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Damnatio Aeterna

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Jungkook crouches low behind a tangle of dead bushes, the low light of the moon reflecting off snow-covered ground. He hears shouts in the distance, angry snarls as orders are shouted at his former pack. If they get too close they’ll pick up his scent, especially with the blood dripping from him right now.

He winces as he crawls away from the bush, dragging himself backward, away from the oncoming pursuers. If they find him he’s as good as dead. They have no choice now, no matter how much some of them may have respected him when he was their leader. The strongest of them have banded together to cast Jungkook out. The others will comply, for survival if nothing else.

As Jungkook pulls himself to his feet he feels fiery pain shoot through his body, seeping into his very bones. Every inch of his body is decorated with cuts and bruises, the bones in his left leg shattered, blood dripping down the side of his head. He can’t seem to see straight and he fears of what other damage their torture may have done to him.

The pain between his legs alarms him; they had beaten every inch of him with baseball bats and crowbars while he’d been tied down. Every inch. With the amount of trauma his body suffered from the pack’s abuse, he would be amazed if he made it out of this with everything intact.

If he even makes it out alive.

Jungkook stumbles through the snow with near-frozen bare feet, ragged clothes wrapped around his body and drenched in blood. He feels light-headed as he grasps at nearby trees, trying to keep his balance to hobble away. His back aches with the unhealed burns from the iron and he wants nothing more than to drop into the snow and let the cold of it ease the pain.

He keeps going, the bark of one tree giving way under his weight as he grips it. It falls to the ground alongside several drops of bright red blood, glaringly obvious against the stark whiteness of snow. Horrid, sharp pain zaps through his left leg.

Jungkook still doesn’t stop, the shouts growing louder. He can see the edge of the forest, the distant lights of a city.

The night seems to rapidly grow darker around him, the pain overbearing, the need to stop and rest overpowering his drive for survival. He’s so tired. If he just gave up, if he just stopped, he would probably die soon. He could just give up, let it all end. What does he have to live for now, anyway?

They had already killed his mate, broken his spirit, destroyed him in every way they could. He’s lost the love of his life, his pack, everything. He could just give up, stop feeling the pain both in his body and in his heart.

But the city lights call to him, call him forward.

There’s a shout behind him, too close, and he picks up his pace as much as he can, blackness still closing in around him. He stumbles past a clump of trees, his leg nearly giving out underneath him, and he crashes through a bush and to the edge of a hill.

His feet slip on the snow and the loose dirt beneath it, dragging his already broken body down a large hill. As he falls, the shouts grow more distant again, the aches in his bones increasing, and when he reaches the bottom of the hill he finds he has no more will left to move. His body has given up on him, unable to lift even a finger.

Snow drifts down around him, the snow on the ground chilling him. All he can do is stare up at the sky, at the moon taunting him, and wait. Wait for the cold to take him, for the blood to leave him. Wait for death.

Wait for the sweet hands of the reaper to drag him down, to take him from this pain so he can join her, join his mate in the world beyond this one.

Somewhere in the distance he hears a voice and he thinks its his old pack, arriving just in time to watch him die. But as it grows closer he realizes he doesn’t recognize it, he’s never heard this voice before.

“Yoongi, over here!”

Or that name.

“The hell?”

“He’s hurt.”

“He’s an alpha. Tae, step back. Let me look at him.”

“He’s hurt, Yoongi.” Footsteps crunch through the snow, closing in on Jungkook. “We need to get him back to—”

Shouts from Jungkook’s pack grow nearer again, somewhere around the top of the hill if Jungkook’s not mistaken.

“Shit. Fine, help me lift him, Tae.” Hands grab at Jungkook’s shoulders and, if he had the strength, he would have winced at the pain coursing in waves over his body. “C’mon, big guy. Fuck, you’re heavier than you look. Got his legs, Tae? Alright, let’s go.”

Jungkook feels himself lifted up and away from the cold snow, his vision going totally black now, the moon vanishing from sight. His body goes numb, defending itself from the unbearable pain coursing through it right now. He can hear his rescuers bickering back and forth but he can’t make out the words.

His body shuts down, his mind following, and he fades into darkness, wishing for nothing more than for this to end. The last thing he sees is the image of his old mate, smiling back at him, and the feeling of a single tear slipping from his eye.

 

3 Months Later

 

Jimin holds his cards to his mouth, peering at the others around the table as he waits. Waits for someone to fold, someone to call. No one moves a muscle, all eyes darting around to get a good read on the players. Jimin sits with his signature wicked grin—the one he seems to have on his face at all times. Everyone thought it was a tell when they first started inviting him to poker games but they soon learned that’s just his natural state. Park Jimin doesn’t have a tell and it’s infuriating.

He eyes Seokjin across the table, quirking his brow at him, and the omega slams his cards down with a sigh. “I fold,” he grunts, lacing his fingers together and resting his chin on them. His fold causes a domino effect, everyone folding one by one, throwing their cards down until it’s only Jimin left.

With a quick lick of his lips, Jimin sets his cards down and the table explodes into raucous jeering, disappointed groans and shouts. A pair of twos. That’s all he had.

Jimin laughs to himself, gathering up the little pile of cash and ration cards in the middle of the table. He leaves a few behind, just to be nice, and pockets the rest. “Good seeing you, boys, but I gotta get to work.” He stands up, stretching his hands above his head as the others curse at him, Seokjin throwing a napkin at his head.

He laughs, head shaking as he makes for the stairs, rushing up them two at a time and darting out the door and into an alley. Cool spring air hits him as he steps outside, boots splashing through puddles left over from the melting of winter. The alleyway smells of rats and garbage, mingling with the scent of gasoline wafting from the main street, beaten up cars chugging along.

This city has gone in the shitter, a complete opposite from what it used to be, all bright and shiny and dotted with neon signs. Now the streets hide beneath a thick layer of muck and sludge, the buildings dingy with their windows busted out, often decorated with dried patches of blood from alphas finding the need to show their dominance through fist fights or worse. Broken street lights line the roads, pelted with rocks so no one sees what happens when night falls.

Along the side of one particularly filthy brick building stands a line of plainly-dressed people, waiting for their turn to claim their rations. Everything is given in moderation these days, based upon the number of ration cards you manage to earn through fulfilling your duties to your community.

Just working a job isn’t enough anymore, in order to rebuild society everyone must contribute to the government’s efforts to reclaim their homeland. Assisting in community service is the only way to earn a good number of the necessities you need to survive. Money from your own job buys the rest.

It hasn’t been that long since the human race nearly met its end, just ten short years since the outbreak of a disease nearly killed everyone, spreading across the world like wildfire. It took several of those years just for scientists to find a cure, meanwhile society collapsed, everyone too ill to work. Cities fell into chaos, people doing everything they could to survive, every man for himself, governments collapsed. It’s just in the last two years that humankind has found any semblance of order again, barely.

It’s different all around the world but here in Seoul and the surrounding areas they enacted laws, curfews, assigned jobs and community service to the citizens. No one out past 10 P.M., everyone that can work has to, every citizen must dedicate a certain number of hours per week to community service to help rebuild society, and only offspring-producing pairs can mate in order to rebuild the population.

As obnoxious as the laws can get sometimes, Jimin abides by them without much complaint. But not everyone is as content as he is. Some have turned their backs on the law, choosing to live lawless lives outside of the city. City dwellers call them ‘packs’, groups of barbaric humans who live off the land, killing or imprisoning anyone who comes to close to their territory.

Jimin knows the inner functions of packs all too well. He grew up in one before they were all slaughtered for trying to wage war on a nearby town, desperate to steal their supplies and feed their young, like himself. Jimin and the other children were lucky enough to be taken in rather than killed, and he’s lived in the city ever since.

It was during his early years in the city that he presented as an alpha and since then has been watched carefully to see when he would choose a mate. Thus far, Jimin has found no one worthy of his time, not enough to bond himself to them for the rest of his life, anyway. He’s perfectly happy with being alone, working as a lowly mechanic in a run down garage, playing poker for extra rations. No need to change any of that just yet.

Jimin darts across a muddy street, dodging and weaving between cars until he reaches the other side. He turns his hat around backwards, shoves his hands into his oversized jacket, and kicks open the door of the garage as he reaches it. It slams open against the wall, making everyone turn and frown as he enters, his boss, Yoongi, clasping his hand over his heart.

“Jesus, Jimin, is that really necessary?” he growls, tossing an oily rag at the alpha, who simply dodges it with a laugh.

“Gotta make sure everyone knows I’m here, that way they know real work’s about to get done.”

Yoongi snorts. “Right,” he grumbles before shooing away a few other workers. Jimin steps up beside the beta, watching the other mechanics as they work, he leans back against the wall and leans a little closer to Yoongi.

“Here,” Jimin murmurs, slipping a few ration cards out of his pocket and into his friend’s hand. “For Tae. Get him some medicine.” He watches and Yoongi gives him a silent nod of thanks and pockets the cards. “How is he doing?”

“Not good,” Yoongi says, taking a deep breath. He leans back beside Jimin. “Still sick.”

Jimin nods, hands back in his pockets again. “Sorry I haven’t been around to help lately. Is there anyone to watch over him while you’re working? Should he be alone right now?”

“He’s fine. Our friend is watching him right now.” Yoongi nods for Jimin to follow him as he heads through the garage, towards a car covered in grey tarp.

“Friend?” Jimin asks, eying Yoongi curiously. Yoongi and Taehyung aren’t particularly social people, being both betas who mated when they were young, before they fully understood the risks behind it. They can’t produce offspring together and the repercussions for mating despite that would be severe. They tend to keep to themselves because of this, afraid that befriending the wrong person would eventually end in them being torn from each other.

Jimin hasn’t spoken with either of them lately, not about anything personal, all three of them too busy to take much time out of their schedules for their friendly nights of banter they used to take part in. Jimin’s been running the garage while Yoongi takes care of Taehyung so they don’t see each other much. He hasn’t heard of any new friend in their lives. He tries not to be jealous.

“You remember that alpha we found a few months ago?” Yoongi asks, and Jimin feels himself grow tense. “He stuck around after he healed up. Started working with Taehyung around the bar. He—”

“Wait. Wait, wait, wait,” Jimin steps in front of Yoongi, stopping him in his tracks. “You’re telling me some fucking alpha you took in from a fucking pack’s been living with you? And that he’s taking care of Taehyung while you’re gone? An alpha, alone with Tae— Yoongi, are you insane?”

Yoongi covers Jimin’s mouth, glancing around as Jimin slaps his hand away. “It’s fine, Jimin, calm down.” He sighs, arms crossing over his chest. “I trust him. He’s a good kid.”

“A pack alpha is not a good kid, Yoongi. No one from a pack should be trusted. Especially not an alpha—”

“Jimin.” Yoongi grabs his friend by the shoulders, giving him a gentle shake. “Listen to yourself. You are an alpha from a pack.”

“I’m from a pack and I presented as an alpha after that, I never had the mentality that those alphas get after leading a pack, I don’t have that ego—” Yoongi lifts a brow. “I don’t have that kind of an ego, I just have an ego. There’s a big difference. Just…” Jimin sighs, lifting his hat and brushing his hand through his hair. “Just be careful. I wouldn’t want anything to happen to Tae.”

Yoongi smiles, head down. He nods. “Thanks, Jimin. I appreciate your concern,” he says, “but I trust the kid. He’s an alright guy.”

“If you insist,” says Jimin, turning to the covered car. “Now, one more question before you tell me what this is.” He looks over at his friend and Yoongi frowns, recognizing that sly grin Jimin always gets right before he says something annoying. “You, Tae, and this alpha boy… You guys aren’t doing what we used to do, are you? ‘Cause then I’m gonna get real jealous—”

Yoongi slugs him on the arm, hard enough to actually hurt. Jimin dances away from him with a laugh, Yoongi huffing and shaking his head. “No, Jimin,” he grumbles, “you’re the only person to have ever had the honor of being involved in our sex life. And what do you mean “what we used to do”, like it was a regular thing. It was once—”

“Twice.”

Twice.” Yoongi huffs. “We were all drunk the second time around, it doesn’t count.”

Jimin cackles as Yoongi steps around him, grabbing the tarp and yanking it off, all the while grumbling about how irritating he finds Jimin, questioning why he keeps him around. Jimin’s just about to cop another witty remark when he turns and his eyes land on the sleek profile of an old, beaten up Mustang. He feels his eyes go wide, hears Yoongi laugh at him.

“Holy shit, Yoongi,” he says under his breath, his hands all over the body of the car, ghosting over the hood covered in peeling paint, eyes scanning the cracked windshield. It’s in terrible condition but they have all the tools they need to fix it. “Does it still run?”

“Still runs.” Yoongi pats the roof of the car, smiling down at his friend as Jimin leans down to duck in through the busted out window. “Hoseok found it, hauled it back here with his truck the other day. I know how much you’ve been wanting to fix an old car up.”

Jimin can’t stop the childlike grin on his face as he peers around inside, fingers trailing over the cracked leather seats. “This is a Boss 429, isn’t it?” he asks, glancing through the windshield to see Yoongi nod.

“Yeah.” The head mechanic shoves his hands into his pockets. “I thought… this was the least I could do to thank you for everything you’ve done around here.” Jimin pulls out of the car, straightening up to watch Yoongi with wide eyes. “This place would have gone to hell, just like everything else in this city, if you hadn’t been here to keep it going. And the ration cards, picking up my slack on community service. I don’t— I don’t know what we would have done without you—”

“Stop.” Jimin waves a dismissive hand. He fidgets with his hat, twisting it around again to pull the bill of the hat low over his face. He’s bad at feelings, bad at expressing them, bad at accepting them. “Thanks,” he mumbles, staring down at the car with a fondness in his eyes he’s never had when looking at another person. He hears Yoongi laugh, feels a hand slap his arm.

“You’re welcome, Jimin.” Yoongi reaches up smack the bill of his hat. “Now, get to work. Set a good example for the rest of these lowlifes around here.”

Jimin snorts, pushing his hat back up and giving the car one last look before Yoongi covers it again. He heads into the fray of the garage, into the midst of his stupid, wild coworkers, tools in hand, and dives right into the smell of oil, the slick feeling of grease.

The world outside passes by without him paying it any mind and he loses himself in his work, hands and arms covered in black, and he doesn’t notice when Yoongi’s alpha friend stops by, picking up the ration cards Jimin had given him. He doesn’t notice when he walks right by him until it’s too late, the alpha scent wafting past him, and there’s something alluring enough about it have Jimin rolling out from beneath the car he’s working on.

He sits on the concrete floor, covered in grease and grime, hat askew as he watches the retreating back of an alpha he’s never met, all brown hair and broad shoulders. Jimin watches him as he vanishes through the garage door, out onto the main street, then looks to Yoongi, fidgety and anxious in his office.

Jimin crawls back beneath the car, promising himself to stop and visit Taehyung soon. He needs to figure out this alpha’s angle. He knows pack alphas, he doesn’t trust them. He just hopes Yoongi knows what the hell he’s doing.

 

~α~

 

That awful hacking, wheezing sound greets Jungkook again as he steps back inside the apartment, signaling that Taehyung still hasn’t improved since he had left. He shrugs his jacket off, letting it fall on the floor as he makes his way to the beta’s room, the one he shares with Yoongi. If Taehyung could see him shedding his clothes all over the apartment and not washing the dishes he would kill Jungkook, string him from the balcony or something.

“Tae, you okay?” Jungkook asks. It’s a stupid question. Taehyung hasn’t been okay for weeks now. It started as a simple cold at first, but it just kept hanging around. His fever started rising and his breath grew shorter and more ragged as the days went on. Yoongi says it’s because he won’t let himself rest and recover, so they’ve both banned him from working until he’s at least a little better. Or they've tried, at least.

There’s a groan from Taehyung’s room as Jungkook steps inside, tearing at the foil around the little tablets. There’s still water in the glass beside the bed and Jungkook sighs. “You need to drink more.”

“Bring me some whiskey and I will,” Taehyung says with a raspy laugh, earning a grin from Jungkook. The mattress dips to one side as Jungkook takes a seat, the pills tumbling into his palm as Taehyung pushes himself upright. He looks like hell, dark circles under his eyes and hair plastered to his forehead with sweat.

Whatever is wrong with him, Jungkook and Yoongi have both gone through the same but recovered just fine. That just makes it all that much more concerning that Taehyung hasn’t been able to, especially since they don’t have the resources or the money they need to get him to a decent doctor, just those back alley surgeons you only go to when you’re desperate.

“Take these,” Jungkook says, slapping his hand over Taehyung’s mouth before he can protest and tossing the pills in. He watches as Taehyung grimaces but grabs his water anyway, chugging it all down.

He shudders, handing the empty glass over to Jungkook. “How did you get those? Not the shop supplies, right?”

Jungkook shakes his head, staring down in the glass. “No,” he says, assuring Taehyung that their black market storage is well intact. He hasn’t used any of their supplies for Taehyung, just as he asked. “Someone gave Yoongi ration cards for medicine.”

“Good. I don’t want our supplies wasted on me. We need those for bargaining for more important things.” Taehyung sighs, pushing back his sweat-drenched hair. He looks down at Jungkook’s hand where he fidgets with the glass. “Who gave him the ration cards?”

“No idea,” Jungkook says as he stands. “Some guy from the garage won them in poker and gave some to Yoongi.”

Taehyung hums, flopping back in his bed. “Jimin.”

Jungkook stops in the doorway, turning back to furrow his brows at Taehyung. “What?”

“His name’s Jimin. I’m surprised we haven’t gotten around to introducing you two yet. He’s an alpha we’ve known for years.” Taehyung rolls onto his side, one arm hanging off the edge of the bed, the rest of him sprawled across the entirety of the mattress. “He was a pack member, too.”

“Oh.” Jungkook turns away from him, swallowing hard as he heads for the kitchen, grabbing one of their jugs of drinking water and refilling Taehyung’s glass. He stands there a moment, recollecting himself. Even thinking about his pack makes him freeze, makes him remember the horrors of those many nights before he escaped.

Sometimes, when he thinks about it for too long, he can feel the burning of the iron on his back again, the metal biting into his wrists and ankles, restraining him. He remembers the feeling of his bones cracking under the force of metal and wood as it crashed against him.

It’s funny, in the moment he couldn’t feel anything, he had gone numb to the pain, removing his very consciousness from his body until it was over, until they took a break to eat around their campfire and he took the chance to escape with little more than his face intact. They had decided to leave that for last—the new alpha in charge had said he wanted the honor of carving up that pretty face himself, once Jungkook was too weak to fight back at all.

Jungkook grips the glass, taking a deep breath and stopping himself from shaking. He has to remind himself where he is, that he’s inside his new home right now, not out in the woods. He’s not bleeding out in the snow banks again, he’s not running for his life, he’s waiting for it all to end. He’s here. He’s in Seoul. They can’t find him.

He breathes in again, then heads back to Taehyung and sets the glass back down on the nightstand. “Need anything else?” he asks, and Taehyung opens one eye to peer up at him.

“A shower, probably. I think I stink. I can’t tell.”

“You do. No running water, though,” Jungkook says and Taehyung sighs. “Don’t worry. I’ll head down to the shop, make a few trades, get us some money and get that back on today.”

“Wasting all our fucking money on medicine for me.” Taehyung buries his face into a pillow and groans. “No fucking reason—”

“There’s plenty of fucking reason,” Jungkook snaps, eyes burning into Taehyung. “Like not letting you die. That’s a pretty good reason, I’d say.” He pulls the blankets up to cover Taehyung’s back. “Don’t let Yoongi hear you talking like that. Neither of us will ever hear the end of it.”

Taehyung chuckles. “I know. Don’t tell him.”

Jungkook just nods, slowly backing out of the room. He can sense Taehyung drifting off by the slur of his words, the limpness in his limbs as they sprawl across the bed. He steps out and pulls the door mostly shut, leaving a crack so he can easily hear if Taehyung calls for him.

He drops onto the couch in the middle of the room, staring up at the ceiling, arm tucked behind his head, the scars on his back scratching against his shirt. Sometimes the memories become too much and he feels himself slipping into a panic, his heart racing and sweat beading on his temples.

He hates it. He’s an alpha, he’s supposed to be strong, capable of caring for and protecting a mate. But he can’t. What he endured has made him weak, broken the powerful alpha he used to be, stripped him of everything he had. He lost his omega, his mate, his love. She was ripped from his hands, quite literally, taken by the same alpha that had him strung up and tortured. Jungkook had been made to watch as the alpha took his mate, forced himself on her against her will, beat her. He had to watch, suffering in his own pain, as she faded, slowly succumbing to her wounds.

Jungkook sits upright, blinking away tears, teeth clamping down on his lip hard enough to draw blood. He drops his head into his hands, fingers trembling as they push back his hair.

These days he has to keep himself constantly busy or he falls into memories like that, less than pleasant things he wishes he could forget. Then again, if he forgot he would have nothing left to drive him. Those memories are all that keep him going, keep fighting to recover, to heal and regain his strength so he can go back.

Someday he’ll get his revenge or he’ll die trying.

Jungkook crawls off the couch, snatching his jacket off the ground and checking on Taehyung one last time before heading out. He needs to head to their shop, get that money he said he would so they can get their water turned back on.

He works with Taehyung in what is essentially a black market. When he first came here and the two betas took him in he had intended to work at the garage with Yoongi, the idea of fixing cars much more appealing than breaking the law, considering he’s already hated for what he is. But the others at the garage hadn’t seemed too thrilled at the idea of a pack alpha joining their ranks. Especially one like him.

Sterile. He’s not even a useful member of society. Most think he shouldn’t even be alive, that he’s a waste of space and supplies. And to a degree they’re right. He can contribute to society in some ways but he’ll never have offspring, he’ll never help bring the world’s population back to what it is. He’s surprised the laws don’t say something about his kind being killed on the spot.

No. Instead they’re added to a registry. Public knowledge so that others can’t be fooled into mating someone who can’t give them children. So here Jungkook is, hated for being a pack alpha, disgraced for being sterile, stuck in a city he never wanted to be in.

All because of one power hungry alpha he had been kind enough to take into his pack when he was young. He wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for him, he wouldn’t be sterile if it hadn’t been for the torture they had put him through.

He would have children if they hadn’t killed his pregnant mate.

Jungkook sighs, rubbing at his eyes as he walks, the smell of dank streets washing over him as cars pass by, horns blaring, splashing murky water onto pedestrians. He thinks of all he can to distract himself from thoughts of his past, taking in deep breaths whenever someone bumps into him on the street.

Every second he has to remind himself that no one is attacking him here, it’s not like it is outside the cities. There are laws here, protecting him. Still, it sets him on edge to even be outside the apartment. It had taken weeks for him set foot out the door after Yoongi and Taehyung had taken him in.

Even now he sees figures that aren’t really who he thinks they are, silhouettes of those walking ahead of him, imagines they’re someone else. Strangers morph into his old pack members right before his eyes and he feels himself freeze, his mind telling him to run but his body locking itself into place, fear flooding his veins. He never used to be afraid of anything.

It’s only in the past week that he’s actually been outside more than inside. It took him forever to be comfortable on these streets, secure enough to walk alone to the little bar that serves as the front for Taehyung’s black market trade. Maybe one day he’ll even join the poker games they host in the basement below. Taehyung swears on his and Yoongi’s bond that their friends are all kind, that they wouldn’t judge him for what he is.

Jungkook wants to believe him. He trusts Taehyung, he trusts Yoongi, but everyone else in this city is a damn menace to his kind. He has his doubts that their friends would be so willing to greet him with open arms.

He steps inside the bar, shouldering the door open, and looks up to see a bored Hoseok leaning on the counter, flipping through the pages of a newspaper. It’s funny how a simple ten years after the fall of society has dialed them back at least fifty years into the past. No more cellphones, no internet, limited cable.

Humanity really fucked up somewhere along the way and mother nature didn’t hesitate to sink her vengeful claws into them when she got the chance.

“Hey, Jungkook,” Hoseok says without looking up. He does his best to act friendly around Jungkook but the alpha can sense wariness from the omega. In his case, Jungkook can’t place any blame.

Scars tear their way down the right side of Hoseok’s otherwise flawless face, his right eye dull and grey in contrast with the deep brown of the other. His hair hangs, slightly shaggy, in his face to hide what it can of the scars. Though he tries to say they don’t bother him Jungkook can tell that sometimes the stares of passersby or patrons in the bar start to get to him. Ever since then Jungkook’s made a point to tell Hoseok he looks good every time he sees him.

At first he had been terrified of Jungkook, refusing to be anywhere near him until Yoongi started bringing him around, rejecting his compliments and shying away. Jungkook didn’t understand it at first until Taehyung told him in confidence that Hoseok used to scavenge outside of the city and had a run-in with a pack alpha who decided Hoseok was exactly what he wanted, so he took what he desired with no remorse.

Jungkook had stopped Taehyung right there. He didn’t need to know the details. He already knows all too well the minds of pack alphas. Of course, city alphas aren’t much different but most of them do tend to abide by the laws. And what happened to Hoseok certainly isn’t legal within city limits.

“You look good today, Hoseok,” Jungkook says, as always, then smiles when Hoseok looks up at him. “Nice jacket.”

“Thanks.” Hoseok tugs at the collar of the sleek, dark grey bomber. “Found it the other days while I was skulking around a store on the edge of the city.”

Jungkook stops on his way to the back of the bar and turns to the omega. He cocks his head to one side. “You’re scavenging again?”

Hoseok gives him a nod, a genuine smile spreading across his face. Apparently he had always been a bright and chipper person before Jungkook met him. He thinks he sees a bit of that old Hoseok shining through now. “Yeah. Can’t live my whole life being scared, can I?” he asks, and Jungkook detects the slightest catch in his voice when he says that, but he’s trying to be strong. Jungkook respects that. It’s more than Jungkook’s done in the months he’s been here.

“I’m glad,” Jungkook says, hovering in the back doorway, arms crossing protectively over his stomach. “Find anything else good?”

“An old car,” Hoseok says with a smile. “I left it with Yoongi. You should stop in and see it sometime.”

Jungkook returns the smile. “I will, Hoseok,” he says before the bartender gives him a nod and returns to his newspaper. Jungkook ducks into the back, slipping a key out of his pocket and turning to a padlocked door. He tells himself as he opens up the entrance to Taehyung’s stash that if Hoseok can heal from what happened to him, he can heal from the trauma of his last nights with his pack.

He just wishes it was as easy to do as it is to say.

 

 

Taehyung, much to Yoongi’s displeasure, insists on coming down to the bar mere hours after Jungkook had given him his medicine. “It’s the weekend and everyone just got paid. They’re all gonna want to get drunk and we need the money, so I’ll be down there to help,” he had said, earning several passive-aggressive grumbles from Yoongi until he finally gave in and stopped blocking the door to let Taehyung through.

He also insists that Jungkook take the night off to mingle rather than work, even though that’s a terrible idea. He doesn’t know how many times he’s told Taehyung that trying to befriend people in this city only makes them hate him more. City dwellers are already suspicious enough of his kind, approaching them only reaffirms in their minds that he has some ulterior motives hidden beneath his boyish smile.

So he sits quietly in the corner of the bar, his second glass of gin resting on the table in front of him, untouched thus far. He hadn’t even asked for it, Taehyung just brought it over in hopes of loosening Jungkook up and encouraging him to actually speak to someone for once.

It does nothing to ease his nerves, he still feels on edge, jumpy every time someone passes him. He swears he can feels hands around his neck as a particularly drunk man crashes against his table and startles him. As soon as he’s alone again Jungkook chugs the rest of the drink and slams the glass back down on the table.

He tells himself he’s imagining the feeling of eyes on him but he’s not. Across the way, sitting on a stool at the bar, is a man with a backwards hat, a vest of black leather. He watches Jungkook over a glass of amber liquid, swishing it around in front of him.

Jungkook doesn’t even have to catch his scent to know that he’s an alpha. Everything from the way he carries himself with his shoulders squared to the unwavering eye contact he makes with Jungkook. He doesn’t falter for a second. There’s no hesitancy like there might with an omega, no disinterest of a beta. Jungkook can’t tell if it’s a challenge or if the man is simply curious and has no shame of being caught staring.

Whichever it is, he doesn’t look away until Taehyung slides along the bar to say something to him. There’s a familiarity between the two of them as the alpha asks Taehyung something, which Taehyung responds to with a laugh and a dismissive swish of one hand. No doubt denying that he’s sick and should be resting right now.

He looks like hell but he keeps fighting through anyway, doing his job. Jungkook feels guilty just sitting back and watching but the last time he tried to get up and help Taehyung had sent the bouncer after him. So he stays put now.

His eyes drift to his empty glass, waiting for it to kick in, waiting for it to at least calm him down. He doesn’t expect to suddenly become sociable once it hits him, he just hopes it at least makes him feel less like he needs to run from this place every second, like he needs to hide, to escape.

“Gin?” someone asks, and Jungkook nearly leaps out of his seat. His eyes snap up to find the alpha with the snapback standing over his table, his empty glass left on the counter and a glass of gin in his hand now. “Jesus, don’t shit yourself. I don’t bite.”

Jungkook straightens up in his seat, watching the alpha closely as he takes a seat across from him. He glances at the gin. “Looked like you were more of a whiskey guy a second ago.”

The alpha chuckles and sets the glass of gin down between them. “Actually, it was aged rum. Nothing quite like it,” he says as he leans back in his booth. At a glance, his size might make some think he’s not alpha material, but Jungkook doesn’t have a doubt in his mind this guy could lead a pack just as well as he can. “I’m Jimin. You must be Jungkook.”

“That’s me.” Jungkook licks his lips, eyes locking with the other alpha’s gaze. Taehyung must have told him who he is. Jungkook doesn’t like not knowing as much about someone else as they know about him.

“So you’re a pack alpha?” Jimin asks and Jungkook tries not to seem fazed by that question. Typical city alpha, just bombarding people with questions, prying for things they don’t deserve to know. Entitled, all of them.

“Yeah.”

“And you live with Taehyung and Yoongi?”

“Yes.”

“And you don’t have a mate?”

Jungkook almost answers with a “not anymore” but decides against it. He doesn’t need to throw a drunk pity party with some strange alpha in a bar. Not tonight, anyway. “No,” he says, short and clipped. Jimin’s eyes narrow and Jungkook fears he may have detected the waver in his voice. He doesn’t even like talking to Yoongi or Taehyung about his old mate, let alone a stranger.

Jimin leans forward, lean, muscled arms crossing on the table before him, his eyes never leaving Jungkook. “How do you deal with your ruts?”

“Excuse me?” Jungkook almost chokes on his words.

“You don’t use Tae or Yoongi, do you?” The alpha narrows his eyes at Jungkook further.

“No. What the fuck—”

“Do you even still have ruts?” Jimin lifts a brow. “You’re sterile, right?”

Jungkook feels his blood run cold, jaw clenching shut. He grabs the edge of the table to keep from launching himself over it. When he speaks again the anger rings clear, though he tries so hard to hide it. “Do you always ask intrusive questions like this?”

“Do you always whine about people asking things that are public record?” Jimin shoots back, and he returns to leaning back in the booth, arms relaxing at his sides. His head lolls back slightly, exposing his neck and Jungkook finds it hard not to trail his eyes over it, down to his collarbones.

“Things that shouldn’t be public record.” Jungkook swallows. The slight roundness of Jimin’s cheeks gives him a false look of innocence but the smirk on his lips warns Jungkook of something darker, something hiding behind those deep eyes, reflecting back the low lights behind Jungkook. “People have a right to their privacy.”

“You still have that outsider, pack mentality,” says Jimin. He heaves a dramatic sigh. “That’ll get you killed around here, saying the wrong thing to the wrong person.”

“What the hell do you want from me?” Jungkook hisses through his teeth. He leans forward, pressing in on the other alpha’s space. If this guy wants a game, Jungkook will play along. Jimin’s never led a pack, probably never set foot outside the city, never seen the horrors Jungkook has. He doesn’t know who he’s talking to.

Jimin slides the glass of gin across the table to Jungkook. “Drink,” he orders but Jungkook’s eyes stay on him, ignoring the beverage. “I’m looking out for my friends. I used to be one of your kind. I know how you think.”

“You don’t know how I think,” Jungkook retorts, pushing the gin back. He doesn’t believe him. There’s no way this baby-faced contradiction of an alpha was ever part of a pack. As pretty as he is, he wouldn’t survive a day. “I’ll pass, thanks.”

Jimin just smiles at him but there’s nothing friendly behind the look he gives Jungkook. He slides out of the booth and stands, straightening his leather vest and turning to look at the alpha that still grips the table like his life depends on it. “You look like you could use it, though,” he says, then that smile drops from his face like a rock. “Careful what you do around my friends, Jungkook. You’re not the only pack alpha around anymore.”

He starts to move away but Jungkook won’t let him have the last word. He calls him back. “Jimin, right?”

Jimin rolls his eyes as he turns back around. “Yeah.”

“Were you the leader of your pack, too?”

There’s a moment of hesitation before he answers. “No. I was a kid when I came to the city. Hadn’t even presented yet.”

Jungkook holds back a smile. “Then you don’t know what it really means to be free,” he says and Jimin seems to twitch at that. “You can’t say you understand a pack when you were barely old enough to even know what that word means. You were never a pack alpha. You’re a spoiled city boy. So, yes, I am the only pack alpha on these streets.”

Jimin looks like he wants to respond, his lips curling at Jungkook, but then he just lets out a single laugh and shakes his head. Nothing more escapes him as he turns on his heel and heads back to the bar.

Watching him retreat, Jungkook grabs the glass of gin and knocks it back in a single gulp. Jimin doesn’t look at him again but his scent lingers around Jungkook’s head for the rest of the night, overpowering his senses. He tells himself it’s the alcohol finally taking affect.

But a sober Jungkook knows it’s more than that. Jimin’s scent is enticing, drawing Jungkook to him though he doesn’t move. It’s a problem, he knows, because he hasn’t been this tempted by the scent of another since his former mate, and Jimin’s an alpha. And an asshole, at that.

Jungkook can’t let himself want another alpha.

Chapter Text

 

Jungkook wakes up with his head pounding and an ache in his spine, his back kinked from sitting in that damn booth for too long last night. He’s been sitting around too much, period. Ever since coming to the city he hasn’t done much to stay in shape, not the way he used to.

He rolls to the edge of his mattress on the floor, throwing his blankets off and stretching his legs out before him. Beyond his door he hears the clinking of cereal against a glass bowl and he stands up, stomach rumbling.

In the kitchen stands Taehyung, looking a little unsteady on his feet, face still too pale to be healthy. He smiles at Jungkook when he enters and lifts up the box of cereal. “Look what Yoongi got this morning,” he says. “Your favorite.” He slides the box, an empty bowl, and two aspirin across the counter as Jungkook approaches.

The alpha thanks him with a nod, popping the aspirin into his mouth as Taehyung hands him a glass of water next. He washes them down, then shakes his head. “I thought I was supposed to be taking care of you,” he says, earning a chuckle from the beta.

“You drank a little too much for that, I think,” Taehyung says, taking a bite of his cereal and Jungkook pours his own, his face burning a little red. He had ended up drinking a lot more after Jimin left his table, after that he sort of forgot what happened.

“What did I do?” Jungkook asks as he begins eating, leaning against the end of the counter while Taehyung mimics his position just a few feet away.

Taehyung shrugs and mumbles around a mouthful, “Not much, honestly. Sort of wandered around a bit, talked to me, moped about packs and cities and annoying alphas. Drunk Jungkook’s kinda boring. I was hoping you’d, you know, go a little wild or something. Break a bottle of booze over someone’s head.”

Jungkook grins, head shaking as they continue to eat in silence. He recalls what he can of last night, mostly his and Jimin’s conversation, and he feels himself bristle at the memory. The nerve of that fucking alpha.

“I noticed you met Jimin last night,” Taehyung says, like he could hear Jungkook’s thoughts. “How did it go?”

“Uh, it was interesting,” is the best Jungkook can give him.

“Be honest, Kook, was he a total dick to you?”

“Kind of.”

Taehyung sighs, swishing around the milk at the bottom of his bowl. He picks it up with both hands and chugs it down, wiping whatever remains away from the corners of his lips. He looks at Jungkook again. “Don’t let it get to you. Jimin’s got little alpha syndrome, always having to prove he’s as tough as the other alphas around him. And he is, honestly, but he overcompensates.” He chuckles to himself. “Don’t tell him I said that, though.”

“Which part?” Jungkook jokes, feeling a little lighter just knowing everyone else sees the same in Jimin. It’s not just him, Jimin gets under everyone’s skin.

“Any of it,” Taehyung says, setting his bowl in the sink and doing the same to Jungkook’s once he finishes. “Seriously, don’t let him bother you. He’s not as bad as he seems, just very territorial and protective. He takes awhile to warm up to people.”

As Taehyung begins washing their dishes, Jungkook finds himself dwelling on thoughts of the alpha from the night before, on the taut muscles of his arms, perfectly exposed by his black vest, the sharp curve of his jaw contradicting the roundness of his cheeks. He finds himself so lost in such clear memory of Jimin he almost doesn’t hear when Taehyung speaks again.

“What?” he asks, blinking at the beta, and his friend chuckles.

“Still a little tipsy, there?”

Jungkook shakes his head. “No. Sorry. I was just… thinking.” He focuses on Taehyung, pushing Jimin from his mind. “What did you say?”

“I said that Jimin’s the one we have to thank for the ration cards yesterday.”

At that, Jungkook balks, then laughs. “No way. Him?” he asks, and Taehyung nods. He has a hard time believing that Jimin could ever care enough to help out like that. He just doesn’t seem the type.

“I know, I know. It’s kind of unbelievable. I wasn’t his biggest fan at first, either.” Taehyung flicks soapy water off his hands before snatching a towel. “But he’s really an okay guy, Jungkook. I actually think you two would get along if you gave each other the chance. He has a bigger heart than you’d expect, he just… guards it well. A little too well.”

Jungkook purses his lips. He wants to disagree, to tell Taehyung that Jimin doesn’t know how to keep his mouth shut, that he had assumed Jungkook would somehow use Taehyung or Yoongi during his ruts, that he pried not only about Jungkook’s pack status but about his former mate, about his sterility. He decides to keep it to himself that he had nearly attacked the other alpha in the middle of the bar. Taehyung has enough on his plate already.

“Are you feeling alright, Jungkook?”

He looks at his friend and smiles. “I think I should be asking you that.”

“I’m fine.” Taehyung shrugs. “I just wanted… to talk to you about something but I didn’t wanna spring it on you if you’re not feeling well.”

Jungkook tries to hide the way his smile falls, his stomach sinking. He knows what’s coming and he’s known for awhile now that this was unavoidable. He keeps his gaze locked with Taehyung’s as his friend smiles at him. “Go for it.”

Taehyung purses his lips together, fingers lacing on the counter. “The apartment above the bar… No one’s lived there since my dad passed away and I was thinking…”

“Say no more,” Jungkook says, pushing away from the counter and straightening his shirt. He fidgets for a bit before smiling at Taehyung. “I’ll move in there. I’m sure you and Yoongi would appreciate some privacy for once. Gotta be annoying having me around all the time—”

“N-no, Jungkook.” Taehyung reaches out, then retreats. He bites down on his lower lip. “Fuck. Shit. I’m a goddamn asshole, motherfuck.” He takes a deep breath, then exhales, loud and long. “It’s not that we want you gone, Jungkook, it’s just… You’ve been doing so well on your own lately and you were always— I mean, you’ve been here a few months but you’re still kind of that loner, pack alpha type, you know? You strike out on your own, take care of yourself so you’re never a burden to your pack— Not that you’re a burden to us— Fuck, I’m gonna shut up now.”

Jungkook just watches with a smile as Taehyung shakes his head at himself, grumbling about sticking his foot in his mouth and cursing under his breath. “Tae,” Jungkook calls. The beta looks at him with his lips slightly pouted in disappointment at himself. “It’s fine. I know what you mean. I wouldn’t mind having my own place,” he assures the other man, and he means it.

Taehyung isn’t wrong. As a pack alpha he always had his own space, spent a good part of his time caring for the others rather than being cared for. He isn’t used to having his every need and nervous breakdown catered to the way Taehyung and Yoongi do. It would be nice to get back to that solitary lifestyle he had back in the forests he used to roam.

“I just want you to have your privacy, too,” Taehyung continues. “The other day you said you’re due for a rut and I thought you’d want your space this time. No worries about me or Yoongi hanging around. The apartment’s plenty big. Bigger than this one even. I mean, we’d move in there ourselves but we like to have our space away from work—”

“Taehyung,” Jungkook interrupts again, grabbing his friend by the shoulder and giving him a light shake. “You’re over explaining. Just… Thank you.”

Taehyung smiles, then slugs Jungkook on the shoulder. “Look at you, big alpha growing up so fast since we took you in,” he teases. Jungkook just snorts, head shaking as he makes for his room. He stops when he reaches his doorway and turns to face Taehyung again.

“What about you? Are you gonna be alright on your own?” he asks, eyes raking over Taehyung’s frail body, so much thinner and paler than he was when they first met. If Jungkook leaves and anything happens to Taehyung because he wasn’t there to care for him, Jungkook would never forgive himself.

“I’m okay,” Taehyung says, soft smile spreading across his chapped lips. He’s so much more subdued than he used to be, quiet and gentle, not the talkative, sarcastic snark he was when they brought Jungkook in. It’s heartbreaking to see him so frail. “Seriously, Jungkook, I’ll be fine. That medicine you got is helping. I mean, I’m back on my feet, aren’t I?”

Jungkook crosses his arms over his chest and nods. “Yeah, I suppose you are,” he says. With that, he darts back into his room. If Taehyung wants to insist that he’s okay, Jungkook won’t argue. Taehyung is stubborn, if nothing else.

He glances around his barren room, yanking off his clothes from last night and changing into something fresh. As he does, he pauses, holding his shirt close to his face and breathing in a familiar scent. Not one he’s known long, but one that seems to drown out everything else when it’s around. His clothes smell like Jimin. Why do they smell like Jimin?

Pushing those thoughts out of his head and chalking it up to the fact they just sat so near each other, he sets to work on packing. There’s so little for him to take. He can’t imagine how empty and lonely that apartment will feel once he’s there. Being a pack member meant never really having a house for long, never decorating anything. He’s not used to having that.

The city life, he knows, isn’t for him, but going back out in the wilderness on his own is dangerous and it’s unlikely any pack would take in a sterile alpha. Having him around would be a waste of space, even more so than he is here.

So he packs up his few belongings, gives Taehyung a hug, and heads for his new apartment, the heavy weight of loneliness already sinking deep into his chest.

 

~α~

 

Jimin finds himself staring up at the bottom of a car, a wrench twirling around in his hands above him, but he achieves nothing. He just looks at the rusted metal and holds his breath. He can’t even remember what he was doing, what needed fixed down here. His mind is on his friends and their little alpha roommate.

Across the garage stands Yoongi, taking stock of their supplies, seeming free from worry, no concern at all that his mate is back home with a pack alpha.

Yes, Jungkook had seemed harmless last night, especially when he started drinking too much. He was honestly a little pathetic then, but Jimin still fears that Yoongi is being too trusting. After the bar had started to clear out and Jungkook passed out in one of the booths, Jimin asked Taehyung a few details about him.

“You think he’s just some sweet little boy?” Jimin had asked him. “That’s not what pack alphas are, Tae. You’re gonna regret keeping him around when he goes into his rut—”

“He’s already been through one since we took him in and nothing happened,” Taehyung spat back at him, scrubbing furiously at the counter with a rag soiled in liquor. “What is your problem with pack alphas, Jimin? You probably would be one right now if your pack hadn’t all been killed.”

Jimin had gotten up and left right then, even though he promised Yoongi he would stay there to make sure Taehyung got home safe. He went back thirty minutes later to find Taehyung, sick and weak, struggling to lift Jungkook from the booth. Jimin had carried the larger alpha home on his back, then went home and promptly scrubbed himself free of Jungkook’s scent, tossing his clothes in the wash.

His problem, he wanted to tell Taehyung, is that pack alphas are all the same. They’ve all seen their handiwork firsthand, the things they do to people who stray too far from the city, what they did to Hoseok. Jimin shouldn’t even have to explain, he shouldn’t have to divulge the terrors he grew up with, the burdens placed upon him and reinforced with his father’s fists. Pack alphas are pack alphas, through and through, that’s all Taehyung needs to know.

“Park!”

Jimin starts, jerking upright and smacking his head into the bottom of the car. He hisses a curse through his teeth and rolls out from under the vehicle, clutching at his forehead. With a huff he looks up to see Jaebum standing over him, a beta that usually works earlier shifts, but tonight he’s here to harass Jimin for no good reason.

“Nice going, man,” Jaebum says, snorting at Jimin, head shaking. “You’ve been working on this thing for ages, you almost done?”

Jimin purses his lips together and bites down on them. “Yeah, almost,” he lies. He’s not even sure what needs done on it. Casting a glance at the clipboard with the instructions, he waves Jaebum away. “I’ll get it done, dammit. Stop wasting my time.”

Jaebum cackles. “Alright, alright. I was gonna offer to help,” he says, walking away with his hands up in surrender, “but I guess you want to stay late tonight.”

Honestly, Jimin wouldn’t mind closing up shop for Yoongi. He’s done it before, staying late just to have an excuse not to go home, not to sit in the drab emptiness of his apartment. Maybe he’ll play poker again tonight, maybe he’ll go to the bar again, as long as he can before the citywide curfew. Anything to avoid the stack of mail outside his door, replete with letters reminding him of his duties to the people to find a mate, offers from matchmakers to find him a beautiful omega.

He doesn’t want it. Any of it. He’s turned down the last six omegas that had tried propositioning him and damn near killed the most recent matchmaker that wouldn’t stop following him around, warning that if he didn’t find a mate soon then he would be assigned one.

There’s nothing exciting about mating a damn omega and settling down, having babies and repopulating the city. Especially when he doesn’t even choose the omega himself. If he’s going to mate anyone he wants it to be someone of his choice.

Quite frankly, the idea of mating anyone, ever, just makes him want to run from this place as fast as he can. He may live by the laws, live within city limits, but as much as he hates to admit it pack thought runs deeper in him than most realize. He was young when he came here but the idea of freedom still hovers around the back of his mind, makes him curious what it would be like to be out there again.

Something in his blood calls to him, draws him to the unpredictable life of a pack member. Maybe that’s what drives his hatred for Jeon Jungkook. He reminds him of the side of himself that he likes to deny, makes him wonder if their lives would be anything similar had Jimin never lost his pack. Maybe Taehyung’s right. Maybe he would be the same as every other pack alpha then.

The overhead door of the garage begins sliding shut, signaling that they’re closing down for the night. Jimin sighs, picking up his grease-stained hat and slipping it on before he informs Yoongi that he’ll close everything down when he’s done here, that he should just get back home to Taehyung.

With a quick goodbye, Yoongi slips out of the garage along with everyone else and Jimin sets back to work on the car. His back aches against the sorry excuse for padding that separates him from the concrete floor and his head pounds like there’s a thunderstorm raging inside his skull but he keeps working. Anything to distract himself, anything to keep from going home.

His mind wanders back to his childhood, back to the trees he climbed as a kid, then back to Jeon Jungkook, and he curses himself under his breath. That damned alpha keeps weaseling his way into his thoughts somehow and Jimin doesn’t even understand why.

He grits his teeth, the image of Jungkook sitting across from him in that booth floating in front of his eyes, distracting him. The wrench feels warm in his hand, his palm sweaty, the metal slick.

Then you don’t know what it really means to be free. Jungkook’s words echo in his head and he wants to take this wrench and smack the little shit upside his head.

He hates him because he’s right. Jimin doesn’t know what it’s like to be free. He had a taste when he was young but since then it’s been all strict schedules and fulfilling his civic duties.

After an hour of toiling away without much progress, Jimin gives up and rolls out from under the car again. He wipes at the sweat on his forehead, grease smearing across it, his shirt torn down the front from the damn engine he dropped earlier.

Jimin packs away the tools, shuts down the lights, and locks the garage up, all with his mind still occupied with Jungkook.

He can’t help but wonder what it’s like to be in the city after having been a pack alpha. Unlike Jimin, that was Jungkook’s whole life. Living out there was his life, now he finds himself here, having to conform to a life he probably he feels isn’t meant for him. Even Jimin had been resistant at first, stubborn. It’s hard to imagine what it must be like.

Jimin pulls his jacket on as he steps outside, the door clicking shut behind him, locking itself. He turns his hat forward and pulls his hood up against the night breeze. Spring hasn’t come fast enough, winter clinging on still, refusing to let go. He shivers, splashing through puddles as he walks home with his head down.

The moon sits high and bright, full as it lights up the streets. Most of the lamp posts have been shattered or knocked down by the young alphas in the city; their attempt at showing that they rule the city.

Young alphas around here, typically the teens who have only just presented, have a false sense of entitlement just because of their status. Jimin knows. Jimin was one of them once. He roamed the streets after curfew, shattering windows, busting out lights so no one could see the trouble they got up to in the dark, stealing what he thought he deserved.

He had left that all behind when the group he ran with started going too far. Jimin takes what he wants, but not when it means hurting another person. He had his own rules and he always followed them. When he realized there were no morals to be found in his little crew, he ditched.

Thunder rumbles in the distance and he glances back, the clouds still far enough in the distance that they’re of no concern to him now. Tomorrow may be another story. They don’t have the resources they used to have to predict the weather, nor the man power to constantly keep track and report on it. They just have to take everyday as it comes.

Mingling with the rumbling in the sky is the low growl of a voice just ahead of him, near Taehyung’s bar. He slows to a stop, ears perking up to listen closer.

“Think you’re some kind of tough guy just because you used to live out there, huh?”

“You’re not much without your pack, are you? You fucking savages are all the same, acting like you’re so tough but you don’t know how to survive on your own like we do. You always have to have your little lackeys backing you up.”

Jimin moves to the side of the building, pressing his back against it and peering around the corner. In the middle of the alley beside the bar stands Jungkook, two city alphas Jimin recognizes from around the neighborhood on either side of him, blocking him in.

Jungkook doesn’t say anything, his hands clenched at his sides, and he looks frozen. If this was Jimin he would be attacking by now, ripping those guys limb from limb. That’s what he would expect from a pack alpha, too. Why isn’t Jungkook doing anything? Saying anything?

“Didn’t they say you’re also sterile?” the alpha closer to Jimin spats, his friend laughing. “So what’s the point in keeping you around? We should kick you back out there and let your old pack at you. Bet they’d have real good fun with you.”

Still unmoving, head tipped down, Jungkook bites his lip, his jaw taut. Jimin’s eyes narrow. What the hell is he waiting for?

“You trying not to cry or something?” asks the friend, then cackles again. “Some alpha you are. No wonder your pack didn’t want you.”

Jimin can’t watch this anymore. He tells himself he doesn’t feel sorry for Jungkook—he swears that has nothing to do with it—he’s just sick of kids like these thinking they can do whatever they want. Stepping into the alley, Jimin curls his fists inside his pockets, ready to attack if one of them does first. It’s always best to stay on your toes on these streets, even as an alpha.

“Hey, the fuck is going on down here?” he calls, and all three alphas look at him, the younger two glaring at him and Jungkook’s eyes going a little wide. He almost looks like he doesn’t know where he is, like he just snapped out of a trance and he’s lost now.

“What the fuck do you want?” the closer alpha asks before spitting on the ground at Jimin’s feet.

Jimin rolls his eyes. He hates that move. Why people think it makes them tough, he’ll never know. “You wanna fight now that it’s actually fair?” he asks. “Two against two? You accuse him of being weak but you two can’t even face him without ganging up first? I’d have to say you’re actually scared of what a pack alpha might do to you if you’re alone.”

The other alpha starts to sputter, trying and failing to grasp a witty comeback. Jimin’s eyes meet with Jungkook’s.

“I hear they get real mean during their ruts,” Jimin bluffs. “They’ll fuck just about anyone. Even other alphas if they’re desperate.” He runs his eyes up and down the bratty alpha closer to him, shifting his weight to one leg, hip jutting slightly out to one side. “You look like just about the right size, actually. I bet you’d make a real fun toy for him.”

The man closest to Jimin shifts uncomfortably, glancing at his friend, to Jungkook, then back to Jimin. He scoffs, an attempt to laugh that gets choked by his nerves. “Come on,” he calls to his friend as he strides past Jimin, his friend stumbling after him.

The first guy is careful to knock his shoulder against Jimin as he passes. Jimin’s hand shoots out, clasping around his forearm and yanking him around so their faces are inches apart. His skin feels hot with rage, his teeth gritted together, and he growls at the other alpha as he holds him, “Touch me one more time and I’ll rip your fucking throat out.”

Swallowing hard, the alpha eyes Jimin for a moment as though trying to determine if he’s serious or not, then wrenches his arm away from his grip and leaves, the other alpha trailing along, head down, his eyes never meeting Jimin’s.

Jimin waits until they’re well out of sight before turning to Jungkook, who immediately turns away from him, towards the stairs alongside the building. “I didn’t need your help,” he says as he heads up the stairs, slipping a set of keys out of his pocket.

“No, of course you didn’t,” says Jimin, following after him, hands in his pockets again. He stops behind Jungkook as the other alpha unlocks the door. “They finally kick you out?” He feels a twinge of worry. Not for Jungkook, but for his friends. “What did you do?”

Jungkook stops, head tipping back as he sighs. “What the fuck is your problem with me?” he asks, turning to face Jimin now. “I didn’t do anything. They gave me this apartment so I could have my own space.”

Jimin shrugs. “Fair enough. You gonna invite me in?”

“What? Why would I do that?”

“To thank me for saving your ass.” Jimin tilts his head to one side. “You completely froze up back there. Those guys would have beaten you to a pulp if I hadn’t showed up.”

Jungkook stares at him for a long moment and Jimin can’t help but notice that the starry blackness of his eyes is actually sort of… pretty. He buries that thought down deep.

“I would have been fine,” Jungkook insists, “but thanks, I guess. Can you go now?”

He turns, pushing the door open and stepping inside. Jimin steps forward before he can close it, stopping it with one hand as it starts to swing toward him. Jungkook turns back around to frown at him. “Don’t be so rude, Jungkook,” Jimin says, a smile playing at one corner of his lips when he notices the annoyance on Jungkook’s face. He doesn’t know why, but there’s something so enjoyable about getting under this guy’s skin.

Jungkook heaves another sigh and steps back, gesturing for Jimin to come inside. With a “thank you” dripping with sarcasm, Jimin steps in and listens to the harsh slam of the door behind him. Anyone else he would be careful about provoking them like this, especially when locked in the other person’s home. There’s something about Jungkook, though. Strangely, Jimin feels like there’s no threat here.

Jimin glances around, taking in the sight of the fully furnished apartment; a dark couch and white fireplace, table and chairs, and a cabinet full of alcohol. Against one of the brick walls, between two doors leading out to the balcony, sits the bed on a part of the floor slightly raised above the rest. He lets out a low whistle. “This place is way bigger than I would have imagined.” He looks at Jungkook. “You sure settled in quick.”

“Everything was already here, so…” Jungkook shrugs as he tosses his keys aside. “Guess that makes things easier for me. I’m not exactly a skilled interior designer.”

“Hm, I never would have imagined that,” Jimin says, and Jungkook almost smiles.

“So,” Jungkook says as he crosses the room to the cabinet, grabbing a bottle and two glasses. Jimin trails after him, eying the alcohol in Jungkook’s hands. “Why are you actually here? Can’t seriously just be to get me to say thank you.”

Jimin chuckles and leans against the wall, arms crossing over his chest as he watches Jungkook. “That’s exactly why I’m here. And that,” he points at the now full glass in Jungkook’s hand, “is the perfect thank you. You’re not such a bad host for being a forest boy all your life.”

Jungkook gives him an obviously fake smile, holding the glass out to Jimin. “Just shut up, drink, and get out.”

“Ooh,” Jimin takes the glass, “I take it back. You’re terrible at this.”

“I don’t feel the need to be a good host to some one who, first of all, barged in uninvited and, second,” he holds up two fingers, takes a sip of his own drink, then continues, “looks like they just got done bathing in a tub of grease before walking into my home.”

Jimin glances down at his clothes, then presses his glass to his lips with a grin. “Not my fault I work a real job,” he says, and drinks.

“Right.” Jungkook walks away, heading for the couch. Jimin, of course, follows. If he’s honest, he’s not sure why he’s here. Maybe it’s just because he’s curious, he wants to know who the hell this pack alpha is that seems more like a scared little boy than anything else. A pack alpha who lived with two betas and never laid a hand on either of them. He wants to know who Jungkook is, what makes him tick.

Jimin darts past Jungkook and hops over the back of the couch, balancing his glass in his hands, not losing a single drop of his precious drink. He settles in as Jungkook rolls his eyes at him, sitting down on the other end of the couch.

“So, did you get sick of having to hear Yoongi and Taehyung fuck or did they get tired of you listening?”

Jungkook kicks his feet up onto the couch, leaning back against the arm as he faces Jimin. “Neither. I was just finally ready to be on my own.”

“Ready?” Jimin furrows his brows. He sounds like a kid who just became old enough to move out on his own. “You’re a pack runner. Isn’t being on your own sort of what you’re used to? All that wide open space. Wouldn’t being stuffed in an apartment with a pair of mates get frustrating in no time for you?”

“Yeah, it was frustrating sometimes...” Jungkook looks away, his eyes boring into a wall, then he knocks back his glass, chugging the rest of the drink. He doesn’t meet Jimin’s eyes even as he stares Jungkook down, studies him.

Jimin can’t lie to himself. Jungkook’s an attractive man. More than attractive. His chiseled jaw tightening and the muscles in his neck flexing as he looks to the side, that little scar cutting through his left brow, as well as the one on his cheek. Jimin can’t help but drag his eyes down, taking in the sight of his collarbones, sharp and defined, his loose white t-shirt hanging low. He’s head and shoulders above anyone else in this city.

“So why did you stay with them for so long?” he asks, still using Jungkook’s seeming fascination with the wall as an opportunity to scan over the rest of his body, the obvious abs hidden behind that thin shirt, the thickness of his thighs in jeans that are just a little too tight to be allowed.

Jungkook just shrugs and his shirt slips to reveal a little more of his shoulder, a smooth expanse of tan skin that Jimin has the sudden urge to bite and mark. “Guess I just didn’t really have anywhere else to go at the time.”

It’s only half an answer but Jimin thinks it’s the best he’s going to get. If Jungkook is anything it’s reluctant, keeping his thoughts all to himself.

“So,” Jimin starts as he takes another drink, “I already rudely asked about you being sterile and barged into your apartment…” Jungkook seems to twitch at those words. “You said you don’t have a mate. Ever had one? Got your eyes on one?”

Jungkook takes a deep breath, sets his empty glass on the floor beside the couch. His eyes drag across the room, back to Jimin. “No, I’m not looking for one. Not really any point in doing that. You know why.” He shrugs again. “But I also just don’t care to find one. I had one once and, as you can see, I don’t anymore. There’s no reason to put myself through that pain again.”

Those words hit Jimin like a train and he sits up straighter in his seat. He had no idea Jungkook ever had a mate. That wasn’t in his public record. Maybe the government felt there was no point in mentioning that since the mate is dead now.

He almost feels guilty, realizing that this must be part of why Jungkook had grown so hostile after he mentioned mates back in the bar. Jimin polishes off his drink and sets the glass aside, something strange clawing at his chest as their eyes meet.

“I didn’t realize,” he says, clearing his throat a little awkwardly and glancing around the room. He feels suddenly small under Jungkook’s gaze and more than a little guilty. “Sorry.”

“It’s fine.”

Jimin’s eyes snap back to Jungkook and he seems genuine. Sad, but genuine.

“No way you could’ve known,” says Jungkook as he hops off the couch and grabs their glasses. Jimin watches him pad across the room, moving to lean on the back of the couch, arms crossed atop it, his chin resting on them.

“Was it when you left the pack?” Jimin asks. He shouldn’t be prying, he knows, but he’s so honestly curious now. Jungkook may not be the man he thought he was, after all. “Is that how you lost them?”

Jungkook stops with a bottle of alcohol tipped against the glass. With a sigh, he sets the glass down and returns to the couch with the entire bottle, taking a swig before passing it over to Jimin.

“Yeah, that’s how I lost her,” Jungkook answers as Jimin settles back into his seat, tipping the bottle up and his head back to chug.

Passing the bottle back, Jimin asks, “Is that what happened to you? The whole… sterile thing? Or were you always…”

“Yeah, that’s what happened to me.” Jungkook takes a drink, then another, and another, chugging down a good portion of the bottle before handing it back. “I was fine before. Was set to be a father, too, before they killed her.”

Jimin’s chest clenches. Even he’s not so emotionally stunted that he can’t recognize the pain in Jungkook’s eyes. He takes a quick sip and gives the bottle back. Jungkook needs it more than he does. “Shit. Fuck, I’m sorry.” He shakes his head. “Didn’t realize I’d be waking up so many demons for you.”

“‘S fine,” Jungkook mumbles around the neck of the bottle.

Jimin wracks his brain for anything else they can talk about, finally landing on something Jungkook still might not appreciate, but it’s all he can think of in the moment. “So, your, um, ruts,” he holds his hands up in surrender, “not trying to be rude—again—but I’m curious what you do to get through them now.”

“Same way anyone without a mate would,” Jungkook says with another shrug. “They make things to help with that.”

Jimin chuckles as he accepts the bottle back. “That, they do,” he says and takes yet another drink. He nods toward the cabinet. “Grab another bottle. I don’t know about you but it takes a lot to even get me buzzed.”

Jungkook licks his lips, glancing at the cabinet, and Jimin can’t deny the effect that one little movement has on his dick. He crosses one leg over the other, swallowing down his lust. Less than an hour ago he completely hated this guy. Now he kind of wants to fuck him.

The younger alpha looks to the clock on his wall, then back to Jimin. “Curfew’s soon,” he says, but he gets up to grab another bottle anyway, exactly as Jimin had requested.

“I may be a city boy but that doesn’t mean I can’t break rules,” Jimin says, grinning when he sees Jungkook chuckle. “Worth it for all the free booze I’m getting tonight.”

“Who says it’s free?” Jungkook asks as he comes back, trading bottles with Jimin. “Maybe I’m gonna start charging you.”

Jimin lifts a brow. “You can try,” he says as he lifts the new bottle to his lips, then stops. He lets out a single laugh, then feigns being flattered. “Rum. You remembered.”

“Yeah, ‘cause I couldn’t believe you would like something so fucking disgusting.”

“Excuse you, pack boy, rum is delicious.”

Jungkook drops back into his seat, head shaking. “City boys,” he says, a tantalizing little grin on his face.

Jimin just returns the smirk before taking a swig, his eyes locked with Jungkook’s. “I’m not so bad,” he says around the rim of the bottle. “I just take a little—or a lot—of warming up.” Jimin hates himself right now. He can recognize when the booze starts to kick in and he can recognize when he starts hitting on someone attractive and he can recognize the problem with that person being another alpha.

But he can’t seem to bring himself to really care.

When Jungkook doesn’t respond, Jimin takes another large gulp from the bottle. He should just keep his mouth shut. The last thing he needs to do is make a drunken fool of himself in front of the alpha he’s supposed to hate. He’ll be damned if he lets Jungkook catch even a hint of his attraction to him.

“So,” Jimin starts again, his mind a little fuzzy, his eyes a little unfocused, “what’s it like? Adjusting to the city life, I mean?”

Jungkook shrugs again, head shaking. He looks a little unsteady as well and Jimin’s glad to know he’s not the only one the booze is hitting hard tonight. He feels himself start to chuckle for no reason, sees Jungkook furrow his brows at him. But he just ignores Jimin’s fit of laughter and answers the question.

“‘S not so bad,” Jungkook mumbles, his eyes ghosting over Jimin’s body. Jimin doesn’t imagine it. He could be completely smashed right now and he still would have caught onto something that obvious. “It’s different.”

“Do you prefer it in here or out there?”

Jungkook’s gaze snaps back to Jimin’s. “I thought I preferred it out there. And, honestly, I wouldn’t say I prefer it in here either. But not as many bad things happen here. All the worst stuff happens outside the city.”

Jimin nods slowly along with his words and he feels like he should be drawing some sort of meaning out of them but his brain is foggy and somewhere in the back of his mind he realizes he hasn’t eaten in hours. The booze is kicking his ass.

He opens his mouth to respond to Jungkook and that’s the last thing he remembers. He doesn’t know exactly when he passes out but somewhere along the lines he tips back on the couch and slips into a quiet slumber.

 

~α~

 

When Jimin wakes up it’s to the smell of another alpha. All around him. Surrounding him. Seeping into his pores, tainting his clothes. He sits bolt upright and looks around, eye bleary and his hair sticking in every direction.

He’s in a bed that’s not his own and he can taste day old alcohol on his tongue. His stomach is growling and he smells like Jungkook.

“Oh, good, you finally woke up.”

His head snaps around to find the voice and he sees Jungkook across the room, leaning against the kitchen counter with an amused grin on his lips. Jimin looks down and realizes he’s not in his clothes from yesterday but in an unfamiliar white t-shirt and black shorts.

“Uh,” he looks up at Jungkook, “why am I in your bed and your clothes?”

Jungkook props his chin on his hand. “You got smashed last night and started laughing about how you hadn’t eaten and you felt weird. So I got you to eat something, gave you something to wear so you could change out of your disgusting work clothes, and told you to go to sleep.” His smile grows and Jimin hates it. “And then you told me I wasn’t so bad for an outsider.”

Jimin grimaces and tosses the sheets back. “Well, I turn into a compulsive liar when I’m drunk so don’t take anything I say too seriously.” He turns in circles to find his clothes, stopping just long enough to see Jungkook point at a chair in the corner. Jimin makes his way over without saying anything and starts stripping off the clothes he wears.

Out the corner of his eyes he can see Jungkook shift away from the counter, going rigid at the sight of Jimin getting naked in front of him. At least he knows Jungkook probably wasn’t sneaking any peeks when he changed last night if it’s freaking him out this much today. Not that he cares. Jimin has no shame about his body and he kind of likes the way Jungkook can’t seem to look away now.

He tugs his jeans on first with their ripped knees and worn hems, then grabs his shirt and straightens up, still watching Jungkook in his peripherals. With a grin, he turns his head to the other alpha and lifts a brow.

“Like what you see?”

Jungkook seems to twitch at those words, turning his face away from Jimin, gaze locked on the window now.

Jimin doesn’t know what possesses him to do what he does next, but instead of putting his shirt on he slings it over his shoulder and strides across the room, all bare chest and tan skin, his chin tipped up, his neck exposed to Jungkook.

He leans on the counter just feet away from Jungkook and the other alpha immediately moves away. His pupils blow wide and his muscles go tense and Jimin would recognize the first warning signs of an alpha’s rut being triggered. If Jimin sticks around it’ll throw Jungkook straight into his.

Excitement and temptation swim through his veins, his fingers tingling to reach out and grab Jungkook, to bend him over the counter and fuck him hard and fast. Or maybe bend himself over the counter and let Jungkook have his way with him, let him shove his knot inside him to get through his rut. Jimin’s never been one to like being dominated but he does know he likes bottoming on occasion. Doesn’t make him any less of an alpha to enjoy a thorough fucking.

Jimin props his elbow on the counter and rests his chin on his hand. “So, no interest in mates at all, huh?” he asks, and Jungkook looks puzzled by the question.

“No.”

“Same,” Jimin says, his mind racing with ideas, his imagination running wild with possibilities. “I don’t wanna be responsible for someone else and I sure as hell don’t want the responsibility of kids.” He drags his gaze over Jungkook, starting at his eyes and slowly—so very slowly—scanning down his chest, his abs, lingering where he knows his cock lies hidden behind his sweats, then moving back up. “I know it’s not that difficult to get through a rut on your own,” he continues, and he swears Jungkook is holding his breath now. “I’ve done it before. But…”

Jungkook takes a step back before he breathes, like being too close to Jimin intoxicates him. Like his scent’s going to tip him over the edge. Jimin kind of likes the control he has over the other alpha right now.

He moves around the counter, following Jungkook as he backs away. “I was thinking,” says Jimin, grinning as Jungkook’s back hits the wall. “We could help each other out.” He steps right up to Jungkook, his bare chest just an inch away from Jungkook’s. His eyes linger on Jungkook’s lips and he has to mentally talk himself out of kissing him, to keep teasing awhile longer because he likes the way Jungkook squirms.

“Help each other?” Jungkook asks, his voice breathy and low. He looks at Jimin’s lips, then back to his eyes. His Adam’s apple bobs as he swallows and his fists curl against the wall behind him. “How?”

“The best way anyone can help someone during their rut.” Jimin chuckles as Jungkook writhes against the wall again, searching desperately for an escape. “You ever taken a knot before?”

Now Jungkook freezes, going completely rigid where he stands. His eyes widen just for a moment, then he furrows his brows. “What? Fuck each other through our ruts?” he asks, and Jimin feigns being excited about Jungkook finally putting the pieces together. “Are you insane? Alphas aren’t allowed—”

“To mate with each other.” Jimin presses a finger over Jungkook’s lips. “We can’t bond,” he says, then takes a step back, letting Jungkook catch his breath again. “Lucky for us, neither of us want mates. It sure would be nice to have a real, live person to fuck when that knot’s throbbing instead of using some kind of a toy, wouldn’t it?”

Jungkook seems to hesitate, his eyes darting over every inch of Jimin as his breathing slows. He looks like he’s considering it, and that has Jimin feeling eager, tongue sliding over his lips, teeth clamping down on the lower one, waiting.

“What do you say, Jeon?” he asks, holding his hand out. “Alphas with benefits?”

The younger alpha swallows hard, takes a deep breath, and then exhales. His eyes meet Jimin’s, who wants nothing more than to pin Jungkook against the wall right now. “Alright,” Jungkook says, bringing a smile to Jimin’s lips and a devious twinkle to his eyes. He reaches out and shakes Jimin’s hand. “Deal.”

Jimin lets out a breathy chuckle, one brow lifting as he uses their clasped hands to yank Jungkook toward him. “Good,” he whispers, sending a shiver down Jungkook’s spine. “I guarantee you won’t regret it.”

Jimin grins at the alpha, bodies close enough he can feel heat radiating off of Jungkook, who just stares back at him, unassuming. Jungkook has no idea what the hell he just signed up for but if Jimin has his way, he’ll find out sooner rather than later.

Chapter Text

 

Jungkook has felt feverish all night, goosebumps rising along his skin as he paces his apartment, sweat on the nape of his neck. He hates the build up to his rut, the unbearable heat radiating off his body, the tension in his thighs as his cock throbs, aching to shove his knot somewhere before it’s even formed.

Jimin had said he would be here and he’s late. He’s just about to give up on the other alpha—to grind against his pillows or jack himself off for at least a little relief—when there’s a knock at the door. He leaps to his feet, yanking the door open to reveal a smirking Jimin with his backwards hat and a loose t-shirt with rips and tears in all the right places. It takes Jungkook a few seconds to swallow down his lust, wanting to drag Jimin inside and strip him bare, press him face down on the bed and shove his knot inside him.

“You gonna let me in?” Jimin asks, brow raised. He smirks when he notices Jungkook’s eyes dragging over his chest where his shirt dips low. He had to have dressed like this on purpose just to further tempt Jungkook, as if there’s any doubt that Jungkook would gladly fuck Jimin no matter what he’s wearing. He wonders if Jimin showed up late on purpose, just to make him all that much more desperate.

Jungkook just nods, stepping back to let Jimin inside. The other alpha smells good as he passes him, a musky scent wafting over the younger. He feels himself leaning in, his eyes on Jimin’s neck, before he stops and pulls himself back. Jimin notices, though, and casts him a smirk over his shoulder as Jungkook closes the door.

“It reeks of alpha in here. Anyway, I brought everything we’ll need,” Jimin says, lifting a little paper bag as he crosses the room. He tosses it on the bed before heading for the liquor cabinet. He can hear Jungkook’s breath behind him, a little labored. He glances back, watching Jungkook move to sit on the bed. There’s a light sheen of sweat on his forehead, his hair sticking to it. All the signs that his rut is kicking in. Any alpha would recognize that anywhere.

“So,” Jimin says, sipping at a bottle of rum. “How long do your ruts usually last?”

Jungkook shrugs. “Few days. I can pass it faster if I’m… with someone the whole time. You know, the more I knot someone the quicker and easier it goes. You?”

“About the same. Think if I stay all night you’ll be good?” Jimin asks around the rim of his glass and Jungkook tries not to think how weird this conversation is. There usually isn’t this much talking involved. He’s never had to discuss and plan his rut before, nature always taking its course in the past, everything going as expected when he was with an omega. “Hello, Jungkook, you alive in there?”

Jungkook looks up at the other alpha, who stares at him like it’s absolutely ludicrous that Jungkook’s attention wasn’t fully devoted to him. He may have bitten off more than he can chew with this guy. “Sorry, what?”

“I work late tomorrow,” Jimin says, “so I can stay all day today, all of tonight and a good part of tomorrow.” He grins. “As long as you let me use your shower.”

“Yeah. Yeah, that’s fine,” Jungkook says, hand cutting through his hair as he watches Jimin. He sighs, head dropping as Jimin knocks back a gulp of his drink. “God, this is so weird, structuring a rut like this… Planning it out with someone. It’s weird. I’m used to this just— I guess I’m used to… passion being involved.”

“Who says there can’t be passion?” Jimin asks, the curve of his lips so enticing it has Jungkook hanging on the very edge of his bed, images of shoving his cock past those pretty lips flooding his mind. “People think passion is built on love but it can be built on a lot more, including the opposite of love.”

Jungkook lifts a brow at him. “Are you saying you want me to hate fuck you?”

“I… thought that was kind of the whole plan,” Jimin says, head cocked to one side, the slight chuckle that escapes him almost endearing. Jungkook can’t tell if this is all a big joke to him or if he’s genuinely just this much of a playful little tease all the time. Jimin is impossible to read.

“This just feels all too… clinical.”

Jimin sets his little glass of rum aside, his hat following. Jungkook tenses as the other alpha approaches him, hands twisting into the front of Jungkook’s shirt and yanking him up. “Doesn’t have to,” Jimin rasps low in Jungkook’s ear, hands splaying across his chest, breath hot against his jaw, “if you would just relax.”

Lips tease at Jungkook’s throat as Jimin hitches his shirt up. Jungkook can feel himself getting painfully hard just from how close Jimin stands, a bitter taste on his tongue from the sheer headiness of Jimin’s scent as it invades his senses. He feels a little lightheaded but he leans in anyway, like a junkie needing another hit of something he’s never even tasted.

His hand curls into Jimin’s hair, tugging his head back as he buries his face in his throat, nibbling at the smooth expanse of skin there. He can hear Jimin groan as his hands make their way to Jungkook’s ass and drag him forward, grinding clothed cocks together, Jungkook’s already straining against his pants.

Jimin gasps in Jungkook’s ear as teeth scrape over his collarbone, hand pulling at his hair, the other fumbling with his zipper and yanking it down. “C’mon, Jeon, show me how a pack alpha fucks,” he murmurs in Jungkook’s ear, earning a growl from somewhere deep in Jungkook’s throat. “Knot me. Stretch me the way even my toys at home couldn’t do earlier.”

Jungkook snaps his hips forward, Jimin’s hands tearing his shirt off over his head. His own hand dips past the waistline of Jimin’s pants, sliding over the perfect curve of his ass. He kneads at the flesh as Jimin throws his own shirt aside and Jungkook leans back to drink in the sight of his bare chest, all muscle and tan skin.

“You like the thought of that?” Jimin asks, nipping at Jungkook’s jaw as his cock teases at Jungkook’s through his pants. “Think it’s hot that I fucked myself open just for you? That I got myself all wet and dirty, moaning in my bed, writhing, wishing it was a real cock in my ass instead. Wondering if I thought of you as I did it, aren’t you?”

Jimin’s hand cups Jungkook’s nape, pulling him close, their lips so, so close together but never touching. His breath ghosts across Jungkook’s face, warm and sweet.

“You know I did. Thought of that big alpha cock fucking me wide open. Prove to me it can do what I imagined, Jeon. I dare you.”

If Jungkook had any reservations about this they all raze to the ground with those words. His hand plunges between Jimin’s cheeks, fingers prodding at his hole, the tips intruding just enough to get a little moan from Jimin.

Hands shove Jungkook’s pants down, his boxers following, and he kicks them aside as his fingers retreat from Jimin again, frantically working to get his jeans off. He feels like the very breath from his lungs escapes him when he finally has Jimin completely bare in front of him, eyes ravenously eating up the view before he grabs the other alpha and turns to shove him onto the bed.

Jimin hits the covers and crawls back across them, a white-toothed smirk greeting Jungkook as he follows, hand snatching up that paper bag from earlier. He digs around inside it as he leans down, his lips a mere inch away from Jimin’s before the smaller alpha stops him with a hand on his chest.

“I don’t do kissing,” he says, giving Jungkook another shove. “Keep your tongue in your own mouth, pretty boy.”

Jungkook bristles at that, his alpha instincts telling him to take control of the situation, that he is the boss in this situation. He usually has great control over it but with his mind consumed by Jimin’s scent and the way his hole clenched so eagerly around his fingers earlier, it gets the best of him.

He twists a hand into Jimin’s hair again, teeth gritted as he resists the urge to completely ravish the other man’s neck. He leans in again, the fingers of his other hand clamping down around Jimin’s wrist, holding him in place, a blatant act of dominance.

Jimin seems less than frightened by his display, almost amused. His lips form the most subtle of grins, eyes hooded as they drift to Jungkook’s lips. “Just because I’m letting you fuck me doesn’t mean you’re in charge, kid,” he purrs, the sultry drag of his voice sending a shiver straight down Jungkook’s spine and into his cock.

He feels his dick twitch as Jimin’s hand travels down his chest, stopping to tweak his nipple before continuing down, nails scraping along the middle line of Jungkook’s abs.

“Wanna test that?” Jungkook growls. A hand twists around his cock, thumb smearing precome around as Jungkook drips with it, his rut begging to be sated, his knot screaming to swell and lock inside Jimin.

He shudders and moans when Jimin tugs at his cock, hand sliding from base to tip of his impressive length. His head tips back, lashes fluttering as his smirk grows. “Just try to dominate me, pretty boy, I’ll fuck y—”

Jungkook silences him, lips crushing against Jimin’s, the heat between them scorching, burning through their veins. He feels the other alpha tense up at first, the hand on his cock halting. Then Jimin presses forward, fervent, openmouthed kisses melting with Jungkook’s. He’s more teeth than lips, scraping and bruising Jungkook, leaving his lips an angry red.

“Fuck you,” Jimin snarls before his mouth finds Jungkook’s again, tongue forcing its way past his lips, delving deep into the wet cavern, exploring Jungkook. He tears at the paper bag, fingers clawing for the bottle of lube inside of it.

Jungkook steals it away from him, pushing him flat on the bed. Jimin’s hand leaves his cock, slick and wet with an obscene amount of precome. Jimin lifts the hand to his face, tongue darting out to taste Jungkook on his fingers as the younger drenches his cock in lube. He feels it twitch at the sight, Jimin eying him with a grin as he licks again, slipping one finger past his lips and sucking.

Jimin’s other hand grips his own cock now, stroking himself as Jungkook smears lube around his ass, slicking his hole up with more than enough, making sure he’ll be able to take his knot later. He’s only ever done this with omegas in the past, he’s not sure how different it will be with an alpha, if at all.

The older alpha darts forward, nose bumping against Jungkook’s as he teases with the promise of a kiss and then moves to bite the other man’s ear. “You’re not fucking me on my back like I’m some submissive little—”

Once again, Jungkook silences him, this time grabbing him by the thighs to lift him with surprising ease. He lunges forward as he does, slamming Jimin against the headboard, propping his shoulders on it. His rut hits him in full force, adrenaline coursing through his veins, his skin hot to the touch, sweat drenching his hair, and his cock aching. He can’t deal with much more of Jimin’s teasing.

“This better for you, pretty boy?” Jungkook says in his ear, voice deep and guttural, mocking Jimin’s earlier words. The sound, to the surprise of both of them, sends a shudder through Jimin’s body, his cock throbbing where it presses against Jungkook’s stomach. Everything Jimin does is just to rile him, to get under his skin, so Jungkook will do the same. Jimin’s not the only one who can play the dominance card. “I’ll fuck you however I like.”

Jimin’s head tips back as he laughs, breathless, clearly enjoying this little game of theirs. His legs wrap tight around Jungkook’s waist, fingers digging into his back, and Jungkook nestles into his neck to lick at the little juncture where Jimin’s mating gland rests beneath his skin. He trails down, teeth latching onto his collarbone hard enough to make Jimin yelp, a sound that quickly fades into a moan.

“And you’ll take it, won’t you?” Jungkook finishes, the words escaping in a single harsh breath against Jimin’s skin. “‘Cause you’re fucking desperate to have my cock in you, aren’t you? Have been since we met.”

He hitches Jimin up, cock slipping between his cheeks, the tip grazing over his hole and making it clench, desperate to be filled. He never thought he would be thankful for anything from Jimin, but he’s glad Jimin fucked himself before coming here. He can’t wait through prepping him.

“I’d say— I’d say you’re the desperate one here.” Jimin’s nails nearly cut into Jungkook’s skin, making him snap his head back to glare at Jimin. The other alpha just smirks at him, eyes hooded and glossy. “So get on with it.”

Jungkook’s eyes lock with Jimin’s, both alphas taking a moment to stare each other down, one last challenge before they completely surrender to their nature. Once they start, there’s not much going back, especially not once he’s knotted.

“Prove you’re the alpha here,” Jimin spats with a sneer and a smirk. “Fuck me. Fuck me so good I scream.”

Jungkook lunges forward again, crushing Jimin harder against the wall as he uses one hand to align his cock with Jimin’s hole. “I’ll make you fucking scream,” he promises, his other hand kneading at Jimin’s ass cheek. “Make you fucking beg for my knot.”

The little cackle that leaves Jimin after that gets cut short by a sharp gasp when Jungkook starts sliding into him, relentless, seating himself fully inside the other alpha. He’s so hard and every inch of him burns to fuck something, to knot something, to fuck this rut away.

But mostly he just aches to fuck Jimin. He’s never felt such an unforgiving need to knot someone. Never felt so exhilarated at the simple privilege of touching someone like this. Not even his old mate affected him quite like this, Jimin’s scent overwhelming everything else in the room, musky alpha pheromones surrounding Jungkook, the precome leaking onto his stomach heightening it’s effect.

Jungkook feels the subtle roll of Jimin’s hips and resists the urge to poke fun at him already begging for more, so needy, craving Jungkook’s cock in his ass.

He slides his hands around to grip Jimin’s ass with both, spreading his cheeks for better access as his cock slides out, then rams back up into him, Jimin’s shoulders slipping against the headboard. His hands tighten on Jungkook, thighs flexing around him, hole clenching down on his cock, dragging a low moan from Jungkook.

“Is that all you’ve got?” Jimin asks, breathless, voice shaking as Jungkook fucks into him again. But he’s so stubborn that even as Jungkook finds a rather brutal pace to pound into him, Jimin just grins past his breathy gasps. His hand twists into Jungkook’s hair, tugging his face up away from where he’d buried it into Jimin’s neck to meet his eyes. “C’mon, little alpha, f-fuck me like you m-mean it.”

Jungkook’s grip on Jimin tightens enough to almost be painful and Jimin’s eyes roll back in his head, a low moan bubbling up from his throat. The sound of it heightens Jungkook’s lust, his knot already hardening as he fucks up into Jimin.

He slams into him so hard his head knocks back against the wall as their lips meet again, Jungkook’s tongue assaulting Jimin’s mouth, pressing against the smaller man’s tongue, drinking up the sweet taste of him, a tiny hint of rum from earlier.

Jimin swallows down the low growls and moans slipping from Jungkook as he buries himself inside the other alpha, suddenly eager to have Jungkook’s lips on his despite his protests. He only breaks away when a particularly sharp shock of pleasure shoots through him, making him snap his head back and sigh or moan.

The hands on Jungkook’s back drag down, scratching red lines onto his skin until they reach his hips. Jimin’s legs tighten around him again, urging him on, shoulders pressing against the wall for leverage to ride Jungkook’s cock, searching for pressure against his prostate.

Jungkook’s fingers dig into him, bruising his skin, lips on his neck again, sucking purple marks everywhere he can reach. He thrusts up into Jimin, rough enough to jostle the man’s entire body, and tears a loud growling cry of ecstasy from Jimin’s throat, actually cutting into Jungkook’s skin with his nails now.

“K-Keep fucking me right there,” Jimin orders, his voice firm and demanding despite the sharp gasps that interrupt him, the sultry moans dripping from his lips the way precome drips from his cock, curled so high and hard with arousal from the way Jungkook fucks him deep. “F-Fuck me w-with that cock the— the way an alpha sh-should fuck— ah—”

Jimin’s words die at the tip of his tongue, shaky moans overtaking them. Jungkook’s head drops against Jimin’s shoulder, the room spinning around him as the pulsing in his knot becomes unbearable. His teeth find purchase on the other alpha’s shoulder and he bites, hard, as he steadies the older man to try shoving his knot inside, already catching at the rim of Jimin’s hole.

Jimin reaches back to grip the headboard, pushing back against the wall to fuck himself down against Jungkook’s knot, his throat raw from moaning, his body drenched in sweat and precome, Jungkook placing possessive little marks all over his body. He marks everything he can but that one little spot on Jimin’s neck, like he’s placing his claim without making the actual bond. He knows it’s just his rut making him feel this way, but he wants to make Jimin his as he knots him.

Tugging Jimin’s hips down to meet his, Jungkook’s knot pushes past the fluttering ring of muscle to lock inside Jimin, animalistic growls escaping him as he spills inside Jimin, coming so hard he feels dizzy, filling him up as Jimin strokes himself with a trembling hand.

Jungkook’s hips jerk and stutter against Jimin, his whole body tense, pressed up against Jimin so hard he practically crushes him into the wall as Jimin comes across their chests. Jimin’s other hand finds the nape of Jungkook’s neck, tugging him up to look at him. Jungkook feels another involuntary twitch of his hips, his knot pulsing and spilling more inside the other alpha.

Every little move has Jimin gasping, his body sensitive, lips parted in harsh breaths. He looks more beautiful like this than any omega Jungkook’s seen in such a wrecked state. He revels in the sweaty mess of Jimin’s hair, the glossed over look in his eyes as he stares back at him. Jungkook dives in to kiss him, nibbling at his lower lip before he moves down to swipe his tongue along Jimin’s chest, lapping at the come there before returning to his mouth.

He presses a sloppy kiss to Jimin’s open mouth, come squelching between their lips, dripping down their chins as Jungkook’s hips jerk against Jimin again. When he pulls back, Jungkook carefully readjusts to have Jimin lie back on the bed, giving his arms a break from holding him up. They’re going to be stuck like this for a bit, might as well be comfortable.

Jimin seems surprisingly content with it, hooded eyes watching Jungkook as he reaches down to swirl his own come around his fingers before lifting them to Jungkook’s lips, pressing against them to invade his mouth. Jungkook is all too willing to let him, craving the bittersweet taste on his tongue again.

That seems to be enough for Jimin, a satisfied smile on his face as he folds his arms behind his head and rests it on them. He crooks a brow at Jungkook, one shoulder shrugging. “Not bad, I guess, little alpha.”

Jungkook holds back a chuckle, head shaking before he finds a clean part of Jimin’s chest to lean on. He stays like that for awhile, catching his breath, soaking in the warmth of Jimin’s walls clenching around him, the smaller alpha still clearly aroused despite being worn out from such a thorough fucking.

They both stay silent, eyes closed to recover as they wait. It doesn’t take too long before Jungkook’s knot begins to shrink back down and he stirs, propping himself up as he pull his cock out of the man beneath him. He leans back to watch his come dripping from Jimin and onto the sheets.

He looks up to see Jimin watching him, tongue sliding along his teeth before they catch his lower lip. Jungkook scoots back and dives down between Jimin’s legs, tongue prodding at his hole and making it clench around him. Jimin’s thighs flex by his head as Jungkook pushes them up, practically bending Jimin in half. He feels fingers in his hair as he drinks up his own come, palming at Jimin’s balls as he does so.

It has the other alpha writhing against the mattress, tugging at Jungkook’s head to make him come back up. Jungkook scoops a decent bit of come onto his tongue before leaning back, pulling Jimin upright and darting forward again.

Jimin’s tongue slips from his mouth as Jungkook plants an open mouthed kiss there, his tongue pressing against Jimin’s, swirling his come between them, thick and warm. He pulls back, feeling himself getting hard again already when Jimin keeps his tongue hanging out, letting the come drip from it, further dirtying the bed between them.

His tongue retreats and he makes a show of gulping, brow lifting in a taunt. “Hard for me again already, Jeon?” he asks, hand sliding down Jungkook’s stomach to stroke at his cock. “You think you’re in charge, forest boy, but when you’re in your rut and I’m your only outlet… you’re putty in my hands. I can make you do whatever I want.”

Jungkook swallows down a moan as Jimin flicks his wrist. “Sure didn’t seem that way a minute ago.” He grunts as Jimin shoves him back, springing forward to straddle Jungkook and pin him down. Jungkook just grins. “You let me do whatever the hell I wanted to you.”

Jimin opens his mouth to retort, some biting insult on his tongue, Jungkook’s sure. But he’s silenced before he can even try when Jungkook utters his next few words.

“Like a slutty little omega.” It’s not the way Jungkook would normally talk, but it gets the reaction he wants; angry clawing at his sides as Jimin presses dominating, bruising kisses against his lips again.

Jimin rides Jungkook this time, keeping him pinned down on the bed as he fucks himself onto Jungkook’s cock, still wet with come and loosened up from the first round. Red lines decorate Jungkook’s chest, obscenities assaulting his ears as Jimin kisses him, cursing both at Jungkook and because of him.

Because of the way Jungkook’s hands claw at Jimin’s thighs, how they bruise whatever part of him they can reach, as his knot forms and seeks Jimin’s warmth again, sinking into him, stretching him, filling him once again with Jungkook’s seed.

And Jungkook fights down a powerful urge to lean up and bite at Jimin’s neck right where he knows he needs to mark to claim someone, to mate them. He knows it’s just the heat of the moment, the scent of come and pheromones drowning out his common sense, but he can’t help but hesitate at the thought, wondering why it would even cross his mind.

It’s especially difficult to ignore when Jimin comes again, ropes of white decorating the both of them. He’s practically screaming through gritted teeth as he explodes, then his lips part and his eyes shut tight as he keeps grinding down on Jungkook’s knot, like it’s not enough. Like it’s never enough.

He glistens with sweat in the low light of the room and Jungkook can’t deny that he’s beautiful. Wipe away all the snarky laughs and challenging sneers and Jimin’s stunning enough that even the stars and moon should be envious of him.

The moment is ruined when Jimin flops forward to rest on Jungkook, once again waiting it out until Jungkook’s knot goes down, and mutters, “I’d like to see some omega just try to ride you like that.”

 

Jungkook’s rut eases slightly somewhere in the early hours of the morning, still not quite done but certainly more tolerable. They actually get a chance to clean themselves up, sticky, sweaty messes, hair completely wrecked. Jimin, of course, heads straight for the liquor cabinet, pouring them both glasses of the first thing he can grab before moving back to Jungkook on the bed.

“To help along the brief intermission,” he says, holding one glass out, which Jungkook takes with a smile. “Makes ruts easier to deal with, too. In my opinion, anyway.”

“Thank you,” Jungkook mumbles around the rim as he takes a drink.

Jimin hums, swallows, and lounges on the bed beside Jungkook. “Careful now,” he says as Jungkook drags his eyes up the length of his body, naked and sculpted like a statue. He hadn’t bothered to get dressed, stating they would just get naked again soon enough. Besides, he insists his body is a blessing to be able to witness like this. Jungkook can’t disagree. “You’re sounding a little too fond there. Don’t go ruining this with feelings already.”

Jungkook huffs out a lone laugh, once again uncertain if Jimin’s just playing or if he actually means what he says. He knocks back his drink and shakes his head. “Trust me, Jimin,” he says, standing up and snatching Jimin’s drink away before he’s even finished half of it, “you may have the looks to get my attention but your personality does a fine job of repelling any desire to mate you.”

He sets their glasses back down on the cabinet and moves back to the bed, keenly aware of the look of irritation on Jimin’s face. He’s just about to comment on it when Jimin grabs him by the wrist, yanking him onto the bed and pinning him down once again.

Their lips mold together as Jimin kisses him so hard Jungkook can’t catch his breath, hand holding Jungkook’s jaw in a possessive grip. If Jungkook didn’t know better he would say his comment about not wanting to mate Jimin pissed him off. But he writes it off as another play for dominance.

So he joins back in the game.

 

When Jimin finally leaves for work, taking his sweet time getting dressed so he can keep bumming booze off Jungkook, Jungkook decides to ask the question that’s been hanging on the tip of his tongue since Jimin propositioned him.

“If you hate pack alphas like me so much, why did you suggest we do this?”

Jimin just cocks his head at Jungkook. “Mutually beneficial. I help you through yours, you help me through mine.” He shrugs. “Using toys is only so satisfying and honestly just kind of leaves me feeling irritated afterward.”

“Why not just find some other city boy who doesn’t want to mate? There must be someone else in this place who wants that, someone you don’t hate.”

“I don’t hate you, Jeon, I’m just not fond of your kind.” Jimin regards him with one brow raised, a crooked grin on his lips. “And you would be surprised how few people have the same disinterest in mating as us. The ones who say they do are just saying what they think you want to hear so you’ll fuck them, fall for them, and eventually mate them like some terrible romance novel. I don’t like clingers.”

Jungkook almost wants to laugh. He should just kick Jimin out, but no matter how annoyed he is by this man’s attitude he can’t deny just how alluring he is. Maybe, just maybe, he’s also a little intrigued by what goes on in that messed up mind of his. “How do you know I won’t be one?”

“I have faith that the scars of your past have completely shredded your desire for romance.”

His words make Jungkook twitch, hating the truth behind them. But that smug grin on Jimin’s face vanishes and Jungkook knows he’s being serious; he’s not just saying this to get under Jungkook’s skin, to piss him off. That’s that only thing that keeps Jungkook from lashing out. That, and the fact that he’s a little too fascinated by Jimin’s reasoning, a little caught off guard by his intuition.

One glance at Jimin no one would ever expect the cleverness behind that pretty face. Despite his slightly smaller frame, Jimin appears to be all brawn and harsh words, no measure of wit about him. First impressions, Jungkook supposes, are rarely correct.

Jimin is clever. Jungkook finds it enthralling, can’t wait to see what other kind of surprises Jimin holds.

“Speaking of scars,” Jimin eyes Jungkook’s naked torso, “are all those from your pack years or just when they attacked you?”

Jungkook glances down at his own body. He had been so frenzied by his rut he momentarily forgot about all the marks across his skin, pale lines decorating him in crisscrosses, a jagged slice along the length of his left thigh. It’s silly to hide them in shame when he was raised to bear them with pride. Around here, though, scars simply mean trouble, means you’re a nuisance to the peace of the city.

And quite frankly, Jungkook doesn’t like the reminder of those final nights among his pack.

“A little of both,” he says as he stands, striding across the room, still naked, to the liquor cabinet where Jimin leans. “Why? Like what you see?” He throws Jimin’s words from just days earlier back at him with a smirk, then takes the glass from Jimin’s hand and knocks the rest of the drink back.

Jimin just rolls his eyes, a single laugh slipping from his lips. “I should get going,” he says, but he doesn’t deny what Jungkook asked him. “One more question,” he throws on his vest, “how does the whole… sterile thing work? Because everything seemed to work just fine.”

“Uh,” Jungkook shakes his head, “I still function the same as any alpha but I just… I don’t know. It’s, like, internally messed up from trauma. Doctor explained it to me when I first came here but I’m… not a doctor so I don’t get the science behind it. And it doesn’t really matter so fuck it, right?”

Jimin gives a nonchalant shrug of agreement. “You can still get off. That’s the only part that really matters. So, yeah, fuck it.”

Jungkook watches him as he tugs his hat onto his head and turns it backward. There’s the slightest hint of a limp in his step and he keeps stretching his neck and his back like he’s in pain. “You ever done this before?” he asks as Jimin heads for the door, Jungkook following him along. He grabs a pair of pants as he goes, pulling them on before cornering Jimin.

“Excuse me?” Jimin asks with a snort, leaning back against the door.

“Have you ever been fucked? Specifically, have you ever been knotted?”

Jimin huffs out a breathy laugh. “Yeah. Both.” Jungkook can’t hide his surprise at that. Jimin isn’t someone he would expect to willingly submit like that very often. “I’m not one of those alphas that’s too fucking proud to take it up the ass. I like what I like. It feels good. I’m not ashamed of that. Are you?”

Jungkook feels one corner of his lips quirk up into a smile. There he goes again, saying what Jungkook never would expect from him. There are far more layers to Jimin than meets the eye. “Can’t say I’m any different. But also can’t say I’ve ever experienced it the other way around. Like I said, I was with an omega before this, so…” He shrugs. “Well, that’s just how it works.”

Slipping his hands into his back pockets, Jimin nods. “Good to know,” he says, and there’s something behind those words that Jungkook isn’t catching. He knows he misses something by the way Jimin grins but he has no idea what it could be. He just knows that annoying smirk is dragging him in closer, his hand planted against the door as he leans in.

“Don’t you dare kiss me again,” Jimin says, which only tempts Jungkook more.

“Why? Afraid you’ll like it too much?”

Jimin huffs. “You ever try to prove your dominance like that again and I’ll toss you off your own balcony.”

“You sure seemed to like it before.” Jungkook lifts a brow as he presses closer, his bare chest nearly flush with Jimin’s.

“It was bearable,” Jimin remarks, but his eyes flicker to Jungkook’s lips for just a moment. He grins, but it doesn’t have that same obnoxious smugness it usually does. He seems almost genuinely amused, reaching up to cup Jungkook’s chin, thumb pressing against his lower lip. But then he gives Jungkook a light push back and turns to the door again. “Keep quiet about this. We don’t need to risk people finding out.”

“Thought you said it didn’t matter as long as we don’t mate.”

With the door part way open, Jimin stops and frowns at Jungkook. “That part’s fine but I don’t need everyone knowing I’m probably the only alpha in the city taking it up the ass. We’d be unnecessarily targeted, especially you, considering who you are.” He wrenches the door open, cool air wisping in, then says, “So keep it to yourself.”

As much as Jungkook wants to have the last word, Jimin’s right, so he just steps back, any hint of his earlier smugness fading. “Alright. You have my silence if I have yours.”

“Don’t want my ass beat in a dark alley somewhere so I’m not saying a damn thing.” Jimin smirks, crooked and alluring and so tempting. His lips just beg to be kissed. “See you around, little alpha.”

And then he’s gone just like that, Jungkook yearning to tug him back inside and bend him over the back of his couch. He feels overheated and, if he didn’t know better, he would say Jimin damn near triggered another rut.

Jungkook gets another swig of alcohol before taking a long, cold shower.

 

~α~

 

The bar’s busy again, like it always is, and that works in Taehyung’s and Jungkook’s favor as they sit in the back room, haggling deals with random strangers seeking what they can’t find or afford in a regular store. Jungkook finishes a transaction with a rather bashful omega—raven hair, pink cheeks, cute—who rushes off, bag in hand, clutching it close in hopes that no one notices the knotted toy he just bought.

Jungkook watches him go as Taehyung finishes arguing with an alpha who eventually storms out without buying anything. Rolling his eyes, Taehyung takes a seat beside Jungkook and huffs. “I hate some alphas,” he says, then gives Jungkook an adoring smile. “Not you.”

“I know,” Jungkook says with a chuckle. He glances at the door where the tiny omega from earlier disappeared, then leans back in his chair. “Hey, Taehyung. Why do we sell so many of those?”

Taehyung glances to where Jungkook is looking, then back to the alpha beside him. “The knots?” He crosses his arms over his chest. “They’re priced ridiculously high in regular stores. It’s to encourage omegas to just go find an alpha instead of fucking themselves through their heats. It’s not fair. Forces people into having mates they might not normally choose otherwise.”

“Not much in this city is fair,” Jungkook says, his eyes drifting to the box of knotted toys on the shelf beside him. The sheer size of it is a bit menacing, despite being an alpha himself. He should be used to it, but with Jimin in the picture now all he can think is what it’ll be like to feel something like that inside of him.

He tears his eyes away from them as a quiet beta comes in to buy some medicine from Taehyung, who already has it prepared for her. She must be a regular. Jungkook doesn’t ask as she leaves, instead he asks something that has Taehyung choking on the sip of whiskey he had just taken.

“Have you ever been knotted by an alpha?”

Taehyung sputters, eyes bugging out as he looks over Jungkook from head to toe as if that will help him puzzle out the alpha’s words. “What? Um, why— If this is about your rut— Jungkook, uh, I’m flattered but I don’t think we—”

“What?”

“What?”

Jungkook blinks, then sits upright in his chair. “No. No, I wasn’t suggesting you and I… God, no, Taehyung. I was just wondering what it’s like.”

“Oh, um…” Taehyung takes another sip of his drink, no longer able to meet Jungkook’s eyes, a little red in the face. “I don’t actually know. I’ve only ever been with Yoongi.” Now he looks at Jungkook again, eyes narrowed. “Why?”

“No reason.” Jungkook answers a little too fast, eyes darting toward the door. “Just wondering what it feels like, I guess. For everyone else.”

There’s a chuckle from Taehyung. “This is why you’re a winner, Jungkook. Always thinking about others. People are right when they say you’ll never be a city alpha.” He beams over at his friend. “You’ll always be way better.”

Jungkook smiles back, about to thank Taehyung when the moment is cut short by a loud crashing out on the main floor of the bar. They both launch to their feet, rushing out to find Hoseok standing over a groaning alpha, a broken stool behind him, glass shattered across the counter.

“What the hell happened?” Taehyung asks, moving to stand beside his omega friend as a burly man pulls the alpha up from the floor.

“That fucking little omega knocked him out for nothing,” the burly guy spats. “That’s what happened.”

Hoseok spits on the floor at his feet. He may be an omega but he doesn’t take shit from anyone, Jungkook knows that much. He’s witnessed Hoseok’s dangerous side more than once. “Fucker grabbed my ass when I walked by. So I grabbed a stool and hit him with it.”

Taehyung looks at the two in question. “You know the rules in my bar. You keep your hands off my employees.”

The alpha, starting to shake off Hoseok’s attack. “He’s an omega… That’s what he exists for.”

Hoseok launches forward with a snarl, tackling the man back, fist striking his face over and over. The bar spirals into chaos as the rest of the alpha’s crew gathers, one of them moving to grab Hoseok around the waist. But Jungkook grabs the guy by the back of his shirt and drags him back, slamming him against the counter before he feels someone grab him.

He doesn’t even know who’s on what side but it feels like the whole bar is fighting now as a fist collides with his jaw, somewhere in the midst of it Hoseok kicks an alpha back against a table, some patrons holding others back from joining the fight.

Jungkook feels a surge of anger pulse through him, his body vibrating, his instincts to tear into someone and asks questions later taking over. In packs they don’t teach self control. You do what you want, even if that means killing someone in a fight.

He grabs his opponent and twists him around, slamming his head against the counter and letting him fall to the ground before turning his attention on the alpha that started it all. Jungkook tackles the man with a shout, knocking him to the floor and crashing down on him in a flurry of fists.

Hands tear at his shirt, something collides with the side of his head, but Jungkook is unfazed, his anger urging him on through the pain. He slams the man against the floor, then wrenches him upward and headbutts him hard enough to make the guy’s eyes unfocus before collapsing back.

Jungkook’s victory is short-lived when the fighting suddenly stops, the alpha’s goons moving to hold back the small crowd as another alpha grabs Jungkook from behind and yanks him back, sending him skidding across the floor. Jungkook rolls to his feet, crouched and ready for an attack.

What he doesn’t expect is someone to grab him from behind, throwing him back onto the floor as the other alpha leaps forward to pin him down, hands around his throat as Jungkook claws at them. He can feel the pressure closing up his windpipe, only able to gasp in ragged breaths as he tries with all his might to push the guy off, to do anything, but every time he starts to get the upper hand someone else steps in and stops him.

Somewhere in the background he can hear Taehyung shouting, Hoseok cursing at someone to let go of him so he can help. Jungkook feels his consciousness slipping from his grasp, hands still tight around him.

Then he sees something shatter over the man’s head, closing his eyes just in time to avoid the rain of glass. He shakes it away, opening his eyes when the pressure on his throat disappears, and sees a boot kick the man off of Jungkook.

It’s Jimin, torn jeans and leather vest but no hat this time. He smirks down at Jungkook, broken bottle in hand. His hair hangs down in his eyes in mussed waves, reminiscent of how he looked in the midst of Jungkook’s rut the other night, and it sends a little wave of desire through Jungkook even in the middle of trying to catch his breath.

“Okay down there?” Jimin asks, tossing the broken bottle carelessly behind him. It shatters somewhere in the background as he extends a hand to Jungkook and pulls him to his feet. He lets out a breathy chuckle when they come face to face, Jungkook feeling a little lightheaded. “Not smart to pick fights without your pack here to back you up, Jeon.”

Jimin turns to look at the goons that were holding Taehyung and Hoseok back, then he turns and grabs the one that had Jungkook pinned down. The guy stumbles as Jimin drags him to his feet, looking dazed from the hit to his head, blood trickling down the side of his face.

“Get the fuck out of this bar right now,” Jimin says, grabbing the guy’s wrist and lifting his hand up. He grabs one of the alpha’s fingers. Jungkook hears the crack of his bones before he sees the finger bent backwards, hears the guy scream in pain. “Or…” He breaks another finger, then shoves the guy back. “I’ll break all your bones, one by one.” His eyes drift over the whole little gang. “Every single one of you.”

The alphas all look hesitant at first, like they want to defy him, to try taking him out together. But Hoseok, Taehyung, and a few others step up behind Jimin. One of the alphas snatches up their dazed friend and nods for the others to leave. Jimin watches them clamber out with a smirk, arms crossed over his chest. Then he glances around the bar.

“The fuck are you all staring at? Get back to drinking.” He scoffs, head shaking as he moves to check on Hoseok, giving Taehyung a pat on the back as he passes him.

He’s surprisingly gentle as he talks to Hoseok, too quiet for Jungkook to hear what he says. Jungkook can’t tear his eyes away from the sight, Jimin cupping Hoseok’s chin and turning his head to check for injuries, Hoseok swatting his hand away with a nonchalant shrug and a laugh. For a moment, Jungkook almost wonders if Jimin has a twin that’s less brash and more tender. Surely this can’t be the same man, practically cooing at his friend to stop picking fights as they clean up the broken glass.

Jungkook returns to the storage room when Taehyung calls him back, nursing his cuts with a little mirror in his hand. Jungkook can tell immediately that his neck is going to be covered in bruises for a few days he realizes, cursing under his breath. The sight of purple blossoming across his own skin makes his heart race a little harder than it should. It looks all too similar to how he looked that night he escaped.

As the sounds of the bar return to normal someone steps into the doorway, leaning against the frame. Jungkook doesn’t have to look right at him to recognize the cocky stance. He sets the mirror aside and looks up to find Jimin, but the other alpha doesn’t meet his eyes, directing his attention to Taehyung instead.

“Why do all the good fights have to happen when I’m not around?” he asks, earning a laugh from the beta. Jimin just sighs. “Whatever, I just came here to buy something.” He waltzes into the room, right up to Jungkook to lean past him and reach for something on the shelf. His hand rests on Jungkook’s thigh to brace himself, far too close to his cock for Jungkook to ignore.

The slide of his fingers distracts Jungkook enough that he doesn’t notice what Jimin’s holding when he straightens back up. It’s Taehyung’s voice that draws him back to reality, “What do you need that for?”

“Teaching a rookie how to take a knot before they have to deal with me in my rut,” Jimin says, and Jungkook’s eyes snap up to find him brandishing one of the knotted toys from earlier. His gaze stays locked on Jungkook, white teeth showing through his grin.

Jungkook says nothing as Jimin pays, chatting with Taehyung. He’s far too distracted by the curve of Jimin’s ass, by the thickness of his thighs and the simple elegance in the way he leans back against the door frame. He gets a little thrill up his spine when Jimin turns that smirk on him again just before leaving.

And just like that, Jungkook has to excuse himself to the bathroom, claiming he’s going to wash his cuts.

Jimin has way too much of an effect on him for being another alpha. His presence triggers reactions in Jungkook he should only have around an omega. It’s confusing and exhilarating all at the same time, and he finds himself quickly becoming addicted to the feeling.

Chapter Text

 

Metal clatters across pavement as Jimin kicks a stray wheel cover down the street. He keeps one hand on his hip, right next to his knife. No such thing as too careful outside of the city, especially when he’s escorting an omega who always seems to be every alpha’s goddamn target.

He gets it; Hoseok’s hot. That doesn’t explain why he always seems to have a target on his back and why—when he’s already been beaten down and tormented while hiking around out here once before—he keeps insisting on scouting and scavenging for Taehyung. Anyone else could do this. Jimin doesn’t understand his desperation to prove that he’s okay out here on his own.

Stubborn omegas these days, always trying to do everything themselves. He both respects and resents it. He respects the desire to be independent, to reach outside their assigned roles, to take care of oneself. Yet he resents that it always gets them into trouble, like what happened to Hoseok, and so people like himself have to tag along to keep them safe.

It’s not that Hoseok can’t defend himself—he’s perfectly capable, he’s strong—but even he wouldn’t stand a chance if an entire pack came along. Hoseok would be a goner out here by himself. Pack activity has increased in recent months, making scavenging far more dangerous. This is pack territory, so most consider what they’re doing right now to be theft rather than simple scavenging.

Jimin’s not sure what the pack punishment is for theft but he’s not willing to find out.

Up ahead of him, Hoseok leans into a broken down car, the sound of him grunting as he rips and tears something out greeting Jimin’s ears. Jimin strolls over to him, taking his time, keeping his eyes on the horizon for any sign of movement. He moves to lean against the car as Hoseok scrambles back out with a grin on his lips, a jumble of wires and what looks like an old radio in his hands.

“Taehyung said you’re restoring a car right now, right?” he asks before pulling his messenger bag around to shove the radio into it. “We’ll consider it your payment for coming out here with me today.”

Jimin just gives him a half-hearted nod, arms crossing over his chest. “Why did you ask me to come out here?” he asks, earning a glance from Hoseok as he snaps his pocket knife shut and slips it back into his pocket. “Aren’t you always the one saying you don’t need anyone to protect you?”

All he gets in response is a shrug before Hoseok continues down the street, eyeballing every house they pass. He has a knack for knowing exactly where to go, picking out the best places to scavenge without wasting his time on empty houses. Jimin trails after him, bored out of his mind but staying alert.

They head into a little house painted with a pale yellow. Not a color Jimin would ever choose to paint an entire house with. He briefly wonders who the previous owners were and if they were possibly color blind.

“I mean, I’m flattered you would pick me, Hoseok, but you know I’m not interested, right?” Jimin jokes, stopping in the entrance of the house, a grin on his face. Hoseok turns to him, then he laughs.

“Don’t be flattered, Jimin. You’re a good looking guy and all, but you and me? No way.” Hoseok heads deeper into the house, still chuckling to himself.

Jimin tries not to let that get under his skin, but Hoseok’s the second person in a week to tell him they would never mate him. Not that he cares, considering he doesn’t want a mate clinging to him the rest of his life. It does grate just a little bit that both Hoseok and Jungkook seemed repulsed enough by him to actually laugh at the thought, though.

He just huffs and brushes it off, waiting on the front porch of the house as Hoseok does his thing. Jimin leans against wooden rails, tongue wetting his lips as his eyes drift around his surroundings but his mind drifts to Jungkook and his sculpted body and the sheer size of his hands as they roamed over Jimin. He even finds his thoughts lingering on his lips and the taste of his tongue, the fiery burning under his skin of pure lust and desire. Even Jimin can’t deny his attraction to the other alpha.

Beyond the physical, there’s something that keeps Jimin consistently interested in learning more about him. Maybe it’s just because of his past, maybe it’s because of the scars hiding unspoken stories behind them. Maybe it’s because no one has ever dared to challenge Jimin the way Jungkook has and it’s thrilling. He likes the little game they’ve started and he’s intrigued by where it’s going from here.

There’s a rattling behind the house and Jimin straightens up, hand wrenching his knife out of its sheath. He holds it just behind his hip, still concealed as he circles around the house, moving slow, keeping his footsteps light as he moves through tall grass.

Metal clangs and crashes, then someone hisses out a curse, and Jimin whips around the corner, knife up. His heart stops for a moment when he comes face to face with a surprised Hoseok, hand on his chest.

“Holy shit,” Hoseok huffs, head shaking as he turns back around to what looks like a rickety garage door. Jimin doesn’t say what he wants to say, doesn’t chastise Hoseok for running off without telling him he would be out here. Jimin was ready to kill him a moment ago. “Sorry. I went out the back door. There’s a car in here that looks like it’s in good shape but the side door is stuck. Help me, would you? You’re a big, strong alpha.”

Jimin ignores the sarcasm in his voice and puts his knife away, squatting down to grip the partially open garage door and wrench it up alongside Hoseok. It budges just barely as they struggle, enough that Jimin could fit underneath. He tells Hoseok to hold it as he drops to the ground, rolling beneath and rushing to grab the chain beside it.

Hoseok slips under as Jimin drags the chain down, pulling the door high enough for him to push a tall tool box beneath it, bracing the door open, just above their heads. He turns to Jimin, raising his hand with a grin on his face.

Jimin’s hands ache from the chain but he gives the omega a high five anyway. He shakes his head as the other man begins nosing around the car, crawling under the dash to try hotwiring it. Jimin busies himself with the toolbox, sorting through the drawers and checking for anything he and Yoongi might not have at the garage.

A breeze picks up, rustling the grass, and a strange uneasiness settles over Jimin. He watches the road, eyes scanning for any sign of an ambush, any hint of danger. Jimin’s not afraid, but he does wonder how anyone can live peacefully out here with this constant need to be vigilant.

His mind wanders to Jungkook again. He wonders what it was like out here for him, if he was this jumpy, or if he was the one preying on scavengers like Hoseok and himself. It’s irrational, but some irritating little voice in his head says Jungkook was never that kind of pack leader. Then again, Jimin doesn’t really know him.

Behind him the car wheezes to life and he jumps, sighing when Hoseok grins at him, clapping his hands together as if to dust them off.

“Like magic,” he says as he slips his messenger bag off his shoulder and holds it out to Jimin.

Jimin furrows his brow. “What are you doing?”

“Giving you the supplies to take back to Taehyung.” The words sound like the most casual of topics with the way Hoseok utters them, beaming from ear to ear. His eyes are alight with a sort of hope and determination that has Jimin reeling to understand what’s happening.

“Why are you giving them to me?”

“‘Cause I’m gonna keep going,” Hoseok says with a smile, the pieces falling together in Jimin’s mind. “I’ll scout farther out, see what else there is out there. There has to be more out there than city life and pack life. Nothing is that black and white. I know there’s more—”

“This is insane, Hoseok— No, this is suicide.” Jimin shoves the bag against the omega’s chest. “You’re coming back to the city with me. Go get your fucking truck. I’ll drive the car.”

Jimin brushes past him, heading for the driver’s seat, but Hoseok catches him by the arm. When he turns back around it’s to find Hoseok’s smile gone, a seriousness on his face Jimin didn’t think him capable of. “I’m going, Jimin, you can’t stop me.”

“You wanna test that?” Jimin grabs Hoseok by the front of his shirt, dragging him forward. He tries to ignore the way Hoseok flinches at his aggression, but the omega’s eyes stay locked with his in silent defiance.

“You won’t force me to do what I don’t want to,” Hoseok says, Jimin’s grip staying just as tight on him until the omega reaches up to grab his wrist. His hand is soft against Jimin’s skin, no force behind it, but it makes Jimin let go of him anyway, and Hoseok smiles again. “See? You’re not like other alphas.”

Jimin steps back, jaw taut as Hoseok holds the bag out and, this time, Jimin takes it. “This is insane,” he says again. “You realize how high your chances of dying out there are? Or worse? If some pack alpha gets a hold of you and decides they want to keep you around… Hoseok, not all pack alphas are like Jungkook.”

He doesn’t know where those words came from, why he said them. He hadn’t even been thinking of Jungkook in the moment but it just slipped from his tongue so easily. It’s not a lie, though. Jungkook is different. Hoseok won’t be so lucky as to cross paths with another alpha like him out there.

Hoseok just smiles back at him with a nod. “I know. But I’m lucky to have known him. And you. Maybe it’s naive but… there has to be more people like you two out there. It can’t all be bad, right?”

“You’re right,” Jimin says, “it is naive.” With a huff he hitches the bag onto his shoulder and shakes his head at the omega. “Don’t come crawling back to me when you die.”

Hoseok laughs, nods, then turns to duck out of the garage. He pivots to give Jimin one last charming smile and a, “Take care of everyone while I’m gone. I’ll be back before you know it. And…” He slips his hands into his back pockets. “Don’t take Jungkook for granted, okay?”

Before Jimin can ask him what he means by that, he’s gone, jogging down the street and back to his truck. Part of Jimin screams to go after him, to drag him back to the city where he’ll be safe. Another part reminds him that nowhere in this world is truly safe anymore, so Hoseok might as well leave it with meaning to his life.

Jimin turns to the car where it chugs low and dull, sounding barely capable of running, but it gets him back to the city safe and sound. He’s not sure how long he’ll survive, though, once Taehyung and Yoongi find out the disaster he just let happen.

 

~α~

 

With the newly implemented later curfew of Friday and Saturday nights, the bar finds itself packed fuller than usual. Yoongi helps Taehyung since Hoseok didn’t show up (Jungkook assumes he must have gone into his heat.) They both look frustrated and overwhelmed and Taehyung even snaps at Yoongi for a simple mistake. Jungkook’s never seen them so on edge. If he didn’t think he would just make things worse he would offer to help.

He stays in his seat, keeping his eye on the patrons instead, though it doesn’t seem needed at the moment. No one has dared to even raise a fist to one another after Jimin’s display the other night. Jungkook almost smiles to himself at the memory, then he remembers what happened in the moment after and chugs down the rest of his gin.

Jungkook’s unsure what to expect from Jimin’s rut when it finally happens. He doesn’t know what to expect with that knotted toy or with Jimin’s need for dominance or just how compatible they’ll be when the roles are reversed. Jungkook’s not a prideful alpha, he doesn’t need to be in control, but he’s never had anyone take charge before and he’s unsure how kindly his instincts will take to the change.

He shakes it off and moves to the bar, slipping past Yoongi to pour himself a drink. Beside him he hears Taehyung huff and he looks up, afraid he had pissed the beta off somehow. But Taehyung’s eyes flicker to the door before he turns his back on it to clean under some taps.

Jungkook looks to see none other than the very alpha invading his thoughts. Jimin, in all his shredded clothes and leather glory. No hat, once again, his hair wisping across his eyes, perfectly tousled. Jungkook has to force himself to look away before Jimin catches him staring and moves back to his table without greeting the other alpha.

He sinks into his booth as he watches Jimin stop Yoongi with one hand, leaning in close to say something to him, his jaw taut with irritation. Yoongi just shakes his head and moves on, heading for the storage room, and Jimin continues toward the counter without a glance in Jungkook’s direction.

The hunch in his shoulders and the way he keeps his eyes down as he orders something draws Jungkook’s attention further, and he leans forward on his table to watch him. His behavior is so unlike the usual cocky swagger, more like a scolded child as Taehyung slams a drink down in front of him without a word and turns away.

Rum. It’s always rum with him.

Jimin grabs the drink, sloshing some of it around, and the self-assuredness returns with a deep frown and an irritated scoff. He turns away from the counter, his eyes catching Jungkook, and he launches away from the bar to join him. Jungkook is just a little surprised when he slides into the booth across from him and takes a drink.

“Great fucking night, huh?” Jimin grumbles around his glass, eyes burning into Jungkook. The intensity in those dark orbs is almost enough to make Jungkook look away but he holds firm, partially out of stubbornness, partially because the longer he looks the more he realizes that Jimin has beautiful eyes.

“Something wrong with you and Taehyung?” Jungkook leans back in his seat, watching the way Jimin sneers at those words, then he smirks. “Did you try to fuck one of them through your rut?” he asks, throwing Jimin’s accusations back at him.

Jimin just scoffs. “Fuck off.” He grabs his drink and stands back up. Jungkook hadn’t expected to actually upset him. Jimin always returns just as much shit as Jungkook gives him, never lets it get under his skin. Or if it does, he doesn’t show it or he just refuses to back down. Now, though, whatever has happened has him visibly troubled.

“Hey,” Jungkook calls but Jimin ignores him. He stands up, catching Jimin around the wrist and tugging him back around. He nods at the table. “Sorry. Sit back down,” he says as Jimin frowns down at his hand. “I didn’t realize it was something serious. Tell me about it.”

Jimin scoffs again and wrenches his hand away. “Are you my therapist now, too?” he asks. “I said fuck off.”

“And I said sit down.” Jungkook grabs at the front of Jimin’s shirt, bunching it up, fingers ghosting over his abs. He tugs Jimin a little closer and doesn’t miss the way his eyes flicker down to Jungkook’s lips.

“The fuck are you doing?” Jimin growls, shoving Jungkook’s hand away. He glances around the bar, hand gripping his glass a little too tight. Taking a deep breath and turning partially away from Jungkook, he finishes his drink in one long swig. He slams the glass down on the table and then looks at Jungkook again. “Bathroom.”

Jungkook watches as Jimin turns on his heel and, at first, he thinks the alpha just announced that he needed to piss for no reason at all. Then he realizes he’d been ordering Jungkook to follow him to the bathroom.

Without bothering to finish his drink, Jungkook crosses the bar, checking that no one notices as he and Jimin disappear down the little hallway to the bathrooms. He barely has a chance to speak before Jimin yanks him through the door, slamming the lock down and pushing him back up against the door.

Hands tug at Jungkook’s shirt as Jimin’s lips and teeth assault his neck, and Jungkook wonders just why Jimin seems so insistent on leaving as dark of marks as he can when he’s worried someone will find out about them. His fingers dig into Jungkook’s ribs and Jungkook feels himself shudder when lips ghost over his mating gland.

It takes him too long to respond, caught off guard by Jimin’s sudden attack, thoughts swirling in a shapeless vortex after that sensation on his neck stole his breath away. Jimin pushes away from him, jostling him against the door as he does, and frowns.

“What the hell? Suddenly not interested now that you’ve gotten to fuck your rut out on me?” Jimin lets out a tinny, bitter laugh and reaches for the lock, but Jungkook’s hand catches his wrist once more.

He holds tight—maybe a little too tight—as he tugs Jimin around to switch their positions. He crushes Jimin up against the door and hitches his shirt up, which Jimin gladly takes hold of so Jungkook’s hands can focus on more important things, like rubbing over one of his nipples before tweaking it.

Jungkook’s lips follow his hands, an irresistible urge to show Jimin that he does want him suddenly taking over. Because he does. He wants Jimin bad, way more than he knows he should, and he shows that as he slowly sinks down in front of Jimin.

Jimin leans his head back against the door, fingers undoing his jeans and slipping one hand in to palm at his cock, Jungkook’s tongue swirling at the hardened nub on his chest, giving it the lightest bite before moving to suck the other. His knees hit the wooden floor, hands pulling at Jimin’s pants, letting his cock spring free.

Jimin bucks forward before Jungkook even get his mouth back on him, his hands twisting into the other alpha’s hair and groaning just at the feeling of his breath against his cock. Jungkook smiles at the sight, Jimin’s thick thighs flexing beside his face, cock wet and dripping precome, curled high against his stomach. Labored breaths escape him and Jungkook loves how hard Jimin got for him so fast.

Hands tug at his hair, trying to drag him forward to take his cock, but Jungkook plants a pinch to Jimin’s hip. It earns him a rather harsh pull at his hair but that just adds to his own arousal. He likes when Jimin gets rough and demanding, it just means the other alpha wants him too bad to wait.

Jungkook teases with a flick of his tongue against the tip, tasting the pleasantly bitter flavor of Jimin’s precome. He’s so wet, slick in Jungkook’s hand as he begins to stroke him, slow, teasing. His other hand shoves Jimin back against the door when he tries to snap his hips forward again.

“God f-fucking dammit, Jeon,” Jimin growls, fingers digging into his scalp, trying desperately to pull him forward. “Suck my f-fucking cock or I s-swear to god—”

His words vanish into a raspy moan as velvety warmth surrounds his cock, taking everything it can down. Jungkook sucks hard around him, then hollows his cheeks to press him further into his mouth.

Jungkook revels in the moans from Jimin, more like growls than anything else, low and wanton, quieted as he closes his teeth around his lower lip. His cock is hot and heavy on Jungkook’s tongue, throbbing as it presses into his throat, and Jungkook moves both his hands to Jimin’s hips.

The older alpha thrashes back against the door, arching off of it in another attempt to go deeper, to choke Jungkook with his cock, to fuck his throat raw. And Jungkook admits to himself that he kind of likes that idea, actually letting Jimin take control. He understands now why Jimin doesn’t always like to play the role of alpha. It feels good to be used in all the best ways. Maybe it won’t be so bad to relent a little bit when Jimin’s rut starts.

So he lets go of Jimin’s hips and grips his ass instead, nails digging into his cheeks and earning a sharp whine from him. He kneads at his ass, rolling the soft flesh between his hands, sliding up to his lower back and then dragging light scratches all the way down to the backs of his thighs.

“Fuck… yes.” Jimin yanks Jungkook forward, cock slamming down his throat and gagging the younger alpha.

Jungkook pulls off for a moment, catching his breath and closing his eyes. He takes a deep breath before he’s swallowing Jimin down once more, eager not to mess up this time, and gives another squeeze to Jimin’s ass, telling him he can do it again. So he does. This time, Jungkook readies himself.

Jimin thrusts into his throat again—only a slight gag from Jungkook now—then again, and again, until Jungkook can feel tears pooling at the corners of his eyes, his throat raw, lips red and utterly abused. He breathes in ragged breaths through his nose, nuzzled up against Jimin’s abdomen as he fucks into him again.

Lewd slurping fills the room, precome and saliva decorating Jungkook’s lips, coupled with wet gags and moans from both alphas as Jimin chases his orgasm down Jungkook’s throat.

One hand strays into the hair just above Jungkook’s forehead, tugging his head up just enough to look at Jimin as he fucks his throat. The other curls around the nape of his neck, holding him in place and sending chills down his spine where his nails dig in.

“C-coming—” is all Jimin can manage to say, shoving Jungkook back until his lips pull off his cock with a wet smacking sound.

Jungkook wraps his hand around Jimin’s cock again, the wetness of it squelching under his fingers as he jerks him, staring up at him. Jimin looks down to watch him, lips parted in silent moans.

“Come on me,” Jungkook tells him, and Jimin’s fists curl at his sides, his whole body tensing as he get so fucking close, his moans more like breathless gasps now. “Come on—” Jungkook’s voice is wrecked, his throat aching. “Come on my face.”

Jimin’s head bows, eyes briefly squeezing shut, fists slamming back against the door as he comes, just like Jungkook said, all over his face. Jungkook closes his eyes against the sudden splash of warm come against his skin, over his lips, on his tongue as he opens his mouth and sticks it out.

Jimin, however, keeps his eyes open and fixed on the other alpha, utterly captivated by the view, the way Jungkook lets him cover him with his seed. It has a strange semblance to some sort of claim over the younger alpha, and Jungkook finds himself strangely content but also terribly conflicted about feeling that way.

There’s something about the way Jimin stares down at him when he finally opens his eyes again, the way he keeps a firm grip on him, a slight smirk decorating his lips, that makes Jungkook feel like he’s his, like somehow he belongs to Jimin. It’s a foreign feeling, one he’s both a little uncomfortable with and very aroused by.

It’s similar to how he felt during his rut, an overpowering connection and attraction to Jimin, so he’s certain that’s all it is: lust. Just lust. It’s easy to lose yourself in something like this, to bury everything else with sex when there’s someone so willing to give it to you all the time. It’s unhealthy, probably, but Jungkook convinces himself he doesn’t care because it feels good. His head is a little too cloudy with lust to sort out what he’s experiencing right now.

His own cock twitches in his pants as Jimin pushes his hand away, holding his cock in front of Jungkook’s face. Jungkook doesn’t care to deny him when Jimin drags him forward just enough for the tip to press to Jungkook’s lips, swirling his come around Jungkook’s mouth with the head, before pushing it back into Jungkook’s mouth. The younger sucks the come off with an intentional slurp, then pulls away with a wet pop. He stands up, his hand finding his cock through his jeans and palming at it, desperate for his own release.

Jimin drags his thumb over Jungkook’s cheek, wiping up his come from there and pressing that into Jungkook’s mouth too. Jungkook thinks he having a little too much fun taking charge like this, but it has Jungkook’s cock twitching and aching and his whole body craving Jimin so he’s not complaining.

That smile comes back to Jimin’s face as he watches Jungkook lick more off his fingers. His voice goes quiet and low when he speaks, Adam’s apple bobbing, eyes roaming over the mess he made of Jungkook’s face, before glancing down at the obvious tent in Jungkook’s pants. “Go ahead... fuck my thighs.”

And just like that, Jungkook takes control. He grabs Jimin around the waist and spins him around, pressing his chest to the door now. Unsnapping his jeans and dropping them down around his ankles, Jungkook strokes at his own cock, getting it wet with precome, making it slick enough to press between those solid thighs.

Jimin keeps his legs together, flexed, and Jungkook can only imagine how good they’re going to feel, squeezing hard around his cock. He grips one of Jimin’s hips and trails his other hand around his waist, up his abs beneath his shirt.

He presses forward, slipping, wet and warm between Jimin’s thighs. He groans at the pressure, the softness of Jimin’s skin and the firm squeeze of his muscles. His face buries itself into the nape of the smaller alpha’s neck, hot breath panting over sweaty skin as he thrusts forward, breathing in his musky scent.

Jungkook’s already so turned on just from sucking Jimin off—not to mention the sound Jimin moaning like he’s the one doing the fucking right now, his hands reaching back to grab at Jungkook’s ass—that he doesn’t think he’ll last long.

His tongue laps at Jimin’s neck, teeth grazing over it and down to his shoulder where he bites, earning a gasp from him. Jungkook keeps fucking himself between those thighs, now dripping with precome, shiny and wet. His cock brushes against the underside of Jimin’s, against his balls, making Jimin moan and shudder.

Jungkook watches as Jimin’s head turns to one side and drinks in the sight of how he closes his eyes, lips parted, hands now planted against the door beside his head to brace himself. His hips rock back, thighs still flexed, and he looks so blissed out, like he enjoys this as much as Jungkook.

And then Jungkook’s releasing white ropes across those thighs, across the door, crying out as he does, his hand clawing at Jimin’s chest and earning a whimper from him. He rides out his orgasm, milking himself dry as Jimin just waits, his breathing slowly easing, eyes opening again.

When Jungkook steps back and Jimin turns he has the stupid urge to step in and kiss him. So he does.

Or he tries.

Jimin pushes him away with one hand to his chest. His head tilts to one side and he grins again. “I told you,” he drawls, “no more of that bullshit.”

Jungkook almost wants to grab him and slam against that door again, to pin him there and kiss him until neither can breathe. He lets it slide this time as Jimin grabs a wad of towels to clean up.

They don’t speak as they readjust their hair and clothes, making themselves as decent as possible before Jimin steps outside of the bathroom, Jungkook waiting a moment before following. He’s surprised to find Jimin back at the table from earlier, a glass of rum in his hand and a fresh gin in Jungkook’s spot.

Jungkook crosses the room to join him, eyes darting over the hickeys on Jimin’s neck, more than a little proud of them. He knows they shouldn’t be risking things like that but he can’t help but like the idea of everyone knowing he’s the one that gets to wreck Jimin like this.

He sits across from him, Jimin’s feet propped on the corner of the table as he lounges in the booth, one ankle crossed over the other. Everything about the way he sits to the way he barely gives Jungkook a glance screams that he hadn’t just had a man’s cock between his legs moments ago. Jungkook almost admires his ability to remain so nonchalant.

“So,” Jungkook says as he picks up his gin. Jimin looks at him and he seems more relaxed than he had before their little bathroom trip. “What’s going on with Taehyung?”

And just like that he tenses up again. He huffs and rolls his eyes. “He’s mad at me. Him and Yoongi.”

“Yeah,” Jungkook chuckles, “obviously. Tell me why.”

He expects Jimin to avoid the topic like earlier or try to storm off again. But instead he just locks eyes with Jungkook and says, “I let Hoseok go.”

Jungkook cocks his head. “Let him go?”

“When we were scavenging. He didn’t wanna come back to the city so I didn’t stop him when he left.”

Jungkook doesn’t respond right away, letting that sink in as he takes another drink. He can understand why Taehyung and Yoongi would be angry, he understands how and why they might be concerned. That doesn’t mean Jimin was wrong to let him go, though worry does gnaw at Jungkook’s brain for the omega.

“Wasn’t your place to stop him,” Jungkook says, then drinks again. Jimin’s eyes snap back to him, the white-knuckled hand around his glass easing off of it.

Jungkook doesn’t speak again right away, waiting for Jimin to pipe up first. There’s puzzlement in his eyes but he says nothing, so Jungkook continues, “If he wanted to leave then he can leave. It’s dangerous out there, yeah, and maybe it’s not the smartest thing he could have done but… it wasn’t your job to stop him.”

Another pause. Still nothing from Jimin.

“He’s free to do what he thinks is best. If you had forced him to stay you would have been just as bad as the government trying to scare us all into staying here.” Jungkook leans back in his seat. “It would have made you just like any other alpha who thinks they have a right to control someone else just because they’re an omega.”

Jimin’s lips form a tight line as he stares across the bar again, eyes landing on nothing in particular. He just needs to look away from Jungkook, but Jungkook just needs to keep looking at him, at his flawless profile, the curve of his nose, the depth of his eyes. Jungkook is beginning to adore the details of Jimin a little too much.

“Thanks,” Jimin mumbles, so quiet Jungkook would have missed it had he not been focusing every ounce of his attention on Jimin already.

Jimin doesn’t look at him again for several minutes, though he does eventually loosen up again and drop his feet back to the floor. He and Jungkook end up chatting late into the night, right up until shortly before the citywide curfew.

It’s a warm night when they step back outside, Jimin silhouetted by the moonlight, hands in his back pockets, the muscles in his arms forming tempting little curves and lines along them.

Seeming a little reluctant to actually utter the words, he wishes Jungkook a goodnight and then leaves, boots thumping across the pavement. Jungkook waits and watches him go before turning to make his way around the side of the building to his own apartment.

Then he stops, something tugging at his very core to turn around and catch up with Jimin. He has one foot on the stairs to his place, hands in his jacket pockets, and he weighs the pros and cons of going after him.

Jimin would probably be reluctant to let him tag along, but then again he never seems capable of turning Jungkook away. He may say he wants to, he might act that way, but then he’s always dragging Jungkook in and opening himself up to him, letting him use him. He can deny it but Jungkook knows he feels the same connection he does, some invisible force always pulling them back to each other, their constant curiosities about one another.

Jungkook rushes back down the alley. He can still see Jimin down the street as he runs to catch up, his footsteps echoing through the quiet city. Jimin goes rigid, then whips around, ready to attack.

“Oh, Jesus,” he hisses when he sees Jungkook, the younger coming to a stop beside him without feeling even the slightest bit winded. “What the fuck are you doing?”

Jungkook chuckles. He seems to ask him that question a lot. But he doesn’t answer, just straightens up and gestures in the direction Jimin had been going.

“What— Oh, no way,” Jimin says with a stubborn laugh a shake of his head. “You’re not seriously offering to walk me home, are you?”

“Sure.” Jungkook shrugs. “Why not?”

“Because we’re not a couple of lovebirds, that’s why.”

Jungkook laughs again and it seems to irk Jimin, who just rolls his eyes and walks away. Jungkook trails along after him, then stops when Jimin freezes to look back at him.

“Go home, Jungkook,” he says, but when he starts walking so does Jungkook. “Oh my god.” He whips around to face him again. “What are you? A lost puppy? Go home.”

“After I walk you home,” Jungkook says. He strides forward, grabbing Jimin around his bicep and pulling him along until they fall into step with each other.

Jimin wrenches away from his loose grip. “You’ll never get back to your place before curfew. Everybody around here already hates you enough so you probably shouldn’t be breaking laws—”

“I’ll be fine,” Jungkook says, grinning to himself because no matter what Jimin says or does next, he can’t hide that hint of genuine concern Jungkook just caught in his voice.

Jimin sighs, head shaking again. “Guess there’s no getting rid of you,” he grumbles, “so I might as well just get this over with. Walk faster.”

So Jungkook slows down.

“Are you fucking kidding me?” Jimin groans, hanging his head. His hands clench in his pockets and he looks to his left, away from Jungkook as he seethes. “Fine, I’ll just leave you behind,” he says as he picks up his pace.

Jungkook follows, matching his speed now. Jimin almost looks victorious, beating Jungkook at his own game, until Jungkook speaks again. “So, you’ve let other people fuck you before?” he asks, and Jimin lets out a breathy laugh.

“Yeah, why? You jealous?”

“Just curious how something like that happens.” Jungkook shrugs, staring over at the alpha beside him, at the glow of his skin under the moonlight. “Anything like how it happened with us? Did you suggest it?”

“No.” Jimin grinds his teeth together, every inch of him going stiff again. He tries to hide it but Jungkook can recognize when he’s upset. It’s the exact same look he had on his face when Taehyung wouldn’t talk to him. “He did.”

“Who was he?”

Jimin doesn’t answer him, staring straight ahead as he walks. Jungkook can see the tension in his jaw, see the way his shoulders go stiff. He can’t help but wonder who this alpha was to Jimin, if he’s been right all along that Jimin’s not as cold as he would like to seem. Part of him wants to pry, wants to know if Jimin’s like this because he, too, is haunted by his past.

For the sake of not getting his teeth kicked in, Jungkook keeps his mouth shut, and the longer they walk in silence the less tense they become with each other. Eventually, Jungkook thinks Jimin might actually feel relaxed by his presence, head tipped back to drink in the moonlight, lashes fluttering against an angelic white light. At the very least, he resents Jungkook a little less in the moment.

Jimin’s kind of ethereal when he’s not pouting. Jungkook wonders just how disappointed matchmakers get whenever Jimin turns down the omegas they present to him. Matchmakers thrive on seeing beautiful alphas accept their offers, like it actually means something when they pair up a beautiful alpha with someone. Jungkook doesn’t understand. The likelihood is that that alpha would find someone on their own eventually. Why rush it?

He recalls a time a matchmaker approached him—it was one month after he came here, enough time for him to become a bit jaded and bitter towards their kind—and when they asked for his name he gave it, then said they should probably look him up in the public directory. It’s there that they can find that little red X next to his name, telling them that they’re wasting their time trying to find him a breedable mate.

There are only three known sterile alphas to have ever lived in the city. Himself, someone named Minho on the other side of the river, and someone who’s file has been mostly erased. No name, no face, just a birth date and death date, along with the words Deceased Male Alpha, and that little red X. That’s it. Nothing else.

He’s never met the other living alpha like him, only seen his info in the directory when he visited the public access building to see if it was true what Taehyung said; that his visit to the hospital on his first night here would have him placed on that list in a second. He remembers Taehyung also mentioning that blank profiles, like the third alpha’s, is what happens when someone commits a crime punishable by death.

It still infuriates him that that directory even exists. It’s invasive. His personal life doesn’t need to be public knowledge. “To protect breedable omegas” they always say. But it’s not like he would mate some omega without being honest about his sterility first.

“Jungkook.”

His name pulls him from his thoughts and he blinks, realizing he’s been looking at Jimin this whole time, completely lost in his own reveries.

“Keep staring at me and I will haul your ass back outside city limits myself.”

Jungkook just smiles. “Why? Starting to like it a little too much?”

“In your fucking dreams.” Jimin stops, gesturing up at a dull grey building, towering several floors above them. “Well, this is my place. You can go home now.”

With a chuckle, Jungkook spins around Jimin to block the door, leaning back against it with his arms crossed over his chest. “Don’t I get a goodnight kiss?”

“I already told you, no more kissing.”

Jungkook can’t help himself. He doesn’t know what it is about Jimin that brings out this side in him. He hasn’t been this playful with someone since he was with his pack, since his mate. Something tugs at his heartstrings at that thought—guilt, maybe? Like he shouldn’t be enjoying himself with anyone else the way he did with her. It’s too soon. It’s just wrong.

It brings to mind the thoughts that crossed him during his rut, how he felt such a draw to Jimin that he actually compared it to what they had before she was taken. He tells himself it was just his rut, just lust, that he wasn’t in his right mind, but somewhere inside he almost hates himself for ever even thinking those words. He tries to shake it off, keep a smile on his face as Jimin frowns at him. She wouldn’t want him to feel that way, right?

“Yeah, you said that the first time and then—”

“Then you forced a kiss on me anyway, pervert,” Jimin grumbles, grabbing the front of Jungkook’s shirt and trying to yank him out of the way. Jungkook just spreads his feet and braces himself. “Move.”

“You call me the pervert when you’re the one that wants to shove a knotted toy up my ass.” Jungkook lifts a brow. “What’s that all about, huh?”

Jimin shrugs and pulls on Jungkook again. Still doesn’t budge. It’s almost hilarious to watch him grit his teeth as Jungkook grabs the door frame on either side of himself, further halting any progress Jimin might make. “Nothing perverted about that,” Jimin grunts, yanks again, huffs. “Just don’t want you chickening out during my rut. Want you all loose and ready for me to knot you.” He stops pulling and steps up close to Jungkook, lips inches apart. “Wanna be able to fuck you without stopping until you’re all filled up.”

That shuts Jungkook up, his mouth snapping shut and a warmth traveling toward his lower regions, a burning urge to slam Jimin up against this door and fuck him right out in the middle of the street. He can’t come up with a witty comeback for once, just staring down at those plump lips so close to his.

“Oh, like the sound of that?” Jimin teases, his fingers walking up Jungkook’s chest. They stop at his throat, barely pressing against it, not enough to cut off any air, just lighting up his imagination with what would happen if Jimin did do that. “You like the idea of me knotting you like a little omega in heat?”

Jungkook groans when he feels a hand grab his dick through his pants, kneading at his crotch, those lips crooking up in a grin. He’s about to lean in when the hand on his neck leaves and he feels the door open up behind him, sending him flying backward. Jimin grins triumphantly as he falls, but Jungkook’s reflexes work in his favor.

He lashes out as soon as the support behind him vanishes and grabs Jimin by the front of his shirt. Jimin’s eyes go wide as he’s pulled down, both of them crashing to the floor inside. Jungkook’s winded when he hits but he doesn’t let that faze him. He was a pack alpha, he knows how to get the upper hand after getting knocked down.

With Jimin caught off guard, Jungkook wraps one leg around Jimin and braces the other against the floor as he flips them around. His hands pin Jimin’s wrists to the floor but Jimin struggles back, one leg wriggling free to kick at Jungkook’s knee. It isn’t hard but Jungkook lets him go anyway, leaping to his feet and dragging Jimin up with him.

Jimin huffs as Jungkook yanks him against his chest and grins. “See? Pervert,” Jungkook says, earning a smack on the shoulder from Jimin, but he swears the other alpha holds back a smile.

“Go home,” Jimin says again, but then closes the door behind Jungkook and heads for the stairs. Jungkook follows. He stops, turns, eyes burning into Jungkook. “If you follow me up to my apartment, just be aware that I will be fucking you with that toy.”

That same hot desire from earlier pools in Jungkook’s abdomen again. He can feel his eyes darkening with lust, leaning in to breathe in Jimin’s musky scent. “That was kind of the plan.”

The smirk on Jimin’s lips is both exciting and intimidating at the same time. Jungkook has no idea what he’s about to walk into but he’s welcoming it with open arms. If Jimin can take it, so can he.

“Good boy,” Jimin says, and Jungkook doesn’t blink because he knows Jimin just wants a reaction from him. Jimin grabs him by his jacket and pulls him along, grinning from ear to ear like a predator with its claws in its prey.

He lets go after awhile, trusting Jungkook not to turn tail and run from getting fucked. If Jungkook’s honest, he’s more intrigued than anything by how it will feel. That outweighs the nerves, easily, and makes him feel surprisingly calm when Jimin guides him through a grungy hall and into his apartment.

Chapter Text

 

Jimin kicks the door shut and tosses his keys into a bowl beside it before shrugging his jacket off. The apartment is surprisingly sophisticated compared to what Jungkook would have expected, very minimal, very clean, all grey and black against dull white walls and a dark wooden floor. There’s hardly any furniture, the bed sitting against the far wall and the kitchen looking very well used.

Jungkook takes a peek toward the stove as Jimin heads deeper into the room, taking in the sight of dirtied pots and pans in the sink and a towel resting next to the tea kettle. He looks to his left, where Jimin watches him with a raised brow.

“Yeah, I like to cook,” he says, then shrugs. Jungkook had expected him to get defensive, like he does with everything. “I can’t stand the sorry excuse for food they distribute at the ration centers. So I learned to do my best to make it palatable.”

Palatable. Jungkook resists the urge to state that he thinks it’s cute how Jimin talks like that. He’ll call Jimin cute only on the day he decides he wants to die a violent death. Until then, he’ll keep his mouth shut.

“You any good at cooking?” Jimin asks. Such a casual conversation to have before Jungkook gets fucked for the first time.

He feels like Jimin gives him whiplash whenever they’re together. One second he’s all bite and snarky remarks and sex, then the next he’s pouting about his fight with his friends and asking Jungkook, rather softly, if he cooks.

He’s easily the strangest alpha Jungkook’s ever met. Then again, Jungkook’s not the most typical of alphas either. A match made in a rather strange heaven, never meant to be together, barred from each other by law, but still finding their way to this very spot, somehow.

“Uh, my cooking is tolerable, at best,” Jungkook says as slips his own jacket off, tossing it onto the coat rack over Jimin’s. He should probably try to reduce the contact between their clothes to keep their scents from mingling so people don’t suspect anything. But he figures they’ll be all over each other for days to come after this. He knows Jimin smelled like him for days after his rut and Taehyung pointed out that Jungkook smelled different too, though he couldn’t put his finger on why it was so familiar.

“Not an important skill out there in the forest?” Jimin asks before he begins stripping his shirt off, heading across the room. His pants follow, no underwear beneath, before he tugs on a pair of sweats instead.

Jungkook finds himself following Jimin without meaning to, his feet just carrying him forward. It’s the same feeling, the same pull, the exact draw he should never have toward another alpha—he tries to shake it off.

He only stops when Jimin turns to face him again, eyes suddenly a little cloudy with desire, dragging over Jungkook’s body. His tongue darts across his lips and tempts Jungkook to kiss him, but he refrains.

“What do you need me to do to make this comfortable for you?” Jimin asks. There goes that whiplash again, mingling with a bit of guilt because Jungkook didn’t ask Jimin anything like that before brutally fucking him through his rut.

Jungkook just shrugs as Jimin closes the distance between them. “Nothing, really,” he says, Jimin’s hands slipping beneath his shirt, fingers dancing over his ribs. “Just…” The lack of space between them makes it damn near impossible for him to resist kissing him, which Jimin seems to notice.

The other alpha smirks, glancing at Jungkook’s lips. “Ah, of course. You and your kisses…” He steps back and Jungkook craves his touch the second it leaves him. “Would that actually help?” Jimin asks, eying him once again. “You feel really tense right now.”

Jungkook hadn’t even noticed how rigid his body had gone, how his breath feels like it’s caught in his throat. He’s not sure what he wants, what would help, but when he realizes what’s about to happen, why he’s standing here, he feels much less self-assured than he had outside the building.

A chuckle leaves Jimin as he steps forward again, pulling Jungkook’s shirt up and waiting for the taller alpha to raise his arms. He tosses it aside. “Trust me, it’s normal to feel completely fucked up about doing this.” Jungkook can tell Jimin tries to keep his voice low, emotionless, but there’s a gentle undertone that makes him shiver. “I panicked my first time. Couldn’t go through with it.”

That tiny confession is enough to distract Jungkook from the anxious stirring in his chest, Jimin’s lips erasing any other fears he had when they press against his. He can’t even take the time to consider that Jimin just opened up to him about something he probably refuses to tell anyone. Jimin doesn’t admit to anything that could possibly make him seem weak.

Until he’s seconds away from fucking Jungkook for the first time ever, of course.

Whiplash. Truly the only word to describe what Jimin does to him.

Jungkook leans into the kiss, arms wrapping around Jimin’s bare torso, fingers digging into his back as he pulls him close, chest to chest. Jimin’s hand curls behind his neck, holding tight, and he seems to be enjoying this just as much as Jungkook, lips parting to taste the other alpha. It feels like heaven when Jimin gives himself over to his desires, stops fighting and trying to prove he’s the real alpha. With time, Jungkook hopes he learns he can always be this way with him, or at least as long as this little arrangement of theirs lasts.

A hand slips into Jungkook’s hair, curling against his scalp, a deep breath in from Jimin when Jungkook bites at his lower lip. Then Jimin pulls away, his body a little flushed, lips just a bit swollen. He eyes Jungkook like he’s some kind of alien, like he’s never seen him before, and Jungkook almost thinks he sees a hint of fear there.

“Get undressed,” Jimin says, moving away to grab something from the drawer of his nightstand. He distances himself, tries not to look Jungkook in the eye and Jungkook can’t help but wonder why intimacy beyond just casual fucking bothers him so much.

He doesn’t ask, just gets undressed like Jimin asked and moves to the bed. But he stops when he notices Jimin hesitating, hands holding onto something he can’t see, though he can only assume it’s the knotted toy from before. Jungkook sidles up behind him, hands sliding across his hips.

Jimin jumps slightly, but then eases into the touch as Jungkook presses his lips to his neck, fingers dancing beneath the waistband of his pants to take hold of his cock. He just needs to take Jimin’s mind off of whatever’s distracting him, get him wound up, overheated, get him reeling to fuck Jungkook.

Jimin leans back against him, eyes fluttering shut and lips parting in a silent moan as Jungkook palms at his cock, his other hand splaying across his chest, thumb ghosting over his nipple just to tease. His lips travel up to Jimin’s ear before grazing his teeth along it, stopping to plant a light bite to the lobe, until Jimin grinds back against him, until his cock is hard in Jungkook’s hand, leaking precome to make a wet spot on the front of his sweatpants.

Dropping whatever is in his hands on the nightstand, Jimin spins around to face Jungkook, hands on his sides and tugging him close, Jungkook working Jimin’s pants down over his hips. The sheer heat from Jimin’s body as he slams against Jungkook, length sliding along the other alpha’s, is almost overwhelming to Jungkook, especially mingling with the scent of Jimin. He feels drunk with lips pressed against his again.

He lets Jimin take control—that’s what tonight is all about, after all, even though every fiber of him says to fight for dominance—lets Jimin push him onto the bed and crawl over him, his mouth leaving a warm trail of bruises down his neck, sucking a dark spot onto his collarbone. Jungkook tangles his fingers into Jimin’s hair, following him down, down, and then Jimin sits up upright.

“Roll over,” he orders, reaching for the nightstand as Jungkook obeys, rolling onto his stomach. He’s not sure what he’s expecting when he feels hands tugging his hips up, but it certainly isn’t the wet slide of Jimin’s tongue against his hole, the feeling of fingers pressing into his ass cheeks, hands spreading them wide for Jimin to fit his face between them.

Jungkook groans, face buried in sheets that smell like Jimin, potent and heady, filling him with blurry visuals of Jimin and the way his hair falls into his eyes, how he looked underneath Jungkook in his bed. His cock twitches as that tongue presses deep inside him, wet fingers sliding in beside it.

It’s strange at first, uncomfortable and foreign, those fingers crooking inside him, stretching him in ways he’s never been before—at least, not by anyone else. He had tried it himself the day Jimin bought that toy and a few times more recently but it felt nothing like this, nothing like the way Jimin reaches deep inside him, his tongue leaving and a third finger entering. Jungkook can hear Jimin breathing behind him, labored, seeming just as needy as Jungkook feels right now.

If it really is possible for another alpha to trigger a rut the way an omega might, Jungkook wonders if that’s what Jimin is fighting right now. The way Jimin’s other hand claws at his thigh and the quietest moan escapes him as he watches his fingers sink into Jungkook suggests he might be.

Jungkook, gripping the sheets, sweat decorating his forehead, turns his head just enough to catch a glimpse of Jimin. The sight makes his cock ache and twitch to be touched, Jimin’s lips parted and eyes hooded as he stretches Jungkook thoroughly enough he thinks he could almost take his knot right now. He glows in the low light, a sheen of sweat covering a lithe, tan body.

Jimin slips his fingers out of the other alpha and then, to Jungkook’s surprise, plants a kiss to his lower back. “Feeling alright so far?” he asks, and Jungkook feels dizzy as he pushes himself upright, trying to sort this Jimin out from the Jimin he’s gotten used to.

“Yeah, I’m good. I’m—” Jungkook’s voice is silenced by Jimin’s lips, hands tugging at him from every side, pressing into him, pulling him this way and that in a game of tug of war as he’s pushed back against the headboard. Jimin attacks every inch of him, like he can’t decide what part of Jungkook he wants to taste first because he wants it all, and it feels so good Jungkook can only lean back against the headboard and sink into the feeling.

He cards his fingers through Jimin’s hair as Jimin ducks down to lick at the tip of his cock, barely enough for Jungkook, just teasing at it until the younger alpha bucks toward him. Jimin’s hands catch his hips and shove him back, and Jungkook frowns down at him, Jimin smirking through his lashes.

Now, that’s the Jimin he’s used to. Always wanting control, always grinning anytime Jungkook thinks he’s in charge and then turning everything around on him.

Jimin closes his lips around the head of Jungkook’s dick, gives it a light suck, moaning at the taste and feeling of precome slicking up his tongue. It’s filthy and erotic and so goddamn arousing to watch Jimin open his mouth, tongue sliding along the full length of Jungkook’s cock and finishing with a swirl around the tip.

He grips Jungkook’s hips as he pulls himself back up to eye level with him. “Turn around,” he says, and Jungkook does as he says though something inside him tells him to resist, that he’s not meant to bend to someone else’s will so easily. He ignores it. “Arms on top of the headboard,” Jimin tugs at his hips, Jungkook on his knees, arms folded atop the headboard and head resting against them, “just like that.”

The low tone of Jimin’s voice as he practically moans those words out has Jungkook shivering, Jimin’s hand sliding down his spine, all the way from his neck to his ass, where he stops and squeezes before retrieving the lube again.

Behind him, Jungkook can feel the mattress shift. He doesn’t look back but he can sense Jimin close to him, feels his breath on his shoulder as fingers slide into him again.

Jimin takes his time stretching him open, fingers scissoring inside him, fucking deep inside and crooking in all the right ways to make Jungkook’s eyes rolls back in his head. It feels so much better than when he tried to do it himself. Jimin sure as hell knows what he’s doing, and now Jungkook’s starting to understand why he likes it.

“Should be good,” Jimin says as his fingers slowly draw back out of Jungkook’s ass, teasing at his rim as he leans forward, his lips ghosting over Jungkook’s neck. “Ready?”

Jungkook swallows hard, then nods, eyes closing as he feels Jimin shift around again. Jimin doesn’t warn him, but the hand spreading his cheek to one side is warning enough.

Jungkook arches his back, shoulders tensing and hands gripping the headboard when he feels the toy slipping past that ring of muscle, still unbelievably tight despite even after the thorough fucking from Jimin’s fingers. He feels a hand on his shoulder, a thumb brushing over his sweat-damp skin.

“Relax or it’ll be uncomfortable,” Jimin tells him, and Jungkook can hear the waver in his voice, hear how difficult it is for him to hold back right now. He sucks in a sharp breath as Jungkook forces himself to relax and take the toy in deep, the knot pushing at the edges of his hole.

He knows this knot is nothing compared to what Jimin will be shoving inside him during his rut but he’s willing to trust that Jimin knows what he’s doing. Despite the alpha’s harsh edges, he seems to have a soft spot for Jungkook even if it is just in this moment. He doesn’t think Jimin would lead him astray.

“Good,” Jimin whispers, leaning forward to kiss up Jungkook’s back, his hand massaging along his neck, the toy slipping back out and Jungkook’s ass sucking it back in as Jimin pushes. It’s wet and obscene and far too arousing, Jungkook’s cock well and truly aching now, neglected.

His fists clench, teeth grinding together. It’s not painful, just foreign. But Jimin angles the toy in all the right ways, holds him steady as he fucks him open with it. Jungkook risks a glance back to see Jimin watching, leaning back, lip between his teeth as his gaze follows the wet slide of the toy inside Jungkook.

His eyes snap up to meet Jungkook’s and he licks his lips, nothing but lust painted across his face. Jimin darts forward to capture Jungkook’s lips, hand splayed across his chest as they kiss, harsh, biting kisses. The more Jungkook adjusts, the more Jimin’s softness seems to fade. But Jungkook kind of likes it as he picks up the pace, as he breaks away to bite Jungkook’s shoulder, to drag his nails down his torso.

Jungkook gasps as Jimin slams the toy into him again, harder this time, jostling him against the headboard, and he presses his forehead against his folded arms again. The knot pushes closer and closer to being inside him every time until, finally, Jimin bends himself over Jungkook’s back and holds tight as Jungkook feels the stretch.

His jaw drops open in a low moan, Jimin’s breath hot on his ear and he murmurs how good he can imagine it would feel to be inside Jungkook right now, how tight and wet his hole is. He feels the knot slip out of his hole again, groaning at the stretch every time, but it feels good. Jimin finds the perfect pace to fuck him with it, the tip nestling up against his prostate and making Jungkook grip the headboard until his knuckles go white.

Jimin feels tense behind him, his hand sliding over Jungkook’s back again, then around his waist to grab his cock. Jungkook moans, low, rasping, eyes shutting tight. His body shakes with every thrust of the toy, every stroke of Jimin’s hand. The nerves in every inch of his body are screaming at him, white fire dancing at the edges of his vision as the pure ecstasy both inside and outside of him pushes him to his climax.

He definitely understands now why Jimin likes this, why he said taking it from another alpha didn’t make him any less of one. Jungkook can’t even feel the rest of his body, skin flushed and hot and his voice clogged in his throat as that toy presses deep inside him again and he comes across Jimin’s bed.

The headboard trembles along with him as he grips it, hands shaking and head bowed deep as he gasps his way through his orgasm, breathless, lightheaded. He hears Jimin shuffle around behind him, pulling the toy out, and he glances back to see Jimin watching him.

Jimin’s cock stands tall and hard, glistening with precome, completely ignored thus far. The look in his eyes is unreadable, an unfamiliar sort of fondness there. He looks almost enamored with the sight of Jungkook bent before him, wet and covered in his own come, hair plastered to his face, eyes completely glossed over.

Despite the weakness in his limbs, Jungkook spins around to face Jimin, his hands all over him as he kisses him again. He crashes forward, knocking Jimin back on the bed and trailing his lips down his body. He doesn’t waste time in wrapping one hand around Jimin’s cock and tugging, his lips sucking marks onto his thighs.

Hands tug at his hair as he takes Jimin’s cock into his mouth for the second time tonight, letting Jimin use his throat just like he did in the bathroom of the bar, letting him jerk up into his mouth. His hands trail over soft skin, feeling any part of Jimin he can, deciding what all his favorite parts of the other man are as Jimin wrecks his throat, deciding he likes everything about how Jimin feels against him.

It’s quick, Jimin already so gone from watching Jungkook get fucked that he can barely hold himself back. He comes with another thrust down Jungkook’s tight throat, gagging him and watching the way his eyes water. Jungkook just stares up at him like it’s nothing, swallowing everything down and Jimin’s almost proud of him for a moment.

Jungkook lets his cock slip from his mouth, tongue exposed to Jimin before he runs it over his lips, eyes still locked with him. He smiles when a breathy chuckle escapes Jimin, his head falling back on bed.

“Alright,” Jimin says through labored breaths, staring up at the ceiling, “you earned yourself a night’s stay at the Hotel Jimin. Just change my sheets for me first.”

Jungkook, this time, doesn’t do as he’s told. Jimin had his time in charge. He can change his own damn sheets.

 

They end up changing the sheets together after a rather childish squabble over it, then Jimin felt the need to point out that changing the bed sheets with someone felt all too domestic and he expects Jungkook gone before he wakes up in the morning. Jungkook doesn’t promise anything as he slips into bed with Jimin.

“Whoa, whoa, hold the fuck up.” Jimin sits up and frowns over at Jungkook, who already knows what’s coming before he says it. “Who said you could sleep in the bed with me? I have a perfectly comfortable couch right over there.”

Jungkook glances in the direction he points and fights back a smirk. “Then go sleep on it if it’s so damn comfortable.”

Jimin stares back at him like the words either haven’t quite sunk in or he just can’t believe he’s hearing them. Then he laughs. “Excuse me?”

“You stayed in my bed and drank a bunch of my booze. I think I earned the right to sleep,” Jungkook pats the bed, “right here.” And he slips under the covers.

“You’re unbearable,” Jimin grumbles before lying down, but he doesn’t keep fighting it.

“I don’t see you trying to get rid of me.” Jungkook casts him a grin, folding one arm behind his head and lifting his brows at the other alpha.

There’s another laugh from Jimin and a shake of his head as he settles against his pillow and stares up at the ceiling. “I did, actually, multiple times. In case you’ve already forgotten, you stalked me home until I gave in. Remember when I called you a pervert?”

“You’re the one who tempted me up here with that fucking toy,” Jungkook teases. Jimin just rolls his eyes, still frowning, but Jungkook notices the tiniest hint of a smile trying to break through.

He rolls onto his side, cheek squished against his arm as the traces the profile of Jimin’s face with his eyes. It’s strangely reminiscent of how he used to lie around with his mate, and something about that thought makes his heart heavy. In a lot of ways, they’re similar, Jimin and his old mate. Both stubborn, outspoken, sometimes a little more than he wants to handle.

He dove right into the chaos that he knows being with Jimin can cause because that’s what he likes. He’s a pack alpha, after all. Law and order isn’t in his blood.

Maybe the chaos can be worth it, though. Jimin, despite what he wants others to believe, isn’t all bad. He would have dragged Hoseok back by his hair if he was anything like most alphas, he would have beat Jungkook’s ass the first time he kissed him. There are so many layers to Jimin and Jungkook feels like he’s barely touched the surface.

“You confuse the hell out of me, Park,” he admits, and now Jimin smiles.

“Good. Keep you on your toes,” Jimin snickers, still avoiding Jungkook’s gaze to watch the ceiling. “You’re staring again. I said if you keep staring at me—”

“You’ll drag me out of the city yourself.” Jungkook chuckles. “Yeah. I’ll believe it when it happens.”

Jimin lifts a brow, still looking up at the ceiling as though he can’t bring himself to meet Jungkook’s searing gaze. “Shouldn’t test me, Jeon.”

So Jungkook does just that. Tests him. He reaches across the space between them, trailing his fingers over Jimin’s chest, and he sees the other alpha tense up, roll his eyes. But he doesn’t do anything to stop Jungkook as his hand slides over smooth skin, thumbing at his nipple. Jimin twitches at that slightly, but ignores Jungkook.

“You’re not so bad, you know,” Jungkook says, “letting Hoseok go, not tying some omega to you just to repopulate when you know you’d probably never really want them. You don’t like to admit it but you’re a kinder person than you seemed at first.”

“If you’re about to confess your love to me, you can save it.”

Jungkook just snorts, rolling his eyes as Jimin falls into silence for a moment. He looks thoughtful, as though deeply considering his next comeback before saying it, and Jungkook awaits it with bated breath.

“You’re a lot more annoying that I thought you’d be,” Jimin retorts. He still doesn’t look at Jungkook, seeming to put extra effort into avoiding his eyes. “You were all sullen and quiet at first. It was nice. Now you don’t shut up and you’re pushy and you make bad jokes to try to tease me. You’re just annoying.”

Jungkook just smiles, hand traveling down Jimin’s abs, tracing the lines between. “If you really didn’t like it, you would kick my ass out of here.”

The other alpha’s breath hitches and his whole body tenses when Jungkook’s hand dips down suddenly and takes hold of his cock, soft for now, but it won’t take long to get him nice and hard. Jungkook hasn’t felt this insatiable in forever. He’s not even in his rut and all he wants is Jimin; to touch him, to kiss him, to fuck him into the mattress so hard they leave an imprint of his body there. He doesn’t know what to make of the pull he feels, this unstoppable, invisible force that drags him closer and closer to Jimin everyday.

Jimin mumbles something around the low moans starting to escape his lips. Jungkook props himself up on his elbow, leaning closer. “What was that? I couldn’t hear you around all those whiny little moans.”

“I said… fuck you,” Jimin grumbles, grabbing Jungkook around the wrist and pushing his hand away. He grabs Jungkook by the shoulders as he lifts away from the bed and rolls them over. As hands pin Jungkook’s wrists above his head, he grins. Jimin leans over him, thighs flexing, his cock hard against Jungkook’s stomach. “You’re annoying but you’re hot. That’s the only reason I’m keeping you around.”

Jungkook chuckles, then groans as Jimin rocks backward, his ass rubbing against the taller alpha’s length. “Keep—” Jungkook takes in a deep breath, eyes fluttering shut at the warm pressure of Jimin on top of him. “Keep telling yourself that.”

All he can see is Jimin’s grin above him, feel his body around him. It’s quick and filthy, both of them seeming unusually desperate to get off, clawing at each other. Jimin doesn’t even protest kissing Jungkook, initiates it even, his lips crushing down on Jungkook’s as he rides him.

Jungkook can’t help but love the painful tugging in his hair, the needy tremble in Jimin’s legs as he takes Jungkook deep inside him, fucking himself onto his cock harder and faster than they’ve ever gone before. Jimin is beautiful, stunning, breathtaking, overwhelming, and more than a little confusing to Jungkook.

He’s been in love, he’s had a mate, he’s been bonded to someone, and nothing he feels now can ever invalidate what he felt then, but something is different with Jimin—not better or worse, or less or more, just different. Something that draws him to the other alpha without the need to breed, no biological drive to impregnate him and he doesn’t understand it.

Jungkook has felt all of this before, but never in absence of his most base instincts. It’s strange and unfamiliar and he’s not entirely sure he likes it. It makes him feel vulnerable—he has no excuse for the way he feels toward Jimin other than what’s in his heart, he can’t convince himself it’s just biology telling him to fuck him, like he might with some other omega.

Part of him fears that he’ll betray the memory of his mate if he lets himself feel anything real for anyone else. Another part fears that Jimin doesn’t and won’t ever feel the same.

So he tells himself it’s just lust he feels.

It will always be just lust with them.

 

-α-

 

A wide yawn stretches Jungkook’s mouth, his head resting against his hand and his eyes closed. He leans on the counter of the bar and his body feels heavy. He just wants to be home, asleep, curled up in bed with his pillows and maybe a bottle of booze. He is, admittedly, sore from Jimin fucking him with that toy.

The first time hadn’t been the last and Jungkook had questioned why Jimin wouldn’t just fuck him himself, to which Jimin had responded, “Not sure I’d be able to hold myself back when it comes to you.”

“When it comes to me?” Jungkook had asked, and Jimin had mostly ignored it as he got ready for work.

“I don’t wanna break you before I even start my rut.”

Jungkook hadn’t bothered to question him any further, figuring Jimin would find some way to deflect anything he could throw at him. He can’t help but wonder if Jimin feels that same overwhelming attraction Jungkook has, if he can’t control himself because of the same lust that seems beyond even the instinct to breed.

“Hey, sleepy, can you grab that keg for me?”

Jungkook pushes himself upright, stretching his arms above his head as he looks at Taehyung. His friend nods toward the keg in the entrance behind the counter and Jungkook moves to grab it. He hisses slightly at the pain in his lower back, grimacing as he lifts the keg and moves it to its rightful place under the counter, yanking the empty one out of the way.

“Thanks,” Taehyung says as he licks his thumb, using it to sift through a small stack of bills. He drops them onto the counter as he counts, but he keeps glancing at Jungkook, distracted with the carefulness of his movements.

Jungkook’s done his best not to be obvious but Jimin had decided he didn’t need to be so gentle with him after the first time, so he had his fun with Jungkook while he could. Payback, he had said, for forcing Jimin to let him stay the night.

Despite the discomfort today, Jungkook doesn’t exactly regret it. Jimin knows what he’s doing with that toy, he can only imagine what he’s capable of with his cock.

“Are you alright?” Taehyung asks, eying Jungkook from head to toe with his eyes narrowed. “You’re walking like you just got your ass kicked.”

Not quite.

“Yeah, I’m good. Pulled a muscle working out,” Jungkook says, kicking the cupboard closed and leaning back on the counter. Jimin has no idea what Jungkook has in store for him next time it’s his turn in charge.

“You should be more careful,” Taehyung says. He scoops all the money up and squats down to shove it in the safe. He still looks tired, pale, his dark circles still evident. The illness that had plagued him has faded, but he’s still tired, drained from being sick for so long.

Jungkook watches him, a question hanging on the tip of his tongue that he’s not sure he should ask. He takes a deep breath, grabs his water bottle from under the counter, and fidgets with it as Taehyung stands back up. “Hey, Tae,” he starts, uncapping the water and taking a swig. His friend lifts a brow at him, waiting. “I was wondering about Jimin…”

“Oh boy,” Taehyung sighs, “if this is about the stuff with Hoseok, I’d rather not talk about it. It’s still— I’m still pissed about it. Not only did he throw Hoseok to the fucking dogs, now Yoongi’s out there looking for him—”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa, hold up. Yoongi’s looking for Hoseok?”

Taehyung scoffs. “Someone has to. Jimin just let him go. He doesn’t belong out there by himself, none of us do. Even you almost died out there.” He sighs and looks up at the ceiling, jaw clenched.

Jungkook worries his lower lip, staring over at his friend. He has no idea what to say to comfort him—if there even is anything he can say—Jungkook’s not good at this. Sure, he had learned to comfort those in his pack when he led them but clearly he wasn’t good at it. They wouldn’t have despised him enough to turn on him if he had been any good at what he was meant to do.

“Anyway, sorry, what did you wanna know about him?” Taehyung asks, and Jungkook’s never been so grateful that Taehyung can shake off just about anything.

Jungkook clears his throat, setting his water bottle down. He’s not entirely sure what he wants to ask, if he’s honest. Everything. He’s curious about Jimin’s past, about the alpha he was with before Jungkook, about the things he’s done to help Taehyung and Yoongi. He understands now why he’s so protective of them—they must remind him of himself and his old partner—but Jungkook just wants to understand him deeper.

Maybe Jimin is the person to ask about that but he knows the other alpha would shoot down any questions that get too personal. Taehyung is his best bet for answers, even if they’re not exactly the answers he wants.

“He’s really never mated anyone before?” he asks, earning a glance from Taehyung as the beta sets up his mixers, gets everything ready for the nightly rush. “Never even had a relationship or anything?”

Taehyung seems to think about that for a minute, nose scrunching up. “I don’t think so. The closest Jimin’s ever gotten to a relationship was just fucking, I think.”

Jungkook nods. That’s what he expected. “And he does that a lot?”

“Actually,” Taehyung cocks his head to one side, fidgeting with a metal cup in his hands, “not really.”

Jungkook tries not to be too obvious about his sudden interest in the conversation, the way his whole body seems to perk up. He forces himself to relax against the counter, erasing any telling signs from his face.

“Jimin’s really picky about who he’s with. I can only think of two people he was ever with, aside from those two times with me and Yoongi—”

Jungkook blinks. “What?”

“Long story.” Taehyung waves a dismissive hand.

“Right.” He’ll have to ask Jimin about that one of these days. “So these two people? Any details about them.”

“Why the sudden interest?” Taehyung asks, but he doesn’t wait for an answer. He shrugs and gets back to work on setting up the bar. “I think the first one was a beta but I didn’t know much about them. He really only ever told me that there was ‘a beta’ and that’s it. The second one I only know about because he slipped up and said something about going to see some guy one night. But I literally know nothing about him except that they seemed to last a long time. I don’t know if it was serious or just a really long casual thing. But, yeah, that’s about it for Jimin’s love life. At least, as far as I know.”

Jungkook nods along as he speaks, staring down at the floor and letting that information sink in. The second person must have been the alpha he was with. Whoever he was, he must have felt something for him. This alpha is the only person Jimin has ever specifically brought up being with and Jungkook doesn’t feel like it’s just because it relates to their current arrangement now.

Then again, maybe Jimin just felt the same connection to that alpha as Jungkook has to Jimin. Maybe it’s just something about that feeling of being claimed by someone. Maybe Jimin doesn’t feel the same connection Jungkook does because he’s already experienced this. Jungkook, to him, is probably just another alpha, nothing special. He’s not different the way Jimin is to Jungkook.

“Hey,” Taehyung’s voice pulls him back to reality, “you alive in there?”

Jungkook blinks and looks over at his friend again. “Yeah, just thinking.”

“About Jimin.”

He hates how Taehyung doesn’t ask it, he states it. Like he knows there’s something Jungkook isn’t telling him. “He’s just… interesting,” Jungkook says, then he pushes away from the counter, ignoring the twinge in his back and heading towards for stairs to the basement. “I’m gonna grab a couple more kegs for the night.”

“Okay.”

Jungkook doesn’t look back, knowing Taehyung is watching him with those ever-searching eyes. He always seems to know when someone is lying, when they’re leaving out the details. Quite frankly, he’s not ready to tell anyone about his and Jimin’s arrangement yet. He knows Taehyung and Yoongi, of all people, wouldn’t mind but part of him likes keeping it between them. He sort of likes having his own little world with the other alpha.

He hears the front door of the bar open as he takes the steps two at a time, Seokjin’s voice floating across the room. He’s only spoken to the omega once before and seen him briefly on busy bar nights. He’s bought a few things from their stash as well, but Jungkook knows little about him aside from the fact that he’s uncharacteristically positive despite the conditions they all live in.

Jungkook grabs the kegs he needs, lifting them both with little struggle as he makes his way back upstairs. He hears someone let out a low whistle as soon as he reaches the bar again and look up to see Seokjin watching him.

“I can see why you and Yoongi kept him around, Tae,” Seokjin says with a laugh, as Jungkook drags the kegs behind the counter. “But anyway, like I was saying, poker game tomorrow night, in the basement as always. So Jimin here can wipe the floor with all of us again.”

And that’s when Jungkook catches wind of that familiar scent, his eyes snapping up to find Jimin leaning against the counter, slightly hidden behind Seokjin like he doesn’t want to face Taehyung. Jungkook can’t blame him.

“Jungkook, you should join us!” Seokjin cheers, reaching across the counter to smack him on the back as he sets the kegs down. Jimin beside him seems to twitch at that contact, frowning at Seokjin, and Jungkook can’t help but smile at that.

Jimin looks good, as always, with his hair swept back out of his face and dark grey jacket with the collar popped high. He spares Jungkook a glance, his eyes darting over him from head to toe, and Jungkook smirks.

“You’ll both be there?” he asks, and Seokjin nods enthusiastically, though Jungkook never takes his eyes off of Jimin. “Yeah, that sounds like fun. How late? I don’t wanna leave Taehyung alone during the rush.”

Taehyung waves a dismissive hand. “I can take care of it. Middle of the week. It won’t be that busy.” He grumbles his way through his sentences, eyes looking everywhere but at Jimin.

It’s petty and a little bit hilarious, but Jungkook does feel bad when Jimin ducks his head to stare down at his feet. Jimin likes to pretend like he’s immune to others’ opinions of him but Jungkook can tell that Taehyung’s cold shoulder bothers him.

“Well, I don’t know if Jimin’s coming along for sure. He looks like he’s been a little busy with other things the last few nights.” Seokjin eyes the hickeys on Jimin’s neck, barely visible behind the high collar of his jacket. He nudges the alpha, who gives him a frown and moves away.

Jungkook feels himself grinning again, a little proud of the mark he had left when he finally got his turn to fuck Jimin last night. Then he shrinks in on himself, realizing he has the same marks. They both kept telling each other to stop biting, to leave no signs of what they’ve been doing but every time they would just forget and sink into each other again. They can’t seem to help themselves around each other.

Seokjin looks from Jungkook to Jimin, then back again. “Hold up,” he cocks his head to one side as he eyes the marks on Jungkook as well, “what happened to you?”

Jungkook freezes but Jimin brushes it off casually enough. “Turns out Jungkook and I are really good wingmen. We both picked each other up a little snack at the bar the other night. They were both a bit feisty.”

“Aw, that’s not as exciting as what I was thinking,” Seokjin says, leaning on the counter again and squishing his cheek against his palm.

“Yeah,” Jungkook agrees, staring at Jimin as he mumbles a response Seokjin doesn’t even seem to notice. “Definitely not as exciting.”

Jimin stares back at him, one corner of his lips quirking up. He pushes away from the counter, ignoring the fact that Taehyung is staring right at him now, eyes boring into his skull. “Jeon, I wanted to grab something from the stash. Unlock it for me?”

Jungkook nods, slipping out from behind the counter and grabbing the keys as he goes. He leads the way back as Seokjin and Taehyung start chatting away again, Jimin glancing back at his friend before shoving his hands in his pockets and sulking.

The smaller alpha follows him as he unlocks the door and ducks inside, leaving it open only a crack to hear if anyone else comes along. Jimin slips inside and turns to Jungkook, jaw set stubbornly. “You feeling alright after last night?”

“Yeah,” Jungkook says, leaning back against the wall, hands in his back pockets now. He licks his lips, eyes traveling over Jimin, finally able to take in the full sight of him. The black shirt under his jacket tucks into faded grey jeans, black boots done loosely over the bottoms of his pants. “It’ll take some getting used to but it’s not so bad.”

Jimin just nods, his lips pursed together as his eyes drag down Jungkook’s chest. He takes in a deep breath, then turns away. “Good. Yeah, it’ll take a little while so…” He grabs something off one of the shelves but Jungkook doesn’t see what it is, too affixed on Jimin, too enamored by him to care. “If you want… to come over again or I can come over to your place. The booze at your place might help.”

He turns to Jungkook again, holding out a small wad of cash and pocketing whatever he had taken. Jungkook takes it from him, slipping the money into his back pocket as Jimin eyes him, taking a step closer.

“Let me know,” Jimin says as he closes the distance between them, his hand taking hold of Jungkook’s chin and stopping just short of touching their lips together. “And I’ll see you at poker tomorrow?”

Jungkook nods, leaning down and waiting for Jimin to pull away. But he doesn’t. He stands still, staring back at Jungkook with a challenge in his eyes. So Jungkook presses forward, nearly capturing Jimin’s lips in a kiss.

But Jimin pulls back at the last second, dodging the kiss with a smirk. He lets go of Jungkook’s chin and steps back. “And no more biting. People will just start asking more questions and we don’t want that.”

“We don’t?” Jungkook asks, catching Jimin by the wrist and pulling him back before he can leave. He tugs Jimin against him, trapping their bodies together and, to his surprise, Jimin doesn’t make any effort to escape. “I wouldn’t mind people knowing who made you look like this.”

“Maybe you wouldn’t,” Jimin says, his hands trailing up Jungkook’s sides now, his lower lip between his teeth as his eyes skim over his throat, down his chest, then snap back up to lock their gazes. “At first, you wouldn’t. Trust me, if the wrong person finds out… Even if we’re not mated and just fucking. Nothing good can come out of that, little alpha.”

A hand comes up to take hold of Jungkook’s face again, cupping his chin. Jimin drags his lips close, close enough to taste the sweetness of Jimin’s breath, but he doesn’t kiss him. “No more marks,” he murmurs, brushing his lips over Jungkook’s before pulling back. “At least not where people can see them. See you around, Jungkook.”

A little thrill shoots along Jungkook’s spine at the use of his first name, rather than just “Jeon” all the time. He tells himself not to feel so delighted over it but he can’t help himself. He turns into an excitable little child around Jimin, eager for attention, eager to please.

He follows Jimin out, watching him as he hitches his jacket up and gives Seokjin and Taehyung a wave before leaving, the sway of his hips beckoning Jungkook after him. He refrains, gripping the counter to keep himself in place even though every fiber of his being wants to launch forward and pin Jimin against a wall.

Beside him he hears Seokjin chuckle. “Yeah, good wingmen, huh?” he asks, earning a puzzled frown from Jungkook. The omega laughs again and rolls his eyes. “You could smell that sexual tension half way around the world.” He taps the counter and says a quick goodbye to Taehyung before leaving, giving Jungkook an amused look on his way out.

As Jungkook turns back to the counter, his eyes lock with Taehyung’s and the beta stares back with a frown. “You know the danger of what you’re doing, right?” he asks, and Jungkook almost has it in his right mind to be embarrassed at how poorly they’ve kept their secret.

“No one’s found out but you guys,” Jungkook says, circling around the counter to replace some old kegs with those he had grabbed earlier. “Besides, it’s just… casual. And you and Seokjin aren’t gonna tell anyone.”

“I’m not talking about that part of it,” Taehyung says. “You two might be obvious to us but I know you’re smart enough to keep the wrong people from finding out.”

Jungkook sets down the keg and leans back to narrow his eyes at Taehyung. “So what’s the problem then?”

Taehyung sighs, turning to face Jungkook now. “Listen, Jimin’s a good friend and I love him,” he says, hand clasping a fresh rag. “But falling in love with him… I, personally, would never want that, Jungkook. He doesn’t mean to hurt the people around him but he does. I just…” Another sigh as he pushes his hair back. “Just be careful, alright?”

“Yeah…” Jungkook nods, eyes drifting down to stare at his feet. “Yeah, alright.”

He glances back at the door where Jimin disappeared, working his jaw as he wonders how much weight Taehyung’s words truly hold. He knows Jimin better than Jungkook does, but Jungkook understands Jimin’s hesitations, knows about the alpha he used to be with and can assume that it must have ended poorly.

Taehyung doesn’t see the same parts of Jimin that he does. He doesn’t know about the alpha, doesn’t know what Jimin’s like when it’s just the two of them, doesn’t see the looks they share or feels the kisses between them. He doesn’t see the ever so slow growth of Jimin, more comfortable with Jungkook’s affections everyday.

But Jungkook can’t help but doubt as he returns to setting up the bar for the night. Maybe Taehyung could be right and Jungkook’s being a fool for the thousandth time in his life, trusting too blindly.

Maybe he should follow Jimin’s lead and try a little harder to deny what he feels. It’s probably better that way anyway, safer for both of them. And especially safer for Jungkook’s heart.

Chapter Text

 

Jimin finds himself easily distracted throughout the day; tired, bored, his mind drifting. He’s been working overtime in the garage since Yoongi went out to hunt down Hoseok in hopes that Yoongi would slowly forgive him. It’s a pointless endeavor, but Jimin keeps that to himself, keeps his head down. If the omega wanted to be here, he would be. It’s not their place to drag him back to this fucking city. It’s his choice to be out there. He can take care of himself.

The alpha sighs, sitting back on the hood of his unfinished Mustang, staring across the garage at the car he and Hoseok found. He had offered it to Yoongi when he arrived and the beta had promptly taken it to go search for Hoseok—another attempt at earning forgiveness without having to ask for it.

It’s been a couple of months since then. Yoongi came back after a two weeks, walking into the bar in the middle of the night. Without saying a word, he shook his head at Taehyung, and Jimin knew what it meant. Jimin’s not surprised. Hoseok’s smart. If he doesn’t want to be found, he won’t be.

Two months, and Taehyung and Yoongi still won’t talk to him. It’s childish on their part and he tries to tell himself that to feel a little better about the whole mess. But it doesn’t help. It still stings like hell that his two closest friends won’t even look at him.

He hates admitting it but he doesn’t have many people he can lean on around here, few friends that know him as well as they do. He has the guys from poker nights, he had Hoseok, he has the guys from the shop, but no one he can really talk to, no one that knows him. Hell, even Yoongi and Taehyung only know the little bit he’s willing to open up about.

There’s always Jungkook. He knows Jimin in ways no one else does—at least no one still alive. Still, he doesn’t know everything, but he’s sure Jungkook would be more than willing to listen to him. That’s what scares him so bad. People like Jungkook care, people like Jungkook make people like Jimin feel when they don’t want to.

They’ve already crossed lines Jimin promised himself he wouldn’t cross ever again. Crossing those lines only results in heartbreak and being left behind. Jimin’s been left before, had someone taken from him before. Involving himself with Jungkook is just opening himself up to that again.

But he can’t seem to make himself stop. Jungkook has been the one he’s turned to since losing his only friends and that has to mean something. Sure, it’s just sex, Jimin goes to him when he needs to fuck away the frustrations in his life, but they keep hanging around each other beyond that. They keep talking, they keep sharing. Jimin doesn’t share personal things with anyone. Anyone except Jungkook.

Jungkook even managed to work a few words out of Jimin about the pack he was born into before they were all killed. Jimin never really talks to anyone about his life before the city, and even though something in him actually wanted to tell Jungkook, he couldn’t. He honestly doesn’t remember much. He wasn’t so young when they were slaughtered, but according to a doctor he visited he had blocked most of his childhood memories out.

That was all he could really share with Jungkook, but Jungkook seemed to appreciate it and for some reason that made Jimin feel an odd swell of pride. He’s never wanted to please Jungkook in any way except in bed. Why does he suddenly have to care now? Why can’t he just control his own weak heart?

Jimin finds himself losing his grip more and more everyday, slipping into a form of comfort with Jungkook that he shouldn’t be. He hasn’t felt this pull towards someone in ages. He’ll get both their asses killed if he doesn’t get himself in check.

He hops off the hood of his car, moving to sit in the passenger side as he fidgets with the broken radio. The one Hoseok had given him sits in the driver’s seat, so he sets to work on tearing out the old one, his mind drifting to the nights that Jungkook had joined Jimin and Seokjin at their poker games.

For a pack alpha, he’s done well at assimilating with the city kids. He blends right in, laughing along with their jokes and even making a few good ones himself. Still, he’s quieter around groups than what Jimin’s used to, less of that irritating sass, that big mouth he can’t seem to keep shut when it’s just him and Jimin.

Jungkook always seems anxious around others, though he smiles through it. Jimin can’t decide if it’s just because he’s awkward as all hell or if it has to do with his trauma. He’s never looked particularly comfortable in social situations. Jimin’s always noticed him hanging around the corners of the bar or in the back with the stash rather than dealing with the drunks out front.

He can’t really blame him, now that he knows him. He’s still fuzzy on the details of what happened with his pack but he’s learned enough just by observing the scars that cover his body. You don’t survive something like that and come out of it without a few scars on the inside as well.

Jimin shakes his head. He had told himself he wouldn’t get invested, that emotions would be off limits with Jungkook. Even pitying him for whatever happened in the past was supposed to be off limits. Everything was supposed to be off limits but Jimin, like the idiot he is, couldn’t resist, even knowing how easily he falls once he’s had a taste.

He pretends he’s aloof, like he cares about nothing but himself, says obnoxious things specifically to put people off because he doesn’t want this again, doesn’t want the mess that comes with caring about someone. There’s too much risk in it, far too much risk of losing someone once he’s gotten attached to them. It happened before. It will happen again. Alphas don’t get happy ever afters with other alphas. Jimin knows that.

But Jungkook seems to have this blind hope that maybe there’s something here, always staying the night at Jimin’s or letting Jimin stay with him. Always insisting on walking home with him from the bar, always asking questions he shouldn’t. He hates it because it makes him hope and he doesn’t want that. Doesn’t want to hope. Doesn’t want to see Jungkook hope only to be crushed in the end. He’s already been through enough, he doesn’t need more pain because of Jimin. He would be better off finding himself another omega.

The rattling of the garage door startles Jimin out of his car and onto his feet, his brows furrowing as he frowns across the dingy expanse of the building. He sees someone duck inside, the room dark enough that if he hadn’t become so familiar with that body in the past months he wouldn’t have guessed who it was.

He tosses the broken radio aside, having finally wrenched it free of the dash, and grins. “The hell are you doing here?” he asks, leaning against the car as Jungkook makes his way over to him. He tries, as always, to remain aloof but what used to be annoyance every time he saw Jungkook has turned into a strange sort of anticipation for what the other alpha has in store for him this time around.

“Just checking in,” Jungkook says, a smile barely visible in the low light. He plants one hand on the hood of the car and leans on it, dark eyes skimming over Jimin the way they always do, twinkling like stars. Jimin hates how he always notices that about him.

“On what?” Jimin asks with a snort. “You’re starting to sound like as much of an old man as Yoongi and Tae, always worrying about people.”

Jungkook shrugs and moves a little closer. Too close. Jimin can smell him, that woodsy smell that always surrounds him. He almost steps back, overwhelmed by the heat radiating off the other man and how intoxicating his scent is. It pulls Jimin in, the way an omega’s pheromones should.

“I was mostly curious how you were feeling about your rut, if it’s coming soon or not.”

“Oh.” Jimin lifts a brow. “You’re sounding a little eager.”

“Just trying to do my part.”

Jimin lifts his brows. “What a dutiful little alpha,” he says before kicking the door of the car shut, still standing far too close to Jungkook, drinking in his presence, drowning himself in it. He wets his lips with his tongue, eyes drifting to the other alpha’s pink lips. They’re small in comparison to Jimin’s and so cute he wants to just eat them up. He hates that he knows how they feel and taste now, and he’s always wanting more. He tried to avoid kissing Jungkook, knowing damn well what that would lead to. So much for that.

“Do you know anything about fixing cars?” Jimin asks, hoping to change the direction of this whole conversation before they end up fucking on top of his car, and Jungkook shakes his head.

“I grew up in the middle of a fucking forest,” he says with a chuckle, “when would I have ever fixed a car?”

Jimin sighs, simply for dramatic flair, and picks up a wrench. “Here, just… hold onto this and pretend like you’re doing something. Watch me work.”

Jungkook’s grin widens, grabbing hold of Jimin’s hand more than the tool itself. “I can do that.”

“Well,” Jimin slips his hand away, leaving Jungkook with nothing but warm metal in his grip, “get to it, then. Stop grinning at me like a fucking creep.”

He turns, ducking through the window to grab the broken radio out of the front seat, and he’s sure Jungkook thinks he can’t see him cocking his head to the side for a better view of his ass. Probably wondering how or why Jimin wears such tight jeans to work in the garage. Well, for this reason exactly. Just in case Jungkook shows up.

When Jimin straightens up again, Jungkook leans back against the hood of the car, whistling a song to himself as he examines the wrench in his hand as if it’s the most interesting thing in the room. Jimin feels a smile tug at the corners of his lips as he eyes Jungkook.

“Nice try, Jeon. I could feel your eyes on me.”

With a shrug, Jungkook pushes such a fake innocent expression onto his face that Jimin almost finds it endearing. Almost. He swears he doesn’t have actual feelings for him. He’ll deny that until his very last breath.

“Don’t know what you’re talking about, Park.”

Jimin just laughs, head shaking as he circles around Jungkook, smacking him on the lower back, just barely above his ass. “Move, I need to pop the hood.”

Jungkook turns on his heel and steps back, spinning the wrench around in his hand as he watches Jimin lift the hood high above his head. He nods towards a workbench nearby. “Grab that hood prop, will you?” he asks, and Jungkook wastes no time in grabbing the black stick and shoving it under the hood, securing it until the slab of metal stays up.

“I might secretly be good at this,” Jungkook says, looking beyond proud of himself for such a simple task. It’s ridiculous how much of a kid he is. He’s a pack alpha, so why does he act like a little boy always hunting for approval, always teasing Jimin to get a laugh out of him?

“You shoved a stick under a hood, don’t get ahead of yourself.” Jimin just shakes his head as Jungkook chuckles. “Just keep your hand on the hood, just in case. I’m gonna unscrew the bolts so we can lift it off.”

“Why do you need to take it off?” Jungkook asks, obeying Jimin’s orders despite questioning them. He leans against the car, one hand gripping the hood as he watches Jimin set to work on the bolts.

It’s distracting, to say the least, having Jungkook’s eyes on him like this. Why can’t he watch what Jimin’s working on instead of Jimin himself? Does he have to stare so much? And does Jimin have to like it so much? There’s something just a tad pleasing about Jungkook being unable to tear his eyes away. Jimin grins to himself.

“Take the prop out and keep it held up,” he says, moving out from under the hood in case Jungkook lets go. He’s not about to have his head smashed in right now. He waits for Jungkook to toss the prop aside, then grabs the hood. “Lift, set it up on the roof of the car.”

They move it with ease, Jungkook just as strong as Jimin would expect him to be, the muscles in his arms rippling. He feels himself licking his lips before he can stop it, swallows down the lust boiling up inside him. Jungkook’s eyes meet his again.

“What are you looking at?”

Jimin snaps out of it. “What? Nothing. I wasn’t— It wasn’t you—” He chuckles when Jungkook lifts a brow at him, then sighs. Why the fuck is he even trying to deny it? “Shut the fuck up,” he grumbles. “It’s no secret I think you’re hot. I’m allowed to stare if I want.”

“You always get mad at me for staring.”

“Yeah, well, that’s you. This is me. Fuck off.”

With a teasing chuckle, Jungkook circles around the car and moves to stand behind Jimin. “That’s a bit of a double standard, don’t you think?” he asks, hands finding purchase on the vehicle to pin Jimin between it and himself.

“I’m allowed to have double standards, you’re not.” Jimin feels Jungkook press closer to him, his crotch grinding up against his ass, and he loves that Jungkook can’t seem to resist him. It makes him feel a little less ridiculous for his own constant lust around Jungkook. He turns, lifting himself up onto the edge of the car, his legs fitting on either side of Jungkook’s waist as he pulls him in. “You gonna do something, alpha boy?”

“I was thinking about kissing you,” Jungkook says as his hands slide along Jimin’s thighs. He leans in close, lips brushing against Jimin’s but not quite meeting them.

Jimin chuckles, warm breath tickling Jungkook’s lips. “Is that supposed to be some sort of punishment?”

“Thought you didn’t like it when I kissed you.” Jungkook’s voice drops low, his head dipping down to nuzzle his face into Jimin’s neck, teeth grazing over his skin. Jimin leans his head back, bearing his throat to the other man, his hands reaching around to dig his fingers into the thick muscles of Jungkook’s back.

Strong hands grope his ass, kneading at him through his jeans, squeezing hard enough to probably bruise. Jimin feels himself being dragged forward, closing the gap between them, Jungkook’s hips rutting against him, his hands pulling at Jimin’s to meet him. His lips find Jimin’s jaw, kissing over to the corner of his mouth, then slotting their lips together.

Jimin slides one hand up to grip Jungkook’s hair, tugging at it as they kiss, making him gasp and allowing Jimin’s tongue to dart into his mouth. He curls his tongue around Jungkook’s, rolling over it to push it down, and when Jungkook tries to retaliate, Jimin pulls out and snaps a solid bite onto the other alpha’s lower lip.

Jungkook retreats, hands still on Jimin’s ass as he leans back to glare at him, tongue laving over the wounded lip. Jimin didn’t bite hard enough to make him bleed, just leave a nice little sting and darkened patch of skin to remind him.

“Just so you don’t forget who’s actually in charge here,” Jimin says, fingers still trailing over Jungkook’s body. He drags him in close again, lips crushing against lips, his hands pushing past the waistline of his jeans to grab his bare ass.

A hand curls behind the nape of his neck, holding him in place as Jungkook kisses him with a newfound zeal, his arm wrapped around his waist. The alpha tugs him so close and so tight it’s as if Jimin will never be close enough until he’s inside of him. And, god, how Jimin wishes he could be right now, but there’s absolutely no way Jungkook’s virgin ass is taking his cock without lube. So he refrains, even though he desperately wants to fuck the man kissing him right now with wet, openmouthed kisses, tongues twisting into some sorry excuse for a dance.

There’s nothing graceful about them in this moment, just sheer lust and a need to establish dominance where there is none. Neither of them can seem to push the other down quite enough, always coming out even in the end or too damn tired to keep fighting for it after they’ve fucked the defiance out of one another.

Jimin tugs at Jungkook’s hair again, making him growl into their bruising kisses before he darts to Jimin’s throat again. His teeth sink into him, far too close to his mating gland for comfort, but Jimin doesn’t even care right now. Some primal part of him even asks to let it happen, wants Jungkook to bite him, to claim him.

And then the sound of a door slamming shut erases those ridiculous thoughts from his mind and they both look towards the front door so fast it’s a miracle neither of them get whiplash.

A dumbfounded, openmouthed Yoongi stands there, wide eyes staring back at them. “Uh. Shit. Sorry.” He glances around a little awkwardly, then clears his throat. “I thought Jimin would be here alone but, uh, never mind. Just, uh, come to work a few minutes early tomorrow. I wanna talk to you.”

“Right, I will.” Jimin gives him a nod, his hands sliding up Jungkook’s back, but he doesn’t let go. He feels a surprising lack of embarrassment at being caught in Jungkook’s arms. As a matter of fact, he feels a wave of possessiveness wash over him, making him crave to pull Jungkook in closer. Again, it’s something he should be feeling with an omega, yet here he is… clinging onto another alpha like he might be snatched away any second.

“Uh…” Yoongi purses his lips together, looking between the two of them, as Jungkook tries to step back and Jimin catches him by the front of his shirt to keep him in place. “Just remember to lock up before you go.”

“Always do,” says Jimin as his friend gives an awkward wave to the both of them and then ducks back out the front door. Jimin can’t help but let out a breathy chuckle as he disappears. “Guess we really threw him for a loop there.”

When he looks back to Jungkook it’s to find the other alpha staring back at him with an expression he can’t quite read. Disbelief, maybe? Confusion. A little bit of both, most likely. Jimin supposes he would feel the same were he in Jungkook’s position. Jimin’s well aware of his own odd behavior. He doesn’t get it either.

“You don’t care that he just saw us?” Jungkook asks, tongue wetting his lips as Jimin gives him a slight push back and hops off the car. “We’re lucky it was Yoongi. That could have been anyone.”

Jimin shrugs, turning back to his car. He plants his hands on the edge of it, leaning most of his weight against the hunk of junk. He feels weak all of a sudden, a strange wave of anxiety and fear flooding him. Whether it’s at his own unfamiliar desires toward Jungkook or the thought of someone else walking in one them. But it was just Yoongi. Thankfully. He poses no threat to them.

Every part of his body screams at him to turn around and grab Jungkook again, that he needs to hold him, to mark him. He tells himself he’s just confused. That the constant exposure to Jungkook’s pheromones is messing with his instincts to mate, making him think Jungkook’s someone he’s meant to mate. It happened with his last partner too. Especially whenever he was close to his rut.

This just happens. It doesn’t mean anything.

“Jimin?”

He snaps out of it, glancing back at Jungkook and remembering that he had asked him something before. Damned if he can remember what, though.

“You alright?” Jungkook asks, his hand ghosting along Jimin’s lower back. It’s such a soft touch, so affectionate. Jimin’s instinct is to shake it off, to play it cool and tell Jungkook not to get so touchy with him. But his body reacts of its own accord, his eyes closing and he leans just slightly into that big hand splaying over his shirt, thumb tracing his spine.

Jimin nods. “I’m good.” He reaches back to grab Jungkook by the wrist, pulling him around to stand beside the car rather than behind him. His body screams at him for it, tells him to keep Jungkook close and stop moving away from him. But he ignores it and gestures at the car. “Ready to learn how to remove an engine?”

Jungkook watches him rather than the car, and Jimin wishes he would stop. “Sure,” Jungkook says, leaving Jimin to breathe a silent sigh of relief when he finally moves away from him to the table full of tools. “By that do you mean stand here with a wrench and look pretty while you do it?”

“Nope,” Jimin says with a chuckle. “I’m actually gonna need your help with this one. Time to learn the ways of city living, tree boy.”

“Tree boy?” Jungkook asks as he walks back to Jimin, standing far too close again. His scent makes Jimin dizzy.

“Packs, forests, trees.” Jimin shrugs. “Tree boy. Alright, let’s teach you how to do this.” The only way to distract himself from the almost uncontrollable need to press Jungkook up to this car and fuck him against it is to dive into his work. “Normally, you would have to drain everything from it but there’s nothing left in this thing. So I’m gonna show you how to disconnect the intake, exhaust, and coolant lines.”

Jungkook snorts. “The what?”

“You’ll see,” Jimin says, giving Jungkook a light shove to make him move. “They’re probably corroded, so you’re gonna have a lot of fun with this.”

“That’s the real reason you’re having me do this,” Jungkook says as Jimin hands him a pair of gloves. “You just don’t want to.”

Jimin grins. “Of course. That’s the only reason to teach anyone how to do something. Now put those gloves on, protect those pretty hands of yours.”

Jungkook just shakes his head as he does what he’s told, a grin curling his lips. Jimin finds himself smiling along as he watches him and he begs himself to stop. He can’t do this to himself again. He can’t get attached to Jungkook. Not here. Not in this city.

Here, they can never just be. So it’s best that they remain nothing more than outlets for each other during their ruts. It’s safer for both of them that way.

 

 

How they end up walking back to Jungkook’s apartment together is a mystery to him. One second he was lingering around outside the garage while Jimin locked up and the next Jimin was telling him they should have a drink back at his place. Curfew is just a few minutes away so Jungkook assumes Jimin’s doesn’t intend on going home tonight.

The sudden affections from Jimin and the almost possessive behavior he had when Yoongi showed up has Jungkook’s head spinning. Especially since Jimin had gone right back to normal just moments afterward. Now he seems to be angling to spend the night with Jungkook even though he won’t say it outright.

Jungkook attributes it to his rut coming on. He’s just feeling especially needy because of hormones, his body telling him to grab the first person he can and breed them. Right now, his easiest option is Jungkook, so of course he’s who Jimin’s sticking by right now.

He keeps his hands to himself. As much as he wants to touch and hold and kiss Jimin, as tempting as he is, he’ll leave it up to the other alpha if he wants anything. Jungkook refuses to take advantage of Jimin’s vulnerability, to use his own nature against him just so he can get a good fuck out of him. Just because Jimin’s rut tells him he needs to sleep with someone doesn’t mean Jungkook will be the one to instigate. It has to be Jimin’s choice.

They walk mostly in silence, Jimin seeming lost in thought, hands in his pockets and eyes on the ground. He barely looks up as they go, Jungkook even having to guide him around corners occasionally because he won’t look where they’re going. Thinking about Yoongi, he assumes. He knows they have nothing to worry about—Yoongi and Taehyung would never expose them—but it still inevitably leads to questions they’ll have to answer and choices they won’t want to make.

Taehyung, of course, already knows about them, but he had promptly pretended like he didn’t and promised Jungkook he wouldn’t ask questions. Yoongi, however, will probably hold onto it like a dog on a bone, questioning them about whether or not they’re being careful enough, if anyone else has found out about them. He’s relentless when it comes to protecting those he cares about.

Jimin hangs back as Jungkook unlocks his apartment, standing a few steps down from him and leaning against the railing of the stairs. He follows Jungkook inside, heading straight for the liquor cabinet once he’s in. Jungkook watches him as he leans back against the door, letting it slam shut behind him.

“You know, I’m starting to think you have a drinking problem,” he says, as Jimin goes right for his favorite.

Jimin just shoots him a grin as he pours. “In this day and age, we all have a drinking problem. It’s the only way to get through the week.”

“Fair enough,” Jungkook says. He’s not wrong, so he joins him beside the cabinet, Jimin already pouring him some gin. He can’t help but smile at Jimin for remembering his distaste for rum.

“Why do we even bother with glasses?” Jimin asks, shaking his head as he sets the bottle down and knocks back the shot he had poured. Jungkook follows, watching Jimin closely as he fidgets with his glass. The other alpha seems determined to distract himself from Jungkook’s gaze, tongue wetting his lips, fingers fidgeting with the rim of the glass.

Jungkook reaches forward, slipping the glass from Jimin’s grasp and setting it aside with his own. He swallows when Jimin looks at him, expecting some kind of snide remark, waiting for him to laugh at Jungkook and walk away. But he just stares back at him, tension in his jaw, eyes hyper-focused as they dart over Jungkook’s face like he can’t catch quite enough detail, like seeing every bit of Jungkook isn’t enough.

He reaches out, his hand wrapping around Jungkook’s throat. There’s barely any pressure, just enough for Jungkook to feel the squeeze of his fingers against his mating gland. Then his hand slides up to cup the side of Jungkook’s face and he leans in, lips pressing against lips, a softness in the action that Jungkook hadn’t expected.

His tongue works over Jungkook’s lips, tasting the hints of gin there, pressing in to explore a little deeper. He moves slow, finding a leisurely pace to experience every little inch of Jungkook, his other hand coming to caress the other side of Jungkook’s face. His body fits with Jungkook’s but not in the same aggressive search for friction as usual. It’s like he just wants to be close, so Jungkook helps to close the gap.

He steps forward, pinning Jimin between himself and the cabinet, arms wrapping around his middle, hands pressed solid against his back. He leans in as Jimin leans back, head tilting as Jungkook takes control of the kiss and, for once, Jimin doesn’t seem to care, doesn’t try to retaliate. He just matches the rhythm and the pace Jungkook sets, hands trailing down to venture over Jungkook’s torso, fingers stopping to dig into his lower back.

Jimin’s tongue glides over his, then retreats for him to land a solid bite on Jungkook’s lip. He nibbles at it, sucking it into his own mouth and leaving it plump and red before he starts kissing him again.

This is so unlike anything they’ve ever done before and whenever they break away for air, Jimin leans his head to one side to expose his throat, like he’s inviting Jungkook in to bite him, to bond with him. Again, Jungkook tells himself it’s his oncoming rut, that his instincts are just telling him that’s what he should do.

Jungkook is so, so tempted to obey the silent command. So very tempted to mark Jimin as his, to keep him by his side and show the world they belong to each other. His instincts, just like Jimin’s, are clawing at his insides, tugging at his core to make him move forward, to close that small distance between his mouth and Jimin’s neck. He could do it so easily.

When he doesn’t move, doesn’t bite, Jimin lunges forward suddenly, teeth snapping at his neck. It’s so close Jungkook actually feels the slightest pinch on his skin just above the gland, but he dodges back just in time to avoid it. He hadn’t even meant to, it was just a reflex. Part of him wishes he had just stayed still.

“Sorry,” Jimin huffs, leaning back, hands leaving Jungkook to grip the cabinet behind him. His voice is just a whisper when he speaks again. “Sorry. Let’s— Let’s drink.”

Jungkook doesn’t bring it up; the questions burning in the back of his mind, the answers he so desperately wants from Jimin. He doesn’t ask because he knows he won’t hear what he wants to hear. Either he’ll get silence or he’ll get Jimin edging around a real answer until he gives up. So he just follows Jimin to the couch, sitting on the opposite end as him, a bottle of gin clutched to his chest.

What he doesn’t expect—much like he hasn’t expected any of what’s happened today—is to see Jimin crawl across the couch to him. He grips his rum in one hand while the other curls against Jungkook’s chest, tugging his shirt down slightly.

“Sorry,” he says again, shaking his head. “It’s my fucking rut coming on. I…” He looks almost embarrassed when he finishes. “I always get like this during my ruts.Tell me if it’s too much. It just… relaxes me to be close to someone. It’s stupid.”

Jungkook shakes his head because, fuck no, it’s not too much and it’s far from stupid. He wants Jimin all over him, he wants him wrapped up in his arms, even if it just until his rut passes, because he’s gotten in so deep, so fast he’ll take whatever he can get from the other alpha.

“It’s fine,” Jungkook says, opening his arms wide for Jimin to fit between them if he chooses. And he does. Jungkook’s so glad he does. “I said I would help you with your ruts, including this part if that’s what you need.”

Jimin turns to lean back in Jungkook’s arms, his back settling against the broad expanse of Jungkook’s chest. A quiet sigh escapes him, like he’s finally content once Jungkook wraps an arm around him, the other tucked behind to take a swig of his gin.

They don’t speak for a long moment as Jimin makes himself comfortable in Jungkook’s embrace, bottle of rum held to his lips. He sighs again, this time in irritation. “I should still have a couple weeks before my rut. I have no idea why it’s already coming.”

Jungkook just shrugs, honestly lost on what to say. He knows ruts can be triggered early by certain factors, namely an omega’s heat but Jungkook hadn’t scented any omegas in heat near them before and he’s been with Jimin most of the night. He’s not dumb or egotistical enough to believe that he could actually be the cause of it.

He can sense the tension in Jimin’s body, feel every tight muscle against him and see the veins in his neck rising beneath his skin. Jimin seems to also be cranky during ruts, which Jungkook does not look forward to. Yet at the same time it’s sort of endearing. He doubts he’s the most pleasant person to deal with during his ruts either. As a matter of fact, he recalls his mate always telling him how unbearable he was.

“What was it like out there?” Jimin asks out of the blue, bottle tucked to his chest as he scoots down, head resting on Jungkook’s chest. He looks small like this, curled almost into a ball, legs pulled up close and fitting perfectly between the longer legs on either side of him. “With your pack?”

“Oh, uh…” Jungkook takes another drink and then sets the bottle on the floor. “Not as bad as you might think. You know, before… everything went to shit for me.” He rests his hands on Jimin’s shoulders and gives them a light squeeze. “Sit forward.”

Jimin doesn’t question him, readjusting to lean forward just enough for Jungkook to get a solid grip on him. He groans, head lolling forward as strong hands knead at the knots in his shoulders and upper back, working them out with the roll of thumbs and the pressure of nimble fingers.

The sounds that leave Jimin should be illegal, thrills zipping up and down and all around Jungkook as softs mewls and moans greet his ears. He can’t resist leaning in to press a kiss to the back of his neck, and the guttural groan that leaves Jimin feels like it could throw Jungkook into his rut as well.

What a sight that would be. Two alphas in their rut at the same time, both needing to work their knot out on each other while being stuck with a knot already in their ass. Jungkook’s mind wanders to exactly how they would manage that if it were to happen, but Jimin pulls him back from the brink of becoming lost on a wild train of thought.

“What was it like being the leader— mm, right there, Jungkook. That feels so good.”

Jimin tips his head back to drink, eyes closed as Jungkook rubs his thumb deep into a rubber band-like muscle, pulled tight from overworking himself in the garage and never taking time to stretch.

“I liked it,” Jungkook tells him, hands moving down, knuckles digging into the muscles of his mid back. “I like being responsible for others, knowing they count on me, and the feeling I get when I do something right and make them happy. I always loved seeing my pack smile when I would find us a new home or bring back a good kill for dinner that night. Especially my old mate…”

He trails off. This isn’t the time or place to talk about that.

Jimin takes another drink and leans into Jungkook’s touch as it travels to his lower back. “Your mate…” He sucks in a sharp breath as Jungkook hits a particularly stubborn knot in his back. “What were they like?”

“Come on, you don’t care about that,” Jungkook says, curling his hands into fists and dragging them back up Jimin’s back, knuckles rolling over his muscles as they go.

“Maybe I don’t,” says Jimin, groaning against at the sensations across his body. “But I’m curious.”

Jungkook almost wants to laugh at Jimin’s poor deflection, that obvious lie. Not that Jungkook is foolish enough to think that Jimin is asking out of genuine interest in him, but there’s certainly a tenderness in his voice that’s never been there before. Maybe it’s just the effect of Jungkook’s massage. “Fine. Uh… She was amazing. You remind me of her in a lot of ways, actually.”

There’s a quiet snort from Jimin before he takes yet another drink. “Is that your way of telling me I’m amazing?” he asks, and Jungkook knows he’s just trying to get under his skin but he’s right. He decides to play the game if that’s what he wants.

“Actually, I was thinking more along the line of you both being stubborn, sassy, ornery. Annoying.” Jungkook’s heart hums when Jimin laughs. A genuine laugh. Not a scoff, no rolling of his eyes, no bitterness.

“You’re lucky I’m feeling like this right now, otherwise I’d kick your ass,” Jimin says as he leans back against Jungkook’s chest again, letting his arms wrap around his middle. He closes his eyes, bottle to lips again, and Jungkook’s almost tempted to take it away from him. He like the way they are right now, huddled close, Jimin relaxing into his embrace. He doesn’t want him drunk, he wants him sober and affectionate.

“She never listened to a damn thing I said, even when I was right,” Jungkook continues, fidgeting with the front of Jimin’s shirt, lifting it just enough to trail his fingers over bare skin. “She hated me at first. Assumed I would be just like every other pack alpha she had ever met.”

The more he talks, the harder it is to force any words out. He’s spent the last several months doing what he can not to think of her, avoiding that ache it brings on. It’s not healthy, he knows, he should have been letting himself mourn freely all this time. He only makes it worse by hiding it away.

But it hurts too much to let it all out at once, so he reigns it back in for now, focuses his attention of Jimin. It helps—helping Jimin helps. It patches up that hole in his chest, makes him feel just a little less useless. He couldn’t save her, the very least he can do is make Jimin feel good now. It’s a strange parallel to draw but it’s what he needs to keep from completely despising himself.

Jungkook presses his hand to Jimin’s forehead, his skin hot to the touch. There’s no doubt he’s starting his rut. He’s torn between feeling nervous and excitedly anticipating what Jimin has in store for him. “Is there anything that can make things easier for you?” he asks, brushing his fingers through Jimin’s hair. “Anything besides fucking me, I mean.”

Jimin mewls at his touch, tipping his head back with the stroke of Jungkook’s hand. He wasn’t lying when he said he gets clingy and affectionate. It’s cute. Jungkook never thought he would use that word to describe Jimin, but he’s done it twice now.

“Just talk to me. Distract me. I don’t know why the build up is always the worst. Once my knot forms and it’s just about fucking my way through it it’s not so bad.” The bottle of rum hangs, half empty now, in his hand over the edge of the couch. “Just keep touching me.”

He doesn’t have to ask again for Jungkook to oblige, running his hands over Jimin’s sides, along his arms, even squeezing his thighs once or twice. The response from Jimin is equally intoxicating each time, the quietest of mewls dripping from between his lips. He silences them with sips of rum, clearly annoyed at his own reactions.

“Tell me how it happened,” Jimin says, his words low and mumbled. Jungkook can’t tell if it’s from drinking too much or the fog of his oncoming rut. “Your scars, how you ended up here. I’ve always wondered.”

“Thought you didn’t give a shit.”

Jimin catches Jungkook’s hand as it slides over his stomach. His fingers curl around his wrist, holding tight, then he guide his hand lower, stopping at the waistband of his jeans. “Stop being stubborn. Just tell me.”

“Alright,” Jungkook says, fingers fidgeting with the button of Jimin’s jeans. He’s so tempted to slip his hand under them, to touch him until he’s hard, make him come, all pliant and needy in his hands. “What do you wanna know first?”

“How many of your scars are from what your pack did to you compared to before?”

Jungkook works his jaw as he thinks about that. “All the ones on my back are from them. The ones on my legs, too. But this one,” he slips his hand away from Jimin’s and shows him two little marks on hand, just below his thumb, “was a snake bite. And this…” He shows him his arm, pointing out one particular jagged scar down his forearm, larger and far more hideous than the many other scars of torture that decorate him. “This was from the alpha I killed to rescue these two young omegas he was keeping around as slaves.”

Jimin traces over the scar with his thumb. “Leave it to you to be a big hero out in the pack world. Did you save anyone else while you were out there?”

“Yeah. My mate.”

Jimin goes silent at that, fingers stilling against his arm. “What about that weird shaped one on your ankle?”

Jungkook tries not to feel giddy that Jimin seems to have memorized his scars, that he’s taken that much time observing Jungkook’s body to know exactly where they all are and what they look like. “That one was a stupid mistake. I stepped into a trap while scavenging through a town another pack had already claimed. Almost died that day but thankfully some of my pack members caught up to me and got me out just in time to fight off the other pack.”

“Any others that weren’t from your pack?”

“Other than the one on my cheek—which was just from being a stupid kid and getting hurt while playing—I don’t think so,” Jungkook says, then realizes he’s forgotten the scar with the best story behind it. “Oh, the one on my eyebrow.”

Jimin shifts around a bit, glancing back to drag his gaze over the scar in question. “And how did you get that one?”

“This is from when I saved my mate. She thought I was one of the people who had abducted her so as soon as I undid her shackles, she hit me in the head with a crowbar and ran for it.” He runs his thumb over the pale little line through his brow. “I think that’s all as far scars from before that night.”

“You talk about your old mate a lot,” Jimin says, settling back down the way he had been before, eyes closing. He takes yet another drink before offering the bottle to Jungkook, who just shakes his head.

“Sorry. I guess I do sometimes. I haven’t talked about her in a long time. I guess it just sort… opened the floodgate.” Jungkook takes a deep breath and distracts himself by fidgeting with the collar of Jimin’s shirt, slightly torn and dirtied from his work in the garage.

“‘S fine. I’m the one who asked about her in the first place,” Jimin says, before shifting a bit, his ass grinding back against Jungkook. He’s not sure if it’s on purpose or not, but it makes him twitch at the contact.

Jungkook leans down to bury his face into Jimin’s neck, drinking in the musky scent of the other alpha, his skin feverish and clammy. He wishes he could do something to ease the transition into the rut. He knows how miserable it can be and Jungkook’s instincts always tell him to take care of those around him.

“Jungkook,” Jimin murmurs as Jungkook’s hand slides up to curl around his throat, thumb pressing against his jaw to tilt his head to the side. He moans at the sensation of lips attaching to his skin, sucking little bruises onto his neck, tongue laving over the afflicted areas. “Touch me. My— my knot isn’t ready but I just… I need something. Please.”

The younger alpha doesn’t respond right away, his hand moving to Jimin’s jeans again but hesitating. Jimin’s had a lot to drink, he’s no doubt a little on the tipsy side. Jungkook’s not about to do anything Jimin isn’t acutely aware of. “Jimin—”

“Please, Jungkook. God, I just need something.” Jimin undoes the button of his own pants, lifting his hips to slide them down. His cock springs free, already hard and angrily red at the tip. It shines with precome and Jimin wraps his hand around it, stroking himself and arching up away from Jungkook. His bottle of rum clatters to the floor, the contents sloshing and spilling. “Please—fuck—Jungkook, I want you. Just… fucking touch me.”

So Jungkook finally does what he needs. He pushes Jimin’s hand away, taking hold of his cock and swiping the precome around, smearing it down the length to slick it up. He dives back into Jimin’s neck but the other alpha turns his head to face him, hand gripping his chin to pull him into sloppy kisses.

There’s no grace to the way they kiss, wet and loud, lips smacking against each other, and Jungkook realizes he may be more drunk than he thought, too. Their tongues find each other, Jimin’s hand clawing at his neck, dragging him deeper in, tongue delving into his mouth.

Jungkook keeps his hand tight around Jimin as the smaller man digs his heels into the couch and jerks his hips up, fucking into the tight ring of Jungkook’s fingers. He moans into Jungkook’s mouth, loud and needy, his breaths labored and shaky as he pants.

Every time he snaps his hips, he drags them back, grinding against Jungkook’s cock, making him jerk forward for more. It drives Jungkook crazy because it’s never quite enough. It never is for him, not with Jimin. He just wants more. So much more. Wants to feel him, naked and hot against him, pressed so close they’re like one entity.

He wants to bite him, to mark him, make him his so every in the city knows who Jimin belongs with. Wants those fucking matchmakers to see Jimin’s neck bruised from Jungkook’s teeth and know there’s nothing they can do about it. That they can’t stop them, they can’t stop this primal call to each other.

“J— fuck— Jung… kook…” Jimin grabs at his wrist, tugging his hand away from his cock, and Jungkook freezes. He can only watch as Jimin kicks his pants off the rest of the way, then rips his shirt off over his head. He turns, kneeling between Jungkook’s legs as he reaches for the taller alpha’s shirt.

Jungkook doesn’t need to be told to strip, already working on shucking off his own clothes because this is exactly what he wants. To feel Jimin. To feel everything with him.

Jimin helps him, pulling at his jeans and tossing them over the back of the couch. His hands grip Jungkook’s thighs as he leans in to kiss him again, and Jungkook can’t quite get used to Jimin instigating the kisses, to be the one wanting them, needing them. But he can’t be bothered to think about that when Jimin moves to straddle his hips, finding a rhythm to rock them forward, his cock sliding with Jungkook’s, wet and dripping precome onto Jungkook’s stomach.

He’s so overcome with need, his skin practically on fire under Jungkook’s fingers as they explore him, pressing into all the sensitive little spots Jungkook has found since they started this whole thing. He feels weak beneath Jimin, every muscle in his body trembling, twitching with each thrust upward of Jimin’s cock.

As Jimin moves to rest his forehead on Jungkook’s shoulder, Jungkook slips his hand between them, stroking their cocks together in time with Jimin’s movements. He feels a hand grip his arm, nails digging in, Jimin’s other hand clawing at the nape of his neck.

Jimin’s shaking too, seeming completely overwhelmed by Jungkook’s hand around him, the scent of sex and musk wafting around them. And his face is so close to that fucking gland again and they both reek of pheromones and dear god Jungkook wants to bite him more than ever.

“Can’t wait to fuck you, Jungkook,” Jimin growls, lips on his neck, his teeth too. He cuts crescents into Jungkook’s back where his hand grips. “Feels so good— fuck, you’re gonna feel so good— wanna be inside you—”

Jungkook feels a tingle down his spine at the quiet rumble of Jimin’s voice against his skin. He quickens the pace of his hand, twisting his wrist at just the right angle and squeezing to make Jimin’s body lock up and convulse against him.

“Make me come, Jungkook,” Jimin heaves out, his voice weak and ragged. He pushes himself upright, hovering above Jungkook, lips parted and head tipped back, and he’s beyond flawless. Jungkook wishes he could just devour him, make every part of him his, wrap him up with his tongue and teeth and claim him.

He pulls at Jimin’s hip, encouraging him to keep fucking into his hand, then slide his fingers up his spine and leans forward to take one nipple into his mouth. He hears Jimin moan, low and long, fingers moving to tangle into Jungkook’s hair. He holds the younger alpha against himself, tugging at his hair, hands curled into fists, and Jungkook embraces the tiny twinges of pain from it.

His teeth sink into Jimin’s nipple just enough to make him cry out Jungkook’s name, make him tug harder. Jungkook pulls at it before releasing, tongue laving over the hardened nub. His lips pucker around it, sucking at it one more time until Jimin’s chanting for more more more. He leaves a trail of kisses over Jimin’s chest before latching onto his other nipple, his hand on Jimin’s back to hold him in place as he plays around until this one is just as hard and red as the other.

He waits until Jimin is practically falling apart in his hands, weak and overcome with the need to find release, his cock swollen and red, both of them soaked with precome, his thrusts erratic and his hands holding too tight onto Jungkook’s hair. He yanks Jungkook’s head back to look up at him and Jungkook grins at the glazed over, lust-ridden look in Jimin’s eyes.

“Come for me, Jimin,” he says, his words little more than moans themselves, especially when he says Jimin’s name. His voice breaks on it, his heart pounding as he watches the alpha unraveling before him. “Come on, come all over my cock. Wanna make you feel so good. Gonna let you fuck me through this rut.” He pulls Jimin down for another kiss, still murmuring against his lips. “Gonna let you fuck me so good if you come for me right now.”

Jimin’s arms curls around him again, fingers pressing into his back, and it only takes a few more thrusts into Jungkook’s hand before he’s crying out. He releases across their chests, his orgasm making his whole body shake, and the sound of breathy moans and the feeling of his cock twitching against Jungkook’s pulls the younger’s orgasm from him seconds later.

It’s a horridly sticky mess as they both come, Jimin’s face in his neck again as he pants, searching for his breath back, chest heaving and heart pounding along with Jungkook’s. He reaches up for Jungkook’s hair again, carding mindlessly through it this time rather than tugging, another surprise act of affection from someone previously so detached and angry.

Jungkook runs his hand up and down Jimin’s back, stroking along his spine, fingers cutting trails through the sweat that had gathered on his skin. He lays back on the couch, Jimin slumping down with him despite the mess on their stomachs.

“We should clean up,” Jungkook says, but Jimin just shakes his head.

“Don’t move.” Jimin grips his shoulders, pinning him down where he lies. His face nuzzled into the crook of Jungkook’s neck, his breath adding to the heat of his already overheated skin. “Just stay for a second… Stay with me.”

Jungkook doesn’t argue, wrapping Jimin up in his arms. He nods. “Okay. I’ll stay right here. I’ll stay with you.”

 

Jimin passes out just moments after they both finish cleaning up. He had slipped into a pair of Jungkook’s sweats before dropping back onto the couch and falling asleep, head lolling to the side.

He looks so peaceful right now, it’s only a matter of time before his rut kicks in and he’s a raging sex fiend, pinning Jungkook to the bed and fucking into him the way nature would demand he fuck an omega instead. Jungkook feels a little tinge of excitement at the thought, but he kicks the thought from his mind as he approaches the couch.

With his head kinked to one side and his limbs hanging off the couch, Jungkook can only imagine how much pain Jimin will wake up in if he keeps sleeping like that. He scoops Jimin up in his arms, securing him against his chest and carrying him to the bed.

Jungkook is careful as he sets Jimin down on the bed, pulling the covers up and tucking them up to his chin. He stands there for a moment, just staring down Jimin, at the softness of his face when he’s not forcing a scowl, the delicate curve of his lips, the dark thickness of his lashes.

He can’t help leaning down and pressing a kiss to his forehead, still overheated and feverish from his oncoming rut. He pushes his hair back from his eyes, brushes his knuckles along his cheek as he leans back again. His heart stops when Jimin catches his wrist, afraid that the other alpha had caught him in a silly moment of vulnerability. He hadn’t meant to. He just couldn’t resist. It’s impossible to resist Jimin.

But as Jimin grabs at his hand, his eyes stay closed and his lips barely part in muffled, mumbled words. He’s still asleep, talking to Jungkook through his slumber. Jungkook leans in closer to hear him.

“Wait,” Jimin mumbles, just like earlier. “Joon? Stay”

Jungkook steps back as if Jimin’s words are a snake lashing out at him, pulling his hand away from Jimin. He feels his heart dropping into his gut. His words may be quiet but Jungkook’s not foolish enough to convince himself that was his name Jimin had mumbled.

No. Jimin was calling out for someone else, and Jungkook hates the way his heart breaks ever so slightly at that. He wasn’t supposed to feel anything for Jimin. He didn’t want to. But of course he did. Of course he fell again and of course it had to be for someone with just as many demons as himself.

Jungkook swallows down the lump in his throat and finishes tucking Jimin in, holding his hand just long enough for the older alpha to calm back down and stop begging for him not to leave. Then he lets go, grabbing a spare blanket for himself as he heads for the couch. Jimin doesn’t need him right now, and Jungkook needs to be alone for a moment.

Sleep doesn’t come easily to him, but he listens to the soft breaths escaping Jimin, the labored little huffs that leave him as his rut claws its way forward, making him ache and fidget in his sleep, until Jungkook finally starts to relax. His eyes drift shut, body going lax against the couch, and he fades into a shaky slumber with a single name and doubt clouding his mind.

Chapter Text

 

Jungkook keeps his hood pulled up around his face, head bowed as he rushes down the steps from his apartment to the bar. He moves as quick as he can, hating to leave Jimin alone while he starts his rut, but he needs to let Taehyung know what’s going on so he’s not left to man the bar alone tonight.

He ducks inside, shaking his hood off as he turns to find both Taehyung and Yoongi staring back at him. “Hey,” he says, hands in his pockets as he makes his way over to them. “Uh, I just need to talk to you about something real quick. I don’t know if…” Jungkook glances at Yoongi. “If Yoongi told you already…”

“About seeing you and Jimin together?” Taehyung says, nodding slowly. “Yeah, he did.”

“Right, well… Since you both know now…” Jungkook takes a deep breath. “Uh, Jimin and I sort of have an agreement to help each other through our ruts. Problem is, his started kind of early last night. He’s upstairs right now and I need to… get back to him.”

“I’ll help Tae out here,” Yoongi says. “I’ll put Jaebum in charge of the garage for today. Go take care of Jimin.”

Jungkook looks to Taehyung, waiting for him to say something. Finally, he nods. “Get out of here. He needs you more than we do,” he says, and he tries to smile but Jungkook can sense something is off. Whether it’s simple disapproval or something deeper, he doesn’t know, but he doesn’t have time to ponder it. Jimin’s waiting for him.

He gives a nod to his friends before turning to rush out of the bar and back upstairs to his apartment.

 

Jimin’s hands practically tear into the sheets of Jungkook’s bed, groans and whimpers escaping him as he desperately seeks relief for his knot, hips grinding forward against the pillows he’s shoved beneath him. None of it is quite enough. He needs to be inside something. He needs to fuck someone. He needs Jungkook.

And like an answered prayer, the apartment door flies open and Jimin turns to his head to see Jungkook there, that musky alpha scent wafting over to him, mingling with his own. Jimin’s across the room in seconds, slamming the door shut, and pushing Jungkook up against it.

He’s more bite than kiss when their lips meet, hands clawing at the other alpha’s shirt. Jungkook’s hand snakes around behind the nape of his neck, the other wasting no time in grabbing his cock and stroking it, soaking wet with precome.

“I’ve got you,” Jungkook assures him as they stumble back to the bed, his hand giving Jimin just the tiniest bit of relief, just enough to make him realize his nails are cutting into Jungkook’s skin. “I’m here now. Gonna make sure you feel good through this rut.”

Jimin whimpers slightly when Jungkook’s hands leave him to pull his shirt off over his head. His pants slip past his hips, and Jimin finishes undressing himself as his eyes rake over Jungkook’s body. He drinks in the sight of the rise and dip of his abs, the ripple of muscle in his arms as he tosses his clothes aside, the scars decorating his tan skin with pale lines. It makes his own body crave to feel Jungkook again, like it always seems to anymore. But his rut makes his need that much more potent.

His whole body shudders with relief when Jungkook moves to kiss him again, hands kneading at his ass as they collapse onto the bed, lips swollen and sore as they clash with teeth. Jungkook seems reluctant to stop kissing him as he reaches for the lube where they had set it earlier, just to be as ready as possible.

When Jungkook pushes the little bottle into Jimin’s hand it manages to drag Jimin out of the haze of his rut just long enough to remember that Jungkook’s never done this before. He’s never taken a knot before, except on that toy. He’s never taken Jimin during a rut. He has no idea what he’s actually getting himself into.

“Are you sure you’re ready?” Jimin asks him, reaching up to push his hand through Jungkook’s hair. He may act cold and distant but he still has a heart. He has no desire to hurt Jungkook.

“I’m sure,” Jungkook says, nuzzling into his hand, eyes fluttering shut for a moment, and if Jimin wasn’t so desperate to shove his knot somewhere he would find that endearing. “I’ve been practicing. Just… do what you need to do to get through this. That’s what I’m here for.”

Something about those words rub Jimin the wrong way, like Jungkook thinks himself nothing more than a toy to get Jimin off, like he’s here to be used. Maybe that’s how this started but that’s not how Jimin feels anymore. He doesn’t know how he feels, truthfully, but not like that.

But he doesn’t bring that up now as his hips rise, begging for friction from Jungkook. He’s far too gone to get into something with that much depth. Right now he just needs to fuck Jungkook through this and sort out his feelings later.

“I need to prep you.”

“Just fuck me, Jimin—”

“No.” Jimin’s voice wavers, his hands aching to pin Jungkook down and do exactly what he says. But he needs to rein it in, he needs to control his rut rather than let it control him. “I’m not gonna hurt you just because I’m desperate. My knot hasn’t quite formed anyway. Just…” He licks his lips, staring up at Jungkook, every fiber of his being screaming to take him. “Turn around. Suck me off while I prep you.”

Jungkook nods, hand on the side of Jimin’s face as he leans in to kiss him one more time. He turns as Jimin leans back, hand working over Jimin’s cock, and Jimin sighs. His head tips back, warm lips engulfing him, Jungkook’s tongue cradling the head of his cock, then sliding down. Jimin keens at how compliant he is, how eager he seems to make Jimin feel good.

It take a moment for Jimin to regain his focus and remember he needs to be prepping Jungkook. He’s so caught up in the way Jungkook’s hand cups his balls, massaging at them, his throat constricting around his cock. Jimin groans, hips rising, and Jungkook does nothing to stop him from thrusting into mouth. Jimin grabs at Jungkook’s thigh, nails digging in as he raises his hips again.

He can feel Jungkook gag around him, then pull off with a loud slurp, tongue still laving over the tip as he strokes him. Jimin forgets Jungkook’s not as practiced at this as he is, he’s not used to taking another alpha’s cock, whether it’s in his mouth or otherwise.

Jimin reaches around to slide his hand along Jungkook’s ribs, soothing him as he sinks back down on his cock, and Jimin does everything he can to not choke him again. He places his attention on Jungkook’s ass, hand moving to knead at his cheek. He props himself up on one elbow, burying his face between Jungkook’s cheeks to swipe his tongue over his hole. He writhes when he feels Jungkook moan at that, hands clinging to Jimin’s thighs, nails dragging up them.

With his cock buried in Jungkook’s throat again, Jimin grabs for the lube, coating three fingers. He presses a kiss to Jungkook’s ass cheek, tongue darting out again, tracing the rim of Jungkook’s hole before slowly pushing in. The younger tenses, hands tightening, but he doesn’t stop bobbing on his cock, cheeks hollowing.

Jimin puckers his lips up around Jungkook’s hole, tongue sliding out as he gives it a hard suck. Jungkook jerks back toward him, moaning around his cock, and Jimin smiles as he lies back on the bed, one hand giving a squeeze to Jungkook’s ass as he pushes two fingers in.

It’s tight, warm, and Jimin jerks his hips up, imagining burying his cock inside that warmth. He’s so hard. So painfully, painfully hard and he can feel his knot trying to form and he needs more than Jungkook’s mouth. But he has to take this slow, even though he can tell that Jungkook has kept himself well stretched for him.

He imagines Jungkook lying on this same bed, sprawled across it with his legs spread, that knotted toy fucking into him. Tonight it’ll be his cock stretching Jungkook wide open like that, fucking deep into him until he’s shaking, locked onto his knot. Something primal unlocks in Jimin and he pushes the third finger in, his rut urging him on, pushing him get his knot in something as soon as possible.

Jimin needs to knot Jungkook. He needs to feel him—all of him, swallowing him up—to have him hanging on his knot. To make him his. And it’s strange. He knows he should feel this way with an omega, that need to mate someone, but instead he just wants Jungkook. He wants everything from him, he wants his mark on his neck, he wants to fill him up with his seed, even though he knows he can’t breed him. He just needs him.

His head arches back on the bed, hips pushing up, cock fucking up into Jungkook’s throat. He comes without warning, fingers crooking inside Jungkook, and he hears the younger swallowing, slurping up his come as best he can without leaving any behind, despite not expecting it. Jimin feels him pull off before he’s done, hand stroking him through the rest of his orgasm, sticky ropes of white splattering up onto his face.

“Jimin—” Jungkook rasps, his voice hoarse. He reaches back, stopping the steady pace Jimin had set with his fingers. When his fingers slip out of him, Jungkook turns, thumb swiping through the come on his face and licking it off. His lips find Jimin’s again, tongue pushing into his mouth.

He molds his body to Jimin’s, grinding his hips forward, their cocks sliding together, Jimin’s overly sensitive from his orgasm but his rut makes it twitch back to life, hard again. He presses one hand to Jungkook’s throat, never squeezing but cupping just beneath his jaw as he presses kisses across his face, tasting his own come there, licking it up and then kissing Jungkook again to let it mingle between them.

His hand slides around Jungkook’s hip, to his ass again, cupping his cheek and then pushing his fingers into him once more. Jungkook fucks himself back onto his fingers, hands all over him, on his shoulders to pin him down as he rolls his hips forward, on his chest to roll his thumb over his nipple. Jungkook’s lips leave his, kissing down his neck, quiet moans leaving him as Jimin stretches him.

It’s overwhelming, his scent flooding Jimin’s senses, nothing but the sound of his low moans filling his ears, soft gasps whenever Jimin crooks his fingers just right. Then he’s pulling away and Jimin almost panics, like he’s afraid Jungkook is leaving him. But of course he’s not. Jungkook promised to help him through this.

“I’m ready,” he says, breathless as Jimin’s fingers slide out of his hole, hands holding him at his waist, thumbs massaging over his hipbones. “I can take it, Jimin. Don’t worry. Just… do what you need to do.”

Jimin stares up the younger alpha, something stirring in his chest as he reaches out to touch his face, to trace the sharp line of his jaw and the gentle curves of everything else. Jungkook is beautiful.

All of Jimin’s resolve snaps as he flips over, pushing Jungkook onto the bed and smiling at the little huff of breath that escapes him. Their lips meet in feverish kisses again and Jimin can’t remember a time that he didn’t want this, that he rejected Jungkook’s attempts to kiss him. Because the sweet taste of Jungkook’s tongue mingled with a hint of his own come still there makes him feel drunk, makes him dizzy with arousal, and the way Jungkook catches and nibbles at his lip… God, the things Jungkook does with his mouth.

Jimin hovers over him, cock wet with lube and precome, heart pounding in his chest and telling him to knot and mate Jungkook tonight. He needs him now but he can’t have him. Not in every way he wants. So he’ll have to take what he can have and live with that.

He lines his cock up with Jungkook’s hole, eyes locking with the younger as he pushes the tip past that ring of muscle, still pleasantly tight even after Jimin’s fingering and Jungkook fucking himself for practice. Jungkook tenses up and Jimin places a hand on his chest, sliding it down, thumb rubbing gentle little circles as he goes.

“Relax, Jungkook,” he hums, and Jungkook responds instantly, body going lax, and Jimin keens at how compliant he is, how eager he is to please Jimin, to help him.

His hand grabs Jimin’s hips, his eyes finding the older alpha’s again, and then he yanks him forward, legs around Jimin’s waist. Jimin sinks into him, his balls pressed flush against Jungkook’s ass. He doubles over, forehead pressed to Jungkook’s chest, nails digging into his shoulder. It’s so hard not to pound into him, his primal nature telling him to take Jungkook, to fuck him into the mattress until he’s shaking, but he won’t. He’ll control this. For once, he won’t let his rut rule him, because he refuses to hurt Jungkook.

“Jimin—” Jungkook croaks, his hands sliding up Jimin’s ribs. “Just— just fuck me. I can take it.” He breathes in a deep breath. “I know how much it hurts to wait, to have nowhere to put your knot. Don’t hold back for me.”

Jimin pushes himself upright to stare down at Jungkook. “I don’t—”

A thumb presses over his lips, silencing him, then that hand slides around behind his neck and pulls him into a kiss. “Just fuck me, Jimin. I want you to.”

Jungkook pushes himself up, propped on his elbow, still holding Jimin into the kiss as he nibbles at the older alpha’s lower lip. Jimin barely shifts, testing what Jungkook can take, his hands shaking where they clench into fists in the sheets. It’s almost impossible to resist, but he tries, listening and feeling soft gasps from Jungkook as he slides out of him again.

He’s so tight. So tight, so warm, so ready for Jimin. Which he proves when he pulls Jimin close again, whispering words in a low, breathy voice. “Prove me wrong, Jimin,” he says, the heat of his breath and the drawl of his voice sending shivers through Jimin. “Prove you’re the real alpha here.”

The levee on Jimin’s restraint breaks and he leans back, holding Jungkook’s thighs to keep him in place as he pistons his hips, rolling back and snapping forward to slam into Jungkook. He feels Jungkook’s legs tighten around him, watches the way his hands press into the mattress and curl into the sheets. His eyes squeeze shut but he doesn’t look like he’s in any pain or discomfort.

Jimin relishes the warmth around his cock, the wet slap of skin on skin and lube between them, savors the sight of his cock disappearing inside the younger alpha. His nails cut into Jungkook’s skin, his rut taking hold as he slams into him. The relief that floods through him at just being inside someone—inside Jungkook—is overwhelming.

But it’s the way Jungkook grips the bed and arches away from it to meet Jimin’s hips that has his head spinning. The way he matches him for every thrust, eagerly swallowing his cock up inside of him. His head snaps back against the mattress and he moans and Jimin can’t resist.

Keeping a hand on Jungkook’s leg to hitch it around his waist again, Jimin plants his other hand on the bed and leans forward, bending Jungkook in half as he fucks into him. He keeps his pace, keeps up the force of his thrusts, rocking Jungkook against the bed, and he buries his face into the younger’s neck.

Even if he doesn’t bite—which he won’t, he can’t—Jimin can’t resist drinking in the scent of Jungkook, of his mating gland. It calls to him, begs him to bite into it, to mark Jungkook. And he wants to. He wants to so bad.

Then he feels Jungkook’s arms loop behind him, pulling him closer, and he hears him moaning his name, crying out for more. And Jimin knows he’s found that perfectly sensitive little spot inside him when Jungkook jerks beneath him, then arches up against his body, fingers digging into his back.

He hears his name in the form of honeyed moans from the other alpha, low and guttural, dripping from his lips, and Jimin grabs his hip to steady him, stop him from writhing too much so he can keep fucking him exactly where he needs it, to keep slamming into that sensitive bundle of nerves.

Jimin bites, but not where he wants to. He bites into Jungkook’s shoulder, almost hard enough to break the skin. It pulls a shuddering gasp from Jungkook, who moves his hand to Jimin’s ass to urge him deeper inside him. Jimin can feel his knot forming, his hands finding purchase where they can to cling to Jungkook, hot breaths panted against Jungkook’s neck, and Jimin’s name slipping from the younger alpha as Jimin comes closer and closer to finally knotting him.

“J-Jungkook—” Jimin’s voice cracks over his name as his knot pushes against Jungkook’s rim, and Jungkook seems to understand, taking hold of his own cock and stroking, fast and unsteady, shaking from how hard Jimin rams into him. But he pulls himself closer to the edge with Jimin.

Pushing himself up to watch Jungkook, Jimin feels something stirring inside again. As his knot forms and he rubs a soothing hand along Jungkook’s leg, he feels something beyond his instinct to fuck. It’s not his rut, not the primal being inside him begging to be sated.

It’s the look in Jungkook’s eyes when they meet Jimin’s, the way he clings desperately to Jimin as he pushes his knot in, the clench of his jaw as he welcomes it inside him, how he tossed aside every instinct to dominate in order to let Jimin take exactly what he needs from him.

Jimin can feel his heart pound against his chest, he can feel it in his ribs, and he knows this feeling, has only felt it once before in his life. He’s falling, hopelessly, and he can’t seem to catch himself.

He buries his face against Jungkook’s neck against as he comes, filling the younger to the brim, his knot locking the seed inside him. His hips jerk forward, no rhythm to them, and he presses kisses to Jungkook’s throat as he feels his walls clenching around him, warm and wet with come, still seeming to crave more though he’s filled entirely with Jimin.

Jimin slips his hand between them, replacing Jungkook’s hand with his own to finish milking him of his orgasm, tugging at his twitching, wet cock until he’s finished, gasping and trembling as his hands travel along Jimin’s arms. He bites down a moan as white splatters across their chests in lines, and Jimin finds himself wishing he hadn’t stifled the sound. He likes hearing what he does to Jungkook, how he affects him.

“You okay?” Jimin asks, breathless, letting himself relax as much as he can without putting all his weight on the younger. He feels Jungkook nod, and then hands twist into his hair, pulling him around for another kiss.

He sinks into the feeling of their lips moving together, satisfied, his rut calming itself for now. It’s only a matter of time before he’s reeling for another go, his knot craving to be inside Jungkook again, so he savors the slowness of this kiss, the gentle way Jungkook parts his lips for their tongues to meet.

Because as much as he loathes to admit it, Jimin feels something for Jungkook, and he wants everything he has to offer, not just a good fuck to get through his rut.

 

Jimin’s ruts, Jungkook quickly learns, are far more brutal than his own. He’s damn near insatiable. Their first round was nothing compared to what follows, and he’s exhausted by now. But he wouldn’t change it. At this point, he feels he would do just about anything to help Jimin.

He doesn’t know when the other alpha became so important to him—somewhere between fucking him through his rut and being fucked through Jimin’s, between hearing Jimin out when Taehyung and Yoongi were upset with him and opening up to him about his former mate. He can’t pinpoint the exact moment.

His heart stutters when he feels Jimin press up to his side, hand curling against Jungkook’s chest in his sleep. After a moment, Jungkook feels Jimin grinding against his hip, arm looping around him, breath hot against his neck. He hears the other alpha groan, still asleep, and Jungkook rolls onto his side to face him.

“Jimin,” he murmurs, pressing kisses over Jimin’s chest. Jimin’s cock digs into his hipbone, already hard and ready again. Jungkook runs his hand along his spine and Jimin’s eyes flutter open, gaze rising to meet Jungkook’s.

“Fuck,” Jimin sighs, rolling onto his back. “Hurts, Jungkook…”

Jungkook kisses along his neck, throwing his leg over Jimin to straddle him. “Let’s take care of you,” he murmurs against Jimin’s skin, and he feels the rumble of the other alpha’s moans against his lips. Jimin seems to snap awake, grabbing Jungkook and flipping them over, but Jungkook pushes back.

He’s been passive for long enough, letting Jimin control every touch and kiss, letting him use his body however he needs. But now Jungkook knows exactly what Jimin likes during his rut, knows how to make him feel good, and he’s been fucked enough times that there’s no need for hesitation, for controlling Jimin’s pace. Jungkook wants control this time, wants to show Jimin he can make him feel good.

Jungkook’s hands drag from Jimin’s shoulders, fingers down his chest, pushing him into the mattress, one hand moving to curl around Jimin’s cock. Jimin sighs, letting his head fall back against the bed, Jungkook hovering over him, coating his cock with lube before lowering him self onto it.

Jimin closes his eyes, teeth clamped on his lower lip, hands gripping Jungkook’s thighs, toes curling as the younger takes him in, bottoming out instantly. His fingers drag over scarred skin, squeezing against the muscles that flex as Jungkook rides him. He feels like he can’t quite catch his breath, feeling Jungkook everywhere as he touches him, pressing into all the little spots along Jimin’s body that send his mind spiraling into a delirious state of pleasure.

He forces his eyes open to watch Jungkook, just in time to see Jungkook looking down at him, diving down to kiss him. Jimin pushes himself up to meet him halfway, craving the taste of Jungkook’s lips, curling his hand into his hair as they kiss, tongues meeting. He swallows down the soft moans that escape Jungkook’s mouth, gasping with every roll of Jungkook’s hips, pushing himself closer to forming another knot.

Jungkook’s teeth tug at Jimin’s lower lip, hand sliding up to cup gently around his throat. He pushes Jimin back, sitting upright to stare down at Jimin again, eyes hooded and tired but glazed by lust. Jimin feels a shiver run through him as Jungkook snaps his hips down, moaning through gritted teeth as he fucks himself open, finding just where he needs Jimin’s cock to reach to make him shudder with pleasure.

His body aches, skin shining with sweat, head tipped back. Jimin likes him just like this, just as keen on getting fucked as Jimin is on fucking him, come dried on his thighs from earlier, nails dragging down Jimin’s chest. He makes Jimin writhe against the bed but keeps him in place, keeps him held down so Jungkook stays in charge, makes his knot swell beneath him, desperate to be locked inside the younger.

Jungkook is kind of stunning like this, stretched wide around Jimin as his hands come down to hold Jimin’s waist, grinding down on his knot, begging for it until it’s inside him. Jimin keeps his eyes on Jungkook, sliding one hand up his chest, the other jerking Jungkook’s cock now to make him come with Jimin. The seconds his fingers touch Jungkook’s length, the younger falls apart, gasping in a shaky breath.

He’s so sensitive, so thoroughly fucked and blissed out from Jimin’s rut, probably overwhelmed by it all because he’s never been on this side of a rut. But he never slows down, finding a rhythm to thrust up into Jimin’s tight grip and then drop back down on his cock, pushing his knot closer and closer to being inside of him.

They’re both a bit delirious from Jimin’s rut, tired and frenzied in their lust, but that doesn’t stop them. Of course it wouldn’t slow Jimin down during his rut, but he’s honestly impressed by how well Jungkook’s handling it, how he seems just as desperate as Jimin, his cock hard and leaking, but coming too soon as Jimin strokes him.

He covers his own stomach in white, eyes shut tight and mouth open in a silent, choked moan, hair hanging in his eyes. Jimin’s hand leaves his cock, gripping his hips, urging him down onto his knot. He’s mesmerized, watching a bead of sweat slide along his temple, the way his head snaps back as he finally gets that knot inside him, Adam’s apple bobbing as he swallows hard.

His hands shake against Jimin’s chest as he tries to hold himself up, catching his breath, humming quietly in content at the feeling of Jimin’s hands running up and down his sides now.

“You still good?” Jimin asks, breathless himself. He slips his hands further down, grasping Jungkook’s hips and rolling them forward. A moan works its way past his lips, eyes squeezing shut at the pressure on his knot.

“Y-yeah,” Jungkook barely manages to gasp out, rolling his hips on his own now, hand twitching on Jimin’s chest as his cock massages at Jungkook’s prostate, oversensitive from the sheer number of times he’s been fucked tonight. But he still can’t seem to get enough and Jimin loves that more than anything else about this.

Jungkook keeps himself upright, though Jimin can tell he’s exhausted. Jimin’s been on his side of this whole situation plenty of times before to know it’s not easy. He’s stubborn if nothing else, and he looks like he could pass out at any second. Understandable, considering neither of them stay asleep for long before Jimin needs to knot him again.

“Jungkook,” Jimin says, trailing his hand all the way up the other alpha’s throat to clutch his chin. Jungkook’s eyes ease open as he does and Jimin notices a depth to them he’s never noticed before, like he’s seeing some part of Jungkook invisible to anyone else. He wonders if anyone has seen Jungkook look this vulnerable before, weak from being so blissed out with pleasure, head spinning from being so overly stimulated for so long.

He’s so subdued compared to normal and Jimin’s uncertain if it’s just that he’s too tired to keep up any kind of fight for dominance or he just doesn’t care to anymore. Despite his own exhaustion, Jimin feels a thrill at the idea of Jungkook being so willing to bear himself to Jimin. As much as he loves the games they’ve played with each other in the past, he likes to imagine Jungkook completely surrendering to him.

In the back of his mind, the thought crosses that Jimin wouldn’t mind surrendering entirely to Jungkook, either.

Jimin’s hands curl around Jungkook’s biceps, tugging him forward. “C’mon, little alpha, lay down. You need to rest. It won’t bother me.”

Jungkook stares down at him, resisting for a moment, still that tiny sense of needing to be in charge. It doesn’t take long before he weighs the pros of lying down and leans forward, hands planting on either side of Jimin’s head.

He doesn’t lay down all the way at first, hovering over Jimin to kiss him, tangling a hand in his hair. Jimin’s tired—too tired to bite as he usually would to establish the pecking order, too tired to care that he’s addicted to the feeling of Jungkook’s lips on his, too tired to deny that he wants Jungkook to kiss him.

They roll over, tangled together, Jimin pressing Jungkook’s back into the mattress now, still letting Jungkook dictate the harshness and the pace of their kiss. He keeps it slow, lazy, rather enjoyable in the sluggish aftermath of Jimin’s rut. It’s not quite done, but it’s settling, slowly.

Eventually, Jungkook goes limp against the bed, sighing, eyes closed and looking like this is all he’s ever needed. He seems to be in heaven, all relaxed like this with Jimin tugging the covers up around them for warmth. Too comfortable, so Jimin rolls his hips, bringing back that pressure inside Jungkook and making him twitch, a whisper of a moan slipping from him.

He curses, then smiles, eyes still shut. “Asshole,” he accuses, and Jimin just laughs.

“You’ve known all along I’m an asshole, yet you’re still here, aren’t you?” Jimin asks, leaning down to brush his lips along Jungkook’s throat. “Got a question for you.”

“Shoot,” Jungkook says, but Jimin’s voice stops in his throat. Half of him wants an answer, the other thinks he’s better off never knowing.

He takes a deep breath, thankful he can rest his head on Jungkook’s shoulder as he asks and not have to look into his eyes. “The first night right before my rut started… when I woke up, you weren’t in bed. You slept on the couch. Why?” he asks, holding his breath for Jungkook’s response.

It didn’t make sense to him in the moment and with his head clearing up now, it still doesn’t make sense. They share beds constantly these days, usually by Jungkook’s insistence. He hadn’t seemed so intimidated by Jimin’s rut to get nervous and move away from him during the night. Something made Jungkook distance himself from Jimin that night, and Jimin can’t stop wondering.

“Just wanted to give you your space,” Jungkook says, his voice rumbling through Jimin, soothing as it makes his skin buzz. “You were overheated. I didn’t wanna crowd you.”

Jimin doesn’t believe him but he nods anyway. “Alright,” is all he says before nuzzling further into the crook of the other alpha’s neck, his hand rubbing gently over Jungkook’s side, massaging whatever muscles he can reach.

He listens to Jungkook’s breathing ease up as Jimin touches him, and Jimin feels proud to have such power over every little reaction in Jungkook’s body for the moment.

 

 

“Jungkook,” Jimin calls from where he squats before the liquor cabinet. Jungkook rolls onto his side on the bed to look at him, his back aching, his ass even more so. “You didn’t tell me you had this.”

The other alpha reaches in the bottom half of the cabinet, glass clinking as he pulls something out, then brandishes a bottle of clear liquid. He stands with a wicked grin on his face, kicking the cabinet shut before making his way back to the bed. It’s his third night at Jungkook’s and his rut has finally stopped rearing its head.

“I don’t know a lot of what I have in there,” Jungkook says, scooting over to make room for Jimin. He takes the bottle as Jimin hands it over, propping himself up to take a drink. “Most of that stuff was here before I moved in. What is it?”

Jimin doesn’t answer, just lifts a brow as Jungkook sniffs at it, nose wrinkling despite the lack of smell from the drink. Jungkook is very particular about his alcohol and Jimin has terrible taste. He takes a sip and gags.

With a laugh, Jimin finally says, “Moonshine.” He takes the bottle from Jungkook, taking a swig before setting the bottle on the nightstand. When he looks at Jungkook again, his smile falls away. He looks serious. For a moment, Jungkook expects him to go back to the old Jimin, the one he first met. He’s been so affectionate during his rut, holding Jungkook through the night, planting soft kisses over his back. It’s only a matter of time before he goes back, right?

Then he reaches out, hand trailing over Jungkook’s stomach. “Roll over,” he says, “on your stomach.”

Jungkook furrows his brows but he doesn’t question him, rolling over, cheek against the mattress as he peeks back at Jimin. He feels the bed shift as Jimin throws his leg over Jungkook, straddling him. His hands start at his shoulders, rubbing at the tight muscles there, thumbs digging in.

Jungkook groans, then sighs, his body going lax like putty under Jimin’s hands. This was the last thing he expected. Then again, Jimin’s full of surprises. He’s not the man he pretends to be, softer than he likes to admit.

“You feel alright?” Jimin asks, the heels of his palms working down his back. “I know it’s not easy taking another alpha’s rut for the first time.”

Jungkook just nods. “Feel fine,” he mumbles, his mind going numb from Jimin’s touch. He melts under the warmth of his hands, the gentle pressure just enough to loosen up the tight muscles, still soft enough not to hurt. “It wasn’t so bad.”

He hears Jimin chuckle and cracks one eye open to peer back at him. The older alpha smiles down at him, head shaking. “You’re stubborn. You were damn near crying during that last knot.”

Jungkook scoffs, then laughs. “No, I wasn’t. But keep telling yourself that, if that’s what you’re into.”

Jimin plants a solid pinch to his shoulder and he laughs again. “You’re definitely stubborn. I’ll give you that.” He falls silent for a moment, hands on Jungkook’s lower back now. His thumbs press in, working out the knots in his muscles, then moves upward again. “But you did better than I expected. And I— Well, just… thanks, I guess… for putting up with me.”

The younger only hums in response at first, his eyes closing again. He feels Jimin lean forward, putting more of his weight on his hands as they flatten across his back. Jungkook sighs, fingers curling into the sheets. Jimin’s hands are magic. How he does this, Jungkook can’t even begin to understand.

“You’re welcome,” he says when the pressure eases again. “Glad I could be of some help.”

There’s a breathy chuckle from Jimin. “Bet you never thought you’d be doing this when you were still with your pack.”

“Getting fucked by another alpha?” Jungkook asks. “Not willingly, no.”

Jimin’s hands come to a halt and Jungkook peers back at him again. “What?”

“If I hadn’t escaped when I did,” Jungkook says, folding his arms beneath his head, cheek squished against them, “I think that was kind of his plan. The alpha that took over, I mean. It would’ve been the ultimate display of dominance to overpower me like that. He…”

Jungkook chokes on his words, remembering what happened to his mate, remembering being rendered helpless as that scumbag alpha took her as his own. And Jungkook could do nothing but watch. He squeezes his eyes shut, refusing to let the tears through. Not with Jimin here. He won’t let himself cry in front of the other alpha, and he doesn’t really want to relieve that moment again, anyway. He can’t.

Jungkook swallows the tears down. “Thankfully I got out when I did.”

“Jesus, this just got fucking heavy, real fast,” Jimin says, setting back to work on the tight muscles along Jungkook’s back.

“Sorry,” Jungkook says, letting his eyes drift shut again. He hadn’t meant to bring the mood down. He never means to slip into those dark memories—reminiscing about the past and wondering what other horrors he would have faced had he never escaped—they just creep into his mind on their own. Sometimes he wishes he could forget them entirely, but despite how painful it is he could never bring himself to just erase the memory of her.

Jimin shrugs, thumbs pressing just below Jungkook’s shoulder blades. “Not a problem. I asked. And I don’t mind you… telling me stuff… You know, if you want to.”

Jungkook almost smiles but he wills it away just in time to keep Jimin from noticing. He doesn’t need the other alpha grumbling about him getting too fond again. “Anyway, I guess what matters is that I made it out alive. Made it here, thanks to Tae and Yoongi. And then I met you.”

“And now you like cock,” Jimin says, and Jungkook snorts. He certainly pulls no punches with his words, but he’s a little thankful for that. He can count on Jimin to say some obnoxious thing that will takes his mind off his past. “Do you ever think about going back? To your pack?”

“That’s the plan, eventually.”

Jimin stops again, his hands resting on Jungkook’s lower back. Jungkook turns his head just enough to watch him, and all the playfulness drains from Jimin’s face. His smile falters, something unreadable in his eyes as he stares down at Jungkook.

“For revenge?” he asks. “Or to take your pack back and… live with them again?”

Jungkook’s unsure how to answer. Originally, he had planned to win them back, to kill the alpha that took everything from him and take it all back for himself. But even though the city is not the life he wanted, even though his time here is minuscule in comparison to his time in the wilderness, he’s grown fond of the friends he’s made here. He’s grown fond of Jimin.

“I’m not sure,” he answers honestly. “Maybe just go back and see what happens. Get my revenge and see where that leads.” Eyes closed again, he grins. “Why, you don’t want me to leave? Afraid you’ll miss me?”

There’s a huff from Jimin as he sets back to work on the massage. “I don’t want you to get your ass killed,” he grumbles with a particularly harsh jab to Jungkook’s back with his thumb. “Who would I fuck then?”

Jungkook laughs, eyes rolling behind his lids. He braces his hands against the bed and then pushes back, knocking Jimin off of him and flipping around to pin him to the mattress. His hands curl around the smaller alpha’s wrists as he grins down at him.

Jimin barely struggles, giving a half-hearted attempt to wrench his hands free before relaxing into the sheets. He just smiles back as Jungkook says, “Admit it, you would miss me.”

“I think you’re deflecting,” Jimin says back as he shifts around to fit his knee between Jungkook’s legs, rubbing against his cock. “I think you would miss me.

“Maybe you’re the one deflecting.”

Jimin just breathes out a single laugh, lips tipped up in a smirk. “We could do this all night, you know,” he says, “or you could shut up and kiss me.”

Jungkook lets go of him, sitting back on Jimin’s hips, the older alpha stretching his arms above his head. “For someone who insisted he doesn’t do kissing, you sure like to kiss me a lot.”

Now it’s Jimin’s turn to reverse their positions, slamming Jungkook onto the bed. Jungkook groans a bit at the pressure on his ass as he lands on it, writhing to arch his back up away from the mattress. He’s going to have to get used to the aftermath of getting fucked if they’re going to keep this up.

“Fuck… me,” he groans, finally finding a comfortable position to lay, his back still aching a bit despite it.

“I already did,” Jimin says, waggling his brows, and Jungkook can’t help but laugh. “I think that’s kind of the problem.”

Before Jungkook can retort, Jimin darts down and silences him with a kiss. This time he pins Jungkook down, pressing his wrists into the bed as their lips slot together. He tastes like moonshine and mint from brushing his teeth earlier (with Jungkook’s toothbrush, without Jungkook’s permission) and Jungkook decides Jimin is right.

He would miss Jimin if he went back to his pack.

 

-α-

 

It’s pouring rain when Jungkook leaves the ration center, hood pulled low over his brow as he makes for the door, where new supplies are gathered and sorted, whether it be from scavenging or from the factories on the other side of the city. His community service for the week is helping pack up ration boxes for tomorrow, when everyone gets their new ration cards and line up along the streets for food and other necessities.

He’s lucky the timing of it didn’t clash with Jimin’s rut. If his rut had started a week or two later like it was meant to, Jungkook would have been screwed. Skipping community service is a surefire way to be dragged in by officials and questioned. It’s already risky enough just fucking Jimin—hell, it’s risky just existing as a sterile pack alpha living in the city—he doesn’t need officials breathing down his neck or matchmakers eying Jimin up.

That last thought makes his stomach churn. He knows they’re fucking on borrowed time. Jimin only has a few more years before he reaches the age he’s required to mate. It seems like a long time but it won’t be much longer before matchmakers start turning their focus on him, pushing him to find an omega to bond with, pushing him to build a family. Even if it doesn’t happen right away, it’s inevitable.

Jungkook shoulders open the exit, immediately greeted by an arm around his shoulders. He leans away, surprised by the sudden sweet scent of an omega pressing into his side. He feels the arm leave him and he looks to find Seokjin grinning at him. He had been working the same job as Jungkook today, but they didn’t get much of a chance to talk.

“Hey,” Seokjin says, gesturing for Jungkook to walk with him. It’s dark out, both of them having worked a little later than they needed. Jungkook wonders if Seokjin’s afraid to walk home alone. He can’t blame him. Crime has been up lately, for some reason, everyone growing restless inside the city. He’s beginning to feel like the city is just as lawless as the outside. Maybe people are more inclined to living a pack life than they realize.

“What’s up?” he asks as they walk, and Seokjin shrugs.

“Just thought I could walk with you. My place is on the way to yours,” he says, falling into step with Jungkook, hands in his pockets as he stares up at the moon. “Things have been getting crazy lately, huh?”

Jungkook glances over at him, then across the street as people duck into their homes, others stand in alleyways to smoke and chat with each other before curfew. He nods. “Yeah. All these alphas fighting with each other lately. Omegas,” he looks over at Seokjin, “can’t just walk home alone anymore.”

Seokjin chuckles. “I can take care of myself,” he says, head lolling to the side to give Jungkook a half smirk. “Trust me.”

“Yeah, but you still always have to be on guard.” Jungkook shrugs. “Sucks. It was never like this out there. I mean, there was always the risk of others packs attacking but within your own pack… shit was just peaceful.”

The omega casts him a skeptical look, eyes drifting down to where he knows his scars hide under the sleeves of his jacket. He’s seen Jungkook in tank tops or t-shirts before. He knows of at least some of the damage he sustained from his old pack.

Jungkook gnaws on his lower lip, then looks at Seokjin. “There are always the bad eggs, though. And, unfortunately,” he stares up at the sky, “sometimes those bad eggs are really good at manipulating others into following them.”

They go silent, Seokjin looking down at his feet as they walk. Jungkook doesn’t expect him to say anything, there’s nothing to say, so they just focus their attention on the area around them instead.

“This is my stop,” Seokjin says after awhile, gesturing up at a familiar building. Jungkook realizes with one glance it’s the same building Jimin lives in. The omega turns to him, sympathetic eyes as he looks at Jungkook. “Hey. If you wanna talk about—”

“Oh, look who it is again,” someone jeers, and Jungkook cringes when he recognizes the voice. One of those fucking alphas that cornered him outside his apartment. “The fuck you doing hanging around with an omega? Not like you can do anything for him. Your dick doesn’t even fucking work.”

The alpha laughs, his buddy smacking him on the back like he just said the cleverest thing in the world. Seokjin rolls his eyes. “Don’t you alphas have anything better to do than make yourselves look like fucking idiots?”

Turning his attention on Seokjin, the alpha’s smile grows darker and Jungkook tenses. “Why don’t you and I take off? Leave this limp-dicked little pussy behind and come home with me.”

Seokjin laughs, throwing his head back. “Yeah, in your fucking dreams, mouth breather. Why don’t you and your little friend just go suck each other off instead? The way he’s following you around, kissing your ass, I’ll bet that’s what he goes home and fantasizes about anyway.”

“The fuck did you just say?” the alpha asks, stepping closer until he and Seokjin are almost nose to nose.

Jungkook moves forward but the alpha’s little henchman grabs his arm, pulling him back. He shakes him off but it’s too late.

“You fucking heard me.”

The guy grits his teeth together, then shoves Seokjin back and decks him across the face. Jungkook lunges forward, the second alpha grabbing at his clothes to drag him back, so he spins around to land a right hook to the side of his head. The guy stumbles back and Jungkook grabs him, throwing him to the ground and lifting his foot to stomp his face.

He howls in pain, hands covering his shattered nose as Jungkook spins to find the first alpha. Seokjin has him pinned against the wall, fist pummeling his face. He has it under control, but Jungkook snaps, something deep inside him clawing to his surface. In his mind’s eye he sees the alpha from his pack that took everything from him. He sees him instead of the actual alpha in front of him, and all the rage he’s buried inside since that night bursts through the walls he built.

Jungkook grabs Seokjin by the arm and yanks him back, fist crashing across the other alpha’s face and sending him flying to the ground. And then Jungkook is on him, punching him over and over again, slamming him against the ground, his skull smacking against the pavement.

He doesn’t stop until his fists are covered in blood, until the alpha goes limp, held up by Jungkook’s hand twisted into the front of his shirt. And Jungkook keeps hitting him until he stops fighting back, his face almost unrecognizable.

Then hands drag him back and he hears Seokjin shouting his name, but he pushes him back, his foot slamming against the ribs of the alpha again and again until he hears something crunch and snap.

“Jungkook, stop!” Seokjin shouts, yanking him back. He loses his balance, giving the omega a chance to push him back against the wall and coax his attention away from the alpha. The second alpha takes the opportunity to grab his friend and clumsily haul him up.

Jungkook tries to lunge after him but Seokjin pushes him back. “Hey!” The omega snaps his fingers and Jungkook scowls at him. “I think they get it, Jungkook. They’re leaving. They’re not worth it. Let’s get you inside, clean you up. Come on.”

The omega guides him in, blood covering his knuckles, feet carrying him forward without thinking. His mind feels blank, everything erased but the image of that alpha in his hands. But not the one he actually tore into, not the one that pushed Seokjin or taunted him.

No. Jungkook just saw him. That same fucking face that grinned up at him where he hung, crucified on the tree just outside their camp. The face that laughed as he murdered Jungkook’s mate. That fucking alpha that promised to ruin him, to keep him hanging on as long as he could as he took everything from him, promised to make him suffer before he finally let him die.

Jungkook doesn’t realize he’s shaking or that he’s even been walking until Seokjin sits him down at his table. He returns with a wet wash cloth, dabbing at Jungkook’s hands and ignoring his own split lip. Jungkook hisses at the slight sting, and Seokjin sighs when he sees that the skin of his knuckles is split and torn.

“Guess it wasn’t all his blood,” Seokjin says before heading for the bathroom again. He rifles through a medicine cabinet before sighing. “Fuck. I don’t have any ointment. Jimin’s right next door. I’m gonna pop over there—”

“Don’t.” Jungkook stands but Seokjin is already out the door. The last thing he wants is for Jimin to question what he’s doing in Seokjin’s apartment, why he’s dazed and bloodied. He realizes it shouldn’t matter but Jimin has a temper and a stroke of possessiveness at times, and he just doesn’t want to deal with that right now.

Seokjin crosses the hall and knocks, Jungkook leaning in his doorway and clutching at his wounded hands. He sighs, hanging his head as Jimin’s door opens. Seokjin beckons him over and Jungkook closes his eyes. Fuck it.

“Seokjin, I already told you we’re not gonna fuck,” Jimin jokes as he moves to lean in his doorway, arms crossed. The smirk on his face disappears when he catches sight of Jungkook down the hallway, leaning much in the same position as him. His brows furrow. “What’s going on?”

“Jungkook decided to beat someone’s face in and I don’t have anything to clean up his wounds. His knuckles are busted— Jungkook, get your ass over here.”

Jungkook takes a deep breath and makes his way over to Jimin, who just stares back at with thinly veiled frustration. “Who was it?”

“Same guys that cornered me outside my apartment.”

“Are you fucking serious?” Jimin pushes away from the door frame, storming past Jungkook, who catches him and pulls him back.

Jimin struggles against him, pushing his hand away, but Jungkook just grabs him by the wrist again. Not hard, just enough to make him stand still for a second. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?”

“I’m gonna find those little fucks and end them.”

“I think Jungkook took care of that already,” Seokjin says, and both alphas look to him. “That guy’ll be lucky if he can ever open his eyes again, as bad as Jungkook pummeled his face in. Don’t worry about it, Jimin.”

Jimin grinds his teeth together, then sucks in a sharp breath. “Fine. I’ve got him from here, Seokjin,” he says, turning and swishing back into his apartment without another word to either of them.

Jungkook just shakes his head and sighs again, giving Seokjin an apologetic smile. “Thanks,” he says, and Seokjin cocks his head in question. “For stopping me. I would’ve killed him.”

The omega gives him a nod and a smile. No words are needed as he darts around Jungkook and heads back to his apartment. Jungkook turns to enter Jimin’s, kicking the door shut behind him. Jimin doesn’t even wait a second before asking the question.

“Why were you hanging around with Seokjin?” He tries to sound casual, but Jungkook can hear the tension in his voice.

“We were both working at the ration center today,” Jungkook answers, moving to sit on the back of the couch as Jimin digs around his bathroom for something for his wounds.

“Pretty late for work.”

Jungkook can’t help but laugh, which earns him a murderous glare from the other alpha. “Yeah, we worked late. Then we got jumped, my knuckles got busted, Seokjin brought me in to fix me up, and now I’m here. And that’s the full story.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah.” Jungkook doesn’t waver for a second when Jimin approaches him, staring down at him where he sits. He knows Jimin’s just playing a game. He wants Jungkook to admit how completely consumed he is by Jimin, that no omega could fulfill him the way Jimin does.

He knows, because every primal part of him wants Jimin to admit to the same thing. It’s their instincts telling them to lay claim, telling them to protect what’s theirs from other potential mates. He doesn’t hold it against Jimin, knowing how frustrating it is to want to lay claim but not being allowed to, afraid to even admit that’s what they both want.

“If you say so,” Jimin grumbles, grabbing Jungkook’s hand. At first Jungkook thinks he’s going to be all caring and nurturing, gentle as he applies the ointment to the wounds, but then he turns Jungkook’s hand over and drops the little tube into his palm. “There you go. Have at it.”

Jungkook crooks a sideways grin as Jimin turns away from him, snatching his wrist and twirling him back around. He pulls the other alpha forward to fit between his legs, then moves his hand up to cup his nape as he kisses him.

Jimin does nothing to fight it, sinking into the kiss for the brief moment that it lasts. Then Jungkook lets go of him and smiles again. “Thank you,” he says before setting to work on his knuckles. Jimin just watches him for a moment, then turns and heads for his bathroom.

He returns, much to Jungkook’s surprise, with a roll of bandages. He snatches the tube away from Jungkook and finishes the job, dabbing at the wounds and then wraps up his hands, surprisingly delicate in the way he works.

It reminds Jungkook of the omegas back in his pack that always tended to the wounds of his hunters and fighters. Of course, he would never tell Jimin that. That would probably get his ass kicked. But there’s a nurturing side to Jimin hidden deep down somewhere.

When Jimin finishes, he peers at Jungkook through his lashes, still fidgeting with the bandages to make sure they stay on. Then he lets go, lifting his hand to cup Jungkook’s chin instead. He tilts his head to kiss him, one, twice, then a third, lingering kiss. His lips move slow and fluid, catching Jungkook’s lower lip as he pulls away, then he taps his fingers beneath Jungkook’s chin.

“Stop fighting people, dumbass. You’re gonna start attracting unwanted attention.”

“Says the guy who was about to chase down those fucking alphas and beat them to a pulp.”

Jimin smirks. “Touché,” he says before walking away again. He strips off his shirt as he goes, tossing it aside and collapsing onto his bed. “I was about to fucking sleep before you and your boyfriend showed up.” He reaches over to flick his lamp off. The rooms goes mostly dark, aside from the bathroom light streaming in. “Borrow some clothes.” He rolls over, face buried in his pillow. “And come to bed.”

Jungkook smiles to himself as he moves to Jimin’s dresser, grabbing a pair of sweatpants and changing into them. Jimin stretches out across the bed on his stomach, eyes on Jungkook as he strips down and changes, moving to the bed. He doesn’t circle around to the other side though. Instead, he crawls right over Jimin, straddling him and leaning down to press a kiss to his back.

The older alpha’s eyes flutter shut and he breathes in a soft, shallow breath, almost seeming to be soothed by that simple gesture. He doesn’t speak as Jungkook moves to lie beside him, arm tucked behind his head. Jungkook stares up at the ceiling, listening to Jimin’s steady breaths.

He wonders if Jimin even understands his own feelings about Jungkook, if he knows why it bothers him to see Jungkook with Seokjin. He must have some idea. Jungkook’s almost certain Jimin’s no stranger to feeling this way. He’s not the first alpha Jimin’s fallen for—as much as he dislikes reminding himself of that—so he must realize that there’s something special between them.

“Jimin,” he calls softly, not wanting to disturb him if he’s already fallen asleep. When the other alpha hums, he takes a deep breath. Maybe he shouldn’t ask but he needs to know. Or maybe he just wants to know, more than needs to.

“Who…” He swallows. “Who is Joon?”

Beside him, Jimin shifts and Jungkook turns his head to face him. “Where did you hear that name?”

“From you,” Jungkook says, watching as Jimin’s whole body goes tense. His hands curl into the sheets, half propping himself up as he stares down at Jungkook. “In your sleep the other night.”

“Shit.” He collapses back onto the bed and turns his face away, but Jungkook can see the rigidness of his body, his muscles still taut and hands clinging to the mattress. “Must’ve been having a nightmare. That hasn’t… happened in awhile. Just forget about it. It’s not a big deal.”

“Was he the alpha you were with before me?” Jungkook asks, though he knows he probably shouldn’t pry. He can’t help himself.

“Doesn’t matter.”

“I just wanna know—”

“Jeon, shut the fuck up. I’m not talking about him.”

The venom in Jimin’s voice sets Jungkook on edge. He sits upright, staring down at the back of Jimin’s head. He sighs. “I’m just trying to understand you, Jimin.”

“Well, don’t. I don’t want you to.”

“Why do you want to be hated? You keep pushing people away. You say and do awful things to keep everyone at a distance. When Taehyung and Yoongi got mad at you, you didn’t even try to fix it even though I know you miss them. You just let them be angry. What are you so afraid of?”

Jimin doesn’t answer right away, still lying with his face in his pillow. “I’m not afraid of anything. There’s nothing to be afraid of. Nothing and no one out there can do anything to me that I haven’t done to myself.”

Jungkook reaches out, hand brushing over the other alpha’s back. And then Jimin sits upright too, knocking his hand away and pushing him back.

“Get out,” he snaps, and Jungkook doesn’t miss the shine in his eyes. He’s trying not to cry and all that does is pull Jungkook closer to him, make him crave to hold onto him. When Jungkook reaches out again, Jimin shouts, “Get the fuck out, Jungkook! Get out!”

The younger hesitates, hand still extended toward Jimin, then he lets it drop to his side as he moves from the bed. He hears Jimin sniffle as he gathers his clothes, sees him sitting on the bed, legs almost curled to his chest, arms propped on them, one hand tangled into his own hair as his forehead rests against it.

Jungkook’s heart breaks as he watches Jimin squeeze his eyes shut. He’s hurting, so he lashed out. Jungkook knows he doesn’t mean to hurt him. He knows how it feels to still love someone you’ve lost; the ache that never quite seems to leave.

It feels wrong to leave him like this, but Jimin doesn’t want him here. So grabs his clothes, turning away from the bed. Then he hears a soft, “Wait.” He turns back to see Jimin staring forward, hesitant to meet Jungkook’s eyes. “You don’t— You don’t have to go, Jungkook. I’m sorry. Stay. Stay with me, please.”

He doesn’t have to ask twice. Jungkook drops his clothes to the floor and moves back to the bed, crawling onto it and immediately pulling Jimin into a kiss. Jimin’s hands find a grip on his arms as he lets himself be pulled down, leg thrown over Jungkook to straddle him.

Jungkook holds him close, hands all over him, pressing into all the little spots he knows drives Jimin wild, touching him in all the ways he likes. If he can’t get answers, the least he can do is make up for asking by making Jimin feel good tonight.

He shouldn’t have asked, he knows. As badly as he wants to know, Jimin is in just as much pain from his past as Jungkook, and he deserves to make the choice himself when and if he ever wants to open up to Jungkook about it.

So Jungkook keeps his mouth shut for the rest of the night, save for when it’s on Jimin, kissing its way down his body and sucking bruises onto his skin.

The tension between them melts with the sound of Jimin’s moans and he tries not to be embarrassed by how high and soft they are. But Jungkook’s tongue feels amazing inside of him, and his cock even more so, and he loves it. He wants more. He wants everything Jungkook has to offer. And he wants it for good.

He doesn’t want Jungkook to leave. He doesn’t want him to leave the apartment tonight or in the morning, he doesn’t want Jungkook to get fed up and leave him. He doesn’t want him to leave the city.

So when they finally grow too tired to stay awake, somewhere in the earliest hours of the next morning, Jimin shamelessly clings to Jungkook’s sleeping form.

He hadn’t meant to snap when Jungkook asked about Namjoon, hadn’t meant to lash out and hurt him. Jungkook doesn’t deserve that. But Jimin hasn’t heard that name except in his own head for years.

And Jungkook reminds him too much of Namjoon. So much, in fact, that he feels that may have been the reason he tried convincing himself he hated Jungkook at first.

It hurts too much to compare them, to realize that Jimin has thrown himself into the same dangerous situation he was in with Namjoon and only realized that once he was already in too deep. He’s put Jungkook in the same danger that they were in back then.

What if he loses Jungkook the same way? The chances of them both making it out of this alive are slim. That is if they keep up their little arrangement.

Jimin could leave him, cast Jungkook out and cut him off. It would keep him safer. But he selfishly doesn’t believe himself capable of letting go. He’s far too gone for the younger alpha.

Far, far too gone.

Beside him, Jungkook twitches in his sleep, face scrunching up as if in pain. His breathing grows ragged, chest heaving, and Jimin sits up, moving away from him.

He can tell he’s having a nightmare, but as it goes on it grows more violent, Jungkook thrashing against the bed, sweat clinging to his forehead. He claws at his own arms as if trying to pry something off of them, and he growls, then whimpers, curls in on himself. It’s painful to watch, but Jimin can’t wake him up like this, not without risking getting himself hurt.

Jimin keeps his distance, waiting, gnawing his own lip as he watches. His heart aches as Jungkook takes in shuddering breaths, hands shaking as he slowly calms down, curled almost into the fetal position.

Part of him wonders if he’s dreaming of his pack, of the things they did to him. Jimin is no stranger to trauma nightmares. He’s known plenty of people who have experienced them, witnessed them many times. It’s not uncommon in this world.

Once Jungkook settles almost completely, his breathing mostly normal, Jimin moves back to him. He sidles up behind him on his side, arm draping over his waist, and he whispers Jungkook’s name in his ear.

Jungkook stirs, but just barely, and Jimin plants a kiss to the back of his neck.

“I’ve got you,” he promises, fingers brushing over Jungkook’s stomach, drawing slow patterns. “I’m right here, Jungkook.”

He feels the other alpha relax into his hold, so he squeezes him a little tighter.

“It’s okay. I’ve got you,” he whispers again. “You’re here with me. You’re not there anymore. I’ve got you.”

 

-α-

 

Jimin sighs, hand pushing his hair back as he knocks on the door. He had left his place early, leaving Jungkook to get a little more rest. Neither of them slept well, considering how many times Jungkook woke up throughout the night, thrashing, terrified, that attack from those alphas triggering a series of nightmares in him.

He’s tired, dark circles under his eyes, but he needs to do this. What Jungkook said last night unfortunately rang true—about him pushing people away, not trying to fix the problem when his friends became angry with him—and he needs to fix it. For once in his life, he needs to fix something instead of running away.

Inside, he can hear voices, hushed and frantic, and someone shushes them when he knocks. Jimin tenses, stepping back from the door. He glances up and down the hallway, making sure he hadn’t somehow gotten the wrong door.

The door swings open and there’s Taehyung. He exhales, looking relieved as he waves Jimin in. “Get in here.”

Jimin lets himself be pulled inside, the door slamming shut behind him. “Taehyung, what’s going on—”

“Come here.”

Taehyung pulls him into the living room and Jimin stops in his tracks, head cocking to one side as his gaze lands on a wide-eyed Hoseok, his clothes dirty and a bit ragged. He stands when he sees Jimin, a smile on his face.

“Hoseok,” Jimin says as the omega launches forward, throwing his arms around Jimin. “Are you okay? When did you get back?” He gives Hoseok a tight squeeze, then grabs him by the shoulders, pushing him back to look over him, checking for any signs that he’s hurt.

“I’m fine. I’m fine, I just got back a couple hours ago.”

He’s beaming as he stares back at Jimin with big, hopeful eyes.

“You’re not gonna believe what I found out there.”

Chapter Text

 

The room reeks of sex and alpha pheromones left over from the night before, hanging heavy in the air as Jimin makes yet another attempt to climb out of bed. Every time, Jungkook pulls him back, telling him to stay in bed, kissing him to make him forget everything else he has to do today. If he could stay, Jimin absolutely would, just to enjoy lazy kisses from Jungkook if nothing else.

In the weeks since Jimin’s rut they’ve stopped making up excuses to see each other, stopped acting as if this all just some sort of arrangement, oftentimes meeting up before or after work, one of them staying the night at the other’s apartment without complaint now. It’s unspoken, but they both know this has evolved into something else. Jimin just isn’t sure what it is yet.

“I gotta get to work,” Jimin mumbles against Jungkook’s lips. “Yoongi’s gonna kill me if I’m late again.”

He smiles when Jungkook smiles. It’s a sight he’s grown to appreciate, a sight he likes to be the reason for. He had tried telling himself his change in heart was all to do with his rut. The fact that he gets clingy during ruts wasn’t a lie, but ever since then he’s felt the need to keep Jungkook close at all times.

Even after Jungkook mentioned Namjoon he couldn’t bring himself to send Jungkook away. He had been so close, he almost succeeded, but the moment he saw Jungkook actually walking away he couldn’t do it.

“Aren’t you already late?” Jungkook asks, and Jimin plants his hands against his chest to push up and away from him.

“Little bit,” Jimin says as he hops off the bed and grabs his (actually Jungkook’s) shirt. “But not as late as I have been lately so he’ll be happy… ish.”

Jungkook chuckles, moving to sit on the edge of the bed, shameless and naked in front of Jimin, who tries his best to keep his mind off of everything he would do to Jungkook today if he could stay. “We’re sharing clothes now, too?”

Jimin shrugs, grinning over at the other alpha as he tugs the shirt on, a pair of Jungkook’s jeans following. They’re just a tad longer than Jimin’s so he lets them bunch up around his shoes. “We’re not,” he says, “but I forgot to bring anything with me.”

“Probably because you weren’t planning on staying,” Jungkook shoots back, face unreadable as he watches Jimin fiddle with his hair, trying to make it somewhat presentable. He doesn’t have time to shower. “You never do.”

Jimin looks over at him again, brows furrowing.

“Plan on staying,” Jungkook clarifies, then shrugs. “But you do anyway.”

“Your apartment is warmer than mine,” is Jimin’s sorry excuse, but he plays it off well with a snide smirk. He knows damn well that Jungkook doesn’t believe him, and Jimin doesn’t care enough to try convincing him anymore. “Or maybe it’s just you that keeps me warmer, alpha.”

Jimin turns away, grabbing his clothes from last night as Jungkook pulls on a pair of sweats. He hears the other approaching him, bare feet padding across the floor. “Alpha?” he asks as his hands slide around Jimin’s waist and spin him around. “Not wolf boy or tree boy or little alpha? Just… alpha. Almost sounds like you’re calling me your alpha.”

Jimin stares back at Jungkook, jaw taut, and tries not to show how shaken he feels. He hadn’t meant to say that. Addressing Jungkook that way, as if he’s somehow above him, the way he might address Jungkook if Jimin was his omega or something. They’ve both been making more and more mistakes like this and it’s terrifying. Jimin knows what happens to pairs like them.

But instead of hiding his fear with anger like he so often does, instead of pushing Jungkook away or spatting some scathing remark at him, Jimin just reaches up, encircling his throat with his hand. “You are my alpha,” he says, leaning in to graze his teeth over Jungkook’s mating gland. “Mine.”

He steps back, leaving Jungkook frozen in place. His tongue darts out over his lips as he heads for the door, walking backwards to keep his eyes on Jungkook. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Or tonight.”

Jimin grins, then reaches over to grab a backpack from beside the coat rack. “I’m stealing this, by the way,” he says, shoving last night’s clothes in it and slinging it over his shoulder. “For now.”

“I think that’s called borrowing,” Jungkook says with a laugh, moving to lean back against the liquor cabinet.

“Maybe. But I might not return it, so…” Another shrug from Jimin and then he’s out the door, letting it click shut behind him without another word. He takes a deep breath of cool air, hesitating on the top step for a long moment before he starts toward the garage.

He knows better than to do this again. Involving himself with another alpha is just asking for heartbreak, especially a sterile one. If anyone finds out about them—well, Jimin will be fine, but Jungkook… They’ll do the same to him as they did to Namjoon.

Jimin rushes across the street just before a bus zooms by behind him, a puddle of oil and water splashing up. He barely manages to get out of the way of in time to spare Jungkook’s clothes. He sighs, staring at the road, muddy and worn down. They’ll have to set up another crew to fix it up again soon. He hopes he doesn’t have to do it as part of his community service. It sucked the last time he had to.

Spinning on his heel, Jimin searches his brain for his next distraction, trying to keep his mind off of his and Jungkook’s inevitable end. He had meant to keep his distance, to cut it off before they got to this point, before he started to care. But the heart is a cruel thing and he was too late to stop the foolish warpath it’s taken itself on.

And the world around him, without a doubt, is even more cruel. That’s proven the moment he reaches the garage, his eyes landing on a petite beta standing outside the front door, scribbling something on a clipboard.

He would recognize the scarlet scarf of a matchmaker anywhere.

Maybe he’s here for someone else, maybe he’s here for Yoongi—not that that would be much better—or maybe it’s nothing. There are plenty of single alphas that work here or nearby. Jimin hasn’t been visited by a matchmaker in ages, but he can’t decide if that means he should or shouldn’t be expecting a visit soon.

He walks toward the man, slow at first, watching him like he’s some kind of predator that might pounce and slaughter him if he notices, then he speeds up and rushes for the door.

“Ah! There you are!”

Jimin flinches away from the chipper voice. He hates matchmakers. He hates them.

“Park Jimin, correct?”

He shakes his head. “Nope. You got the wrong alpha,” he says, pulling the door open.

“Perks of my job is that I have files,” the beta says. He waves his clipboard with a cheesy grin. “I know your face. I’ve seen your picture. I’m Dongha.” He holds out his hand, which Jimin just sneers down at until he retracts it. “It says in your file you are still unmated so I’m here to check if you would like assistance in finding a mate. After all, you have just a few short years before you’re assigned one. Wouldn’t you rather have the time to choose one yourself?”

“Not really, no,” Jimin says. He lets the door fall shut.

Dongha blinks as if taken aback by Jimin’s words, like he just can’t believe someone out here actually doesn’t care to have a mate. “Oh. Are you… already seeing someone, perhaps? If so, you can report that to me and matchmakers will no longer visit—”

“Since when did matchmakers start making housecalls?” Jimin asks, arms crossing over his chest. He frowns down at the shorter man, eyes narrowing. “You used to send out summons for us to come to you and report.”

“Yes, well, many weren’t following protocol so we started checking in,” Dongha says, still overly cheerful. Jimin wants so deeply to hurl on his shoes. “And this isn’t really a housecall. After all, you weren’t home when I tried to visit you last night or this morning.”

Jimin can feel his eye twitch. His jaw tenses and he tries to hide the deep breath he has to take to stay calm. “I was at a friend’s,” he says, which is only a partial lie. Jungkook is so much more than that to him now, but he cannot let this man know that. “We were hanging out and I didn’t realize it was past curfew once I was ready to leave, so I stayed the night.”

With a smile, Dongha says, “We always appreciate an alpha that abides by the laws for once.”

Jimin gives him an unamused glare and the beta’s smile falters for the briefest second.

“You said you weren’t seeing anyone,” Dongha continues, and Jimin’s heart skips. “But I recognize that look in your eye. Where did you meet them?”

“There is no one,” Jimin snaps, a dangerous growl rumbling behind his words. “I’m already late to work, though, so I think you should go. Thanks.”

Dongha chuckles, a high-pitched, grating sound. “No need to get angry over it. If you’re too shy to talk about—”

Jimin steps forward, his face inches away from the matchmaker’s. That shuts him up, his smile vanishing, eyes going wide. “This is me when I’m calm,” he threatens, “you don’t want to see me when I’m angry. Now, write in your little report there that Park Jimin doesn’t want another a matchmaker visit ever again.”

“But we have to—”

“Or I will chain the next matchmaker up, drag them out of the city, and throw them to the first pack I find. Do you hear me? No more visits.”

“N-Now, Mr. Park,” Dongha says, Jimin grinding his teeth as he stares down at him. This guy just won’t give up. “The city can’t make an exception just for one alpha. Especially considering your history…”

Jimin’s skin goes cold, icy fingers closing around his heart. He swallows. “My… history?”

“It’s in your file, of course,” Dongha continues, a waver in his voice. He’s clearly terrified, yet still dedicated to his stupid, stupid fucking job. “About that alpha, the sterile one, that caused such a ruckus. We just want to make sure that something like that doesn’t happen again. A fine alpha, such as yourself, would be wasted on someone like Kim Namjoon—”

His words cut short when Jimin presses forward, slamming Dongha’s back against the wall behind. “Don’t you fucking dare say his name. You have no fucking right.” His hands hold tight in the front of the matchmaker’s shirt, Dongha staring down at them with wide eyes, shaking when Jimin shoves him back harder. “You’re lucky we’re in the middle of the street right now or I’d kill you for talking about him like that,” Jimin growls, then he releases the matchmaker and steps back. “Get the fuck out of here. And stay away from me for good from now on.”

Dongha nods, practically shaking in his boots as he stumbles away from Jimin. “Yes— Yes, sir. No more visits. I’ll f-file you as mated. No more visits. So sorry.”

Jimin gives one last snarl for good measure, sending the beta running for the street. He waits, arms still crossed, until the man is out of sight, then he glances back at the garage.

He’s shaking, hands clenched to try steadying them. Hopefully Yoongi won’t be too angry at him but he can’t work like this. His mind races, fear creeping into him, clawing at his heart and wrapping it up in its ugly claws.

Jimin rushes back across the street, splashing through puddles as he runs at breakneck speed. He takes the steps two at a time and crashes against the door, cursing when he finds it locked. His fist hits it over and over again as tears struggle their way up to his eyes.

His mind jumps to every terrible conclusion possible; maybe they already figured out where he was last night, maybe they already found Jungkook, maybe they already took him. Maybe he’s gone just like Namjoon. Maybe Jimin got him killed. Just. Like. Namjoon.

The door flies open to reveal a puzzled Jungkook, and Jimin almost sobs in relief, throwing himself against the other alpha. He collects himself fast as he can, pushing Jungkook back and slamming the door shut. His breaths come in ragged gasps and he knows he’s panicking for no reason but he can’t help himself. This feels too much like history is about to repeat itself.

“They know about us,” he gasps out as Jungkook takes hold of his shoulders, thumb brushing soothingly over his collarbone. The words pour out of him so fast he’s not sure if Jungkook even hears them, but he can’t help himself. He’s terrified. “Or they will soon. They’re asking questions about if I’m mated or not and I freaked out and threatened the matchmaker. Jungkook…”

He turns his gaze from the floor to Jungkook, eyes wide, chest heaving. “Jungkook, they’re gonna start asking more questions. I panicked. He’s gonna come after me again because I— I should’ve just kept my mouth shut. If anything happens to you now it’ll be my fault—”

“Whoa, whoa, Jimin.” Jungkook squeezes his shoulders. “Calm down. Whatever happened, I’m sure it’s not as bad as you think. Just… slow down. Tell me exactly what happened.”

“What happened exactly doesn’t matter. What matters is that you do not understand how dangerous this is, Jungkook. If they find out about us— If they find out you—” Jimin takes in a deep breath. “I’m not sterile, Jungkook, so they have use for me. They won’t hurt me but if they find out about us, they will kill you. They’ll kill you just like they killed Namjoon. I can’t— I can’t let that happen, Jungkook. They can’t find out—”

“Jimin…” Jungkook stares at him, starry eyes swimming with worry and concern, maybe even a little sadness. “Namjoon? That’s what happened to him? The matchmakers found out and…”

“They had him executed,” Jimin chokes out. He cups Jungkook’s face in his hands. “He was a sterile alpha just like you, allowed to be here as long he worked for the community. But once they found out about me and him… Jungkook, it’s too dangerous for us to keep doing this.”

Jungkook suddenly gets a stubborn set to his jaw as he shakes his head. “I don’t care.”

“Jungkook—”

“There’s no way I’m giving this up just because they might find out.”

Jimin breathes in deep, then holds his breath. They could be together. After what Hoseok found outside the city, they could be. But is he willing to give up everything else to be with Jungkook? Is that really what he wants?

The younger alpha leans in, pulling Jimin into a lingering kiss, every subtle movement of those soft lips slowing down the rapid pace of of Jimin’s heart. He keeps his lips close enough to brush against Jimin when he speaks again. “Fuck whatever danger they pose to me. You’re worth it.”

“Don’t,” Jimin exhales against his lips, “don’t say that. You are not risking your life just for a good fuck.” He pushes against Jungkook’s chest, pushes him back. When he meets Jungkook’s eyes again, he puts on his poker face. He can’t let Jungkook know he’s lying. “I won’t let you. That’s all we were, all we’d ever be. Don’t risk everything for—”

“That’s not true.” Jungkook shakes his head, stepping forward again, Jimin moving away from him. His back hits the door and Jungkook’s hands slam against it on either side of him, but Jimin doesn’t stand down. “That’s not true, and you know it. That’s not what we are anymore. Don’t pretend like you don’t feel it too.”

Jimin grinds his teeth together. “I don’t. I don’t feel anything for you. I don’t—”

“You can’t block me out like that,” Jungkook interrupts, caging Jimin where he stands. “I know you feel the same. Just admit it. Be honest with yourself for once, Jimin. Stop fighting it.”

Jimin meets Jungkook’s eyes with the same intensity in the taller alpha’s gaze, determined to win this, adamant in making Jungkook understand that this can’t continue, no matter how much they both want it. Jimin would rather be without Jungkook than see him get hurt because he selfishly chose to stay with him.

He shakes his head, mouth opening to protest once more, but Jungkook’s lips silence him.

And he’s lost.

Jimin is lost to the desires of his own heart, his hands moving of their own free will to grasp at Jungkook’s arms, thumbs digging into his biceps. He feels strong arms lock around his waist, pulling him toward the bed, feeling the warm air of the apartment hit his skin as their clothes are torn from their bodies and discarded.

As much as he wishes he could say he doesn’t absolutely need this, wishes that he could just walk away, he thinks if he really did leave his heart might shatter. Just like the day Namjoon was taken from him, leaving Jungkook behind even by choice would hurt too much.

So he clings to the younger alpha, holding him close and reminding himself why he can’t let go by burying himself inside him. He drowns himself and his worries in the warmth of Jungkook surrounding him, swallowing him up and dragging him deeper into the strange, confusing love he feels for him.

He hears himself as he attacks Jungkook’s neck with his teeth, marking every bit of him but the area just around his mating gland, hears himself chanting Jungkook’s name. Hears himself mumbling through his haze of lust and pleasure, hears himself murmuring praises in the other alpha’s ear.

He tells Jungkook how good it feels to fuck him. He tells him he doesn’t want anything but this. He doesn’t want to mate with anyone. He just wants this. Wants Jungkook. Just him and no one else.

Wants him now, maybe even forever.

 

Jimin finds it impossible to relax, having to fidget with anything he can reach as Jungkook sleeps beside him. He knows he should be at work right now, that Yoongi’s probably disappointed and frustrated that he hasn’t shown up yet. But he will. He’ll go soon.

That’s what he keeps telling himself, anyway. Every time he thinks of leaving Jungkook’s side, he panics. If he leaves, will he ever see him again? If he goes off to work and Jungkook goes to help Taehyung in the bar this evening, will that matchmaker report them and take Jungkook away?

It’s ridiculous to be so terrified, he knows. That matchmaker knows nothing about Jungkook, but he does know Jimin’s history. If they decide there’s any risk that Jimin is breaking any laws they will investigate. And they will find out. They always do.

Jimin turns onto his side, watching Jungkook as he sleeps. He hadn’t slept well the night before, so Jimin’s glad he’s resting now. Nightmares. He’s been having them more than he used to, and it hurts that there’s really nothing Jimin can do but wait for them to pass. Trying to hold Jungkook through them or wake him puts Jimin at risk of being attacked if Jungkook doesn’t realize that it’s just him. He seems at peace right now, so Jimin reaches out, drawing lines over Jungkook’s face with his fingers.

Jungkook truly is breathtaking, which Jimin always noticed about him but refused to admit. He didn’t want to see it, didn’t want to admit it or feel even lust toward the younger alpha. That’s how it always starts; lust. Maybe some people can keep it that way, but Jimin isn’t that strong. He should have known he would fall eventually.

As he slides his thumb along Jungkook’s jawline, the corners of Jungkook’s lips tip up in a smile. Jimin yanks his hand away like Jungkook is on fire, earning a quiet chuckle from him.

“Careful now,” Jungkook murmurs, eyes easing open to look over at Jimin, who curls his hand against his own chest as if that will somehow keep him from touching Jungkook again. “You’re getting a little too fond there.”

Jimin scoffs, a slight grin slipping onto his face as he rolls his eyes at Jungkook. He supposes he deserves that after all the times he teased and accused Jungkook of being too fond or falling in love with him. Maybe he was always saying that because he secretly hoped Jungkook would start to feel something for him.

“Do you need to leave?” Jungkook asks, rolling over to face Jimin. “If you go soon Yoongi might not totally hate you.”

With a laugh, Jimin settles back against his pillows again. He shrugs. “He’ll survive without me a little longer.”

He feels a hand curl around his own, fingers slowly working their way between his to lace them together. Jimin takes in a deep breath as he stares down at them, at Jungkook’s slightly larger hand engulfing his own, softer than anyone might expect from someone like him, especially considering his history. Jimin gives his hand a gentle squeeze, his heart clenching along with it.

“I’ll be okay, you know.”

Jimin purses his lips together, then glances over at Jungkook. “The fuck are you on about?” he asks, pulling his hand away from Jungkook. He knows what Jungkook means, he just doesn’t want to believe that his fear is so plain for Jungkook to see. He hates being vulnerable. Fucking hates it.

“Jimin.”

The soft pull of Jungkook’s voice has Jimin stopping before he can even crawl out of bed. He turns back, hesitant at first, his eyes meeting Jungkook’s again. “What?”

“Don’t keep doing this,” Jungkook says, fingers trailing along Jimin’s arm now. Jimin doesn’t have the strength to pull away from him this time, or the desire to. “Don’t keep pushing me away. For once, just… let me in. I know how exhausting it is, keeping your guard up all the time.”

Jimin sighs, sinking back into the mattress and closing his eyes. It is. It is exhausting. He’s tired, and Jungkook’s hands feel nice trailing over him, so he relaxes. He stays.

“Do you wanna tell me about him?”

He goes rigid under Jungkook’s touch, eyes flying open to stare up at the ceiling.

“That’s why you’re worried, right? Because they took him from you and you’re afraid the same will happen to me if you leave.

“That’s not—”

“Jimin…”

Jimin sighs, glancing down at Jungkook’s hand as it trails up his stomach. He reaches out, resting his hand over Jungkook’s, hesitant once again as he laces their fingers together. Maybe it’s a mistake, maybe he’s about to get them both killed, but he can’t help himself and he hates that.

“Tell me about him, Jimin,” Jungkook says as he pulls his hand close, pressing a kiss to the back of it, and Jimin turns his head to look at him as he does. “I want to understand you. Let me, please.”

Jungkook’s eyes hold nothing but honesty and kindness, soft as he stares back at Jimin. It nearly pulls the words from Jimin before he even realizes it, but he purses his lips and holds them back.

He’s never told anyone about Namjoon. He was always his big secret, only mentioning him in passing as a hookup, despite him being so much more than that, and he never mentioned him by name. Jimin hardly even lets himself think about him anymore, tried pretending like that part of his life never happened. It didn’t take long for him to learn that that’s impossible.

And with Jungkook staring at him like this, big eyes sparkling up at him, so pure and seemingly innocent despite the pain and suffering of his own past, Jimin can’t stop the memories from flooding in.

“I met him… during community service fixing up a damaged road,” he says, his voice barely audible, but Jungkook listens. He sits upright, attentive, holding Jimin’s hand with both of his now. “It was hot out and the alpha in charge of our crew didn’t like—” Jimin takes in a deep breath. It’s hard to say his name when he’s not in a panic, when he really thinks about it. “Namjoon. He didn’t like Namjoon.”

With an encouraging squeeze of his hand from Jungkook, Jimin suddenly can’t hold back. He scoots back to lean against the headboard, Jungkook following him, and stares down at his lap. He can’t look at Jungkook while he talks about this. He just can’t. He’s never told anyone about this before.

“The guy had a problem with him because Namjoon was always very open in his opposition of the government and their laws. Well, not so much the laws themselves, but how they enforce them. He understood why they had laws about who could mate who but… their aggression, their violence toward people who broke those laws… that’s what he didn’t like.” Swallowing hard, Jimin summons his voice up, forcing it to work, to be louder. “So when Namjoon ran out of water while we were working, that son of a bitch refused to give him anymore, saying he shouldn’t have drank his so fast. It was ridiculous, we had all gotten refills by then but he just didn’t wanna give one to Namjoon because… I don’t know. City alpha mentality, I guess.”

Jimin shakes his head, eyes rolling at the memory of that stupid, pompous alpha and his smug grin when Namjoon had walked away.

“Anyway, I approached him and let him drink some of mine. He thanked me and he was so genuine about it… So kind, promising to do something for me in return even though it was just a stupid drink of water. Everyone in this city is so arrogant, self-centered, especially alphas. He was so different and I was just so… intrigued, I guess. So we started talking while we worked, then he asked if I wanted to get a drink with him afterward.”

He actually smiles, remembering the way Namjoon so confidently asked him, then immediately backed down when Jimin hesitated to answer, worried he had somehow bothered Jimin.

Jimin closes his eyes, biting his lip. His hands feel weak, trembling just slightly in Jungkook’s. He feels something like relief, finally talking about this, but then guilt creeps in, like he’s betraying Namjoon by sharing this about him. Their relationship was a well-kept secret, their little secret and only theirs, something they promised to hold onto no matter what. It’s long over and gone now, but some part of Jimin still feels as though he’s meant to keep it to himself.

“Hey,” Jungkook calls softly, pulling Jimin’s attention to him, their eyes finally meeting. “If it’s too hard to talk about, you can stop. You tried and that’s… that’s enough for me.”

“No.” Jimin shakes his head, looking down at his lap again. “I— I need to do this.” He takes a deep breath again, exhales, then clasps onto Jungkook’s hand as he continues. “I don’t know what it was about him. Even now I can’t put it into words. We just clicked in so many ways. I never liked the idea that someday I would have to find a mate. I was never particularly interested in that life—settling down with a family, raising kids, all that bullshit. Everyone always said it was because I was so young, that I’d change my mind someday. Maybe they’re right but… I don’t know. That’s not what I wanted. I wanted freedom, and Namjoon was nothing but freedom.

“He encouraged me to follow my own heart rather than law. I think… at first, the way I felt about him was more like hero worship than anything else. I admired him so much, spent every second I could following him around like a puppy. And then one night we were sitting on top of this old building, watching the stars, but I was watching him… and something clicked. I realized that maybe what I was feeling was something more and I confessed right then and there.

“At first, he was hesitant. I think he knew the risks better than I did and he didn’t want to put me in that position. I was stupid and naive so I didn’t care, kept trying to convince him to give me a chance but he wouldn’t. We stopped talking for awhile—my fault because I was so upset at being rejected—and I locked myself in my apartment for days. Eventually he came by to see me and I let him in but… I was in my rut, kept clawing at him and begging him to help because it hurt so bad. I was inexperienced and, again, stupid, so I hadn’t prepared for my rut at all, didn’t have anything to help.”

Jimin pauses to take another deep breath, feeling tears trying to spill forward. He blinks them back.

“He told me he could help and, again, I was stupid so I didn’t understand until he kissed me. That was the first time I ever fucked someone through my rut—I had hooked up with people before but not for that purpose… and not with those kinds of feelings involved. He stayed with me the whole time, until I started to think clearly again, and then the guilt set in. I thought I had pushed him into doing something he didn’t want to, that he just did it out of pity. But that’s when he confessed too… and that’s how it started, how Namjoon and I became us, rather than just two people hanging around with each other.

“It was perfect for a long time. As perfect as it could be. I mean, we had our problems and our fights, of course. But we were happy. We were careful, quiet, hidden, but happy.” Jimin pauses, licks his lips. This is where it all goes downhill. Just thinking about it hurts, his heart aching. He feels as though someone has reached into his chest to crush his heart with their bare hands, clutching it tighter and tighter with every word that leaves him. “Namjoon… was unapologetically outspoken toward the government, and so they started keeping a closer eye on him. Even to this day I don’t know who did it but… someone found out about us and reported it.

“That was… two years after we had been together. We never mated because it was too much risk. Having watched the close calls Taehyung and Yoongi always had, how many times they were almost found out, I knew we couldn’t risk the same, no matter how much I wanted it. Even if we decided to, we never would have had the chance. Whoever reported us must have been a neighbor or something. They knew exactly when to come, when he would be there with me. These… government officials and a matchmaker showed up. And they dragged Namjoon out right in front of me and I couldn’t help. I couldn’t do anything but scream at them, try to make them let go, but they wouldn’t budge.

“I just watched as they beat him and took him, and he just looked at me and told me not to fight, not to come after him, because he would rather he be the one being hurt as long as I was safe. I couldn’t save him. That was the last time I saw him before I heard he had been executed... For inciting rebellion.” Jimin scoffs, head shaking as he feels tears burn at the edge of his eyelids. He wipes them away before they can fall. “Like he was raising an army or something, rather than just encouraging people to follow their hearts… For following his.”

Jungkook holds his hand tighter, and this time Jimin returns the gesture, glad to have something here to ground him. It’s a reminder that despite all that he’s lost, not everything he cares about is gone, he doesn’t have to lose everything.

“The punishment isn’t usually death,” Jimin says, and once again he can’t meet Jungkook’s gaze, but Jungkook’s never sways from him. “But because he was sterile they had no use for him. So they killed him to teach me a lesson. And then they took me. Usually mating someone of your own status earns you one kind of punishment: you get thrown into a room with someone you’re meant to mate, usually while they’re in their heat or rut or whatever, and you’re left there with them until one of you mates the other.”

He can feel Jungkook shift, feel his hand tighten further, and finally he looks at Jungkook again. He looks sick, eyes shining, lips parted like he wants to speak but he can’t. He’s frozen, watching Jimin with such heartbreak in his eyes that it hurts just to see it.

“The matchmaker that had come with them to take Namjoon told me he had talked them out of doing it since I technically hadn’t formed a mate bond with Namjoon. He said depending on how our interview went, he may still let them take me but he wanted to be sure whether or not I would do something like this again. He also said if I wanted them to lock me away with some omega in order to… “cure my fixation on Namjoon” then they could.”

Jimin bites his lower lip, choking down more tears as Jungkook lets them flow freely, leaving wet lines down his cheeks. Jungkook cries for him and something about that hurts more than crying himself.

“I told him one thing, and one thing only before he let me go. I promised that if he ever tried forcing me into mating anyone, if he ever locked me a room with an omega, I promised I’d find him. I promised I would find him and I would do worse than what they did to Namjoon. I promised to hurt him, but not kill him, leave him just damaged enough that he would never forget me. Because if I can never forget Namjoon, that motherfucker sure as hell doesn’t deserve to live in peace either.”

Jimin closes his eyes, keeps them shut tight. And he still doesn’t cry. He refuses to cry.

“And I guess he believed me. He let me go. But that… That’s why I panicked when that other matchmaker approached me before. Because if they find out about you, Jungkook…” He forces his eyes back up, forces himself to look at Jungkook, though the pain in Jungkook’s eyes is almost unbearable. “Jungkook, they will kill you. And I can’t let that happen. Not again.”

One of Jungkook’s hands leaves his, rising to caress the side of his face, and it’s so gentle, so tender, that Jimin almost feels calm despite the turmoil inside of him. He feels tears finally spring forward just as Jungkook leans in to press his forehead to Jimin’s temple, so he thankfully thinks Jungkook doesn’t see them.

“How do you do it, Jungkook?” he asks, barely whispering the words, his skin tingling where Jungkook’s thumb brushes against it. “Even after all this time it… it’s hard to even think about him. And I just… I hate myself whenever I do. How are you so calm when you talk about her? How do you… remember all of that and not let it change you?”

There’s a deep breath from Jungkook, then he rests his head on Jimin’s shoulder, still stroking his cheek as he speaks. “I try to remember her before that night and drown out the thoughts of how I lost her,” he says, voice almost as quiet and weak as Jimin’s right now.

Jimin turns his head, a temptation to kiss the top of Jungkook’s hair tugging at him. He resists.

“I was delirious the entire time from everything they did to me so…the memories are there but they’re kind of a blur. As wrong as it sounds, sometimes I have to pretend like it never happened, let the memories remain a blur so I don’t have to relive it all. I keep it buried down as deep as I can.” His hand stills on Jimin’s cheek, then slides down to cup his neck, and he leans back to look up at Jimin again. “I’m afraid that if I let myself think about it too much, I’ll break. But you know how that feels already, don’t you?”

Jimin doesn’t respond, doesn’t even know what to say. There isn’t much to say. He does understand. It’s how he’s coped with losing Namjoon too, he had just hoped Jungkook somehow found a way to lessen the pain that doesn’t make it hurt worse when it all finally boils to the surface. But he supposes no one in this world really knows how to cope with anything anymore, so he shouldn’t be surprised that they’ve both fallen into the same tangled patterns.

He reaches up, holding the hand that rests against his neck. He takes one more deep breath, bracing himself before he says another word. He’s not good at expressing himself and he doesn’t know what to expect. He’s terrified.

“Whatever happens, Jungkook, I’m not letting anyone hurt you the way they hurt Namjoon. I can’t. I can’t let anything happen to you.” He turns, holding either side of Jungkook’s face to tip it up and press their foreheads together. “Not to you. Never— Never to you. You… you…”

Mean too much to me now, is what he wants to say. But it’s too much, far to akin to a confession, and he can’t. As much as he wants to throw caution to the wind for Jungkook, to sink ever deeper into this mess they’ve made, he can’t. He knows better, knows that someday it may be that the only way to protect Jungkook is to let him go.

So he won’t push this any farther, won’t make it any worse for them if it comes to an end. Because it will. One way or another, it will end, and he’ll never see Jungkook again.

That’s just how it is for people like them.

 

-α-

 

Jungkook only had a moment to let everything Jimin told him sink in, having to rush off to help Taehyung in the bar just a short time later. It was too much to process in such a short span of time, too much to take in. He always knew something in Jimin’s past made him the way he is, but he never would have guessed that.

Jimin’s scars may not be visible like Jungkook’s, but they’re still painful, still weigh heavily on his heart. The memory of Namjoon haunts him, the fear that he had failed him. But he hadn’t. None of it is Jimin’s fault. He lost someone he loved simply because he loved them. No one can be blamed for that except the people who took Namjoon from him.

It’s impossible to focus on work at the bar when all he can think about is Jimin and that matchmaker and Namjoon and what’s going to happen to them if they keep this up. He wasn’t lying when he said Jimin is worth it, but Jimin also isn’t wrong that it’s dangerous, especially now that Jungkook understands.

The blank file in the public directory is certainly Namjoon, the third known sterile alpha in the city. Everything about him was erased after he was executed, like he never even existed. They took away his identity, leaving nothing but the knowledge of a sterile alpha who wasn’t important enough to be remembered by anyone but Jimin. They erased him. Like he meant nothing.

That could be Jungkook next. He understands why Jimin’s afraid.

He sighs, shoving a box of pills to one side of the shelves in their storage room, where they do all their black market deals. The bar up front isn’t busy enough to need both him and Taehyung, so he decided his best distraction was to reorganize. In the end that just gave him more time to over think everything.

The door out front opens and Jungkook can hear Hoseok and Taehyung talking, hears his own name mentioned a few times. He smiles—Hoseok coming back has taken an enormous weight off of everyone, though he’s mostly been keeping to himself to avoid questions from those who noticed his sudden absence from the bar. Jungkook’s not certain of his reason for the secrecy, he hasn’t had much of a chance to talk to him until now.

Jungkook wanders out of the back room, towards the counter where the beta and omega lean, voices low as they talk.

“Hey,” Hoseok says, shooting Jungkook a nod. His bottom lip is split and swollen, his right eye circled in black.

“The hell happened to you?” Jungkook asks, tensing as he nears the omega. “Are you okay?”

Hoseok nods. “Yeah, some asshole punched me last night because I wouldn’t give him a discount on some shit he wanted to buy off the market. No biggie. I clocked him and threw him out.”

“Let me guess, another one of those kid alphas that think they can do whatever they want,” Jungkook says, head shaking. He leans beside Hoseok, giving him one more glance before turning to Taehyung. “This place is getting out of control. You said they used to have military patrolling all the streets, right? Not just watching the outskirts of the city?”

Taehyung nods. “Yeah, they stopped doing that a couple years before you came here. But I think they might start it up again if people don’t stop fighting on the streets and breaking curfew. People are getting restless, alphas are thinking they somehow have the right to just take over and run the show.”

“It’s gonna get worse before it gets better,” says Hoseok, picking at the sleeve of his shirt. “That’s why I keep saying we all need to get out of here. Me, you two, Yoongi, Jimin, Seokjin. None of us know how to conform, we just don’t follow along. We’re better off not being here.”

“Where are we supposed to go?” Jungkook asks as he runs his fingers through his hair, lifting a brow at Hoseok. “Running off and joining a pack isn’t necessarily the answer. Clearly they don’t always work out for the best. Another city will just be the exact same thing—”

“That town I found,” says Hoseok with a shrug. “I’m already planning on going back, I just want you all to agree to go with me first.”

Jungkook blinks as he tries to absorb what Hoseok’s saying. He stares at the omega, puzzlement decorating his face. “What? What are you talking about?”

The other two glance at each other, then stare at Jungkook. “Jimin didn’t tell you?” Hoseok asks.

“Tell me what?”

“We assumed he would have told you, since you two are…” Taehyung licks his lips, avoiding Jungkook’s eyes as he speaks. “I thought he would tell you because it would mean you two could be together if you both left.”

Jungkook inhales, teeth clamping onto his lips as he presses them into a line. “What town?

Hoseok glances at Taehyung again, then back to Jungkook. “When I was gone… I found this town. There were all these people living there and they had a system, like, their own little government. But they’re not like the cities. They have freedom, like packs, but… not like packs. And they don’t have laws about mating. There were mates who were two omegas or two betas or…” He gives Jungkook a pointed look. “Two alphas. I can’t believe he didn’t tell you.”

All three fall silent for a moment, Jungkook staring down at his hands, his head heavy with questions. Then Taehyung reaches across the counter, touching Jungkook’s wrist. “I’m sure he had a good reason.”

“It’s fine,” Jungkook says, pushing away from the counter. “Do you need kegs for tonight?”

“No, I’m feeling better enough to take care of that myself now.”

“Cash for the register?”

Taehyung shakes his head. “No, I’m totally ready to open for the night.”

“Alright, I’m just… I’m gonna go back to… organizing. I need—”

“A distraction. I get it.” Taehyung glances at Hoseok, back to Jungkook. He tries to smile but they both know what’s going through Jungkook’s mind. He hides it but they know he’s hurting.

Jungkook leaves them with another attempt at a smile, heading for the back room and dropping onto one of the chairs. He knows Jimin has a reason, but he can’t understand what it could be. Jimin wants to be with him, that much Jungkook knows, and the only thing keeping them apart are laws. They could leave. They could go to that town and be together but Jimin chose to keep that from him.

He needs to talk to him, to understand why. He can’t understand. They have a chance. A real chance. Why would Jimin just throw that away?

 

-α-

 

Jimin sighs into his pillow, head pounding with an ache that just won’t leave him be. It had started with the scolding he got from Yoongi when he showed up to work hours late. He felt like a child being punished by a very, very angry parent. There wasn’t much he could do but stand there and listen to it. He can’t explain what happened. Quite frankly, he doesn’t want to talk about it. Or even think about it.

He just wants to sleep the rest of the night away and forget what happened; all the way from the moment he spoke to that matchmaker to the second he stepped back out of Jungkook’s apartment. It’s best that he forget how he felt when he fucked Jungkook. He would rather not dwell on what he’s giving up. Something he didn’t even realize he had or wanted until it was already too late.

The knock on his door comes as a shock, making him jump up and roll over to face the door. He slips off the bed and makes his way over, stopping to lean on the door. “Who is it?”

“Jungkook.”

Jimin purses his lips together, worries the lower one with his teeth, then he pulls the door open and steps back. What he doesn’t expect is for Jungkook to shut the door for him and grab him, dragging him into a kiss. When the other alpha leans back, he watches Jimin as if trying to judge his reaction to it. It’s strange and keeps Jimin frozen in place, curiosity consuming him.

Jungkook lets go and moves away, back turned to Jimin, arms crossed as he stares out the window. “Is everything okay?” Jimin asks, taking a few slow steps toward Jungkook. The other alpha’s shoulders look stiff and rigid. Jimin reaches out to touch him, then retreats at the last second.

“How are things with that matchmaker?” Jungkook still doesn’t face him. He feels distant, though he makes no attempt to move away when Jimin stops just a foot away from him. “Anymore news? Anything we should worry about?”

“No.” Jimin reaches out again, this time resting his hand on Jungkook’s shoulder. “Why? Did something happen—” He bites his tongue when Jungkook shakes his hand off and turns, jaw working angrily, to face Jimin. “Jungkook, what happened?”

“Nothing yet. And there wouldn’t be any risk of anything happening,” the younger says, “if you had been honest with me.”

Jimin knits his brows together. He truly doesn’t understand what Jungkook means, why he’s angry, but his instincts make him bristle up, always ready for a fight. “What the hell are you talking about? If you have a problem with something, just say it. Don’t beat around the bush.”

“Hoseok told me about that town he found.”

Jimin’s heart drops into his stomach and the fight in him vanishes into thin air. The tension in his shoulders slips away and all he can do is stare at Jungkook with wide eyes, lips parted as if to speak, to apologize, but nothing leaves him.

“Why didn’t you?”

The looks in Jungkook’s eyes is one of pure betrayal, and Jimin wishes he could say he doesn’t understand why. But he does. He knows why.

Because Jungkook’s not a fool, he’s not blind. He can see the change in Jimin, feels how different things are from when they first met. He knows Jimin is falling for him. It must be hard for him to understand why Jimin wouldn’t tell him about the one thing that would allow them to be together.

Jimin’s voice shakes when he tries to explain. “I— I wanted to. I was going to.” He’s not even certain that’s true. “I just— I don’t know, Jungkook.”

“You don’t know or you don’t want to tell me?” Jungkook looks like he’s hugging himself the way he holds his arms around his chest. He looks beaten down, vulnerable, and Jimin almost hates himself for bringing him down to this point.

No. He does hate himself. He’s always hated himself. This just makes that hatred a little bit stronger.

“I was an idiot for ever thinking you wanted to be with me,” Jungkook says before brushing past Jimin. It takes Jimin almost too long to respond, rushing forward to slam the door shut when Jungkook tries to leave. “I’m going, Jimin. You don’t have to say anything. You don’t need to try to make me feel better.”

“Jungkook, listen—”

“It’s fine,” Jungkook says, but his clipped tone says otherwise. “I’ll go. Then you’ll have nothing to worry about.”

Jimin slams the door shut again as Jungkook opens it, and the younger alpha turns to glare at him. Before he can say anymore, Jimin snaps. “Why do you want so badly for this to be about me not wanting you?”

“What?” Jungkook’s eyes narrow at him, he scoffs. “What are you talking about?”

“You won’t even let me explain myself. You’re just ready to walk away without giving me a chance. You came here looking for a fight. Why?”

“Why didn’t you want me to know?”

“Don’t answer a question with another question, Jungkook,” Jimin fires back, hand still planted firmly against the door. “Why are you so ready to give up on this? On us?”

Jungkook’s teeth grind together as he watches Jimin, a flash of something unfamiliar in his eyes. He licks his lips. “Because there is no us, Jimin. There never was. We were never going to be anything more than fuck buddies and I was an idiot for thinking otherwise. You proved that just now, by hiding this from me.”

“That’s not true,” Jimin says, and he hates how obvious the desperation in his voice is. His hands shake, just like after he saw the matchmaker and, once again, he realizes how scared he is to lose Jungkook. It doesn’t matter if it’s at the hands of someone else or Jungkook’s choice… Jimin can’t lose him.

He takes a deep breath, never letting his gaze drift from Jungkook’s. Whatever it takes, he’s going to prove to Jungkook that they were more than he realizes. Even if they’re doomed, if they can never be together, Jungkook needs to know what he means to Jimin. He hasn’t felt this way about anyone since Namjoon, and he never thought he would again.

“I don’t know why I didn’t tell you. I honestly don’t know, because I wanted to. I guess I just wasn’t sure if I wanted to leave or not. I don’t know if I can leave everything behind, so I kept my mouth shut until I figured it out. I didn’t mean to—”

“You still should have told me. Because it’s my choice if I decide to go,” Jungkook retorts before he can finish.

“I know. I know, and I’m sorry. I should’ve said something. But I— If I don’t go then I don’t really want you to go either.” Jimin takes a deep breath, reaching out to Jungkook. It feels like something inside his chest snaps when Jungkook backs away. “It’s stupid, I know. We can’t be together here but we can if we leave. So either I keep us both here and apart from each other, or I let you go be happy somewhere else… apart from each other. Either way, this is ending… Isn’t it?”

Jungkook lets out a humorless laugh. “Or you could come with me. We could leave together. We all could. We could get away from this place and all the ridiculous laws, all the matchmaking bullshit, the prejudice against people like me, against omegas, against everyone. This place is toxic, Jimin. Why don’t you want to leave it behind?”

“Did you expect me to just jump at the first chance to leave without even thinking about it?” Jimin asks, disbelief ringing in his voice, eyes narrowed at the younger alpha. He’s such a fool. In so many ways Jungkook is amazingly thoughtful, but right now he seems like every other dense alpha in this city. He doesn’t get it.

“Are we just supposed to run away with each other to fulfill some forbidden romance, like we’re living in a fucking novel or something?” Jimin continues, his voice becoming sharper, more venomous, with each word. “We’re not star-crossed lovers, Jungkook, we were outlets for each other, warm bodies, that was it. I didn’t realize there was anything more until just these past few weeks. Of course I had to take time to think about it.”

“You still had no right to keep this from me.” Jungkook closes his eyes, like he just can’t stand to look at Jimin any longer. “You still should have told me because I deserve to know that there is some place in this world where I can belong, despite not wanting to lose me. You had no right to just keep that choice from me.”

“And I get that, but that doesn’t mean—”

“All that talk about how you won’t let what happened to Namjoon happen to me, what was that all about? You had the answer in your hands all along, why didn’t you tell me?”

“It was one mistake, Jungkook. Is that really so unforgivable—?”

“I don’t want to be in this city for the rest of my life,” Jungkook cuts in again, making Jimin tense. He’s sick of Jungkook interrupting him, not letting him finish. He’s looking for any excuse to leave Jimin behind for some reason. Jimin can’t even defend himself like this. “I can’t do it. I don’t belong here. And knowing, everyday, that everyone in this city thinks they’d be better off without my kind—” He purses his lips, staring up at the ceiling.

“When I realized that blank file next to mine in the list of sterile alphas was Namjoon and that it was erased because he was like me… You have no idea what that felt like. By keeping this a secret because of your own uncertainties, you took away my free will, my freedom of choice. I’m not staying in this city.”

Those words cut through Jimin like a knife. No “if” or “maybe”. Jungkook is really going to leave. He’s leaving Jimin behind, just like that. He won’t even give Jimin a chance to change his mind. Or change his own, for that matter. Jungkook is just giving up on this. Them. Jimin would have expected something like this from himself, but not Jungkook.

“You’re leaving,” Jimin states with a nod, arms crossing to protect himself. “You’re just… leaving. You’re gonna go to that town and, what, just forget about me?”

“Where I’m going doesn’t matter,” says Jungkook, and Jimin wants to slap him. Of course it matters. It matters if Jungkook goes anywhere away from him. “But I am leaving. There’s nothing keeping me here.”

If the shattering of a heart could be heard, Jimin’s would wake the entire city.

He stumbles back as Jungkook pushes him away from the door, yanking it open and stepping into the hallway. Jimin rushes after him.

“Jungkook, don’t— Wait— Please, Jungkook—” Jimin runs after him, catching him at the top of the stairs. He spins him around, hands hovering near him but not quite touching. He doesn’t know what to do or how to fix this, so he does the only thing he knows how to.

He kisses Jungkook hard on the lips, holding his face in his hands, needy and harsh in the way he crushes their mouths together, too desperate and distraught to realize the risks of kissing in the middle of this hallway. There’s no grace in this, just one last attempt to remind Jungkook that he needs him to stay. He needs him.

But Jungkook just grabs him by his shoulders, pushing him back with little effort. Jimin stares at him with wide eyes, fear dancing behind them. He can’t lose Jungkook like this.

“We both knew this was doomed from the beginning but we jumped in anyway,” Jungkook says, his fingers brushing over Jimin’s cheek. His thumb presses against his lower lip, drags down his chin. “We have a chance now, Jimin. Are you willing to take it?”

Jimin swallows hard, staring back at Jungkook with his lips parted, an answer right on the verge of slipping out, hanging on the tip of his tongue, but he can’t get it out. There are only two answers here, but he doesn’t know which one he wants to say.

Of course he wants Jungkook but he would be giving up everything for him. Everything. And maybe he should, maybe that’s the romantic thing to do, that’s what his heart tells him to do. But Jimin over thinks everything, turning an already complicated situation into a tangled, messy web until he can’t sort one thought from another.

If they go, will it even make a difference? How long before everything they leave behind catches up with them? How long before the town is found by the wrong person, before the government finds them and forces them all to assimilate to their laws again? How long before a pack finds them and kills them all? They’re no safer out there than in here, not when considering every possibility. There’s no such thing as freedom for them.

Jimin’s silence seems to be answer enough for Jungkook, who purses his lips together and tries to smile. “I get it,” he says, leaning forward to brush his lips along Jimin’s. He plants the lightest of kisses there before pulling back, his hand dropping away from Jimin’s face. “This is your home, Jimin, and out there is mine. I can’t ask you to just walk away from it.” He takes a deep breath. “But I… I have a chance at freedom again, and you can’t ask me to just throw that away either.”

Jimin feels tears on his cheeks, though he doesn’t hear himself crying. He barely even feels them slipping from his eyes, he just knows they’re there. He doesn’t feel anything but icy coldness as Jungkook stares at him.

He’s waiting, hoping for the answer he wants to hear, hoping for Jimin to change his mind. Jimin knows that’s what he’s waiting for. Even if he won’t ask Jimin to leave this place with him, he’s still holding onto hope that he will. But Jimin’s voice stays locked in his throat, no words leaving him, and Jungkook just nods as if that’s what he expected, and then he turns away.

“Jungkook…” It’s barely a whisper. Even Jimin can hardly hear it so he’s not surprised when Jungkook doesn’t turn back around. He can’t make his voice work or his body move as he watches Jungkook descend the stairs.

And then Jimin collapses in the middle of the hallway, head tucked into his arms as he cries. Somehow, this feels worse than having someone taken from him at the hands of another. Knowing that Jungkook is choosing to leave him of his own free will…

It feels like a knife right through his heart, right to his very core.

Jimin feels broken in every way possible.

Chapter Text

 

The following days pass by at a snail’s pace. Jimin feels distracted from his work, barely even makes progress on restoring the car Yoongi had given him. He drowns himself in booze at the bar because he can’t do it at Jungkook’s apartment anymore.

Jungkook is gone. He left the city almost a week ago with little more than a curt goodbye to his friends and nothing for Jimin.

He’s gone. Really, truly gone. Jimin knew he would miss him, but he didn’t realize it would hurt this much.

Pity seems to ooze from every one of his friends that had figured out what was happening between the two of them. Yoongi goes far too easy on him at work, Taehyung refuses to take his money whenever he drinks the bar dry, Hoseok is overly attentive to his wellbeing when he’s drunk. His poker game is even off so Seokjin started splitting his pool with Jimin whenever he would win, otherwise Jimin would be out of ration cards at the end of each night.

All his life, Jimin has always found a way to blame everyone and everything else for the things that have happened to him. His pack getting slaughtered in front of him as a child, he blamed on the government. Losing Namjoon, also the government’s fault. The distance between himself and his friends until recently, all their fault. All the confusion and frustration of the past months, the fear of the matchmakers finding them, the fear of falling again…

Jungkook’s fault.

All Jungkook’s fault.

That’s what he’s been telling himself, at least. But after each day without Jungkook passes, Jimin starts to question who’s really to blame for everything. If it keeps happening to him, maybe misfortune or meddlesome friends and government aren’t to blame. Maybe it’s him. It’s all him.

Jimin invites chaos into his life and engages it in a battle of bad attitude and explosive tempers, then he wonders why he’s never happy, why everyone leaves him eventually, why he can never seem to hold onto anything important to him. He pushes away anything good before it can even touch him.

He pushed Jungkook too far, didn’t let him in, so he left. Of course he left. Who would stick around for someone who has always acted like they don’t even want them there?

With Namjoon, he held on too tight, didn’t know when to let go or call it quits. Maybe if he had let him go before it was too late he never would have lost him.

And if Jimin had told Jungkook about that town, maybe they could have gone away together. He thought he didn’t want that until he couldn’t have it.

Jimin always wants what he can’t have.

He sits in the booth Jungkook always occupied, swirling his glass of whiskey around and watching the amber liquid with lidded eyes. Maybe he’s had a bit too much tonight, but that’s exactly what he had been hoping for. Too much means he’ll feel less. He’s tired of feeling.

When he feels, he just misses Jungkook. He doesn’t want to miss Jungkook. Missing Jungkook makes his chest ache.

The whiskey hits the back of his throat, the glass hits the table, and his head hits the back of the seat. Eyes drift closed, the silence of the bar drowning him. It’s dead here tonight. He almost wishes some alphas would show up and start a fight. At least then he would have a distraction.

And if it was busy Taehyung would have less time to stare at him from across the room or come over to check on him. He keeps doing that—wandering across the bar to sit down and talk with Jimin.

When he next does it, Jimin waves him off before he can even speak. “I’m fine, just… another glass.”

Taehyung scoffs, sliding the empty glass back to Jimin as he sits. “No way. You probably can’t even stand up. Not that you’ve tried to since Jungkook left. You practically live in this booth now.”

“Maybe I like this booth,” Jimin says, too buzzed to care that that’s far from being his most clever comeback. He doesn’t care for wit right now. He just wants to drink and sleep. That’s all he’s good at.

“Yeah, or maybe you like that it reminds you of Jungkook.”

Jimin’s eyes snap up to burn into his friend. “Don’t talk about him.”

“Or maybe you hate it because it reminds you of him.” The beta cocks his head to one side. “Is this some kind of punishment for letting him go? Making yourself sit where he used to sit?”

“Why would I punish myself for that?” Jimin grumbles, his words slightly slurred. He’s not nearly drunk enough for this yet. “Not my responsibility. He’s a big boy… Can leave town if he wants to.”

“You could, too,” says Taehyung, “if you stopped being stubborn and admitted that you started to actually care for him.”

Jimin stares at the other man, lips in a tight line. He takes a deep breath, opens his mouth, then closes it and looks away again. “I didn’t start to care about him,” Jimin says, the dam breaking, everything he’s been holding back trying to force its way out through the fissures in his heart.

He’s done so well avoiding it, telling himself to just be angry instead of sad because it’s easier that way. Now, just a few words from Taehyung and he can feel his eyes burning, begging for the waterworks he’s always stifled in the past.

“Jimin—”

“I didn’t start to care,” he says again, staring out the dingy window. “I did care. I do care. Too much. I care about him probably more than I’ve ever even cared about myself.”

“You love him, don’t you?”

Jimin sucks in a sharp breath and looks at Taehyung again. The beta looks blurry; maybe it’s from the booze, maybe it’s from the tears, Jimin can’t tell. “No. Maybe. I don’t want to.”

“There’s no shame in loving someone, Jimin,” Taehyung says, and the alpha just wants to beg him not to go all “wise man” on him right now. He can’t handle it tonight. “It’s time you learned that.”

It takes a painful moment for Jimin to gather his thoughts, mind distracted with the effort of holding back tears. “Well, he left, so it doesn’t matter,” he says, disgusted at the way his voice cracks. “He obviously doesn’t feel the same.”

“I’m willing to bet he does, but there’s only so far you can love someone without them returning it, Jimin. He probably thought you didn’t feel the same.”

“He doesn’t love me, Taehyung,” Jimin argues again, because he can’t believe that. He can’t believe that Jungkook loved him and Jimin pushed him away. He can’t live with the idea that the man he’s in love with is out there, possibly wishing as much as Jimin that they could be together right now, and that he may never see him again. “Don’t be a fucking idiot.”

“You don’t be a fucking idiot,” Taehyung snaps, hand clenching into a fist atop the table. “The kid’s in love with you. A blind man could see that. And now he’s out there, walking straight to his death because he thinks revenge is the only thing he has left.”

Jimin falls silent, mouth agape as he stares at Taehyung. “What?” he asks, voice airy, shaking.

“He’s going back to his pack to kill that alpha that almost killed him before he came here.” Taehyung glares at Jimin, face slightly scrunched in anger, jaw set and ready to snap a retort if Jimin tries to deflect again.

But Jimin can’t. He can’t even think of how to form a single word anymore because this is worse than he imagined. He had thought Jungkook likely went to that town Hoseok found, or that maybe he was just finding a way to survive on his own out there. Jimin never would have guessed that he would waltz his way right into a death sentence.

“Why?” Jimin asks, earning a curious look from his friend. “Why is he going back for revenge? I thought he was going to that town.”

“Because, before he met you, revenge was all he wanted. Taking back his pack was his only goal. He spent his first few months recovering and growing stronger so he could kill that alpha and reclaim his place.” Taehyung’s hand relaxes on the table again. “He finally let go of that once he had you because you gave him something else worth surviving for. He thought you would never love him, that you would never choose to leave with him. That took away his one driving force and left him with nothing but his revenge again.”

Taehyung takes a deep breath.

“You know, for the first month after we took him in he wouldn’t even talk. We didn’t even know his name for the longest time. All he did was sit by the window and stare outside. I thought he— I don’t know, I thought he was crazy or something. I would ask him everyday what happened to him, why he wouldn’t speak. Clearly there was some sort of trauma but I didn’t… didn’t know what it was. I still don’t. But I remember sitting down to talk to him one day and telling him…”

Another deep breath.

“I told him that whatever it was, he needed to fight it. That whoever or whatever had hurt him couldn’t be invincible and that he could take back control of his life. It didn’t work right away but one day he spoke. He told me his name, told me his pack turned on him. That was it. He didn’t tell me details but I could tell it still haunted him. After that he started, I don’t know, burying it down, I guess. He started pouring his energy into exercising, rehabilitating himself, getting stronger, helping me in the bar. He kept himself busy all the time. Then you came along and that was an extra distraction. I think losing you—or thinking that he lost you—made it impossible for him to hide from whatever happened to him. It’s become his everything again. And maybe it’s good that he’s facing it now but he… he shouldn’t have to do it alone, Jimin.”

Inside Jimin, turmoil rears its ugly head, a storm twisting his stomach into knots and dragging his heart down. He can’t meet Taehyung’s eyes, ashamed and angry. If he hadn’t been so stubborn, if he could have admitted what he felt for Jungkook a long time ago…

Taehyung’s right, he shouldn’t be alone. He deserves to have someone at his side, someone who will have his back through it all. He deserves more than what Jimin has given him thus far.

“Why are you so afraid to leave with him?” Taehyung asks, but Jimin doesn’t answer, won’t even look at him. “Hoseok is going. Yoongi and I… We don’t think it’s safe for us to stay here much longer. Seokjin wants to leave. Jimin, there won’t be much left here for you. So tell me, is it really leaving this place that scares you so much? Or is it allowing yourself to completely love him that you’re afraid of?”

But Jimin just ignores him. He can’t think about that right now, can’t waste his time searching for answers when Jungkook is out there by himself. “That pack will rip him to pieces,” he says. It’s almost a whisper, but Taehyung hears him and nods.

“I know.”

“I have to find him.”

Jimin stumbles out of the booth, Taehyung following with outstretched hands, ready to catch him. He almost makes it to the door, even with the room spinning around him, determination driving his every step.

“Jimin, you can’t go after him like this,” Taehyung says, hands gripping Jimin’s arm just as he loses his balance and crashes into another booth.

“If I don’t go, he’ll die, Taehyung. I have to find him.” Jimin’s voice trembles, shudders quaking their way down his spine as he chokes back panicked sobs. He can see Jungkook walking into the midst of a pack he once knew, surrounded by them all ready for the kill. His mind’s eye can see those scars decorating Jungkook’s body and he can’t erase the image of how he got them, can’t help but see it happening again.

“You can go after him in the morning. You need to sleep this off first and then Hoseok will probably let you borrow his truck—”

Jimin shakes his head, fingers digging into Taehyung’s arms as he sags forward. He mumbles nonsense through his tears, cheeks soaked before he even realizes he’s crying.

If he loses Jungkook forever…

If he dies out there…

Alone.

Would Jimin ever be able to forgive himself for that?

He doesn’t get a chance to ponder the answer, his head flooded with tears as he clings to his friend. He blacks out after god-knows-how many minutes of crying, and his night is haunted by scenes of Jungkook and his pack and all the horrible things they did and will do to him.

 

-α-

 

Jimin doesn’t waste a second when morning rolls around. Even with his head feeling like someone dropped a building on it and his throat dry and scratchy, Jimin packs a bag and hops in Hoseok’s truck.

He has food, he has clothes, the truck has a canopy atop it and a mattress in the back. Whatever happens out there, he’s not coming back until he finds Jungkook. It’ll be up to the other alpha whether or not he comes back with Jimin, but finding him is the only way Jimin thinks he’ll ever sleep peacefully again.

With a quick and solemn goodbye to his friends, Jimin sets out on the open road, eyes peeled for any sign of Jungkook. He had paid for a car from Yoongi’s garage before leaving—Jimin had checked the logs to know what kind to look out for—so he must be on the road somewhere. Just in case, Hoseok gave Jimin a map with the location of that town marked on it. Maybe if Jungkook couldn’t find his pack or changed his mind he’ll go there instead.

Jimin hopes so.

 

The first day goes by without any success and very little hope.

Jimin lies in the back of the truck with a heavy heart and a head full of prayers he doesn’t believe will ever actually be answered.

All he asks is for Jungkook to be safe, whether or not he ever sees him again. He just wants him to be okay.

 

Two days pass without any sign of Jungkook, aside from car tracks along a muddy road, but that could be from anyone. Still, Jimin tells himself it’s Jungkook. It has to be.

 

Three days and Jimin starts to lose the hope be barely had in the first place.

 

Four days and he nearly goes back to the city, nearly calls it quits.

Instead, he stops in an abandoned little town, ransacked beyond recognition. The showers in an abandoned police station still work, so he washes his worries away in the cool water and prepares for another day.

 

The fifth day, Jimin thinks he’s imagining it at first. He steps out of the truck to stretch his legs, parked atop a rolling hill, the city out of sight and some rundown buildings down the hill from him.

His plan had been to loot the buildings of whatever they might have left in them, and that’s when he notices the little red car parked in the bushes, mostly hidden from the road. It’s the one Jungkook got from Yoongi without a doubt, based on the description from the logs.

Jimin rushes over to it, hands cupped to peek into the windows as the sun sets. No one inside. The car doesn’t look damaged but it also doesn’t look like it’ll be getting out of this ditch any time soon. Why would Jungkook just abandon it like this?

He rushes back to the truck, starting it up and whipping around to go back down the hill, toward the buildings. If Jungkook left the car there, maybe he took to those buildings for shelter.

Hope is a dangerous thing, but Jimin can feel it growing inside him as he drives rather carelessly along the muddy road, peeling around the corner and up the driveway of the house. He parks in what looks like an old barn, now falling apart and overgrown, but it keeps the truck well out of sight of passing vehicles or packs.

He battles with himself as he steps out, telling himself not to get too excited. But he feels something. He feels Jungkook nearby, though he can’t explain it. His heart leaps into his throat as he approaches the house and sees a light on inside. It could be anyone, he realizes that, but against his better judgment he rushes in.

Boots clunk up the front steps and across the porch and he crashes through the door with little grace, wide eyes staring around the room.

Everything slows down when he sees him, like the world decided to move in slow motion just for them.

Across the room stands Jungkook, on guard with a knife in hand, brows furrowed and eyes wide as the two of them stare at each other. He blinks away his shock, then glances past Jimin. “Shut the door.”

Jimin turns and throws it closed before running across the room to sling his arms around Jungkook. His fingers dig into the younger alpha, trailing from his lower back to his upper back, to his shoulders, then over his arms as he leans back to look at him. He feels like he has to touch every inch of Jungkook to know that he’s really here.

“What are you doing here?” Jungkook asks.

It’s not what Jimin wants him to say, but it’s what he expected. Some silly part of him had hoped that Jungkook would look just as desperate as Jimin feels, craving his touch and holding onto him like he can’t live without his presence. Because that’s how Jimin has felt in the past almost two weeks.

“Trying to keep you from getting yourself killed,” Jimin says, keeping a hold on Jungkook like he might try to run away if he releases him. “Taehyung told me why you’re out here. Don’t do it.”

Jungkook frowns at him as he sets his knife aside. “Don’t do what?” he asks, making Jimin bristle. He knows damn well what Jimin is saying, but of course he has to be stubborn. He’s upset. Of course he’s upset. He has every right to be.

“Don’t be like that,” Jimin says, more bite in his tone than he intended. But he doesn’t like being challenged. Whatever he feels for Jungkook, he won’t just back down and apologize. He fucked up, yes, but he’s here now. That has to count for something.

“Don’t be like what?” Jungkook asks, his voice dull and flat as he shakes off Jimin’s grip and circles around him.

“This is insane, Jungkook. This is suicide.” He tries to stay calm, wills his temper down even though he wants to give Jungkook a solid kick in the ass. “You can’t do this. It’s not worth dying for.”

“Why isn’t it?” Jungkook asks, turning to Jimin with his bag over his shoulder. He grabs his knife again and moves for the door. “You know what that piece of shit took from me. Why shouldn’t I try to get some justice?”

“Because I don’t want you to.”

Jungkook hangs near the door, feet shuffling, jaw taut. “Why?”

Those words stop Jimin’s voice in his throat. He just watches as Jungkook’s hand rests on the doorknob, closer and closer to leaving. Again. He’s going to leave again and this time Jimin won’t be able to bring him back. If he walks away now he’ll believe that Jimin doesn’t care about him. He’ll go back to his pack.

“Tell me why,” Jungkook says again, his hand falling from the door to his side. He faces Jimin fully, arms crossing. There’s a vulnerability around him that makes Jimin want to rush forward and hold him. He looks broken, lost, and Jimin hates knowing that it’s because of him. At least somewhat, it’s because of him.

“Because…” Jimin shudders as he breathes in, cold and afraid. He takes a step forward, feeling Jungkook’s eyes graze over him, feeling scrutinized under his gaze. “Because I care about you. Because if you try to get revenge you might not come back from it and I don’t know if I can live with that. Because I’m asking you not to go. Isn’t that reason enough for you to stay?”

Bated breath as he waits for Jungkook to say something, to move away from that door, but the other alpha just stares at him, blank-faced. His arms stay curled around his torso, so Jimin does the only thing he feels he can at this point to change Jungkook’s mind.

He crosses the room in a few quick strides, one arm curling around Jungkook’s shoulders, the other around his middle, and he hugs him as tight as he can, head tucked down against his shoulder. An unspoken message, a cry for him to stay right here, to stay with Jimin. At this point he doesn’t even care if Jungkook refuses to come back to the city. Jimin would fly across the world if that’s what he asked. Anything to keep him from throwing himself to his pack.

The air around them feels heavy, suffocating Jimin as he waits. Just one word. That’s all he’s asking for. One word to tell him that Jungkook won’t do this, that he wants to live.

Jungkook doesn’t speak as Jimin lets go of him, stepping back to look into his eyes again. But he doesn’t leave. He lets his bag fall from his shoulder as he moves to sit on the mangy couch in the corner.

That’s enough for Jimin. For now. All he needs is to know that Jungkook isn’t about go bursting into the middle of a camp and get himself killed. So he sits on the other end of the couch in silence, eyes on the mattress in the middle of the floor, the little lantern flickering beside it. He wonders if Jungkook has been staying here awhile or if he’s kept moving the way Jimin has since leaving the city.

Empty food cans sit in one corner of the room, any broken windows are boarded up, as well as the back door. He must be camping out here and searching on foot during the day. Jimin wonders what happened to the car, if it broke down or just ran out of fuel. He wonders if Jungkook really cares so much about revenge or if he came here just to be away from Jimin.

Outside, the sun falls behind the horizon and Jungkook stands, closing the curtains and turning the lantern light down low, leaving the room in almost blackness, the dim glow barely allowing visibility between the two alphas.

Jimin studies the outline of Jungkook’s face, the curl of his bangs hanging low over his brow, the way his jaw moves as he grinds his teeth in thought. As Jimin watches him, he has a hard time remembering when he ever disliked Jungkook and tries to pinpoint the exact moment he lost sight of his prejudice against him.

Was it those nights during Jungkook’s rut? Was it that early? Or maybe it was when Jungkook was the only one who understood why he let Hoseok leave. Maybe the night he fucked Jungkook with that toy. He doesn’t think it was during his own rut. It was before that. By then Jimin was already in too deep, even though he didn’t realize it.

“You look tired,” Jungkook says, and Jimin just nods. “Get some sleep.” He waves a hand toward the mattress, his legs curled up on the couch and eyes on the lantern.

“I can take the couch,” Jimin says but Jungkook insists, head shaking as he lies back against the arm of the couch.

“It’s fine.”

Jimin hates this. The clipped words, the hostile silences, the way Jungkook won’t even meet his eyes. He understands why Jungkook is angry with him, but this is too much. He acts as though Jimin did something unforgivable, rather than just made a stupid mistake because he couldn’t or wouldn’t accept his own feelings. He doesn’t deserve this, and as that revelation sets in the sadness seeps away, replaced by irritation.

“Why are you so angry with me, Jungkook? You were the one who said you wouldn’t ask me to choose between you and my home, but then you waited for my choice anyway,” he says, trying to keep the anger in his own voice curbed. He doesn’t want to fight. That’s not what he came here for, but when Jungkook refuses to answer or even look at him, he snaps. “I understand I was wrong to keep that town a secret from you, but I’m not the only one at fault here. And I apologized and I tried to make it right—I’m trying to make it right. I’m here now. Doesn’t that mean something?”

Still nothing from Jungkook, his gaze averted. Jimin wants to grab him, shake him, make him look at him, but he refrains. He reminds himself again that he’s not here to fight.

“I know what you’re doing right now, Jungkook,” he says. “You’ve been out here finding every reason you can to hate me. You’ve probably sat out here thinking about every annoying little thing I’ve done, every one of my flaws, every time I’ve hurt you in the past, so that all you remember is the anger and you forget you ever cared about me. I get it. You think it’s easier that way. That’s how I’ve lived my entire life, Jungkook. Trust me, it doesn’t help. It hurts more.”

Jungkook says nothing, doesn’t move even an inch, and Jimin knows he’s right, knows that’s exactly what Jungkook’s been doing.

“This is exactly what I did to stop myself from falling for you in the first place,” he continues, forcing those words out. He hates admitting it, hates how vulnerable he’s making himself right now, but he needs Jungkook to say something. He needs him to look at him, to do anything. He’s not losing him like this. “It’s how I coped when I lost Namjoon. But it doesn’t help. All it does is bottle up everything you feel and make it worse when it finally breaks through. You can’t stop yourself from feeling in the future and you can’t pretend you never felt anything for me in the past… That you feel something for me now. Jungkook…”

Nothing.

“Please, look at me.”

Jungkook keeps his head down, and Jimin’s heart aches.

He stands, scoffing as he moves for the door, letting his frustration overpower the heartbreak. If Jungkook won’t let himself feel, then Jimin won’t either. He won’t hurt for someone who doesn’t even want to look him in the eye.

“You know what,” he says, “I think I’d rather stay out in the truck.” He wrenches the door open, stopping just long enough to look down at Jungkook where he sits. “If you’re ready to talk in the morning, come find me.”

The door shuts behind him and Jimin stops on the top step, counting to ten before he walks away. Foolish, but he had hoped Jungkook would come after him, hoped that just maybe there was still a chance that the other alpha doesn’t completely hate him.

His thoughts wander as the wind picks up, slamming a loose piece of roofing on the barn around. Jimin sighs as he frowns up at it. That won’t be pleasant to sleep under. Still, probably better than lying in a cold room with Jungkook pretending like he doesn’t exist all night.

Jimin throws open the back of the truck, just about to hop in when he hears a soft call of his name. With a start, he spins around to find Jungkook standing in the doorway of the barn.

That dreadful hope returns, ready to break Jimin’s heart at any second. He tells himself not to read into it, not to assume that this means much, if anything. So Jungkook feels guilty leaving Jimin out in the cold, but that doesn’t mean he gives a damn about him anymore.

Jimin takes a deep breath. He’s doing it again. Forcing himself to be angry instead of feeling, just like he accused Jungkook of doing only minutes ago. Maybe he just needs to feel for once, let himself be upset, let himself be sad, let himself be afraid, and let Jungkook see that. He’s survived this long by guarding his every emotion, by pasting a frown onto his face and hiding behind it. Maybe complete vulnerability is what he needs to show to make Jungkook trust him again.

“Did Taehyung send you after me?” Jungkook asks, the wind outside whipping against the barn, heavy, harsh gusts sending shivers rolling down both alpha’s spines. “Is that why you’re here?”

“I told you why I’m here,” Jimin says, rallying his heart into a frenzy of uneven, anxious beats. Is that really what Jungkook thinks of him? That he’s so incapable of love that he can’t even come after Jungkook of his own free will?

Jungkook moves forward so swiftly it makes Jimin dizzy, his body tensing and bracing for some kind of impact. But Jungkook just reaches past him, gathering the blankets from the back of the truck and piling them into Jimin’s arms. Their eyes meet, lingering the way they used to, then Jungkook says, “Come back inside. It’s cold out here.”

Jimin watches him walk away, grabbing his bag from the truck and leaving a good distance between them before he follows, the wind whipping his hair around. Jungkook bars the door behind them as Jimin drops the blankets onto the mattress on the floor.

Silence smothers them both again, weighing down on Jimin, a heaviness on his shoulders crushing him. This isn’t how it’s going to end. Even if Jungkook doesn’t come back with him, this isn’t how they’re ending.

“Taehyung did tell me why you left,” Jimin says, his back still turned to Jungkook. As much as he wishes he could, he can’t look him in the eyes as he says this. Words he can never take back. “But I came after you because I wanted to. I kept imagining you out here by yourself. Never seeing you again. I couldn’t sleep. The bed felt empty without you there. I just… Fuck, I don’t know. I guess I missed you.”

Deep breath in, eyes closed as he calms himself. Jimin turns around, chin up at a defiant angle as he faces Jungkook.

“Is it so hard to believe I might actually care enough to want to know that you’re okay?”

Jungkook doesn’t look at him. Still. It makes an anger so fierce bubble up inside Jimin that he almost scares himself when he snaps.

“Goddammit, Jungkook, look at me!” he shouts, and Jungkook casts a worried look toward the door before finally forcing his eyes around to Jimin. “What do I have to do to make you believe me? Do you need me to bring Taehyung out here so he can tell you I stumbled my drunk ass out of the bar the second I heard where you were and tried to come after you? I couldn’t even wait to sober up, I was so scared you were already dead out here somewhere.”

Jungkook turns away from him again, arms over his chest, head down. Same as before. Jimin just wants to grab hold of him, shake him, scream at him to listen, to please believe him. For once, he’s bearing his heart, being honest, and he feels like he’s talking to a fucking wall.

“Tell me what I need to do, Jungkook,” he says, his voice unsteady though he tries his best to not to let it shatter entirely. “Because it doesn’t matter what happens in the morning, I just can’t stand the idea of you hating me. Even if we go separate ways tomorrow, I just need to know you forgive me.”

Jungkook’s shoulders rise and fall as he breathes in. There’s a loud sigh, and then he turns, leaving Jimin with his breath held and body tense with nerves, fear grasping at his throat.

“Explain why you didn’t tell me about that town. Why didn’t you want me to know?”

“I already told you. Because I was afraid to leave and I didn’t want you to go without me.”

Jungkook just nods, eyes dropping again. “Okay.” That’s all he says before turning away.

“What else do you want from me?” Jimin snaps. When Jungkook doesn’t respond, Jimin grabs him by the shoulder, tugging him around, and Jungkook wrenches away from him with a frown on his face. “What, am I supposed to pour my guts out to you? Confess my feelings? What the fuck do you want, Jungkook?”

Still nothing. Jungkook doesn’t even look at him. And then he asks, “Why are you afraid of losing me? That’s all I want to know.”

Jimin’s voice locks itself in his throat, his heart shrinking away and hiding. If he says it, there’s no taking it back. Maybe it’ll make Jungkook stay, maybe it won’t make a difference. If he says it, he’s admitting it to himself. If he admits it then it will only hurt worse if Jungkook walks away. He forces the words past his lips anyway. He would do anything to keep Jungkook from leaving again at this point. Anything.

“Because I— I care about you. I never wanted to love anyone again the way I loved Namjoon. But I do… feel that way about you now.”

Jungkook doesn’t speak, and Jimin can feel tears welling up. He covers his face with one hand, choking as he holds down the sobs making their way up his throat.

He hears Jungkook whisper his name as he steps forward, feels a hand on his wrist. No. Jungkook doesn’t get to do this. He doesn’t get to make Jimin sick with worry, make him hurt like this, ignore him, and then try to fix everything with that soft tone and gentle hands.

Jimin knocks his hand away and lunges forward, hands colliding with Jungkook’s chest as he shoves him back. “Do you really think I only came out here to find you because Taehyung asked me to? You think all this time you were the only one who felt anything? What do you think I am, some kind of monster?” With every question, another shove, pushing Jungkook closer to the wall. His voice rises higher and higher with every word, crackling around his tears. “You really don’t believe that I love you, you fucking son of a—”

He pushes forward again, but this time Jungkook catches his wrists, eyes burning into Jimin’s, lips in a tight line. Then he moves forward so fast Jimin nearly loses his balance. Jimin gasps as he’s spun around and his back hits the wall. Jungkook’s mouth melds with his in a harsh kiss.

It reminds him of the first time they kissed, the way Jungkook pins his wrists above his head, how he dominates every inch of Jimin, enveloping him. His hands drag down Jimin’s arms to his waist, his tongue working his lips open, and Jimin is all too willing to grant him entrance, eager to taste him again.

His hands find purchase in Jungkook’s hair, tugging slightly as he feels a wet muscle press into his mouth, pushing his own tongue down. Hands grope his ass, kneading through his jeans, and then Jimin breaks the kiss with a bite to Jungkook’s lip.

Jungkook darts back, his hand pressing over the swelling lip. He frowns at Jimin, who stares back with a stubborn pout on his face.

“You don’t get to do that,” Jimin says, breathless.

“Do what?”

Jimin pushes against his chest, though he makes little real effort to move Jungkook away from him. “You don’t get to make me feel like shit and then just kiss me like that’ll make it all go away.” Now he shoves him back, bracing himself against the wall for leverage. Jungkook stumbles back and Jimin shudders as he inhales. “Asshole.”

Jungkook smiles, taking a step forward. “Come here,” he says, beckoning him forward as he moves toward the mattress. It takes a moment for Jimin to follow, but when he does Jungkook catches his hand and drags him down. They collapse onto the mattress and Jungkook rolls over to pin Jimin down, arms cocooning him, face buried into his neck. His lips rest right over Jimin’s mating gland and he so wishes Jungkook would just bite him.

Neither of them move or speak for a long while, Jimin reaching up to stroke along his spine. He feels as though the world has been lifted from his shoulders, his heart lighter than a feather as he listens to the softness of Jungkook’s breathing.

Part of him doesn’t want to interrupt this silence. It’s the first silence in ages that he’s been comfortable with, thankful for. But he’s curious about so much, suddenly needing to know everything about Jungkook and his pack.

Jimin licks at his lips, just a bit nervous as he calls Jungkook’s name. At first, Jungkook doesn’t respond. Jimin wonders if he’s asleep when he doesn’t even budge, but then he hums and props himself up on his elbows.

“Why do you want revenge so bad?” he asks, choking on his words when Jungkook’s brows furrow. “Is that really why you’re out here or did you just… wanna get away from me?”

Jungkook inhales deep, then rolls onto his back to stare up at the ceiling. He just stares, expressionless, and he speaks. “It wasn’t to get away from you…”

Maybe it’s wrong to feel relieved, but that’s exactly how Jimin feels hearing those words. He stares up as well, following Jungkook’s gaze, hand twitching beside him and aching to reach out.

“I know what he did to you—what they all did to you—but I feel like there’s more to it,” Jimin continues, rolling onto his side to watch the other alpha now. “You’re a selfless person, Jungkook, so I imagine you’re doing this more for your old mate than yourself. You don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to. But I want to understand… finally. You deserve the same kindness you showed me when I told you about Namjoon.”

More silence. Jimin waits. Then Jungkook swallows and says, “I found them. Yesterday, I found where they moved to. And I wanted to rush in there and just… kill them all. Every single one of them for what they did to us—what they let happen to us. But I didn’t go because I’m… I’m honestly not sure what I would actually do.”

He breathes in deep again.

“Would I actually kill them? Not all of them deserve it. Some of them do. Hell, maybe they all do and it’s just a matter of who deserves it more.” He rambles at the ceiling, jaw tense as Jimin reaches over to rest a hand on his chest. Again, he breathes in, and finally answers the question. “Hongchol. That’s the name of the alpha. He always hated me and always wanted—”

He seems to choke on his words, eyes squeezing shut. Jimin curls his hand into his shirt, reminding him that he’s here, he’s with him and he’s okay.

“Hwayoung.” Jungkook’s eyes flutter open. “My mate. He always wanted her and I guess… I guess that was part of what drove him to turn everyone against me. I wasn’t even any kind of official leader. We didn’t really have anything like that. People just sort of looked to me naturally… I have no idea why. But that just fueled his rage when people started relying on me.

“So he started turning the pack against me, one by one, filling their heads with lies until they would blindly follow his sick plan to “overthrow” me. One night, they all came and dragged me and Hwayoung out of our home. They split us up. You’ve seen my scars, so you know what they did to me. I don’t know what they did to her during that time… but this went on for days until one night they dragged her out to where I was.

“She hated Hongchol. Always did. Always rejected him. She chose me over him but he never gave up, always lusted after her. So as I hung there, chained up, unable to help her, he took what she would never willingly give him. And all I could do was scream at him through the haze, through the blur from the pain. Even when I try to face it I can’t really— But I know no one else even tried to help her. They just turned a blind eye…”

His words falter, tears springing into his eyes. He closes them again, palms pressing down to smother the tears out. Jimin can only watch as he falls apart, his hand still splayed across his chest. It hurts just to see him like this, just to hear the story, so he can’t even begin to imagine how it felt to experience it.

“I’m sorry. Jungkook, I’m so sorry,” he whispers. It’s the best he can offer, though he wishes he could do so much more.

“I’m not the one who deserves an apology. She is. I failed her.” Jungkook sounds broken, shattered. “I couldn’t save her that night and I couldn’t save her when he ended her life. She would never bow down to him, no matter what he took from her, defiant until the very end.”

Jungkook pauses to regain his composure, lips pressed into a thin line, eyes shining.

“When he got sick of it, he killed her. No hesitation, no remorse. Not for her life, not for the life of the child growing inside her. He just ended it all because he couldn’t have what he wanted. He just—”

And his voice stops entirely, cut off by a choked sob. He rolls away from Jimin, sitting up at the edge of the mattress, head down and face in his hands as he cries. Jimin reaches out to him, just out of reach with his shaking shoulders and trembling hands.

Jimin watches Jungkook from across the mattress, an emptiness in his chest. He always knew the horrors of living in a pack, the lawlessness and the alpha mentality that seems to leave scars on everyone around them. Jimin knew at least some of what happened to Jungkook before coming to the city, but he never imagined what happened to his mate or that he would have to witness it, helpless.

His heart aches as he watches Jungkook struggle to hold back tears. He doesn’t know what to say, what to do. What can be done? He’s already fucked up by pushing Jungkook too far and Jimin’s never been good at consoling others. He shouldn’t have asked. Or maybe he should have. Maybe Jungkook needed to talk about it even if it hurts.

But that doesn’t change the fact that Jimin can’t find the words to console him now, that he’s helpless, at the mercy of Jungkook’s tears. “Jungkook—”

“How long does it take?”

Jimin blinks at the sudden question, puzzlement in his eyes as he stares at the back of Jungkook’s head, itching to reach out to him but resisting. “How long does what take?”

“For…” Jungkook swallows hard, staring down at his feet, keeping his back to Jimin so he can’t see the wetness on his cheeks. “For it to stop hurting. Before you can let it go, move on.”

Jimin takes a deep breath, those words hitting him like a train, making his heart ache. He’s not good at this, he’s not good with words. Jimin is good at sex, good at pushing feelings down and fucking away his troubles. Not facing them head on. But that’s not what Jungkook needs right now. He needs comfort. He needs words.

“I think it depends on the person,” Jimin says, licking his lips as he ponders the question. He has the answer—for once he actually knows how to help Jungkook—he’s just not sure how to voice it properly, in a way that won’t make Jungkook hurt more. “I won’t lie to you, you can never completely erase the pain of having a loved one taken from you. Even if you stop hurting one day, the memory of that pain remains. The memory of them remains. You just have to learn to rule over that pain, not let it keep you down. You have to… always remember that they wouldn’t want you to hurt for them forever. She wouldn’t want that, would she?”

Jungkook’s fists clench, pressed over his eyes again. “She would want me to be happy.”

“And that’s the best way you can honor her. Caring for yourself the way she would.” Jimin swallows hard, glancing over at Jungkook again. “I’ve tried to do that for Namjoon. I know he would want me to. And of course I still love him—I think a part of me always will—and sometimes I still feel angry that I couldn’t save him but… he wasn’t angry with me for not saving him. As a matter of fact, he asked me not to. So why am I so angry at myself for it?”

He twists his hands into the blankets, staring down at them, his heart feeling heavy.

“He’s gone and I’ve accepted that by now. That much I can promise will happen. One day, you will be able to accept it. And one day you’ll probably learn to forgive yourself. Because you deserve that, Jungkook. You deserve forgiveness. I’m sure she’s already forgiven you, wherever it is that people go after they pass… and one day I think you’ll feel okay again. Maybe there will always be that missing part from you but it won’t hurt so bad. It’ll be a memory, but not a scar. I think.” Jimin purses his lips together. “I hope.”

Jungkook takes in a shaky breath, shoulders rising and falling, his head hung low. He’s silent for a long while, as if contemplating Jimin’s words. And then, “Am I wrong for loving you even when I still miss her?”

Jimin feels a clenching in his chest at those words. Loving you. He’s come to terms by now that he loves Jungkook, but to hear that Jungkook really does feel the same…

He swallows hard, choking down these ridiculous tears before they can spring forward.

“No. No, it’s okay to love again, Jungkook,” he says, voice soft, quiet. “I know it hasn’t been as long for you as it has been since I lost Namjoon but… I wish I had known sooner that I was allowed to love someone else. Even now, I—” Jimin chokes, pressing his palms over his eyes. He’s never talked about this. Ever. Not once. “I find myself missing him… wondering if I deserve to love you when I couldn’t even save him. I know exactly what you’re feeling right now, Jungkook. And it’s okay. It’s okay to feel that way. It’s okay for us to feel this way about each other.”

Jungkook doesn’t move a muscle, hunched over at the side of the mattress, and Jimin slowly lowers his hands from his own face, gathers the courage to finally reach out.

“It’s okay if you love me,” he whispers, voice trembling. “And it’s okay that I love you.”

“How…” Jungkook trembles as he tries once again to breathe in. “How can you love me… knowing what you know?”

Jimin furrows his brows. “What do you mean?”

“Knowing what happened… what he did to her and how I— I didn’t do anything. I didn’t save her. I just—” His breathing speeds up, growing more rapid with every word, and his fingers tangle into his hair. “I— I let it happen. It’s my fault— I should have done something. But I couldn’t— I let it happen. I’m just as bad as him—”

No.” It comes out harsher that Jimin intends, but it does the job. It stops Jungkook from saying anymore, from going down a path that should never be walked. “Jungkook, you are nothing like that piece of shit. Don’t ever compare yourself to him. I know you. You would never do anything like that to anyone.”

Jungkook ducks his head, arms crossed on his knees, knees curled almost to his chest, burying his face away where Jimin can no longer see him. Jimin reaches out, hesitant, careful.

He wonders just how repressed the memories of that night truly are. Jungkook seems to remember most of it, but the emotions and the trauma that comes with it somehow seems to be locked away inside him, clawing their way out only now.

“I know it hurts… I know that sometimes it’s too much but… I’m here. I’m here to listen to you, to everything you have to say.” He just barely touches Jungkook’s shoulder as if testing him, checking how he’ll respond. “What you saw, Jungkook, what you suffered through… you’ll go crazy trying to bury something like that down. Trust me, I know that feels like the easier way to go but I… I think you probably know from watching me that it doesn’t work forever.”

Jungkook only shakes his head, keeping it tucked down in his arms. “Jimin, I— I can’t— You don’t—” He takes a deep breath, raspy and broken as he holds back tears. “I can’t. I can’t make myself forget it but I can’t let myself remember. If I even try to think of it—” His whole body tenses, fists clenching tighter, and Jimin can hear him curse under his breath.

“You don’t have to. Not right now. Jungkook…” Jimin licks his lips, the hand on Jungkook’s shoulder squeezing ever so slightly. “It takes time. You do… whatever you have to do to get through tonight. And I’ll be here. I’ll be here for you, no matter what.”

Jimin’s fingers brush over the back of Jungkook’s neck, making the younger alpha shiver at the touch, and then he crawls closer. Jungkook leans into his touch, Jimin’s hand sliding up his back, the other reaching around to splay across his chest. His lips find Jungkook’s neck, kissing along it, hot breath warming his skin, and he holds him. Just holds him until his shaking eases, until his heart stops pounding, until he can breathe in without almost choking on the cold air.

He leans into Jimin’s embrace, eyes closed, wet tracks down his cheeks as Jimin kisses his jaw. It pulls Jungkook from the past, brings him to here and now and all he can feel is Jimin.

“Jungkook,” he tugs at the younger, dragging him down onto mattress, “it’s okay.” Jimin breathes in deep, breathes in Jungkook as he sprawls out beside him. Jimin holds him tight, tighter than he ever has before, like he’s expecting him to vanish any second now and he refuses to let it happen.

They don’t move, they don’t let go. Jimin listens to Jungkook’s breathing as it slows, feels his hand curl into the back of his shirt. And after several long, silent minutes, Jungkook whispers Jimin’s name, tugging on him as he rolls onto his back.

Jimin instinctively throws a leg over to straddle Jungkook, hands on his chest as he stares down at him. Jungkook trails a hand up his stomach and chest, up to brush his thumb along his throat and over his mating gland.

Dark eyes stare up at him, gentle hands holding his waist, but he seems hesitant, conflicted, like he isn’t sure if it’s right to want Jimin at a time like this but he wants him anyway. And then a hand comes up to cup Jimin’s nape, dragging him down into a kiss that Jimin is more than happy to lean into.

He can hear Jungkook whisper his name, fingers dancing up into his hair, lips soft and slow against his, and he tastes tears. Jungkook pauses, taking in a shaky breath before he whispers again, this time three words Jimin never realized he wanted to hear so badly. “I love you.”

And with that, Jimin knows there’s no going back now. He would follow Jungkook to the end of the world if that’s what he asked of him.

He falls into the kiss, Jungkook tugging at him, pulling at him, desperate for the touch he’s been deprived of for so long. Maybe this isn’t the time or the place or the way this should be happening but Jimin can’t help himself, and Jungkook can’t seem to either, and he loves him. Jimin loves him, and Jungkook…

Jungkook actually loves him, too. And for now—for this moment—despite whatever else has happened or may happen, this is all that matters.

Jimin presses deeper, lips parting, tongue prodding at Jungkook’s for entrance, his hand searching blindly for his bag. Ridiculous to bring this with him, maybe, but he knows them a little too well, knew there was a possibility of this happening. So he pulls out the little bottle of clear liquid he had brought with him, Jungkook too distracted with his kisses to even notice.

Heavy breaths hang in the air as they strip each other bare, the cold of the house chilling them until Jimin drags the blankets up around his shoulders, trapping the heat of their bodies within.

His hand clasps the bottle of lube, slicking up his fingers and reaching for his own hole, two fingers pressing in as he kisses down Jungkook’s throat. He feels a hand push at his chest, push him back as he impatiently pushes a third finger inside himself, Jungkook stroking his own cock, getting himself hard for Jimin.

There’s just as much need in Jungkook’s eyes as Jimin feels in himself as he fucks himself open. Jimin doesn’t need words to know what Jungkook wants, knows it from the way Jungkook watches him tip his head back, gasping at the stretch of his own hole, catching his own lip between his teeth to muffle his voice.

The younger alpha cards one hand through his hair, over his nape, the other sliding down his back to squeeze his ass as Jimin dives down to sink into another kiss. His other hand trails over Jungkook’s chest, over the lines of his abs, lips searing against lips. Their kisses burn away the pain they’ve both suffered, even if just for the moment, and the ache in their hearts slowly slips away the more they fall into each other.

Jimin fumbles for the lube again, Jungkook’s hands trailing fire across his skin, spreading Jimin’s cheeks as his fingers sink knuckle deep. Their lips crash in sloppy kisses, his fingers sliding out of him, rushing to drench his hand in lube and get Jungkook’s cock wet and ready for him.

He can’t wait. He needs this. He needs Jungkook inside him, so he sits upright, staring down at Jungkook as he positions his cock at his entrance. Jimin doesn’t hesitate to lower himself onto it, steady hand guiding it inside. He drops himself onto the thick length, ignoring the slight burn as he bottoms out, no patience to let himself adjust even the slightest.

Hands grip at his thighs, hard enough to press bruises there, Jungkook’s hips bucking up as soon as he’s inside Jimin. Neither of them can wait and Jimin can’t bring himself to care about the discomfort. He knows it will pass soon enough. All he cares about is that he has Jungkook inside him again.

Jungkook sighs as the wet warmth around him, eyes closing as Jimin rides him, wasting no time in picking up their usual brutal pace. Jimin may be terrible with feelings but he’s good at this. He can’t wrap his mind around the words he needs to comfort Jungkook, but this much he can do for him; he can make him forget as he fucks himself onto his cock, thighs flexing on either side, his walls tight around him, unused, unfucked since the day he left.

And if Jimin’s honest, this isn’t only for Jungkook. He likes the way Jungkook feels inside him, he likes when he shoves his knot into him, locking them together, and the sensation of Jungkook coming in his ass, over and over and over until he’s trembling against Jimin. He likes the heat of Jungkook’s skin, the taste of his sweat in the crook of his neck. He especially likes the way Jungkook moans his name, the way he sounds so needy, like Jimin’s the only person in the world that can make him feel this way.

He likes the way Jungkook looks like this, and Jimin commits the sight to memory. Whatever happens in the morning, at least Jimin will have this, he’ll have the memory of Jungkook staring up at him with hooded eyes, hand pushing his hair out of his eyes so he has a clear view of Jimin riding him. He’ll have the way Jungkook pushes and pulls at him, the way he tugs him forward to kiss him again.

For tonight, Jimin deserts his need for control entirely. He lets Jungkook flip them both over, pressing Jimin hard into the mattress, pinning his hands down, his legs spread wide to fit Jungkook comfortably between them. He closes his eyes and revels in the feeling of Jungkook fucking into him with reckless abandon, slamming into his prostrate, ripping long moans and cries of ecstasy from his lips, all of which he swallows down with harsh kisses against Jimin’s lips.

Even though Jungkook is far from ready for another rut, Jimin can feel his knot forming, swelling, and something about that makes his heart pound at a dangerous pace. That Jungkook, whether he realizes it or not, wants to breed him, that fucking Jimin is making his most primal instinct kick in even without a rut or omega pheromones.

As Jimin feels the stretch of his hole around that knot when Jungkook almost pushes it inside of him, he almost regrets that he can never give Jungkook what his body so desperately wants, that he can never be bred, he’ll never satisfy what this knot inside him craves.

But he can swear himself to Jungkook. Fuck ever being able to breed, fuck what the world says about them being together, fuck the horrors of their past trying to tear them apart. Jimin hasn’t felt this way for someone in far too long. Fuck where Jungkook wants to go after this—whether it’s back to the city, back to his pack, to that town—Jimin’s going to stay with him. He’s meant to be by Jungkook’s side. He knows that now.

So Jimin tips his head back as Jungkook fucks him, exposing his throat. “Jungkook—” He sucks in a shaky breath, his hands breaking free of Jungkook’s grasp to cling to his shoulders. “Please,” he whispers as Jungkook stares down at him, slowly leaning down to press his lips against Jimin’s neck, inhaling his scent.

There’s hesitation there—not because he doesn’t want this, but because he can’t bring himself to do it unless Jimin’s absolutely certain.

“Are you sure?” Jungkook asks against his skin, and Jimin nods, a little frantic as the younger’s hips come to a stop, cock still in Jimin’s ass, knot pressed up against his rim.

Jimin clings to him, tight, nails digging and cutting into his back. “Yes, Jungkook— Fuck, you know I wouldn’t ask if I wasn’t sure.” He pushes Jungkook back, just enough to look into his eyes. “Look at me. I want you. Forever. Mate me. Make me yours. I want you to.”

Jungkook stares down at him, panting harsh breaths across his face, skin hot and sweat rolling down his temple. His knot pulses and begs to be shoved inside Jimin.

“It’s okay,” Jimin says, one hand curling into Jungkook’s hair, eyes watering. He’s not sure if the tears are simply from the ache of being fucked so hard after so long or if it’s more than that, but he doesn’t dwell on it. Jungkook’s eyes pierce into his, a desire there to sink his teeth into Jimin and maybe the tiniest bit of doubt still. Doubt that he’s allowed to feel this way for Jimin. “I love you.”

“Jimin,” Jungkook whispers, thumb caressing his cheekbone, stroking along it. His hips begin to move again, slow and steady, rocking Jimin against the mattress, their lips ghosting against each other. “I love you.” His mouth trails back to his gland, pressing a kiss there. “I love you.”

And his teeth sink in, Jimin jerking slightly at the sharp sting in his neck. His fingers dig into Jungkook’s back and all he can do is pull him impossibly closer, moaning as he grinds his hips up against Jungkook’s. He feels like his entire body goes into shock, the world going black around him for just a moment as a shock of pain shoots through his neck, lessened only by the way Jungkook’s hand finds his and presses it into the mattress, tangled tight, fingers intertwined, squeezing until Jimin’s hand almost feels numb.

Jimin trembles against Jungkook as his jaw unlocks from Jimin’s throat, arms twisting around the smaller alpha and engulfing him in a warm embrace. He peppers kisses over Jimin’s throat, tongue laving over the bruise he left behind.

Jimin slides his hands up into Jungkook’s hair and tugs him back. “Let me,” he gasps out, and Jungkook obeys immediately. He sits upright, lifting Jimin with him to rest in his lap, sitting on his cock. “Knot me, Jungkook. Want your knot inside me when I mate you. Please.”

Jungkook just nods, seeming incapable of catching his breath as he fucks up into Jimin again, holding his hips tight to keep him steady. He tips his head back, pulse racing beneath Jimin’s lips. With a particularly harsh snap of his hips, his cock sinking deep inside Jimin, Jimin bites

There’s no hesitation in his movements. He dives into Jungkook’s throat, sinking into the gland and marking him, riding his cock as he does. His hands pulls painfully at the younger’s hair and Jungkook moans, nails dragging angry, red lines down Jimin’s back, cutting crescents into his hips before moving to his thighs to grip him and he shoves his knot up inside him.

Jimin’s teeth release the gland, his head snapping back as the sudden pressure and stretch of Jungkook’s knot, his thick cock nuzzling up against his prostate, warm come splashing up inside him. And then Jimin leans forward, pressing his forehead to Jungkook’s as he comes too, untouched, his cock twitching between them, ropes of white decorating their stomachs.

They’re both shaking, weak as they grasp onto each other. Jungkook leans forward, Jimin falling back onto the mattress. They stay locked together by Jungkook’s knot, and maybe simply by the need to be close to each other.

Jimin has no idea what to expect, being bonded to a mate now. He doesn’t know how he should feel or if he should even feel any different. But it doesn’t matter. What matters is that he’s here and he’s with Jungkook and he’s his. He and Jungkook are bonded to each other now by the marks on their necks and so much more.

With a trembling voice and weak hands running along Jungkook’s arms, Jimin whispers, “I’ll go with you.”

Jungkook leans back, staring down at Jimin in disbelief. “What?”

“Tomorrow.” Jimin summons what little strength and energy he has left to his voice. “To your pack. I’ll go with you and we’ll demand a fair fight between you and this alpha. Most packs have some kind of honor system, right? That’s how they function. We’ll play on that honor to demand a one-on-one fight. You think you can beat him, right?”

“Yeah, as long as the rest of the pack doesn’t team up on me like last time.”

“They won’t.” Jimin brushes his fingers along Jungkook’s cheek. “I’ll make sure of that.”

“Jimin, you don’t have to do this,” Jungkook says, but Jimin silences him with a finger over his lips.

“I do, actually,” Jimin tells him, a tired smile gracing his lips. “This is what you want. You’re my mate now, which means I’m with you no matter what.”

Jimin sucks in an anxious breath, eyes closing as Jungkook’s lips brush against his, not quite kissing him just yet.

“If you go, I go. Jungkook… I love you.”

And then lips crash against his again, a weight behind these kisses that’s never been there before, something driving the passion deeper into every fiber of their beings, into every break and crack in their hearts, healing them.

They’re in this together now, as they always were without ever realizing it. But now they know they can count on each other through anything. Jimin meant what he said.

Wherever Jungkook goes, he goes.

Chapter Text

 

The morning after stands silent and still in the shadow of what’s to come. Jimin has his plan, but packs are unpredictable. There’s always a chance that no matter what they do, Hongchol might order the pack to rip them to shreds anyway. Jimin tells himself he’s okay with whatever happens, as long as he faces it with Jungkook.

He stares at himself in a shattered mirror, tipping his head to the side to look at his neck, the bruise in the shape of Jungkook’s teeth. His fingers run over the mark, his chest feeling almost too full.

It was obvious the instant he woke up. He could feel Jungkook beside him on the mattress, but somehow he could feel the warmth of his own body beside Jungkook too, as if experiencing it from Jungkook’s perspective. His body hasn’t stopped tingling all morning, a strange prickling in the tips of his fingers whenever Jungkook would touch something elsewhere in the room. He can feel everything Jungkook feels, feel his heart beating (faster than Jimin’s, nervous), and his lungs overflow with the breaths they both take.

“It’s not always like this,” Jungkook tells him, Jimin’s eyes drifting up to watch his reflection in the mirror. He leans in the doorway, smiling when Jimin brushes his thumb over his mark again. “It’s the strongest for the first few days, then it sort of fades. A little bit. You get used to it, then you don’t really notice it unless you think about it. Or if something’s wrong. It always tells you if your mate is hurting.”

Jungkook steps up behind him, sliding his hands along his arms. He leans in to press a kiss to the side of Jimin’s neck, Jimin reaching up to hold onto his hands, fingers lacing together.

“You don’t regret it, do you?” Jungkook asks, kissing behind his ear now.

Jimin shakes his head. “No. No, not at all.” He closes his eyes as Jungkook’s head rests on his shoulder. He can feel Jungkook’s heart beating against his back, as well as somehow feeling it inside his own chest, right beside his own heart. “You?”

Jungkook hums a soft “no” against his skin, kissing along his shoulder now. His arms slip around Jimin’s middle, holding him tight, and Jimin’s inclined to just stay here. Maybe it’s the afterglow of bonding with someone but Jimin suddenly feels carefree, untouchable, like he could take on the world. They’re invincible like this.

“This is really strange,” he says, letting his head fall to the side against Jungkook’s. “I never guessed that finding a mate would make you feel… drunk.”

There’s a quiet laugh from Jungkook. He looks up, chin propped on Jimin to watch him in the mirror again. “Yeah, I guess it sort of does.”

Jimin wonders, as his eyes meet with Jungkook’s, if it feels as strong this time as it did with his first mate. Then his mind wanders where it never should; if bonding with someone affects them this strongly, how painful must it be when your mate dies? Just imagining Jungkook being ripped from his hands makes Jimin feel sick and empty. How did Jungkook survive actually experiencing that? It must have felt like half his soul had been ripped from his very body.

He doesn’t ask. Jimin lets the question fade before it even reaches his tongue, refusing to sully the last few moments of peace they have before they march into a potential war with nothing but a two man army.

“You know, you really don’t have to do this,” Jungkook says, so Jimin reaches back to pinch him. The younger alpha jumps away with a laugh. Jimin just shakes his head at him. “Seriously, this isn’t your battle. You don’t have to go with me.”

“Bullshit.” Jimin spins around to face him. “Yes, I do. I told you, where you go, I go. That’s the point of a bond, right? We have each other’s backs through everything.”

Jungkook places his hands on either side of Jimin’s face, a fondness in his eyes that even a fool couldn’t miss. Jimin wonders exactly when Jungkook realized his own feelings, and he questions how he didn’t realize sooner. He always mistook the way Jungkook looked at him simply as lust. Maybe there’s been more there for longer than he knows.

“You’ve changed a lot since we met,” Jungkook says, and Jimin raises a brow at him. “Or is this just the post-bonding haze talking right now?”

Jimin rolls his eyes as he pushes Jungkook away. “Get outta here. We need to get moving.”

“Jimin, you don’t—”

“If you tell me one more time,” Jimin starts, pointing a dangerous finger at Jungkook as he stops in the doorway, “that I don’t have to do this, your old pack won’t even get a chance to kick your ass because I’ll be doing it myself.”

Another laugh from Jungkook as Jimin brushes past him. “Okay, still a little bit of the Jimin I met in the bar months ago.”

“Oh, he’s still here,” Jimin assures him as he packs up his blankets, tossing them at Jungkook, who just lets them fall to the floor as he grins. Jimin hasn’t seen him this playful in awhile, so happy and carefree. He wishes they could just walk away from this whole plan. If there’s anything that can steal this joy away from Jungkook it’s facing the alpha that took everything from him.

Jimin keeps smiling back at him, despite his troublesome thoughts.

“Trust me, the old Jimin is here and ready if you get on my nerves,” he tells Jungkook, then lowers his voice to mumble his next sentence, glancing away from Jungkook. “That Jimin just tends to calm down a bit when he’s in love.”

Jungkook stares at him, his jaw hanging open wide, the corners of his mouth still turned up. “Wow.” He chuckles, and Jimin feels his face burning red with annoyance. “That’s the sappiest thing anyone’s ever said to me—”

“Shut up,” Jimin grumbles, swooping down to grab the blankets, but Jungkook grabs them at the same time, using them to pull Jimin close. Jimin stands on the mattress, making him just a tad taller than Jungkook now, and he glares down at him with eyes narrowed into slits. “You’re a little shit.” He wrinkles his nose at the other alpha as he brushes his fingers over Jimin’s cheek. “I hate you so much sometimes—”

“I love you.”

Any other time, Jimin would hate being interrupted, but right now he just melts into Jungkook’s arms. The blankets flatten between them as Jimin leans into a kiss. It’s nothing like what they did last night, still passionate but with a serenity surrounding it now, more of a gentle brush of their lips than anything else.

Jimin stays perfectly still when Jungkook breaks the kiss, keeping their lips close but not quite touching. He memorizes Jungkook’s scent—suddenly so much stronger and more prominent than it ever was before—and tries to find the perfect words to describe the feeling in his chest as Jungkook’s nose bumps his.

“I love you, too,” Jimin says, words he never thought he would utter ever again in his lifetime. He wonders if Jungkook felt the same when he lost his last mate, if he thought he would never find anyone to love again. “Are you sure you’re ready for this?”

“I’m sure.” Jungkook gives him a smile, taking the blankets from his arms and stepping back. “It’ll be okay. We’re both gonna make it out alive and then…” He licks his lips, losing himself in his own thoughts. He breathes in deep. “Then we’ll figure out what to do next.”

What to do next… Where to go, he means, whether or not they’ll return to the city or find somewhere else to live out their days together.

Jimin knows that he’s already made that choice by bonding with Jungkook. They can’t live in the city. Still, wherever they go next, they do have to return at least long enough to gather their friends. The more he thinks about it, the more he realizes they are all that he would miss about that place. But now isn’t the time to talk about that. Right now they need to focus on their immediate path, the challenge of avenging Jungkook’s mate.

Jimin reaches out, pulling Jungkook back again, an overpowering need to feel him close just once more before they leave taking over. He touches Jungkook’s cheek, the tiniest of smiles playing across his lips as his mate goes still, staring back at him, letting him trace an outline of his face. His fingers trail down, down to Jungkook’s neck, stopping to swipe his thumb over the mark he left last night.

“That’ll fade too,” Jungkook says, reaching up to take hold of Jimin’s hand, clasping it against his chest. “Over time. The mark, I mean, but the bond stays. Unless something… happens… to one of us.”

“I know how bonds work, dumbass,” Jimin says with a breathy chuckle, letting Jungkook hold his hand tighter, splaying Jimin’s fingers across his chest. Jimin can feel his heart beating beneath his palm. “Just because I’ve never mated doesn’t mean I’m clueless.”

Jungkook chuckles, flattening his hand over Jimin’s, the other cupping his throat to touch that mark again. “Sorry, I just…” He smiles, then shakes his head at himself. “Just being stupid.”

Jimin hums, his other hand hand circling to hold behind Jungkook’s nape. “And as for anything happening to us, I wouldn’t worry about that. You’re stuck with me now,” he says, giving Jungkook a tender tug forward into a chaste kiss. “Let’s get moving.”

With a nod, Jungkook slips away and leads the way out of the building, out to where Jimin parked the truck in the barn. The wind has settled since last night, so the world around them sits quiets as they throw everything in the back, shut it, and climb into the front seat. Jimin reaches beneath his seat, fishing for something as Jungkook watches him with curious eyes.

Jimin’s fingers close around something cold and he digs the object out, raising it where Jungkook can see. He had been so caught up in finding Jungkook last night he had forgotten this out here.

“Jimin…” Jungkook sighs, and Jimin gives him a questioning glance. “A gun? Seriously?”

“Just a backup plan,” Jimin promises, waving the weapon slightly before tucking it beneath his seat again. He reaches across the seat to take hold of Jungkook’s hand. “We’ll only use that as a last resort. However it happens, the motherfucker who did this to you is dying. Today.”

Jungkook says nothing, just grips Jimin’s hand harder, a brief squeeze before they pull out of the barn. Jungkook directs Jimin down the road, toward the abandoned lodge he last caught sight of his pack in.

Jimin drives with an anxious heart and a head full of worries. But he doesn’t let it slow him down. To hell with whatever happens once they reach that place. No one gets away with terrorizing Jungkook—haunting him like this—while Jimin is alive to do something about it.

 

-α-

 

They stand close at each other’s sides, Jimin’s hand brushing over Jungkook’s back, their brand new bond still urging them to stay as near one another as possible. It begs them to hold on, makes their skin crawl when they part.

Jimin seems tense, despite the confidence he had in this plan before. Jungkook can sense it, though Jimin continuously denies it. He hasn’t learned yet that having a mate means that mate can feel his emotions. Jungkook knows exactly what the older alpha feels in his heart, no matter what he tells him.

He’s worried. He fears for Jungkook.

Jungkook wonders if Jimin can sense the fondness the younger feels in his own heart. He deserves to know how loved he is.

If Jungkook is honest, he’s worried too, mostly for Jimin. Jungkook knows his pack, he knows Hongchol and what he’s capable of. He’ll gladly take and ruin everything that means anything to Jungkook. If this plan goes wrong—can this even be called a plan?—he’s afraid of what Hongchol might do. To both of them, but mostly to Jimin.

He wishes Jimin would just return to that little farmhouse and wait for him. At least that way if this fails, Jungkook is the only one in harm’s way. Then again, with their new bond Jungkook’s drive to survive has heightened itself, his natural instinct telling him he needs to live to protect his mate. Not that Jimin needs protection. He’s perfectly capable of taking care of himself, but Jungkook can’t stop himself from feeling this way.

They wander through the forest, eyes watching carefully ahead of them. Voices echo between the trees and they know they’re getting close. Jungkook can feel both their hearts leap up in their throats, anxious.

Jimin slows down, falling behind as Jungkook sidles up behind a large tree, peering around it toward the little cluster of buildings tucked away in the hills. Behind him he can hear Jimin checking the gun, making sure it’s ready to fire if needed.

He can see people moving between ramshackle buildings and memories of his pack come flooding back to him, memories of that night and so many nights before. He remembers when everything was still okay, before Hongchol. That pack was like his family and they turned a blind eye the one moment he needed them most.

Maybe his fight is with them even more than it is with Hongchol.

“Jungkook,” Jimin calls him back, stepping right up to him as he turns around, his back pressed to the tree. “Whatever happens,” he says, his thumb brushing over Jungkook’s mark, “I’m with you. Okay?”

Jungkook nods, taking hold of Jimin’s hand and kissing it, then leaning forward to peck him on the lips. “Stick close to me, alright?”

“No place I’d rather be,” Jimin says, then steps forward to give Jungkook another kiss. “Let’s go give this piece of shit what he deserves.”

Pushing away from the tree, Jimin’s hand on his back, Jungkook turns to face the pack, feet carrying him across soft dirt. Twigs snap beneath them, no intent to stay quiet anymore. There’s no sneaking here, no need to hide.

With Jimin beside him, Jungkook waltzes right up to a clearing between the buildings, the pack noticing him one by one and standing on guard, others gathering in the central area to stare at him with wide eyes.

One of them, a small omega boy called Sejun, a few years younger than Jungkook, rushes up to them. He keeps his voice low and quiet as he stops in front of the two alphas. “Jungkook, what are you doing here? You can’t be here. Hongchol gave orders to have you killed on sight if you ever showed up again.”

Jungkook glances at the rest of the pack, all seeming too dumbfounded by his presence to actually carry out that order. “I don’t see anyone following it.”

“That’s because they can’t believe you would be stupid enough to come back here—”

“Get Hongchol. Bring him out here.” Jungkook casts Jimin a glance as he steps up beside him, the gun concealed beneath his jacket. When the omega does nothing, Jungkook barks out the order again, “Hongchol. Now. I have unfinished business with him.”

Sejun stares up at Jungkook with wide eyes, hand pushing through his hair. “Just… wait here.” He glances around at the pack, all looking ready to pounce, their eyes on the two alphas. “Nobody touch them. Either of them.”

His eyes drift from Jungkook’s eyes to his neck, lingering on the mark there, then over to the bite on Jimin’s neck. He shakes his head, sighing as he turns away, pushing his way through a few betas on his way toward one of the cabins.

Jimin leans in close to Jungkook, lips at his ear and eyes on the pack. “Why is an omega giving the orders around here?”

“Probably one of Hongchol’s mates now.” Jungkook watches the boy disappear inside. He brushes his fingers over the back of Jimin’s hand, then slips his own hand into it. “He likes to keep a lot of mates around. Wouldn’t be a problem… if it wasn’t for the fact that he treats them all like trash.”

“Fucker,” Jimin grumbles, jaw taut. Jungkook can feel the angry boiling up inside of the other alpha, overflowing into him through their bond. “I haven’t even seen him and I wanna rip him apart, limb from limb—”

“Jimin…” Jungkook slides his hand up the other alpha’s arm. “It’s okay. We’re not here to kill anyone. We’re just—”

A harsh laugh cuts across the open space, pulling their attention to the alpha coming down the steps of that cabin, smug smirk on his lips. He throws his arms out to his sides in greeting, head shaking in disbelief. “I am honestly amazed at you, Jeon Jungkook,” Hongchol says, his omegas in tow as he approaches the two alphas. “I didn’t think you even survived the winter after you ran away.”

Jungkook doesn’t respond, looking past Hongchol at the three omegas, Sejun nowhere to be seen now. No doubt left behind in the cabin, awaiting some kind of punishment for overruling the order to kill Jungkook on sight.

“You must have a death wish coming back here, kiddo.” Hongchol steps forward, his attention turning to Jimin now. His eyes drift down his throat, his lips curling into a leering grin. “Really, Jungkook? I always knew you were a pushover, but I never thought you’d stoop as low as letting another alpha shove his dick in you.”

“At least I don’t have to frighten and force people into bonding with me,” Jungkook shoots back, and Hongchol just laughs.

“At least I have kept all of my mates alive.”

With a snarl, Jungkook lunges forward, but Jimin catches his arm, tugging him back. Hongchol takes a single step away, his smile faltering for a moment. Jimin keeps a tight grip on Jungkook as he glares at the pack alpha. He’s even taller than Jungkook, though significantly thinner. Jimin supposes living in the city has provided Jungkook with that advantage should they fight.

Now that he thinks about it, this whole pack looks malnourished. Hongchol’s done a much worse job of taking care of them than he would like to admit. Or maybe he keeps them this way on purpose. As thin as he is, it’s nothing in comparison to the rest of the people here. He must keep them underfed and weak so he can control them easier. Sick.

“Let me go, Jimin,” Jungkook growls, eyes still burning into Hongchol. “This is what we came here for.”

“Not with the entire pack backing him, Jungkook.” Jimin leans close, his hand on the younger’s back again, soothing him. As much as he would like to rip that smile right off Hongchol’s face, he knows they can’t. Not unless they follow the plan. Right now, the entire pack would attack if Jungkook throws the first punch.

“Jimin? That’s your name?” Hongchol asks, and Jungkook tenses further. If Hongchol even touches Jimin, he’ll kill him. That’ll be the last straw. Hongchol is never laying a hand another mate of Jungkook’s again.

Jungkook positions himself between the two of them, pushing Jimin behind himself. “Don’t even fucking look at him, Hongchol. This is between you and me.”

“Then why bring him along?” Hongchol digs, every word that he says and the tone he uses pushing Jungkook closer and closer to snapping. His muscles pull tight, ready for him to spring forward the second Hongchol moves toward Jimin again.

“Jungkook,” Jimin whispers, and he sounds like he’s trying to stay calm but Jungkook feels the fury hiding just beneath his surface as well. “Let me. He doesn’t scare me.”

It takes a long moment before Jungkook can be moved, rigid, his eyes never leaving the amused alpha before him. Jimin moves in front of him, keeping one hand behind himself to hold onto Jungkook’s. He stares Hongchol down, the same bravery as Hwayoung when she last faced him.

“So now Jungkook needs another alpha to talk for him—”

“Shut the fuck up.” Jimin spits at the other alpha’s feet. “You act pretty tough for an alpha that can’t even take care of his pack. Your people all look like I could break them with my pinky finger.”

Hongchol scoffs. “We don’t get pampered out here like you do in the cities. That’s our choice, though. We’re willing to give up that coziness for our freedom.”

“You look like you’re doing a little better for yourself,” Jimin says, cocking his head to the side in a challenge, his lips curling at one corner. “I’d be interested to see how what you consider to be fair share with your rations.”

With his arms crossed, Hongchol laughs again. “I can’t blame Jungkook for wanting you. You’re fiery. And real pretty.” He steps forward, as does Jungkook, but Jimin blocks him with one arm. “I bet he’s real soft with you, always trying to be fair, making sure you both get through your ruts without a problem.” Hongchol leans in, his hand under Jimin’s chin, and he whispers, “If you were mine, I’d be fucking you through both our ruts. You just look like you were made to be bred, not to breed someone.”

Jimin moves so fast Jungkook barely even sees it. The smaller alpha closes his hand around Hongchol’s throat and squeezes, making the pack alpha squirm and claw at his arm. The pack all start, ready to rush forward, but Hongchol manages to rasp out an order for them to stop.

With his teeth gritted, Jimin shoves the other alpha back. “Touch me again and I’ll rip your fucking cock off.” He steps back to Jungkook’s side, smirking as Hongchol rubs at his throat, unmarked. That makes Jungkook’s skin crawl. Always marking, never marked.

“The night you betrayed me,” Jungkook says, a little too fond of the way Hongchol stands bowed over, hand on his throat and a frown on his lips, “I didn’t stand a chance. You turned everyone against me, manipulated them into torturing me nearly to death, all so you could take an omega you always wanted. And when she wouldn’t give you that, you destroyed her, too. That’s all you ever do. You ruin people, you take and take and take until they have nothing left to give you. You take and you never give anything in return. Your mates…”

Jungkook gestures at all of them, looking towards Sejun where he pokes his head out the door. “All sickly and small, easy for you to control with one swing of your hand. All marked, claimed by you, but with no equal share in that claim. The point of a pack is to live without fear, to be free of the laws of the government. You’ve turned this into a dictatorship. You are exactly what packs stand against. You’ve left nothing for these people except one option: serve you in order to survive.”

Jungkook casts a glance at Jimin, his heart swelling at the fondness in his alpha’s eyes, then he looks to the pack surrounding them, to that tiny omega in the doorway again.

“You all loved Hwayoung. Everyone did. She raised half of this pack on her own, carried you all when you were ill, held your hands when you were scared. Hwayoung was respected. At least, I thought so until you let Hongchol rip her from my arms and rape her. Until you left me chained to a tree, unable to save her, and you all turned a blind eye. You all could have saved her that night—every single one of you—but you’ve always been afraid of Hongchol. Is that really how you want to live? In fear of a monster who has never deserved the loyalty you’ve given him?”

Hongchol snarls. “Don’t listen to him. He’s just trying to turn you against me. He’s manipulating you, using Hwayoung’s memory to guilt you into helping him.”

“No.” Jungkook shakes his head, unwavering as his burning gaze locks Hongchol’s. “That’s your game, Hongchol. Everyone here knows, whether they’ll admit it in front of you or not, I would never use Hwayoung like that. And I sure as hell would never hurt a single member of this pack the way you do every goddamn day.”

“Son of a bitch,” Hongchol growls. “I should have killed you that first night I got my hands on you. Grab them both.”

Jimin instantly reaches for Jungkook again, hand clasping around his wrist just before it’s wrenched away from him. Jungkook struggles against two pairs of hands dragging him back, pulling him farther from Jimin, his heart pounding, frightened. He can’t let Hongchol hurt Jimin, too. He could never forgive himself, no matter how much Jimin says he wants to be here for him. Jungkook can’t let Jimin suffer for him.

“Two against one, Jungkook,” Hongchol tsks, then looks to Jimin, also held back by another pair from the pack. “Not very honorable of you.”

“A whole pack against Hwayoung and I wasn’t very honorable either.”

Hongchol’s eyes snap back to Jungkook, a darkness in his gaze that terrifies Jungkook. Not for himself. For Jimin. “Bring me the pretty one.”

Jungkook lashes out, growling as he tries to tug himself free, watching as Jimin is dragged forward. His mate struggles against their hold, digging his heels into the ground as he’s pulled closer and closer to Hongchol, snapping at them to let go of him. Jungkook reels back against one of the men holding him, trying to catch him off balance.

“Don’t you fucking touch him!” he shouts, the back of his head cracking against one of the men’s noses. He feels one pair of hands release him and he lunges forward, only to feel someone else lock an arm around his throat.

Jimin stumbles as they push him forward, holding him in place just inches away from Hongchol, who reaches down to slip a knife from his belt. His smirk grows ever wider as the blade rises to Jimin’s throat, his eyes drifting to Jungkook.

“You never learn, do you, Jungkook?” The blade presses into the skin of Jimin’s neck, just beneath the mark Jungkook had left on him mere hours ago, pressing in just enough to draw a droplet of blood.

Jungkook screams through gritted teeth, wrenching one arm free from his captors, thrashing against them until one of them tumbles back. He can feel the sting of the blade as if he’s the one being cut instead of Jimin.

The world around him seems to vanish for a moment, just a flash of black, and then suddenly there are no hands left holding him and he’s running, rushing straight at Hongchol. The men holding Jimin release him too, both lunging forward to stop Jungkook, who collides with one of them, knocking him to the ground.

Fists fly and Jungkook can’t seem to even remember where he is as he attacks, sinking into the rage he’s always buried so deep, the part of himself that has always scared him, that he has always denied. But he needs it now. He needs this fury to help him. To help Jimin.

He feels others trying to pull at him and he blindly knocks them away, hears people shouting and fighting, but none of it pulls him back from the brink. Nothing but one voice calling his name. Jimin calling his name.

Jungkook stops, eyes snapping up to see his mate, blade at his throat again, Hongchol holding him back by his hair. Hands yank Jungkook to his feet again, his body frozen as he watches, eyes darting from the blade to Jimin’s face to Hongchol. This can’t be happening again. Not again.

“I always get what I want, Jeon,” Hongchol hisses, turning his head and leaning in close to Jimin, close enough that his lips almost brush against his ear. “You chose to learn that the hard way once before. Guess I’ll have to teach you again.”

Jungkook feels another shout building up in his throat, his body tensing and ready to fight again. He’s not letting Hongchol get away with this. Never again. Not with Jimin, not with anyone.

But then Jimin laughs. With a blade at his throat, surrounded by a pack that he and Jungkook both know won’t hesitate to kill them, he laughs.

“You’re a fucking coward,” Jimin spats at Hongchol, and the sneering alpha’s smugness drains away in an instant. “You hide behind your pack when Jungkook led them, protected them, was honored by them. You couldn’t win Hwayoung no matter how hard you tried. She only ever wanted Jungkook. It’s always Jungkook, Jungkook, Jungkook, isn’t it? You have just never… ever… been able to add up to even half the alpha he is.”

Hongchol seems to twitch at that, hand tightening in Jimin’s hair, blade cutting into him again, and Jungkook’s body pulls tight as a rubber band ready to snap. All that keeps him from lashing out again is the way Jimin’s eyes linger on his, reassurance behind them, a silent message that he’s okay, he’s got this.

“What kind of pathetic excuse for an alpha has to turn an entire pack on one person just to oust them? What, didn’t think you would be strong enough to fight him one on one?”

“Keep talking pretty boy and I will cut you up, inch by inch.”

Jimin laughs again. “You talk a big game. Prove you’re the alpha you say you are. Fight Jungkook. Just you two. No one else involved, no one else stepping in or interfering. Prove yourself, little boy.” His smile grows but his voice drops, quiet enough that only those closest will hear. “Your pack is watching you. Don’t let them see how weak you really are.”

Icy fear grips Jungkook’s heart, eyes glued to the sight before him. For a moment, he thinks it’s about to end. Hongchol looks ready to snap, seconds away from cutting Jimin down. But then, with a snarl, he lets go of his hair and shoves him forward.

“Let him go,” Hongchol says to the men holding Jungkook back. “Everyone else step back. Jungkook wants a duel.” He spins his knife around, nodding at a couple more lackeys. “Keep hold of the pretty boy. Don’t rough him up too bad.” His eyes meet Jungkook’s again. “That’ll be my job later. After I’m finished with this one.”

Whatever little control Jungkook had left trickles away and he feels himself moving forward before he even knows it, sees one of Hongchol’s mates rushing forward to stop him, panicked. He sees Jimin catch the little omega around the waist, holding her back as she screams and Jungkook collides with Hongchol.

Jungkook knocks him back, smashing him into the dirt, fist slamming into his jaw, the knife in his hand slipping from his grasp. Hongchol struggles against him, catching his shirt and tugging, trying to gain the upper hand but failing. He’s no match for Jungkook’s rage.

No match for his hatred.

No match for his need for revenge.

Hongchol has never been his equal, and he never will be. Jungkook is going to end him. Today. He can’t be allowed to live any longer. He doesn’t deserve it.

If Hwayoung can’t be here, he doesn’t deserve to be either.

There’s screaming from somewhere around them—probably Hongchol’s mates, those he’s manipulated and forced into thinking they love him, fooled into thinking he somehow cares about them. And though Jungkook would normally stop if he heard screams like that, right now he doesn’t care.

Doesn’t care if this hurts anyone else.

Hongchol has to die. Hwayoung has to be avenged.

But then a pair of hands grab the back of his shirt, yanking at him, desperately trying to drag him off of Hongchol, and that gives Hongchol all he needs to twist around and grab his knife again.

Jungkook’s back hits the ground, the air huffing from his lungs, his vision going starry for a moment. He hears Jimin shout for him, sees Hongchol bearing over him with that knife.

“Stop!” Jimin shouts, but Hongchol raises the blade, Jungkook too dazed still to react quick enough, sun glinting off the metal as it slices down toward him.

A deafening gunshot echoes around the clearing and Jungkook sees Hongchol’s eyes go wide, staring down at him, and then red blossoming across the front of his shirt. The alpha lurches slightly, dropping the knife to clap his hand over his wound, and Jungkook shoves him back without remorse.

He scrambles to his feet, stumbling back as Hongchol falls, rolling onto his back and gasping for air. Two of his mates rush to his side, but Sejun stays back, staring across the way at Jimin and Jungkook.

A hand touches Jungkook’s back and he startles at first, moving away before he sees Jimin beside him, his gun hanging loosely in his other hand.

The two brutes that had held Jimin back earlier start to converge, but Sejun calls them back, one hand raised to stop them. “Let them go,” he says, and the pack all look to him like they can’t believe their ears. “Hongchol never set official rules for the duel. That was his mistake, not theirs. And one of ours interfered and attacked Jungkook first. The other alpha was in his right to shoot, according to our pack law. They’re free to go.”

His eyes linger on Jungkook’s eyes, dark and sparkling with unshed tears. Despite what he’s doing for them, despite Hongchol’s manipulations and mistreatment of them all, it still hurts him to lose his mate. For a moment, Jungkook almost feels angry with himself for taking that away from someone, knowing how much it hurts. But he has to believe that it’s for the best. In the end, they’re all better off without Hongchol.

“Go, Jungkook,” Sejun says, tongue swiping over his lips. His gaze drops to Hongchol, as does Jungkook’s, as he gasps out one last breath before going still, a small omega girl sobbing against his chest. She looks no older than Jungkook, pale and fragile as she cries. “And don’t ever come back.”

Jungkook doesn’t move, frozen in place, eyes locked on Hongchol. All he feels is turmoil, uncertain if he’s happy that Hongchol is dead, if he regrets that he’s the one that didn’t land the killing blow, or if he just regrets everything that happened here today. In a way, he feels it all, all at once.

“Jungkook,” Jimin murmurs, soft, hand sliding down his back.

He still doesn’t budge.

“Jungkook, let’s go.” Jimin takes hold of his wrist, tugging him back. “Before they change their mind, Jungkook. Let’s go.”

Letting Jimin lead him away, Jungkook continues watching the scene unfolding before him—the pack all gathered around Hongchol, some looking angry or upset, others expressionless, others relieved, and some even meeting Jungkook’s gaze and giving him a nod of thanks.

He doesn’t turn away until that tiny omega girl raises her head from Hongchol’s still body, until her eyes lock with his and he can’t bring himself to meet them.

Jungkook spins to face Jimin, meeting his smile instead—a soft, comforting sight in terribly dark moment—and he lets his mate lead him away from the pack, back through the woods, down the hill, and away from the memories of this place, once and for all.

 

-α-

 

Their return to the city is quiet, as well as the hours that follow, sitting in Jungkook’s apartment. The younger sits half on the windowsill, one foot propped up and the other planted on the ground. He hasn’t said a word since they got back, has barely even moved.

He seems lost in thought, his mind somewhere Jimin can’t follow, though he can feel the turmoil inside the other alpha. Jimin doesn’t ask, though. Sometimes being left alone to think is what someone needs, despite how badly Jimin wants Jungkook to talk to him. So he leans in a plants a kiss to Jungkook’s temple.

“I’m gonna go down to the bar and tell the others that we’re back, okay?” he asks, and Jungkook just nods. If Jimin’s honest, Jungkook’s sudden silence frightens him, if only just a little bit. So he brushes his hand along his cheek and kisses him again, whispering against his skin, “I love you. I’ll be right back.”

Jimin waits a moment, flattening his hand over Jungkook’s hair, sliding it down the back of his neck. Part of him wants to smack the younger alpha over the head and demand that he talk. The other, more prominent side wants to drag him into bed and hold him until he opens up.

He lets his hand fall away, along with his smile as he steps back, his heart dropping as he feels sadness edging its way up and consuming Jungkook. He can think of a number of reasons Jungkook is acting this way—his pack, memories of Hwayoung, how Hongchol died, those omegas, how close they got to losing each other, coming back to the city—but he doesn’t know how to fix any of it.

“Jimin,” Jungkook says, stopping Jimin in his tracks with a hand on his wrist. The younger pushes a smile onto his lips, thumb caressing the back of Jimin’s hand. “I love you, too. Tell the others I’ll come down to see them soon.”

“Okay,” Jimin whispers as Jungkook look out the window again, and Jimin slips away, out the door.

The bar is empty this early in the day, but he knows Yoongi will likely be visiting Taehyung before work, and Hoseok will probably be with them to help open.

He steps in, greeted by four sets of surprised eyes: Hoseok, Yoongi, Taehyung, and Seokjin. There’s a long moment that no one says anything, then Taehyung lets out a sigh of relief.

“You’re back. Jungkook?”

“Upstairs, in his apartment,” Jimin assures him, a sudden ease settling over the others, even Seokjin, who Jimin wasn’t aware even knew what was going on. They must have filled him in while they were outside the city. “He’s okay,” he continues as he makes his way over to them, “just a little… lost in thought, I think. He said he would come down here to visit everyone later.”

Taehyung sighs again, reaching across the bar as Jimin leans on it to ruffle his hair. His hand stops in the air, wide eyes zeroing in on Jimin’s neck. “Oh… my god.” He glances at the others as they lean in. “Is that—?”

“Shut up,” Jimin grumbles, pushing his hand away. “Yes, it is. If you fucking try to tease about it, Tae, I swear—”

“I’m just really happy for you, honestly,” the beta says, his smile certainly backing those words. “Both of you.”

Hoseok sputters a bit, turning in circles until he finds his own jacket lying over one end of the bar. “Cover that shit up,” he says, rushing forward to fling the jacket at Jimin, who takes it with a nod and slips it on, popping the collar up to hide the mark. “Be careful, man.”

“Thanks,” he murmurs, eyes drifting over to meet Yoongi’s, his friend staring at him.

“You don’t seem too happy for someone who just found their mate,” says Yoongi, lifting a brow at him.

“I am.” Jimin licks his lips as Taehyung slides a glass of rum in front of him, which he gladly takes and knocks back in a second. “I am, I’m just… worried about Jungkook. He’s been quiet ever since we got back. I think…” He takes another drink. “I don’t know. He won’t tell me what’s on his mind.”

“He’ll come around,” Yoongi says with a shrug, but Jimin hardly hears him, staring down in his drink. “So, what happened out there?”

Jimin looks up at him, then shrugs. “I feel like that should be left up to Jungkook to tell you guys.” He rests his lips against the rim of his glass, feels his friends’ eyes on him. He takes a deep breath. “I wanna leave with Jungkook,” he says, seeing Hoseok stop in the midst of whatever he was doing.

“What?” Seokjin asks with a chuckle. “Park Jimin, sacrificing his cozy mechanic life in the city for, what, a pack life with his mate?”

“The town,” Hoseok says, nudging Seokjin. “The town I told you about. Is that what you’re thinking, Jimin?”

Jimin polishes off his drink, the glass hitting the counter, and he nods. “Yeah.”

“Are you saying this because it’s what you want?” Yoongi asks, leaning on the counter across from him. “Or because it’s what you think he wants?”

Jimin meets his eyes. “I think it’s what he wants, and until I met him I never really wanted anything. I’ve always just kind of been drifting. I want him. Doesn’t matter where we are as long as we’re together.”

Clapping his hands over his mouth, Hoseok coos. “Jiminie, that’s so sweet. I always knew you had it in you.” He cackles when the alpha frowns at him, then dances away before he can retaliate.

“Anyway,” Jimin says when he notices Seokjin starting to open his mouth. He can’t deal with anymore sarcasm right now. “I was thinking, since you all want to anyway… we can all leave together. I think we would all be happier there.”

His friends go silent again, Taehyung with his mouth hanging open, not a peep leaving him. Jimin feels tiny under their stares, shrinking away from them before turning his attention back to his empty glass. He pushes it toward Taehyung.

“I just thought… You know, none of us have ever been all that happy here. And you two,” he looks from Taehyung to Yoongi, “you two are just like us. You’ll never have exactly what you want if you stay here. Whatever you guys choose, I’m leaving with Jungkook as soon as we can. There’s too much risk for us here now. It’s up to you if you wanna come with us.”

Taehyung slides his glass back to him, refilled with amber liquid. He glances over at Yoongi, then to Hoseok, to Seokjin, who just shrugs. “To be honest, I’ve been thinking about leaving ever since Hoseok told me about that town. I mean, this city is all I’ve known all my life so it feels weird to just leave it behind. But… I’ll probably go.”

“Well,” Hoseok says, watching Seokjin before turning his gaze to Jimin, maybe just a tad disappointed that the other omega isn’t fully on board. “I’ve had my bags packed since I came back. Just been waiting for the right time. I’m with you.”

With that, three of them all look to Taehyung and Yoongi, the older beta glancing at Taehyung, who gives him a nod. “We’ve talked about it,” Yoongi says, arms over his chest, “We’ve pretty much decided… we can’t stay here. We’re lucky we haven’t been caught already.”

“We’re lucky to be betas rather than alphas. Not as strict with us,” Taehyung says, then sighs. “But that doesn’t mean they won’t eventually come after us. So we’re in.”

Hoseok looks to Seokjin again. “Jin?”

“I’ll catch up with you guys. There are a few things I wanna get in order before I leave,” Seokjin says as he reaches over to literally pushes a smile onto Hoseok’s face, fingers nudging the corners of his lips up. “I’ll snag you guys some extra stuff from the ration center tomorrow while I work.”

“You don’t have to do that, Seokjin. You’ll be putting yourself at a huge risk if they catch you stealing,” Jimin says, and Seokjin just chuckles.

“If they do, I’ll just leave with you guys right away. I’m slippery. They won’t get me.” Seokjin circles around to grab hold of Jimin’s shoulders, shaking him a bit. “I’m so happy for you and Jungkook, Jimin. Tell him that when you head back upstairs. I gotta get going.”

Jimin gives him a pat on the hand, eyes rolling. “Will do, Seokjin,” he says as the omega slips away, calling a goodbye to the others. Jimin waits until the door closes, then he takes his last drink of rum. “So… I’m gonna go tell Jungkook.”

He fidgets with the glass, giving his lips a nervous lick before finally pushing away from the counter. He takes a deep breath, hearing his friends but not really catching onto their words. He mumbles a goodbye, a promise to come back and plan their escape from the city, and heads back out and up the stairs.

 

Jungkook hasn’t moved since Jimin left, his eyes on the city surrounding him, on those grey buildings and filthy streets, then out to the forests beyond.

He can feel his heart flutter, not from his own thoughts. This is Jimin that he’s feeling; whatever is happening downstairs, it has Jimin anxious and excited and a million other emotions Jungkook can’t sort out from his own anymore. It makes him smile. He always loved the feeling of sensing his mate’s emotions as well as his own. He’s felt strangely empty since Hwayoung. Jimin has more than filled that empty space.

He just hopes they’re not doomed to an unhappy ending. After all, Jimin still hasn’t said he’s willing to leave this place, and now that they’re marked there’s too much risk for them to stay here.

Where you go, I go. Jungkook prays that Jimin meant that. He wishes he had no doubt in his mind, but this sinking feeling in his stomach won’t let him be.

Jungkook startles when the door opens, a whoosh of fresh air washing over him as Jimin steps inside with a smile on his face. He smiles a lot more now. Ever since he came to find Jungkook, ever since they bonded, he’s softened around the edges more than Jungkook expected. He’s still got that fire inside of him, though, and Jungkook admires that.

“Hey,” Jimin says as he crosses the room, leaning down to kiss Jungkook. He can taste rum on his lips. “I wanna talk to you about something.”

Jungkook holds his breath, letting his foot drop from the window sill as he turns to face Jimin. He keeps his hands propped on it, leaning back as he watches the older alpha position himself between the vee of his legs. Jimin rests his hands on Jungkook’s shoulders, exhaling, eyes drifting over him.

“Is this about leaving?” Jungkook asks, his usual patience faltering. He’s too anxious to wait.

Jimin nods, reaching up to fiddle with a lock of Jungkook’s hair. He tugs at it slightly, a playful smile on his face, then pushes his fingers through the younger’s hair. “We can’t stay here like this,” he says, and Jungkook can breathe again. “That car Yoongi gave me… I’m almost done fixing it. Just give me a week to finish it up, Seokjin’s gonna steal us some supplies, Yoongi, Tae, and Hoseok all need to find people to run the black market once they’re gone—”

“They’re all coming with us?” Jungkook asks, feeling like he could fly, his chest light as air.

“Yeah.” Jimin’s hands clasp together behind Jungkook’s neck and he leans in to press their foreheads together, a gesture Jungkook has grown all too fond of. “A week, Jungkook. We just have to be careful about letting people see our marks, then we can go.”

Jungkook pulls Jimin closer, burying his face in his shirt, hiding his smile away in it. “You really want this?”

“I really want you. Hey…” Jimin pulls back and tips Jungkook’s chin up to look him in the eyes. “I don’t want to be here anymore. Not if we’ll just be condemned for this.” He takes Jungkook’s hand, lifting it to his throat to press his fingers over his mark. “I knew what I was doing when I asked you to mark me. I meant everything I said. So let’s run away together, Jungkook. What do you say?”

The younger alpha stares back at his mate—his mate. He could really get used to saying that. Jungkook stands up, wrapping Jimin up in his arms and causing the shorter alpha to stumble back as he crashes against him, all hands and lips and lingering kisses as he guides him to the bed.

They topple onto it together, Jimin’s head tipping back as Jungkook bites at his mark, nibbling on it, tongue swiping over it. Legs wrapped around Jungkook’s waist, Jimin arches up against him, then stops.

“Wait, Jungkook,” he gasps out, tapping the younger’s shoulder until he stops and leans back. “I’m guessing that’s a yes?”

Jungkook chuckles. “Yeah. Let’s run away together,” he whispers, lip grazing over Jimin’s jawline.

“Okay, good,” Jimin breathes, eyes closing as he revels in the feeling of Jungkook’s body fitting with his exactly the way he likes it. “Now we can fuck.”

With another laugh, Jungkook sits up and hitches Jimin into his lap, their lips meeting in another kiss. His heart feels too full again as they fall together, his mark burning the closer they get, and he can feel the happiness inside Jimin’s chest.

Jungkook smiles against the other alpha’s lips, hand sliding along his thigh, up his back, feeling him inside and out, reading him both physical and emotional. Not a damn thing could change his mind about this; about them.

 

-α-

 

It takes longer to get there than they expect, the trip lengthy and filled with anxiety. They keep expecting to be caught by city scouts or by some roaming pack. But it’s peaceful. It’s quiet.

Somewhere along the way, Jimin falls asleep on Jungkook’s shoulder. Hoseok drives his truck, Taehyung drives his Yoongi’s van while Yoongi takes a turn behind the wheel of Jimin’s Mustang so that the alpha could rest. The terrible condition of the roads and the need to maneuver around certain government and pack-controlled areas added hours onto what should have been a short trip.

Jungkook looks down at the sleeping face of his mate, heart clenching when he touches Jimin’s hand and the other alpha automatically grabs hold of it. His eyes flutter open and he looks up at Jungkook.

“How close are we?” he asks, voice thick with sleep. Pushing himself upright, Jimin stretches, yawns, and peers out the window.

“About fifteen more minutes, apparently.” Jungkook pushes Jimin’s hair back from where it had plastered itself to his temple. He smiles when Jimin tries to shake him off, ever stubborn. But Jimin smiles despite it, then settles back against Jungkook again.

They all stay quiet, watching the trees pass by. Jungkook curls an arm around Jimin’s waist, and this time he doesn’t seem to find it necessary to pretend not to enjoy Jungkook’s affections. Jungkook notices Taehyung cast them a little grin in the rear view mirror.

“I think that’s it,” Taehyung says as the crest a large hill.

The two alphas leans forward to see a little town nestled in the valley, lights shining up from the houses as the sun settles behind the hills. It’s pretty, glowing a pale gold in a lake of shadow. Jimin casts Jungkook an anxious glance, and somehow it comforts him to know he’s not the only nervous one.

Just as they discussed back in the city, Taehyung and Yoongi hang back while Hoseok drives in first. He said the people there would recognize him and his truck, so he wanted to be the first to approach so as not to frighten them.

A pair of betas approach as Hoseok hops out of his truck, putting his hands in the air to show them that he’s unarmed. Jimin and Jungkook climb out of the van, slow and careful, copying Hoseok’s gesture of peace.

The betas wear dull browns and greys, and what looks like makeshift leather armor strapped over their chests. One of them has a pistol on their hip and boots up to her knees, the other wears a bandanna around his head and some kind of shotgun on his back.

Hoseok drops his hands back to his sides, greeting one of the betas by name. They exchange a few words, then the betas turn their attention to Jungkook and Jimin.

One of them eyes them carefully, her hand resting on the gun on her belt. Then she lets go of it and smiles. “I’m Chaerin.”

“Jungkook. This is Jimin, my mate.” It feels good to say it and know that nothing will happen to them for it. He can’t help but smile at the sound of those words rolling off his tongue.

“Two alphas?” the other beta asks. He casts Chaerin a glance, brow raised. “Even out here, that’s not something you see everyday.”

“Don’t even worry about it,” Chaerin adds, “you’ll fit right in.” She nods past them, toward Taehyung and Yoongi where they wait. “I’m guessing they’re with you?” When Hoseok nods, she waves them in. “Welcome to your new home, kids.”

Jungkook glances over at Jimin as the betas turn to lead them into the town. Hoseok gets back in the truck, but the alpha mates stay outside, walking into the town, hand in hand.

It reminds Jungkook of being with his pack, hopping from one abandoned town to the next, but nicer. The roads here aren’t littered with trash and broken down vehicles. Instead, those junker cars seem to have been incorporated into the wall that surrounds this place, keeping it secure from any packs that might wish them harm. People sit on their front porches, watching them walk by.

It’s almost too good to believe. Jungkook has to squeeze his eyes shut, clearing the image of the town from his mind before looking again just to prove to himself that it’s actually there.

“This is weird,” Jimin says.

Jungkook looks over at him, heart pounding. Does he not like it here? They can’t go back now, they both know that. His mind already starts racing for solutions, places they could go instead, because no matter what this town has to offer, Jungkook would travel to the ends of the Earth to be with Jimin.

The other alpha meets his gaze, a dazed smile on his lips. “I— I don’t know what to do with myself in a place like this,” he says, stopping in the middle of the road. They turn to face each other, Jungkook resting his hands on Jimin’s shoulders and rubbing them. “Don’t look so worried.”

Jungkook purses his lips. “I just… don’t know what to say. Do you not want to stay here?”

“No. Or… yes? I want to be here.” Jimin smiles, and Jungkook’s heart floats from the bottom of his stomach and back into the empty cavity of his chest. Jimin’s hands caress his face. “It’s different. I’m just glad I’m here with you.”

“Me, too,” Jungkook whispers before engulfing Jimin in a tight embrace.

This is it. They’re finally free. They’re safe.

As Jungkook holds him, he takes in one big sweep of the town, and he smiles.

It’s strange and new, but in each other’s arms, they’re home.

Chapter Text

 

Leaves rustle and twigs snap beneath Jungkook’s feet as he runs, his breathing labored and sweat dripping down his back. It’s too warm out to be running like this but he has to keep going until he’s sure he’s alone.

He slams to a stop, circling behind a tree and spinning around to look back the way he came. His chest heaves but he tries to keep his breathing quiet, eyes squinting into the distance. Nothing in sight. He must have lost him somehow.

Jungkook chuckles slightly, feeling victorious as he backs away from the tree.

But then something snaps behind him and he doesn’t turn in time, arms looping around his waist and dragging him to the ground. He hits the dirt with a huff, struggling to gain his bearings as a face appears over his, hands pinning his wrists above his head.

Jimin stares down at him with a crooked smirk, his hips aligned with Jungkook’s as he sits on him. “Told you not to underestimate me. You really thought I’d just run straight after you like some amateur?” He lets go, lets Jungkook’s hands fly to his waist, to his ass to give a playful squeeze. “I circled around, kept up with you from a distance, then herded you exactly where I wanted. I was already ahead of you by the time you started running. You ran right to me.”

“Clever,” Jungkook murmurs as Jimin leans down to tease with an almost-kiss before pulling back again. He smirks, rolling his hips against Jungkook’s, and then Jungkook grips his ass, fingers digging in. He pushes off the ground, flipping them around to pin Jimin down. “We should probably head home.”

Jimin smiles up at him, hair splayed out around him on the ground. It’s grown out a lot, as has Jungkook’s. Jimin’s kept his groomed slightly better though, Jungkook’s now long enough to be pulled back into a stubby, loose ponytail, rogue strands hanging down in his eyes.

“Probably,” Jimin murmurs, hands sliding up under Jungkook’s shirt. He sighs at the way Jungkook’s eyes flutter shut at that simple touch, how he keens when Jimin’s thumbs rub over his nipples. He can feel himself already getting hard under the pressure of Jungkook’s ass sitting on his dick. “Fuck… Kook. You know I’m already close to my rut. Don’t tempt me like this.”

“What do you mean?” Jungkook asks, giving a subtle roll of his hips, fingers curled around Jimin’s wrists to keep his hands on him. His tongue slides across his lips, smirking as he watches Jimin tip his head back against the ground, eyes closing. “I’m not doing anything.”

Jimin sighs, the soft breath fading into a moan as Jungkook finds a rhythm to rock against him. “If we don’t get back soon, Youngjae’s gonna freak out.”

“We can make this quick, then,” Jungkook says before diving down to kiss Jimin, catching his lower lip between his teeth. He nibbles on it, grinning when Jimin’s hands snake around and beneath his pants to knead at the soft flesh of his ass.

Jungkook tugs on Jimin’s lip one last time before breaking away, one hand slipping beneath Jimin’s shirt, the other clasping lightly over his throat. It keeps Jimin compliant, tells him to just sit back and let Jungkook make him feel good.

He obeys. For once, he just obeys and lets Jungkook tug his pants down just enough to expose his cock. Lips ghost over Jimin’s body, his shirt hitched up around his chest. He ignores the poke of little stones and twigs digging into his back, letting himself fall into the sensation of hot breath warming his skin, one big hand circled around his cock, pumping it fast.

Jimin props himself up on his elbows for a good view as Jungkook smiles up at him, eyes slightly hooded as his tongue flicks out across the head of Jimin’s dick. His leg twitches at the warm wetness, at the tongue circling around him now. He bites his lip, grinning when Jungkook’s mouth forms a tight O around his cock.

His tongue cradles Jimin, sliding up and down before he gives it a hard suck, then takes more of him into his mouth. He doesn’t tease the way he usually would. He did say he would make it quick, and Jimin’s guessing he’ll try to make Jimin come faster than he ever has before just to prove that he can.

Jungkook hollows his cheeks, eyes closed as he focuses solely on Jimin, ignoring the sounds of nature around them. He pushes Jimin’s cock deep into his throat, Jimin moaning at how tight and hot it is, how it constricts around him. If only he could bury himself in Jungkook’s ass right now. How great that would feel.

He’s okay with this, though, considering Jungkook gives head like no one else, and he proves that now with the way he has Jimin writhing in the dirt, hand in his mouth to keep from moaning too loudly. But eventually he decides fuck it because who’s going to hear them out here?

Jimin lets his voice loose, lets Jungkook’s name creep past his lips in wanton moans, lets his breath escape him in harsh gasps. He reaches down, curling a hand into Jungkook’s hair, peering down to see the other alpha staring up at him. He looks so pretty with those pink lips wrapped tight around Jimin’s cock, eyes glazed over and cheeks slightly flushed.

Jungkook’s hands leave Jimin entirely, fingers digging into the dirt instead, and Jimin knows exactly what that means. His grip on Jungkook’s hair tightens, his other arm braced against the ground as he jerks his hips up.

Wets gags fill his ears as he fucks into Jungkook’s throat, his gorgeous little alpha taking it like a champ. He doesn’t slow down and Jungkook doesn’t ask him to. He even reaches around to grip Jimin’s ass, squeezing hard enough to bruise, and it only urges Jimin to move faster.

The forest around them is silent save for the animalistic growl that escapes Jimin as he watches his cock slam back into Jungkook’s mouth, disappearing entirely into his throat and making him choke, but he loves it. Jungkook loves being completely at Jimin’s mercy and he can always take anything Jimin dishes out.

His eyes water and it’s such a beautiful sight, his lips red and wet with saliva and precome. And then he lets his eyes drift shut, humming around Jimin’s cock, moaning at the taste on his tongue as Jimin fucks into him one more time and spills down his throat.

Jungkook’s hand curls into the dirt, eyes fluttering open to watch Jimin as he comes, watch as he swallows up most of everything. Little trickles escape, dripping out the corners of his mouth and dribbling down his chin when he pulls off.

He wipes it away, crawling forward on all fours to kiss Jimin again. They collide in a messy, wet kiss, lips smacking loudly against each other, Jimin tasting himself on Jungkook’s tongue.

Jungkook’s hair falls around his face, Jimin having pulled hard enough to undo his ponytail, so Jimin pushes it back with both hands, tugging at it again as they bite at each other.

They kiss hard enough and long enough that they lose their breath entirely, feeling lightheaded, then Jimin tugs his pants back up around his hips and lets Jungkook pulls him to his feet.

“Need me to suck you off or anything?” Jimin asks, carding through Jungkook’s hair, the two of them standing so close he can taste Jungkook’s breath.

“I’m good ‘til we get home,” Jungkook says, pecking Jimin on the lips one more time. “Let’s get back to Youngjae before he gets worried.”

Jimin smiles, hand sliding down Jungkook’s arm to lace their fingers together. “Let’s be honest, he’s been worried since we first stepped out to forage. Speaking of,” he glances around, “where did I set that bag?”

“You lost our bag?”

“I didn’t lose it,” Jimin says, rolling his eyes. He slips away from Jungkook. “C’mon, I think it was over here.”

Jungkook sighs, head shaking as he watches Jimin trudging ahead of him. But he smiles, heart warm and fond when Jimin turns back to beckon him forward, waiting until they’re side by side before walking again.

 

 

Jimin naturally has his hands all over Jungkook again as they walk into town, his rut definitely inching closer and closer. They’re going to have to send Youngjae over to Hoseok’s or Taehyung’s again while he goes through it. Jimin and Jungkook can never seem to keep it contained in their room when they’re rutting and the poor boy doesn’t need to witness Jungkook bent over the counter with Jimin pounding into his ass.

A few people greet them as they pass, Jungkook giving them quick waves before swatting at Jimin trying to shove his hand down his pants. It’s hard to ignore the nibbling on his ear and the crooning from his mate as they drop off part of their bounty at the town’s central storage before taking the rest home.

As soon as Jungkook opens the door and starts to call out a tiny body flies at him, arms wrapping around his waist. “You’re back,” Youngjae says, burying his face into Jungkook’s stomach. “You took longer than you said you would.”

“Sorry, little guy,” Jungkook says, kneeling down to ruffle the boy’s hair. He’s grown a lot since they took him in but he’s still a runt. Jungkook has a feeling he’ll always be on the small side. “But we brought home a lot of food. We’re gonna have a big dinner tonight, okay?”

Youngjae nods, then looks to Jimin, moving to get a hug from him, and Jimin immediately lifts him up and spins him around. When he sets him back down, he kneels beside Jungkook. “Is Taehyung still here?”

“He’s in the kitchen. I’ll take you to him.” Youngjae grabs Jimin’s hand, dragging him along. Jimin stumbles to his feet, Jungkook chuckling as he follows the boy.

Just a week ago, Youngjae had turned twelve years old, marking a solid two years under Jimin’s and Jungkook’s care since his family was killed by some savage pack. They found him by chance, hiding in his home, too afraid to move from the closet he had crammed himself into. Had they found him much later, he may not have survived, already malnourished and sickly when they brought him home.

Jungkook follows them into the kitchen, leaning against the counter as Jimin and Taehyung chat, Youngjae chiming in when he deems it necessary. For the first month they had him, he wouldn’t make a peep except to cry.

Jimin fidgets with his shirt, rocking back and forth on his feet, antsy to get his hands on Jungkook again. He turns to beckon his mate over, and Jungkook obliges, moving to stand behind him. His hands massage along Jimin’s ribs, soothing him a bit, but he’s a ticking time bomb, ticking closer and closer to that primal need to form and pass a knot.

Taehyung doesn’t miss it, always noticing whenever one of them starts acting funny. “You two need me to take him for a bit?”

“Not yet,” Jimin says, shaking his head. “Maybe tomorrow. I think I’m good for tonight.” He reaches out to give his friend a single pat on the arm. “Go home to Yoongi.”

“I’ll come check in with you tomorrow. Just in case,” Taehyung says. He ruffles Youngjae’s hair, grinning down at the boy. “I’ll see you then, little guy. Behave for your dads.”

“I will,” Youngjae cheers as Taehyung stands back up.

“I brought a gift, by the way. There was a wrecked smuggler’s truck and Hoseok found that.” Taehyung grins as Jimin’s eyes flicker over to the bottle on the kitchen table, glistening in the low light of their house.

Jimin sighs, leaning back in Jungkook’s arms as he eyes that precious bottle of rum. “Hoseok, my knight in shining armor,” he says, then grins at Taehyung. “Tell him I said thanks and I’ll do literally anything to pay him back.”

“Will do,” Taehyung says. He gives Youngjae one last wave as he leaves, slipping out the door and leaving the little family by themselves.

Jimin turns slightly to peck Jungkook on the mouth, a soft smile on his lips so different from the way he smiled years ago, all the way back when they first met. Sometimes Jungkook finds it hard to believe that this is the same alpha that wanted nothing more than a casual fuck from him, but their bond proves that he is. Jungkook can feel the thudding of Jimin’s heart alongside his own, feel Jimin’s love and adoration for him as if it’s his own.

“So, dinner?” Jimin asks, then looks to Youngjae. “Let’s all cook together.”

Youngjae cheers, throwing his hands in the air and rushing to gather pots and pans without even knowing what they actually need.

Jimin slips away from Jungkook’s grasp, and Jungkook leans back against the counter to take in the sight, feeling his heart thud at the way Jimin holds Youngjae’s hand, guides him through what they need for dinner tonight.

He stays there to bask in it for a moment, to remind himself that this really is his life now, then wanders over to join them. He gladly lets Jimin take charge because Jungkook is just as hopeless as their twelve-year-old when it comes to cooking.

 

Jimin can’t help it. He tries to keep his hands to himself but somewhere throughout the night he finds himself pawing at Jungkook, tugging at his shirt and kissing along his neck.

“Kook,” he coos in his ear. “Kook, wake up— Need you.”

There’s a sleepy hum from his mate as he rolls over to face Jimin.

“What’s going on?” Jungkook asks, and he gets his answer in the form of a sloppy kiss and Jimin straddling his hips. His hands fly up to grasp at Jimin’s thighs, humming into the kiss.

“Need you— need to fuck you—” Jimin moans against Jungkook’s lips.

He doesn’t need to ask for Jungkook to snap to it, fingers dragging over smooth skin as he grinds up against Jimin until he can feel his blood rushing, his cock hardening under Jimin’s weight atop him. He rolls over when Jimin prompts, tempts him with kisses along his shoulder, trailing them along his back too once he stretches out on his stomach.

Jungkook’s fingers curl into the sheets, white-knuckled when Jimin’s tongue buries itself inside him.

Jimin tried. He really, really tried to keep it under control as well as Jungkook can. But, honestly, why would he want to keep his hands to himself when he could have them all over Jungkook instead, when he can have him hanging on his knot, fingers in his hair as pleasure-drunk mumbles for him not to stop reach his ears.

Even after all these years, Jimin thinks there’s nothing quite like the feeling of being completely intertwined with Jungkook, nothing but the sweat off their own skin between them, and their bond doubling every sensation they feel, heightening their senses.

It’s all-consuming, overwhelming whenever they tangle themselves up in their sheets like this, like the world no longer exists around them and their bodies take on a will of their own, leaving their minds to simply drown in the pleasure of each other.

Sometimes it’s terrifying, how out of control it drives them, slaves to their own desire, but Jimin is always quick to give himself over to it, giving himself over to Jungkook as Jungkook gives himself to him.

 

-α-

 

Jimin wakes to the sound of birds chirping outside, blankets tucked up around his chin, and a note in bed where Jungkook should be. He rolls over, eyes bleary as he picks up the note, blinking away the sleep to read it:

Went to Tae’s to get Youngjae. Figured you would still be tired so I wanted to let you sleep in. Breakfast is on the kitchen counter. As always, I love you. I’ll be back soon.

He smiles to himself, folding the note back up and setting it on Jungkook’s pillow. He’s always doing this when he has to leave somewhere without Jimin; leaving him notes, leaving him breakfast, always reminding Jimin that he loves him. Jimin buries his face into his pillow, hiding his smile away as he imagines Jungkook writing that note, probably staring fondly down at Jimin still sound asleep as he left it there.

Jungkook is a sap, that much Jimin has learned since leaving the city with him. He’s not complaining, though. Jimin never thought he would be one to enjoy waking up to kisses across his forehead and a son calling for him and Jungkook to get their lazy butts out of bed, yet here he is.

He rolls out of bed, hair a mess, sweatpants hanging low on his hips, his chest bare as he tugs on a button up but leaves it undone as he makes for the kitchen. His stomach growls and he reminds himself to tell Jungkook how much he loves him as he heads straight for the food he had left for him.

As he steps into the kitchen, Jimin stops, eyes closing as he shakes his head. Before him, on the counter right beside a covered plate of food, stands a vase full with an array of wildflowers—pastel pinks, whites, deep reds, bright and colorful as he approaches them, fingers brushing over the soft petals.

Jimin leans down, taking a deep breath in to smell the flowers. After a moment, he feels something, a presence of some sort, and then hands trail over his waist and he jumps, spinning around to come face to face with Jungkook.

He breathes out a sigh of relief, leaning back against the counter and closing his eyes again. “You scared the shit out of me,” he says, smacking Jungkook on the arm as his mate simply laughs at him, darting forward to plant kisses along his neck. “I thought you were out. What the hell are you doing prowling around in the shadows?”

Jungkook simply hums in response, his lips too busy with Jimin’s neck to say much. “You slept even later than I expected,” he says, making Jimin shiver as his breath ghosts over him, kissing down his chest. He slips his arms around Jungkook’s neck, resting his chin atop Jungkook’s head, his stubby ponytail tickling his face. “Came back just as you were coming out here so I decided to surprise you.”

“Lucky I didn’t kick your ass.” Jimin drops a kiss in Jungkook’s hair before the younger alpha leans back to look at him, lips turned up in a dreamy smile, his eyes sparkling the way they only ever do when he looks at Jimin. Jimin brushes a strand of hair back from Jungkook’s eyes, letting his thumb trail over his cheekbone as he does. “Where’s Youngjae?”

“Outside. He saw some little animal on his way in and wanted to watch it.” Jungkook slides his hands to Jimin’s hips, fingers dancing just beyond the waistband of his pants, thumbs rubbing over his hipbones. “You wouldn’t have actually kicked my ass, right? I thought we had finally moved past that point in our relationship.”

Jimin rolls his eyes, rubbing his hands up and down Jungkook’s arms, stopping to squeeze his biceps. “As long as you keep being a little shit to me, I’ll keep kicking your ass.” He pinches Jungkook’s arm, earning an offended little huff from his mate before he chuckles again. “You’re lucky I’m so in love with you.”

“And you always say I’m the romantic one.” Jungkook grins, leaning forward, nose bumping against Jimin’s before he teases him with a tender kiss, pulling back when Jimin tries to deepen it. “I love you too, by the way,” he whispers before finally meeting Jimin’s lips, Jimin’s fingers slipping into his hair, pushing through the long locks as they kiss.

There’s warmth and tenderness in their kisses these days that never used to be there, both of them taking their time to feel every little movement and the shape of each other’s lips. Jimin always makes sure to tip Jungkook’s head back just right so he can nibble at the mole beneath his lip, thumb brushing over the scar on his cheek.

Jimin pauses, giving Jungkook’s hair a light tug, and he grins. “You need a fucking haircut,” he murmurs against his alpha’s mouth, feeling the vibration of Jungkook chuckling once again. “But not too much. It’s kind of nice to have a little more to pull on.”

Another hum from Jungkook, and then, “I take back what I said before. I am the romantic one.”

Jimin snorts, resting his chin on Jungkook’s shoulder and pulling him tight against himself. Their arms loop around one another in a steady embrace, hearts beating in time with each other. Jungkook’s hand cradles the back of Jimin’s head, cradles it into the crook of his neck as he sways gently from side to side.

Sometimes, in moments like this when Jimin should be completely at peace, he feels the most anxious, the most antsy, always waiting for something to go wrong. It’s been years since they came here and still he worries that it will all be ripped from them at any moment. But this town survived years before they ever arrived, it can survive for years to come. He has to remind himself of that constantly. And that, no matter what happens in the future, they’ll stick together—himself, Jungkook, Youngjae, nothing can tear them apart.

He feels Jungkook take in a deep breath, his chest puffing out as he does, and Jimin takes comfort in his closeness and the strength of his arms around him.

“Do you wanna go see them today?” Jungkook asks, voice muffled against Jimin’s shoulder. “It’s been awhile… I think we should.”

Trailing his fingers up Jungkook’s spine, then back down to fidget with the hem of his shirt, Jimin nods. “I think we should, too,” he says, giving Jungkook a squeeze before the other alpha leans back again.

Jungkook stares back at him, eyes locked with Jimin’s. He always does this—watches Jimin like he’s the only thing in the world, forgets the world around them and just gets lost, lets himself drown in the blackness of Jimin’s eyes, and Jimin can’t complain. He loves that Jungkook is still just as smitten after all these years, and though Jimin doesn’t often say it, he falls a little deeper in love with Jungkook everyday.

Their moment only comes to an end when the front door opens and Youngjae stomps in, oversized boots thunking across the wooden floor, his backpack dropping next to the door. He pouts as Jimin and Jungkook look at him, still clinging onto each other, Jungkook craned around to see him without letting go.

“Seokjin and Hobi came over to Taehyung’s and Yoongi’s last night and Hobi said he presented at ten and Seokjin at twelve,” Youngjae says, kicking his boots off. “Why haven’t I presented yet?”

Jimin chuckles, casting Jungkook a glance before answering. “Hoseok was an early bloomer, Youngjae. And you’re still twelve, maybe it’ll happen this year. Whatever happens, you’ll present soon enough. I was thirteen when I did. And Kookie didn’t present until he was fourteen.” He grins when Jungkook grimaces at him, then reaches up to pinch his cheek. “My little late bloomer.”

Youngjae gags when Jungkook lands a soft bite to Jimin’s finger. “Gross,” he grumbles, trudging past them to rummage through the cupboards.

“Someday, Youngjae, you’ll have a mate and then you’ll understand this, too,” Jimin says, leaning back on the counter as he smiles at Jungkook. He trails his fingers over his mate’s chest before Jungkook leans in for another chaste kiss.

“Eat,” Jungkook murmurs against his lips. “And get dressed so we can go visit them.” He looks over at Youngjae. “Maybe Jae can come along too, if he wants?”

Youngjae looks up at him, mouth full of food. He watches as Jimin turns to grab his own breakfast, uncovering it and eying it with caution. “Is this even edible?” Jimin teases, earning a smack on the ass from Jungkook. “Hey, I’m just being careful. I know you’re not the greatest cook out there.”

“Are you going to the cemetery?” Youngjae asks, earning a nod and a ruffle of his hair from Jungkook. “I’ll go. I haven’t… visited my parents for awhile. You know… my birth parents, I mean.”

“I know what you mean, kiddo,” Jungkook says, leaning down to kiss the top of Youngjae’s head. “Finish eating. And tell your dad to stop being a chicken and eat the breakfast I slaved over for him.”

Youngjae grins, looking to Jimin now, who picks at his food. “C’mon, you know how hard he probably had to work on that to make it not taste like shit?” Youngjae asks, and Jimin snorts. “The least you could do is pretend like you like it after what you put him through the last few days with your rut. Poor dad could barely even walk this morning.”

At that, Jimin bursts into laughter, clinging onto the counter as he doubles over. His eyes land on Jungkook across the room, who just shakes his head, face turning just the tiniest bit red at Youngjae’s words.

“Both of you just eat, you brats,” Jungkook says as he slips out of the kitchen, Jimin watching him go before looking at Youngjae.

“Good job,” he says, holding up one hand and grinning when Youngjae lands a solid high five there.

“I learned from the best,” the boy says, then shoves another bite of food into his mouth.

Jimin takes a bite of his own food, grimacing a bit before forcing it down. At least Jungkook tried. It’s the thought that counts.

 

Youngjae bounds ahead of them, eager to reach the cemetery, flowers clutched in his hand. He makes right for his parents’ graves, kneeling down before them and carefully arranging the flowers as he talks to himself.

Jungkook squeezes Jimin’s hand, tugging his mate’s attention away from Youngjae and back to himself. “Come on,” he says as he leads the way to a little corner away from everything else. They had picked a secluded area to erect the headstones, beneath a tree that blooms every year, dropping colorful petals down around them.

There were no bodies to bury, of course, but it’s symbolic. It helps. Just having somewhere to go, to have something that at least makes Jimin and Jungkook feel like they laid them to rest the way they deserve, helps.

Hwayoung’s and Namjoon’s names stare up at them from the ground, two small, dull, grey headstones they had made from a bag of concrete they happened to come by while scavenging one time. It had been Jimin’s idea to make them, which at first caused a fight that had them not talking to each other for days.

At that point, Jungkook had only just started allowing himself to fully face the memories of Hwayoung and the night he lost her. It was all sleepless nights and crying and shutting Jimin out, and Jungkook had been on the verge of breaking. He would swing from hating and blaming himself, to wishing he had been the one to kill Hongchol with his bare hands, to wanting to turn back time and fix it all, to wishing it would just end.

There were times he thought he would lose Jimin because of it, yet he’s still right here, standing at Jungkook’s side and fidgeting with his hand as they stare back at the names.

Jimin slips away, kneeling down to set their flowers between the two headstones. He takes a deep breath in, then stands and moves back to Jungkook’s side, lacing their fingers together again.

They stand in silence, just the whisper of the wind and Youngjae’s distant murmurings reaching them. Neither of them ever speak out loud, or rarely do. Whatever they have to say when they’re here stays to themselves. It’s the one time they agreed they don’t have to share everything, so long as whatever they keep to themselves doesn’t hurt them.

Jungkook doesn’t know how much time passes before Jimin’s hand trails up his arm and his mate leans in to kiss his shoulder.

“You okay?” Jimin asks, curling his hand behind Jungkook’s neck now.

“Yeah. I am.” Jungkook nods and turns to Jimin, a small smile on his lips as he leans in, head tilting to kiss his mate’s temple. “I’m okay,” he promises, and he means it. For once, he can say it and mean it, because after the road they’ve traveled to get here, they’re finally happy. All the pain, the suffering, the sleepless nights, the crying and fighting, the days that left them with almost no hope; that’s what led them here, and even after all of it they still have each other.

With Jungkook’s arms around Jimin and Jimin’s head resting on his shoulder, a few more moments of silence pass before they walk away, back across the cemetery to check on Youngjae.

Jungkook trails behind a bit, letting Jimin go ahead to wrap an arm around Youngjae’s shoulders. They chat quietly about something with each other, looking down at the headstones for Youngjae’s parents as Jungkook approaches.

But he stops before he reaches them. He stops and watches, letting himself take in the sight before him. His mate, his son, smiling at each other like nothing but them exists in this moment. Despite the pain and heartache this world has brought upon them, they can all still smile when they have each other.

Jungkook closes the distance when Jimin looks at him, reaching out and beckoning him over. He moves to Jimin’s side, falling into step with him as they walk, and in the moment everything feels perfect.

Living in this world will never be easy, but they’ll always have each other, and if they’ve made it this far, they can make it further. So Jungkook slips an arm around Jimin’s waist. He holds him close, holds him tight, just like he plans to do for the rest of their life together, and as Jimin turns to smile at him he feels as though everything bad just fades away. Jimin drowns it all out with his presence, his laughter warming Jungkook to his core, his touch making his skin tingle. 

Through it all, they were lucky enough to find each other, and somehow they survived despite the world’s best efforts to break them down or tear them apart. They’re still here, they’re still together, and everything is finally okay.