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Sweetener

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Taegi Week 2018
Day 03: 134340, Legendary Creatures – Vampires



  Sweetener


 


Artwork done by my dear friend, Batul (Batty) - tw, ig

December 24th, 2004.

It was the Tuesday before Christmas, when Yoongi met his match. Not like the overused idiom, where you run into an opponent of equal skill. It had nothing to do with competition, but rather, it was a literal match – a bloodmatch to be more precise. The humans – they all gave off a certain scent, none of which were ever exactly the same, especially when you factor in things like body chemistry, or diet. One human may be a tad sweeter, a touch more bitter than the next, but after living decades, centuries, millennia, a truly memorable meal was a rarity.  It was true, for vampires, the smell of humans tended to become muddled to the senses after a while. That was certainly the case for Yoongi, who had always been calm and controlled for a vampire, never letting his hunger cloud his judgement, never finding anything beyond basic satisfaction in his victims. That is – until that fateful Christmas Eve, when he learned the hard way that nothing, nothing compared to the taste, nor the smell of a true bloodmatch.

Bloodmatches were a rare anomaly in the vampire world, rare enough to have almost taken on the status of myth, some (like his maker) even calling it predestined fate for the undead. However, Yoongi had died, and been reborn again the same old skeptic, even after he’d been turned into a whole vampire. He had literally become a creature of fantasy to his previous self, and yet the concept of something that veered so close to that of a soulmate...true love...he just couldn’t. It was way too cheesy for Yoongi’s pragmatic outlook. He didn’t believe in such ridiculous storytelling, convinced that Hoseok was still trying to evoke belief in something positive, something...more. Perhaps it was his way of painting humans into these precious beings, rather than little happy meals with legs, of reconciling his past life with his present. Yoongi didn’t see the point.

In his coven family, Yoongi had one sibling, an older ‘brother’. Though turned at a younger age, Jimin had been turned first, and he was often obnoxiously proud of being an entire century stronger and wiser (though Yoongi would never concede to the latter). Their maker liked to partake in human rituals – woefully domesticated, striving to build a normalish, and comfortable life for them, seamlessly blending them in everywhere they went. Yoongi was convinced that Hoseok was the closest he’d ever get to the sun in this life, the vampire far too cheery, far too positive for what they were, closing his eyes against the truth of their true natures. That at the end of the day, they were only mimicking human behavior in order to coast through at the top of the food chain, wolves in sheep’s clothing, merely seducing their potential victims with what they wanted to see and hear before taking a bite.

They were still predators.

And Hoseok could never go back, no matter how charitable, or careful he was with his precious humans. Yoongi often thought it strange that he had been chosen in the first place, with the elder being so fucking sentimental now, valuing life as he did these days. Then again, things were different back then, for Hoseok especially, groomed to become a demon of privilege. A ruthless prince on a throne that had been raised by a worser demon – turned and made by Namjoon of Kim, the head of a noble coven that was known for its massive numbers that had accumulated enormous wealth and even political reach over the ages. Yoongi and Jimin were both required to refer to Namjoon as ‘grandfather’, the term vile on their tongues, best concealed with a polite cough beneath a napkin. It was perhaps, the only thing they mutually agreed upon – the fact that their beloved Hoseok was bound for eternity in servitude to a complete and total asshole who treated him less like a son than a puppet.

Yoongi could still vividly recall how they had first met, Hoseok and himself all those centuries ago – you didn’t easily forget the day you died after all. It was right at the end of the 1500’s, the second Japanese invasion of Korea in full swing. Yoongi had been found fatally wounded with his back pressed to the bark of an old tree, tired in ways that wore on the soul, ready to die. It was a bad time to be an officer in the Joseon military, since Korea was greatly outnumbered against Japan. The moment Hoseok had appeared before him, it was like everything had stopped. And perhaps it had. Surrounded by death with Yoongi as the only living person to witness – the blood of countless soldiers splattered across Hoseok’s aristocratic robes. He was so beautiful, Yoongi had almost mistaken him for an angel on the battlefield, when he’d offered him life, the kind that lasts forever.

But Yoongi didn’t want forever.

He’d wanted to be finished.

Back in those days, being in charge of a platoon and surviving the death of your troops was one of the most disgraceful things that could happen. So, it was no surprise when Yoongi didn’t take this stranger's hand and the promises that came with it when it had been offered to him, his eyes falling heavily the further he slipped away. But it hadn’t been his choice in the end after all. When Yoongi awoke three evenings later, it was six feet beneath the dirt. He’d had to claw his way out through the mud with no recollection of his transition, no memory of how he’d gotten there. At first, he hadn’t even realized he'd been turned, or what being turned meant, exactly. By the time he understood, it was far too late.

Sometimes people received gifts they didn’t want or didn’t ask for – in this case, Yoongi was presented with a curse. Not really something he could return to Walmart, he mused to himself, those rare times when he found himself reflecting on his life, or death as it were. And that cold Tuesday before Christmas he was especially distracted, his thoughts jumping all over the place.

“Why here of all places, when we could be at Seorae, drinking from the necks of beautiful foreigners?” Jimin’s voice broke him from memories, having decided to join him for a meal. That was what Yoongi had posed his little hunt as, when in actuality, he’d smelled something...different. He couldn’t pinpoint what it was, exactly. Human, but better, which made no sense. And what had started out as a tickle in his nose, so very slight and harmless, had wound up being a full-on ache at the core of his chest. Yoongi followed after it as though he were being compelled, something only his kind could do...    

“Because, there’s tons of people here. Lonely, miserable people. Your favorite dish...” Yoongi answered, eyes scanning over the area, knowing that the source of the smell was here. He was half-tempted to ask the elder if he could smell it, but it would have been obvious if he had, and he wasn’t ready to clue Jimin in until he knew what he was following. He might try to stop him. Jimin’s nature was as such, where he was less reserved than Yoongi was, more open to speaking whatever was on his mind, never hesitating to call Yoongi out for being reckless. But Yoongi wasn’t willing to let this drop, he had to know.

Just then a small collision happened, a tiny human crashed into Yoongi’s side, pulling him from his search. The blond vampire stood there like a statue in the middle of the Chilseong night market with Jimin quietly looking on curiously from the sidelines. It was Christmas Eve. Not many families were seen in this district so close to the holiday, the orange tents going up to house the stressed and overworked. Tonight, was more about the depression that comes with being alone for the holidays. The soju would be poured round after round into ice-cold glasses, greasy fingers would pull at cheap fried foods. The humans would become inebriated – all too easy prey. So, it was pretty damn odd to find a child running around this particular area, especially this late in the evening. Yoongi took note of the boy’s tiny fingers, red and sore looking from holding a large bag of ice without any gloves on. Did he fucking work here?  

“Sorry, ahjussi…” The kid bowed his head low and respectful, before he looked up at the elder with a set of large, almond-shaped eyes. Yoongi merely frowned at him, already growing impatient at the distraction from his search, finding it almost taxing to so much as acknowledge his existence. He was perplexed, to be honest, when the human smiled brightly at him, gleaming back as harshly as direct sunlight, his head tilted upwards – two of his front teeth were missing. It was beginning to creep the immortal out, how cheerful the kid looked, even in a place like this, how there didn’t seem to be an end to his obnoxiously wide, boxy smile.

How ridiculous...

Jimin giggled then, an actual giggle – this six-hundred and something year old vampire with cotton-candy pink hair, “How cute...”

Leaving wasn’t an option until Yoongi snuffed out the source of his enticement, the mouthwatering aroma was inescapable. The blond narrowed his eyes then, ready to use his thrall just to get the boy to stop smiling like that, and finally leave, “Listen, brat–”

And suddenly, it was hitting him hard – so arresting and unmistakable, the distinct smell of autumn. It tore right through him, carried in by a strong gust of wind that ripped throughout the tents surrounding them, shaking their foundations, while shop owners bemoaned their featherlight plates and napkins blowing away. All the disarray around them, however, was nothing, nothing in comparison to how Yoongi was currently being slammed, triggering a response that he hadn’t had since he was human, as he reflexively filled his lungs with air that he no longer needed in order to live, gasping like a fish out of water trying desperately to catch his breath.

Autumn smelled like warmth. Spiced cider made from crisp, ripened apples. It smelled like the last day of summer, the first bite of cold. Dead leaves. But the warmth – rich, like caramel. It was so sweet, tingling Yoongi’s nose almost offensively, and he somehow knew that just a single drop would leave him absolutely ravenous, starving with need. He could practically feel the ache within his teeth. It’d taken a good, long while for Hoseok to instill some level of peace between Yoongi, and his hunger – that insatiable thirst that required impulse control, and he wasn’t about to let centuries of work be undone in one moment by a small boy with a stupid smile.

He was in control.

He was…

“Ahjussi…” the boy murmured, voice small and trembling, the smile gone now, as he took a step backwards. “…y-your eyes…”

Jimin peered over at his brother, could see how visibly affected he was at the moment, the bloodlust swirling in his eyes like a storm, consuming their usual inky black with a deep, glowing red. Like some nocturnal animals, vampires also shared tapetum lucidum, reflecting light even when there was none. It made them see clearer, even while in total darkness, just one of the many reasons vampires were the ultimate predators. Desire, fear, anger, hunger, need – any emotion linked to feeding, to the hunt could activate a vampires’ tapetum. Right now, it was hunger, a deep, gnawing hunger that Yoongi felt in his bones.

Yoongi thought it was a little tragic, that at the center of one of the most delectable spreads in Daegu, was an item off the menu he simply could not resist – a small human boy. Without even realizing what he was doing, he’d started to enchant the human, his cat-like eyes staring right through him. Thrall was a form of hypnotism that rendered the victim susceptible to influence, and compliant to a vampire’s every whim. It wasn’t meant to be used for anything outside of feeding purposes, but it would be a lie if Yoongi said he’d never used it for his own amusement, back when he was young, and chaotic. Back when the novelty of being a vampire had meant that humans were more like puppets to him, so malleable, and woefully easy to manipulate. Now, even though he was thralling the boy, he felt almost as though he was the one in a trance, unable to focus on anything but the need that was consuming him.

Jimin kept his voice nonchalant with the underlying warning there, “Yoongi, you’re scaring the boy…” He smiled down at the child, not wanting to frighten him any further, despite the gravity of the situation. Truth was, if his darling little brother wanted to, Yoongi could kill everyone here in less than fifteen seconds.  

Jimin’s voice snapped Yoongi out of his daze momentarily, long enough for him to realize he needed to get the child away from him as fast as possible. “You should run along home now,” Yoongi commanded, his penetrative gaze that unnatural shade of red, glittering like two rubies. He watched as the fear in the boy’s eyes faded into a calm trance – the tension visibly leaving his body, as he placed down the bag of ice, and started walking in the opposite direction of where he’d been headed to in the first place.

“What in the hell is your problem?” Jimin demanded, stepping into Yoongi’s space – concerned over the fact that the bloodlust was still present. He gently grabbed onto the younger’s arm as a way of stabling him, “...Is it the boy?”

Yoongi nodded somewhat dazedly, too transfixed on listening in on the child, “You couldn’t smell him?” He could hear the steady rhythm of every heartbeat, a clock counting each second that the boy was permitted to walk away, each second since he had ensnared Yoongi to a point where he felt broken, wishing he could go back to before he had ever laid eyes on him, where the scent was at least manageable. But instead, the smell of autumn was circulating inside his lungs, consuming his every breath whenever he deeply inhaled it. He brought a hand up to his mouth, applying pressure to his canines, where his gumline felt sensitive, and inflamed – needing to feed, and knowing exactly what he wanted. 

“He didn’t smell any different to me,” Jimin answered, trying to recall, but it was difficult when there were so many humans in one space. “Maybe it was a little bit sweeter? He did have candy residue on the corner of his mouth. One of those jolly rancher thingies, grape flavored.”  

Although, Jimin very much doubted that was the cause to his brother’s reaction.

The bloodlust was still clinging to Yoongi like a warm cloak over his bones. Jimin’s eyes widened then, watching as the younger vampire swayed forward slightly, before he suddenly disappeared into the crowd, there and gone in a flash, using his speed until he was standing directly in front of the boy, obstructing his path. It would only be a matter of time before Jimin caught up with them, faster and stronger, but Yoongi had one advantage over the elder – the fact that he’d never truly lost track of his little treat.

“I’ve changed my mind,” Yoongi said quietly, as he extended his hand with an upturned palm. The boy looked so much smaller then – more fragile, like humans tended to do once they were captured. “Take my hand.” There wasn’t any real choice in the matter, the child’s consciousness dulled from the thrall, its magic like oxygenated sweetness to humans. Yoongi was mindful of his claws, swallowing the smaller hand within his own, watching as the younger shivered. Despite the frigid temperature outside, Yoongi’s skin was much colder, and would only warm up once he’d fed. Humans were always scorching hot in comparison.

There was a vacant alleyway nearby that he led them to, chunky snowflakes beginning to fall in a gentle cascade around them. The boy was too docile to take note of it, no childish wonderment while he was under the vampire’s control, slipping further into it whenever Yoongi spoke to him, asking, “What shall I call you?”

Whom should Yoongi learn to worship? What was his name…?

“Kim Taehyung,” was the immediate response, the boy unable to help the shiver coursing through his tiny body.

“How ordinary,” ‘How lovely,’ Yoongi mused to himself, leading the boy further down the narrow path, until they were standing beneath an orange light filtering through an above window. Yoongi was delightfully curious, despite how impassive he looked on the outside, as though stuck in a perpetual state of boredom. It was a task to make him feel much of anything, however the predicament he found himself in was so unique – having enticed him so strongly, that it was difficult to so much as even think straight anymore. “And how old are you?”

“My birthday is next week,” Taehyung said, his adorable chicklet teeth beginning to chatter. The jacket he wore was far too thin, his little purple scarf doing nothing to keep him warm. “I’ll be ten years old.” He actually slipped his hand from Yoongi’s to hold up ten little fingers, as if the vampire needed the visuals in order to comprehend such a thing.

“Happy birthday, Taehyung…” ‘My gift to you is that you’ll be able to forget,’ Yoongi thought, as he crouched down, staring up at the boy from his spot on the ground. All he wanted was a little taste, he was practically salivating over the scent, the glands at the base of his fangs already excreting venom in anticipation. And he could see it, no matter how calm Taehyung appeared on the outside, no matter how well-behaved, that there was true fear reflecting in those large, curious eyes – thick tears threatening to spill over his long, babydoll lashes. Yoongi’s hunger overpowered the small pang of guilt he felt then, never having fed from a child before, no matter how much he despised the little spawns most of the time.

He gently ordered the boy, enunciating his words carefully around his fangs, “Close your eyes.”

Taehyung did as he was told, the tears falling in a soft caress down the sides of his face. Yoongi narrowed his eyes at him, reaching a hand up to catch the droplets as they curved beneath Taehyung’s chin. In the middle of winter, skin stubbornly holding onto a summer tan, Taehyung was warm in a way that would lure demons. There was a delicate way about the boy, a loveliness in every line of his features. “And whatever you do,” Yoongi whispered, bringing his finger to his red lips, cleaning off the salty wetness from his skin. “…don’t scream.”

Jimin should be arriving (should’ve been there by now), but that didn’t hinder the blond from the task at hand, nor did it inspire him to speed things up. He knew it couldn’t be rushed, even if Taehyung’s blood was calling to him, begging to run freely. 

Yoongi was so used to the careful process of feeding on humans, it was practically routine at this point. He would draw blood from the jugular vein, making sure to heal the puncture wounds with his own blood after each feeding, before erasing the traumatic event completely from their memories. However, drinking from a child was completely foreign to him, new territory that he had never wanted to discover to begin with. He doubted this child could even survive a puncture wound to the neck.

Shame wasn’t something he’d ever been told or taught how to feel when it pertained to feeding, because it was simply a vampire’s nature. It was survival and besides, there were humane methods at a vampire’s disposal. Hoseok never had to scold him on this matter.

He rolled up the sleeve of Taehyung’s jacket enough to reveal his forearm, which only made the boy grow colder, shaking but unbothered due to the glamor. Yoongi had to shut his eyes against the scent, dripping caramel, tart green apples – losing any and all semblance of self-restraint he had left – Yoongi stretched his mouth over Taehyung’s tiny wrist, slowly dragging his elongated fangs over the boy’s skin like needles against silk, before he sank them in deeply. The first drop of autumn on his tongue was intoxicating, the sound he made positively inhuman, raw at the back of his throat. The sensation of blood flooding his mouth was ritual, but it didn’t make sense, how the blood tasted just as fragrant as it smelled, but twice as potent, leaving Yoongi delirious from the rush.

The more he fed from Taehyung, the more difficult it was to let go of him, ignoring the warnings at the back of his head telling him to stop. He swiped his tongue over the blood gushing free from the twin puncture marks, before sucking down hungrily against them. A second later, Taehyung fell forward, too weak to support the weight of his body. He was caught around the waist by quick reflexes, Yoongi’s strength easily drawing the boy into his lap, even while he continued to drink. Taehyung buried his small face into the crook of the elder’s neck and shoulder, the angle leaving his throat exposed and vulnerable. That was when Yoongi heard it, the weak, stuttering pulse of the boy’s jugular vein. He slowly released his bite – mouth still full, savoring the taste on his tongue, before swallowing it.

Ga-guhn…ga-guhn…ga-guhn… Still there, but quiet, sluggish.

He felt stronger than usual. Since the very first drop, something within him had been changed profoundly, so easily satiated with less than half the amount of blood than would typically be required to feel such a thing. 

“What are you…?” Yoongi murmured to himself, lips trembling crimson and wet with blood, when he leaned in closer – drunk and wholly under Taehyung’s influence. He pressed the point of his nose against the child’s neck, and inhaled deeply. Yoongi needed more. He wanted to tear into Taehyung’s throat, but he knew that if he did, that the party would be over, and who knew if there would ever be another human like him. Taehyung was a treasure, Yoongi’s precious little blood gem.

The blond felt a familiar sensation run down the length of his spine. It was the presence of another vampire – Jimin, to be precise.

Perfect timing.

Yoongi allowed the elder to grab a hold of the back of his jacket, forcibly removing him from the boy. His back met the opposite wall with enough impact to leave a decent sized crack in the building he’d been thrown against. Jimin was stronger by an entire century, Yoongi wouldn’t dare to fight back even if he’d wanted to, and a part of him was glad that Jimin was there to save him from himself. The other part fumed. There was a hint of possessiveness burning him up, as he watched Jimin care for Taehyung – whose already weakened pulse was beginning to fade the more he bled out.

“You need to heal him,” Yoongi’s voice was rough, blood-red eyes fixated on the boy, taking in how ashen his skin had become, how small he was in Jimin’s arms.

“Oh, baby brother, daddy isn’t gonna like this,” Jimin tsked, basking in the hilarity of the situation. It was so rare that Yoongi ever slipped up like this, nothing could ever break his control. He was the perfect son, Hoseok’s second born. “Why ask me to heal him, when it seems like you were trying to drain him dry?” Jimin asked, head tilted at him curiously. He could tell that Yoongi would very much like to claim the boy – wanted to drink this child, until there was nothing left. Jimin laughed as the moments dragged on without an answer, “You have nothing to say for yourself? Shocker.”

There was a predatory, incensed crimson to the younger’s eyes, a snarl twisting his too red lips. Oh, he was pissed…Too bad Jimin didn’t have much time to indulge him, already biting into one of his own fingers to start the process of reversing Yoongi’s mistake, murmuring quietly, “Open up, sweetheart.”

Yoongi pressed his back against the wall, willing himself to stay put, while Taehyung ingested a few small drops of the other vampire’s blood – not his, which made it worse for him somehow. It wasn’t very often that Yoongi made requests, but he needed Jimin’s help, “After you’re done, I’d like it if you’d take him away.”

“I’ll clear his memory and then bring him back home, good as new,” Jimin answered with an easy shrug. The wounds along Taehyung’s arm were already fading into light splotches of red – the elder taking notice of where Yoongi had adjusted his bite, knowing that it must’ve been painful with his brother clearly not holding back.

“No, there can be no ‘back home’ for him,” Yoongi objected with a shake of his head, fully aware of how ridiculous this was about to sound. He knew that he was out of his damn mind, “You’ll have to uproot them. Persuade his parents to move, glamor them to believe that it was all their idea. Make sure that they’re well compensated for their excursion – just get them the fuck out of Daegu, because in about six hours, when I’m hungry again, I’m going to want him. It’s the only way, brother, please...”

Playing the ‘brother’ card was a bit desperate, but even though Jimin had no idea what was going on, he could tell that getting the boy far away from Yoongi would be in both their best interest.

Coven siblings were as close as family, whether they liked it or not, although they usually only had one thing in common: the unyielding love and devotion they had for their maker. Truthfully, Jimin didn’t particularly care for the younger at first, but Hoseok did, and that was all that mattered to him. He’d promised to take care of Yoongi and right now, the bloodlust was still prominent in his every syllable, which was deeply concerning.

He sighed, “Fine, Yoongi.” He didn’t really understand the effects Yoongi was experiencing, never once in his life coming across a human with an irresistible scent. A bloodmatch? But that kind of thing was so rare it had never happened within their coven. But there were stories. Jimin recalled hearing rumors of a vampire from the Northern coven finding his match a few centuries ago, and there were stories so old they were practically fairytales at this point, involving lavish parties centered around the bloodmatch coupling. Inevitably the fate of the human was to become a vampire, a sustainable source for its maker – one would never need to hunt ever again.

Jimin narrowed his eyes at the boy, wondering if this truly could be his brother’s match – watching as the color returned to his cheeks, having been fully healed at that point. “Little angel, look at me,” Jimin said, speaking softly to him – the thrall seeping through the sweetness of his words. Taehyung did what he was asked, his too large brown eyes sparkling up at the vampire. Mindful of his claws, Jimin cupped the side of his face, and began spinning a tale, “You lost your way headed to Chilseong, it started to snow...”

That was Yoongi’s cue to leave, not wanting Taehyung to remember him – not one single feature, afraid of what should happen if the child would one day be able to recall what had happened to him, choosing to remain as the phantom locked away, and hidden within his subconscious.

It only made sense that they should both disappear.


There were two Blackhawk sedans parked outside their nest (aka, a typical suburban home, because Hoseok was that level of...insane, obsessed with living out his pretense of the ordinary) when Yoongi got back. He gave a healthy roll of his eyes. The last thing he wanted to be confronted with was a visit from Namjoon and his cronies. When Yoongi was first turned, he had wanted to know everything about Hoseok. When he was turned – how, by whom. It was a beautiful memory from Hoseok’s perspective, but the more Yoongi had learned about Namjoon, the more he disliked him. The moment he’d met the elder, that budding feeling of dislike had grown into full-on hatred. It could be difficult to earn Yoongi’s trust under the best of circumstances, but after witnessing Namjoon’s treatment of Hoseok, Yoongi could never trust, respect, nor even pretend to like the vampire.

It was no secret to anyone that Hoseok felt something beyond hunger for humankind. Was it longing? In a way it was enviable how he could still feel emotions such as sympathy or compassion for them – it certainly wasn’t the norm that Yoongi had witnessed firsthand. But seeing Hoseok blossom as he aged, gave him hope to one day become more than what he was, a loathsome creature. All the good that was left inside of him had been placed there and melded by Hoseok himself, and it pained him to watch as Namjoon scoffed and derided him, his own progeny. He would demonstrate how obviously ashamed he was of Hoseok, bringing up his so-called human ‘weakness’. Namjoon would berate him at dinner in front of the coven, referring to Hoseok as the humanitarian, discrediting him at every turn. Now, Yoongi knew that somewhere buried within the bullshit, that Namjoon loved Hoseok, but he did not love him like both he, and Jimin did – too self-conscious of his high position, too self-important, and embarrassed of what Hoseok had become. 

It was clear to Yoongi that Namjoon only loved two things, in no particular order, his mate Seokjin, and his power games.

By now, everyone inside the house was probably aware of Yoongi’s presence, Hoseok more strongly than the others. He tried his damnedest to appear casual then, somewhat proud of himself for not walking in with the double birds being flipped, kicking off his boots, and slipping into a pair of house slippers – abiding by Hoseok’s rules.

“And here I was hoping it was the other one,” came the familiar deep timbre of Namjoon’s voice, sighing when Yoongi appeared at the end of the hallway. Once they made eye-contact, a flash of a smirk tugging on the corners of the elder’s lip, he went back to cleaning the frames of his glasses with a lens cloth. “At least he has the sense to hide it whenever he’s disappointed to see me.”

Yoongi deadpanned, “Excuse my bluntness, but why the fuck are you here?” It was unusual for Namjoon to leave castle grounds since, as head of the Eastern coven, he was a busy vampire. Most typically, Hoseok would receive a formal invitation to dinner, but ever since Yoongi made a point of pissing in the champagne fountain the last time, things have been a little tense. He’d been sure that he was saved that night by a combination of Seokjin being smitten with him, and the fact that he was Hoseok’s progeny. A most favorable outcome and he’d do it again just to see the exquisite look of disgust on Namjoon’s face. 

Sadly, Hoseok began to decline the party invites from then on. No more shenanigans to ensue.

There were four members of Namjoon’s security team looming in the hallway on the way to the kitchen, where the two vampires had been conversing before Yoongi showed up. The guards were of the burly sort, standing tall in formation, and looking like clones, dressed in a uniform of black suits and Ray-Ban sunglasses. It was fucking ridiculous. Everywhere Yoongi looked, he was surrounded by douchebags.  

“Yoongi…” Hoseok warned, holding an arm out towards him. The younger took the hint, as he wordlessly went forth, allowing his maker to swallow him into a firm embrace. The redhead sighed contentedly once he was near enough, curling his fingers into Yoongi’s back. He was behaving as though he’d been deeply missed, when in reality it’d only been two hours max since they’d last seen each other. The three of them had been entwined on Hoseok’s California king, napping peacefully, when Yoongi had been roused from his sleep by the irresistible aroma that had led him to Taehyung. He kissed the top of Yoongi head, “Don’t be so fresh, my darling.”

Yoongi closed his eyes, leaning up so that he could brush his cold lips against Hoseok’s cheek, “I can’t help it. The only good thing about him, is you.”

The hand that was firmly gripping at his side let Yoongi know that he was pushing his luck. He exposed more of his neck to Hoseok’s cool breath, holding back a shiver when the elder spoke against his sensitive skin, “You’re burning up…” It wasn’t a common occurrence; however, it would suggest that enormous feeding had gone down, Yoongi having to had consumed over forty-four liters of blood. Hoseok hummed, knowing that wasn’t the case, “You must’ve fed well…another diabetic? I know they’re sweet, lovely, but how many did you drink? Oh, there’s still some blood in your teeth.” Hoseok seemed to pick up on it then, the strength flowing wildly throughout Yoongi’s veins. It was alarming, to say the least. The redhead furrowed his eyebrows with concern, “What on earth did you eat? A witch?”

Was Taehyung a witch…? Yoongi already had his little war with the pagans, way back when – a better time, he supposed. Feeding from a witch didn’t taste any different than drinking from a human, except he’d always felt a little power tipsy afterwards, falling asleep in a fit of giggles. He didn’t feel very drunk at the moment – however, he did feel a bit stronger. The bit being very, but he didn’t know what to do with that information, especially in front of Namjoon. The head of the coven always had his mind on utilization wherever he was, whomever he met with.

Namjoon was like that kid from Pokémon. Must be the best, gotta catch ‘em all.

“I….don’t know. Could it have been a witch?” Yoongi asked, pulling himself back far enough to stare down into Hoseok’s dark eyes for the answer. He felt helpless, not particularly wanting Namjoon to know of his little encounter – would have preferred him to stay out of his business entirely for that matter. But he needed to know what Taehyung was, and the elder was his best chance at getting answers. “He smelled so sweet, like candied apples. The caramel ones.”

“Witches have been known for placing a charm on their blood to lure vampires in, before enslaving them. However, most witches have hexed their blood against our kind,” Namjoon countered, a hint of intrigue in his tone, chestnut-colored eyes hooded with something unreadable. “The human you drank from smelled of caramel apples?”

Like the winds of autumn, but Yoongi was going to keep his current state of delirium to himself.

“Tart, green apple dipped in caramel. But he was just a boy...” Yoongi muttered solemnly, immediately looking to Hoseok for any signs of disappointment. Instead, the redhead only held him closer against his chest, while his other hand captured the younger by his chin. The relationship between maker and progeny was as such, being able to sense when the other needed – desperately needed to be cared for, sharing both pleasure and pain. Hoseok brought him in for a soft, lingering kiss. If Yoongi’s heart could beat, it would be racing right about now.

“You’re pouting,” Hoseok whispered against his spit-slickened lips, stroking his thumb along the defined curve of Yoongi’s jawline, calming him down. Even if the younger rarely showed it, Hoseok could tell when he was on edge, or was rattled by something.

Namjoon cleared his throat, drawing back their attention with a quip, “Please, what would grandfather think?” The elder’s thoughts were going a mile a minute, processing things, and filing them evenly. No matter which way he thought about it, taking the time to go down each probable avenue, it sounded a lot like Yoongi met his bloodmatch, and if that were the case, then their coven would be able to prosper from it. Like the North – their lineage would be deemed as blessed in the eyes of the council. “Back to topic, no human smells like candied anything, do they? Unless, as I believe to be the case, you’ve met your...bloodmatch. It’s rare, but possible. Everything fits.”

Hoseok’s grip on Yoongi grew lax, stilted by the prospect of such a thing, “How can we be sure if that’s the case?” Although he had always romanticized the concept as if it were a fairytale, he didn’t know any of the mechanics behind the bond, what a bloodmatch would look like in reality.

“For starters, the aroma is only unique to the vampire it affects. The Northern coven has a bloodmatch couple within their family. The first vampire to be documented was Daniel of Kang and he’d claimed that it was the scent of his human that had awoken him dead from his slumber. He said it pulled on him like a metal string caught in his gut, slowly reeling him in until he was standing in front of his match, Seongwoo.” Namjoon placed his glasses back atop the bridge of his nose, smirking so broadly his dimples were on display. What the fuck was he so happy for? Yoongi grimaced, listening to him go on. “The second thing you’ll notice is the lack of appetite. After the first few drops, you’re as good as full, contentedly sustained for weeks... but it’s the taste of your match that will make it difficult to stop yourself from drinking.”

Yoongi paused at that, “What if you intend to go on without your match? Will feeding from others be a problem?”

That wasn’t a question Namjoon was interested in entertaining. His mind was already set on the bloodmatch ritual, the seating arrangements – Seokjin’s brimming with happiness over curating, and hosting such a momentous event. He answered Hoseok’s progeny anyway, reminding himself of the single reason as to why Yoongi wasn’t dust yet: Hoseok, Hoseok, Hoseok. Well, perhaps now there were two reasons. “You’ll be able to feed still, but you’ll be extremely picky with whom you feed from, and nothing will come close to satisfying you the same way his blood will.”

Yoongi recalled the crowd of humans from the night-market earlier; the way their unique scents, the faint thumps of their heartbeats, the flush of blood just under the surface of their skins, had all mixed together in a pleasing impression of food. But now...the thought of feeding on one of those other humans almost made his throat close with distaste, his mind instead imagining big brown eyes and the scent of autumn. He felt the venom begin to run down his fangs, and swallowed.

“Well, we’re three for three, so I guess the kid is mine,” Yoongi said, expression impassive, despite the fact that a cold wave of dread had just swallowed him whole. He shrugged, trying to ignore what Namjoon had said about the metal string, tugging, tugging. “He’s my match, but I–”

But I say that a congratulations is in order,” Namjoon crooned, ignoring the younger’s question to fold his hands together. He was a little too fucking delighted for Yoongi’s liking, which only served to freak him out all the more. “I never would have guessed that it would be my precious Hoseok’s progeny who would be lucky enough to have found his match. We must start preparing for the ritual. The relatives must be called, we have to gather them, and spread word throughout the four grand covens.”

As Namjoon went on to explain, a bloodmatch ritual consisted of all four major covens – N.E.S.W - coming to watch the transition of a human match into a vampire. Normally, turning a human was an intimate procedure done with both parties consenting, and it was done without an audience. Of course, Yoongi had never attended a bloodmatch ritual, he hadn’t even been born, let alone a vampire, when Daniel of the Northern coven had found his human mate. But the more Namjoon talked, the more he was glad of that fact. Despite the rarity of the event perhaps meriting a ceremony of some kind, Yoongi was finding the whole thing somewhat repulsive, and sorely outdated. Mainly due to the fact that the human didn’t need to consent, nor did the covens particularly care on whether or not they did.

Instead of plainly telling Namjoon to go fuck himself, he said, “It’s not my wish to become a maker.” That should be viable enough, taking on the care of a newly turned vampire was a big responsibility. Besides, Yoongi would be shit at it. Burn blood on the stovetop or something. 

Hoseok had been quiet until then, mulling over what he’d learned – trying to digest that there was someone destined for Yoongi. The fact that it was a child, that the blond had gone against his nature, and drank from him. Hoseok was stuck between a rock and a hard place, wanting to give his best advice as a maker, but also needing to obey his own, as Namjoon’s progeny. The tension was rolling off of the redhead in waves, knowing exactly what Namjoon wanted to do with the boy, what he would expect of Yoongi to do for the sake of the coven. “Yoongi said the human is only a child, Namjoon, so it would be inappropriate to turn him at such a young age, even if he’d wanted to become a maker. Let’s not make a premature decision…”

“Well, turning him wouldn’t happen for some time, no, but eventually. Ten years for a vampire is nothing…” Namjoon said, determining Taehyung’s fate like it was a simple matter, and that he was within his right to call all the shots, even when it came down to Yoongi.  He pointed a finger at the blond, despite the fact that he was speaking to Hoseok, “And I’m going to tell you right now. Your progeny isn’t going to be up for eating much, unless he drinks from his match again.” It was obvious that Namjoon was going to completely overlook the fact that Yoongi didn’t want to turn anyone, period. The elder lowered his claw, “So, until the child becomes of age, we could take him into our care. We’ll even draw a few vials of blood for Yoongi’s feedings, and-”

“No,” was Yoongi’s immediate response. The sharp look Namjoon sent his way reminded him that he was walking a very thin line. There was only so much lip he could give, before the elder would undoubtedly rip it off. Yoongi tried again, “No, thank you. My brother has already taken the human far away from here. He’ll be some place I’ll never be able to find him, and I’m content with the decision that I’ve made for myself.”

Namjoon sank back against his chair, a deliberately controlled movement, as though it took effort to hold himself back. He wet his bottom lip with his tongue, “Min Yoongi. You’re a fool.” The deep timbre of his voice was gravely unsettling, as his gaze zeroed in on the younger. “You will suffer, until the little human is either dead, or turned. No matter which way you calculate it, you won’t be able to withstand being apart from him. This is what our kind call fate and there is no way of escaping it.”

Oh, boy.

Sensing that things could end badly, Yoongi stood up from Hoseok’s lap, because if he died right then and there, he could at least avoid getting blood all over his maker. The kitchen tiles were forgivable, but Hoseok’s Chanel suit? Eh, not so much. He glared his dark eyes at the elder, ready to end the discussion, his mind having already been made up in the alleyway. “I refuse to turn the child, not now, not ten years from now, not ever, and that’s my final answer. So, why don’t you go ahead and add that shit into your little equation for me.” You ancient fuck.

“Fine Yoongi, let's do the math and see what will happen if you refuse me,” Namjoon said evenly, once again flashing his dimples. It was a sweet kiss, before the bite – the elder’s threats more like statements, a matter-of-fact. “First, I will kill your human, and then I’ll kill you.” Hoseok’s eyes flashed crimson at that, quietly seething that such words would so easily leave his maker’s lips. What’s worse was that he knew that Namjoon wouldn’t think twice about doing it. Hearing his progeny’s low growl, Namjoon barked out a laugh, “Maybe I’ll make it intimate and order Hoseok to stake you? A progeny cannot resist the word of their sire. There are many things I’ve had him do on my behalf that would make you squirm.”

Hoseok about shot up from his chair, slamming a hand down against the top of the table, “Namjoon–”

“The cost of one boy’s soul in exchange for what? A fancy dinner party, some clan kudos, and a bullshit ritual that endorses rape? I’d rather you did kill me,” Yoongi interrupted, raising his voice, protecting Hoseok by keeping Namjoon’s focus on him alone. The image of Taehyung’s toothless smile came to the forefront of his mind. The taste of his blood still in his mouth like a sweetener, the more he used his tongue to wipe it clean, the worse it became. Yeah, he’d rather fucking die.

Oh? I see that Hoseok has raised you to be a humanitarian, a useless trait for a vampire. Your lack of fealty to your own kind, to your coven, and most of all, to me is borderline treasonous,” Namjoon snarled, the expression on his face one of disgust – thumbing the ring atop of his forefinger in circles. When Namjoon spoke again, there was a tone to his voice, a coldness, that told Yoongi he would not tolerate any further dissent. “Twenty. I’ll allow your human to reach a more practical age, where important fundamentals would have been instilled as a grown adult. You have until his twentieth birthday to turn him, and if you don’t...well, I think I’ve made the consequences quite clear.”

A silence passed over the room, the tension tangible – the hand on Namjoon’s expensive watch echoed off the walls of Yoongi’s mind, steadily worsening the headache that had already formed. He knew that at any second, Hoseok was going to speak up, continuing the long back and forth that could only inevitably result in one way. Yoongi knew that in the end, it would be useless to fight back any further, making the decision to, somehow, resign himself to his fate. Anything to get Namjoon to just get the fuck out of their home. Yoongi got down on his knees, keeping his head bowed in respect. His entire body was shaking, fueled by anger, the bloodlust once again swirling wildly in his eyes, “Yes, grandfather.”

“Mm, there you go. Was that so hard?” Namjoon simpered, as he began collecting his things from the table, his mask of pleasant amiability already back in place, as if he hadn’t just changed everything with a single command. It was almost mechanical, how Hoseok was already showing him out, but just as they reached the front door, Namjoon paused, turning to Hoseok and placing a hand on the curve of the redhead’s neck. “Seokjin misses you. There isn’t an evening that goes by, when he doesn’t mention it. Your spot has been vacant for far too long, don’t you think? I expect to see you at dinner next week.”

Hoseok gave a stiff smile, eyes not quite meeting his maker’s, “Tell him I’ll be there.”

Namjoon was slow in withdrawing from his progeny, the sharp whisper of his claws grazing the line of Hoseok’s throat, before he was gone. Despite his shaking, the redhead managed to get the door shut calmly, twisting the locks into place in an attempt to further separate himself from his own maker. It was a heartbreaking thing for Yoongi to see, unable to even comprehend what a horrible feeling that must’ve been, but he was far too consumed in his own fury to offer comfort to the other.

“I’m so sorry,” Hoseok said, his voice notably strained. The younger watched the way he carried himself, all withered – a visible slump to his shoulders, where Yoongi’s burden was no doubt weighing on him, too. Then there was the lie, so soft and sweet, exactly what he wanted to believe in, especially coming from Hoseok. But Yoongi knew better. “We’ll figure something out. We’ll find a way to keep the child safe. I won’t let Namjoon destroy you with his agendas, and ultimatums.”

‘Like he’d shattered you? Like he still knows how to wreck you?’ Yoongi kept his judgmental thoughts to himself, because the bottom line was – it was too late, and they both knew it. Namjoon would do whatever the fuck he wanted, because he was the head of the Eastern coven, and nobody not even the vampire council, had the power to oppose him when it came to the personal affairs of his family. When Taehyung turned twenty, he would either be killed, or made into a vampire. Being killed was the better alternative in Yoongi’s opinion.

He’d have to see how he felt in ten years.

“We’ll need to keep a close eye on the boy, make sure that Namjoon sticks to his word,” Hoseok continued, turning away from the door to finally peer over at Yoongi, the younger’s crimson eyes glowing in the dark. Yoongi was still so fucking angry, unable to control what was bound to happen. Tomorrow, one month from now, ten years from now, it made no difference. He was powerless to stop the events in motion no matter how much time he was given. 

Yoongi’s voice was rough when he responded to Hoseok, “His name is Taehyung. You should become familiar with it, since he’ll be with us for a long, long time.”

“Yoongi–”

“Oh, and congratulations. You’re going to be a grandfather,” he smirked, a tremble to his lips – the expression quickly morphing into a glare that matched his rage in volumes, before he stormed off. Possibly for the first time since he’d been reborn, he’d left Hoseok hanging, the tension going unresolved. The feeling was cold, terribly so, but Yoongi basked in the resentment he felt then. He shut the door to his bedroom, shedding himself of his military style coat, and climbed into his bed.

As he lay there, his mind racing, he went over all the things Namjoon had said about the allure and pull of a bloodmatch. The explanation more like a curse, now that he knew what lay in store, because he could feel what Daniel of Kang had described as a metal string, twisting in his stomach. And even as he stewed, furious and miserable, the blood running throughout in his veins made him feel strong, satiated – alive. Taehyung.

Yoongi shoved his earbuds in, streaming his playlist, and cranked the volume up until it was blaringly loud, trying to shut his thoughts out. Then very slowly, he erased the freckle along Taehyung’s waterline. He erased Namjoon’s promises. And then he got rid of the pain he saw in Hoseok’s eyes, right before he turned his back on him.

He made it all go away.


December 29th, 2016.

Taehyung hated the smell of hospitals, the cleaning products – like they’d scrubbed the place down with a lemon, but wrong. It was always enough to turn his stomach. The cold, clinical bedside manner of the nurses, the bright oppressive lighting. By the time he was sixteen, he’d learned how to fake it in front of Jeongguk. He had to, as the visits became more frequent, until eventually it was a constant. His childhood friend – his only friend’s – health was declining, fighting against a cancer that was slowly defeating him. Funny how Jeongguk was always the best at taking down the final boss in any video game they’d touched. No, it wasn’t really funny at all.

Taehyung slid open the door to Jeongguk’s room, expecting the quiet that greeted him – Jeongguk was asleep most of the time, a combination of chemotherapy rounds and strong pain medication holding him under. He grabbed the visitor chair from the corner and brought it next to Jeongguk’s bed. He was propped up, probably watching television before he slipped into a dreamless sleep. The beeping sound from the EKG machine was ambient at that point, the background music of both their lives at this point, nearly lulling Taehyung to sleep himself. Instead, he forced himself to take out his textbooks, rifling through the pages – absorbing nothing when he was under this amount of stress, but at least this way he could pretend.

Jeongguk’s dinner arrived a half an hour later, Taehyung stealing half the sandwich, and his pudding, knowing he wouldn’t even consider eating them. It was a few minutes later that the younger boy stirred, smiling lazily at Taehyung, and the caught look on his face.

“My pudding, too? You dick…”

“In my defense, I thought they were trying to poison you. I took a gamble,” Taehyung countered, guiltily placing the cup back on its tray, before smiling gently at the other. “Hey, Guk.”

“Is it still the 29th?” Jeongguk asked, wincing when he tried sitting himself up more. Taehyung was beside him in an instant, helping him get into a more comfortable position. “I kept on asking the nurse. Time is tricky for me these days.”

Taehyung knew where this was going, “Yup, it sure is…”

“Good, ‘cause if I miss your birthday, I really will die,” Jeongguk joked, but the amusement was lost on the elder. It wasn’t funny. Jeongguk was alone, all he had was Taehyung, and in many aspects, all Taehyung had was Jeongguk. One of them was going to be left behind. Sometimes, the more selfish part of Taehyung wished it was Jeongguk.     

“There’s nothing special about turning twenty,” Taehyung laughed, and ignored the sharp look Jeongguk sent him, both knowing that wasn’t true, at least not for Taehyung. But Taehyung couldn’t focus on that now, not with the aching pang he felt in his chest. It was heartache, his mother had told him. One minute he was fine, the next he was winded – his entire world had tilted off its axis the moment Jeongguk told him about his illness. It was only fitting that Taehyung’s first heartache would be caused by his best friend. The two were inseparable, including one without the other unthinkable – a bitter pill for Taehyung to swallow.  

For as long as Taehyung could remember, he’d always been perceived as odd, marching to the beat of his own drum. But it was more than that, it was like a negative energy had followed him around, serving to repel others, even his own parents. While growing up, the kids from school stayed away from him, as though they’d come to this mutual decision on the playground – except, Jeongguk hadn’t gotten the memo. He was the same brand of proclaimed weird as he was, shy and withdrawn. Only one of them had outgrown it, Taehyung finally learning how to be chatty when he had someone else to talk to. Jeongguk had never really gotten the chance, it was hard to make new friends knowing your days were numbered...

But even though Taehyung managed to blend in when he was a bit older, he was still considered an unusual person, with unusual interests. Interests in the occult, in the supernatural, in fate. He could trace the curve of his interests back to when he was thirteen. It was the first time he’d truly felt understood, and it was by a complete stranger. A day that changed him, the memory an echo that reached back to him each day. How could he forget the day he had learned he was cursed?     

The Busan autumn festival was a highly anticipated event, the only thing worth looking forward to for the entire month. Taehyung’s parents allowed him to bring along Jeongguk, agreeing to let the boys go off on their own, splitting up after handing him money. Taehyung removed the waist bag from his hips after buying a handful of tickets, and shoved them inside for safekeeping. Jeongguk was the same when it came to rides, needing to try each and every one that he was allowed on. This year he’d finally been tall enough for the Hurricane, gleefully slamming into Taehyung with each sharp turn. 

After an hour and a half of rinse and repeating their favorite rides, they set out for Busan saltwater ice-cream just beyond a tent they had passed by several times that read ‘Fortune Teller’. This time, Taehyung finally paused, feeling as the small hairs on the back of his neck raised at attention.

He felt drawn to it.
 

“Do you feel it, too, hyung?” Jeongguk asked, teeth worrying his bottom lip, his hand firmly grasped within Taehyung’s – of course he felt it. He’d always felt ‘something’, no matter where he was, like a shadow was tracing his every step, that abnormal energy always buzzing around him. Jeongguk offered to him, “Maybe we should check it out?”

Was it possible that the younger experienced the same pull towards the purple tapestry with the silver moons, and stars? Taehyung laughed when Jeongguk tugged on his hand, insisting that they go forth. They were both introverted beings, but one always seemed to push the other in the direction that they needed to go, Jeongguk taking the steps that Taehyung couldn’t, vital to each other. Brothers.   

There was a woman sitting at the table whose outfit practically screamed ‘Psychic’, perhaps a bit overdone with her flowing gown, all of her charms and the medallions, the tethered amethysts that dangled from her ears. Incense was burning, the resiny smell that Taehyung would later know as Dragon’s Blood hitting them strongly. It was enough to irritate Jeongguk’s nose, sending him into a sneezing fit. Taehyung had his eyes fixed on the table, growing intrigued even if his first inclination was to be skeptical. The teller was just finishing up with her customer, flipping the last of the man’s cards, reading seamlessly without any words. Taehyung wondered what she was seeing within the illustrations.

How did she interpret them?

Whatever she’d told the guy, just barely above a whisper – too soft for Taehyung to make out, was enough to drain the color from his face, shaking when he took her hands into his own when she’d offered them as a comfort. “Thank you,” the guy said, reluctantly stepping away from her. It was a bit theatrical, but the boys were even more curious after seeing that reaction.

Standing in that little tent, the air heady and thick with the fumes of incense, jewels and crystals on every surface, catching the light and almost dazzling Taehyung, and those
eyes that looked like they could see right through him – Taehyung found it hard to maintain his skepticism. He wondered if she could see everything, even the shadows within the hallways of his memories. He walked closer towards the table. Jeongguk curled tightly against his back, nibbling softly on the fabric of his shirt out of habit. It would cost them ten whole tickets for a five-minute reading. Taehyung was about to pull them free, when he heard the teller murmur to him, “Oh, you poor thing. I’m so sorry.”

He wished her statement had taken a moment to at least confuse him, but a part of Taehyung already knew that he was chosen for something – damned for something. There was something wrong with him. The sorrow in her face reflected what he so often felt. That he was different, but why? He hoped she would be able to tell him, to finally give him some enlightenment, or reassurance that it wouldn’t always feel like this… 

“You’ve been marked by death,” she said, giving a slow shake of her head, as though she were in disbelief. The psychic had answered Taehyung, without him ever having to voice the question. Jeongguk let out a small gasp, his hands fisting at the back of Taehyung’s shirt. He was trying to tug him away, because he was scared, but Taehyung remained still, needing to know more about his fate. Her eyes then dropped to the smaller boy, her expression just as solemn, “You, too, are marked.”

That was when Jeongguk released Taehyung altogether, as he took off running in the opposite direction, to which Taehyung had no other choice but to follow after him. The weight of her words burrowed inside him like a paranoia – where it would stay, until he could better understand what it had meant.      

“It’s been a month since you’ve read for me. Take out your cards,” Jeongguk encouraged him, making an attempt to take small sips of his soup. Despite the medication counteracting his nausea, it rarely ever worked to the full extent, not anymore – Jeongguk’s lack of appetite was growing worse, his bony fingers curled around his spoon, while he trembled to bring it to his lips. How could Taehyung refuse him?

He placed his book down, studying forgotten for now, needing to make the most of Jeongguk’s moments awake, and alert – making demands, the little shit, on his birthday no less. Taehyung found himself smiling anyway, as he took out his tarot deck. He’d been practicing for years now, accepting divinization, wanting to become more enlightened, almost obsessively seeking out answers for himself, and for Jeongguk. Somehow along the way he’d become pretty damn good at interpreting, perceiving the cards with impressive ease, always surprised by how events would unravel the way he’d seen it happen in the cards.

However, lately whenever he would read the cards for Jeongguk, the results would come out wrong. They both knew where the younger was headed, faster and closer each day like quicksand slipping between Taehyung’s fingers. The fragile hourglass that was Jeongguk’s life had nearly run out, and yet...the cards were saying something different. He shuffled the deck, coming to sit at the end of Jeongguk’s hospital bed – watching him steadily clear the food tray, so that they could use it as a stable surface. Taehyung’s go-to spread was the Celtic Cross, setting the cards face down, until there were ten positioned the way he was taught to do, having buried his nose into guides at the library. Later he found out that his method was common, but often most difficult for beginners, yet he’d grasped it without a problem.

Position one, the most important card of the deck, represented Jeongguk’s current situation, and the challenges he was being met with. Taehyung flipped the card over, revealing the Four of Swords, which typically suggested a resting period after an illness or a trauma. The elder wondered if it had meant death, he’d always thought so whenever it pertained to Jeongguk, but in fact this particular card was about recovery. And lately it was always on top, goading him – giving him false hope. Jeongguk’s end was so very clear, that it was difficult to believe it, so he didn’t.

“Again? Ah, hyung, I’m gonna get that card tattooed on my ass cheek,” Jeongguk laughed, exerting himself to the point where he started to cough – which only made him laugh harder, creating a tiresome cycle until he was finally able to settle back down, wheezing. Taehyung really didn’t want to join him right then, concerned for his friend’s lungs, but he was unable to help it as he covered up his mouth to stop it from splitting into a wide, boxy grin, the sight of his friend’s laughter more healing than anything this hospital had to offer. Damn it, Jeongguk.

The second position, Jeongguk’s obstacles and blocks. Taehyung flipped it, bringing the first two cards side by side to interpret them together. The Two of Swords in reverse, which indicated some type of loss, or a sacrifice. A relationship that would never be the same again. Taehyung curled his fingers, trying to figure out what the fuck that was supposed to mean. For Jeongguk – for them, yet he had the sinking suspicion it could only mean one thing, that somehow the card was referring to himself.

“There’s a sacrifice that must be made in order for you to get better, because of course,” Taehyung said, unable to carry on with the rest of the cards, as he angrily swiped them from the table. “I should go see if they have live turkeys. You know, get started on that.”

“You’re thinking of goats, hyung,” Jeongguk paused, watching the way Taehyung rung out his hands. The jerky movements of his body, the quickening of his breath. Panic.

Just then the door to the room opened abruptly, distracting Taehyung for now, as a nurse stepped inside the room. Her face lit up when she saw Jeongguk was awake, showing him what she was holding in her hand. Taehyung froze at the sight of it – a single, long stemmed rose with a black velvet ribbon tied in a neat bow around it. “This pretty flower was left by your door and I figured it must’ve been for you. I wouldn’t be surprised if you have an admirer.”   

An admirer. After ten years, could they really still call it that?

Jeongguk knew as well as Taehyung did, who that rose was actually meant for. The fact that the sender had hand delivered it was enough to twist Taehyung’s stomach into an unpleasant knot. He was already on the brink of panicking before, but now this? The younger’s eyes lifted to Taehyung’s, growing concerned for him, as he answered her, “You can leave it on the tray.”

Every year, since Taehyung was ten years old, he’d started to receive roses near his birthday. At first, his parents would handle them, tossing them away in the trash. He hadn’t even realized they were meant for him, until he fished one from the garbage, exceedingly curious as a child, finding it odd that it was happening around his birthday. There was never a message, just a simple, To Taehyung in an inky black cursive. Ten years old, ten roses, that was the pattern he would’ve assumed at first, but the following year, he received nine roses, instead of eleven – the year after that, it was eight roses.

It was a countdown. And now, twenty years old, there was only one rose, which meant theoretically, it would be the last. But the last before what? There were a lot of lasts happening this winter.

“Hey, hyung, I’m kinda tired. Why don’t you go get some air for a bit?” Jeongguk asked, knowing very well that Taehyung handled his emotions better when he was by himself.

“Yeah, shit – okay, but only for a little bit,” he agreed, somewhat relieved, a part of him silently needing the permission to leave.

Jeongguk reached his hand out, his fingers brushing against Taehyung’s, “Be back before your birthday, though.”

“Of course, wouldn’t want you to miss my growing older, what with it being such a momentous occasion and all,” Taehyung said with a horribly pompous accent, doing what he could for that set of bunny teeth to appear. He felt full by how obviously important it was to the younger – his birthday. Taehyung wasn’t going to breakdown, not in front of Jeongguk. Instead, he leaned over to take his rose, careful of the thorns that were never removed – freshly picked, as always. Taehyung promised him, “I’ll be back soon.”  

And after walking aimlessly throughout the hallways of the hospital, twirling the stem of the rose between his fingers, he somehow found himself outside the last place he’d thought he’d ever turn to – because he didn’t believe in the power of healing through prayer. He found it rather desperate, yet there he stood outside the chapel doors inside the hospital, reading the time slots, confirming that it was open at all hours.

The room itself consisted of dark brown, unpainted wood as its primary foundation. There were several rows of pew benches, the crosses taken down from the walls to invite all religions. At the front of the room was a podium, and to the right of it, the confessional booth – which he’d been looking for, the guidance that came with seeking penitence. The door had just closed shut from out of his peripheral, a slow creak, before a firm slam. He took careful steps forward, unsure of what he would even say to a priest. What if he wasn’t welcomed?

It was perhaps too quiet, an array of tinted tealight candles burning softly. The chapel appeared to be completely empty, save for whoever had disappeared inside the booth. There were two doors, the one he assumed the priest had entered, and the other that the penitent was supposed to walk through. After several moments of deafening silence, Taehyung felt confident that it was most likely unoccupied. He gave a soft knock anyway, before he opened the door, relieved to find that no one was there.

Taehyung then took a seat inside the tiny booth, his timid eyes avoiding the screen separating himself from the priest. The moment he was settled in, he heard the voice on the other end say, “Let us begin by making the sign of the cross.” Even if he’d never gone to church, Taehyung knew how to do at least that much, moving his two fingers up and down, and side to side.  

“Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. This is my first confession,” Taehyung said, trying to ignore the trembling in his hands, as he clasped them together tightly. Despite managing to still them, the quiver in his words were a dead giveaway to the uncertainty he was feeling. “I-I’m not asking to be forgiven, but I am in need of your guidance.”

“Go on, then, child. Tell me what has troubled you,” the priest said, the tone in which he spoke a bit youthful, despite how low and raspy it was – it wasn’t at all what Taehyung had been expecting, although he supposed he didn’t really know what he had been expecting.

“It’s my friend – he’s very ill. He’s been sick for a long time, and I know that I can’t save him. It’s just a matter of time…soon.” The words spoken aloud were like buckets of ice falling on him, struck harshly with his throat tensed tightly from the overwhelm of it all. He swallowed hard against it, “I can’t really let him go, either, so…ha, I can’t, and I don’t know what to do.”

A sigh, almost bored with the topic of discussion came from behind the screen, “Do you think that prayers can save people, Taehyung?”

“I don’t really know, I just–ouch,” Taehyung gasped, staring down at the rose in his hand. He forgot about the thorns and had gripped too strongly when he’d frozen up out of reflex. He slowly uncurled his fist with a hiss, seeing the small puncture marks there, followed by thick swells of blood forming out of each cut. Then it suddenly dawned on him, a spike of fear coursing throughout his body. “How do you know my name, Father?”

Taehyung looked up after a pause of silence, eyes climbing when – a hand met the metal screen, rattling it from sheer impact, startling the younger enough to elicit a gasp. He’d shoved himself against the surface of the wall behind him, eyes going wide as he noticed the blood smeared across the priest’s fingers, caked under his nails, his nails as sharp as claws dragging over the mesh material that did a shit job at keeping their features hidden. Taehyung could see everything so clearly, from the snow colored hair to the set of eyes, the impossible color of crimson boring into him. He had to escape. He threw open the door to the confessional, nearly falling from the momentum he’d used, gaining enough distance to feel safe before he’d looked back.

The door to the confessional opened, Taehyung expecting that thing – the whatever the fuck to step out, when instead a body fell over, colliding with the hard ground. For a moment all Taehyung could do was stare, shaking violently with his heart drumming loudly in his ears. He was waiting for a natural exhalation, the body on the floor to give signs of life, but it didn’t come. It wasn’t going to come. Furthermore, the person lying on the ground had dark hair and was donned in a set of black vestments. That wasn’t the same person he’d seen inside the booth. No, this person was most likely dead, half his neck torn out.

And Taehyung – he would call for help if he could, but his throat was so closed off from fear that it was borderline painful. No matter how many times his brain registered that the priest was bleeding out, that he needed medical attention, he was still far too slow to react – knowing that he needed to, immediately. Just as Taehyung willed himself to do something, a different feeling than pain took over, seizing his muscles before he could even begin to move. It felt like he was paralyzed, both his feet planted firmly on the ground with his arms pinned down at his sides. A sweet, somehow familiar scent was being filtered in through his nose, followed by a warmth that made his skin tingle, cocooned into an unnatural state of calm given the critical circumstances.

Yoongi was able to take his time now that the thrall was doing its job of keeping Taehyung in place. He wiped at the traces of blood from the corners of his mouth, wanting to look presentable for his human at least. This wasn’t how he had wanted their first meeting face to face in ten years to go. However, it was difficult to keep his impulses in check when the enticing fragrance of cinnamon and sticky caramel threatened to drive him crazy with desire. Taehyung’s blood was enough to compromise decades of practiced calm.

Jimin had finally disclosed the boy’s location to him earlier this evening, placing a hand on the blond’s shoulder, offering his own version of brotherly support. It’d been the first time that Yoongi had been able to deliver the birthday rose himself, Jimin having reluctantly handled the task up until now.

For each year that had passed, Yoongi had grown more miserable over what he had to do – although he had finally accepted his fate. But now, Yoongi felt a dim stirring of optimism when he had heard why Taehyung was in the hospital that night, hoping that he finally might have something to offer the human that would make things more palatable a life for a life. Jimin was always diligent about reporting back to him about Taehyung, Yoongi’s little outcast, rejected by the living, and wholly welcomed by the undead. But then there was the advantageous case of Jeongguk, whom Yoongi suspected his brother of purposefully placing in Taehyung’s path, because what were the odds?

The only human who’d accepted Taehyung, was so very sickly and in need of being cured, according to Jimin, if only a miracle would save him. Yoongi rolled his eyes, taking the handkerchief from his back pocket to clean his fingers of the priest’s blood. He’d been following Taehyung throughout the evening, since he left the college dorms. Watching the human pause in front of the chapel had made things deliciously ironic. A vampire waltzing inside the house of God, surrounded by all the fabled repellants? Too good. 

He’d needed to be quick, using his vampiric abilities to flash in, before Taehyung could properly see him. It was always his intention to wait in the booth, when he discovered that he wasn’t alone inside the cramped space. It would have been very easy for him to thrall the priest into leaving, a single look at a vampire enough to leave humans in haze – also, it would have been a hell of a lot less messy, but then Taehyung’s heartbeat was thrumming throughout his body, the younger’s steps coming nearer. At that point there would have been no way to get the priest to leave without alerting Taehyung to his presence, and besides, he’d never been overly fond of priests to begin with. And Yoongi’s irises had swirled with crimson as he forced the priest to stay silent – lunging forward, and tearing into a meaty chunk of his flesh, so that the blood would run inside his mouth more quietly.

Yoongi almost laughed outright, a rare occurrence for him, so struck was he by the irony of the situation. Taehyung confessing wholeheartedly, while he sucked the life of another, the same person who was supposed to absolve him. But then, Taehyung had pricked his skin on the rose, the rose given by himself, and any semblance of control Yoongi had was gone the second he smelled the blood welling from Taehyung’s finger. One moment he was listening to Taehyung’s rich, low voice, the next he had torn the divider between them almost crazy from need. After Taehyung ran out of the booth, the scent of his blood somewhat diminished, Yoongi stopped and forced himself back together. Now was not the time to ruin what he had come here to do. Now it was time to allow Taehyung to make his choice. It wasn’t much of one, but it was his nonetheless. And Yoongi was prepared to accept it.

He stepped out from the booth once he was decent, eyes immediately finding Taehyung at the top of the isle. It’d been a whole ten years. Yoongi knew that the boy would grow up to become handsome, perhaps a little bit biased due to the circumstances, but Taehyung was absolutely stunning. Tall, broad-shouldered – strong, thick thighs, the build of a supermodel if he chose to pursue such a thing. Soft, light brown hair falling at the tips of his ears. Yoongi was glad to see he’d grown into them.

Everything that was once so soft about the human only seemed to have been enhanced. The long lashes, the freckles upon his skin – the arch of his nose, the bow of his lips, the large almond-shape of his eyes. Taehyung was a gorgeous specimen and Yoongi was almost afraid to think what he would look like if turned, since all vampires were born with a whole new charm to them, enigmatic in a manner that Taehyung already seemed to possess.  

“Taehyung,” Yoongi called to him, saying the boy’s name like it belonged to him already, and to some degree, he felt that it did. Everything that Taehyung had to offer belonged to him, ever since the moment they first met. The vampire stood at the podium then, hand closing the book that was resting upon its surface. Yoongi then leaned forward on his elbows, fingers lazily gesturing towards Taehyung, “Come here, my little blood gem.”

Taehyung felt as though he were trapped within a spell, impulse restricted – his body like that of a puppet on a string, doing whatever the stranger willed it to do, as his legs started moving to bring him closer towards the blond. But how was that possible? Who, what, was the blond man beckoning him closer? A creature out of time, perhaps better suited for the 17th century, garments reflecting an aristocratic status, expensive but outdated. A fitted waistcoat atop a simple white, men’s cravat blouse that made him appear impossibly slender, a large ruby at center of the neck piece, beyond ostentatious. Taehyung wished he could have scoffed at him, but as the distance finally closed between them, having stopped at the bottom step of the platform, the brief moment of humor vanished completely. Instead, Taehyung grew oddly fixated on the unusual features of his captor, noticing that his eyes were no longer a violent shade of red, but depthless and black, a shade of onyx that grew more beautiful the longer Taehyung stared at him.

And he tried in vain to push down the fear still threatening to overwhelm him, to ignore how very inhuman the stranger seemed, so pale that Taehyung could just make out the blue and purple veins that spread out like webs across his skin. Beneath his lashes was a brown, shimmery highlight, a shadow in the very crease of his eyes – too dark and abnormal to be caused from lack of sleep. The deep tint of the blond’s curvy lips more on the purple side, drawing the younger in when he spoke. Taehyung had to wonder if this man was a corpse. Wild, untamed beauty personified, sure, but the icy, blue pallor of his skin was giving Taehyung ideas he couldn’t ignore.     

“Ah, I see that you got my rose,” the blond said, voice lower than it was in the booth, rougher – a voice that could have given comfort so easily if Taehyung wasn’t so thoroughly terrified? Was he terrified? He knew that he should be terrified, was the point. He wanted to be more fearful, than curious. More petrified, than intrigued. But now that the initial terror of seeing the priest’s body had subsided, he was still scared, but he couldn’t deny the pull he felt. Or the feeling that this man held the key to all the questions he’d had about himself since he was a child.  At least, one lifelong mystery was now partially solved. A murderer had been sending him roses every year. Beautiful. He couldn’t wait to tell Jeongguk, if he made it that far. Yoongi’s mouth twitched into a smirk, “Each passing year of life should be celebrated, at least that’s what I used to think back when I was still human.”

‘Back when I was still human?’ What a fucking bizarre thing to say, Taehyung thought, as he briefly shut his eyes against the cold shiver that ran down his spine.

“A bit cheesy, I realize that, but I wanted to give you something more – more than what I was supposed to give you tonight. I wanted to give you more than what’s expected of me,” he continued to say, as he stepped away from the podium to make his way over to Taehyung. There was nothing the boy could do about it, his legs still disobeying him. “You must be so very confused, not just about this, but about everything in your life. So out of place, walking around in a world you don’t fit in. You felt it, didn’t you, the lack of belonging?”

Taehyung would have agreed with him if he could, speaking apparently not permissible as of yet, and still – how and why was that, exactly? It made him feel helpless, a worm on a hook. There were very few people who understood what he was going through, and for all he knew, this guy was trying to appeal to his loner side. It wasn’t like it was a secret, it was more than apparent to anyone who cared enough to be observant.

“Would you believe me if I said that you were chosen?” The blond’s eyes were impossibly dark when they settled on him then, obsidian and feline, the depth of his next words like a promise, “You don’t belong to the realm of the living, Taehyung, even though you’ve given it your best efforts. You shine like the sun, but you were destined for the moon. For me. Mine, and only I can save you.”

A soft breath escaped the younger, the invisible barrier preventing him from speaking having been lifted. There were so many questions. Questions that Taehyung didn’t know were even worth asking, considering the fact that this guy was saying things that made him sound crazy. He looked over towards the priest, “Save me like you did him? No, thank you.”

“Oh, but I was famished, so very hungry, Taehyung,” he sighed, trying to feign innocence by blinking his set of pretty, cat-like eyes at him, all penetrative, and hypnotic – and not going to fucking work, Taehyung fought to rationalize. “It’s been an entire decade, since the last time I tasted you, and I’ve been starved for you ever since. It wasn’t my intention to lose control like that, but I can’t seem to help myself when I’m around you. Even after all these years…”

Taehyung laughed, incredulously at that, “What the fuck? I’ve never met you. Trust me, I’d remember your psycho…” attractive, stalkerish, murderous, “…ass.”

The blond gave a slow tilt of his head, the crooked smirk gracing handsome features once more, wide enough to flash what appeared to be twin fangs, canines as sharp as needlepoints. He could tell by Taehyung’s stunned expression that he’d clearly seen them, “You have met me before, but the memory was blocked. You wouldn’t have done well to remember such a thing. Not at that age.”

Taehyung blinked away at what he had to have fantasized, still not ready to accept what he was seeing or hearing. Instead, he hid his fear behind false bravado. “Are you one of those occultists? Watched one too many Twilight movies? Or read too much Anne Rice – impossible, I know, but everyone has a limit, and I think you’ve met yours.”

“I knew you wouldn’t believe me, that’s why I’ll have to show you,” the blond murmured, once again stepping further into Taehyung’s space, face tilted upwards to stare up into the younger’s eyes. He could sense the attraction Taehyung felt for him, enamored as humans often tended to be with his kind, but perhaps there was something more? Did Taehyung feel the pull between them too? Not wanting to prolong it any further, he pressed the point of his claw to Taehyung’s forehead, careful not to cut him, “Maybe once you remember what happened, you won’t doubt me.”

Before Taehyung could ask what he meant, he closed his eyes against the swarm of visions that started flooding him all at once. A wintry evening at Chilseong, carrying a bucket of ice back to his parents’ tent. He caught his own mouth mimicking what he’d said as a boy, apologizing the moment he’d bumped into something solid – a man, but when he looked up it was the same blond. He looked exactly the same as he did ten years ago. It was all so unusual, the chill that was currently ghosting across his skin, as though he were there. He could smell the greasy market foods. Then there was a distortion of time, Taehyung on his way home, before suddenly the stranger was standing front of him again, seeming to have appeared out of nowhere.

He was brought to an alleyway with little to no light, except for the faded orange glow from a window up high. Taehyung saw his younger self holding up all ten fingers, happily proclaiming his age, so naïve that it physically pained him to watch. He saw himself complacent, making no move to resist, much like now, while the blond made work of rolling back his sleeve, before sinking his fangs into his flesh. Taehyung felt the deep stinging in his arm, releasing a sharp cry, the sound of it echoing throughout the chapel – it was a cry that he hadn’t been able to let out as a child.

And after what had felt like a seemingly never-ending moment of shock and pain, the memory had fully passed through him, ending when the stranger’s hand lifted from off his skin. Taehyung hadn’t even realized that there were tears streaming down his face, until he was being held by a pair of cool, slightly rough palms. 

Taehyung slowly opened his eyes, wishing that he could properly react to being touched like this, to pull himself free from the hands that had just killed someone not even ten minutes ago. Taehyung hated how he believed, not wanting to, but how else could he have been able to see such things? What else could properly explain the control the other had over his memories, over his own body? Taehyung wasn’t close-minded to begin with, he never was. He’d dabbled in paganism since he was a young teen, had studied the cards, wished on the new moon, and lit up his sage sticks every month. But vampires?

“My name is Yoongi,” the blond said, running the pads of his thumb beneath Taehyung’s lash lines, catching the fresh tears that clung, before they could fall.

“A vampire,” Taehyung whispered to him, breathing harsh from the overwhelming feeling. Why couldn’t he be angrier about this, especially after what he’d just been shown? This monster had taken from him when he was just a child. 

“A vampire,” Yoongi echoed back, using the same hushed tone. He rearranged his hold on the younger, skimming his fingers down the sides of Taehyung’s neck, the skin beneath his touch scorching hot, and soft, “That’s right.”

Taehyung’s reality felt shattered by the confirmation, as though Yoongi’s word was all that he needed in order to solidify the statement. If it was absolutely true that the blond was a vampire, then surely, he could only be here for one thing. “Are you going to kill me?”

“It’s a bit more complicated than simply killing you, Taehyung,” Yoongi started, distracted by the heat that was emanating from the younger’s body, making his skin tingle. He was reluctant to let go of him at first, stroking a claw over the jugular vein, feeling the fast, but strong pulse there. It would be so easy for Yoongi to bleed him dry – the thought of drinking every drop of that precious blood, more addictive than any drug, was both mouth-watering, and repulsive. He didn’t want to hurt Taehyung after all. That had always been the problem. He released the human with a sigh, “Treat it as a lesson, one that requires you to listen to me very closely. I’ll explain to you why I’m here, how you’re involved with me, and most importantly, what needs to happen next. Once I’ve finished, I’ll allow you to move again, but I really can’t chance you exciting me by running. As I said before, Taehyung, you make it so difficult to control myself around you.”

Taehyung’s lips parted, but all that came out was air, feeling his stomach tighten into a ball of nerves – anxiety peaked, since Yoongi hadn’t exactly denied that he wasn’t going to kill him. Unable to properly react, fully under the vampire’s control, Taehyung tried to push aside his skepticism. A part of him wanted to believe in what Yoongi had said prior, about belonging someplace else, that there was someplace else for him, “I’m listening.”

“There’s a rare connection among my kind and yours, humans and vampires – it’s a bond within our blood. We call it a bloodmatch. And up until ten years ago, human blood was just the average nightly sustenance for me. It always tastes more or less the same for vampires, no matter who we feed from, but then I found you,” Yoongi explained, bringing his hand to where Taehyung held the rose into a tight fist, close to bending it. The elder gauged his reaction, as he carefully slid the flower from his grip, the thorns dragging over Taehyung’s skin in the process, eliciting a soft gasp in response. Yoongi’s expression remained cool, despite how wound up he was on the inside, “The smell of your blood alone, is enough to leave me lightheaded, to forget myself entirely. And when I first tasted you, it was like drinking from an autumn sun.”

Taehyung was no less confused, but the husky rasp of Yoongi’s voice, the silky poetry of his words was almost enough to distract him. Almost.  Before Taehyung could ask what he meant exactly, he watched as the vampire touched the point of his tongue to one of the thorns, where Taehyung’s blood was smeared from when he’d cut himself in the booth. Then there were no words, not a single utterance, nor a breath to be exhaled – and yet, as Taehyung stared entranced at the other man, he could see him tense, his fist curling tightly, as if he trying desperately to hold himself back. To remain collected, as if it were normal. Yoongi continued, “As a human, of course you can’t feel the bond the same way I do. But it’s there, you’ve felt it too, haven’t you? Once you’ve been chosen, you begin searching without realizing it. Searching, but not knowing what you’re looking for, but I had you hidden from me that night, because... I knew I would kill you.”

Taehyung breathed in sharply, the constant reminder that Yoongi held his life in his hands setting his nerves on fire. But...the words he spoke rang true. Always so out of place, a shadow following his every step, preventing him from living a normal life – was Taehyung supposed to believe that it was all due to some warped destiny? In a way, he supposed, ever since that encounter with the psychic at the Busan Autumn festival, he had believed in fate. Scouring the library and the internet for information on the occult – rumors and stories that ranged from absurd to almost plausible – turning to the tarot cards again and again, always trying to settle the confusion he felt about himself. Yoongi...a vampire…and he were...meant to be? Taehyung knew he should feel horrified, but somehow– 

His frantic thoughts were broken as Yoongi continued, “However, the head of the Eastern coven, the coven to which I belong, he – found out about us. I’m sorry for that… I regret not having done more to keep you safe,” Yoongi said seriously, trying to keep the slight hint of annoyance from his tone. He’d thought he’d gotten over rethinking up scenarios for what he could have, or should have done, or said that night to change the present outcome. “I knew Namjoon would want to use that information to his advantage somehow, but you were only a child then. Besides, even if you weren’t, I didn’t want to turn you. Unfortunately, that’s what would have happened if we stayed around one another. My impulse to claim you would have overruled all morality, and in the end, your desire as my bloodmatch would have made you beg for it...”

Taehyung watched how Yoongi’s eyes flashed from black to crimson after making such a suggestive statement, drawing in a breath. The vampire caught his reaction, could easily guess as to what brought it on, when he pointed to his eyes, “Oh, this? We call it bloodlust. Strong emotions like hunger, anger, and even... arousal can set it off...” Yoongi’s lips curled into a wicked smirk, the fine tips of his fangs poking out – thoroughly amused by how easily flustered Taehyung was. It didn’t take much. “Where was I? Ah, well, I refused to turn you and was promptly given an ultimatum. It was either that I wait to turn you by your twentieth birthday, or Namjoon would kill us both. And just to be clear, he is more than capable of doing so. I cannot defeat him. No one can.”

“So, you’re…going to…?” Taehyung stammered, the panic attempting and failing to hit him. He had to wonder if it was Yoongi making him feel so at ease with the situation. Surely, he needed to be more freaked out than he was. Was this part of his vampire magic? He swallowed thickly, trying not to become paranoid, overthinking only one of his many downfalls, “You’re really going to kill me then?”

“That is part of the plan, yes. There will be death, but there’s also revival,” Yoongi reasoned, before he casually tossed the rose behind his back, his voice sounding calmer than he felt. There was no way out of it, even if they ran. They would be found and killed. There was never any true way of ‘saving’ Taehyung as he was now, as a human. He met the younger’s eyes then, holding him there, “I would have gladly settled for dying if it meant preserving your human life, but that wasn’t on the table. Now we’re both going to die, unless I turn you.”

“Right, no matter what we go with, the only outcome is death?” Taehyung laughed with incredulity, ignoring the odd sense of calm he felt over the prospect of Yoongi doing anything to him. It was wrong. He should be arguing to save his life – Taehyung snapped, “Stop whatever it is that you’re doing to me! It’s sick of you trying to suppress me like this. Let me be scared, if that’s what I need to be. How else am I expected to process it?”

“I’ve only controlled your movements so far, not your emotions,” Yoongi said curiously. As though to prove his point, Yoongi released the younger from the clutches of thrall, watching as Taehyung stumbled backwards a couple steps, regaining control over his body. He’d managed to catch himself on the arm of one of the long benches, shooting a glare in Yoongi’s direction. The elder stalked closer, eyes dancing with amusement, “Although, I could control what you felt, but such a violation would be of benefit to no one. Besides, I very much doubt that I’ll need to coerce you into much of anything, once you’ve heard about the deal that I have for you.”

Taehyung’s mind was still reeling from learning that vampires exist, not to mention his newfound memories being processed – well enough to know that Yoongi wasn’t lying when he said that he’d sent him away. The emptiness that was once residing within Taehyung’s chest was throbbing anew, as if something had taken up its space, threatening to spill over. He abruptly pressed a hand against it in hopes that it would ease the discomfort, but it didn’t. If anything, it was steadily becoming worse, worse, and worse. He ground his teeth, “Please…stop this.”

“I can’t, Taehyung. It’s the string between us, it tugs, and it wants what it wants. Although, it feels more like barbed wire if you ask me,” Yoongi said roughly, his kittenish mouth pouting around his words – expression remaining passive, and unreadable. Did he feel anything at all? “It cannot be stopped, so long as we both exist. Even if you don’t have the same hunger that a vampire has, you’re still just as ravenous for this, for me.”

“What was the deal you had,” Taehyung asked, immediately changing the subject. Any more talk about fate, or being hungry for Yoongi, and he was going to self-destruct. 

The elder’s mouth twitched at that, getting right down to business. “If you consent to being turned, then I’ll cure your friend of his illness.”

Taehyung gasped, felt the hope flare wildly in his chest, before he forced it back down and narrowed his eyes, skeptically, “You can save Jeongguk? How?”

“My blood can heal him.” Yoongi extended his hand out to Taehyung, “If you’re uncertain, then I can give you a little demonstration, if you’d like? You cut your hand before. Let me see it.”

Taehyung stared down at the palm that was being offered to him, a smooth, alabaster surface to lay his hand upon, grateful that he was being given the choice. He was hesitant at first – worried that something more would happen, that the longing he was beginning to feel would only intensify. But Jeongguk...he had to try. Despite his reservations, he unfolded his injured hand and placed it atop Yoongi’s, acknowledging for the first time, two particularly deep gashes on the inside of both his middle and ring fingers.

“Now watch,” Yoongi murmured softly, the blood-red glow of his eyes mesmerizing – it made him look so starkly ethereal, like a dead dream in bloom that Taehyung was becoming further lost in. The elder brought a finger to his mouth, nicking himself so that his blood could be drawn. It was unsanitary to a human, the idea of swapping blood, but Taehyung had remained perfectly still when the vampire smeared the blood across his wounds. With Taehyung’s hand cupped within his own, Yoongi raised it closer to his face.

And it happened faster than Taehyung’s eyes could possibly keep up with, silenced into a state of awe over how the cuts had started to close on their own – fading into a soft pink color, as though it were merely irritated, before finally it was like it had never happened. “It won’t turn him, will it? Your blood?” He probably sounded like an idiot, but he wasn’t taking any chances. He had read plenty about vampires over the years, but what was real?

“No, of course not,” Yoongi promised, bringing Taehyung’s hand down. The thought of turning anyone besides Taehyung, his bloodmatch, made Yoongi frown in distaste. No one would ever compare. “You’re the only one I’ll turn, Taehyung. Even if you tell me no. But I need your decision.”

Choosing to ignore the slight flutter he felt at Yoongi’s words, Taehyung said, “I’ll do anything for you to heal Jeongguk, but I’d like a moment to digest all of this. You said that turning me has to happen by my twentieth birthday, so I still have a little bit of time left,” Taehyung said, as he brazenly twisted his fingers into the sleeve of Yoongi’s jacket. Why did it feel so natural? Taehyung noticed how close they were then, a piece of his resolve chipping away – vulnerable, as though he’d surrendered in more than one way. His eyes dropped to the pout adorning the elder’s lips, further establishing his decision, “I’ll be willing to go anywhere with you after you cure him.”

“We should get going then, the sooner the better.” Yoongi gave into the younger rather easily, trusting that he wouldn’t try anything, sensing how genuine he was when it came down to his only friend. He had heard about the depth of his care for Jeongguk from Jimin. It must’ve taken a lot for Taehyung to finally come to the chapel, so desperate for Jeongguk to be saved. The irony that now he would be – just not by God. But first...the scent of blood that was not Taehyung’s stung his nose. He couldn’t put Taehyung at risk, needing to get rid of the priest before he did anything. “Go ahead of me, I need to clean this up and then I will join you.”

Taehyung had almost stopped to question him, when he caught on to what the vampire was referring to, and felt horribly ashamed. How could he have already forgotten such a thing? It was the main argument as to why he shouldn’t trust Yoongi. Why the blond was so dangerous. He was a murderer, whether he was vampire or human. And once...if, Taehyung was turned, would he become one too? But why didn’t it seem to matter as much as it should have? Taehyung was a good person, he was moral and he – made it a point not look over at the priest, as he quickly walked up the aisle, and shoved open the doors. 

Retracing his steps towards Jeongguk’s hospital room, he peered down at his phone to check the time, taking note that it was an hour and a half before his birthday. Did it really matter at this point? Wasn’t it more like the celebration of Taehyung’s death? The air shifted beside the younger, soft hair ruffling softly when Yoongi appeared next to him. They walked in silence, the vampire quietly reveling in the calmed rhythm of Taehyung’s beating heart, indulging himself while he still could.

Around the corner was a man with cotton-candy pink hair, leaning against the door of Jeongguk’s room, arms crossed on the defense. Taehyung was about to tell him that he needs to get the fuck out of his way, when one of the newer memories came forth. The pink hair familiar, connecting it to a soft, saccharine voice. Taehyung knew him, “It’s you.”

Jimin smiled at him, the same deceptive smile he’d been handed as a child, right before he swept in and changed his entire life around. The reason why Taehyung’s family left for Busan, abandoning everything. “Hello again, Taehyung.”

“Why are you here?” Yoongi asked, voice calm despite the high level of annoyance he felt. He’d wanted to do everything privately by himself. It was what Taehyung deserved. And frankly, it was already difficult enough for the both of them. 

“Hoseok requested that I watch over our little Jeonggukie, unsure of what lengths Namjoon would be willing to go through in order to make sure that Taehyung cooperates.” Jimin stared at the human with a look that reflected pity, which was a practiced emotion for a vampire. “I will keep him safe as best as I can. Believe it or not, the last thing I want is for Jeongguk to get hurt.”

Before Taehyung could further inquire about the cryptic statement, the blond was already responding. “Fine,” Yoongi said, evenly, fighting to keep his anger in check. “You will wait outside, until we’re finished.”

Jimin saluted him, before moving out of the way. Taehyung spared him another glance, before he slid the door to the side, relieved to find Jeongguk the same way he’d left him, now asleep. Yoongi approached the bed, taking in the condition of the boy lying atop it. He could smell the illness running throughout his body, the drugs fighting a losing battle to keep him alive.

“I’m going to leave Jeongguk asleep for this, otherwise, well – he might freak out,” Yoongi murmured, informing Taehyung of his every step. “And because of how bad his illness is, it’s going to require more blood than I thought. I’ll be weak after this.”

“I’ll just give you my blood then,” Taehyung answered, immediately, like it was an easy thing, but if Yoongi could heal Jeongguk, he’d give anything. If Yoongi had asked, Taehyung would give him everything anyway. It was absolutely terrifying, how strongly he already felt, this new desire festering below the surface of his skin. He pleaded softly, “Save him. Please.

That was all Yoongi needed to hear, two fingers following the IV tube, disconnecting it from the liquid bag, leaving the other end attached to Jeongguk’s arm. It was a bit unconventional, but it would work all the same. Yoongi pressed the tube into the crevice of his arm, using enough force to break through the skin, watching as his blood flooded through the plastic casing. He remained standing, but noticed how Taehyung practically collapsed into a seat, his hands clasped together as he stared at Jeongguk’s ghostly complexion.

“You’ll start to see it soon,” Yoongi told him, trying his best to provide comfort. Sadness had its own distinct smell and there was so much of it welled up inside Taehyung, enough to possibly spill over. He could already see the slight change in Jeongguk’s details with his superior eyesight, a warmth coming to the surface, once so pallid and cold, steadily turning into a healthy shade of pink.

Taehyung leaned forward, watching as the same magic from Yoongi’s demonstration began filling Jeongguk in like an empty page to a coloring book. The places where he was all bone, sunken in like a corpse – were becoming thicker, healthier. Even the younger’s hair was no longer thin, or brittle looking. Soon, Taehyung’s vision of Jeongguk started to blur, tears of relief threatening to fall. He hadn’t seen his best friend with so much life in him, at least not in a long while. He got up from his chair, gripping onto the railing that kept Jeongguk from rolling out of bed.

“It’s really working,” Taehyung gasped, worried eyes finally peering over at Yoongi, alarm filling him now, at the state he found the vampire in. The blond was slumped, the plush wine tint of his lips faded to bone white. There was sweat beaded along his brow, a shiver to his skin that seemed to hit Taehyung right in the pit of his stomach. He asked, shakily, “Yoongi?”

“I can’t smell it anymore, the illness – it’s gone,” he said, the tone he spoke in lower than before, exhausted even. Yoongi pulled the tube from his arm, before easing the other end from Jeongguk. Before Taehyung could demand to know what the hell he was doing, Yoongi shook his head, “He won’t be needing it anymore. I promise, Jeongguk is going to be fine.”

Taehyung didn’t doubt it, after what he’d just seen.

The blond settled his back against the wall, “Taehyung.”     

“My blood,” the boy said, pulling at the hooded sweatshirt he was wearing. The collar of the shirt beneath it was open, revealing more inches of delectable skin. The delicate wings of his collarbone a huge distraction, especially for a vampire who was damn near delirious at the moment.

Yoongi smiled weakly, finding Taehyung’s willingness endearing. He had no idea what he was asking for, how much worse it would be for him now, than it was as a child. “Not here.”

“O-okay,” He knew Yoongi was right. The last thing they needed was a nurse or for Jeongguk to wake up in the middle of it. Taehyung stepped closer, “Where should we go, then?”

“There’s an empty stairwell that leads to the roof. I can make it so that no one thinks to use it,” Yoongi offered, eyes falling on the pulse in Taehyung’s neck. Even if he screamed as loudly as he could, Yoongi could also make it so that no one would be able to hear it. He would need blood in order for it to work properly though, much weaker than he thought he’d be from the whole endeavor. Taehyung came to stand beside him, sliding an arm around his waist to support his weight. Yoongi relinquished what was left of his strength to lean into him, Taehyung’s body much broader than his own, the perfect surface for him to rest on. He inhaled deeply, Taehyung’s scent seemingly permeating every cell in his body, just as lovely as ever, and smiled again as he felt Taehyung’s heartbeat pickup in response.

Jimin was the one who opened the door, having sensed them. A single look at Yoongi’s disheveled state made him crack into a fit of laughter, teasing him gently to mask the worry he felt then. “Looking a little rough there, baby brother.”

“Find yourself a stake to sit on,” Yoongi bit out, his comebacks lacking their usual bite, as he nuzzled even closer into Taehyung’s throat, the younger having tucked him against his chest. Fuck, fuck, fuck. The blond’s gumline was beginning to throb like the first night they’d met, instinct calling for him to feed.

How on earth was Jimin the eldest? Taehyung didn’t have the luxury to question it, when instead he asked, “You’re really going to watch over him?”

“Until you return, yes,” Jimin said, a mischievous gleam in his dark eyes. It wasn’t appropriate for him to mention to Taehyung that he’d been watching Jeongguk for longer than they’d been friends, having taken a personal interest, wondering how to convince Hoseok to allow pets around the house. “I’d hurry though, my dearest brother can be a bit of an exhibitionist when he gets hungry.”

Taehyung tried to stamp down the chill that ran through his body at that, remembering the situation that he was placing himself in. A deal’s a deal – ignoring the fact that deep within his bones, flowing throughout his blood, a part of him wanted this just as much as the aforementioned ‘coven’. He read the signs on the hospital walls, navigating towards the stairwell. How Yoongi could control who entered, was beyond his understanding, a glamor perhaps. He didn’t need an explanation, given the fact that everything Yoongi had said and done had proven to be real. He supposed that soon, he would have an eternity to learn everything there was to know about vampires.

A final right turn had brought them to the door they were looking for, Taehyung pressing his free arm against the metal bar to open it. He didn’t know how far up Yoongi wanted to go, but at least out of sight of the window would make himself feel a bit more comfortable. Yoongi allowed it, working with the younger to walk the first few flights of stairs, until the lights become dimmer, and plaster turned into brick. It was Taehyung who’d stopped them from going further, which would have put them on the roof, gently pressing Yoongi against the wall. 

Yoongi stared at the human from beneath his lashes, crimson eyes cutting into him – knowing that the moment he bites Taehyung, there would be an awakening for the both of them. There always was, the spike of the adrenaline, the fear hidden beneath the arousal. Yoongi could smell it all over him, the rich blood tinged with the sweetness of pumpkin, apple, and sugared ginger. Taehyung was an explosion set to go off and if he wasn’t so greedy, Yoongi would’ve felt alarmed by it.

“Can I feel them?” Taehyung asked softly, bringing his pointer finger between them, the tension nearly suffocating the longer they stared at one another, until the elder captured him by his wrist. He used his grip as leverage to pull the younger in closer, never once breaking eye-contact when he pressed the soft pad of Taehyung’s finger to the point of his fang.

It was Taehyung who’d decided to apply more pressure, harder, more – drawing in a quick breath, when the blood ran in a delicate line down his digit. It didn’t get very far, when Yoongi closed his mouth around it, sucking in earnest to get whatever he could from the small puncture wound. Taehyung tried to remember that Yoongi was a predator, that he’d killed someone today, and probably a whole lot more in the past. He should be fearful of him, but now his heart was racing for a different reason entirely, and all he could do was follow the vampire’s lead, placing a warm hand along the side of Yoongi’s neck, holding him. It felt so nice, the wet suction, the difference in temperature…

After a few drops of precious blood, Yoongi experienced for the second time what Namjoon had meant ten years ago, about being replenished with such little. He could taste the power, overcome by the same frenzied desire to consume, drowning in his want for the younger. When the longing he felt for Taehyung had turned into a visceral need – he really had no idea, but he was going to indulge himself. Yoongi had enough strength to place down a glamor, any other human walking past the stairwell will have no interest in using it.

He lowered Taehyung’s hand from his mouth, but didn’t release him. “Have you ever been intimate with another human, Taehyung?”

“Intimate?” he asked, growing still under the heat of Yoongi’s stare, knowing exactly what he meant. Did the vampire really need to know about those things?

“I can see it in your blood, if you lie to me,” Yoongi told him seriously, moving himself from off the wall – cleverly using his speed to reverse their positions, Taehyung’s back meeting the surface with a gasp of excitement, heart racing wildly within his chest. Vampires had another unique ability to peer into the past of whoever’s blood was ingested, even their own kind. It was a piece of himself that he would share with Taehyung once he was turned. “But I’d much rather you tell me yourself. I won’t force myself on you Taehyung, but feeding, it could be so much more, if you want it to be. If you allow it to be. I think you already know how much I want you,” Yoongi paused to run his tongue back down Taehyung’s finger, nearly causing Taehyung to moan at the sensation, “But I won’t lie to you – blood, and sex, when combined can be...intense. I need to hear a yes from you.”

“I-I’m not a virgin, if that’s what you’re wondering,” Taehyung said, his breath hitching when Yoongi neared – pressing his weight into him, as he nosed along the slender curve of his neck. Taehyung tilted his head to the side, bearing more of himself to the elder. The rush of words came out harshly, desperate for the pain that Yoongi’s feeding habits had promised. He wasn’t able to lie to himself about what he wanted any more. “So, you don’t have to be gentle with me.”

Taehyung would prefer Yoongi not delve into the slew of regrettable trysts he’s had, his little emotional outbursts that had stemmed from Jeongguk’s health declining, and the pressures of school. He’d never wanted to take on a serious relationship, unwilling to leave Jeongguk’s side, if he didn’t have to – letting women and men alike lead him into the dark corners of clubs, into the dingy, crowded space of bathroom stalls, and the backseats of cars. Taehyung felt as Yoongi parted his mouth against his skin, and steeled himself, “Do it. I-I want it.

He had been bracing himself for pain, when – instead, he felt a light kiss being pressed just beneath his ear. The anticipation alone had been enough to completely shatter the younger, when he twisted his hands into the front of Yoongi’s jacket. “Didn’t your mother ever tell you not to play with your food?” he teased, tensely, each breath constricted with anxiety. It was the moment when Taehyung felt the least secure, that Yoongi finally sank his fangs into him.

Taehyung arched against him with a startled gasp, unable to get very far, trapped between the wall and Yoongi’s chest. He was stunned at first, tears prickling his eyes from being engulfed in searing pain. A pain that scarred him, a pain that sent pleasure coursing through every nerve in his body, and he brought his hands around Yoongi’s back, digging his short nails into him like hooks. “A-aah, pl…please…more,” Taehyung shivered, hearing the messy sounds of his blood being drained in loud, audible gulps, suddenly harder than he had ever been in his life.

A low growl started to build within Yoongi’s chest, bruising the younger’s skin with each hungry mouthful. The sudden wave of arousal, commingling with the ever-present autumnal aroma emanating from Taehyung’s body, had reached his nose in a mixture headier than any drug. Combined with the ecstasy he felt from his blood, it was almost overwhelming for Yoongi, unable to be ignored, especially when the boy started murmuring, “I n-need to feel more of you. Please, Yoongi, please, please, please…”

Something within the elder had broke completely, thrilling the younger with his speed like he knew that it would, gently placing Taehyung on the floor – his jacket already spread out where Taehyung was currently sprawled, his palms to the ground as he stared up at Yoongi with the same excitement as before. It was never meant to be this easy. Yoongi had expected Taehyung’s fear to kick in, but it didn’t. The twin marks upon his skin was still bleeding, running in a hot path down Taehyung’s collarbone, seeping into his light-colored shirt.

Yoongi was a proper mess over it, wiping the blood from his mouth with the back of his hand, smearing crimson across his cheek – pupils blown wide with elation. “Are you usually this needy?” he asked, pulling at the collar of his shirt, and ridding of his cravat. When Taehyung wasn’t quick enough to muster a response, Yoongi imitated the tone of his begging, “Please, please, please…”

“It’s just…” Taehyung stammered, slightly dazed, the deep color in his cheeks visible, despite how much blood he’d lost, body molten hot. “I didn’t expect it to feel so good. The pain, I mean… is it supposed to?”

The vampire had to wonder if he’d still feel or think that way if he could take a look at himself in a mirror, wrecked and dripping with blood. He fought against his every impulse, to sink into Taehyung again, needing to focus on closing the wounds. “It can be pleasurable, especially when the human wants it,” he murmured, lowering his gaze to the outline of Taehyung’s erection. The younger didn’t much care for being coy anymore, as he parted his legs suggestively, unused to playing games.

“I do want it,” Taehyung said, sighing when he tipped his head to the side, reaching a hand up to feel the mess at the side of his neck. “Are you going to let me have it or will I have to keep begging?” Yoongi was faster than he was, snatching Taehyung by his wrist. He knew how much pressure to apply, before it was too much for a human – before the bone would surely break, mindful of the importance of being careful when touching something so fragile.

“If I’m to keep biting you, you’ll need to heal, or else you won’t last.” If Yoongi was to do much of anything, it would be better if Taehyung had his blood in his system. Just in case he was careless. Taehyung nodded, a breathy ‘yes’ dripping past his lips, as he leaned in – giving Yoongi the go ahead. The vampire knew a surrender when he saw one, biting into the tip of his tongue, before he came forward to further claim what belonged to him.

There was a fever rising from just beneath the surface of Taehyung’s skin, his blood set ablaze by every little touch – the firmness of Yoongi’s bent fingers in his hair keeping the boy still, as he tentatively pressed their mouths together. It was experimental at first, lightly brushing his tongue between Taehyung’s lips, cold shadows meeting the warmth of sun rays, tempting them with a slow dance. This might be the first and last time Yoongi could have Taehyung as a human.

But it was also driving him mad, trapped within a haze of autumn, Taehyung’s blood coursing throughout his body like it’d been liquid gold all along, so potent – it almost made him feel alive again. He positioned himself between Taehyung’s thighs, groaning at the back of his throat when they closed tight around his hips, eagerly bringing their bodies flush together. Yoongi’s response was decidedly more aggressive, allowing Taehyung to bore all of his weight, before he teasingly rocked his hips forward. The rough friction of Yoongi’s belt buckle mercilessly dragging over his hard, sensitive length was enough to pull a shuddered gasp from the younger.

With another bite to his own tongue, Yoongi filled Taehyung’s mouth with his blood. The taste itself was honey sweet to Taehyung, his body designed for the other just as much as Taehyung’s was for himself. It caused Taehyung to groan appreciatively, before he chased after more. “I don’t know how to have patience with you,” Yoongi confessed between slow, lingering pulls of the younger’s too swollen lips. Cherry red. Delectably soft, begging to bleed. As if to mirror his thoughts, at that moment a small rivulet of his own blood trickled out from the corner of Taehyung’s mouth, the image enough to drive Yoongi wild once again. “You can’t bruise as a vampire, can’t ever be marked, but you’d look so pretty covered in bites…”

Despite his statement, Yoongi’s blood would ensure that Taehyung would heal, before any real damage could be done. It was somewhat saddening. He slid his hand from Taehyung’s hair to cradle the boy’s face into his icy palm – sinking a claw into the tender flesh along his cheekbone. “You’re so beautiful, Taehyung,” he murmured quietly, watching as the skin broke easily for him, thick rivulets of blood demanding to be savored, as he deliberately ran the point of tongue over the closing wound. Taehyung’s deep moan went straight to the pit of his stomach, when he drew back far enough to stare down at the younger, “My precious little blood gem. Mine. Mine, because the stars in the sky say so.”

He shivered beneath the elder, running his teeth over his bottom lip for remnants of Yoongi’s blood, needing more of it, “Yes, yours. All yours. Please, Yoongi…”

“Are you still whining?” the vampire asked, the tone of his voice like jagged velvet, rough and soft all at once. It was time to fulfill Taehyung’s longing, to fully satisfy the both of them, to consummate their fated relationship, to yank the end of the boy’s rope that kept them irrevocably tethered. “Needy, insatiable human,” he continued half-mockingly, as he made quick work of his human’s shirt, the buttons giving away under the force of Yoongi’s impatient tugs. Taehyung was all smooth, sun-kissed skin underneath, a final reminder that it would never feel the sun again. There was a delicate build to him, a delectably soft looking stomach that Yoongi wanted to drag his claws across, but refrained from, for now.

Back when Yoongi was turned, he was at top physical form due to being in the service. He was smaller than Taehyung, sure, but his muscles were more defined. Yoongi discarded his shirt into the growing pile next to them, exposing more of himself to the human beneath him. Their eyes remained locked on one another for a long, tense pause. Completely spellbound, Taehyung being the first to break free from it, almost shameless with his open scrutiny. “And you call me beautiful,” Taehyung murmured, awed and breathless, as he leaned forward to traipse his fingertips down the hard, cold lines of Yoongi’s chest. The younger stopped once he’d reached the hem of his trousers, glancing up at Yoongi – skin flushed from the vampire’s blood, arousal dripping heavily from his velvety voice, he whispered, “Liar.”

Yoongi captured Taehyung’s wrists within his grasp, easily pinning the boy between his body and the floor. It was starting to become too much. Slowly, the vampire nudged his nose against Taehyung’s, forcing him to tilt his head back for a kiss that was quick to bruise – ice melting against the heat of Taehyung’s lips. Determined to taste the cherry red of the younger’s smile, Yoongi dragged over the soft flesh with his fangs. The pain was sharp enough to elicit a shaky gasp, Taehyung’s hips arching against him. The taste of cinnamon, crisp autumn air pulled Yoongi in deeper, as he delved inside the hot cavern of Taehyung’s mouth, claiming every corner with strong sweeps of his tongue.

Taehyung felt like he was drowning, fingers curling above his head, reaching for something to latch onto as he tried, desperately, to keep himself above the waves that were steadily dragging him under. Yoongi kissed like he had a wealth of experience, dipping into him just right – the very moment when Taehyung was about to draw a breath, greedily suckling and pulling at his swollen lips, before once again filling his mouth. Taehyung could taste the coppery tang of his own blood. It was nothing at all like the sweetness of Yoongi’s – inciting a new bout of roughness from Taehyung, as he nipped at the elder’s tongue, hoping to be rewarded with a few more droplets.

A hand shot out to firmly grab at the curve of Taehyung’s jawline, Yoongi’s crimson eyes burning through him. “Be careful what you ask for...if you start biting me, I'll bite you back.” He teasingly flicked his tongue over the top curve of Taehyung’s lip, feeling as his breath hitched. Taehyung’s responsiveness was driving him wild, and he found himself murmuring things he never would have thought he would say. “Fuck – that’s all I want…I want to keep you with me forever, making me feel this good, making you feel even better. Would you like that too, sweetheart?” Yoongi used his grip to turn the younger’s face to the side, speaking firmly against the sensitive shell of his ear, “I know that you would. I can feel your heart racing for me, can hear you moaning my name, can smell your desire for me.” Taehyung bit his tongue to keep down the moan that threatened to spill out, hating how affected he was by the smirk on Yoongi’s face as he caught the motion. “Mm, if you were a vampire, I would have torn you apart by now, I would have had you stretched all nice and pretty around my cock, whining and begging, because you feel too full. You’re so good at doing just that, whining and begging...”

“Bite me,” Taehyung shot back at him, strong thighs squeezing at Yoongi’s hips in response to the caress of his words, unable to help it. The vampire narrowed his eyes down at him, running his tongue across his bloodstained canines, considering. Taehyung knew he was asking for it, and felt a shiver of apprehension – or was it anticipation? He could hardly separate the two any longer – at the dangerously speculative glint he saw in the other’s gaze. The next place Yoongi chose to take from, he decided, would be more painful – but he wanted Taehyung to be able to see the view of his blood flooding Yoongi’s mouth.

The rhythm of the younger’s heartbeat was sweet background music as Yoongi leaned back down to Taehyung, almost meeting lips that were begging to be kissed, before abruptly moving lower. He smirked at the whimper Taehyung let out in response.

Yoongi thumbed over the boy’s chest, grazing over a peaked nipple. Taehyung raised his hips once more, cock straining painfully hard against his fitted jeans, in desperate need of release. “So sensitive for me,” the vampire murmured, finding himself drowning in desire once again, everything the younger did was setting him on fire without even trying. He kept his penetrative gaze on Taehyung as he lowered his head down, and sunk his fangs through the firm layers of muscle that helped guard the bone above his heart.

The sob that left Taehyung only spurred him on further, as Yoongi brought a hand down between their bodies, pulling the button open on the boy’s jeans. He reached inside his briefs and was met with the sticky mess of pre-cum that had accumulated, wondering if Taehyung had come at some point before reminding himself that he would have been able to tell. He was certainly close. Yoongi tested his theory, cleaning over the puncture marks on Taehyung’s chest, before he swiped his tongue over a nipple. He could feel the strain in younger’s body, a pull on his wrists that remained captured – a trembling in the thighs that were wrapped around his waist.

Yoongi decided it would be best to put his claws away, retracting them into a set of blunt, human-looking nails, before he wrapped his icy hand around Taehyung’s dripping length, freeing him from his clothing. Taehyung gasped, and jerked at the sensation, his eyes rolling back into his head as he settled back down. Fresh droplets of pre-cum slid over the vampire’s knuckles, as he lazily began stroking him, the sight of Taehyung’s long, perfect cock in his hands making his mouth water. The need to taste just as strong as his desire for his blood.

“Is that better, baby?” he cooed, going back to teasing over Taehyung’s chest, resuming the incessant flicking of his tongue, and felt as the boy started to thrash from the sensory overload. Every so often he dipped lower to lap at the liquid oozing out of his pulsing length, savoring the taste and causing Taehyung to cry out in pleasure. So close – Yoongi began to trail ever-so-gentle kisses along the side of Taehyung’s throat, speaking huskily into his skin, “I can’t wait to fuck you, as soon as I’m finished with tasting you…”

And with that, Yoongi stretched his mouth over the prominent vein in the younger’s neck, firmly squeezing Taehyung’s cock at the base, before he sank his fangs into the tender skin – the blood steadily flowed through his teeth, each strong pull scalding hot, as though directly from a flame. Yoongi growled almost violently, sinking into the boy even further. The sharp stinging sensation from his bite was enough to send Taehyung over the edge with a shuddered cry, coming hard despite being constricted, webs of his cum painting across his stomach.

Taehyung tried muffling his soft moans into his arm, wishing that the large, cool hand around his softening length would move with him while he was coming down, bucking his hips up into nothing.

Yoongi pulled back – thick, sticky ropes of blood and saliva dripping from his lips, as he stared down at Taehyung with red, luminous eyes. “You came just from my bite,” he murmured, a hint of amusement in his tone. Taehyung had little to say in his own defense, skin flushed a pretty pink against his golden skin. “Would you last an entire evening with me, I wonder? Vampires can go for hours, you know. When you have an eternity to live, to fuck, there’s every reason to take your time.”

No, Taehyung didn’t know, but now he felt as though he were being devoured by the intensity of Yoongi’s gaze, as it roamed hungrily over Taehyung’s debauched, utterly exposed form. He shivered, his body already responding just to the mere thought of spending all night with Yoongi in bed. He supposed he’d find out once he was turned, more anticipating the prospect now, than repelled. How could he be afraid, when throughout his entire life nothing ever really made sense, except for this moment? How could he be afraid, when every atom in his body was singing for Yoongi? “Again, please,” Taehyung sighed, feeling somewhat helpless beneath the weight of Yoongi’s searing, feral gaze, craving to be swept up in it once more, “Bite me, again.”

Yoongi had wondered if Taehyung had really wanted it, or if it was the part of him that was his bloodmatch, naturally drawn to the bite – drawn to death itself. But in the end was there any difference? The bloodmatch was as much a part of either of them as anything, built into their DNA, mandated by fate. Now, looking at the perfect man before him, begging for his touch, he couldn’t help but feel grateful for the first time in ten years. He could never give Taehyung up, not now.

“I’m going to,” Yoongi told him softly, as he released Taehyung’s wrists to rid them of the rest of their clothing with an unusual amount of grace, careful touches by practiced hands. With Taehyung laid bare beneath him, the blood drying against healed bite marks, all Yoongi wanted to do was claim him all over again. Dirty him. And so, he would.

He dragged his fingers through the mess of Taehyung’s release, having avoided cleaning it from off his skin as of yet. The boy trembled, hands in his own hair – twisting in embarrassment, even as his legs spread wider to accommodate Yoongi’s shoulders settling between them. It only took Taehyung a second to realize what the use of his cum was for, when the elder started pressing against his rim – slipping a long, slender digit deep inside of him.

Taehyung couldn’t help the way he keened at every touch, shifting his hips to better adjust to the persistent in and out, before another finger joined the first. The wet, sticky sounds of being opened were embarrassing to the younger’s own ears, his skin flushing a dusky pink all over. It was too much for Yoongi to take – all that new blood at the surface driving him that much more wild – and suddenly Taehyung felt Yoongi’s mouth against his inner thigh, his blunt nails keeping the sensitive skin pressed to his teeth. The younger was so responsive, his cock twitching eagerly, already painfully hard again.

“Look at you, taking my fingers so well, you’re practically fucking yourself,” Yoongi mouthed against him, enunciating his words with a particularly forceful thrust, hard enough to make Taehyung’s hips rock back, desperate almost – his cheeks burning with shame. “I think you can manage another.” Before Taehyung could even form a response, a third finger was pushed into him, stretching him to what felt like was beyond his means, a little painful but satisfying, a little too fast, and yet so deliciously full.

“Mmm, too much too soon, baby?” Yoongi asked teasingly, as he scraped his teeth over the spot he intended to bite – running his tongue over the bruise he’d left, before he broke through the skin, growling deep from within his chest. Despite what he’d decided earlier, he’d dived into the boy’s past anyway – couldn’t control it really in the midst of such intense passion, and seen what Taehyung was capable of doing, how much he’d been able to take, as well as how many times he’d taken it. It was an obscure handful of women and men alike, Yoongi becoming more possessive over Taehyung now, than he was before, if such a thing were possible.

There was a punishing force behind Yoongi’s bite, the way he’d crooked his fingers up – spread them wider, mercilessly fucking into the human, until he was ruined, tearing a second orgasm from Taehyung. Yoongi delighted in the way he cried out, how it echoed off the walls of the stairwell. Swallowing one last mouthful of Taehyung’s blood, Yoongi groaned at its sweetness, slowly easing his fingers from the younger’s body to start undoing his belt, “Going to get hard for me again? Once more...”

“Please, oh, I can’t…” Taehyung murmured, hand resting over his navel, where a fresh pool of cum had formed. Yoongi pulled himself from his briefs, leaning heavily into Taehyung – pressing his hard cock against his hip.

“You can do it sweetheart. Remember how you begged me for this, for more?” Yoongi murmured dangerously low to him – their mouths a hair’s breadth away from touching. “And so that’s exactly what I’m going to give you. So much more, my precious boy – more, more you can’t take it any further. I want to feel you the moment you shatter around me.”

“Yes,” Taehyung shivered beneath him – long, babydoll lashes fluttering when he pressed their mouths together, hardly believing it when he felt his cock start to swell again, just from Yoongi’s words. No mercy was to be extended, Yoongi’s tongue filling him with warmth, Taehyung’s blood turning the elder’s touch from winter to summer. Fangs pulled at his plush bottom lip, sucking greedily at the abused flesh. The blood that was saturating Taehyung’s mouth wasn’t his own, familiar now with the thick, honey-like taste that exclusively belonged to the vampire, potent as any aphrodisiac. He moaned softly, lips falling pliant.

Too much consumption would make Taehyung feel hot, as though he’d had a little too much alcohol, minus any of the hazy, disoriented effects. It was more of a freeing, contented feeling, and it was the only way to undo the exhaustion that had come from being drained. Yoongi reached down to take hold of his length, steadying himself with a hand beside Taehyung’s head – intent on continuing with their kiss, nipping none-too-gently as he teased himself up and down over the younger’s entrance. He was still slick there, the tip of Yoongi’s cock catching against his swollen rim.

“Fuck,” Taehyung gasped, could feel his cock fully harden again, curved towards his stomach from the elder’s ceaseless, sinful teasing. A hand gripped firmly at Taehyung’s waist, stilling him. And for a charged moment, there was nothing, but his harsh, erratic breathing. Taehyung dared to open his eyes and was caught – unable to look away from the crimson spell of Yoongi’s direct stare, and felt as the elder pushed into him slowly. He didn’t stop, until he was buried as far as he could go, drawing a long, filthy moan from the boy. Taehyung felt wonderfully stretched, all tight and full around Yoongi’s thick cock.    

“Such pretty little noises you make, human,” Yoongi mused, as he withdrew his hips and immediately slammed back into him, starting a rhythm that suited them both, the lines of discomfort that marred Taehyung’s features steadily dissipating into bliss. “They’re all for me, those precious sounds,” Yoongi growled, having nearly forgotten what fucking a human was like, it’d been so long. He’d enjoyed how they breathed – how soft they were, how warm. But Taehyung was exceptional, so sensitive and willing to give himself over, the scent of his arousal heady, dizzying.

“And this is all mine, too, isn’t it?” Yoongi continued, emphasizing with a particularly hard thrust into the younger’s body. Taehyung draped his arms over his face – one covering his mouth, the other over his eyes. Yoongi stilled his hips, punishingly, and watched how the younger rocked against him in earnest – fucking back onto his cock. Once Taehyung realized what he was doing, he whimpered pathetically. Fuck.

Yoongi pried the younger’s arms down, using the grip on his wrists as leverage when he’d leaned down, lips skimming across Taehyung’s, “Don’t ever think to cover yourself up from me again, Taehyung, not even in the dark. You belong to me and I wish to see every part of you. So, when I ask you, is this mine,” he said, meeting Taehyung’s hips, fucking back into him, “What do you tell me?”

“Y-Yes!” Taehyung cried, sparks of pleasure igniting at the core of his stomach each time Yoongi came forward, could feel his cock leaking against his stomach, swollen from being so hard, and untouched for so long. He knew what the vampire wanted to hear, a more specific response, gluttonous with his desires, “I’m all yours – aah, please, I need – more…”

“That’s good, sweetheart,” Yoongi praised him, voice rough like gravel as it scraped pleasantly over Taehyung’s senses. “And do you know what would be so good of you to do for me?”

Taehyung shook his head, eyes hazy as they stared up at the elder, “Tell me, I’ll do anything, j-just, please…don’t stop.”

He could tell Taehyung was close, could hear it in his begging. “I want you to touch yourself.” It wasn’t a request that had to be repeated, when the younger slid his hand down his heaving chest, hissing sharply when he finally took hold of himself. There was enough slick from his prior release to coat his length– the glide of his fist over his cock so easy, and falling into rhythm with the quickening thrusts of Yoongi’s hips. He had never felt so on fire before.

Yoongi kept Taehyung’s other arm pinned beside his head, while he drank in the sounds that spilled from the younger’s lips, the vibrations of each moan being trapped against his mouth, perversely satisfying. Nearly forgetting that humans needed to pause between long kisses, he released the boy to press his nose into the junction between his neck and shoulder. The way Taehyung was arched so beautifully had only served to tantalize him further.

“Do it, please…please, make it hurt,” Taehyung sobbed brokenly, raising his hips to meet his hand, when he felt Yoongi snap into him even deeper, if possible – harder, stopping every so often to slowly grind against him, before he repeated the action. Yoongi wouldn’t draw any more blood, settling for piercing through his soft skin, leaving his fangs imbedded within him. The pain that he felt was enough to leave Taehyung dizzied by it, seeing spots of white behind his eyelids.

The hand working over his cock had stopped, the pleasurable stinging sensation shooting throughout his body. Unable to think, let alone move. Yoongi replaced Taehyung’s hand with his own, squeezing the boy until he whimpered, before he started moving his fist over his weeping length. Growling low into the younger’s skin, he quickened his thrusts into a pace that was relentless, tearing a scream from the back of Taehyung’s throat – the sound of it carrying all around them. Yoongi pressed his fangs into him that much harder, could feel the boy’s muscles beginning to flutter around him tightly like a pulse, as he forced Taehyung’s third orgasm.

Yoongi’s jaw remained locked into place, as he continued slamming forward – nails digging into the arm that was pinned down, Taehyung’s release running over his knuckles, while he fucked into the human far too roughly for how sensitive he was then, seeking after his own release. The way Taehyung was crying out, an actual stream of tears running down the apples of his cheeks, how feverish his skin was, the high of his own blood coursing through his body, pushed Yoongi over the edge. And when he came, it was hard, and he couldn’t stop the wrecked groan that tore from his throat. He slipped his hand from Taehyung’s spent cock, to hold the younger’s hips very still for him, while he spilled deeply inside of him.

Taehyung breathing was uneven, the heart beneath his ribs racing fast against his chest. It was disconcerting, how Yoongi felt like stone above him – not needing to suck in air, despite the amount of exertion that he’d used. Taehyung would’ve felt a little bad about himself, as though he hadn’t been able to please him, if it were not for the trembling. That groan. The fact that Yoongi hadn’t let him go as of yet. Taehyung didn’t push the matter, content with feeling the weight of Yoongi’s body atop his own. Because as of that moment, he was too blissed out to really mind much of anything. Deliciously numbed, so wonderfully sated. Perhaps, not so alone anymore. He was still crying softly, wincing when he felt Yoongi’s hips ease off of him, and then very slowly, his bite. Even if the vampire was pulling away, it wasn’t very far.

“You’re so beautiful, even when you’re crying,” Yoongi said, reaching a hand out to trace a finger down Taehyung’s wet, tear-stained cheek.

Taehyung whispered, sadly, “What a cruel thing to say.”

“I can be cruel,” Yoongi agreed, turning so that he was facing Taehyung. The boy was covered in his own blood, the marks having completely healed, but the mess not so easy to get rid of. “Look at what I’ve done to you.”

Taehyung laughed at that, curling more towards Yoongi, “You mean, saved my best friend’s life, gave me purpose, and fucked me silly? You monster.”

“Taehyung,” Yoongi said, running the soft pad of his thumb over the younger’s bottom lip. Over and over again. “Becoming a vampire is no small thing. It...It’s forever. If you’re not ready, I’ll try and see if I can buy us a little more time. I’ll beg Namjoon if I have to…”

“I just need a moment with my human self, preferably alone. And then I want to see Jeongguk. I promised I’d be there before my birthday. Afterwards, well…” Taehyung trailed, bringing his hand up to rest atop of Yoongi’s, pressing a firm kiss to the thumb that was still tracing his skin. “I’ll become yours, completely.”

Yoongi smiled down at him, “You’ve always been mine, completely. You just didn’t know it yet.”

“But you did, which I’d love to argue about in due time. Oh – and I argue passionately, by the way, so prepare yourself,” Taehyung said, as he sat up, and started putting his clothes back on. He grimaced at the stickiness of the blood across his skin, the cum drying up on his stomach. Yoongi extended a hand out with his handkerchief. Taehyung took it from him, grateful, but unable to stop himself from teasing, “You know who else has one of these? My grandfather.”

He practically scoffed, “Was that a crack at my age? I can assure you... that’s the only thing I have in common with your grandfather.” He saw Taehyung fumble slightly in putting on his pants, and smirked at the intended effect of his words. Deciding that it would be best not to keep watching Taehyung pull on layers, impulse telling him to take it all off again, he started retrieving his own clothing from the floor.

“Um…noted,” Taehyung mumbled, blushing, before he pointed to Yoongi’s jacket, “I’m also going to steal this for a little bit.” Before Yoongi could inquire about where he was going, the younger continued, “The rooftop. That’s like, the superior thinking spot for all troubled teens, though I’m not a teen for much longer, ah – what time is it?”

Yoongi tilted his head, watching his boy – frantic and glowing, searching the pockets of his jeans for his phone. He liked when Taehyung was flushed with vampire blood, his blood. He enjoyed how animated and lively he was. Alas, a part of him didn’t want to know what being turned would do to him. Humanity would often get lost on a vampire when there was no guidance, when impulse would lead them down darker avenues. Killing in order to live. But Taehyung would have him, as well as Hoseok, and Jimin to help preserve such a thing. Yoongi would do his best to leave every bit of Taehyung intact, uncompromised.

“I have about thirty minutes,” Taehyung laughed, knowing that it would take a little bit more time than that. “Will you wait for me?”

‘I have been,’ Yoongi wanted to say, but instead, he patted the floor, “I’ll be right here.”

“Be back soon.” Taehyung waved to him, laughing at the serious look upon Yoongi’s face. It was no less predatory, than a panther watching its prey. He started ascending the stairs, scrolling through his contacts to the few numbers he had in his phone. His mother the one that stood out the most, perhaps his biggest regret out of the whole situation. Their relationship had never been close, but still, she was his mother and he loved her. What would he even say? What would happen after Taehyung was turned? Would he be allowed to say goodbye? He’d have to have Yoongi go over the specifics with him.

Yoongi could hear Taehyung making his phone call, even when he’d opened the door to the rooftop. When the conversation started, a female voice had answered, wondering why the boy was calling so late in the evening. Yoongi tuned the rest of it out – finishing with getting himself back into his clothing. He briefly wondered how Jimin was fairing, if Jeongguk was already awake. The doctors and nurses would marvel at his recovery. And Jimin would hopefully have enough sense to glamor them should that happen, avoid making the boy a test subject.

“Sorry again for calling so late,” Taehyung apologized, could hear the annoyance in her tone the second she answered. “Goodnight, mom. I love you.” There was a click on the other end, an indication that she’d already hung up. The affection was not to be returned. It was hardly ever reciprocated to begin with, so there was no real surprise there. He stared down at the screen with a huff of laughter, because of course.

She wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between her son’s goodnight and goodbye. 

He braced a hand against the railing, as he took in the view. A particularly strong gust of wind made him shrug further inside Yoongi’s jacket. It faintly smelled of cologne, a masculine and warm scent. Amber. The hospital building was high enough to overlook the rest of Busan, the black waves of the ocean crashing, and shimmering so beautifully with the moonlight from above. Wild, forever untamable, but also calming, because it was perpetual, and a constant.

Taehyung checked the time on his phone, basking in the precious time he had left with his old skin. The uncertainty he felt didn’t outweigh his anticipation for a new life, the place that he truly belonged to…

“You’re so beautiful,” came the deep timbre, a male voice he did not recognize, causing Taehyung to spin around in fright. He had thought for sure that he was alone on the rooftop. The door hadn’t opened. Facing the direction the voice had come from, he found the stranger standing no more than ten feet away from him. He was dressed in clothing that was not ideal for the wintry climate, dark fitted shorts, and a knitted, sleeveless turtleneck. His words did not waver in the cold, nor did his body shiver for warmth, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to interrupt you from your thoughts.”

“I didn’t know anyone else was up here,” Taehyung smiled, taking a slow step backwards – inching towards the door. A nervous habit.

“Well, I wasn’t until a second ago,” the stranger said, amusedly. Taehyung didn’t really know how it were possible, unless there were two entrances to the roof, but there didn’t seem to be any. Yoongi said that he’d make it so that no one would think to come up here. Aside from that, the area was open enough that he would have been able to see if anyone else was there with him when he first stepped onto the roof. There hadn’t been. “So beautiful,” he murmured again, this time somewhat wistfully. “He hardly deserves you.”

Taehyung couldn’t be bothered to act polite anymore, he was scared and wanted to get back to Yoongi now. “I’m sorry, but do I know you?”

The stranger smirked then, two prominent dimples appearing on his handsome, youthful face. Taehyung’s back met the door, noticing that there was a likeness to the shadows beneath his eyes – the same sickly pale, and eerie stillness that Yoongi seemed to possess. It was safe to assume that it was a vampire trait. And that this stranger also had an affinity for human blood.

“Ah, forgive me, where are my manners. It isn’t too often that I have to introduce myself. Not really ever in the midst of new company.” He stepped closer towards the boy, heavy boots crunching against fresh snow. Taehyung’s fingers brushed the doorknob, before he grasped it tightly. “My name is Namjoon.”

Taehyung drew in a breath, having learned from Yoongi exactly who he was – what he was forcing Yoongi to do to him. It was obvious to Namjoon that the boy knew of him, “So he’s filled you in, has he? Then you know about our little deal. That you were to be turned by your 20th birthday. It’s funny though…” He tilted his head at Taehyung, taking in the blood that had stained through his clothing, and along the sides of his neck. “We’re moments away from the big day, but I can’t help noticing that you’re still very much…alive.” His voice stayed pleasant, but Taehyung could feel the ice underneath, and shivered.

“I’ve agreed to let him turn me,” Taehyung said, trying to sound firm, trying – and failing spectacularly. He could feel his heart hammering inside his chest, dreading the fact that it was probably twice as loud to a vampire. He couldn’t tell if his teeth were chattering from the cold or from the terror filling his body. “I wanted to say goodbye to my friend, before we left is all...” 

Namjoon made a show of holding his wrist out in front of his view, checking the time on his watch. “Well, in about five seconds that really isn’t going to matter anymore, because you’ll be dead...”

Taehyung’s scream was abrupt, piercing – as it drowned out the end of the elder’s sentence, “Yoongi!” One minute he was trying to throw open the door to the stairwell, to attempt to make a run for it – and then a split second later, a mere blur of movement, and Taehyung found himself dangling over the side of the building with Namjoon’s hand locked firmly around his throat.

The door slammed into the wall behind it, Yoongi coming to stand directly behind Namjoon, a surge of hostility rippling throughout his being, eyes the color of blood – rage evident in every barely-controlled syllable, “Namjoon, what are you doing? This wasn’t the deal!”

“Oh, please, it’s exactly what our deal was…don’t be ridiculous. Our little Taehyung is twenty now and he’s human.” Namjoon spoke calmly, Taehyung’s hands frantically gripping onto his arm, strong legs kicking off the side of the building – catching and slipping on the cement. A particularly deep scratch from Taehyung’s nails made Namjoon’s eyebrow twitch, “Would you prefer it if I let go, Taehyung?”

“You wanted to throw a party, right? Okay, okay…” Yoongi said, trying to redirect Namjoon’s attention, desperate – desperate enough to agree to something he despised, because it bought them another second with each other. Desperate for Taehyung in ways he’d never known – willing to do anything to keep his life intact. “You can invite the covens, we’ll do the ritual, but...I need you to put him down.” Yoongi had never felt fear like this before. Had never cared about his own miserable life to truly worry about anything. But this, this choking terror that consumed him now was for someone else. Someone that after only scant hours together had already wormed his way so completely next to Yoongi’s still, unbeating heart. 

“You’ll agree to do the party if I put him down?” Namjoon repeated back to him. And the longer Yoongi took to respond, the weaker the elder pretended to become, violently jostling Taehyung enough to make him cry out again – the sound of it wringing throughout Yoongi’s body like an alarm. “I said, you will agree?”

“Yes, so…” Yoongi wasn’t used to having to beg, but he would if that would ensure Taehyung’s safety. “So, put him down, please.” And then maybe, somewhere down the line, Yoongi could find a way to make Namjoon suffer for what he’d done tonight, for placing fear inside Taehyung. “Put him down and then we’ll discuss the details. We can go see Seokjin right away.”

“They would get along, your human, and Seokjin,” Namjoon reasoned, seeming to relent as he pulled Taehyung from off the ledge, until the boy’s feet were back on solid ground. Yoongi felt a wash of relief, as he reached his hand out. The elder released his grip from Taehyung, allowing him to go free. Allowing him to run towards Yoongi.

Yes – Namjoon permitted Taehyung to grasp onto Yoongi’s cold fingers, that sense of safety being established, before he came forward as a breeze, there one second, and then standing beside Yoongi the next. The blond’s eyes widened, the unmistakable snap of the younger’s neck echoing throughout the halls of his mind, when it finally struck him as real. Taehyung’s body collapsed lifelessly into his arms, as if in slow motion, the rest of the world fading to the background. Yoongi knees buckled, bringing them to the ground as he held the boy close to his chest. Shock overwhelming him into silence – mouth parted for breath, sucking in air that he did not need into his lungs. A panicked and stilted reaction. “No!” He gasped out in pain.

“You see, Yoongi, you say that you’ll do the party, but I don’t think you will,” Namjoon told him coldly, sidestepping the violence of what he’d done, as though it were nothing. “You would have tried to find a way around it, defiant as you are. Though... I can hardly blame you, I suppose, he was such a sweet thing.”

Yoongi curled his claws into the fabric of the jacket Taehyung borrowed from him. The sweet spice of autumn still radiating from his body. He buried his nose into Taehyung’s hair and felt as his temper flared anew, a cry of outrage starting from within the core of his chest, dragging its way up through his lungs, and out his mouth – the pained, inhuman sound tearing through the silence. Screaming. Screaming, until he crumbled. The boy at Chilseong market with missing teeth, but all ten fingers. Taehyung.     

“But why would you do this, I don’t understand!” Yoongi cried. “I thought you wanted to turn him, to bring him into the coven? You said it would bring prestige, why?”

“Yes,” replied Namjoon calmly, his eyes red and glittering as he watched Yoongi, crumpled over Taehyung’s lifeless body. “It’s true that the loss to the coven is no insignificant fact. But Yoongi, did you really think I would let you get away with your blatant defiance of me? Years of nothing but disrespect and contempt for your grandfather, your clan leader. Your refusal to play along with the rules has been a constant source of annoyance to me for centuries, and now, you really think that I would let you be rewarded for your insubordination with a jewel like this? You must think I’m a fool.” At this Namjoon chuckled humorlessly, while Yoongi could do nothing but stare wide-eyed, the sinking feeling of horror that this was his fault, all his fault, growing inside him. “Well… perhaps I might have at that. As you said, the prestige for the clan would have been enormous. But when I went to pay Hoseok a little visit tonight to check on your proceedings, and found out that you intended on turning Taehyung on your own, I was once again reminded of how you initially weaseled your way out of the ceremony. My mistake starts and ends with showing you kindness that night, giving you choices, and allotted time when your intention was to spit in my face, again. This was the last straw, Yoongi. You were going to so graciously ‘allow’ me to throw the party just now, insolent slag! Well, now there will be no ceremony regardless, but at least you’ll know before you die that you, baby vampire, could not play me for a fool.” By the end there were tears streaming down Yoongi’s face.

“Now, if you’re quite finished with the dramatics, I’d like to get on with it,” Namjoon said, once again looking down at his watch, before looking back up and smiling evilly at Yoongi. “Seokjin will watch MasterChef with or without me, and he’s the worst when it comes to spoilers.”

Yoongi rocked back and forth into a comforting lull that did nothing to assuage the downright murderous rage he felt coursing through him, increasing with every second that the shock lessened, intensified by the utter helplessness of the situation. He felt strong with Taehyung’s blood in his system, but it wouldn’t nearly be enough to kill Namjoon, who had been a vampire over a millennium. And even so, raising a hand to the elder would endanger both Hoseok and Jimin. It would be best to accept his death without making a fuss, as horrible as the thought was.

“I’ll find you in hell,” Yoongi promised the elder, keeping his eyes trained on Taehyung’s face.

“You’ll be waiting a long, long time,” Namjoon laughed, as he extracted his claws, prepared to rip Yoongi’s head from off his shoulders. A souvenir to bring home to Hoseok, who would have let Yoongi defy Namjoon without notifying him.   

The door to the rooftop rattled then, Jimin suddenly appearing in front of them. He watched just as Namjoon poised his hand, readying himself – Yoongi, a sight of defeat, holding his bloodmatch to his body. Jimin’s voice carried over sharply, “What are you doing?”

“Brother, walk away,” Yoongi said, shaking his head. “He will kill you if you interfere. You can’t abandon Hoseok like this, he’s going to need you...”

“As much as I wouldn’t like to, he’s right, Minie,” Namjoon added, taking a slow step closer. Yoongi tensed the moment he could feel the other’s energy. 

“No! You cannot do this,” Jimin argued, eyes the color of a boiling sea. “I’ve held my tongue for the sake of Hoseok, but if you do this, I swear that I will unleash several lifetimes worth of trouble for you. Attempting to kill you will almost be as satisfying as accomplishing the deed itself.”

“Don’t…” Yoongi murmured, brought down even further. He felt sick. “Not you, too. Please, please, Jimin.”

“Enough of this!” Namjoon seethed, as he brought his hand down – a sliver away from tearing through Yoongi’s skin, when he felt, rather than saw his progeny. He paused, besides from Hoseok, he could also sense his lover with him. His undying. Seokjin.

It was no more than a second later that the both of them had appeared on the rooftop. Hoseok immediately on the ground beside Yoongi, a hand on his back. Jimin joined them, sliding his fingers along the blond’s neck to bring him closer, needing to hold him.

Seokjin gave a hard shove to Namjoon’s chest, snapping him from out his daze, leading him away from the others, the disappointment shining in his eyes. “So, this is really you, then? The head of the Eastern coven, not above ripping away the life of a bloodmatch."

Namjoon set his eyes on Hoseok’s back, glaring right through him. How fucking dare he…

“Yes, Hoseok told me everything,” Seokjin said, confirming his suspicions. “And I do love how you pick and choose what important details to clue me in on. What were you getting ready to do just now? Kill one or perhaps both of your progeny’s children? Can you care so little for Hoseok?”

Namjoon growled at the implication, baring his fangs, “It is because of the great love that I bear for him, that I rid him of this burden.”

Seokjin raised a brow at that, “Burden? You so much as touch a hair on Yoongi’s head and I will leave you, right after I get through with telling the council of your behavior. They would find your actions high-handed and dishonorable, since as far as we are all concerned, Yoongi has upheld his end of the deal.”

“He failed to turn Taehyung by the appointed time,” Namjoon snapped, still wanting to end Yoongi where he remained crumbled over his match. Pathetic. “I told him that there would be repercussions for disobeying me. He knew this would happen.”

“Can you not hear it?” Seokjin paused for a moment, eyes searching Namjoon’s for any signs of recollection. “The boy is in transition.” Yoongi gasped aloud at that, not yet having realized it for himself – too upset to pick up on the faint sounds of Taehyung’s pulse. Seokjin continued, “Yoongi must have given him his blood with the intentions to turn him. Perhaps you would’ve learned that, if you hadn’t gotten ahead of yourself.” He turned away from the elder, coming to stand next to Hoseok, and his family. “My sincerest apologies for Namjoon. With time, once your bloodmatch awakens, I would so love to meet him. Preferably at your dwelling due to obvious circumstances.”

Hoseok bowed his head as a show of deep respect, “Thank you.”

It would be a lie to say that Seokjin wasn’t annoyed with the whole situation. There’d been plenty of time to tell him all about the deal that was made. A deal he would have never agreed with. He loved Namjoon with all his heart, but he was not oblivious to the ways in which he could become blinded by power at times, even at the expense of his own family. Hoseok should have come to him a lot sooner, than last minute. Even Yoongi – he’d expressed on several occasions how much he cared for the blond. Tonight, could have been tragic if they’d been a second too late. He regarded Namjoon, could see the scowl pulling at his lips, “Come. Let’s leave them be.”

He was just short of saying, ‘You’ve done enough.’ However, that much was obvious, whether it was stated or not. Namjoon pulled himself away, begrudgingly – furious, but unable to defy his mate as he used his speed when he left. Seokjin gave a small smile, trusting them to take care of things, before following after his disgruntled other half.

“Yoongi, sweetheart – we need to get Taehyung into the ground,” Hoseok said, staring down at the boy in Yoongi’s arms, the strong tinge of blood reaching his nose from how hard the blond’s nails were digging into Taehyung. He’d almost lost both his progeny tonight because he had been unable to defy his maker, a heartbreak that no vampire would ever be strong enough to bear. Hoseok would find time to pity himself later, needing to be there for Yoongi, to guide him, “That’s the only way to save him now.”

“But he needs to be washed first,” Yoongi whispered, voice strained and tight, the pain in his chest unbearable. He was still in a daze from the dramatic turn of the past few minutes, not fully believing yet that Taehyung, his Taehyung, was still alive.

“A new set of clothes, too, I think,” Jimin added, gently, taking in the tattered state of Taehyung’s clothing. “Something befitting your bloodmatch, something worth being reborn in.”

Yoongi hummed in agreeance, lifting Taehyung’s hand to his lips, kissing each of his knuckles softly, the reality of the situation finally sinking in. Everything must be perfect. Three nights from now, an angel would rise.


Ahopsan Forest wasn’t Yoongi’s first choice to bury Taehyung. In fact, he’d wanted to do something more poetic, like bring him back to Daegu where it had all begun. Take him back to the same alleyway, finish what he’d started. Running out of time, however, he’d had no choice but to pick a spot in Busan. It was just as well, since Jeongguk had insisted on joining them, their kind, and Yoongi’s relationship with Taehyung exposed due to some little crush his brother had on the human. A more complex history behind it that Jimin kept skirting around whenever confronted by both himself, as well as Hoseok. The boy had taken the news surprisingly well, only shrugging in response when Yoongi had said as much, telling him that after his miraculous recovery what other choice did he have?

Jeongguk beamed at the vampire, “And besides, hyung–”  

Yoongi stopped him there, “Who said you could call me hyung, you brat!”

“I have to trust that anyone romantic enough to send Tae flowers for ten years straight will take the best care of him,” Jeongguk finished his sentence, continuing with teasing the blond. Yoongi had glared, could feel himself blush, even if his skin didn’t reflect it, while Jimin laughed at him.

Another perk of burying Taehyung in Busan was that it was farther away from Namjoon, who, while making no more moves against Yoongi or his family since that night, Yoongi would never trust around Taehyung ever. Yes, there were still some things to settle there, but Yoongi was mostly happy enough that he still had Taehyung to simply want to move forward. He just hoped he wouldn’t have to see Namjoon for a few centuries at least.

Jeongguk had finished decorating the nearby trees with fairy lights, bringing five packages worth of batteries in case they started to dim. Taehyung’s rebirthday would be celebrated properly, he kept saying. He would not miss his best friend’s birthday again. Jimin was kind enough to move a wooden table and benches near Taehyung’s spot in the ground. Jeongguk spread out a red table runner with white deer littered all over it. Instead of plates, the human placed down goblets made of pure crystal. It was a special set Hoseok allowed them to borrow from his collection for such a momentous occasion. The centerpiece was a large, eighty-dollar cake shaped candle (Yoongi knows, because he was the one who paid for it), the wick already lit – Taehyung was expected to crawl his way out at any second.     

“I’m not wearing that,” Yoongi bit out – glaring up at his brother and that stupid thing he was holding in his hand with a hint of annoyance.

Jimin smiled really big then, eyes disappearing into twin crescents, as he used the same line he’d been tossing around like some sort of spell, expecting it to keep on working (which it did, ugh. Yoongi still wasn’t quite sure how had he gone from zero earthly attachments to being whipped for two humans in the span of just a few days), “Jeongguk insists.”

But Jeongguk had insisted, all day in fact – insisted on pushing his human rituals onto the event. Yoongi sighed, exasperatedly, ripping the birthday hat from Jimin’s fingers. Slowly, without any real amount of enthusiasm, he placed the damned, polka dotted monstrosity on his head. The stretch band keeping it in place was mildly uncomfortable.

Jeongguk was holding up two of the unlabeled wine bottles, eyes widened in what seemed to be a panic mode, “I forgot which was the blood and which was the pomegranate juice.”

“It’s alright, lovely,” Jimin cooed, as he smoothed his icy fingers over the sides of Jeongguk’s neck, calming him down. “They’re easy to tell apart.” He dropped a hand down to the bottle in the human’s grip – the left one. “This one here is blood.”

Yoongi rolled his eyes at the affectionate display, going back to staring at the place where he’d buried Taehyung. The spot had remained undisturbed, he had been guarding it day and night since the whole ordeal. Waiting, as it were. The vampire would rest beneath Jeongguk’s D.Va blanket during the day, while the sun hid behind snow clouds.

Just when he thought he could take no more of this, he felt something stir within him. Yoongi stood from his seat, instinct pulling him closer towards where Taehyung was buried. He crouched down, placing a hand to the forest ground, curious. Yoongi felt the vibrations – the thrum of electricity, the flow of nature beneath his fingertips. And then there was something else. The sound of roots and dirt alike being ripped at, and shifted. Yoongi immediately began digging with his own hands, a not so difficult task when it was done with speed, drawing Jimin and Jeongguk’s attention.

“It’s happening,” Jeongguk gushed, grabbing the other vampire by his forearm in an attempt to bring him along. But Jimin remained still, placing a firm hand around the boy’s wrist. “Until we know Taehyung’s not going to try and attack you, I’d rather we didn’t get too close.”

Jeongguk had nearly forgotten the long, thorough speech about a vampire’s turning. How sometimes they could surface with bloodlust, blind to whatever they killed, desperate for only one thing. Blood. He sank into a chair, watching as Yoongi continued to dig – only stopping once the dirt started move on its own beneath his hands, allowing Taehyung’s fingers to tear through, before he gripped them within his own.

Yoongi steadily got to his feet, using his strength to help wrench Taehyung from the remaining layers of earth. The young vampire collided into him from the force he’d used – coughing, his lungs heaving for precious oxygen out of habit, not yet aware it was longer needed. He gripped at the blond’s back with his new set of claws which were fully protracted, to which Yoongi winced, before holding onto him firmly. The sheer, pretty fabric Yoongi had dressed him in close to being destroyed from the wild scramble out of the ground.

“Taehyung,” he murmured softly, inhaling the familiar scent of autumn. It struck him so violently, as though it were the first time he’d ever sensed it, and he nearly wept with relief. The bond was at its strongest. How terrifying to think that the scent could become more enticing than it already was, how foolish that he had once worried Taehyung’s scent would dull as a vampire...

Yoongi fought against it, as he backed away far enough to stare at the new vampire, mouth falling slack with what he’d already knew to be true. That once turned, Taehyung would be absolutely stunning – the finished transition exceeding even his own expectations. In the background he could sense Jimin and Jeongguk’s surprise as well, at Taehyung’s transformation. Due to the swarm of emotions running throughout his body, the boy’s eyes were glowing crimson as they darted wildly around the clearing. His skin was smooth and flawless like a vampire’s should be, the shadows beneath his eyes accentuating their beauty. Lips the color of wild berries. Jimin had been reborn with pink hair, a color he’d be stuck with until the end of time unless he dyed it, while Yoongi had emerged blond. Taehyung, however, had risen with hair the shade of dark silver, and it shined now like stars under the moonlight. He was beautiful.

Taehyung finally settled his gaze back on Yoongi, his features relaxing and his eyes clearing slightly as he slowly processed what he was seeing. “Yoongi,” he breathed, stepping closer.

“My precious little gem.” Yoongi lifted his hands up to cradle Taehyung’s face into his palms, thumbs running over his cheeks. The younger preened at the blond’s continued inspection, “Gorgeous boy.” They leaned into one another, mouths brushing gently.

“Happy birthday!” Jeongguk shouted, standing up on his toes and waving his hands somewhat spastically. There was a noisemaker spinning about – the sound disrupting the two from their almost kiss.

“Guk…” Taehyung trailed softly, taking in what his friend looked like, up and walking around, healthy. Happiness swelled inside his chest, the red from his eyes simmering into their usual brown when he looked at the younger, tears welling from the emotion. He stepped towards his friend, arms raised out as if to embrace him, before Yoongi stopped him.

As a precaution, Yoongi decided to play the maker card, almost guiltily – tone authoritative, when he commanded the young vampire, “You are never to bring harm to Jeongguk. Do you understand me?”

“I understand,” was Taehyung’s automatic response. The odd, trance-like feeling left him a moment later. He snorted, “Not that I would ever do such a thing.”

Still holding onto Taehyung’s face, Yoongi met his lips with quiet force, meticulously slow – parting the younger’s willing lips with his tongue, thoroughly tasting the familiar sweetness. Taehyung shyly broke the kiss, dropping his head down to Yoongi’s shoulder to hide himself, drinking in Yoongi’s own intoxicating scent. The blond was somewhat relieved by Taehyung’s human reaction, burying his fingers in the younger’s hair. “Now, let’s feed you first.”

Jimin was the one who’d popped open the wine bottle, beginning to pour the three glasses of blood. He spared Taehyung a glance, approving, “Welcome back, you look hot!” Jeongguk, getting his own beverage sorted, snorted, and Yoongi glared as Taehyung smiled shyly. Jeongguk was holding himself back from the urge to throw himself at his best friend until he knew better what his reaction would be like. He had been so worried the last three days, unsure if Taehyung would survive his transition – of what he’d become, frightened for him. But everything seemed so far, so good, and he was starting to relax into the festive mood. He hadn’t known happiness like this in years.

“It’s beautiful, thank you all,” Taehyung murmured, taking in all of the lights, as well as the table décor. He laughed when he noticed the cake, sitting down on the bench, and Yoongi went to occupy the spot beside him, pushing their goblets closer. Taehyung was still adjusting to his new senses, slightly disoriented by how everything was amplified. But the smell coming from the goblet was irresistible, as he swiped it up immediately, proceeding to quench a thirst he didn’t quite understand.

Yoongi found it to be positively adorable, eyes appraising him, “Good boy. Slow down…” He placed a gentle hand at the back of Taehyung’s neck. “Slower. You have to savor it.”

Taehyung placed the goblet back on the table, wiping the corner of his mouth with a finger, before sucking it clean. Yoongi didn’t miss the action, licking at his own lips, wishing it were his finger – anticipating the next moment when he’d get to kiss Taehyung again. And...other things...

“Make a wish, hyung,” Jeongguk said, all bunny teeth and a typical cheesy expression, a crinkle to his round nose.

How could Taehyung be expected to make a wish, when everything he’d ever hoped for, seemed to have already come true? The young vampire leaned forward so that he was closer to the candle, lashes falling closed. So, instead of wishing, he reconciled with his old life. Ready to forget – ready to live, even in death. He sucked in a lungful of air, using it to blow the flames out. The rapturous sounds of clapping made him smile, keeping his eyes shut. A hand slipped inside his own, fitting perfectly. The feeling shouldn’t have felt so foreign to him, but he recognized what it was the moment it hit him.

Home, at last.


Fin.

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