunting. He did not notice the tears running down his cheeks. It was like he was still trapped in his mind, even though he was awake. He had not had a panic attack in so long, he had forgotten what it felt like. Desperately, he hit his head in an attempt to forgot but the frozen smile on Yugyeol’s face was staring back at him, his eyes empty, tears still running down his face.

            “Jungkookie” Jimin’s voice broke through his panic attack. “Calm down. I’m here. You’re okay. Whatever you’re seeing, it’s not real.”

Trying to focus on Jimin’s voice, the fire witch grabbed through his hallucination, needing physical contact and thankfully, the wolf understood, entwining their hands, squeezing Jungkook’s tightly. Slowly, the maknae regained his vision, his eyes narrowing in on his mate. He looked different. Sharper, more defined. Clearer. Confused, Jungkook squinted his eyes and looked around, noticing his team standing around the sofa he was lying on. It was then, when he remembered everything from the moment he had fainted in the woods.

The pain. The visions. The Queen. Her daughter. Cain.

            “I have to kill him” he mumbled, still shocked at what he had seen.

He knew what it meant. He knew what he was now – who he was.

            “How are you feeling?” Jin asked cautiously soft. “May I check up on you? “

            “I have to kill him” Jungkook repeated.

It was his duty. It was in his blood. He had always wanted to be the one to slice Cain’s throat but now, he knew it had to be him. It was the Queen’s wish. It was his purpose. Maybe that had been the reason why he had been drawn to this dimension at such a young age. He had never been human.

           “Jungkookie, you’re not yourself” Jin frowned, gently touching his wrist, checking his pulse but the maknae pulled away his hand immediately, still highly sensitive; a gentle touch felt like someone was punching him.

Except Jimin’s touch, of course.

Jin was thrown back because Jungkook had used so much force, hitting his head on the coffee table, groaning in pain. Everyone stared at him with widened eyes, shocked at the pure power that the younger had. Confused, the maknae looked at him apologetically, not having expected to have so much strength without enhancing it with his element.

            “I–––I’m sorry” he said tentatively. “I–––I’m not used to–––this kind of strength.”

            “So you––– you know?” Taehyung wondered.

            “Everything’s different” Jungkook nodded. “It’s weird. My head hurts. My throat aches.” 

            “But you’re still here” Jimin sighed in relief, putting his head into his lap, his body shuddering a little.

Despite everything being too much, despite everything having changed, Jimin was still his rock, his safe place. His touch was soothing, his scent calming. It was strange because Jungkook had thought that vampires hated the smell of wolves. Maybe he was an exception because they were mates. He still felt Jimin somewhere within his mind. It was faint, overshadowed by all the new things but it was there, a steady reminder that the bond was still intact.

Everyone was quiet for a moment, once they realized that Jungkook was extremely overwhelmed by everything. Taking slow, deep breaths, the maknae took everything in. Every little difference in each of their scents, every detail on their faces his human eyes had not been able to catch. One of the most beautiful details that he noticed were the little dark spots in Jimin’s amber eyes. They were tiny, almost non-existent but they gave his eyes even more depth as the amber flowed softly. He could hear Jimin’s heartbeat, when he concentrated, the steadiness calming him down even more. All those visions and memories were still on his mind but he tried not to think about them too much. At least the last one, as he could not bear seeing his brother so clearly in front of him, as if he had died just yesterday.

           “Jungkookie, can I check up on your body now? I’ll be gentle, I promise. I know everything must be extremely confusing but we all just want to know, if you’re really alright” Jin approached him after a while, waiting for the younger to agree.

Nodding, Jungkook gulped, wanting the ache in his throat to go away. It was not a hunger. There was no desire for anyone’s blood, as he should not have it because he was half one, which did not have the urge for blood. Still, his throat was extremely dry and he needed something to drink.

           “I will check your pulse and then your eyes and teeth. I’ll also check how sensitive your nerves are. Is that okay?”

Again, Jungkook nodded. Jimin wanted to move away to give Jin the space he needed but the maknae held onto his hand, determined not to let go. He did not trust himself for now, not knowing what he would react to, how much more sensitive he was, if something would trigger him. Jungkook knew that Jimin was his anchor to his sanity, needing him close to not lose it. Jin understood, not insisting of Jimin getting up, as he settled on the cough, gently checking the maknae’s pulse.

           “Look at me please. Open your eyes wide” Jin instructed and Jungkook did as told, locking eyes with him.

At that moment, the healer snapped his fingers in front of him and before the fire witch understood what was going on, he was on top of Jin somewhere on the ground, having him trapped underneath him, hissing at him, baring his teeth. Once he realised, Jungkook got off him immediately, blinking in confusion. He closed his mouth, noticing something pointy, so he touched his teeth and his upper canines were elongated. He really had fangs. His eyed had to be red too. He really was part vampire now. It was surreal.

            “Exceptionally good reflexes for a half one. His instincts told him to bare his teeth too. That’s quite unusual, especially since he didn’t grow up with his vampire identity, which means he acted fully on instincts. That’s odd, since there shouldn’t be instincts to begin with. Half ones only imitate instincts to feel comfortable with their identity but biologically they don’t have them” Jin explained, tilting his head at the younger.

             “He belongs to the oldest and most powerful vampire bloodline. Maybe that’s the reason he has instincts” Yoongi wondered.

           “How–––how are you all so––okay with this? How are you not–––shocked? How do you even know that I’m related to the Queen and King without me confirming it?” Jungkook questioned helplessly. “I mean, I know because I saw them. I saw her life, how cruel Cain was. How he killed his own brother in cold blood. It was like I was there but––– how do you know?”

His gaze wandered from one to the other and eventually, it settled on his partner. The half breed sighed and that was when Jungkook knew that somehow, Namjoon must have known.

            “The Headmaster and I had our suspicions about your heritage. We were never truly sure of course. Only now, we have confirmation.”

            “We have to return to notify the Headmaster. This is a big thing” Yoongi said.

            “Technically, he can track you now, since you have the same blood” Jin nodded with a deep frown. “Jun can easily pick up the faintest blood relation between you two.”

            “We’re endangering the pack too by staying here longer” Hoseok nodded.

            “Are you even ready to travel yet?” Jimin asked Jungkook directly.

If he was completely honest, he was not so sure. His body was hypersensitive and the dryness in his throat was still very present. He did not know, whether he could feel comfortable at the academy with so many witches around him. Most of them surely would not notice the change, as long as he could control himself but he did not know whether he would suddenly lose it. Even with Jimin around, he had just snapped and attacked Jin, only because the snapping of his fingers so close to his face had felt threatening. At least, he had his mind under control now, the memories still there but not over-powering anymore.

            “I–––I’ll be okay. Just––can I have a moment to like––adjust? My head hurts. I need some fresh air” Jungkook sighed, shaking his head a little.

He felt like he just needed to breathe, to take everything in. He did not even know how long he had been passed out and he wanted to know but it was all too much at once.  

            “Of course” Namjoon nodded. “How about we leave tonight? It’ll be around noon in England.”

            “It’ll give us time to explain everything to the pack too” Yoongi agreed. “We can’t just leave them in the dark. They’re loyal to their alpha and he said that they won’t ever tell anyone about our stay here at all.”

As soon as they had agreed on a time, Jungkook got up and left the cabin, now realising that he really needed air. He did not know why but he suddenly felt the need to run. At the back of his head, he heard Jimin call after him, that he should wait for him but the maknae’s feet were moving on their own, carrying out of the pack grounds with so much speed it was overwhelming but at the same time, it felt like he was always supposed to be this fast. It almost felt natural –freeing –in a way. The wind in his ears was deafening, which was a welcomed change to the constant noise that he now heard. He stopped in his tracks, when he realised that he was already rather far away from the pack grounds, only surrounded by snow. He could hear the soft rushing of a river close by, the wind that was howling gently. Everything was so clear now, it was hard to concentrate on just one thing. It was easier here because there was less noise but he still could not focus properly. Naturally, he wondered how Namjoon did it. Not only did he have vampire hearing but he could also hear people’s thoughts. How was his head not exploding?

At that moment, Jungkook wondered, if this change had affected his element. Taking a deep breath, he closed his eyes trying to find his fire. All this time, he had not concentrated on it, as focusing was hard but once he took away one of his senses, it was much easier. He found the ever-burning flame within himself easily, feeling himself heat up comfortably, having felt numb up until now. Sighing, Jungkook allowed himself to enjoy this moment of content, feeling at peace, smiling to himself. It was nice to reconnect with his fire. It felt like home and it let him focus on just one thing and the headache disappeared, as he kept concentrating on the warmth within him.

            “Jungkookie” Jimin’s voice appeared, out of breath and full of concern. “You have to stop, Jungkookie. Open your eyes.”

Not really wanting to leave the peace of his mind, he did so anyways and opened his eyes. They widened, once he realised what he was doing. There was no snow around him, the grass beneath his feet having burnt down long ago, a black patch being left behind. The circle around him was not big but still, he was surrounded by fire and he had not even noticed. It had come out by itself; he did not intent to create actual fire. He had just wanted to reconnect with it. Immediately, he was reminded of his brother’s death that he could now remember, as fire had surrounded them as well. Shocked, he tried to put out the fire but it did nothing. He was still standing within fire and he did not know how to turn it off. Panicking, he stumbled backwards, landing in the snow behind him, which melted, as soon as it came in contact with him. Swiftly, Jimin was at his side, cupping his face, forcing the younger to lock eyes with him.

            “I can’t turn it off” Jungkook confessed. “I tried, I did but it just––– I can’t–––I don’t know how, I –––“

            “It’s okay, take a deep breath” the wolf said calmly, his eyes almost hypnotising. “See? It’s still your fire. It doesn’t hurt me. You’re okay. Just relax.”

Taking a deep breath, the younger focused on the dark spots in Jimin’s eyes and as he let out that breath, the fire around him subsided slowly, until there was nothing left besides the two of them sitting on a burnt patch of grass.

            “That’s it. You’re doing so well, Jungkookie” Jimin praised him, placing a soft kiss on his lips, connecting their foreheads.

Jimin was comfort; Jimin was his home. The maknae was so relieved that, despite everything having changed, this stayed the same. Sighing, Jungkook leaned into his touch, resting his head on his shoulder, staying like that for a while, until he felt ready to talk. It was nice to just sit in silence like this but eventually, he knew Jimin had questions and the maknae did not want to keep him in the dark.

            “How do you filter everything?” Jungkook broke the silence eventually. “All the noise. All the scents. Your strength. How do you––– cope with all of it? I can’t control anything”

They ended up lying on the ground, which was still strangely warm from Jungkook’s fire. Maybe it was just his body temperature; Jungkook could not tell. Jimin was carding his fingers through his hair, as his other hand caressed his back carefully, soothing his overly sensitive body.

            “I’ve had my whole life to control it” Jimin said eventually. “It’s completely understandable that everything is too much at the moment. But you’re doing great, okay? You respond, when you’re called. You’re not going rogue. That’s already amazing.”

            “That’s not really cheering me up, you know” Jungkook snorted sarcastically.

            “No, I mean it. Jin-hyung stopped me and talked to me, before I started catching up to you. He said since you do have instincts and apparently, your senses are as heightened as a freshly turned vampire, it’s the same experience for you. So you not going rogue is actually really surprising.”

            “Do I smell weird to you now?” Jungkook suddenly realised that wolves hated the smell of vampires, worrying that Jimin would have to feel uncomfortable whenever they were close now.

            “No” the wolf shook his head, chuckling. “Strangely, I find it enticing. You do smell different but it’s a good scent and I still smell a constant part of myself on you, which I think is the reason why the vampire odour doesn’t bother me. Do I smell weird to you? Vampires don’t really enjoy our scent either.”

            “You smell nice” Jungkook hummed, looking up to smile at the wolf bashfully. “I mean––– you always did but I’m just so much more aware of it now. You smell like home. I can’t really describe it.”

            “I know what you mean” Jimin smiled, leaning in to connect their lips in a soft kiss.

It was the first proper kiss they shared after Jungkook had woken up and it was so soothing, Jungkook almost whined. Focusing was hard still but with Jimin around him, it was easy to concentrate solely on him. The kiss was gentle and kind; Jimin was so careful with him, mindful of his oversensitive body, one of his hands caressing his back still, while the other played with the hairs on his neck. Feeling something spark inside of him, the fire witch suddenly wanted more, deepening the kiss, opening his mouth to let the elder’s tongue in. Jimin complied, sighing, as he explored Jungkook’s mouth, his hand on his back gently pressing the younger closer. The younger melted into the touch, keening and he did not even notice, how he straddled Jimin, letting his hands wander over his body greedily. It turned steamy quickly and for the first time, the wolf struggled keeping up, not used to Jungkook setting such a fast pace. Too soon, the elder pulled back, having to push the younger away by force and the witch whined instinctively, surprising both of them.

            “As much as I would love to continue this, I don’t know how well you are at holding back your new instincts” Jimin panted.

            “What do you mean?”

            “Jungkookie, your fangs are showing and while I don’t mind that – actually, it’s strangely hot – Jin-hyung said it’s too dangerous for now, since we don’t know, if you have venom or not and we don’t want you accidentally biting me” the elder explained, caressing Jungkook’s cheek to convey that he was not rejecting him.

Surprised, Jungkook touched his teeth and noticed that his canines were elongated and sharp, almost pricking his own skin. It was strange to feel fangs in his own mouth, only ever having seen them on others. It brought back the realisation that he was indeed a half one now.

            “I–––I didn’t notice––“ he mumbled, closing his mouth; his eyes had to be red too.

He suddenly wanted to see what he looked like. He never disliked Namjoon’s looks, when he had his fangs out but he always frowned at the uncontrolled, vicious look of the vampires that he had killed. It was a relief to know that it did not bother Jimin but it was still hard to picture himself with red eyes and fangs.

            “It’s okay” Jimin reassured him. “It’s all new for you. You’ve been unconscious for almost two days and awake as your new self for maybe two hours now. It’s only natural that you can’t control it yet.”

            “Two days!?” Jungkook widened his eyes in disbelief.

He had no idea how long he had been stuck in those visions – or memories. He still did not know how to deal with those. They had felt so incredibly real. Some of them had been beautiful and he had genuinely felt the love between the King and the Queen. However, the negative emotions stuck to him more, having a clear picture of what Cain looked like now. Knowing that he had been an awful person from the very beginning made it even easier to hate him, to want to kill him. Jungkook knew it was his duty to do so but he also wanted to end the cycle of violence. If he could kill his own brother in such a painful way, he could kill others just as easily.

As Jungkook sunk back into those memories, he remembered the rare moments his consciousness was not drowning. He had heard his team talking about him but also about Jimin. He only remembered then that wolves die, when their mates die. The wolf must have gone through a lot, while he had been stuck in his mind.

            “I’m sorry it took so long” he mumbled, fisting his t-shirt right where his heart was. “I sometimes heard you guys around me. I wasn’t unconscious all the time. Or at least not completely. It must have been hard for you–––seeing me like that. Did––did my heart really stop?”

Jimin sat up, wrapping his arms around the younger, who was still straddling him, and burying his face in his chest, breathing in calmly. The fire witch hugged him back, playing with the wolf’s tousled hair. He could hear his heartbeat; it was slow and steady and at that moment, he needed nothing more than to know that Jimin was still there. The simple thought of Jimin dying because of him gave him anxiety, which was why he was clinging to him, breathing in his scent, appreciating it much more now.

            “Yes, your heart stopped at one point. I don’t know for how long because I passed out after half an hour of you just–––lying there but I woke up to your heart beating strongly and that’s all that matters. Okay? Don’t worry about it” Jimin mumbled into his chest. “We’re both still alive and together. It doesn’t matter what happened while you were unconscious.”

Huffing, Jungkook pulled back a little, wanting to see Jimin’s face, cupping his face, watching the colour in his eyes move prettily. He leaned down naturally, placing a soft kiss on his plump lips.

            “I’m scared” Jungkook confessed. “I’m scared he’s gonna hurt you. Use you against me.”

            “Who?”

            “Cain” he clarified. “I saw him. I know what he looks like, what he did. If he finds out about you, he’ll try to kill you and make me watch, I–––“

            “Hey, hey, it’s okay, he won’t get to me, Jungkookie” Jimin calmed him down, kissing him again to distract him. “What do you mean, you saw him?”

            “While I was unconscious, I had these–––visions, or more like––memories. They were so real, I could feel their emotions. I saw how the Queen met the King and Cain for the first time, how she was forced to move in with them, how she and the King fell in love. Cain hated it. He almost raped the Queen. I saw how happy they were, when they had their child and I also saw how Cain took his revenge and killed them. He tortured his brother to lure the Queen out, burnt him alive and made her watch, then strangled her. He’s ruthless, Jiminnie-hyung. He doesn’t care about anyone but himself. Never has.”

Jimin wanted to reply but Jungkook was not done, getting up, needing to move to release his anger that was growing inside him.

            “It’s me who has to kill him. It was the Queen’s wish that he has to die by the hand of her blood. It’s my duty. Not just because of her but also because I need to protect you. Eventually, he will find me and I can’t allow him to lay a finger on you or anyone else of Special Force. He needs to die” he did not notice that he was grinding his teeth.

            “Jungkookie, you have to calm down, you’re getting angry” Jimin said cautiously but Jungkook just glared at the sky.

He was suddenly so restless, seeing the King burn in front of his eyes again. He just could not understand how Cain could be so terrible thing to his own brother.

            “I’m not angry, I’m furious!” Jungkook yelled suddenly and it was only then, when he realised that there was fire around him.

Once more, he had not noticed that his emotions had morphed into fire and had been let out without him wanting it too. Shocked, he looked around, trying to calm himself but that restless anger clung to him like tar, not letting him go. He did not know how to turn off his own fire and it was making him sick. His control had been so good for such a long time but now, he was back to square one, having to figure out how it worked all by himself once again.

            “Breathe in slowly, breathe out twice as long” Jimin was suddenly next to him, his hand finding Jungkook’s. “Think of one of your favourite moments. Tell me about it.”

A little confused, Jungkook had to think for a second, as he was taken aback by such a normal question. However, it was easy to find one particular moment.

            “The first time I petted your wolf form” Jungkook said quietly. “I remember I was so scared but you made me feel safe and comfortable around you, before you changed. And then, when I touched your fur for the first time, it was just so soft, I––– I was quite shocked. I had this idea in my head that wolves were evil creatures but you showed me how soft and kind and loving you truly are. That memory is so clear in my mind. But why do you suddenly want to know?”

            “Because it helped you to calm down” the wolf smiled.

Turning around, Jungkook realised that his fire had stopped completely. He did not feel angry any longer either. Thanks to a simple question, his attention was turned to something else and he was able to calm down. Once more, Jimin helped him through one of his emotional episodes.

            “Thank you” the younger sighed, wrapping his arms around the wolf, needing to hold him close, feeling a little overwhelmed again. “Everything is just so–––intense.”

            “Of course, it is. You’ve always been impulsive because of your element. Now everything is even more amplified. But I know you. You’ll get the hang of it soon enough” the elder hugged him back, burying his nose in the crook of Jungkook’s neck.

For a while, they stayed like that, just standing in the middle of a burnt patch of grass, somewhere in the woods, simply enjoying each other’s presence. It took Jungkook a moment to realise that he did not feel the cold at all anymore. Before, he would slowly start to feel it, if he was out in the snow for too long without a proper jacket but now, he felt fine, even though he was only wearing a t-shirt.

            “We should head back. It’s gonna get dark soon and we wanted go back to the academy today. Are you sure you’ll be alright travelling?”

            “I have to” Jungkook shrugged. “We have to leave. I can’t endanger the whole pack. Just like Jin-hyung said. I’m trackable now. He needs to cloak me, which ultimately means imprison me at the academy, until we’ve found a way to get to Cain. I hate it to be confined to one place but it’s the only way he can’t find me. Maybe, he’s already found me, who knows. All I know is that I have to protect you.”

            “Isn’t that my job? Protecting you?” Jimin tried to lift the atmosphere a little.

            “Let’s agree on protecting each other” Jungkook cringed.

Ultimately, that was what they were going to do. Jungkook was powerful but without Jimin as his anchor, he would eventually go insane with all those memories in his head. He needed him and his team to be himself and that was why he wanted to protect all of them at all costs. If he had to stay put at the academy, until they came up with a plan, he would do it.

            “Let’s go home, then. Shall we?” Jimin proposed and Jungkook nodded, as he started to walk back to the pack.

Once they got there, the rest of Special Force had already packed everything up and was waiting for them. Apparently, Namjoon had talked to the alpha in the meantime, explaining everything to him and why they had to go immediately. The rest of Jimin’s and Hoseok’s sub-pack was standing outside of the cabins as well, wanting to send them off and say goodbye. They were all very understanding and did not stare at Jungkook, which made it easier for him to keep his emotions in check. There were still so many questions but for now, the younger concentrated on himself, trying to act as normal as possible. Finally, everyone had said goodbye to Jimin and Hoseok, they started walking towards the portal and Jungkook sighed in relief, when he could finally see it.

He was aware that the hard part was still to come. Being back at the academy would be much worse. People loved to stare there, especially once they found out whose descendant he was. Some assholes would try to provoke him to get a reaction from him; at least, if they were daring enough. He would have to explain himself to the Headmaster and his advisors and Jin would have to not only cloak him but also do a proper check up to know how much he had inherited from his lost vampire bloodline.

Then, there was the Cain issue. There was no way of knowing whether he already knew that Jungkook was still alive or if he was still in the dark. He needed to be cloaked as fast as possible to minimise the chance of being found. Then, they would have to come up with a plan to find him and infiltrate his hideout to then kill him. Meanwhile, Jungkook had to get used to his new powers and learn how to control them, in order to not be a nuisance, once they find Cain and to be able to kill him himself.

The fire witch was so lost in his thoughts that he did not notice that they had already arrived at the portal. His team was looking at him expectantly, as if he was supposed to say something. However, it was Namjoon who broke the silence.

            “Jungkookie, sure you’re ready to face whatever is next? If you want, I’m sure Jinnie could cloak you here and you could stay here for a while.”

            “No, I’m okay. It’s best, if I’m at the academy. I can at least try and help find clues about Cain’s whereabouts while trying to figure out how to control all of this new strength. As long as––––as long as I know you are all safe, I’ll be fine” Jungkook confessed, feeling his cheeks blush.

The next second, all of them were wrapping their arms around him, hugging him tightly, cooing at him. He felt even more embarrassed but he had to say it, needing to voice out his feelings rather than letting them out with his fire. After a moment, they pulled back and Namjoon was the first one to enter the portal. Everyone else followed, until it was only Jimin and him left.

            “You go first. I’ll be right behind you” Jimin encouraged him, having picked up how nervous Jungkook felt about entering the portal.

Going through a portal was always very physically challenging. It had always felt good before but now, Jungkook did not know whether it would still feel the same. Nevertheless, he had to go through so he took a deep breath and entered the bright void, until he felt his feet settle on academy grounds again.

 

Chapter Text

His senses were all over the place. There were so many scents invading his nostrils, so many eyes staring at him, as they walked through the corridors. Rationally, he knew they did not know about his change yet; they were just staring because Special Force had returned from Jimin’s and Hoseok’s pack. They were curious but Jungkook really just could not handle that. It felt like their gazes were stripping him naked, showing the turmoil inside his mind and body to everyone. His team was shielding him, keeping him between them while walking and without Jimin holding his hand all the way through, Jungkook would have already attacked at least one person that looked at him the wrong way.

They had picked an unfortunate moment to return because it turned out that the Headmaster was currently in a meeting with his advisors in the Great Hall. The guards just would not let them go through, not even after Namjoon tried to explain to them that it was urgent. After all, they were not really a fan of Jungkook. Nervously, Jungkook nibbled on his bottom lip, trying to think about something else than the blood rushing through those guards’ veins because they were so annoyed. It was strange to actually hear blood pumping through someone and that it was – enticing. Half ones were not supposed to have a thirst for blood, yet here he was, his eyes fixed on the vein of the guard’s neck. Trying not to breathe in his scent, Jungkook averted his eyes, leaning into Jimin more, hoping to ground himself. However, the scent only got stronger because the guard was getting more annoyed the longer Namjoon tried to explain to him that they had to see the Headmaster.

         “Jungkookie” Jimin suddenly approached him silently, squeezing his hand cautiously. “Should we go to the dorm first? You’re pretty worked up.”

         “I need to leave” he mumbled. “I–––I can’t–––“

         “Okay, never mind, we’ll just wait” Namjoon changed his mind and made the whole group walk towards the dorms quickly.  

For a second, Jungkook was confused but then, he realized that he wasn’t really trying to keep his mind safe from his partner and Namjoon had probably noticed his inner turmoil. It was confirmed, when the half breed put his hand on the maknae’s neck and massaged it a bit as a way to calm him down. Strangely, that did help a little bit.

         “Try to keep your breathing shallow. I’ll give you some, as soon as we’re at the dorm” Namjoon hurried.

It was like all of Special Force understood what he meant and while the witches did not show any kind of reaction towards that comment, Hoseok scrunched up nose in disgust, to which Jimin responded with a warning grumble deep within his chest. Normally, the fire witch would have reacted to that but he was so out of it, he barely even noticed that Jimin had growled at the other wolf. Everything was too loud and too intense, it was hard to concentrate on just one thing in particular. He did not even notice how fast they were walking, how red was bleeding into his eyes and how his fangs elongated, once they were in the dorm. He was sat down on the couch and the rest of Special Force was keeping their distance, while Jimin sat down right next to him, hand caressing Jungkook’s thigh soothingly. His dorm was supposed to look familiar and it did, yet it also looked completely different from before. Jungkook noticed cracks in the wall that he had never seen before; the couch felt harder than the last time he sat on it. There were so many things to see and discover, Jungkook’s head started to hurt again.

However, everything suddenly disappeared, when a new scent invaded the room. Namjoon had stepped out of the living room to grab something from his own room, coming back with a cup containing  crimson fluid in it.

Blood.

His nostrils flared and his throat suddenly felt so dry, he wanted to clear his throat. To know that his body reacted like this was scary but at that moment, he could not think about anything else than that cup of blood, needing it rather than wanting it. Despite his body screaming at him that he should just charge at Namjoon to get what he craved for, Jungkook did not move, waiting until the elder brought the cup to him. At least, he had some self-control.

         “He’s a half one. They don’t have to drink blood, though” Hoseok tilted his head, squinting his eyes in confusion.

That was – in theory – correct. Nevertheless, Jungkook’s throat ached for the blood in that cup and everything seemed to shut off, when he was finally holding it, staring at the crimson fluid that had always looked gross to him but now, it was like it was singing to him, encouraging him to just let himself go and devour the whole cup within seconds. Gulping, the maknae brought the cup to his mouth and once the scent of blood was all he could smell, he could not hold himself back any longer, taking a big sip of the liquid. Groaning in pleasure, Jungkook was fascinated just how good it tasted. He remembered what blood used to taste like, before he had turned: metallic and it made him feel nauseous. Now, however, it tasted sweet, almost like honey with a smooth aftertaste of something he could not describe. Immediately, he took another sip, and another, until he had drunk half the cup. Only then, he sighed, having satiated the odd burn in his throat, feeling at peace with himself. The noises and scents around him filtered back in but because he was so calmed by the blood, it did not bother him as much as before.

         “Better?” Namjoon smiled tentatively; he probably knew this feeling all too well.

         “Much” Jungkook nodded, licking his lips.

         “So a certain kind of thirst is apparent” Jin said to himself. “You really are quite special.”

         “It’s––––weird” Jungkook frowned. “I’m still thirsty but it’s not like I have to drink it.”

         “So unlike a new-born, you can already control your thirst” Yoongi concluded.

Sitting in the middle of his team, Jungkook suddenly felt so watched. Of course, they were all curious about just how much he had changed but it was uncomfortable to be stared at like that. He knew they did not mean any harm but somehow, he felt incredibly offended by it all. Maybe it was his heightened senses that made him so sensitive to others; he just knew that it was all too much now. He was no animal in a zoo to be looked at, even if they were his closest friends.

         “Can you like––– give me some space? I really can’t deal with so many things and people all at once.”

         “Yeah, of course. How about you and Jimin stay here and we’ll leave for a while?” Yoongi offered but Jin stepped forward; that glint in his eyes was back – the curiosity of a nature witch, a doctor.

         “Do you think I can run some more tests? It won’t take too long. I just wanna make sure you’re all healthy” he reasoned.

         “Yeah, fine. Whatever” Jungkook sighed, putting down the half empty cup, thinking it better to put it away from him.

The others left the apartment rather quickly, not wanting to agitate the fire witch even more. Jimin was reluctant to leave but Jin insisted that it might trigger his protective instincts, if he was watching the procedure. At first, the wolf was not convinced by that but Jungkook put on his best face of reassurance, not wanting him to worry. After all, he trusted Jin. Once it was only the two witches, the elder told him to go to what used to be his own room. The nature witch kept a lot of his healing related things in this room now; it served as his own personal study, keeping his experiments about the spells he had been trying to break in this room only, not wanting to risk anyone finding them.

         “So talk to me about your thirst for blood, while I prepare everything I need” Jin asked of him, as he started rummaging in all sorts of drawers. “How does it feel? Do you hear someone else’s blood running through their veins?”

         “I do and I don’t? Like I don’t–––– feel that around you guys. I don’t crave for your blood but when that guard got so annoyed, I was just so drawn to him but in a way like I wanted his blood” Jungkook tried his best to explain how he felt. “It’s just all so overwhelming. The constant noise. All those scents. It’s hard to focus and it gives me a headache.”

         “Control will come with time” Jin nodded, turning around to the younger, who had settled down on the bed. “I’m sure Joonie will help you with that. It’s just so fascinating. I’ve heard of half ones having instincts because of the strong lineage of their blood but you have a lot of vampire features despite being a half one. Does it affect the bond between you and Jiminnie?”

         “It doesn’t” Jungkook shook his head. “If anything, I think it only lets me experience it even more? Without him, I would have destroyed at least something by now.”

         “That’s beautiful and so unique. No one would have thought this possible. I honestly don’t know how you’re still alive. Biologically, it doesn’t make any sense. I suppose it has something to do with the way your vampire side has been sealed.”

         “It was an old witch, I think” Jungkook frowned, trying to remember what the Queen had said in his visions. “If anyone knows about that, it’s the Headmaster. It’s him who brought the Princess to that witch after all.”

         “How do you know all that?”

         “I told you that I saw the Queen’s life, when I was unconscious. I had visions––– or rather memories that showed me the reason for my purpose. I must kill Cain. It has to be me.”

Humming at that, Jin concentrated on the weird device that he was building. He was moulding some sort of gum paste or something that looked like that into an oval shaped ball. It had the colour of flesh and Jungkook really wondered why Jin even had material like that just laying around but he did not question him. He just wanted all of this to be over.

         “So, I think the most immediate fact that we need to clear is whether or not you have venom or not. For your own safety as well as Jiminnie’s or any other witch’s safety around you, since you do still struggle with controlling yourself” the nature witch explained. “I need you to bite into this. It’ll save any venom that you may or may not emit. I can analyse that pretty quickly. It’ll only take me maybe 10 minutes. Anything else about your strength and powers specifically, we can do later. You mainly have to figure that part out by yourself, I’m afraid.”

         “So I just have to bite into this thing and then we’re good here?” Jungkook clarified, finding this very mundane; he had imagined a much more complicated procedure.

         “Yeah. Just show your fangs, bite into this and then you’re off” Jin nodded with an encouraging smile.

Only then, Jungkook realised that he had no idea to make his fangs elongate on purpose. It was like there was this new part of himself that was there but he was so disconnected, he did not know how reach it.  Completely baffled, Jungkook just stared at the strange looking ball that Jin was holding in his hands, wearing latex gloves to keep it all perfectly sterile.

         “I–––I don’t know how to–––vamp out, you know?” Jungkook cringed a little.

         “Oh, well, just think of Jiminnie going down on you. That should do the trick” Jin shrugged, watching him in anticipation.

Blinking a little shocked, Jungkook’s mind reacted without his consent and images of the wolf started appearing before his eyes. Simply thinking about him naked made blood rush to his cheeks in embarrassment. Somehow, he could clearly recreate the wolf’s body in his mind; it was so real, Jungkook suddenly felt the need to touch, to kiss – to devour – even though he knew that the wolf was not in the room.

         “There we go” Jin chuckled, gently touching Jungkook’s chin. “Please bite down on it, so that all the entire fang is buried in the material.”

Feeling flustered, Jungkook shook his head a little, trying to stop thinking about his mate but somehow, he could not get him out of his head anymore. Doing as he was told, he then zeroed in on the odd ball that Jin was holding up in front of his mouth. Jungkook opened his mouth and slowly positioned his fangs. As soon as he had placed himself properly, a sudden need to bite down surged through him and he closed his jaw strongly on instinct, as if it was the most natural thing to bite into some sort of skin prothesis.

         “That’s enough, thank you, Jungkookie, you can let go now” Jin’s voice shocked him so much that he jerked away, as if he had been pushed into ice cold water.

Licking his lips for some reason, the fire witch took a few deep breaths to calm down, to comprehend what just happened. Instincts really were something odd. He had always been impulsive but that was a different feeling that needing to do something because his body told him to do so and in the moment, it felt like the right thing to do.

Absentmindedly, he watched Jin work. He first extracted whatever fluid was in that weird ball of mass and then put part of it in a test tube and a few drops on that glass thingy that was put under a microscope – Jungkook was never good remembering the proper terms for those things. After a moment of staring through the microscope, Jin took some other concoction and sucked up some drops with a pipette, pouring it into the test tube with the fluid that had been extracted from Jungkook’s fangs. After pivoting the test tube, nothing had happened but the nature witch still nodded to himself, as he set it back down.

         “No venom, as expected” Jin announced.

Sighing, Jungkook somehow felt relieved. He was glad that he did not inherit that trait as well. It would only complicate everything even more. It made him feel a little bit more at ease. All he wanted was to relax now. He missed Jimin’s presence next to him, craving for his aura calming him down, making him focus. However, when the door to the apartment opened, it was not the wolf but Namjoon, who entered.

         “The Headmaster is ready to see you now. He’s waiting for you at the memorial. There’s fewer people and you can take the route over the lawn instead of the corridors” he told him and despite the maknae slowly having enough of people for the day, he knew that he had to first talk to the Headmaster.

Getting up, Jungkook first went to his and Jimin’s room, grabbing one of the elder’s sweaters and put it on and just as he had hoped, it smelled like the wolf. It always did but now, Jungkook could smell the wolf within the fabric so clearly, it was almost like he was next to him. With the comfort of Jimin’s scent around him, he jogged down the vast lawn of the academy towards the memorial of the King and Queen. It was situated in the exact centre of the academy, facing the Great Hall. The headmaster was already standing there, looking up at the face of the Queen, smiling fondly. Once Jungkook had arrived, he bowed deeply, waiting for his orders to raise his head.

         “Rise, Jungkook” the Headmaster permitted him to stand up straight again.

There was a moment of silence between them; Jungkook did not know what to say or how to approach the Headmaster. He technically was not allowed to start the conversation anyways but the silence was so uncomfortable, Jungkook was shifting his weight from one foot to another.

         “You’ve always had her eyes. When I first saw you, you reminded me of her. Not because of your element but because of your beautiful doe eyes” the Headmaster hummed after a while.

Turning his head back to the memorial, the Headmaster suddenly looked young to Jungkook. His exterior had not changed but his eyes were the same as in Jungkook’s visions: full of devotion towards the Queen.

         “I apologise to approach you without having been asked a question––“ Jungkook started but the Headmaster looked at him and shook his head.

         “Speak freely, my child. My sweet, sweet child” he sighed.

         “Why didn’t you tell me? I’m sure your advisors must have guessed as well.”

         “Yes, they did indeed. However, I didn’t want you to grow up with the pressure of maybe being the true heir of this dimension. You had just lost the person closest to you and you were still so young, barely even understanding our language. How could I have burdened you with such a weight?”

Furrowing his brows, Jungkook was painfully reminded of Yugyeol’s death. He now remembered everything too, how he had lost control back then. Now, he was in the same situation again. He did not know how to use his powers anymore. Everything was just too much all at once.

         “Why not later?” Jungkook insisted.

         “I couldn’t be sure of your heritage and I didn’t want anyone pressuring you to find a woman, so that the lineage would continue. They insist on you having children regardless because of your element but if they had known that you were the heir, our King, they would have never let you be with Jimin because, quite frankly, they don’t understand the bond that’s created between a wolf and its mate. No one remembers anymore that we used to be allies” the Headmaster elaborated. “I wasn’t sure if the spell of that old wench was even reversable. She’s only ever mentioned a type of magic that cannot be produced by a witch could break the spell. It appears, she was right all along. The claiming mark suits you. You are completely yourself now. Body and soul.”

He was talking more to himself than to Jungkook, obviously, as he was not aware that Jungkook had seen what his orders had been all those years ago.

        “I saw her” he revealed. “While I was unconscious, I had these visions. They were so vivid.”

         “Her daughter had them too” the Headmaster nodded. “She used to tell me about them. I gather you’ve seen her promise to Cain, then.”

         “It’s me who has to kill him” Jungkook confirmed.

         “I believe she cursed him unknowingly. That is why you were able to see her life. However, do not mistake her words to be meant for you explicitly. You mustn’t dedicate your life to finding and killing him.”

         “Who else will do it, though? I’m the only known fire witch alive. Maybe the last. I won’t have kids, that’s for sure and who knows if any other of her descendants will appear any time soon. It has to be me” the fire witch says with determination.

         “Let us help. Don’t put all the weight on your shoulders. Don’t repeat the mistake you did, when you saved Namjoon.”

        “I won’t, I promise. I don’t think I’d be comfortable to go into battle without Jimin anymore” Jungkook confessed, smiling a little.

         “Your connection is something special and sacred. I give you my word that you will not be forced to conceive children” the Headmaster promised. “With time, you will gain control of your new powers and you will become even stronger than before.”

They stood there for a little while longer, until Jungkook was dismissed. As soon as he was walking towards the dorms again, the fire witch noticed just how exhausted he was. While his throat had stopped aching after having had blood for the first time, he still had a headache and the closer he got to the dorms, the worse it got. However, he somehow knew that Jimin was waiting for him and that was reason enough to head to the dorms after all. When he arrived at their apartment, the others had returned and were minding their own business. Part of Jungkook knew that they did not ask him how it went on purpose, knowing that he was extremely sensitive right now.

For the first time, Jungkook smelled him before seeing him. As soon as he had entered the apartment, it was as if there was a trace of Jimin that led into their room, luring the younger in. Entering their room quietly, Jimin was curled up on their bed, having his eyes closed and if Jungkook did not hear his heart jump a bit, once the fire witch had entered the room, he would have thought the wolf was sleeping.

         “Come here” Jimin slurred, his mouth pressed against the pillow, lifting one arm that suggested Jungkook should join him on the bed.

Sighing, Jungkook lied down next to him, nuzzling into the elder’s neck, feeling his body relax against him immediately. The tension in his body resolved and all the noise filtered out of his head, only letting him concentrate on Jimin’s breathing, Jimin’s heartbeat, Jimin’s blood flowing in his veins – Jimin’s everything.

         “You’re wearing my sweater” Jimin pointed out, after he had snuck his hands underneath it.

         “It calms me down to smell you” Jungkook shrugged. “Makes me focus.”

         “That’s adorable” the wolf giggled, nestling against the younger affectionately. “Another thing we have in common now. I always feel at peace, when I’m with you.”

Grumbling in protest of being called adorable, Jungkook just hid his face in Jimin’s neck, realising that there was this itch at the back of his mind, as his nose was pressed against the wolf’s neck vein. It was different from the need to feed, when he had smelled the blood that was offered to him. This feeling was more of the possessive nature. He suddenly felt like he needed to bury his fangs in Jimin’s neck. Irritated, Jungkook pulled back, blinking at the elder in shock.

         “What’s wrong?” Jimin asked, picking up on Jungkook’s slight panic. “Your eyes are red, Jungkookie.”

         “I–––“ he struggled explaining, opening his mouth to speak but hesitating.

         “Your fangs are out too” Jimin pointed out, lifting his hand to the younger’s cheek, gently pressing his thumb passed Jungkook’s lips, inspecting his canines curiously. “They do look good on you, I can’t say why I’m attracted to them.”

Blushing, Jungkook let the wolf do as he pleased, remembering that he was just as fascinated by Jimin’s canines in the beginning. It was a bit odd because he was not used to his own new looks yet but it was somewhat exciting to have Jimin’s fingers so close to his fangs. It was so strange to experience a new set of instincts. They were much more feral than what he knew and despite being wary of them, with Jimin, he felt safe enough to let them settle within him. Jimin slid his thumb over the younger’s bottom lip and Jungkook could not help but stare at his neck again.

         “I–––I think I want to bite you” Jungkook muttered. “Not because I’m thirsty, though.”

Suddenly, Jimin shifted, turning them around so that the younger was trapped beneath him, who tried to free himself instinctively but the wolf was still stronger than him, although he did struggle a lot more now. Grumbling deep within his chest, Jimin nuzzled the younger’s neck.

         “Don’t vampires bite their mates too? Like isn’t that a thing with them?” Jimin wondered, licking along Jungkook’s claiming mark, making him shiver.

         “Blood Sharing! You’re right!” Jungkook remembered the conversation he once had with Namjoon, when he talked to him about Jin.

Connecting their lips, Jimin invaded the younger’s space, nibbling on his bottom lip softly. Everything was so much more intense now. A gentle kiss like this already made Jungkook’s blood boil. Naturally, the younger responded, wrapping his arms around the wolf, kissing back with need. Jimin groaned, when the fire witch started grinding up against him, so the wolf pulled back, smirking at him.

         “So needy” he chuckled.

         “Shut it” Jungkook pouted, wanting another kiss.

         “You know, since you don’t have venom, you can bite me, if you want to. I claimed you through my bite because my instincts demanded it. You now have instincts too and if that’s what makes me your mate as a vampire then please, do bite me” Jimin looked at him with intent. “I love you and you know I would never say no to something you want.”

As always, when Jimin showed him just how unconditional his love for the younger was, Jungkook was at a loss of words. Sometimes, he really wondered what he had done in his previous life to deserve such a loyal lover. Then again, now knowing his lineage, knowing what his ancestors had gone through, maybe it was the universe finally giving his bloodline something positive.

         “I––– want to but––– I should first get to know myself and my instincts, before I just bury my fangs in you” Jungkook reasoned. “Wow, it’s so weird to talk about my own fangs. I have fangs.”

         “Take your time, Jungkookie. It’s not like I’m going anywhere” Jimin hummed, kissing him again before lying down next to him again, sighing at their proximity.

They did not intend to but after a few minutes, they both fell asleep, as they were exhausted from everything that had happened.

The next day, Jungkook was determined to start training, to find out just how much this change affected his control over his element, as well as exploring his instincts. At first, he just wanted to train his element but it was much harder than he expected. Focusing on just his fire was suddenly difficult. He either could not produce fire whatsoever or it turned into a much bigger one that he had wanted.

Even after a week, there did not seem to be any improvement and the fire witch was getting frustrated. Nothing was working and the worst part of it all was that people started talking. Of course, they would eventually hear that Jungkook was indeed a half one and naturally, rumours of how that was even possible started to evolve as well. No one except the advisors and those close to the headmaster knew for sure but still, being the centre of attention like this only pressured Jungkook more to finally get the hang of his new powers.

Eventually, Namjoon stepped in and told him to first embrace his vampire side before trying to get his element back under control. So the two of them spent a lot of time meditating and that reminded the younger of the time, where he first learnt how to control his element and Namjoon helped him get a hold of his own emotions. Soon enough, Jungkook felt that he was making progress, knowing how to show his fangs and how to filter out unwanted noise. He also realised that he did not necessarily have to consume blood but it helped with his concentration and he eventually just gave up trying to resist. He had seen how badly that could turn out, when Namjoon tried to consume as little blood as possible.

It was a Thursday early in March, when Namjoon and Jungkook found themselves back in the practice room, this time trying to tame Jungkook’s fire. However, even though he had become much better in controlling his vampire side, his fire still seemed to do what it wanted, if it even did anything. Most of the time, Jungkook could not even produce it willingly. Groaning, Jungkook punched the wall and he was glad that the was were built to hold vampire strength because he was 100% sure that it would have broken otherwise.

         “For fuck’s sake” he cursed, as he let himself fall onto his back, staring at the ceiling blankly. “I just can’t control it anymore.”

         “Do you have all your emotions in check?” Namjoon commented, sitting down next to him. “I mean, you have your instincts under control now but you’ve been so focused on that, you may have disregarded your emotional state. You’ve always mistook control over your powers with control over your life and feelings.”

As always, Namjoon was right. All this time, Jungkook just finally wanted to be back in control. He was not used to not have control over himself anymore that it was eerie now and whenever he lost control, he desperately wanted it back. Of course, he had forgotten to take time for himself and his feelings. He did not think it necessary because he was happy. He had his team that supported him and he and Jimin were as close as ever. The wolf often stuck around, when Namjoon and Jungkook trained; whenever the half breed did not have time, Jimin offered to work with the fire witch. He had nothing to be upset about, yet somehow, he knew he had to face something.

         “Everything good with Jimin?” Namjoon inquired, giving him that look that told Jungkook that the elder was up to something.

         “Yeah” Jungkook nodded. “He’s so supportive and does whatever he can to make things easier for me.”

         “How’s the sex, now that your strength level is almost even?” the elder smirked a little.

         “Uh–––“ Jungkook felt himself blush. “We haven’t, actually–––“

         “Well there you have your reason why your fire doesn’t do what you want. Think about it. Vampires are quite sexual beings, especially, when the right partner is around. You’re sexually frustrated. Of course, you can’t control your fire.”

Namjoon almost choked on his laughter because apparently, it was so obvious for him that the lack of sex was the problem. Now that Jungkook thought about it, maybe it was really what had his fire acting up. They had gotten close to being intimate a couple of times but they were either interrupted or Jungkook was intimidated by the immense amount of feelings and instincts that quite literally washed over him, so he had always stopped, before it could go anywhere. He did not particularly know why he always stopped but of course, Jimin never insisted, even though he was always clearly worked up, ready to do take Jungkook any way he wanted him.

         “I–––––wow, why do you always have to be right” Jungkook groaned, getting up.

         “I’m a wind witch after all” the elder grinned. “I’m pretty sure Jimin’s back from his afternoon run by now. I know Jinnie’s still busy and not at home and Taehyung’s probably somewhere else too. And Hoseok’s surely gonna stay away, if you two want to be alone.”

Licking his lips, Jungkook rolled his eyes at the half breed but he could not deny that he really wanted to seek out his mate now. It was a bit odd but as soon as he left the practice room, it was like he was drawn to Jimin. Quickly striding along, Jungkook did his best not to start running. It was a little pathetic and he was also still unsure about it all; all he knew was that he needed to be with Jimin – now.

Jungkook smelled him first, before he saw him. When the younger opened the door to the apartment, he heard how empty it was, to his luck. It was as if the elder wanted him to succumb to his instincts because Jimin exited their room with just a towel around his waist, his body sweaty from the run, oozing his natural scent and Jungkook could not care less about him sweating. In fact, it all just aroused him more. Biting down on the inner side of his cheek, he looked at Jimin and for a moment, he was frozen in place. He was so absolutely beautiful, Jungkook could not find words to describe him. In moments like these, he was just utterly stunned by Jimin as a whole. Never did Jungkook dream of having such a perfect partner.

         “Jungkookie!” Jimin greeted him, when his eyes fell onto the younger, smiling prettily, albeit surprised too. “I was just about to jump in the sh––“

The wolf’s words were cut short by Jungkook’s lips latching onto his greedily, the younger’s hands in his sweaty hair. Sighing, the fire witch pressed his body against the wolf, feeling how surprised the elder was; nevertheless, the wolf responded immediately, wrapping his arms around the younger’s tiny waist, not letting any distance get between them. God, it felt so good; Jungkook, at that moment, faltered to understand why he had stopped them from being intimate all this time. How was he even able to detach himself from Jimin in a moment like this? Need and want spread like wildfire, as if the ever-burning flame of desire for the wolf had been fed too much dry wood. Jungkook pushed the elder back inside their room, closing the door behind him clumsily, trying not to detach from the elder while doing so.

         “I want you–––“ Jungkook hurried, letting his hands trail down the wolf’s chest.

         “Let me just go shower and––“ Jimin tried but to no avail, being shut up once more by eager lips.

         “No–––no, I need you, hyung. Now” Jungkook stressed, ripping off the towel wrapped around Jimin’s waist.

The elder did not have time to respond whatsoever, being pushed onto the bed. Hands were everywhere and for the first time, it was Jungkook who initiated everything, always wanting more. Jimin picked up on it and understood that Jungkook did not want to be teased, taking care of him just like he needed it. The younger was close to cumming way too soon, feeling so many things at once. It was so much more intense than before. He was straddling the elder, bouncing on his cock, his fangs long elongated, his eyes blood-red, a stark contrast to Jimin’s golden ones.

         “Fuck, Jungkookie––– I––– I don’t think I have the control to change back to my human form” the wolf panted, his nails digging into Jungkook’s thighs.

         “Don’t–––I want it” Jungkook whimpered deliriously.

Locking eyes for a moment, Jungkook could not help but stare at Jimin’s prodding vein on his neck, feeling that urge to bit him again. It was hard not to just lean down and bury his fangs in his neck.

         “Do it. Bite me” Jimin encouraged, one of his hands suddenly in the younger’s hair, pulling him closer. “I know you want to. I want you to.”

That was all it took to dissolve all of Jungkook’s self-control. That was probably what Jimin had felt the night he had asked for the bite. With two easy pricks, Jungkook’s fangs cut through the wolf’s skin and the feeling of tasting fresh, warm blood on his tongue for the first time made the younger cum instantly, his jaw locking in place as he sucked a little, moaning at the intimacy. It was not just the fresh blood but it also somehow made Jungkook feel closer to the elder. Maybe it was his vampire side also accepting Jimin has his mate through tasting his blood. It should taste gross, as wolf blood is generally disliked by vampires but Jungkook felt ecstatic, pulling back only when he felt Jimin cum inside him, his knot growing. By the time they were locked together, Jimin’s neck had healed already and he looked up to Jungkook, smiling proudly.

         “I felt that. A bond––– a different kind than what we already have. It feels good” Jimin sighed and Jungkook felt what he felt through the bond, as he always did, when they were so intimate with each other.

         “I love you so much” Jungkook whispered, knowing that he was blushing.

         “I love you more” Jimin grinned.

Jungkook wanted to disagree but Jimin pulled him into a soft kiss, gently manoeuvring them into a more comfortable position while still being locked together. With droopy eyes, the younger tried to stay awake. It was only late afternoon but he was so exhausted now, only wanting to be here with Jimin. Even without having his ear directly against Jimin’s chest, he heard his heartbeat clearly, sighing, as he relaxed against him. Without really noticing, he and the elder fell asleep, locked together, hearts beating at the same pace. They were truly one on every level.

Chapter Text

The air was crisp despite the June sun touching the treetops in the early morning hour. The first few birds started to chirp, waking up the forest with their melodic voices. Some lonely forest spirits hid behind the trees at the edge of the clearing, staring in either curiosity or fear; Jungkook was not completely sure. He did not have time to ponder over the gaze of the forest spirits, as paws tried to catch him, a dissatisfied growl following the failed attempt. With a smooth side step, Jungkook evaded the attack, giggling at the frustrated face of Jimin in his wolf form.

After three months of practicing his skills with the wolf, Jungkook could easily anticipate the elder’s moves, his vampire speed giving him a clear advantage in close range fights. When racing each other, Jimin won every single time but Jungkook outdid him in sharp turns, as he was smaller than the massive wolf.

It had become a habit of theirs, sneaking out to the woods at the crack of dawn to train Jungkook’s new skills. They would race each other to the same clearing every other day, a change of clothes for Jimin in Jungkook’s backpack, as they always took the bus back to the academy. The fire witch was more comfortable testing his limits away from everyone, with only natural scents around him, nothing to distract him. It had taken a while for him to trust himself and his powers again but now, he was comfortable using his fire again. He had never tested his full power because he did not know just how powerful he could be. Despite everyone encouraging him to just let loose, he struggled doing just that. The only times, when he could let go completely was with Jimin, when he made him feel so good that he forgot himself.

Even just thinking about it left him breathless and vulnerable, open for an attack and he realised too late that Jimin had long turned around, easily tackling him, his paw holding him down with so much force behind it, it knocked the breath out of the fire witch. In any other situation, this would have hurt the younger. However, his body was more robust now, not as prone to cuts and fractures as before. His vision went dark for a second because of the harsh impact and when he regained it, Jimin stared back at him, his tongue hanging lazily and it looked like he was grinning, the corners of his mouth pulled up. His eyes were ever so beautiful, amber moving calmly. Instinctively, Jungkook reached out, carding his hands through the elder’s fur, massaging his head and as always, Jimin went lax under his soft stroking, lying down on top of the fire witch, eliciting a strained huff from him.

            “You’re heavy, hyung” Jungkook complained but there was no bite to it; he enjoyed Jimin’s weight on top of him.  

The wolf just snorted, tilting his head so his nose was right underneath Jungkook’s chin, giving him an affectionate lick, nuzzling into him. Sometimes, it was still a little odd to think that his boyfriend was a wolf, but he loved this affectionate, almost innocent side of the elder.

The sun was up in the sky, when Jimin shifted, nosing proudly at Jungkook’s neck, lapping at the mating mark possessively. It made the younger shiver, being especially sensitive at his neck now, yet it only affected him like this, when Jimin came close to it; if someone else dared to touch it, he felt repelled, wanting to defend himself immediately. Gasping, he leaned into it naturally, not even noticing it anymore. When satisfied, Jimin got up and walked a few steps away from the fire witch, before his bones started to crack. His fur retracted and his body reshaped itself forcefully. It was still a ghastly thing to watch and Jungkook could only imagine how painful it was but Jimin had reassured him endlessly that he had gotten used to the pain.

Bones in place again, Jimin stood before him, the sunlight illuminating his brown hair, his skin glowing in the morning sun. In Jungkook’s eyes, he was flawless, his gaze raking over the elder’s body shamelessly, knowing all of him was his. He loved these mornings all by themselves. It was so easy to forget the looming duty of killing Cain. On this clearing, it was just the two of them, time frozen for only them to enjoy themselves. In a daze, Jungkook reached out to his mate and Jimin followed easily, lying back down into the grass next to the younger, his arms thrown over Jungkook’s middle. He was still naked but neither of them cared. This was their safe haven; no one except them came here.

Somehow, it always ended with Jungkook on top of Jimin, greedy to touch, to take what was his. Jungkook had stopped repressing his desire to be close to his mate and Jimin was always eager to give, his hands wandering over the younger’s body, as he stole the witch’s breath, kissing his lips puffy and red. Neither of them knew how Jungkook lost his t-shirt, how he ended up beneath Jimin, arching up into his touch with whines spilling from his lips. They were painfully aware that they could not go all the way here, though a little fooling around never hurt anybody.

Jungkookie.

Confused, Jungkook opened his eyes, feeling watched suddenly. That had definitely been Namjoon’s voice. A gentle hand cupped his face, making him lock eyes with Jimin, who looked concerned suddenly.

            “Hey, everything good? You suddenly tensed up. Not in a good way” he said, running his thumber over the younger’s lips.

            “I–––just thought I heard Namjoonie-hyung” Jungkook muttered, trying to understand.

            “Wow, you’re thinking about your partner, while I was about to go down on you” Jimin snorted in amusement. “Do we have to talk about this?”

Jungkookie. Please come back to the academy. Our meeting with the Headmaster and his advisers will have ended once you’re back and we have important news.

Only now, Jungkook realised that it was Namjoon reaching out to him. He still was not used to having him enter his mind like that. Most of the times, he was able to push him out of his mind but he knew that his mind was vulnerable, whenever Jimin kissed him senseless. Groaning in annoyance, Jungkook props himself up on his elbows, his lips pursed unconsciously.

            “We need to get back” he sighed. “Leader’s orders.”

            “How–––– oh, he reached out to you?”

            “Yeah. So disturbing to have him talk to me, while we’re–– like this. It’s like he’s walking in on us” the younger huffed.

            “Well, I guess I’ll get dressed then” Jimin gave in with a deflated tone in his voice; he had hoped for more but duty always came first with Jungkook, so he knew that they would go back immediately. 

Though they were urged to return to the academy immediately, they took their sweet time. Strolling through the forest, Jimin managed to convince a few forest spirits to go near Jungkook and somehow, they kept following them until the end of the woods, waving goodbye with their cute little arms. After a 10-minute wait of teasing and stolen kisses, the bus came and they settled down in the back, giggling like they had just fallen in love. Jungkook wondered, if he was always going to feel this way or if it was going to be normal at some point.

Arriving at the academy, the couple went back to the apartment, both needing a shower, although Jimin was the one that was more covered in dirt despite his best efforts to shake it all off. When they opened the door, they laid eyes upon Taehyung moaning, straddling Hoseok and they were naked. Appalled, Jungkook turned around, pressing his nose into Jimin’s neck because it reeked of wolf hormones and too much of Taehyung’s arousal; smelling that felt so utterly wrong not only because Taehyung was his best friend but also because he wanted to gag at the wolf stench. He was fine with Jimin’s odour, actually liked it, and he tolerated Hoseok but smelling him during sex with his mate – that was too much.

            “God, can you at least have sex in your room and not make us walk in on you!?” Jungkook groaned in annoyance, walking sideways and Jimin moved with him, slowly getting to their room.

            “Fuck, you really are a mood killer” Taehyung sighed. “I was so close god damn it. Don’t you have your stupid vampire ears now? You could have heard us from outside.”

            “Next time don’t fuck on our couch in the middle of the day, you dumbass” Jungkook clicked his tongue, trying to focus on Jimin’s scent. “It’s gross, I don’t want your cum on there. When Jimin and I were first mated, we didn’t fuck around this much, jeez.”

            “Yeah, because you died and came back alive and then were scared of your feelings” the water witch countered. “Can you at least let us finish?”

            “Go to your room!” Jungkook bit back but they finally got to their room, so he calmed down, when they closed the door behind them.

Hoseok and Taehyung were really something else. It was like they were the opposite of Jungkook and Jimin. After Taehyung had accepted that the older wolf had imprinted on him, he only pretended to be annoyed by it. Within no time, they were stealing kisses, their hands always grabbing at the other and soon enough, Jimin and Jungkook were not the inseparable couple anymore but they were. Everyone was happy for them, though. Taehyung finally found his person too and everyone was settled now. Maybe, they would all eventually move into their own apartments and Jungkook was sure that Namjoon and Jin would adopt a child at some point. Jin had always talked about how he loved children and the half breed seemed keen too.

Knowing that all of them had someone made it so easy to forget that they were at war. In moments like these, Jungkook simply wanted to stay in his room, cuddling up against Jimin’s chest and not think about the rest of the world. However, the burden of his destiny loomed over him, as he and Jimin showered together. He was aware that as soon as they went down to their practice room, reality would rain down on him because this was the calm before the storm. Everything had been too perfect for the last few weeks. Hoseok and Taehyung were finally mated, Namjoon had his control back and was happy with Jin, Anna was pregnant and Yoongi was currently building the nursery in their house and Jungkook finally felt completely at ease with himself and with Jimin. Their situation was too good, too perfect – something big was going to happen soon, Jungkook could feel it.

After finishing the shower, Hoseok and Taehyung had fortunately moved to their room, he slid on some sweatpants and a t-shirt before knocking on Taehyung’s door. After some convincing he explained that Namjoon wanted them in the practice room because the meeting would be done soon. Jin had been summoned to the meeting as well so it was probably about his progress with the vampires they had captured. Did he find something after all? Did they find Cain’s hideout? Or would they let it go and wait until he showed himself? Suddenly, Jungkook felt uneasy; the feeling of something big happening increased, almost like a vision. There was no image attached to the feeling but he was certain that this meeting was going to change everything.  

The leader and the two eldest were already waiting for the two couples in the practice room. Sitting on the table in the back, Jungkook could smell on them that they had news. The tension in the room suggested that the meeting that they had just come out of would reveal their next move.

            “Why don’t you sit down” Namjoon offered. “We have a lot to discuss.”

Doing as he’s told, Jungkook sat down next to Yoongi, Jimin sliding onto the bench as well. Surprisingly, it was not Namjoon who started talking. Instead, Jin cleared his throat, his hands folded on the table, as he took a deep breath.

            “No matter how much I tried, I couldn’t break Jun’s spell” he admitted, his tone neutral but his eyes were hard, staring down at his fingers that kept squeezing his knuckles.

Of course, he was disappointed. He had been so determined to crack that spell. Jin never really talked about it but all of them knew that he wanted to become the best healer here – better than Jun had ever been. Having to admit that he could not understand and break Jun’s spell meant admitting his inferiority.

            “So we still don’t know where he is” Taehyung sighed in defeat. “So we’re back to square one.”

            “Not entirely” Yoongi disagreed. “The Headmaster and his advisors have watched your progress, Jungkookie. You’ve got full control of yourself again. You’re cleared for missions again.”

It took a moment, until Jungkook understood. Jin’s determined gaze was what gave it away and it was so clear suddenly. Why the fire witch had not thought of it himself yet was beyond him. It made sense that they could only find Cain through Jungkook. It was his destiny after all.

            “Yes. I want to do it. How do we do it?” Jungkook nodded.

            “Do what? I’m sorry, I’m lost here” Jimin interrupted, his hand settled on Jungkook’s tensed thigh, caressing it softly to calm him down, as his anxiety rose just thinking about Cain. 

            “We can find Cain through Jungkookie’s blood” Namjoon elaborated, locking eyes with the fire witch, mirroring the determination in the maknae’s eyes.

            “It’s tricky and it might be painful too because I’m assuming Jun has a powerful protective spell casted on Cain that shields him from tracking. However, blood is more powerful than any magic, so I can definitely get through” Jin continued. “The problem is that they will most likely know that we’ll be coming, since Cain and you will be connected through physical feelings, as long as I track him. It would expose your identity too.”

            “The Headmaster is willing to go to war. His advisors are almost unanimous too. They feel like it’s time to put an end to Cain’s life, now that we can actually find him. He’s willing to mobilise all of Team 2, 3, 8 and 9” the leader revealed and Taehyung gasped in surprise; who would not at so much information.

            “Full Force” the water witch muttered under his breath. “That hasn’t happened in more than a century.”

            “He is calling for an assembly of the captains and lieutenants of said Teams as we speak” Yoongi informed. “We as a whole are invited, since we will be a crucial part of the plan. Everything must be planned in advance because as soon as we find Cain, he will know that we’re coming and the faster we’ll get to him, the more unprepared they will be.”

            “Wait what about asking Jungkookie, if he wants his blood to be used to track Cain?” Jimin protested, his grip on the younger’s thigh tighter, slight distress seeping into Jungkook’s feelings because of the elder’s worry.

            “It’s not a matter of individual choice, Jiminie. I know you just want protect him but if the Headmaster commands we do this; it will be done. We aren’t bound to him like you are bound to your alpha but we follow his every command nonetheless. And I doubt Jungkookie would refuse to do this” Namjoon’s voice was firm, yet gentle – understanding of the wolf, knowing that he was just worried for his mate.

Of courses, Jungkook would let them use his blood to find Cain. It was all he wanted; killing Cain would not only sate his thirst for vengeance but also fulfil the wishes of his ancestor, the Queen. He suddenly had so many reasons to justify his hate for Cain even more that it drove him like it never had before. It was like he had tunnel vision now. He stopped listening to their discussion a while ago and only perked up, when Namjoon said that they should head to the great hall, as the meeting of captains would soon start. At the back of his mind, Jungkook was glad that he had chosen to shower before coming down to the practice room, knowing that the Headmaster’s council despised him and took every opportunity to undermine him.

The captains and lieutenants had already arrived, when Special Force entered the room. They were conversing with hushed voices, clearly anxious about the situation. Jungkook wondered on how much they had been filled in yet or if they had been called without a special reason. At that moment, Tablo spotted them and greeted Namjoon first, then the rest. The small crowd of lieutenants and captains turned their heads to them as well, collectively squinting their eyes; they were confused as to why Special Force as a whole was present but they had no time to ask the reason, as the Headmaster and his council entered the room. Immediately, everyone stood straight in a perfect line – lieutenants behind their captains – as he sat down, urging his council to sit too. The rest remained standing.

The old man looked at each and every person standing in the room, acknowledging all of them; he lingered on Jungkook for a brief moment, his gaze softer than it should be and Jungkook understood. He saw the Queen in him now and all he ever wanted was to protect her, yet he was about to use the fire witch to get to the very person that murdered the Queen.

            “Tablo, if you will, please” the Headmaster spoke, breaking the eerie silence in the room.

Stepping forward, Tablo spoke up, filling in the crowd about what Special Force had just discussed. There was no murmur, all of them listening attentively, making it clear just how invested everyone was in this. Despite not all of them having a personal motive to want Cain dead, they felt the responsibility of their kind to bring balance to the world again.

            “Team 3 will back Team 13, in case Cain plans on attacking the academy, while we chase after him. The walls of the academy, as well as the barrier of the city must remain impenetrable” Tablo enforced strongly. “Moral must be kept high. It’s easy to fall into panic, when most of our best fighters are gone and it is your job to reassure the guards on the borders that they must stay strong.”

Determined, they nodded in unison, straightening their backs.

            “Inform your Team now and spread along the border immediately, filling in the guards as well. That is all for Team 3. You may go. Thank you” one of the council members said and although the captain looked a little hurt not to hear about the entire plan, he nodded, bowed briefly and left the room with his two lieutenants.

After the three of them had left, Tablo turned to the council and stood back in line, giving the word back to the men that were seated at the table. Slowly, the man on the Headmaster’s right stood up, clearing his throat. Jungkook widened his eyes at that; that man never spoke. He always listened patiently during a hearing and rose his hand for decisions but not once had he heard him speak. The man was in charge of strategy – one of the most skilled wind witches in that department, which was probably the reason why he was on the Headmaster’s council.

            “In over two centuries, we haven’t been this close to finding Cain’s hideout. You must realise how important this is. We only have this one chance and it must be planned carefully” he started, his voice rough but deep, demanding respect simply through its tone. “At first, we wanted to forbid Jungkook to join the fight––“

The fire witch frowned immediately, resistance coiling in his stomach uncomfortably and he was about to step out of line but Yoongi held him back discretely and Jimin’s hand around his wrist helped to calm him down.

            “However, you wouldn’t listen. We’re aware of that” he shook his head a little “We will let you join the front but you must obey our orders. You, as the true heir of this world, must be protected at all costs. You may think this unnecessary but you may be the last fire witch that will ever join this dimension. Cain will do anything in his power to either capture or kill you, as soon as he finds out you’re alive. Thus, I must implore you to be sensible.”

            “With all due respect” Jungkook spoke up and everyone – even the captains and lieutenants – stared at him because he spoke out of line. “I am stronger than most of the people present in this room. It is I who must kill Cain. It’s the Queen’s wish.”

            “How dare you speak for our Queen!” another advisor got up in anger, slamming his fist on the table. “You’ve always misbehaved. You should be grateful that you’re not rotting in one of our cells because of insubordination!”

A surge of instinctive rage ignited inside of Jungkook and he pulled himself from his team, stepping forward so fast that neither Yoongi nor Jimin could have stopped him. Everyone in the room jerked at the sudden movement, not having expected such a bold move. Almost panting, Jungkook walked up to the table, glaring at the council member who spoke up against him. He closed his eyes for a second to collect himself, as a weird sense of calm overcame him. He did not know where it came from but when reopened his eyes, he saw everything much clearer; he realised he had to have red eyes at the moment because he could see the blood pump underneath the advisor’s skin.

            “I speak for her because I am her descendant” his voice was calm but filled with so much tension, he could see the shiver that ran down the advisor’s back. “You only have the opportunity to locate Cain because of my blood, which ultimately is related to him. Why? Because his brother, the King, is also my ancestor. The Queen promised Cain that he would die at the hand of her own blood. That he would burn just like he burnt his own brother. I will not tolerate you taking this right from me. Do you understand?”

The room was only filled with silence, all eyes on Jungkook, who still stared the advisor down. Anger was still burning inside him and part of him wanted to hiss. What made him react in such an uncharacteristically calm way, he was not sure but it seemed to have the effect he wanted; the council was intimidated. Rightly so, as it was forbidden to speak against their orders. However, the Headmaster had not interrupted; instead, he was watching Jungkook with a look the fire witch could not decipher.

            “How would you know that?” the advisor gritted his teeth.

            “I saw it” Jungkook sighed tensely, tired of this whole ordeal. “When I was dead, I saw her life. I don’t know how or why but I did. Maybe she bewitched Cain with her words, making her memories immortal in her family’s blood. I’m not a nature witch, I don’t know how spells work. All I know is that it’s me who has to kill Cain.”

            “You are indeed related” the Headmaster spoke surprisingly soft, maybe even endeared. “You’re strong-willed, just like her. It is my decision in the end and if you must face him, then you will. Everyone must support your mission.”

Silence overcame the room again but this time it was different. Rather than shock, it was surprise that could be seen in all of their faces – most of all in the face of that advisor that spoke against Jungkook. He looked like he had just burnt himself. Averting his eyes to his folded hands on the table, he showed that he was not going to protest any longer and Jungkook bowed to the Headmaster, offering a thankful smile, as he stepped back in line, ready to listen to the rest of the plan.

The teams that joined the fight were to gather within the portal room, waiting for their orders. Jin would perform the spell to locate Cain in a room close to the portals, giving him and Jungkook enough privacy to concentrate but also enough room for the captains of each Team to be present as well. In the meantime, the rest of the teams would be informed, especially the healers, as they predicted to have a lot of wounded. It was very likely that Cain still had an army of new-borns – at least the ones that they had not killed during the last attack, probably more, since months had passed. He would know that they were coming, so they had to work fast, once the hideout was located. Thus, the captains as well as Special Force would discuss strategy only when they had the location, deciding on which portals to use to infiltrate the hideout the most effectively.

Jin had to stay close to Jungkook, as he could find him on the battlefield thanks to Jin’s spell. That meant that in case Special Force had to split up, Taehyung, Yoongi and Hoseok would be without a healer. It was nothing unusual but it made them feel a little uneasy given the extraordinary mission.

After everything was discussed, they were dismissed, having an hour before they would start the mission, in order to change into proper clothes and spend some time with their loved ones. It all suddenly happened so fast, Jungkook stood in front of his closet, fully dressed and ready to go, only comprehending now that he was going to fulfil his dream and that of his ancestors too. He was so in his head that he barely even noticed Jimin’s arms sneaking around the younger’s waist.

            “You’re nervous” the wolf stated, his lips against the mating mark on Jungkook’s neck, making him shiver.

            “I’m not” the fire witch lied unsuccessfully, though he sighed and leaned back into the elder’s embrace. “Yeah, okay. Maybe I am. It’s not everyday I actually get to kill the most evil vampire alive. I can’t screw this up.”

            “You won’t” Jimin soothed his mind, soft kisses trailing along Jungkook’s neck. “You’re not alone in this, Jungkookie. I’ll be there. I have your back. Namjoon does too and so do Jin, Tae, Yoongi and Hoseok. We’re all with you.”

            “That’s what I’m scared of” Jungkook admitted, his fingers entwined with Jimin’s. “You’re all there. It was hard enough to look out for four people on missions. But now–––now they’re still important but–––just thinking about you getting hurt again. It makes me crazy. I know for a fact that if you were hurt, I would forget everything around me and only care about you. How am I a reliable team member?”

Gently, Jimin turned the younger around in his arms, gazing at him with his glowing amber eyes and something as simple as eye contact calmed him down, made him forget his worry, even though it proved the very point he was trying to make. Leaning forward, Jungkook cupped the elder’s face, closing his eyes as he breathed in his scent, concentrating on his heartbeat.

            “We’re going to do this. Our bond makes us stronger. He’ll underestimate the power of our bond. Even if he used his ability to control my body, I couldn’t hurt you. I can’t physically hurt you anymore.”

That was what Jungkook needed to hear to believe in himself – in the bond that they had. He had to trust in it, in order to stay sane. Only this way, he could have a clear mind. They stood there for a few moments longer, relishing the moment of total silence before heading out.

When they exited their room, they walked in on Namjoon and Jin sharing and intimate moment too, which was still rare, as Jin preferred to keep those things private. Taehyung and Hoseok joined them soon enough, their hands entwined, and they slowly made their way back to the room that Jin would perform the spell in. Despite all of them trusting each other, they were still nervous. The air around them was tense, which it usually was not, when they left the academy to go on a mission. It was a little uncanny that it felt so different this time. Then again, this mission was much more dangerous than the ones they usually received.

Walking up to the room, they spotted Yoongi and Anna standing in front of the opened door, sharing an embrace that looked too meaningful to witness by others. He took her hand, caressing it softly, as he put his other hand on her baby bump, kissing her so carefully, Jungkook felt heat travel to his cheeks. It was rare to see the rock which be so affectionate and really, it only happened, when Anna was around. Maybe that would change, once their baby was born because he would obviously also be careful with his child. Trying to be discrete, the rest of Special Force tried walking past them without interrupting but Anna stopped them, squinting her eyes at them.

            “You don’t think you can walk into a death sentence without saying goodbye to me” she reprimanded them, shaking her head. “At least give me a hug.”

Chuckling at her remark, Jungkook felt the atmosphere lighten up and he waited for his turn to hug her. Taehyung was first and when he retreated, Anna held onto him a little longer, whispering something in his ear and Jungkook tired not to smile too widely, even though he heard what she had just asked of the water witch. Nodding, Taehyung let go of her and it was Jungkook’s turn to say goodbye to her.

Once Anna was satisfied, she let them go and they entered the room, where the captains of team 2, 8 and 9 were already waiting. There was a map as well as a knife laid out on a table, two chairs in front of it. Jin sat down immediately, taking a deep breath, as he closed his eyes. The spell needed a great amount of concentration to hold it as long as he had to. Only when he opened his eyes again, Jin turned to Jungkook and gestured that he was to sit down too.

            “Your blood is the key to find Cain. Thus, I will have to cut you, unfortunately” Jin explained, taking the knife.

Jimin tensed behind Jungkook, grinding his teeth uncomfortably. Of course, he did not like this but he knew that he had to endure this and stayed quiet.

            “That’s fine, I heal much more quickly now” Jungkook shrugged and brought his wrist to his lips, opening his mouth to bury his fangs in his own flesh.

It was barely a prick. Jungkook had realised that biting himself was much less painful and it healed the fastest, so choosing this over the knife seemed logical to him. The two captains next to Tablo stared at him in shock but the fire witch could not care less.

            “Where do you need it?” Jungkook asked and Jin pointed at the middle of the world map.

Letting a few drops fall down on the paper, Jungkook felt the two small puncture wounds heal already and he simply had to lap up the rest of the blood that was stuck to his wrist. Jin nodded to himself, as he repositioned himself, sitting opposite of Jungkook, the map in between them. Jimin wanted to close the gap between them, Jungkook could feel it but he shook his head, telling him to stay away. He needed to focus on his vampire side now and Jimin would not be able to help, even if he wanted to.

            “Please put your hands on the edge of the map and close your eyes. You might start to hallucinate. It might hurt but you may also feel nothing. I really can’t say, since I don’t know the protection spell Jun used” the nature witch elaborated on all of the possible outcomes and looked at Jungkook for a long time, only for him to find out that the elder was waiting for him to close his eyes.

Doing what was asked of him, Jungkook shut his eyes waiting for something to happen. He heard Jin mumble something incoherent but then, he suddenly fell – or at least, he felt like he was falling from the sky. Or was he flying? He could not say. His vision was blurry and he could feel his heart pump wildly in his chest. He kept falling and falling, until he heard a voice. It sounded familiar but he could not pinpoint who it belonged to. When his vision finally cleared, it was dark around him. He was in a room that was too damp to be in a normal house, the smell of wet grass and mud invading his nostrils. Once his eyes got used to the darkness, he noticed a bed plunged in red.

At first, he thought it was the sheets that were coloured red but the pungent smell of blood made him shudder. Realisation hit him that it was blood on the bed and the more he let his eyes travel up to the head of the bed, the more blood was covering the sheets. There was a girl lying there, her eyes still open, the gash on her neck the reason why the bed was plunged in red. Her lifeless body had been left there without any regard of her dignity.

Suddenly, Jungkook moved, catching himself off guard; it was his head first that tilted to the side, his thumb coming up to swipe over his lips. A crack to his neck was next, before he turned around, grabbing a towel that was placed on what looked like a dresser. He sighed and moved in front of the mirror and that was when he widened his eyes, his body paralysed because it was not himself he was looking at. In the mirror, it was his face. He still looked the same as in his dreams – the same as in the memories the Queen had shown him.

Cain.

He was somehow inside his body and Jungkook realised that his was his room, his bed, his victim. He had just fed on her and left her there like she was nothing more than a blood bag. Frowning, he locked eyes with Cain, who seemed just as unmoving for a second.

            “You!” he exclaimed and he clearly said something more but Jungkook felt a sharp pain rushing through him like an arrow.

It punched him right out of the vision, stealing his breath and he coughed a few times before regaining his vision, staring at the world map and his blood that had moved while he had been unconscious. It was right there, pooling over Cain’s hideout. Their plan had worked.

They finally found Cain.

He could kill him now.

Chapter Text

After a hurried session of sharing plans and objectives, they entered the portals, arriving on the island Cain was hiding. Jin had mentioned that they would notice which portals were being used, which naturally meant that the enemy knew which way they were coming from. Therefore, they decided to split their task force in two, charging at Cain’s hideout from two sides. Namjoon had frowned at the idea but he was not the commander of the task force, silencing him in decisions concerning everyone. He followed silently through the portal in the south of Cain’s hideout and so did the rest of Special Force. Enemies were to be expected upon arrival but when they set foot on enemy territory, it was eerily quiet.

They stepped forward quietly, assessing the situation. Taehyung could feel uneasiness seeping through him but it was not his; it was Hoseok, who was still trapped in his half human form. Them changing into their wolf form would make too much noise, attracting attention they did not need right now. Of course, he and Jimin were nervous. While they were strong in their half human form already, against a charging vampire, they were powerless like that.

The tension was so thick, it was like tar was stuck on their bodies, wearing them down, turning them into unmoving statures. Somehow, Taehyung felt his body going numb, alarming his mind that something was wrong. Turning his head to some of the others, they did not deem anything out of the ordinary, still staring into the snow-covered forest, trying to spot any vampire that might jump out of the woods at any second.

There’s a vampire with a mental ability close by. Our senses are being numbed. I can’t hear anymore, which makes me believe you can’t either.

If Taehyung had not been numbed like the voice had told him, he would have jumped in shock that Namjoon was inside his head. Jungkook had told him before that it was very invasive and sometimes uncomfortable, if you were not used to it or if he surprised you. Finally, Taehyung understood what the fire witch had meant by that.

I don’t think the rest of the force has noticed yet and I can’t reach their minds because I don’t have a connection with them. I’m pretty sure that the ability works as long as the vampire sees us. Thus, he must be in one of the tree tops. Yoongi-hyung, you should try and detect him through the soil, as long as we can still feel something.

Taehyung watched Yoongi close his eyes, as his feet shifted gently. They had walked right into a trap and if the rock witch could not find that vampire soon, who knew what would happen to their whole group; they were trapped and defenceless, if the vampires decided to attack now. Luckily, Yoongi opened his eyes at once, his head snapping to the right and with two smooth hand movements, the rock witch let the ground underneath one of the trees crumble, making it fall over.

When the trance lifted off them, it felt like emerging from out of water after almost having drowned. Taehyung’s heart was beating erratically and he wished he would have had time to collect himself but everyone suddenly started to move. It was Jungkook who ripped out the heart of the vampire that had been numbing their senses, having gotten to him so fast that Taehyung had struggled keeping up with his still quite dizzy mind. However, his head cleared immediately, when he felt Hoseok’s pain of transition, which was followed by two growls from both of the wolves. Finally, everything felt normal again, being in sync with his body as well as with Hoseok, just in time for vampires to attack.

There were so many of them. It was surreal to think about just how many Cain must have turned over the centuries. Some of them seemed like new-borns but some of them were skilled fighters with mental or physical abilities. Thankfully, there was snow around him, so Taehyung could use that as his source of water, freezing a lot of vampires feet onto the ground for Hoseok to bite off their heads. Surprisingly, Taehyung had the situation under control, which was odd, as Jungkook and Jimin clearly seemed to struggle a few metres away from them. Three vampires at once tried to fight the fire witch and they were clearly experienced fighters too, as they were able to avoid jabs and hits that new-borns would fall for easily. Jimin helped as best as he could but he was kept busy too.

            “They’re trying to corner Jungkookie!” Yoongi shouted, looking for Tablo, who was in command.

            “Clear the way for Jungkook!” Tablo commanded. “We can’t lose any more time! Cain might already be gone by now!”

The group moved collectively, noticing where Jungkook wanted to go and trying their best to keep vampires off him. Naturally, Special Force stuck together, as the fire witch snuck through an opening, evading as many attacks as possible. Keeping up with his vampire speed would have been impossible but luckily, Jungkook had to stick to Jin, who kept the connection between Cain and the fire witch going in order to find him. Once they were out of reach of the first wave of attack, Jungkook suddenly slowed down.

            “He’s not leaving” the maknae declared, his eyes invaded by red surrounding his pupil. “He’s waiting.”

            “For you to get to him?” Jin asked.

            “No, I don’t think so” Jungkook shook his head.

            “The vampires that attacked us was solely focused on you” Namjoon pointed out. “They were either sent to collect you or to kill you.”

            “I think he wants to kill me myself. Or rather –– he has to kill me himself, in order to break that odd curse the Queen casted back then” the fire witch concluded.

            “So rather than running headfirst to him, we should think–––– if we had the time” Namjoon tried but he turned around and ran to the closest tree, pulling a vampire out of it, ripping its heart out immediately.

More charged at them out of nowhere, taking them almost by complete surprise. Immediately, they stepped away from each other, giving them enough space to fight without accidently hurting each other. Within moments, Taehyung had used most of the snow to use his element, freezing the vampires long enough for Hoseok or Yoongi to kill them. Once again, the number of vampires did not seem to decrease, despite all of them having killed quite a few already. If this continued, Jungkook would be tired out once he finally reached Cain and his chance of winning would be too slim to risk anything. That was when Taehyung realised that was exactly what Cain wanted. He knew they were coming; he knew Jungkook was alive and that he was the Queen’s descendent which ultimately meant that it was his destiny to face Cain. It was obvious that Jungkook was to come to him no matter what, which meant the attack he was launching right now only served as a distraction for them and to tire Jungkook out to increase Cain’s chance of getting out of this alive. 

            “Jungkookie, leave this to us!” Taehyung shouted, when he dodged the attack of the vampire he was fighting. “You need your strength!”

Hesitating, Jungkook locked eyes with him, his brows furrowed into a frown, almost getting hit by one of the younger vampires.

            “I agree! You’ll never defeat Cain, when you have to fight your way through like this! Leave it to Taehyung, Hoseok and me! You should move on!” Yoongi agreed, as he buried a vampire in the ground with only his head still above the surface for Hoseok to rip off.

The look on Jungkook’s face made it clear that he did not want to leave them behind. It felt unnatural to separate in such a difficult situation but the fire witch knew that he had to go now; they all knew that it was Jungkook’s mission to kill Cain today and they needed him to be as strong as he could be. For a moment, the fire witch looked at Taehyung intensely, then at Hoseok and finally at Yoongi. Only then, he nodded and dodged a blow from a vampire in front of him. Instead of ripping his heart out, he ran – so fast that he was gone within a second. Jimin disappeared into the same direction and so did Namjoon, all of them much faster than a normal witch. It was Jin, who was left behind with the three who decided to distract the vampires that were attacking.

Taehyung had no time to ponder about why he stayed; maybe Namjoon had told him to stay here. He could not be sure. As expected, no vampire was running after the three that left, proving the theory that the vampires were just here to distract the rest of them, letting Jungkook go on purpose.

As the fight continued, Taehyung slowly ran out of water to use. The snow got stomped into the ground, disappearing in the mud and extracting it from plants or that very same mud was too time and strength consuming. Suddenly, he was at a disadvantage. Without enough water, he was much slower than the vampires he was fighting. He had to resort to melee fighting, which as much more dangerous with fast vampires, especially the more experienced fighters. His body was at its limit, needing a break but the vampires would not stop.

Just as he thought he could take a breath, he barely managed to jump out of the way of a tall, ginger vampire. He stood there, mustering Taehyung for a moment, his crimson eyes staring at him darkly. This was an experienced one for sure. New-borns did not stop to try and read the opponent’s body language and fighting style. There was an aura around the vampire that made Taehyung shudder, taking a step back unconsciously but he realised too late that this vampire was gifted.

Pain shot up his back so violently that it knocked his breath out of him, making his legs tremble, his knees suddenly weak. Losing his balance on his shaking legs, he fell to his knees, as his body convulsed in pain. It felt like someone cutting into his flesh, ripping his skin off piece by piece. He could not hear himself but he felt it in his throat that he was screaming desperately, as he collapsed onto his back, arching it unhealthily. Trying to find the others around him, he spotted Hoseok frantically trying to free himself from a new-born that was latching onto his throat, his eyes never leaving Taehyung’s, his mouth open as he was probably yipping at his mate.

Taehyung could feel Hoseok’s panic seep in despite his own pain; it was faint and barely there but he was sure the panic did not belong to him, though it only made the situation worse, making him even more anxious and that was when he heard his shoulder crack. It must have dislocated with the unnatural convulsing of the water witch’s movements.

Averting his eyes from his mate, Taehyung spotted Jin and even he was fighting off a vampire, too busy with defending himself than to be able to help the water witch. Taehyung suddenly felt weight on his chest, making him turn his head to the ginger vampire that was grinning viciously. He had his foot pressing down on Taehyung, stopping him from moving, which only made the pain worse. It was getting hard to breathe – it felt like his neck was swollen – and he noticed that the vampire was staring at his throat. He was so careless. He should not have looked into the eyes of this vampire. That had been an amateur mistake and he was now paying for it. His teammates were busy trying to stay alive, no one able to help him. Still screaming, Taehyung tried to find Hoseok again, naturally wanting to see him once more because he felt that his body was tired. His mind was getting foggy, the lack of air finally getting to his brain.

Instead of Hoseok, he found Yoongi fighting against a huge vampire. His opponent was massive, evading the rock witch’s ranged attacks with his superhuman speed despite his size and he was much too close to Yoongi’s liking. The vampire was almost right in front of Yoongi, when he averted his eyes to Taehyung and it was their eye-contact that slowed everything down.

Taehyung suddenly saw everything in slow-motion. He watched as the worry in Yoongi’s eyes turned into terror and it was in that moment, where Taehyung saw his partner lose focus during a fight for the first time. Yoongi turned his body towards the water witch, settling his feet on the ground and lifts his arms strongly. The weight on Taehyung’s chest was gone with that and he regained the ability to breathe but that all did not matter, he saw the massive vampire charge and Yoongi. It was too late to move away and the rock witch knew that too. There was no way out for him. What broke Taehyung was the genuine smile on Yoongi’s face, when he got pressed into the ground by the vampire, who latched onto his throat, sinking his teeth into the witch’s neck.

Somewhere at the back of his mind, Taehyung felt Hoseok close to him suddenly and then the pain stopped but he barely noticed because his heart broke, as he watched the light in Yoongi’s eyes turn dark. At some point, Jin was next to the rock witch, snapping the vampire’s neck, before he ripped out his heart. Despite having been freed from his attacker, Yoongi did not move. Trying to crawl to him, Taehyung’s vision went blurry, tears making it hard to see.

            “H–––hyung!” he tried but his voice broke immediately and he barely moved, his body too weak still.

His shoulder really was dislocated and he could not feel one of his legs, though nothing mattered. He did not matter right now. He needed to get to Yoongi. This could not be happening. Why was he still lying there, unmoving and eerily lifeless? A gentle snout nudged his face softly, quiet yipping coming from Hoseok and before Taehyung really registered what was happening, the wolf had already grabbed the witch’s clothes between his teeth, pulling him to Yoongi as carefully as he could.

Getting closer, Taehyung saw him breathing shallowly, his eyes still open but he looked so tired. The gash on his neck was so big, the water witch did not have to hear it from Jin that Yoongi was not going to make it.

Yoongi was going to bleed out here. He was dying.

Helplessly, Jin sat next to the rock witch, tears already running down his face but he held in his sobs.  He could not help him; the rock witch was past all help. Everything the healer could do was reduce his pain, holding his hand tightly, relieving him from all negative feelings.

            “No, no–––“ Taehyung broke out into a sob. “You idiot! You should have let me die! Our first rule is to first save ourselves before saving the team, don’t you remember?”

            “You know, Hoseokie’s not the only one who can’t live without you” Yoongi laughed weekly, coughing up a little bit of blood.

That only made Taehyung cry more. He remembered all the times they talked about this. It was always him whining about how he was going to end up alone because Yoongi found his soulmate in Anna. Every single time, the elder had reassured him that Taehyung was the most important person after her and that he could not live without him. Taehyung never truly believed in that phrase because of course, he would live somehow. It suddenly had such a different meaning.

Yoongi had given his life for him.

They looked at each other and Yoongi smiled again, tears also rolling down his face now. He reached out with his hand, cupping Taehyung’s face.

            “You have to promise me to take care of them” he choked up. “She’ll blame you for a while but promise me you’ll stay by their side. Both of you.”

He quickly looked up at the wolf, whose face was also twisted in sorrow.

            “She’ll need all the help she can get. She shouldn’t stop working. She loves it so much. And–––“ he struggled with articulation now, his eyes barely still open, as his chest rises less and less. “Tell her I love her and that I’m sorry. She’ll understand one day.”

Yoongi closed this eyes and that was when his hand dropped from Taehyung’s cheek. His chest had stopped moving. This was it. He had said all his goodbyes, having made sure to convey just how much he wanted Taehyung and Hoseok to be part of his family’s life.

            “Hyung–––“ Taehyung cried again, still staring at his face.

He looked peaceful like that. Almost like he was sleeping, like he was satisfied with the way he left. It was far from ideal but at least, he got to say goodbye. Taehyung, however, could not comprehend the situation. He kept crying, not even noticing how Jin had moved from Yongi’s other side to Taehyung, having a look at his shoulder. Hoseok howled loudly, grief so clear in the tone that the noise rippled through the water witch like a knife.

When he felt Jin’s hand on his head, he suddenly felt dizzy, realising to late that the healer was putting him to sleep. There was no time for them to mourn or to heal. They were still in enemy territory, clearly outnumbered, yet he could not help his eyes drooping and eventually darkness enveloped him, momentarily numbing the pain of his broken heart.

Chapter Text

With uneasiness gnawing at his heart, Jungkook ran through the forest, his feet crushing the icy layer of snow. It did not feel right to leave the others. They had never parted in a fight such as this one. If it was not for the strange innate obligation to end Cain’s life, he would have never agreed to leaving them. At least, he had Namjoon and Jimin with him still. Having to let either of them behind was a thought he did not dare to finish.

Jimin’s presence made him stronger, calmed him down despite his mind slowly building up tension because Jungkook could feel that they were getting closer to wherever Cain was waiting for him. It was just like another bond, a promise made by his bloodline that connected him to that awful man. It drove him like a heartbeat, feeding his fire in order to stand before Cain with enough power to defeat him.

Suddenly, Jimin growled and stopped at once, baring his teeth at something in front of them. Instinctively, Jungkook halted as well, following Jimin’s gaze with his eyes but all he saw, were trees covered in snow. Namjoon was right behind them and clearly, he had heard something too because he frowned deeply, his eyes squinted into the same direction. Questioningly, the fire witch tried his best to concentrate but his ears failed him, not having the same sharpness a half breed had.

What’s going on? Jungkook concentrated hard to bring his message across, feeling the confusion that oozed into him through Jimin, who snarled lowly. It was barely audible but it reverberated through the forest and Jungkook did not need Namjoon to tell him what was out there because a menacing rumble was the reply to Jimin’s snarl.

Wolves.

Jungkook would never forget that exact sound. It triggered images in his head that he thought he had finally gotten over. He was not afraid of wolves anymore. He knew they were not evil by birth. They were their allies – but then why were there wolves here? Taken aback, Jungkook stepped closer to Jimin on instinct. He had a feeling who those wolves were and his heart sped up at the thought of it, terrified of seeing them again. His hands were trembling, when he reached out to touch Jimin’s fur, needing to ground himself. A growl came from somewhere in the woods and the fire witch had to stop himself from jumping away in fear. Technically, there was no way he could know it was them but he was convinced it was the same growl he heard all those years ago.

You’re not alone, Jungkookie. Remember, we have your back.

However, Namjoon’s words did not help. On the contrary, they terrified him. Last time someone defended him against wolves, they died, so really, being with someone right now only scared him more.

The thicket rustled and piercing amber eyes stared at him, teeth bared and it almost looked like an evil grin. It was one of those wolves; Jungkook would never forget the colour of their fur. Inhaling sharply, Jungkook wanted to take another step back, needing distance between him and the worst memory of his life but Jimin was faster. With calculated steps, he put himself between the wolves and Jungkook, shielding the fire witch from the glowing eyes of the wolf that had attacked Yugyeol.

            “It’s the same wolf–––“ Jungkook whispered but then noticed another one in the distance. “wolves. It’s–––it’s them.”

Of course, Jimin knew that and Namjoon knew that too. They had both seen Jungkook’s memories, they knew those wolves maybe just as well as the fire witch himself but he still needed to say it out loud, needing to face reality because it did not feel real right now. It felt like he was in one of his nightmares. Jimin growled again, feeling Jungkook’s inner turmoil; it was a warning but also his way to communicate with them, trying to understand why they were here.

            “They’re not responding” Namjoon suddenly said, his voice sceptical. “Jiminnie’s trying to make them talk but they’re not responding. It’s like they’re not–––there.”

Jungkook needed a moment to comprehend what that piece of information really meant. They were being manipulated; they were not acting out of their own accord. For a second, Jungkook thought it could be Cain moving their bodies with his ability but if he was here, Jungkook would feel it. Additionally, Cain could only control the body, not the mind, so it could not be him controlling the wolves. It had to be another vampire then – a strong one at that and someone who could hide extremely well. Though the fire witch had never heard of a vampire with an ability that could dull someone’s mind to their will. Not even the King was able to do that and he was the most powerful vampire ever recorded.

Taking a deep breath, the fire witch felt brave enough letting go of Jimin. Now that he knew that the wolves were not really there with their minds, he felt sympathy for them despite what they had done to his brother. It had never been their fault. It had probably been Cain all those years ago as well. Jungkook realised that the wolves had never been evil and he suddenly felt a wave of sadness rush through him because he felt bad for them. Being used like that against your will had to be horrifying. Maybe they did not even know that they had attacked him and his brother back then. Maybe they had been tortured and been captive all these years, having been separated from their true pack.

Sadness changed to anger quickly because Cain had abused so many witches, vampires and now he was mistreating wolves as well. This had to end. It would end – today. With determination, Jungkook stood beside Jimin, who looked at him in concern, having felt Jungkook’s inner turmoil changing to anger but he picked up the hint and snarled at the wolves again, trying to get through to them once more. It was softer this time less menacing and Jungkook understood why. Now that he was not afraid of them anymore, he could feel the unrest within his mate. Standing before his own kind had to be hard for him. He had never had to fight his own in a battle to the death so he was hesitant. It went against his core values to hurt another wolf and Jungkook wanted to avoid a fight at all costs. Jimin should not suffer. He should not have to kill a wolf, especially one that had no control over his mind nor body.

            “Don’t fight them” Jungkook whispered. “I know it will haunt you. I’ll take care of them, if I have to.”

He saw it in Jimin’s eyes that he wanted to protest but Jungkook made a point by putting himself between Jimin and the other two wolves. His mate had always been there for him and protected him. Even when he asked him not to. It was Jungkook’s turn to protect Jimin’s sanity. If the wolves were to attack, there was one way to kill them quickly and safely. It was a cruel way but Jungkook would do anything to save Jimin’s conscience from the guilt of killing one of his own.

The wolves still stared at them, standing a few metres away from them, as if they were waiting for a command. The vampire had to be close, so there was a way to locate him or her.

I’m already on it.

Jungkook did not have to look behind him to notice that Namjoon had cast a locating spell. Strong wind blew past the fire witch, almost making him take a step forward, which had the wolves baring their teeth in anger, shifting into a more aggressive posture, yet they still did not attack. Mirroring their stance, Jungkook grounded himself, watching them closely, ready for any attack, while Jimin was still paying attention to their surroundings. It was dead silent, until Namjoon gasped quietly and then Jimin growled deep in his chest – a sound of disgust and hatred that made Jungkook shiver.

            “Jungkookie, you two should keep going. This is my fight” Namjoon said lowly, his body suddenly tense and alert.

Frowning, Jungkook wanted to ask why he suddenly said that but then, he felt his presence. Maybe it was because he was now part vampire and that was why he could feel the similarity in Namjoon and him but Jungkook understood immediately. However, there was no way he would leave his partner alone with two wolves and him.

            “Don’t overestimate your power, son” Jun appeared from behind a tree, clicking his tongue. “You can’t fight two wolves at the same time.”

            “Don’t call me that” the half breed gritted his teeth. “Jungkookie, draw trapping spell around him and me. The wolves can’t actually attack you. If they could, they would have done so already. Remember, it’s their goal to tire you out! It must have something to do with the bond you share with Jiminnie. Just trap me in with Jun and then move on! The longer we fight, the more people we’re gonna lose in this fight!”

Jungkook dared to look away from the wolves, glancing at his partner, who was ready to jump his own father – to kill him for the greater good of the world. He wondered, if it was hard for Namjoon and if he really hated Jun as much as he said he did. After all, he was still his father.

            “Do it!” Namjoon yelled at him, not letting his father out of his sight.

You’ll be trapped in there, even once the fight is over. I can’t just–––

Jungkook shook his head in disbelief, feeling unsafe without his partner next to him. Last time they got separated, he nearly lost his mind and he almost got Namjoon killed. It was a thought he could not finish. It was unthinkable to leave him here. He could not just move on without helping him. Jun was a skilled fighter despite him being a nature witch. Everyone knew that he fought well and unfair.

I’ll be okay, Jungkookie, I promise. If you have time, break the spell in half an hour. I should be done with him by then. I prepared for this moment ever since you rescued me. I am ready to take him on.

If he could, Namjoon would lock eyes with the fire witch but it was unwise to take his eyes off Jun. He could strike at any moment. It was still a dumb idea to leave him behind. Jungkook was not convinced by Namjoon’s words of comfort; on the contrary, they sounded like the half breed was determined to kill Jun, even if that meant dying as well.

            “So you’re the leader of Special Force but you can’t even get your members to follow your orders” Jun snorted, arching a brow in amusement.

Clearly, he was waiting to fight Namjoon alone. Maybe, he also wanted Jungkook separated from as many people as possible, so Cain had it easier to kill him. There really was no advantage for either of Special Force, yet if Jungkook wanted to find Cain in time, he would have to leave now.

            “Shut the fuck up” Jungkook hissed through his teeth, feeling anger bubble inside him.

Defeated by time, Jungkook gave in, casting a trapping spell around them, leaving Namjoon enough space to fight. As soon as he was finished, he charged at the wolves, surprising them with his speed. Thanking his newfound strength of his vampire side, he managed to knock their heads together hard enough, so that they lost consciousness. Jimin looked at him in shock, not having expected that either.

            “So that they won’t follow us” Jungkook explained. “Maybe once they wake up, the spell will be broken.”

He gave the wolf an intense look before he turned his head to his partner, who was now trapped inside a barrier with his father, whose motives were not clear.

Don’t you dare die, Jungkook thought hard and he realized that thinking about Namjoon’s possible death already brought tears to his eyes. Shaking his head a little, he stopped himself, concentrating on the barely there connection with Cain. He had completely lost the thread that connected them, once he wolves had appeared but now, he could feel him again. It was different from any other link he had felt before. It was ice-cold, like the dead – pooling somewhere inside him. He shivered, when he concentrated on it once more, letting it lead him. His feet were suddenly moving by themselves, running over the crisp snow, barely even sinking in anymore because the snow was so hard from the cold. Somewhere at the back of his mind, Jungkook felt Jimin was right behind him, not leaving his side. He was the flame that kept him sane, as he pursued the darkness that connected him to Cain.

As they rushed further into the forest, the fire witch started speeding up, his feet leaving rushed footprints, not bothering to be careful about tracks. It was quiet around them now, moving away further away from the battlefield. Jungkook could not even hear Namjoon fight his father anymore. Suddenly, the forest opened up to a meadow, leaving Jungkook vulnerable to an open attack. Stopping immediately, the fire witch assessed the situation, standing there with his senses sharp, looking around himself. Something was off. Jimin sensed it as well because his fur stood up at the back of his neck, when he stepped next to the fire witch protectively.

Cain was close. Jungkook could feel it; the darkness he felt inside him was so strong, it was a little overwhelming. 

Maybe this meadow was the spot he chose to fight Jungkook. It would make sense. An open space, where neither Jimin nor Jungkook could hide. No wood that Jungkook could light on fire to make it harder on a vampire. It was a simple space that was covered in snow – a clear disadvantage for Jungkook. The season in general made it harder for him to heat up his body in order to fight.

It dawned on him that this was Cain’s plan all along. Only Jimin was at his side now and the terrain was unfortunate. Scanning the area, Jungkook tried to locate the vampire but he was nowhere in sight, not until Jimin took a step forward, growling at something at the other side of the meadow. There, Jungkook spotted a person with dark hair and a dark robe wrapped around him. It was him. Despite not seeing him clearly yet but he could feel it.

            “Close your eyes” Jungkook reminded his mate, as he chose to close his own as well.

If either of them would fall for Cain’s strategy, he would be able to control their bodies and he would no doubt enjoy making the couple kill each other.

            “We finally meet” he spoke in a dark tone and Jungkook picked up the way the snow cracked underneath the man’s weight, as he came closer.

He was still far away but the fire witch could still hear him. With his vision lost, he could only concentrate on his hearing, trying as hard as he could to evaluate how far away Cain was.  

            “It’s strange that you have their blood despite not looking like either of them” the vampire snorted. “Although I can feel their presence within you. Their crooked morals ooze out of you. Maybe it’s the dog poisoning your mind.”

Jimin snarled at that comment and Jungkook felt him move. Clicking his tongue, the fire witch knew exactly what Cain was doing. He was trying to anger them enough so that they would open their eyes, giving him the upper hand.

            “If you think Jimin’s just a dog then you’re underestimating his strength” Jungkook snorted. “He could snap your neck in just a moment, if you’re not careful.”

            “That puppy can barely make out where I am without his vision” Cain commented in amusement. “And he won’t attack, as long as you don’t tell him to. He’s nothing more than a lapdog to his mate. Wolves are slaves to who they think they love. They’re weak at the core, their muscle power masking their stupidity.”

If this was any other situation, Jungkook would have rolled his eyes. Cain’s opinion was so outdated, and he knew nothing about the bond he and Jimin shared. The vampire managed to offend Jungkook so easily, even though he only meant to provoke the wolf with his statement. Though, of course, the fire witch did not let it show at all.

As Cain got closer, Jungkook felt the daunting presence in front of him, maybe five metres away from him. His guard was up and he was ready to attack and defend at any moment. He hated that Jimin stood in between him and the vampire but he knew that even if he told Jimin to step aside, he would not do it. Protecting Jungkook was his only thought now and it had overwritten the need to obey Jungkook for the time being.

            “Such a waste” Cain sighed. “You could have been such a good asset, if Jun had retrieved you in time. I sense so much power in you.”

Grinding his teeth, Jungkook took a deep breath, trying not to get angry. Cain just confirmed that his plan had been to kidnap Jungkook back then, when his brother was killed. If Jun had not been chased out of the academy on the same day, he would have collected Jungkook from the woods and he would have been one of Cain’s brainwashed witches. He also confirmed that the vampires that had killed Yugyeol had been sent by him. That thought alone was enough to make Jungkook burn from the inside out, anger bubbling inside him, not being able to brush it aside anymore.

            “Fuck you” Jungkook hissed through his teeth, baring them on instinct.

            “Your vampire side has awakened” Cain gasped and Jungkook almost opened his eyes at that because it sounded like the vampire was surprised and the fire witch would have loved to see that smug grin of his fall. “Yet you have a mark on your neck. You should have died, when he bit you.”

            “And I did” Jungkook replied shortly. “You don’t really care about all of this, though. Let’s just get on with it and fight, so I can kill you. I don’t want to hear your voice anymore. You make me feel sick. You’ve done so much wrong in this world and you don’t regret one thing. She promised that you would die by the hands of her lineage and I am here to fulfil her wishes.”

He knew that would catch Cain off-guard. She cursed him right before she was killed by him so naturally no one knew about this. Not wasting any time, Jungkook charged forward, his hands lighting on fire in an instant, as he jumped over Jimin, throwing a large blade-like flame towards where Cain was supposed to be standing, though Jungkook knew he had missed, the second he heard the snow behind him crash softly. Only then, he realized that if he used his fire, his only advantage was going to melt. The snow made every step one took much more audible, helping Jungkook locate wherever Cain was standing. Without it, he would never be as exact as this. Usually, he relied on the body temperature of the person he was fighting but Cain just seemed so incredibly cold. The darkness that still connected them was not much help to locate him either so Jungkook had to focus on his hearing alone. Suddenly, all the training that he did to fight with his eyes closed did not help him anymore.

            “You’re pretty fast, even for a mere half one” Cain chuckled. “Is your lapdog just going to stand there and watch? Wolves really are useless after all.”

Growling angrily, Jimin moved, running towards Cain, walking right into the vampire’s trap. Panicking, Jungkook’s heart sped up; Cain was going to hurt him. It was so easy for him because he could see. With one move, he could wrap his arms around Jimin and snap his neck. The need to open his eyes burnt inside him but then, he thought of something else. Quickly, he concentrated on the bond between him and Jimin, feeling exactly where the wolf was, so Jungkook directed his flames at him, wrapping his entire body in them. His fire could never hurt the man he loved so much. It was there to protect him. Thus, an armor was made for that no vampire could break through without hurting themselves in the process and if Cain really dared touch Jimin now, Jungkook would know exactly where he was because once he touched his fire, Jungkook could feel where he was.

            “At least one of you is smart” Cain commented, his voice coming from a different position than before. “You really have your fire under control. I thought that was just a rumour. I suppose that’s thanks to Jun’s son. Too bad he won’t meet him. I gave the order to kill him and Jun never disappoints me.”

At that moment, Jungkook wanted to open his eyes so badly. If he had his vision, it would be so much easier to defeat Cain. With his vision, he would be able to use his fire freely and no vampire was a match against his powers. Without his vision, however, he needed his surroundings, which meant his fire was off limits. This way, it would take him so much longer. Meanwhile, his friends were in danger so he needed to find the quickest way out of this. The quickest way was to light the whole meadow on fire, starting at the outer part. This way he would trap Cain inside, burning him alive. Jungkook’s fire wouldn’t die, even if the vampire ran to the closest river. He needed to do this quickly because as soon as he would start lighting the meadow on fire, Cain would uncover his plan immediately and would try to escape.

Thus, Jungkook needed to focus. Taking a deep breath, he prepared himself but his concentration was broken with a piercing growl from far away. It was not one of the two wolves that were under a spell because Jungkook would recognise those horrible voices anywhere. No, it had to be Hoseok and although the fire witch could not decipher the meaning of the growl, he felt it through Jimin and it broke his will to keep his eyes closed.

Sorrow. Grief. Pain.

So much pain he received through the bond and Jungkook could not help but turn around to his mate to seek his expression, to understand what was going on. Jimin stared at him, his face twisted in pain before he howled back and this time, even Jungkook heard the sorrow within the tone of the noise.

Someone out of their team had died.

Hoseok was the one to tell them so it had to be either Yoongi, Taehyung or Jin. It could be either of them. In shock, Jungkook took longer to realise that Cain was moving. Only when he watch Jimin’s eyes avert from him to something behind him, he understood. Grief was joined by fury and the wolf charged at Cain, who had to stand somewhere behind Jungkook, though the wolf stopped suddenly, lowering his head with a snarl. He kept whimpering and snarling, trying to fight against him but the fire witch knew it was too late.

Jimin had locked eyes with Cain. The vampire was now in control of Jimin’s body.

There was so much to feel and so much to comprehend; Jungkook did not know what to do with himself. He needed to focus but the realisation that they had lost someone still gnawed on his conscience, not letting him concentrate. However, seeing Jimin struggle under the grasp of Cain’s ability distracted him enough to clear his mind from the pain he felt. The wolf’s eyes were back on Jungkook now, glowing with regret, pain and grief and it almost tore the witch apart. If he did not help Jimin now, he may lose him as well. Thus, he took a deep breath and made sure to keep his back turned to Cain, watching his mate closely.

            “You see, this was her biggest flaw too. Love makes you weak. You will die because you’ll try to free your mate from my grasp. One of you already died. Jun will kill his son. You can’t succeed, if you rely on love to bind people to you. Only power and fear guarantee loyalty and success. I am the oldest vampire alive for a reason.”  

Breathing through his anger, Jungkook balled his fists, trying to ignore Cain’s words. He needed to come up with a plan quickly, before Cain made Jimin attack him. He could still try to burn the entire meadow to the ground but it would take too much energy out of him at once. He would be vulnerable for a few seconds, leaving him exposed to Cain’s attacks and now he did not have Jimin to protect him any longer. However, was there even another way? Namjoon was trapped in the barrier that Jungkook had created and the others were – somewhere. Jungkook had to act on his own now.

He was caught up in his head for too long because he realised too late that Jimin was moving. Only his growl snapped the fire witch out of it and he was barely able to jump out of the wolf’s reach. Whimpering, Jimin looked at him, guilt seeping through the bond but Jungkook had no time to process it all. With another quick leap, Jimin was almost at his side again, forcing the witch to jump out of the way again. He was fast but his movements were different. It was so obvious that he was being controlled – a puppet to Cain.

            “Love is nothing but a distraction!” Cain’s voice was suddenly too close and he only managed to close his eyes in time, before the vampire managed to punch him in the face.

Jungkook lost balance, toppling over himself but he made sure to put distance between them again. His face tingled with pain and he tasted blood in his mouth. With his chest heaving, he repositioned his stance just in time to evade another attack from Jimin. Crying out in despair, Jimin was forced to fight his own mate, which went against his entire being. Jungkook felt the turmoil within him so strongly, he could not imagine how painful it was for Jimin.

It was then, when it hit him.

Jimin could not hurt him anymore. The bond prevented him from doing so. Even the wolves that were under Jun’s spell had not been able to attack him and they were not even directly bonded to Jungkook. It was said time and time again: the bond between a wolf and his mate was the strongest magic in the world. Determined, Jungkook stopped in his tracks, looking Jimin dead in the eyes as he charged at him, yipping as a warning.

            “You won’t hurt me” Jungkook shook his head, speaking in Korean, knowing Cain would not understand him. “You can’t hurt me, hyung! I trust you!”

Frowning, Jimin kept running towards him but Jungkook was sure he was not going to hurt him. Somewhere behind him, Cain clicked his tongue, chuckling in amusement, as he forced Jimin to attack his mate.

However – just as Jungkook had thought – he stopped right before he could jump at the witch, his eyes wide in panic, until he realised himself that he was not moving any longer. Jungkook broke out into a comforting smile and if they were not fighting the most dangerous vampire alive, he would have reached out to card his fingers through Jimin’s fur.

            “What’s going on!?” Cain clearly sounded angry.

            “You’re wrong. Love protects me. It always has” Jungkook says strongly. “The bond between Jimin and me is stronger than your ability. It’s even stronger than the spells of your favourite witch.”

            “I guess, I have to kill you myself then” Cain clenched his teeth and suddenly, he was next to Jungkook again, who was about to move but Cain’s hand was on his nape and he clicked his tongue. “Don’t you move. I can snap his neck before you can snap mine.”

Cain’s hand was cold like ice, though Jungkook did not shiver because of that but because of the dark aura that surrounded him now. Dominance oozed out of the man, centuries of being in power giving him confidence. However, as soon as Cain had touched him, Jungkook knew he had won this fight. He had the upper hand now and knowing that gave him a strange sense of calm, as he was so close to fulfilling his destiny. Jimin clearly seemed confused but he surely felt Jungkook’s confidence in his abilities. Cain forced Jungkook on his knees and the witch let him because for what he was about to do, he needed to concentrate. Somewhere inside him, there was this power; it was almost like someone else was there with him, like fulfilling his duty as the descendant of the Queen awakened her again somehow.

            “She was dumb to think she could curse me. I’m too strong. I always have been. Finally, I can eradicate her line and move on with gaining control over this realm again and then, the human world.”

            “Cain, remember what she said” Jungkook hummed lowly. “You will suffer the same death you put your brother through.

The vampire gasped audibly, his grip on Jungkook’s neck tightening.

            “Eventually, you will burn” Jungkook continued before lighting himself on fire.

With a cry of pain, Cain pulled his hand back. In the meantime, Jungkook got up and turned around, opening his eyes to look upon the vampire for the first time. Instead of an intimidating figure, he saw a vampire panicking because his hand was on fire and he could not stop it from spreading. Making sure that he was standing in between Jimin and Cain, Jungkook glared at him, knowing that his eyes were red now.

            “Eventually, you will burn” he repeated. “Eventually is now.”

            “Turn it off!” Cain demanded frantically.” Turn it off or––“

            “You’ll kill Jimin? You lost your control over him once you started burning. You can’t concentrate enough to keep it up without looking at him and to look at Jimin, you have to go through me.”

Cain locked eyes with him and Jungkook felt his control over his body slip away. He was not scared, though because his fire was still his. It was part of his mind, his emotions, and not his physical movement. Concentrating on the fire that was trailing up the vampire’s arm, he accelerated the process, spreading it all across Cain’s body. Within a few seconds, he got a hold of himself again, rolling his shoulders as a test, as Cain cried out in pain, patting down on the fire frantically.

            “Make it stop! Make it stop!” he kept shouting, his voice getting desperate but Jungkook just watched him.

            “It took centuries but you’re finally gonna die” Jungkook sighed.

Walking up next to Jungkook, Jimin watched Cain burn as well, staying close to his mate, both of them seeking comfort in each other. Burning took a while and Jungkook would have preferred the quicker way but it was the Queen’s wish for Cain to die this way and somehow, the fire witch felt the thirst for vengeance quench within his blood. After a few more minutes of Cain struggling, he finally lost his mind and started running but Jimin was faster, cutting him off, snarling at him, ready to jump him.

            “No, don’t! He needs to die this way” Jungkook hurried to say so the wolf behaved, simply keeping Cain on the meadow.

It took another few minutes until Cain stopped screaming, collapsing onto the ground, his body still convulsing from the pain. Finally, he stopped moving, though it was clear he was not completely dead yet. Nevertheless, Jungkook felt calm now and he let out a deep sigh, feeling his body relax. The snow had melted on the meadow, as Cain had run around on it. Only now, Jungkook let himself notice the noises in the background.

He realised that it was not over. Cain was dying – he was already unconscious and his flesh was slowly starting to decay. It all had to be over now but that was not true for the rest of the witches. They were still fighting. They were still in danger, fighting for their lives. Everyone could still die at any moment because Cain’s followers did not know he was dead. Nudging him gently, Jimin kept close to him, probably noticing that Jungkook was starting to feel uneasy once more. Jungkook had to help them and he knew how. It was difficult and it would probably take all the power that he had left but he could not let anyone fight any longer. It was over now. Not one witch life should be sacrificed now. Leaning against Jimin, Jungkook revelled in the softness of his fur for a moment, sighing at how safe he felt with Jimin.

            “Hyung, I’ll do something now and it’ll take a lot of energy so–––I might pass out. I trust you. I know you’ll protect me” Jungkook warned him, not wanting him to be scared, when he lost consciousness.

With worry in his eyes, Jimin nodded, giving Jungkook enough room to do whatever he was planning to do while still staying close to him to protect him. Taking a deep breath, Jungkook crouched down, placing his hands on the damp grass that was exposed after the snow had melted. The witch breathed in the ground, feeling it, trying to connect with himself and his emotions. For what he was about to do, he needed a clear mind. If he did not know exactly what he wanted to do, he would hurt a lot of people.

Inside him, he felt his fire sizzling, ready to ooze out of him. Concentrating on his feelings regarding Cain’s followers, he made sure to have no hatred in his heart for those that were forced to do his bidding. They were not at fault. After having sorted that out, he breathed out slowly, releasing his fire so quickly, it covered the meadow in less than a second, rushing through the forest without lighting it. He felt it reach people who were still fighting, catching on those who were Cain’s allies, burning them just as his fire had burnt Cain. Screams filled the skies but Jungkook could not hear. All he was focused on was his fire reaching every last one of Cain’s followers.

With each passing second, the fire witch was getting more exhausted and soon enough, he started struggling not to pass out but he knew he had to keep going. Only a little bit and his fire would reach the ocean. Only then he could guarantee no one had fled. Finally, the coldness of the sea touched his fire and it was like it extinguished it all. As if time was rewound, Jungkook’s fire crawled back to him and when the last bit returned to him, his vision started blurring and his head spun dangerously. His body was tilting to the side, falling to the ground but he never felt the impact; he had lost consciousness before that.

 

The first thing he noticed, when he woke up was Jimin’s presence beside him. He was filled with warmth and comfort, a constant sense of security flowing through his veins. Then, he realised that Jimin had his arm around him, his nose nuzzled against Jungkook’s neck, breathing calmly. The witch could not feel his body just yet, his limbs too heavy to make them move. His mind was still too foggy to comprehend where he was but he realised they were safe and Jimin was with him so he let himself fall back asleep, snuggling closer to his mate instinctively.

The next time he regained consciousness, there were more people in the room. Despite not having opened his eyes yet, he could feel their presence. Feeling much better now, he opened his eyes and blinked a few times at the bright light coming from the ceiling. The rose colour of the walls was what he saw first, which told him that he was at the hospital back at the academy.

            “He’s awake!” Jimin’s voice startled the witch a little because it was further away in the room than he expected.

Focussing his eyes on his mate, he spotted him sitting on the couch opposite of the hospital bed, sitting close to Hoseok, who was waking Taehyung up. It looked like the water witch had fallen asleep on Hoseok’s lap. Sitting up lethargically, Jungkook looked around some more, as Jimin got up to get to his side again. Namjoon and Jin were standing on the right side of the bed, holding hands, when they smiled softly at the fire witch. Namjoon had his arm in a sling; Jin had a large plaster stuck to his neck. With Jimin sliding his hand into this, Jungkook looked around some more, searching another pair of eyes. Confused, he looked in vain; only five pairs of eyes were looking back at him. His memories of the fight came back clearly, when he noticed Taehyung. His arm was in a sling as well but that was not what helped bring Jungkook’s memory back. It was the look on his face, the dried tears on his cheeks, his puffy eyes and the sad look within them that made the fire witch realise.

Yoongi was the one who died on the battlefield.

Yoongi had died.

Without realising it, tears started running down his face and he just looked at everyone in the room once more. The whole atmosphere was heavy. Clearly, all of them were glad that Jungkook was okay but the room was empty without their seventh member. Jungkook wanted to ask what happened, how he died, if they were able to retrieve his body. So many things went through his head but his voice got stuck in his throat, as he kept crying.

            “He–––“ Taehyung started but he broke out into a sob immediately. “He died for me. I––––he saved me. Why did he––– I––“

 Wrapping his arms around him, Hoseok comforted him, nuzzling his neck to calm him down but Taehyung kept weeping and Jungkook could not blame him. He knew exactly what he was going through and he wished he could tell Taehyung that it was going to be fine, that he would feel better eventually. However, the guilt of being the reason why someone died would always stay with him. It was a burden Jungkook had carried ever since Yugyeol died and now, Taehyung would do the same with the weight of Yoongi’s death on his shoulders. Suddenly, Jungkook thought of Anna. She was probably just as devastated as Taehyung. She was pregnant. Her child would grow up without ever know their father.

            “Where is Anna?” Jungkook asked, when he had stopped crying, tightening his grip around Jimin’s hand.

            “Her brother is with her” Namjoon explained. “She doesn’t want to see any of us, though she made sure that you got the best nurses.”

            “The funeral is two days” Jin continued with a heavy heart. “We brought his body. Thanks to you, we did not have to hurry and leave him behind. We were able to bring everyone back.”

Nodding absentmindedly, Jungkook lowered his head, still trying to process that he was never going to see Yoongi again. His heart hurt and if Jimin was not holding his hand right now, he would break down again.

            “May I come in?” an old voice requested softly.

Looking up, Jungkook spotted the headmaster in the door, who locked eyes with each one of them, walking in and stopping in front of Taehyung.

            “You should eat something, Taehyung. If not for you, then for him and for those he left behind. Please take care of yourself, child” the headmaster patted his head meaningfully.

It was rare to see the headmaster be so fond with witches other than Jungkook. He was always kind and polite but he rarely showed this much compassion in such a private manner.

            “Let’s get you some food. Jungkookie, we’ll bring some for you too, yeah?” Namjoon offered and the fire witch nodded again, not really knowing what to say.

With heavy steps, Taehyung and Hoseok left the room first; Namjoon and Jin followed quickly, so it was only Jungkook, Jimin and the headmaster. Slowly, the old man sat down on the opposite side of the bed where the wolf had chosen to sit. With a deep sigh, the old man looked at Jungkook with a bittersweet smile, taking his free hand and for a moment, he simply watched the fire witch for a moment.

            “You did what was necessary. Cain is finally dead” he said eventually. “Not only did you kill him but you helped everyone by burning all of his allies. Thanks to you, we didn’t suffer more losses than we already have. We must all thank you. It was an unfair request to put you through this but you did it dutifully. Yoongi will be missed greatly and I am so sorry for your loss. I won’t disturb you for much longer. I just wanted to express my gratitude.”

            “It was my destiny” Jungkook whispered, his voice breaking.

            “Before I leave, there is something you must know. I protected this world ever since I was headmaster of this academy. I couldn’t rest until Cain was dead. Now that he is gone, I am ready to leave this earth too. I will age naturally now” the headmaster revealed, his voice thick. “The academy is yours by birth right. Anyone of the council not believing that after what you’ve done for this world is out of their right minds. However, you are not obligated to take over. I know of someone else who would be a good choice for the future of this academy. You don’t have to choose now. I simply want you to think about it.”

Staring, Jungkook did not know what to think. He could not wrap his head around ever leading the academy. Knowing his impulsiveness, that did not seem like a good idea. Thought just like the headmaster said, that was not a thought for now but a thought for later. Right now, they had to grieve, to piece together what they were left with. With another sigh, the headmaster got up and left the room and the silence was deafening. He was left to his own troubles again and even Jimin’s presence did not soothe his grieving heart.

            “I–––I can’t believe Yoongi-hyung is–––gone” Jungkook spoke almost inaudibly, starting to cry again.

In an instant, Jimin pulled the maknae into his arms, caressing his back comfortingly, even though he was crying as well. They sought comfort in each other, crying in each other’s arms and Jimin kept nuzzling the witch’s neck.

The rest of the day was spent just like that. In the evening, Jungkook was released from the hospital and Special Force all spent the night together in the living room of their dorm. They had to stop Taehyung from drowning himself in alcohol but eventually, he fell asleep and Hoseok carried him to bed. The others went to sleep soon after, their hearts just as heavy. It was not the same without Yoongi.

Too soon, the day of the funeral arrived. In the morning, Jungkook put on his suit, breathing through the pain. It was too much already but he had to be strong today. They would see Anna today and it was not his place to sob. It was her right to cry for him, to grieve when they buried him. Namjoon and Jin had gone ahead, making sure that everything was going along, while Jimin and Jungkook had just left. Taehyung and Hoseok had been out ever since the sun had been up. The water witch had to clear his mind before seeing his best friend getting buried.

He would be buried next to his parents. Anna had decided that as his wife but Taehyung agreed with it as well. It was the best spot for him. The cemetery was situated at the bottom of the hill that the academy was built on. It was for all the team members that had fallen in battle. Naturally, the cemetery was rather large. It was Jimin’s first time there, so Jungkook had to lead him to the right spot. Holding Jimin’s hand tightly, the fire witch took a deep breath, when he saw the first few people in black. Once they arrived, Jungkook realised that they were the last ones. Anna was standing next to Taehyung, although she was clearly just tolerating him. Of course, she was still angry at him; Jungkook did not blame her. She was blinded by her grief and it morphed into anger when confronted with the reason why Yoongi had died, even if it was not Taehyung’s fault. Deep down, she knew that but she was hurting and needed someone to blame. Protectively, she had placed on hand on her baby bump, as if the slightest touch could hurt her baby. Her brother was standing behind her, locking eyes with Jungkook. They stared at each other for a moment, though Jungkook was unsure why.

As soon as the ceremony started, the atmosphere changed. It was gloomy before but the words that were spoken over Yoongi’s coffin made everyone emotional and it was hard not to cry. Jungkook had wished to never have to go through this again, to lose someone close to him so soon. He felt bad for Anna, who did not want Yoongi to leave in the first place, and now she had lost him.

By the time they lowered the coffin down, Anna finally broke down crying. Her brother wanted to comfort her but Taehyung was faster, gently pulling her into an embrace. She tried to resist at first, hitting his chest but the water witch endured it, soothing her pain just a little bit. Eventually, she gave up and just let Taehyung hug her and seeing that somehow lightened everyone’s mood. It was bittersweet but they would be okay. They had to be because they needed to be there for Anna and the baby. All of them would help her because she was family. The baby was family. Yoongi would live on in all of them. Stepping closer to his mate, Jungkook sought Jimin’s touch, wanting him to feel appreciated as well. Naturally, Jimin wrapped his arm around Jungkook’s waist, reassuring him that they as a couple were gonna be okay too.

Despite all the awful things that had happened, they had succeeded. Cain was dead and the world was a much safer place. They had lost the most loyal member of their team and it hurt but through their bond as a team, he would live on and would never be forgotten.  

Chapter Text

~Ten years later~

 

Waking up to soft, open mouthed kisses all over his body was Jungkook’s favourite way to rise in the morning. Especially after a full moon, when he had to spend the night alone. Breaking out in a smile, the fire witch yawned, shifting a little to accommodate Jimin’s warm body. He smelled freshly showered and having his weight settle in Jungkook’s lap made the witch sigh contently. Naturally, Jungkook’s hands moved to Jimin’s thighs, caressing them gently, before he opened his eyes, looking at his mate.

            “G’morning” Jungkook mumbled.

            “Hello sleepy” the wolf chuckled, kissing along Jungkook’s collarbone, eliciting a sigh from him.

            “Yeah well, that’s your fault for leaving me every full moon” the witch pouted, pulling Jimin up to kiss him.

He could never get tired of kissing him. The never ending need of being close to his mate always left him hungry for Jimin’s touch. Obliging happily, the wolf kissed him back. It was soft and reassuring at first, though it morphed into a heated one and before Jungkook could do anything, Jimin had his hands pinned to the bed, nuzzling the bite mark on the witch’s neck.

            “We should stop” Jimin mumbled against Jungkook’s skin but the younger one just wrapped his arms around him, baring his neck to make a point that he wanted this to go on.

            “Just a little while longer” the witch whined into his ear, closing his eyes again to let Jimin know that the witch was at his mercy.

With a strained groan, Jimin pulled away a little, sitting on top of the witch, still tracing his fingers over Jungkook’s abs.

            “I’m flattered that I can still make you lose focus so easily but listen” the wolf quieted down for a bit and Jungkook then realised what he had missed. “Jamie is already awake. She’ll probably walk in here in a bit. Let’s not scar our daughter for life, yeah? At least not yet.” 

Now punched out of his delirium of freshly showered Jimin waking him up, Jungkook realised what day it was. There was no time for them to laze around. After all, today was Jamie’s big day. The fire witch could not believe she was already turning six years old today. It felt like yesterday, when they had rescued her out of that house during the storm of the century.

It had been an awful night. The rain had started around 8pm and it had only gotten worse. Harsh wind had joined in eventually and it had evolved into a storm so bad that the academy was worried about the little villages around the city. The houses there were usually built quite poorly and some of them were built close to the rivers surrounding the city. It would surely flood and those living there would be in danger so Special Force and some others had volunteered to help them secure their houses with protection spells. Despite the rain making Jungkook weaker, he had been determined to help them and with Jimin at his side, his handicap had been balanced out by their strong bond.

The village that Special Force had gone to had already been in awful shape when they had gotten there. Some houses had been destroyed by falling trees or the floods of the river, people running to save whatever they could. They had not even had time to be afraid of Jimin’s and Hoseok’s wolf form. Instead, they asked them all for help. While the witches were doing quick work of saving the houses that were still intact, the wolves had started moving trees out of the way to rescue people that were trapped inside. Carefully, Jungkook had spelled as many houses he could, trying to help as best as possible. Suddenly, someone tugged on his arm – an old lady who looked terrified.

            “Help! My neighbour–––“ the woman had cried. “She’s stuck in her house––she–––please, just help her!”

            “Show me at once!” Jungkook had urged, not wanting to lose time and he had been right to hurry.

The house was situated right next to the river and a tree had crushed the entrance to the house, making it impossible to get in. The river had flooded this part of the village already and the house was ready to collapse, the ground covered in a layer of water. The fire witch had to hurry, before the house collapsed into the river. Quickly, he had jumped on top of the roof to get in through the hole that had been made by the tree. The boards of the floor had already been soaked and Jungkook had slipped a little, when he had landed. The house had been small and poorly built and the fire witch had wondered how it had held up for so long.

In a rush, he had looked around and it was terrible. The back of the house had already started to slide into the river, a wall broken off already, the whole bedroom soaked. That was when he had spotted the woman lying on the bed. There had been blood everywhere, mixing with the water on the floor, dripping down the sheets. Immediately, he had run to her trying to wake her but it was no use; she was dead. He had only realised where the blood was coming from, once he had tried everything he could to wake her up. There had been a soft rustling coming from the edge of the bed and Jungkook had widened his eyes.

A baby.

It had been lying there silently; although Jungkook did not know a lot about babies, he knew that they had to cry when they were born. With pity, the fire witch had moved to the little girl, realising that she must have been caught by the initial flooding. Her skin had turned a blue-ish tone already. Jungkook had hurried and picked her up cautiously. She had been so cold, it was scary. There had still been life in her, Jungkook could hear her heart beat faintly.

Something about her had made Jungkook’s heart ache with something he had never felt before. It was similar to how protective he was over Hyunwoo from the moment Anna gave birth to him but it was so much stronger than that. Without really thinking about it, Jungkook had warmed his hands gently pulling her close to his chest, after he had opened his shirt. She needed warmth and skin on skin was most effective.

When he had finally gotten her out of the house and everyone had been secured, Jungkook had started to ask around, if she had any family. She had still not made a sound but she was alive, Jungkook could feel it. After an hour or trying to find relatives, it had been clear that there were none, as the father had deserted the moment her mother had gotten pregnant and she had lived here alone for a while now. A bit lost, Jungkook had stood there, looking down at her innocent face, not even knowing if she was going to survive. Suddenly, he felt a hand on the small of his back, radiating warmth and safety. Jimin had finally turned back into his half human form.

            “She’s so–––small” Jimin had hummed. “Have you found her family?”

            “No” Jungkook had shaken his head absentmindedly, still looking at her fondly. “What should we do now?”

Moving around the fire witch, Jimin had smiled at her softly, reaching out to touch her head carefully and at that moment, she had started crying, beaming with life. A bit shocked, Jungkook had stared at her with so much happiness, his mate had noticed easily.

            “Jungkookie––“ Jimin had started. “If she doesn’t have family, then––– let’s keep her. Let’s raise her. You’re already attached, I can feel it.”

            “I––––can we–––are we gonna be good parents? I don’t know, if I’m ready. I don’t want to fail her.”

            “We’re gonna be okay. She’s gonna be okay” Jimin had kissed Jungkook, then her forehead.

Jungkook smiled at the memory. It was such an awful night but someone so beautiful had been born then. She was perfect in Jungkook’s eyes; strong and feisty, yet soft and gentle. With Jimin’s weight lifted off his lap, the fire witch returned to the present, stretching his back as he got up as well. The wolf pulled him closer, kissing him chastely and as always, Jungkook wanted more. That had never changed over the years. If anything, it had only gotten worse.

            “Go shower, Jungkookie. I’ll set the table. Hurry up. You should have been up an hour ago you sleepy head” Jimin chuckled.

            “Wait, what time is it?” Jungkook blinked in confusion.

            “It’s almost 9am. Now go, hurry! Or we’ll end up being late to her ceremony” Jimin reminded him and thus, the fire witch quickly got into the shower.

The element ceremony. Jungkook still vividly remembered his. He had been so scared, not knowing this world, having been pushed to identify his natural element immediately instead of having things explained to him first. When he and Jimin had officially adopted Jamie, he had vowed that he would make sure that Jamie would never feel scared or forced to undergo any of the things that were pushed upon him. While he did want her to train from an early age, he was not going to force her, if she did not want to endure all that.

After a quick shower, he slipped into his dark jeans and a black dress shirt. Afterwards, he hurried into the open living room and Jimin was done setting everything up already. In the middle of the round table, there was a red velvet cake with six candles on top of it, a bouquet of flowers next to it. Her present was on her plate. It was small this year but very meaningful. With a snap of his fingers, Jungkook lit the candles and started walking towards Jamie’s room.

            “Let’s go get her” Jungkook proposed and Jimin nodded at that, walking behind him until they stood in front of her door.

However, they did not have to knock. With glowing eyes, she yanked the door open, her ginger hair as fiery as always, albeit very much sticking out everywhere because she had not brushed it yet. Grinning happily, she looked at her two fathers, taking both of their hands, leading them to the table.

            “Good morning! Finally, you’re letting me out!” she pouted cutely, sitting down.

            “Happy birthday, honey” Jungkook sighed, ruffling up her hair a bit.

            “Happy birthday, sweetie” Jimin said at the same time, kissing her cheek, when he said down next to her. “Blow out the candles and make a wish. We’re a bit late because of someone, so you’ll have to open your present now too.”

            “We’re always late because of Dad” she rolled her eyes playfully.

            “That’s not true!” Jungkook protested but he knew it was indeed the truth, which was funny because it used to be Jimin, who always made them late and now it was the other way around.

The family laughed at that but then, Jamie moved along and blew out the candles, clapping her hands together to make a wish. Then, she quickly took the little box and pulled on the bow. Once opened, the box revealed a dainty ring with a tiny stone on top of it. She gasped and put it on, mustering it curiously.

            “It feels–––heavy” she wondered.

            “That’s because it’s a ring that hides your witch gene in the real world, so supernatural creatures don’t notice you” Jimin explained.

            “Why do I need one?” she tilted her head just like Jungkook, when he was confused.

            “Because we’ll go see your grandparents in Korea in a few days. Right before you’re meeting your Daddy’s family!”

            “Wait but–––“ she frowned, clearly not following.

            “You can use portals from today onwards, honey” the fire witch elaborated. “Your body is strong enough now, especially so, once you’ve settled into your element.”

When she realised what that actually meant, she jumped up and hugged Jungkook first, then settled back down in Jimin’s lap, snuggling against his neck. It was something she had picked up from him, which was incredibly endearing. Despite her not being a wolf and not having interacted with wolves her age, she did some things just like wolves would do them and Jungkook found that beautiful.

            “C’mon, we should head to the academy now” Jimin reminded them. “Uncle Namjoon took some time off just for you today!”

            “Did he really!?” she gasped, jumping up again. “Let’s go!”

She was so full of energy, Jungkook wondered, if he used to be like that as well but he doubted it. There was so much joy in her that the fire witch could never get tired of watching her play. That was why Jimin was the better parent. He could be strict with her while still maintaining such a good relationship with her. Jungkook just had a soft spot for her and if Jimin did not stop him, the fire witch would probably let her do anything she wanted.

Their house was not far from the academy, since they were still part of Special Force, although they did not do missions like they used to. They usually helped other teams wherever they were needed. A lot had changed in ten years. The first two years after Yoongi’s death, Taehyung and Hoseok had been busy helping Anna wherever they could. They moved out into the flat next to Anna’s but eventually, they all moved together for Hyunwoo’s sake. At first, it had been a bit odd but they were happy like that. With them having moved out, Jin had chosen to teach at the academy, wanting the healer witches to be as competent as him. Within five years, he had become the head doctor at the hospital as well as the professor that evaluated the final healer witch exam.

However, Namjoon had gone through the biggest change of them all. After the announcement of the headmaster retiring, there had been an uproar because no one knew who was to follow in his footsteps. Jungkook had declined the offer again and again, not feeling competent enough for that much responsibility. Thus, the headmaster had asked Namjoon to step up, which he did. For six years, he had learnt the ways of handling the academy and the responsibility that came with it. He had become so busy that even Jin barely saw him anymore. After those six years, the headmaster had been confident to step down and within another three years, he had passed away. It was the largest funeral Jungkook had ever attended and while it had been sad, he knew that the headmaster had been ready to die a long time ago.

Pulling her dads up the long stairs of the academy, Jamie was practically skipping, excited for her element ceremony. She always demanded that Jungkook show her tricks with his fire, wanting to see what her father could do with his element. Thus, she had always been curious about her own element, so she asked all her uncles about the typical features of the different witches. In the end, she concluded that she was going to be a water witch. That made a lot of sense, since she always demanded her parents’ full attention, seeking love openly. However, sometimes there was this feeling that Jungkook had that she might be something else but that was unrealistic.

The ceremony took place in the stone garden. In the centre, there were tokens of every element aligned with the four cardinal directions. North with water. East with wind. South with fire. West with both nature and rock. With big eyes, Jamie looked at it, knowing exactly where she would have to stand later. They had rehearsed this a million times. However, before they started, they greeted everyone that was going to watch.

Special Force was there, greeting them fondly, hugging each other tightly. They really did not see each other often enough anymore. Taehyung basically jumped Jungkook like they used to; Hoseok and Jimin nosed each other’s necks, to which their mates glared at them instinctively, though there was no bite behind it. Both Jimin and Jungkook kissed Anna’s cheek and high-fived Hyunwoo, who felt incredibly mature right now.

He had been like a brother to Jamie the moment he met her. Every time they met up, he cuddled her and was excited to see her. As soon as she could walk, he taught her small things and together, they became quite mischievous sometimes. It was truly adorable. Naturally, it was also a little concerning because they were steering into the same direction Jungkook and Taehyung used to be and Jungkook did not know if he could handle another pair like they had been.

            “Someone looks ready to have her element ceremony” Namjoon’s voice startled them all a bit.

The new headmaster, Jin, and Tablo had just walked into the stone garden. Just like the others, they all hugged and greeted each other, catching up a little. Tablo was the odd one out between them all, even though they were friends, it was clear that he was not part of their family. Nevertheless, he was needed for the element ceremony, as there had to be a witch of every element present. Usually, they did not have a fire witch for the ceremony because Jungkook could not attend every ceremony but there had never been a witch that had not chosen one of the other elements. Except him, of course.

            “Let’s get this started, shall we?” Namjoon suggested and Jamie nodded vigorously, already skipping into the centre of all the tokens.

Nervousness started seeping in, when Jungkook watched her wait there in the middle all giddy and excited. Jungkook had no reason to be worried and he knew that, yet he could not help it, though that was what being a parent as about.

            “Dad, go stand at the right spot, I want to start already!” she whined, stomping her right foot on the ground impatiently.

            “Alright, sweetie” he shook his head, pretending to be alright.

As he moved to his designated space, he locked eyes with Jimin, who smiled at him reassuringly and that smile alone made Jungkook feel warm and comforted. It was just all in his head. There was no reason to be afraid for her.

A small flame was burning down a candle in front of him. Opposite of him, there was Taehyung with a bowl of water in front of him and with a single movement of his hand, he made the water float in the air. On Jungkook’s right, Namjoon positioned himself, a steady breeze surrounding him and opposite of the wind witch, there were Jin and Tablo both yielding a piece of their element as well.

            “Jamie” Namjoon spoke. “Close your eyes and concentrate on yourself. Trust yourself, as you explore your inner truth. You will choose what you’re destined to be.”

Taking a deep breath, she nodded and closed her eyes, suddenly going eerily quiet. It was so rare to see her this calm. Taking the flame into his hand, Jungkook watched as she breathed calmly, not moving at all. It took what felt like forever for her move again. Slowly, she shifted from one leg to the other, her eyes still closed. Biting his lip nervously, Jungkook wanted to reach out, to see, whether she was okay. He remembered the visions that he had had back then, when he had been in her situation and they were not unpleasant but they were scary too.

Suddenly, she moved, turning to Taehyung and Jungkook thought that was it, that she had revealed her element. However, at that moment, the flame in his hand grew rapidly, turning blue as it rose tall over his head. Everyone gasped, when they understood that it was not Jungkook who manipulated the flame.

His daughter was staring him dead in the eyes, looking just as shocked as everyone else. She had done this.

She was a fire witch. Jungkook was not the only one after all.

            “This is a miracle” Tablo mumbled, completely flabbergasted.

            “I can’t believe it” Namjoon gasped. “Park Jamie. Your element–––is fire.”

Namjoon having announced it officially meant the ceremony was over and within a second, Jungkook as well as Jimin were at her side. Protectively, Jungkook lifted her up into his arms, hugging her tightly, still not truly believing what just happened. Jimin had one of his hands at the small of Jungkook’s back, the other was carding through Jamie’s hair, as the three of them hugged each other.

            “I thought you were the only one Dad” she sniffled, nosing his neck, trying not to cry but Jungkook felt her tears running down his neck.

            “We thought so too baby” the fire witch held back his own tears, overwhelmed by not being the only fire witch anymore.

Immediately, his mind went to the future, to him teaching his daughter how to handle her fire. He was worried for her again because he knew how hard it could be controlling the impulsiveness of fire but he was relieved that she was not going to go through it alone. He would be there for her every step of the way. Pulling back a little, she looked at Jungkook with those same curious eyes that had stared at him the first time she woke up in his arms and it was then, when Jungkook realised that maybe, he had always known that she was a fire witch too. Maybe, that was the reason he had been so drawn to her from the very beginning.

            “How lucky am I? Having both of you. I love you two so much” Jimin nuzzled into her hair, before he kissed Jungkook tenderly, wiping away the one tear that escaped, running down Jungkook’s cheek.

            “I love you too” Jungkook sighed, smiling at him, then averting his eyes to his daughter. “And I love you too, my little fire witch.”

That was all it took to make her sob, hugging them as tightly as she could, and Jungkook’s heart softened even more. It was hard pulling away but he was aware that everyone was still around them and that they had plans to have lunch together. Thus, Jungkook put his daughter down and she skipped towards Hyunwoo immediately, starting a game of tag, as the adults started walking towards the academy again. Looking at that image, Jungkook felt so lucky, he was speechless.

He had Jimin and his daughter, as well as all of his friends that were like family to him. He could not think of anything more that he wanted. No matter what was to come, he was confident that they could face it together and that they would be okay. With that thought in mind, Jungkook caught up to the rest, sliding his hand into Jimin’s, who hummed in content, and they started their way to the restaurant.