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Always Been the One

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“jeongguk, you turn 22 this month, which is 21 in international age. you are now a legal adult, and thus we can finally proceed with the marriage to tie in with the park enterprise. the omega you will wed is going to be two years older than you.”

at every press conference, every public appearance, they are the ideal power couple; park jimin with the grandeur and poise of a heir, jeon jeongguk the build and composure of a good son. jeongguk is the dream husband, always attaching his hand to the small of jimin's back, the dip of his waist into hip. jimin is the conductor of the events the outside world orchestrates; the dream partner, giving well spoken and eloquent answers to incessantly badgering reporters, pulling them along by the nose— only for them to realise their own questions were indirectly pointed back at them when editing their columns.

“the official ceremony will be held on the 8th of november.”

once ushered into the limousine, they break apart. park jimin sits on the left, always gazing out of the window. jeon jeongguk sits on the right, gazing at a stranger, or at nothing at all.

and the cycle repeats.

after all, behind every traditionally wedded alpha, lies an omega. behind every conglomerate merger lies many under the table benefits and a figurehead heir. and behind every successful chaebol lies his butler.


it officially made the headlines the next morning that both park pharmaceuticals and jeon corporations would be coming together to form a consortium. a joint venture, in which, both being big 3 conglomerates in their respective fields were to form a tacit cross-industry merger;

the proposed ending befitting both internal families first, before benefiting the rest of the citizens, as a byproduct. although the opposite was announced to the public, in this case, not only would they ensure the best possible genetic lineage faced with or without darwinian concepts, but they would also secure a significant portion of market share if their alliance were to be a success.

with one a dominant powerhouse in medicine and research facilities, the other provided extensive support in the wheelhouse of technological innovation and development.

the raison d'être for this merger comprised of the first step forward into a grander scheme of things: to be the pioneers of a new generation, to start a new revolution in a pledge for equality. for a better future and best matched chromosomes, to innovate and redesign better drugs to help heat cycles and couples, particularly of the same sex. an ambitious, bold move in the first gears of spurring on equal rights for omega-omega or even alpha-alpha relationships, to help ruts and overcome soulmate bonds regardless of caste.


in this little realm, husband and wife were mere titles; both men and women were permitted to get married in the eye of the law, but social stigma and entrenched traditional customs were still valued in most households. same sex marriage had only been approved by the state within the same decade, and rooted conventionality had dissuaded some from following their heart. as technology started to pick up in tandem to rapid advances in medicine, both genders or even intersex presenting individuals would be capable of giving birth and reproducing, albeit undergoing various forms of experimentation and tests.

while the caste system was still deeply indented, gender was no longer a problem: with these two bigshot companies forming an alliance, it now became a mere construct. although bodies were made differently inherently, a female-female couple could still undergo a procedure called the S.T.R.A.P for natural production— which stood for stimulated reproductive alteration process.

likewise, for male-male couples that wanted to bear children the natural way, instead of using donated egg-sperm zygotes frozen from the hospital. with science and technology ahead of their time, anything could be possible within the near future; as long as money, power, or glory was involved, there wouldn’t be any second guesses.

likewise, there would also be a similar procedure named A.N.A.L for male-male couples— short for alternative for natural augmentations and lactation. this way, regardless of hierarchy, if two soulmates came together, they wouldn’t face many limits in having a family. every society’s population was scarce and ageing, and thus researchers and scientists had to do something to prevent their own breed from dying out, particularly the rarer pure alphas that stood at the apex of the pyramid. and with more alphas, there had to exist more omegas to endure the balance of a traditional alpha-omega couple, form a stable middle bedrock for the majority of society and the workforce to rely on.

in tandem to such hierarchy, there were connections that were destined between two individuals, regardless of gender or ranking. soulmates by nature would have matching or similar birthmarks, hidden on different spots of their body. jimin and jeongguk had neither. it’s not like they could become nurtured soulmates either— those were even rarer, almost oblique in such a ruthless and materialistic world. behind closed doors, jimin has been selected for this venture in hopes that he could be the face of their first prototype; an exhibit to prove that an omega can mate with an alpha without having to incur heats, a problem that almost all omegas experienced. for females, it would be akin to menstruation cycles. for males, it would be based on alternate months. while alphas incurred ruts, heats suffered by omegas were becoming a rapid problem, since a large percentage of the population would end up presenting as omegas, and those that were underprivileged or living in poverty would lack access and affordability to suppressants.

one of the end goals were to mass produce a desired vaccine, in which an omega could mate an alpha without having to go through painful heats. alternatively, the contents of the vaccine would gel together these painful enzymes, and combine them to form a more viable solution— heat flashes.

instead of a sex driven ache, a re-calibration of the same heat function could offset the hormone into a burning desire to be held, and not lusted after. a heat where the omega (or the lesser dominant partner) would burn for the touch of their lover, rather than crave for anything along the lines of intercourse. if successful, this would also help aid accidental pregnancy or even rape, whereby a ‘heat’ could be used as an excuse for somebody ‘asking for it’. crime would be lowered drastically, and better family planning would be a sustainable change in the near future.

(of course, nobody told jimin or jeongguk what they had been sent into, and sent to do.)


in front of the masses, jimin pulls of the double c’s exquisitely, be it chanel or gucci. he embodies the charisma and charm of a dionysus as he struts down, arms linked with jeongguk. he wears lanvin, prada, dior just as divine. jeongguk’s heard multiple stories of how, even when jimin hadn’t presented, men and women, alphas, betas and omegas alike were lining up for his hand in marriage.

according to the rumours of the upper echelon, jimin had rejected every suitor politely, despite some being heirs to a magnate or tycoon, or others with an amassed fortune or status. he caught wind that there were people who would ‘die for jimin’— as it appeared on the tabloids, a mysterious disappearance of a candidate in the running, a contender. the vague columns had also alluded to some ending their lives out of a broken heart.

for some reason, the eldest son of park pharmaceuticals was highly sought after, and amidst some of the brash decadents, there was even a hushed up betting table for who would achieve the spot of jimin’s other half. every single person declined. jeongguk doesn’t know if he should deem himself blessed or cursed; the media had received them as a pair with generally positive feedback, although tongues did wag behind the scenes, particularly with the flippant socialites at their tier. society had, at a point in time, dubbed them the ‘black and white couple’— simply because standing next two each other, their heights and mops of hair contrasted; with jeongguk having midnight black hair, and jimin having blonde at the point of 8th november. and not to mention the height difference. (netizens went crazy for the complementary visuals and the height difference.)

but he’s not ready for this. he’s only 21. he just had a lavish coming of age ceremony among his friends and family. he wants to establish and carve his own name into his career path. he doesn’t want a family. he doesn’t want to get married to someone he doesn’t know, doesn’t love.

 

he doesn’t want to go against his father, either.


“jeongguk-ssi? i made dinner, i also bought coffee- i don't know how you take yours, so i got a straight black and a latte-”

“i'm not hungry.” jeongguk replies emotionlessly, still unable to comprehend that the two of them are to be wedded soon, two complete strangers, two males, forced to mate within a fixed time frame under a lockdown in one of their joint summer villas.

“i hate coffee.”

he doesn't even want to look at jimin. what happened to the girl he went to school with and fell head over heels with? she was also an omega, a pretty and sweet girl of average status. lee jieun. he still carries a photo of them as kids, holding hands, in his wallet. he still thinks about her, walks away in the opposite direction, heading to his own room. remembers her sweet cheeks, her pretty smile. then, he recalls the camera flashes. the headlines, the press and the media snapping away and shoving microphones and recorders into their faces. he remembers it all fading into resentment and anger.

“you don't... want dinner?”

he walks away from jimin's glassy eyes, lips bitten raw. walks away from the plates of vegetable curry with pork cutlets for two on the dinner table. doesn't see jimin hide his hands, with band aids from cuts, burn marks from the stove in eagerness to impress his alpha. doesn't see jimin pinch his thighs in a bid not to drop his forced smile.

“i don't.” he doesn't want to face the reality that he can never go back to lead a normal life due to his elite status.

“i'll ask yoongi to make you something, you must eat…” jimin's voice trails off as jeongguk hastens his steps to his room, desperate to shake away all evidences of this sham marriage. for jeongguk, these are shackles tying him down to build a successful career, a path he would carve on his own. for jimin, these are written binds deterring him from his happiness, denying him of the love he’s always desired.

“i don't want to.”


his ears are alerted when he hears the beep of the chauffeur’s car. jeongguk must be back from the jeon’s dinner and dance corporate event. he's back home way past midnight, far from his prior announcement.

“i thought you said you would be back by one,” jimin says, getting up from his seat by the waiting lounge by the foyer, showing his satin night robe draping around his pretty figure. as he steps closer in his slippers, his nose crinkles. “i smell expensive perfume—” jimin mumbles to himself, “oh. is that a lipstick stain, jeongguk?”

“about that- you see, one of my secretaries got dru-”

“i don't care,” jimin cuts him off flatly, but jeongguk can see the droop of his eyes, the bob of his adam’s apple when he swallows, the clench of his jaw;

he’s lying. jimin cares far too much.

“it's just that- i don't want the supper seokjin made for us to go to waste. that's all. finish it and get some rest. good night.”

a lonely bowl of yaksik (a sweet rice cake dessert made of glutinous rice, honey, jujube, nuts, and dried fruit) goes cold from the hours of wait, sitting on the coffee table jimin had resided in— for at least four hours, doing multiple things while trying to wait up. novels, tabloid magazines, phone games, social media. more binge eating. more overthinking. seokjin, head of all the butlers and servants, had approved it as one of the long list of dishes the jeons had provided the kitchen to master. and after speaking with yoongi, jeongguk’s caretaker, jimin confirmed it had always been jeongguk's favourite form of supper after a long day at work, always. apparently jeongguk had a sweet tooth.

he doesn’t even wait for jeongguk’s unspoken answer. it’s as if he knows it will never come. as he walks back to his room, he wonders if yoongi was the one who had brought it to him personally- maybe then jeongguk would’ve lapped it all up like a good boy.


“um. j-jeongguk-ssi? i don't know you that well, so i brought you omelette for lunch? is that okay? it's plain, but the sauces are at the side. and if you need anything else, you can tell me, or seokjin hyung—”

“has anyone told you that you talk too much, omega? ” jeongguk suppresses a growl, feels a massive headache arising. “i need some time… please leave me alone for now.”

he hears jimin stutter, bow frantically. maybe i should’ve stopped being so persistent, so eager; maybe jeongguk does not like a single bit of me at all. some part of jeongguk’s stomach gets all queasy with unease. some part of his chest constricts. some thoughts in his mind chastises him for being ridiculous. the marriage might’ve been forced on them, but doesn’t it mean jimin was also roped into this, then? “i-i'm so sorry! i just wanted to- i'm sorry. please have a good rest.” you're going to be my husband- i just wanted to know you better; is that wrong of me, alpha?

it comes to the point of incessant defocus, disrupting jeongguk’s conscience and flow of thought, that he makes up his mind to at least be respectful; at least have the basic courtesy to alert jimin he does not like to be disturbed during work hours, working from home included. the dissonance persists throughout the sweltering afternoon, and when evening swings by, with a cooler breeze, dinner has once again been subconsciously turned down.

i have to apologise. this is unprofessional.

as he paces down the hallway, he catches his presumed husband in the arms of another, sobbing uncontrollably. getting caught sounds like an awful way to put it, but jeongguk doesn’t know how else to phrase this.

he feels fucking mad because who the fuck does kim namjoon think he is? a lowly butler whose title is only to serve jimin, watch over him like a little dog since he was a child. namjoon is to jimin what yoongi is to him. a guardian. a wise servant. so who the fuck is he to hold jimin, to stroke his hair so tenderly, rub his trembling back with such intimacy? why is it that he feels something prick at him, his chest, his eyes? why is it that jimin cries in his arms, in seokjin’s arms, when jeongguk exists and is standing right there? they’ve spent three whole months cooped up in this same dungeon of a mansion and all jimin can do is totter back to his butler? another fucking alpha?

“park jimin, what the fuck do you think you're doing? holding another alpha like that—” jeongguk growls menacingly, pointing an accusatory finger at namjoon. he doesn't know why he feels his blood simmer, hot and boiling beneath his skin. he never cared for this marriage in the first place- it was always jimin trying to take the initiative, an initiative that he never wanted. and yet, when he sees his supposed mate in the arms of another man, the alpha in him lets out a possessive snarl; a fist cocks back, ready to sock jimin's butler in the face, only for his fiancé to jump right before him and take the blow.

only after everything finally sinks in, he realises that he'd just punched jimin. in the cheek. it does little to salvage anything, when he's taken up boxing classes since a young age. jimin probably could've deflected or defended, given his martial arts accolades are on par in taekwondo and kendo- but he didn't. he stood there, knowing he'd feel jeongguk lay his hands on him. he jumped straight in front of his servant, knowing he'd get hit.

 

he took it— for namjoon.

 

perhaps it’s the only way they’d make any physical contact, since the start of this elaborate, ambitious grand scheme of things.

“what do you think you're doing, omega?!” it's a pained cry from jeongguk, one torn between hurt and confusion, torment and guilt. his fist with knuckles clenched white is shaking at him, asking him so many questions he doesn't know, so many questions he cannot come up with answers for. “why did you protect your steward, huh?! answer me! he's also an alpha! what were you thinking, in his arms just moments ago, and now you're helping him take a beating?! what the fuck is this supposed to imply, omega?!”

he's beyond seething- jimin had not only just cuckolded him, stepped all over his ego as an alpha, but also demeaned his tacit title as master of the house. revoked every bit of authority he commanded. what would the servants think now? that young master jeon was a pushover? this was unforgivable.

namjoon’s still in shock, too, the immediate reaction after everything clicks into place being to hold jimin, bring him to his feet, and help him up, ask him if is he's okay. his heart aches, but he knows jimin did it out of love—

but the love jimin feels for him versus jeongguk, will never be the same. unparalleled. unprecedented. it will never be the way namjoon feels for him.

never.

“i'm so sorry, jimin ssi- i didn't- i failed to protect you-” he doesn't even realise the tears until jimin's giving him a broken-hearted smile. “don't cry, namjoon-ah. please forgive my alpha, he doesn't know what he's doing.”

even in times of turmoil, it's astounding how jimin retains his own grace and poise, an elegiac elegance to his every action, his every motion. the portrait of a fallen goddess, the epitome of the heroism of an adonis. he's rubbing namjoon’s belly, the way he does when he craves for hugs, craves to held by an alpha— it's an innate signal that they've established, but jeongguk just hasn't quite figured out yet. it's strangely intimate, and also so endearing. if only—

“park jimin, what do you mean i don't know what i'm doing? do you think i'm deaf? blind? what do you take me for?!” jeongguk's grabbing him by the hair to look straight into his eyes, tautly tugging to assert dominance but not yet forcefully pushing towards a rip of the scalp.

“i'm standing right in front of your face and you're putting up this illicit affair before my eyes? touching your steward all over like that! what do you take me for, omega park jimin?” jimin shows no sign of retaliation, only whispers at namjoon to go back and leave him to handle the rest- but the latter refuses to leave his side.

“i've never doubted your status, alpha jeon.” glossy liquid trickles down his eyes, while a dark red trickles down his lip. there’s a tiny hint of an enigmatic, melancholic smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. “i just do not agree with your accusations towards my men, is all.” his voice his but a hoarse whisper, a tremble desperately trying to remain strong. “your man? you're considering him your man now?” it's rage that's clouding his head.

resentment, inferiority, egotism.

“jeongguk, that is just a general term— i've always remained loyal to you! how could you doubt that!” it's the first time jimin's raising his voice through this fiasco. it’s the first time jimin has defied his words, retaliated verbally, and all for another alpha in his own household. seokjin and the rest of the servants downstairs have no clue as to how to go about handling this quarrel. this is chaos in hell, not even remotely close to trouble in paradise.

“namjoon-ah. do not attend to me for a week. i will make my way to my bedchamber now. send for seokjin, thank you.”

“but— but, sir-” jimin only shakes his head, pats his hand. “you have served me well, my dear. i'm not dismissing you, you're indispensable to me— i just want to prove some things to some people of this household. take care, alright?”

namjoon feels like he should be saying those words to jimin instead. the air is fraught with tension as soon as jimin exits the scene, namjoon's hands curled into fists as he strides towards jeongguk, trying his best to reel in his temper. “in all my life, i've never seen the young master look so sad and lifeless before- and i swear to god, if you lay a hand on him once more, i will not let you off lightly, regardless of your status. i don't care if i get tortured, exiled, fired— whatever. we never wanted this alliance to begin with— and if you make him cry again, i will fucking hunt you down. i will not hesitate to curse you out and make sure you will never, ever fucking try it again.

it sends shivers up jeongguk's spine, with namjoon towering over him by the slightest, eloquence flowing off his tongue as sharp as a poisoned dagger. it makes him question the relationships of jimin and all the people that serve him; are they all willing to serve him with such devotion? are they all in cahoots and in some cover up affair behind the scenes? are they all just acting in a ploy to, say, murder him and flee to make headlines for park pharmaceuticals to reign supreme once more?

“and just for your information, jeongguk ssi,” namjoon growls, holding in his temper in line with his status, “jimin's always, i quote, ‘touching me all over’ because his own alpha’s been incapable of providing him the nurturing love and warmth he needs, the comfort he wants, the affection that he deserves- think about your own damn condescending incompetencies before you come biting and barking so foolishly at my young master’s feet.”

 

perhaps he'll never know.


“sir, young master park really worked hard on that meal- are you sure about-”

it's a day later after the meltdown.

“i don't want it, yoongi,” jeongguk petulantly says, a frown on his face like a five year old greeting a plate full of broccoli. “hyung.” it's a quiet little suffix added to fix his whining, followed by a soft lamentation. “i never wanted to get married or anything—”

“jeongguk, you know that as an alpha of the jeons—”

“but i don't want it.”

yoongi gives him a wan smile. the boy that i’ve been taking care of since he was a baby needs more room to grow. then he bows, proceeds to leave the room.

“there are some things in life that we have no control over, jeongguk-ah.”


jimin catches wind of namjoon’s threat to jeongguk, demands he apologise even if he knows namjoon was standing up for him, a protective warning for jeongguk to stop belittling jimin.

“i know it was for my good,” jimin tells him softly, poking his dimples, “but i insist you apologise to jeongguk.”

“he- he had the nerve to walk all over you like you were dirt, jimin-” how could i possibly let that happen?

“i know. but you are a gentleman, namjoonie. i don’t want people holding this against you in the future. i don’t want a good man like you to have his reputation sullied by repetitions of ‘but namjoon-’. the rebellious servants will use you as an excuse to wreak havoc because namjoon this, namjoon that. i want you to remain my knight in a shining tuxedo with your head held high.” jimin tells him quietly, both of them engulfed by a comforting silence in the study. “i have a high regard for you, but i will not be unjust in my judgement to the best of my ability; so thank you for always having my back, namjoon. even when i was younger and weaker. i appreciate it.”

“okay. if you want me to, i’ll do it.”

“thank you, namjoon.”

i would like to be a good man, just for you.


days later, instead of jeongguk's afternoon milk delivery, yoongi returns with three small servings for an afternoon snack of potato pancakes, tteokbokki, and hwajeon- rice cakes with edible flowers decorated on top.

“give it a try, sir. it's something new today.”

jeongguk can't quite decipher the glint in yoongi’s eyes, behind the straightlaced expression. he digs in, tries the savoury dish first. then the spicy one. then the sweet one. “it's… different, you're right.” as he wipes his lips with a napkin, he watches yoongi break into a small smile. “it's not bad at all. why the sudden change in menu? not that i'm complaining, the hwajeon is pretty good.”

“i'll tell young master jimin that, then.”

jeongguk spits out the pink chewy skin and red bean paste immediately. “what! why didn't you warn me! honestly, it tastes disgusting-”

“you're lying,” yoongi tells him dryly, endeared at how jeongguk still is a little child on the inside, as he ruffles the young boy’s hair. “you're just biased because you disliked jimin at first glance- not even first sight, to be honest- since you never looked at him as a person.”

“no, i did! when we signed the contract-”

“you looked at him as an alpha to an omega, jeongguk-ah. not as a human to human.”

yoongi disappears once more, leaving him to ruminate about it by staring into blank space.

omega to alpha. human to human.


“young master jimin?” yoongi can see his nervous hands wrung together, some flour on his arms, the red marks from the spatters of oil while pan frying. “did he throw it away?” jimin's voice is soft, almost resigned to fate with a small glimmer of hope. his shoulders have never stood straight and proud (like the past) whenever he enters their mansion. it’s always sagged, bogged down by insecurities and worthlessness. unworthiness. yoongi brisk walks across the private kitchen to hold his hand with assurance. “jeongguk thought it wasn’t that bad, he ate everything up.”

the little squeal of success that comes out from jimin's mouth makes even yoongi's heart ache. he wonders how such relentless and unwavering devotion and resilience still exists in the face of countless rejections.

“that's wonderful! yoongi ssi, we need to plan for tomorrow's meal, can you teach me? i would like to learn japanese and italian fare…”

“gladly.”


“if… if science has progressed so fast and- and maybe if i just, just think like i was sixteen again-” jimin's eyes are so dull, so downcast.

it’s one of those nights.

one shot, two shots.

“do you think- maybe if i ever get to hold jeongguk's hands- that i can still get pregnant?” he's refusing to face namjoon, his family, his marriage. it's an awful turmoil of brewing emotion.

three shots, four.


“can you maybe ask- or make jeongguk say something?”

“whatever is the matter, young master jimin?” yoongi says softly, setting down the tray of coffee with a bowl sugar cubes, “if i can, i will do it.”

“can you make jeongguk say-” there's a lump in his throat, as he swallows, unsure if he's being silly, unreasonable.

"'i love you?’ is that what you want to hear?” yoongi’s voice is calming. it's mildly raspy, but with a soothing undertone to it as he pats jimin's back.

“i gave up on that, yoongi nim. i- maybe- i'm hoping, maybe if you ask him what he wants with his milk— do you think he might ever say ‘honey’?”

it's not disappointment or heartache that yoongi feels, but rather, he feels the pain and the heart wrenching behaviour reverberating in jimin's small voice, his defeated shoulders.

“yeah. i think- i should like to think i can make that happen, young master jimin. please come by the study at half past nine.”


one fine saturday morning when jeongguk isn't needed in the main office, jimin asks a butler to relay the message.

“jeongguk, i want to speak to you.”

there's a tea set laid out by the garden, the singing of the larks, the occasional flutter of butterfly wings. there's a cake tier stand with scones, cupcakes and other desserts, as well as a pot of earl grey and two teacups made from fine china.

“good morning, alpha. is this a good time for me to talk?”

“...yes?” he wonders why jimin's countenance is so grim, so serious. his under eyes are ridden with dark circles, his back straight, hands clasped elegantly, poised on the table next to his teacup. he's serious, and means business whatever topic he's about to broach. and did he just say for him to talk? so, this isn't a discussion?

“okay. there's something i'd like to get off my chest, and i've been thinking about this for a long time… so please bear with me. i want to say everything before i forget.”

jeongguk braces himself, takes a bite into a madeleine, washes it down with the hot tea. his throat burns a bittersweet.

“i called you here to talk about our marriage.” jimin's eyes are unfocused, fidgety- but they are sharp. they possess the gaze of someone who's thought things out. is in full control of his own actions. jeongguk blanches, shoves another vanilla cupcake into his mouth, motioning for jimin to proceed. his gut churns- it isn't hunger.

“i understand that you aren't keen on marrying someone like me- i know, and i accept that your heart was saved for the pretty lady- miss jieun, i believe.” jeongguk opens his mouth to retort, crumbs falling by his lips, but jimin only uses a napkin to shush him, wipe the bits of cake off.

“i am aware, and as an omega born into a more noble family, i know i was born to be married off. to be fucked and bred, if i were to put it bluntly.”

“don't say that…” jeongguk whispers to his teacup, but jimin shoots him a wry, melancholic smile. “it's true, you know that too. my family has love for me, but the prestige and title attached to my name and status now bears a more capitalistic nature of significance. and it would be terribly sad— but i have no qualms about you loving another. you can go out there to womanize, party, drink, do whatever you want- there are countless of the other chaebols doing the same, leading double lives, and i don't blame them at all.”

another refill of earl grey, one more meringue.

“take that third son of lee corporations- gotten countless of omegas pregnant. illegal abortions and bastard children all hushed via corruption, bribery. the sole heiress to aria industries- scandal after scandal, already on the fourth divorce; and the affairs going on within the choi foundation, the siphoning and illicit relationships in kim enterprise- i could go on forever.” jimin pauses to drink his earl grey, summons a servant to make brew another pot of floral infusion, the one that jeongguk secretly likes. the one he knows jeongguk likes, because he put in effort to notice and learn.

“but my point is, i am aware that people like us, of public status, must uphold our names for the tabloids, the news columns; we must portray a happy and beautiful marriage even if it isn't, for the media, the cameras, for our companies and their image. after some thought, i have come to terms with all of this- and i will give you free reign to do anything you want- i just have one condition.”

they stare at each other. eyes a reflection of loneliness, emptiness. so close and so far away. the maidservant comes back with a cart full of more sweets and the teapot, leaves them with more ornaments on the table for a very uncomfortable and standstill play, as if props for a satire of their situation. an ironic scene, the turning point of the fifth act in six.

“i must bear a child. a symbol of our families in its union. it is mandatory, and but my duty as the second son of the park empire to do so- my only request is that my child must have your blood. i will not settle for a halfbreed. if i bear a child to upkeep our jeon-park allegiance, then i must deliver. both literally and figuratively, and i mean it.”

jeongguk is rendered speechless once more; jimin is a gift that keeps giving, keeps unfolding and unfurling into a more mesmerising, gorgeous and multidimensional being. thoughtful, mature. of depth, of substance; he'd been so, so wrong-following pack mentality that alphas would always reign superior in any manner whatsoever- he sits corrected, humbled.

“i know you still love jieun.” jimin whispers, pinching himself, squeezing his thighs together, willing himself to remain unaffected by emotion- but it's so hard. so very hard as he feels the waterworks threatening to prick the edge of his eyes. it's so hard, when the man you've come to love doesn't feel the same way. may never feel the same way. “and i can bring her to the mansion unharmed, unscathed, if that is what you wish. i will bring to you whichever individual you desire to keep for yourself, to love. i will have my ways- my only request is that of my child’s heritage. i perfectly understand if you do not wish to partake in raising them. i just want- i need my child to be a pure blood.”

the silence firmly solidifies between them, the sugar cubes and milk untouched, the sweet treats left intact as if poisoned. the cakes all look like penalties, the embodiment of sin.

“i need… i need to think-” his mind’s drawn a blank. what is he supposed to reply? think? say?

“of course. i respect the consideration taken into account- but know that i won't settle for a ‘no’. i'll do everything it takes.” jimin rises, an unreadable expression in his eyes, making them gleam. in an enigmatic sparkle, a victorious glow.

“but why? why would you think so far- even about jieun, and the kid-” he's speechless. he'd never expected such a formidable mind, an unexpected poise and maturity. jimin seems to have calculated his question, his dumbfounded expression, letting out a wan sigh of relief as he answers ever so wholeheartedly once more before leaving.

“because there's only one thing i would prize above my child’s happiness and wellbeing.”

“and that would be..?” jeongguk's throat runs dry, feels hollowed out and emptied inside an out. it's the most painful smile he's seen on someone's lips, someone on the cusp of breaking down. like tempered glass slowly shattering, bit by bit, then all at once.

 

“my alpha’s happiness.”

 

jimin leaves act five of their six act skit, wondering if he should've opted for a comedy or errors instead of a tragedy. he wishes it were all a dream, and that he'd wake up to a happy marriage of bliss and contentment- but he can't even fall asleep to begin with.

he only cries in his butlers’ arms when he knows jeongguk is sleeping, and no one else is watching. to think, in retrospect, how foolish of him to have thought they’d reached the endgame in that point of time. so, so naïve. so, so insular.


“my favourite tie is missing. which one of you took it? i’m referring to the gucci tie i wore last friday.”

the room goes silent, all servants keeping quiet with their heads bowed, not knowing which one of them did such a deed; and in silence hoping the culprit will fess up. jeongguk’s gotten them lined up according to their bunk numbers, in a grim interrogation masked as a ‘lighthearted’ conversation with all servants.

suddenly, one waiting maid in the beeline confesses, suddenly gasping with her eyes wide open. she falls to her knees, “i’m so sorry, young master jeon. it was me, i took your tie-”

“no, suwon didn’t, i did-”

“it was actually me, not haejin, please punish me instead-”

“hold on, it was my folly, young master-”

jeongguk’s gotten confused. what seemed like a room full of servants that wouldn’t budge even if bribed, had now turned into an overlapping of false confessions, each person taking the rap for another, as if they were all in cahoots to fool him. jeongguk hopes he wasn’t a fool.

“don’t give me all your crocodile tears. i just want my tie back- whoever took it, just hand it over. i don’t have time for this bullshit.” he’s pinching the bridge of his nose, of course whoever took it would be fired, but he’s not telling them that yet. he’ll make one of the noonas in charge belay the message and do the dirty job for him. “i promise i won’t do anything drastic. give my tie back, and we can all go back to what we were doing—”

there’s a knock on the door of the servant chambers, before it swings open to reveal a wide eyed jimin, hands full with tea cakes and egg tarts. the foot jeongguk’s been tapping relentlessly since the beginning stops. “what are all of you doing on the floor or standing upright in a straight line?”

the servants get up on their feet, realign into their positions from the start, like resetting of a board game. their heads remain bowed.

“jeongguk? what’s going on?” the crinkle of the plastic against the counter harmonises with the  heavy breathing in the room, the sniffles, the whirring of the ceiling fan.

“somebody took my tie,” jeongguk sourly scowls, “nobody wanted to own up, but once someone confessed, they all started claiming they took it.”

“the gucci tie?” jimin blinks, putting down his iced coffee, cheeks flushing, “it’s in my room- the stitching of the embroidery came out, so i took it back to mend. suwon noona, didn’t i inform you just yesterday?”

the maid in question shuffles backwards in fear, hands wrung behind her back. “i- young master jimin- i’m so sorry, it slipped my mind, and when i realised young master jimin took it, i was worried i would get you into trouble with young master jeon, so i- i thought—

“oh noona, don’t cry, please,” jimin effortlessly whips out a stack of napkins from the carriers, saunters over to hand it to her. “i didn’t know the rest of them would try to protect me too, and it seemed like we were all plotting something or conspiring against you, but we would never, we are loyal to the park family—”

“i know. don’t worry, okay? take the cakes and puffs, share it with the rest, i’ll take over from here.”

jimin dismisses the beeline, with equal measure of authority that was used to summon them here.

“i’m sorry for taking your tie without your permission, the thread was running, so i tried to mend it before returning. please don’t blame any of the servants.” he curtly makes a bow, a bid to make jeongguk forgive, forget.

“why would they do such stupid things just to…” he doesn't quite know the words to say. to protect you? to protect each other? to protect another random person’s name?

“we may not be blood related, but they are a part of my family.”

“they are mere servants of this house-”

“but this is my house.” jimin softly interjects, “as well as yours. so i apologise on their behalf for such a messily coordinated answer. it was a shortsightedness on my part, and i should’ve told you directly. please don’t blame them, they’ve worked very hard.”

“i don’t understand. why would you? why would… they?

“sometimes, some of us get to choose our own family, jeongguk. most of the time, we don’t.”


he’s angry with himself. angry with his pitiful predicament. he feels lost to the point he tears up, and tears up his beloved photo with jieun. dumps it into the waste paper basket before he can think twice. he feels cheated. scared. threatened. why couldn’t they have given him the girl of his dreams? his mother agreed jieun was a sweet girl, and often invited her over for playdates.

in the first place, he never wanted this marriage- and even so, couldn’t his parents have chosen someone more meek? more obedient? someone less intelligent, someone less eloquent and less charismatic? it makes him insecure- the way things are going, it’s almost as if this is an alpha-alpha marriage; jimin has his own ideals, will protect those that he cares for, to the extent of overruling jeongguk’s words. even using his own mouth to suppress his. jeongguk, by rule, is supposed to be the master of the house. it’s a dangerous game, whatever it may be, that omega park jimin is playing. it is a game that jeongguk wants out, immediately.

with veiny, shaking hands, he throws the scatter of shreds, storms out of the room to take a breather. calm down, what are you getting so worked up over? it's not like jimin’s actually close enough to hurt you? it’s not like behind closed doors jimin is still your spouse?

as he comes to terms with his own emotional turmoil, reassuring himself of his identity, who he is, he immediately regrets tearing the photo to pieces. running back, he inwardly laments at the efficiency of the household- the bin’s already been emptied. the photo is gone forever. gone for good. he’d always kept it in his wallet as reminder, a cut out of the original developed film shot.

perhaps it was fate that this marriage was to come into play.


he makes sure to inform yoongi and seokjin, who have power amongst the servants, to warn jimin to steer clear of his path for the next few days. any encounter might make him flare up, and they comply to the best of their ability. it’s all peace and quiet, jimin himself understandably hiding away in his room, or cooped in the study. he even makes sure meals are taken separately, and their schedules do not clash in any possible way.

it’s only when jimin seemingly disappears, vanishing into thin air, does he realise that he cannot find his glasses, his pairs of socks, his favourite tie. only when he (begrudgingly) asks namjoon, does he realises jimin has personally been doing all his laundry, folding and organising his things because he wants to be a good and dutiful omega, wants to please his alpha and know him better. namjoon relays to him that through tidying jeongguk’s room while he’s at work, jimin makes observations and finds out more about him. he leaves out the part whereby jimin smiles, then drops it once he's back to reality.


“noona, may i know if you changed the detergent? i really like the smell of the clothes recently, but i noticed it's only for some of my clothes, so i was wondering.”

“dear me, young master- your dress shirts, particularly?”

jeongguk nods, showing the freshly ironed baby blue dior homme shirt to the maidservant.

“apologies, young master, but i think it has been young master jimin that has been in charge of your work clothes.”

“pardon?” he frowns, and it sends the servant into a fright, fear of losing her job, “it's not because we were skiving, young master! but your fiancé insisted on doing your laundry personally even though we- we told him that was our job, that nobility like him should not do such lowly chores-”

“calm down, miyeon noona. i'm not angry, okay? you're doing a good job!” he adds that in, remembering some of the little things jimin did to make the servants feel at ease while conversing. it’s something that namjoon had also sarcastically hinted to him he was lacking, before they patched up over a bowl of ramen for supper. “i just wanted to know what's going on with jimin, as you mentioned..?”

she evidently stops freaking out, taking deep breaths at the consolation. jeongguk's brows are now etched into a permanent frown.

“y-young master jimin was very adamant on doing something about your laundry, something about being a good fiancé… he uses downy softener for your clothes and pants, sir. he irons, hangs up and folds all of them by himself, he refused to let us do it for your attires- young master jimin initially wanted to do so for all of your clothing, but we begged him not to, so it was a mutual agreement to only allow him to personally wash and iron the young master’s office clothes, since you wear them the most.”

“i- thank you very much, noona. sorry for the disturbance.”

just how many things has jimin done behind his back without him knowing?


when he wants to find jimin, he sees him in the study. (one of the maids had directed him there, and on the way it made him wonder: even a mere servant in their gargantuan mansion would know where he was, but not his legally binded husband; shame on him.) he can only see jimin's back, and wonders who jimin is talking to.

“-orry if i can't fulfill my duty as an omega to give birth- i know i haven't been pushing myself enough to bed my alpha... he clearly doesn't want me, future baby, but i have to try for you, don't i?” a slight step to the side allows him to see a book on pregnancy flipped open at the side, sees jimin holding baby shoes, the opened box of baby related items by his side.

jeongguk has never wanted to fucking die so badly on the spot, his throat constricting out of nowhere. jimin's talking to the baby clothes, the little light up shoes- to his future child that they have to bear for their namesakes. he's patting the creases of his dress shirt around his flat tummy. “i'm sorry your mommy isn't doing his best… i thought about using chemicals, but i want you to be born with authentic jeon-park blood, you know? i want you to be proud of me and your daddy when you're born, my baby.”

jeongguk's bereft of speech, rooted to the ground, right in front of the door blown slightly ajar by the wind. jimin is crying, holding the little boy’s shoes and princess dress to his chest, close to his heart. “i'm sorry i haven't been trying my hardest- i'll try again tonight, okay? maybe i'll bring your daddy lamb shank and cremé brûlée today, little one. i hope he enjoys french fare…” jeongguk's stomach lurches.

he runs straight for the bathroom as fast as his legs can carry him.


“do you think namjoon and jimin are in love?”

after being abruptly pulled to the side in the servants’ quarters, yoongi stares back deadpan, deep into his eyes. jeongguk stares into a black vortex, a twinkle in each orb.

“that’s it?”

“uh. yeah..?”

“i thought it was something more important. you looked like there was an urgent matter-”

“hyung…” jeongguk’s all flushed at his butler’s teasing, knowing his piqued interest would’ve made yoongi chuckle.

“namjoon, yes. jimin— not so.”

“huh? hyung, why do you say that? are you sure?”

“then, jeongguk, i’ll ask you: why does it matter? you never cared about this marriage. why ask? why do you want to know?”

“i- i mean- it’s not like-” he himself is tongue tied, feeling his insides turn into the embodiment of the verbal garble he’s just spitted out. “i don’t care if they’re in love,” he tells yoongi, as if having a hard time convincing himself too, “i was… just curious. i don’t— it doesn’t matter.”

(he’s lying, and they both know it.)

“namjoon looks at jimin with a certain gentleness in his eyes. it’s a way that…” it’s a little difficult to say. “ah, are all the people of the jeon household this lacking in the emotional department?” it’s a dry chuckle that jeongguk’s ears are pick up on. there we go. yoongi’s picking at the skin by the sides of his thumbs as he says this, while jeongguk chews on the inside of his cheek.

“hyung- do you mean you-”

“please don’t.” it’s a soft but hollow voice on his butler’s end. “it’s all based on my judgement, and i could be wrong. but you should know that jimin only has eyes for you, jeongguk.”

“no he does not.” it’s the whine from the little boy inside him that retorts, the boy that had been forced and accelerated into this grand opening of a marriage that could easily be economically dubbed as a marketing tactic.

“jeongguk, have you ever seen some of the smaller scars on jimin’s hands?”

“no, why would i-”

“sometimes he goes through a painful heat, and there’s nobody there to help him, so he bites his knuckles to stay sane, and prays it goes away fast. he needs an alpha’s presence to make it all go away, which is why namjoon is his closest loyal servant; usually omegas are assigned beta caretakers, or whatever caste it may be, but never alphas— i thought by now you would’ve caught on something was amiss.”

“b-but, ‘s not like-”

“jeongguk… you know that if there’s anything, ask jimin. he will tell you what you want to know. i can give you my word and my assurance. okay?”

“...”


he’s exhausted. he’s tried close to everything, but jeongguk refuses to soften, or open up. he’s just clammed up, unwilling to budge. he’s tried food. entertainment. work. similar interests. the traditional route. a more modern approach. nope. nothing.

so, it wasn’t a good married like he’d prayed and imagined it to be.

he’s so tired.

he drinks wine to fall asleep, empties the whole bottle. it's not like anyone other than his butlers care anyway. “he loves me not, he loves me not,” jimin mumbles to himself as he plucks imaginary daisy petals in head, tipsy. he’s barely grasping anything else but minuscule dust particles in the cold room. “he loves me not…”

it's just a pity that there's no one else available to wallow in such a piteous state with him. a pity that only darkness was allowed to embrace such sadness with him- alone but together.

so, so tired.


jeongguk only finds out about his mild intoxication when jimin yells from the balcony, to which jeongguk was alarmed and carried him to his room. it’s the first time in months they’ve had proper contact. “l-let me down, i can… walk alone,” jimin slurs, knees almost buckling when he attempts let go. please give me a remedy...

when they finally make it to jimin's bedroom, jimin clutches his arm tightly when he turns to go. to leave him be. leave him behind.

“please, just do it now- breed me, please. i promise not to bother you anymore. i must… answer to m-myself, my family… please,” little pearls of teardrops are falling, like little shooting stars. it’s getting darker by the minute, without any lights turned on. “i'm no longer asking for love- i just, i just w-want to finish my j-job here-”

it's an uncontrollable action as jeongguk pulls him close, holds him tight.

“i'm sorry-”

“you're not,” jimin hiccups, and the pained cry bounces off the walls, sears itself into jeongguk’s mind. “fuck me so we can get this over with, alpha. we don't— we don't need to mate— just knot me, as long as you c-come inside, then-” the tears won't stop as he chokes on them, terribly pained to even say such words. i'm no longer asking for your love, because i know i won't have it.

“i'm sorry, i can't-”

“what do you mean you can't! it's just shoving your dick inside of me! what so difficult about it!”

“jimin, this isn't just about my dick-”

“it's not as if-”

“omega.” jeongguk snarls, the deep growl making jimin whimper, curl up into himself. he's asserting the dominance bourne out of status, and jimin is rendered innately helpless. despite that, he tries his best to calm down. on his own, as it has always been all these months. “i heard... from my brother that my f-father wants to disown me… if i don't get p-pregnant by the end of the month,” he quietly sobs, shifting away from jeongguk. he's sobering up, it's no good. he needs something stronger—

“i am but a prototype that needs to succeed to prove this alliance is moving in the right direction- if i fail, then…” he's dizzy when he tries to get out of bed, his alpha’s hands catching him before he tumbles down, down, down. “i don't care if i get disowned. but i care- if the empire my father and his ancestors handed down, took care of, crumbles because of me.

“you consent to me pumping you full of cum just so you can get pregnant? without any feelings at all?” jeongguk feels his heart hammering. he usually doesn't feel so strongly about things, especially not so that like these. he shouldn't be caring. it's a burden, an additional emotional baggage that he's evaded for far too long.

“i admit i yearned for feelings in the beginning, i really did— but you never reciprocated. i tried scenting you so many times, but you washed it off, you b-brushed me aside; so… i gave up- with a heavy heart, and now- i’m not even a-asking for a lot, alpha-”

i'm in love with you, but i would never force you.

“i-i'm sorry,” jeongguk repeats yet again, like a broken record, the only phrase he's able to say. “i'm so sorry.”

it’s funny how the only synchronised thing they’ve been able to do as the headlining‘nation’s alpha-omega soulmates’ is cry at the same time. the only unplanned, uncoordinated act, away from public scrutiny. he wonders how it’s only now that he realises jimin may not only like his rings for their aesthetic purposes, but also because they cover up the bite marks he leaves when he’s alone and hurting in his bimonthly heats.

“if it really gets bad, since the news stations are catching wind of it, apparently- i'll make use of chemicals, then. in vitro fertilisation or something, i'll work something out. i just need your sperm. i'll figure the rest out later-”

one more glass, please… please save me from this hell.

and then jeongguk's holding his hands. tightly. squeezing them as if to tell him to hang in there, don't give up. how ironic. everything is a lie- wake up, jimin, wake up. wake up!

“please don't do this, jimin—” it's painful just looking at the brokenness and defeat radiating off jimin. plain awful. “you're not just any omega to be fucked and bred, don't see yourself that way—”

you are my omega.

“why, because you won't even do it? am i that repulsive? that ugly? s-so undesirable?” his feet are shaky, but he bolts out to the best of his ability. maybe a part of me still craves for your affection. your touch. your love. “if only i was 10% more of an alpha composition-”

“10% what? wait. jimin, what do you mean—”

“it's not my fault i was born comprising of a 60% omega and 40% alpha strain!” jimin shoots back, hiccuping as he chokes back on his glittering tears, “i was supposed to present as an alpha. the doctors said so! my genetics said so! but my younger brother presented even earlier than me, as a beta. they wanted to push for the first alpha-beta marriage between two males in the jeon-park allegiance,” he grows quiet, but more somber and talkative, a hazy blubbering of something a sober and in control jimin would never have allowed. a rise then fall, a bubble blown then popped.

jeongguk's still trying to wrap his head around the information spewed out, slowly understanding jimin's assertiveness, dominance in his way of thinking, his clarity, his composure. jimin was so uniquely created. “until i presented just 1 week before the announcement. they saw a more viable storyline to push for- if only- if only i had waited another week, then— then none of us would have to live in so much misery-” he's shaking like a leaf, unspoken secrets all unbearably heavyweight. jeongguk can't stay still anymore. he wraps himself as best as he can around jimin, like an imperfect bulletproof vest. the first test specimen of a half woven kevlar vest. “don't hold me—” jimin's protests are weak, but his body relishes in the warmth of an alpha. his heart caves in so quickly, unlike how hardened it has become, how cold he has willed it to be.

“they always told the media i presented as 90% omega to spare any complications— but i- i'm weird, i'm not normal! which is why— why i've caused this marriage to fail internally, and i—” jeongguk's hands are robotically trying to soothe his back, chin propped on the crown of his head to cage him up like a protective layer. defective and flawed, but still functional. nothing but the first imperfect prototype that skyrocketed jeon corporations into the technological powerhouse that it stands as today. “don't say that, jimin— that's rubbish, you are… very uniquely comprised.”

it's strangely eloquent and positive, given how ironically strained this arranged marriage has been since day one. “i think you've been spectacular. we just— we could work on it, i guess.” i am at fault, too.

the shivering slowly subsides, and all the moisture leaking from jimin's eyes have been absorbed into jeongguk's shirt. it's a quiet, melancholic sort of tiredness, heavy fatigue that jimin incurs. it's not a good night's sleep- jeongguk stays by his side, as jimin thrashes and whimpers in his occasional nightmares, holding his hand the way he should have a long time ago, be it out of love or sympathy. it's a painful awareness he's been exposed to, a blinding brightness after being kept in the dark for so long. he doesn't quite know how else to describe jimin's endurance other than painful. heartbreaking.

your love, your love, your love— i miss that.

when jimin does wake up in the middle of the night to use the washroom, it's a wistful smile on his face as he spies a sleeping jeongguk lain by his side, on his bed. “finally a nice dream,” he murmurs to himself, shuffling to the washroom and back. a nice sort of change since all the monsters under his bed have tried to haunt him, over and over again. his head still hurts, throbs, as does his heart, as he sees the ‘dream’ version of jeongguk snore, with a frown but with his cute teeth exposed in deep slumber, soft snores.

your love, your love, your love— i want that.

“i love you, jeongguk.”

perhaps he can't bear to touch something that doesn't belong to him any longer. perhaps there's only so many words he can say before they just become three words with no weight, no meaning.

he pulls the covers over his mate to keep him warm, and then flops onto the opposite side of the bed, cold, his own back facing jeongguk with a painful squeeze of his chest.

 

your touch, your touch, your touch— i need that.

 

just one more glass, please.


the morning after, jimin wakes first, comes to the conclusion that perhaps he wasn't dreaming after all. they're both fully clothed, but in his bed. he scans the room, sees the empty champagne bottles, the wine glass, puts two and two together. it's a vague memory, but he does his best to jog it as he strives to churn out a better parenting plan, try a new recipe today. does a harder exercise regimen, makes extra effort in preparing jeongguk's meals.

tries to remember.

but for once, he can’t.


“jimin? let’s— let’s get dinner.”

first it was boston lobster served as sashimi. then wagyu beef flanked atop of canapés, more hors d’œuvres; gold leaf purée. foie gras sprinkled with shaved truffles. ginseng chicken stuffed with glutinous rice, red dates and nourishing herbs. award winning korean sweet soups. within days, jimin’s visited almost all of nine michelin starred korean restaurants in seoul.

they always get a room to themselves in the vip lounges when dining out, but there’s zero conversation made in the reserved rooms. just the two of them munching quietly before somebody asks for a refill of soju, or the bill. and then they go home, in a very lonely hyundai palisade.

jeongguk’s far too afraid he’ll make a fool of himself and be embarrassed, so he just sends the servants to deliver the meals if it’s takeaway. there are so many things he wants to ask, to do. but there’s something holding him back.


one day, jimin decides to speak up. the silence and side-glances are getting unbearable and suffocating. “jeongguk? hate is a strong word, but i would like to let you know that i dislike eating foie gras. it’s so cruel, i can’t bring myself to eat it.” he can tell the way jeongguk grips his utensils more tightly, brows furrowed, that he’s triggered by jimin’s commentary. definitely provoked. just his facial expression alone tells jimin, a man is trying his best and this is all you have to say, omega?!

jeongguk shoves two more spoonfuls of rice into his mouth with a scowl so he doesn’t lash out, or say something stupid. they’re finally progressing in tiny, minuscule baby steps. there’s finally been an upturn in their relationship, which is better than nothing, at least.

“it's not about the end product— it's the process that matters.” this time, the chopsticks pick up more samgyeopsal, and his jaw does the chewing, fully no intention of butting into what jimin has to say. “jeongguk, you know could make me half cooked instant noodles and i'd still be happy— because you wanted to make me a meal. because you tried your best to make me a nice meal.”

he polishes the rest of the sundubu-jjigae, gulps everything down, as jimin watches his expressions curiously, with those ever glowing eyes. he yells for the bill immediately when their hands accidentally touch, reaching out for the order chit.


“he wants a home cooked meal? fine, i’ll do just that.” turns out it’s his first time stepping foot into the kitchen, and the golden boy back at the office is reducing to a panicked amateur with the number of brain cells approximately that of a silver spoon. cooking should be easy, right? the maids that cook his meals make everything look so effortless and easy. he just hears the sizzling of the wok, the thuds of a knife against the chopping board. hears the simmering against the pot lid, the scraping of a wooden spatula against the saucepan. then, he sees a beautifully plated dish that looks just divine, smells heavenly, and is ready for his consumption.

with too little oil, the rice and eggs stick to pan, and adding of water only seems to make the vegetables char, a whole lot of steam rise and hiss from the wok. in impatience, he relentlessly opens the lid of the ramen cup to check if the noodles are ready; and since he has no clue on jimin’s preferences (and he’s denied help from all the servants), he decides that maybe ramen could be served like steak, medium rare. part soggy, part crunchy.

even if it wasn’t the right way of serving, he’d just say it was an avant garde way of presentation. so there. also, there’s a small entree of sweet potatoes with far too much sesame seeds, a little overboard with the multiple layers of honey glaze, to prove his sincerity. there’s also banana milk poured into a champagne flute, served with a curly straw for dessert.

“you- you cooked banana milk for me!” jimin's voice is teasing, as he laughs like a child, but his voice melts together with his eyes and his heart, when he sees jeongguk with his hands behind his back, looking so nervous; sees jeongguk looking away and gnawing away on his lip, so very anxious.

the ramen is salty and too spicy, but it tastes perfect to jimin's perfect palette. “it's delicious, thank you, alpha.”

jeongguk suspiciously eyes him as he swallows, takes his own tasting spoon. then, he spits it out without a second thought. “this tastes like shit. this is complete trash!”

“noooo, it was yummy! don’t throw it away, jeongguk-”


jeongguk easily finds him in their library with his reading glasses, a stack of books about parenting, how to be a good mother, diy baby clothes and accessories, pregnancy. jeongguk feels his stomach knot up, hears jimin's sweet humming ringing loud in his ears.

“um. hi.” he says lamely, and jimin immediately gets up when he spots his alpha. “oh, it's you. um, is there anything you want? is it lunchtime already? should i make you something—”

“no, please. continue what you were doing! i just- it's cold today. so i. um. i brought you my jacket and some hot coffee. seokjin taught me how to brew it.”

jimin's mind goes blank. the thermos and soft leather get handed over to him, and it feels like it were dowry. century old heirloom. silver and gold. invaluable treasure. priceless jewels. “t-thank you!” he manages to squeak out, mouth still agape, as jeongguk awkwardly tries to tap his chin in a bid to be affectionate.

“see you, um. at dinner?” his voice is shy, full of hope. it feels like a good dream, the ones jimin would have if he were a teenager all over again. the butterflies, and the heart fluttering scenes.

“sure! um! see you!”

jimin's definitely cooking dinner tonight.


“...jimin-ssi?” he creeps up behind jimin in the kitchen, meek. guilty. ashamed. “do you need help?”

“oh, please, jeongguk-ssi! i'll be alright, you just sit down and wait for dinner to be served-”

“i'm sorry.” jimin blinks at him, waits for the onion soup broth to simmer, “whatever for?”

“for being horrible to you. my attitude this whole while has been absolutely unforgivable.” he bows deeply, a complete 90 degrees, sending jimin aflutter. “alpha, please- and jimin is fine! just jimin will do.”

“then jeongguk is fine for me too,” jeongguk retorts, but jimin waves his arms at him, hands stirring tomato paste with a jut of his lips. “i don't know you that well yet, so i thought i'd be more polite to keep a respectful honorific-”

“then how come i'm allowed to call you ‘just jimin’? why i there such a-”

“because you're my alpha.” jimin answers quietly, without missing a beat, tossing a pinch of sugar and salt into the pan. “and my purpose of being married to you is to bear a child with both our surnames. it's okay if you don't love me. we just need me to become pregnant.”

the mushrooms and capsicums enter the saucepan, sizzling, jeongguk staring dumbly. at the blood red paste, at jimin's crestfallen eyes. at a very lonely figure that had been cooking every meal, hoping to have a companion, and yet had always resulted in eating alone. zucchinis, more tomatoes. some oregano, a dash of bell pepper.

“now go sit down, alpha.” jimin ushers him out of the kitchen, gently pushing him to the dining table, “dinner will be ready soon. or would you like something to drink first? barley tea?”

“no, no- just- it's alright. watch the pan. be careful.”

“okay.” it's the first time in a while jimin has had physical contact with him, or smiled at him. his arms tingles when jimin releases his tender touch, waddles back to the kitchen in his apron. it could be his eyes playing tricks on him, but jimin looks very adorable. even from the back. he would look rather cute with a growing belly and an apron, wouldn't he?

he shouldn't be thinking about something like that. no, he shouldn't.


“jimin?”

“yes?”

“i'm sorry. again.”

“is the food that bad?” jimin laughs, jokingly, but it leads to jeongguk being flustered, making sure to compliment him. “no! it's great! the texture and the flavour is all there- it's amazing. it tastes like a restaurant in a hotel, the shangri la—!”

“you flatter me, alpha.” jimin's blushing, too embarrassed that he even puts down his fork and knife just to bury his rosy cheeks in his hands. “i'm sorry i'm just so overwhelmed— it's-! itself the first time you've said something so nice to me, so- oh my goodness please stop staring at me jeonggukie, i'm so embarrassed, please eat—”

even though jimin may be two years older than him age wise, in regards to rankings, jeongguk will always be the superior species despite jimin’s maturity or experiences.

“jeonggukie.” is that what he calls me when he's talking to the future baby? when he asks about me from the butlers? when he talks to me in his head? and fuck if jeongguk isn't devastated at how pretty and precious jimin is. it only makes him feel even worse about his inconsiderate and immature behaviour. it's true that he's the youngest alpha son in the family, but it doesn't mean that as the youngest he can be wilful and bratty- furthermore, jimin's older than him too. jimin’s seen more than he has for sure.

“jimin-ah.” he tries the name on his tongue, a careless whisper, repeats it to himself, testing it, trying to get used to it. “jimin-ah.” his fiancé looks up, a cherry red, “y-yes?”

“n-nothing,” he sputters, getting caught, “i just- you- you're actually very cute.”

jimin suddenly stands up, eyes wide, rushes toward the kitchen. “i- i forgot to take something, j-just go ahead and eat-” he scurries to the kitchen to curl up into a ball behind the counter, unbeknownst to him that jeongguk had followed, whining to himself quietly about how embarrassed he is— only to see an equally flustered jeongguk when he gets up to wash his burning face, to douse himself in ice cold water.


jimin visits him in his nightgown just before he prepares to retire to bed that night. as jeongguk looks for a ring file on the shelf, jimin tugs his sleeve.

“jeongguk? next time if- if you praise me- um. can you, um, not do it so suddenly? i— jimin! jiminnie will get shy…”

“ohmygod,” jeongguk mutters to himself, looking at jimin's cheeks transition from supple and dewy from moisturising creams to a beautiful rosy pink. so glossy and delectable. “jimin, you're so-” how are you so goddamn precious?!

“but! but i like it when you praise me… but if i do wrong, please tell me as well! i will receive and reflect. then, um. g-good night!”


everything dies down after. there are international markets sending delegates to make rounds at jeon corporations, expatriates that are coming in groups, keen on investment. jeongguk has the duty of entertaining them, going for rounds of drinks and business dealings; it’s so exhausting that sometimes he doesn’t even get to sleep a wink, and relies on energy drinks or caffeine as a last resort. every time he sees coffee, he’s reminded of the time jimin tried buying a straight black and a latte. lattes turned out to be rather nice, after some accustomed taste and fine-tuning.

he no longer comes home. he stays out in the office till late, retreats to one of the spare rooms upstairs where he’s ordered a convertible mattress, stashed some of his belongings from home there. after a fortnight or more, he comes home, only realising that his family requires them to proceed to the jeon mansion, where one of his elder siblings from another mother was flying back with lucrative deals and extensive clientele. of course he had to go meet them.

jimin’s tagged along too, without a word, as to the world his docile little omega. he hasn’t seen jimin in so long, and the first thing he realises is that jimin’s lost so much weight. his skin isn’t as dewy, he looks all haggard and so sad. he wonders if jimin still waits for him at the lobby, the foyer. wonders if he’s still eating all three meals. wonders if he gets a good night’s sleep every now and then. wonders if jimin still has room for him in his mind.

“hello.” is all jimin tells him, unlike jimin of the past that would have greeted him with a ‘welcome home, alpha’ that would fall on deaf ears. ears that were in denial.

“hello.” jeongguk says back, with so many things he would like to say, but he doesn’t know how. why the sudden concern? why should he bother? he’s just meeting another one of his successful brothers to ensure a consecutive flow of elite power into his family’s business. it’s just work extended into personal hours. that’s all.

while his biological and similar surname family members gather to make small talk laced with hidden intentions, he finds himself drawn to jimin crouching in the corner and playing with one of his sibling’s sons, taemin.

he sees jimin put a little cabbage leaf on their son taemin’s head to apparently rid of the heat. it’s an old wives tale back in busan, and he can't help but swallow when he sees how jimin smiles when he interacts with children, little pups- and the way jimin's adorable accent slips out into a pout when he enunciates yangbaechu? with his unconsciously slipped busan accent. it's something jimin's been taught to be mindful and dispel of, being more of ‘peasant speech’ but that's all the more what makes it so endearing.

he wanted to tell jimin that- but he hesitated, and the growing work pile made it slip his mind. he never got to tell jimin.


“didn't you know? jimin gives you forehead kisses every night when he checks on you, he worries if you’ve slept by around 4 o’clock in the morning.”

“i thought you would’ve realised that jimin was the one who fixed your watch, the tie, arranged all your collections neatly. didn’t you know? jimin speaks to you sometimes when you’ve fallen asleep.”

“what? how come i wasn’t—”

right. you were asleep, stupid.


“how’s your day, jeongguk?” jimin tells him softly, caressing his fluffy hair, fingers soothingly running a rhythm into his cheeks, his face, like a little melody on a keyboard. he’d set an alarm to wake slightly earlier, but drowsy enough to maintain a convincing façade. “won’t you tell me?” he feels something warm press against his temple, hears the quiet sounds of jimin’s kiss. feels the tenderness seep through his skin after. “how did you feel today? oh, won’t you text me?” he feels jimin’s hands glide across his jaw, thumb brush lovingly against the baby hairs. feels his elfin fingers ghost past every inch of his face ever so lovingly. so gentle. “it’s okay if you don’t want to tell me,” jimin whispers, “i hope you had a good day. i hope tomorrow will be even better.”

the warmth leaves his face. his fringe falls back down to cover his eyelids due to gravity. he no longer feels another person’s presence as the mattress reassigns its weight.

“i hope you dream a lovely dream tonight, jeongguk. may tomorrow be even better than today. i- maybe you don’t know this, but that’s okay, alpha. i still love you. see you tomorrow, maybe, my little puppy prince.”

fuck.


it turns out that wasn’t enough. jimin has the outrageous nerve, the sheer audacity, two nights later, to recite him william shakespeare in the middle of the damn night when he’s supposed to be sleeping like a log. when jimin is supposed to be resting. when jimin is supposed to be getting a good night’s sleep.

“o romeo, romeo, wherefore art thou romeo?” jimin’s voice sounds so mournful. crestfallen, even, as he holds jeongguk’s hand makes it cup his mochi-like cheeks. “and i’ll no longer be a Park— ‘tis but thy name that is my enemy: thou art thyself, though not a Jeon.”

jeongguk can feel his own breath hitch, goosebumps raise all across his skin, the tension prick the room. he’s desperately trying to, both literally and figuratively, stay under the covers. it’s so innocent and yet so profound; jimin’s tenderly stroking his hair again, and he’s just being so warm and gentle and kind that it radiates of his skin like pure moonshine, like gold dust. maybe if in the dark, jimin walked into their garden, he’d be able to see the fairies and pixies, he’d walk and flowers would bloom at his feet, with every step he takes. he just instinctively wants to give jimin a hug- something tugs at his heartstrings ever so determinedly, so lovingly earnest. he can’t expose himself like that— he would never regain jimin’s trust ever again. the risk is far too much.

“these violent delights have violent ends, jeongguk,” jimin recites to him, “and in their triumph die, like fire and powder—” there’s something wet that his fingers feel, as jimin’s hand tighten its hold on his. “which, as they kiss, consume,” he should’ve known- namjoon had told him jimin was a big fan of literature, the study his haven for a broken heart. he’d been in love with the classics, the romance novels, the intellectual and groundbreaking non-fictions; but recently, he’s been turning to tragedies— namjoon says jimin loves romeo and juliet because even though they never get to be together, they loved for as long as they could. right now, jeongguk wants to just hold him tight, kiss his tears away. jimin now makes him feel some type of way— a way he hasn’t quite felt before.

“thus with a kiss, i die.”

jimin kisses his nose gently, before he retires to his own room.

this is too much for his heart to bear. the first line in romeo and juliet he recalls to put into context would be “o, jimin doth teach the torches to burn bright.” maybe he should’ve said it then, before jimin slipped through his fingers.


“young master- i don’t think i’m allowed to say it directly, but do you maybe perhaps know what jimin’s favourite shakespeare play is?”

“what, romeo and juliet?” it’s a scoff on jeongguk’s part, not even looking up from his phone as seokjin addresses him. a part of his stone heart starts to crumble, surge with a weird warmth because he actually has gotten a question on jimin trivia right after half a year.

“why, that is so. but have you, by any chance, taken a look at the shelves of his particular collection of this play?”

now this catches jeongguk’s attention. “it might be possible, you know, that by some miraculous fated reason, there might just be something different somewhere?”

“spit it out,” jeongguk grumbles, following seokjin to the study jimin frequents, the thirteenth room from the west wing. “i’m afraid i’m unable to disclose further, sir. it was only a musing, you know? just a casual thought that there might just be some chance-”

seokjin’s gaze guides him to the shelf, rather than an obvious point of the finger, and he sees the limited edition covers, hardcovers and paperbacks, in shakespearean english, in simplified korean, in analytical prosaic study guides. seokjin coughs when jeongguk’s staring at the shelf all bedazzled. jimin’s really got a whole array of beautiful book covers for his collection.

“jeongguk, have you ever seen those spy films where by people hide things in books—”

“i don’t watch films, i was taught how to take over the company.”

“fine,” seokjin huffs, pouting, “then i’m telling you, young master, that there are certain films in the mass media that continue repeating a plot device of hidden items within seemingly plain or identical copies.”

“i don’t understand what you’re driving at,” jeongguk lamely says, pouting back. seokjin’s dragged him all the way here, so why not just disclose it? what’s the big deal? why all this mystery and suspense?

“look closer- surely you aren’t that daft.” jeongguk grimaces, starts from the top and begins scanning down. “i’ll leave you to do the hunting, then. remember, you found it by chance. nobody explicitly guided you to it.”

jeongguk rolls his eyes- this better not be some silly easter egg hunting where there’d be a message saying he’s gotten pranked or anything of that sort. he’s wasting precious time. slowly, shelf by shelf, his eyes trail down; it’s a rung lower than his eye level: it’s jimin’s height.

it’s a beautiful turquoise jacket, laden with gold swirls. romeo and jimliet. no wonder why seokjin told him to look closer. as he tugs it out, it’s surprisingly light- he’d expected a heavy novel, but it felt… hollow.

because it was made just like a box. with no padlock on the ledge, like a secret diary would, granting jeongguk access to the treasure hidden inside. it even has jimin's custom wax seal- the one used for official business dealings and tradition- stamped on it.

 

to: my beloved “husband”

(A long poem for the Small Things)

 

i hoped for three words- perhaps the fire to hear i love you had died out as quickly as it ignited. you were everything i've ever wanted in an alpha; tall, handsome, wide eyes, beautiful smile. a sweet voice, someone aggressive and passionate.

perhaps it's too late to call off the engagement. perhaps i never had a say in this wedding— i was born and raised for this purpose; and who knows, maybe i was indoctrinated since a tender age to fall for someone like you.

i've always wondered: what would you sound like? when you called me darling? (you can't see, but i laughed to myself writing this.) maybe i'll get to hear ‘baby’ if we have a child? haha. i asked yoongi hyung to make you say ‘honey’ that day— you sounded so soft and pouty, that honestly, i melted. (i even had the pleasure of hearing you call yoongi ‘sugar’ for fun!) it was so delightful. you're not supposed to know i was hiding behind the pantry, though. ‘i love you’ has been something i've never been able to grasp— do i say it too easily? or do people say it so seldom? or does nobody mean it the way i do anymore, from the bottom of my heart?

also— i've always wondered how ‘omega’ would sound like, spilling from your lips. it's a melancholic memory to me, that every time i do hear it, it's used as an insult, used to quieten me; of which i bear no malice, definitely, it's just that— i wish my heart could learn how to flutter again, the way it did when i brought you my first plate of curried rice. it was my first time cooking for someone not blood related to me, or namjoonie. i hope you didn't see my bandages… but, i'm also glad you didn't try it! the curry tasted too salty and the cutlet was overcooked… i’m getting better, though! i’ve learnt to make decent fare of various cuisines, all thanks to seokjin and yoongi. i hope that one day, you’ll crave a dish i have mastered. i’d like to see your face light up eating something homemade.

perhaps you are the man of my dreams, a flower i bloomed in a dream that can’t come true. perhaps i never thought twice, because you were always my number one. perhaps we were not meant to be together in this lifetime; perhaps we’ll meet in another.

every time i write a letter like this— a letter of truth untold, to be sealed forever, away in the yawning chasms of my memory, it gets the better of me. i cry easily because i feel and love and care far too much. (i apologise for the ink blots and smudges enclosed with. but anyway, you wouldn’t know because i would never have the courage to show you what i’ve written. you’d just wave me away, i reckon.) my mother dislikes that, she says i have become too soft, despite presenting as an omega. but for now, i’ll still allow myself to cry when nobody is watching. maybe some of the closer servants might realise, but that’s alright.

i have yet to tell it to you personally, jeongguk-ah, and maybe in the future i may never get a chance to do so. for now, i shall pen it down, and keep this letter hidden. this fountain pen from my brother has been a lovely companion whenever i’ve been lonely.

 

i love you, my alpha—

with everything i have.

i love you, jeongguk—

without a doubt.

yours sincerely,

park jimin

(your lawful omega)


the letter made him take two days off work. two whole days. for a workaholic like jeongguk, who even attended meetings while running a high fever, a two day break with no valid reason meant something was really wrong. locking himself up in his room under the pretext of being ‘extremely sick’, jeongguk reads jimin’s clandestine letter over and over again, digests it all, over-analyses it, glosses through it again. it’s so pure and so thought provoking it interferes with every aspect of his life so delicately and with such elegiac poignancy.

he comes to the conclusion that, if anything, he wants to woo jimin. court him like he should, be a good father and husband, a good alpha.


it's awkward, jimin suddenly comes home to massive bouquets everyday. jeongguk's overdoing it, definitely, but he's trying his best. what touches jimin’s heart most is the cards attached to them- they all have quotations from romeo and juliet.

“this bud of love, by summer’s ripening breath,
may prove a beauteous flower when next we meet.”

the worst and best experience being receiving a whopping garland of 1013 red roses in his bedroom.

“love is a smoke raised with the fume of sighs;
being purged, a fire sparkling in lovers’ eyes;
being vex’d a sea nourish’d with lovers’ tears.”

“jeongguk?” he says, voice small as he knocks on the door of jeongguk's study, “are you available for a… talk?”

uh-oh. the last time they sat down for a ‘talk’, it didn’t go that well. the latter puts his glasses down, “uh, yeah. sure.” jimin saunters over, sits down in a plush black chair before jeongguk can even proceed to tell him to have a seat. “you don't have to send me flowers anymore.”

“what? why? you don't like flowers? are you allergic? since when-”

“calm down, alpha,” jimin says, trying to suppress shy giggles, trying his best to maintain his composure. “i love them, but i'd rather they come once in a while as a surprise- the poor servants have a hard time with the petals and insects that are attracted to the sweet smell, and it would also be such a financial burden…”

“oh,” jeongguk manages, frowning. what should he do now? “so no flowers.”

“jeongguk, please don't get me wrong- i love anything that comes from you, from the bottom of my heart- but if something is done too often, i find it loses its meaning, if you get what i'm saying?”

“so... i shouldn't tell you that i love you often?” it is a challenge, which jimin concedes defeat, cheeks flaring a gorgeous pink. “i don't mean it like that… in this case, you should only say it if you mean it.”

only tell me you love me if you truly do.

“... i see.”

“of course, there is a possibility that you may never feel that way. i understand. but please always know that—” it's so difficult to hold in tears when you always thought that you would marry your soulmate. that you’d marry someone who could at least try to love you. it's unfair. why is jimin playing and crying and aching in a solo game, a lone hand? “please always know that my heart will only ache for you.”

jeongguk remains silent, at a loss with such devotion. he's shallow . and jimin goes deep. so, so very deep. jimin is both the poem and the poet, that dances with his pretty little feet. jimin is both the sun and the moon, his strength and his weakness.

“i—”

“foolish of me, isn't it? to hold onto a thing of the impossible. so, so stupid.” jeongguk's mouth opens as if to say something, closes when he can't find the right response. once more, twice. nothing. it was always silence— maybe jimin was talking to himself all this while. he’s always been. maybe it was all a dream, a bad one. wake up, jimin, wake up. “why am i always so stupid?” maybe it's all a game to him- he's doing it because there's a new premiere launch under the jeon-park name next month.

maybe, today his heart died once more.

“the cards were beautiful, though. i appreciated the quotes used. it... touched my heart.”

jeongguk’s heart continued to beat so rapidly, even after the pitter-patter of jimin’s feet died down, his composure and poise kept up till the very last moment, until he disappears from jeongguk’s line of sight.


at a loss, jeongguk goes to seokjin for further counsel. “hyung, can you tell me what jimin likes? just— no flowers.”

“so he finally told you about it, i'm glad,” huh? it's a weird feeling, when he hears jimin's butler knows something so close to his heart before himself, jimin rightful alpha husband. “jimin's like a sensitive child, but also very mature— cliché, but it's the little things that count! just like how he would mend your photo with jieu-” seokjin's fingers clamp over his mouth when he realises he accidentally let the cat out of the bag. oh dear, he had promised jimin not to tell. oh dear.

“my photo? what photo?”

“oh! sorry, young master jeon. oh gosh. you see- i promised to keep it a secret-” oh shit. he really hadn't mean to blurt it out after hiding the truth for so long.

“since you already let it out halfway, you might as well…” jeongguk uses hand gestures as if to ask him to carry on, while the chiseled, clenched jaw tells seokjin he won't give in to the access denied card. with a defeated sigh, seokjin hopes it will do good in mending their relationship, for the better. “do you remember the day you ripped that childhood photo of you and jieun?” jeongguk nods, alarmed. “yoongi and i saw jimin squatting at the waste paper basket. we suspect he was digging for every piece to tape it back.”

“what the fuck.”

“i think he managed to restore most of it. he asked me for tape and glue, and also a laminator.”

“why would you do that, jimin?” jeongguk whispers to himself, and seokjin bows his head. “i'm sorry, i should've been more guarded about—”

“he did that for me?” the heir of half the mansion looks off in a faraway gaze, “why would he…”

“it's because he loves you. he always has.”

“i need to find him-”

“jimin's sleeping,” seokjin's hand stops him from dashing off to the bedrooms, “it's been a long while since he's managed to fall asleep, so i hope you can let him rest, young master jeon.”

what the actual fuck.

just how many lone hands did jimin intend on playing?


“um. do you maybe have any suggestions for what to buy for jimin…”

“presents should come from the heart, young master. we all show our love and appreciation in different forms.”

“in that case, what would you buy for jimin?”

“jeongguk ssi,” namjoon sighs, eyes dimmed, “as a person to person and not as a contender or a butler, i'd like you to know that if you want to buy something, use your head and your heart both.” jeongguk takes it in, bites his lip as he thinks about it. just how much does he even know about jimin?

“this isn't a corporate deal where you just buy an expensive bottle of aged fine wine, or a fancy basket of exotic fruits. you're buying a gift for your husband, your mate, to show him you love him and cherish him and you want to see him happy.”

“but i- i don't know what-”

“then you find out. you find out what jimin needs. what he wants. then you go out of your way to do it, and you do it willingly because jimin is worth whatever opportunity cost you have forsaken. if you do it with resentment, begrudgingly, or just for the sake of it, i daresay your marriage will only remain one for the papers and press.”

jeongguk goes silent, looks away in shame. when was the last time he actually went gift shopping with a sincere heart? large, warm hands rest on his shoulder, guiding him to automatically relax.

“it's hard, isn't it? start simple, then. what do you think jimin often wears? what does he like looking at? anything he's been craving?”

“jimin… jimin likes- he likes— ” it's difficult. he's been prompted, and yet he's still stuck. to think he was always regarded as a caring and doting alpha across all media outlets, when in reality it was always jimin ruling in that department. “i don't know what he likes.” his voice revokes into a small, pitiful surrender, accompanied by a pout reminiscent of the child living inside, the boy with no prior relationship knowledge within. it's new for him, too. “jimin… jimin doesn't like my flowers anymore.” it's awfully pathetic how he sounds like he's regressed into a teenager, lamely delivering a cheap present to his crush’s locker, and then getting scorned and rejected.

“i'll manage to bring jimin out to the dining hall for lunch. take a look at his dresser. his bedroom. how does he arrange his items? what are his necessities? what stands out to you? look for and into his heart, jeongguk. i know you can do it.”

“but i- don't you already know? why can't you just give me a hint or some-”

“because the one he wants a present from is jeon jeongguk, not kim namjoon.”

everything goes momentarily quiet once more, until the heels of namjoon's oxfords tap against the marble floor. “lunch will be served soon. good luck, young master.”


jeongguk sends a rushed order to change the dessert to a fruit platter and strawberry angel cake. jimin doesn’t stop beaming when his butler serves the dishes, with a very shameless announcement of ‘and for dessert, a special order placed by young master jeon’. the fruits were delectable and irresistibly sweet.


the servants talk amongst themselves, and word travelled fast. when they know jeongguk is coming towards the kitchen, seokjin makes sure to speak a little louder to yoongi. “yoongi-ah. didn't you hear? jimin lost one of his earrings… again. ” the side eye he gives, slight nudge of the foot, allows yoongi to pick up the cue effortlessly. “hyung, the other day he was telling me he likes to hug things, and he prefers men that are broad because he feels safe. he's so adorable.”

“right? he says namjoon’s chest is just right-” nothing else registers in jeongguk's brain after that. not even the suppressed giggle from seokjin, and the ridiculously loud high five between the two butlers when the evident ploy has proved successful.


soon after, jeongguk’s exercise regimen takes a bigger precedence once more. he continues with boxing after work, visits the gym when he cannot think. goes running if he’s stressed. starts bulking to be a good alpha. to be someone jimin feels at ease with and not afraid of. wants to pamper and love on jimin in slow but steady ways. wants to be his remedy, his melody.

he never knew jimin has a toy puppy that he still puts by the side of his bed. jimin keeps his accessories in a very neat compartment box. he uses moringa and lavender hand cream. jimin uses jo malone and chanel perfumes. he likes tinted sunglasses. his covers are a creamy, pristine white. there's jeongguk's patched up photo with jieun on his desk, framed nicely. a personal bookshelf with tons of romance and fantasy novels, self improvement books, pregnancy and relationship advice. there's also a pocket sized memo book, titled ‘about jeongguk’. a few casual flips lets jeongguk see jimin's own pointers on what detergent his alpha likes, what scent he uses, when jeongguk's favourite fruits are in season and where to buy them. dates on when jeongguk has meetings, had spoken to him, when jeongguk needs to wake early and required a breakfast bento box to work. jimin’s room smells like him, like orange blossoms.

jimin’s room also smells like home. a safe space.


on a weekend, he finds himself going into a store in gangnam, wants to get jimin something pretty for his fingers. the earrings had been settled the next day. alexander mcqueen diamond drop earrings.

“would you like to engrave anything inside the ring, sir?”

“i didn't think of anything,” jeongguk replies honestly, “is it more sincere to engrave something? then maybe his name-”

“dear sir,” the lady frowns, “you engrave words because they mean something to you, or to remember a special someone or an occasion. it's the thought behind the words, rather than the word itself.”

“...” to think that even a lady working at the jewellery store as a mere staff would know better than him, in a department that all humans had to partake in, like it or not.

“maybe, there's a word that reminds you of your significant other? something that is symbolic-”

“lovely,” jeongguk finds himself blurting out, without any hesitance at all, “lovely.”

“just to confirm, sir, you'd like to engrave the word ‘lovely’ inside the ring?” there's a knowing smile on her face now. one that makes jeongguk flush, like she knows he thought of how jimin looked when he smiles to himself, when jimin laughs. when jimin dances and hums to himself in the house. when jimin’s face shone so brightly when received jeongguk's first bouquet. as if she saw the image of jimin giggling in his head in that instant.

“yes. my significant other is… he is very lovely.”


overtime resulted in reaching home past midnight, after some supper as a substitute for a skipped dinner. he’d told the servants to tell jimin he would be back, but something cropped up, and it slipped his mind. the bvlgari carrier he holds acts as a stark reminder of a diamond he’s been talking for granted- and he’s not referring to the ring it holds. the dining hall is clear, and a heavy weighted nervousness thuds in dull, erratic beats. he can feel himself jump when he takes off his coat and scarf, hears the light footsteps of servants working during the wee hours. he goes to freshen himself up, put on a little spritz of eau de toilette, finds himself walking to jimin’s room.

he doesn’t know what to expect, exactly. it only dawns upon him that he barely knows what goes on in the household when he’s away at the company.

does jimin sleep early? when does he start reading? how does he like his coffee? does he prefer eating with chopsticks or a fork and spoon? is he on good terms with all the butlers and servants? do they treat him well? how does he like his baths? for how long has he been waiting for jeongguk to come back home but he never did?

jimin is sleeping. in a white oversized shirt, smelling like water lilies and cotton. he swears it is instinct when his hands delicately reach out to cradle jimin’s face, touch his pretty little apple cheeks and freckles with the tip of his finger. the frown turns into a small beam, as jimin’s hand reaches to hold his; he’s barely touched jimin, and he’s positive the latter is dreaming. “you’re home,” jimin mumbles, shifting in his bed to a more relaxed curl, “iloveyoujungoo,” he’s lisping his words into jeongguk’s palm, leaning into his hand like it were an extension of his pillow. jeongguk had come to place the ring on his table, before fleeing to do his own work, or rest. he wasn’t meaning to feel so devastated and guilty by just turning the brass knob, intending to drop the present and go.

“jiminie… miss you. ” it’s so quiet save for the periodic sounds of the air conditioning, small clatters and chatters from the servants downstairs doing the chores. jimin refuses to let his hand go, and he’s trapped with no other distractions- no paperwork, no phone, no secretary, no butler. it’s mean to shrug free and leave, akin to abandoning his predefined mate, but the regret consumes him from the inside, as darkness envelops before dawn breaks.

at 3:33am jimin tosses and turns once more, finally  lets go of his hand. he’s been sitting on the parquet floor, watching jimin mumble incoherent words, occasionally hearing the his name and ‘baby’. he’s free. liberation, almost. he shuffles back in his slippers, careful not to wake jimin up, tucks him in and makes sure the blankets are secure.

he walks himself back to his own bed. pulls up his own covers. turns off his own lamp. he doesn’t sleep a wink. he spends the entire wait for sunrise thinking about jimin’s hands, and his touch alone.

he eventually falls asleep, and wakes up to a bento box presumably made by the kitchen maids— but in this household, only yoongi and jimin are aware jeongguk likes his sandwiches lightly toasted without the crusts. meat dipped with lots of sauce. more meat servings than rice itself. likes butter grilled squid as a side dish together with a dollop of kimchi. a banana milk packet instead of whatever fancy wuyi oolong or jade dragon tea.

today was yoongi’s day off.


“seokjin? did you finally give them to yoongi-”

“...i didn’t. i think he went to the park? namjoon’s off today too. coincidence, isn’t it?”

“jin hyung…” jimin comforts, giving him a tight hug. “i know your soulmate mark is a grand piano, right? on the cusp of your shoulder? does yoongi have one? i know namjoon was born with a bass clef on imprinted on his ankle-”

“please don't.” it’s a tiny smile on seokjin’s face as he pretends to wave it off. “yoongi’s mark is a treble clef, jimin. i can’t compete with that. i can’t argue with fate.”


jeongguk comes home on yet another late night to jimin asleep in his bed full of rose petals- from five flowers in jeongguk's first bouquet to him. he walks towards the sleeping figure, slowly, softly. there's a buildup of emotions- fatigue, amusement, curiosity, enamourment; he doesn't know if his heart clenches in guilt that jimin had fallen asleep waiting up for him, or if it clenches in pride and sorrow that jimin fell asleep to his scent, his pillow, his bed. shrugging off his blazer and tie, he sits down by the edge gingerly, making sure the dip in the mattress would be gradual. subconsciously, his hands reach out on their own, to ghost over the apples of jimin's cheeks. to leave a featherlight trail of connecting the dots, the little freckles that would eventually map out constellations, the eyelashes a gantry to otherworldly orbits that glimmer with mystique and radiance. the heat of his fingers linger, sink into jimin's skin the way his weight shifts the mattress, slowly, surely. jimin’s only wearing his favourite blazer and a thin white shirt.

jimin rouses, blearily blinking, mind foggy before he realises jeongguk is home. the sleepiness automatically converts to alertness, legs splayed to the side as if kneeling, back straightened, eyes wide. “you're- you're back- i'm so sorry, i fell asleep-”

before jeongguk even opens his mouth to speak, taking in the glorious sight before him, jimin is sent into a flurry of words. “oh no, my eyeshadow- i'm sorry, i didn't know i-” after rubbing his eyes, he notes the fallout of the glitter on his eyelids, the shimmer wearing off. the air conditioned room is suddenly so stifling, so cold, so cold. he tugs the blazer (jeongguk’s blazer) on him, closer to his body. “i'm sorry, it was supposed to be a nice surprise-”

“can you please stop apologising?” jeongguk feels mild anger boil, simmer from within. “nothing is your fault, so stop.”

“but i- we’re finally on talking terms, so i- i just wanted to-” he's usually so composed, so calm and mature when handling adversity, tough situations impromptu. but if it's someone he loves, something he cares for with a burning passion, then perhaps feelings would unfortunately take precedence.


“can i- i mean, of course i can- but, i- like, um. may i… may i kiss you?” it's soft and unsure, a mumble as if muttering to himself, in a warm, shaky busan satoori. it’s not the seoul accent he’s been trained to have and retain for all personas showed to the public. it’s the little lisp and the pout jimin fell in love with. the gentlemanly question almost makes jimin's heart leap out of his chest. the red ribbon is still sitting pretty on his head.

“no… i- rather than that—” he too, is a garble of incongruous busan accents, as jimin shakes his head, unable to wrap his head, his ribbon, around this issue. jimin’s hometown accent makes him ten times cuter, it makes him seem like a little fluffy baby chick trying to act all manly and grown up. it reminds jeongguk of a brilliant heart of gold, a sincere soul that resides within. “no- i- can i? i mean, i can, but may i- may i have a hug first?”

he's so terribly shy.

jeongguk's almost as shy, face burning, as red as the rose petals on the bed. it's awkward, but it feels like finally- finally, they've arrived on the same page after countless errors, mistranslations, implications.

hugging jimin isn't a formality, or out of courtesy- hugging jimin feels like a loved one running to meet you again at the airport after being apart for months. hugging jimin is a promise. hugging jimin feels like the comfort of the waves of the ocean lapping at your feet as the salty sea breeze caresses your face. hugging jimin feels like the magical moment of stargazing, watching shooting stars go by, making a wish that ultimately comes true. hugging jimin is like dipping into a warm bath, soapy and calming and soothingly overwhelming with affection and nostalgia. hugging jimin feels like finally meeting a pen pal from the countryside, the boy with a straw hat that picks you wildflowers with rosy cheeks and returns lost ₩100 coins that he finds on the floor because he's afraid the owner might look for it and be sad, despite its close to negligible value. hugging jimin feels like blowing bubbles for flower fairies to pop and giggle along with you. hugging jimin also requires lots of precise care, because the boy can, too, trip on nothing- even on air. he needs to be handled with utmost respect and irrevocable love.

jimin is someone, perhaps, that jeongguk can come to love.

kissing jeongguk isn't their mouths opened, enraptured into a battle of dominance. oh no, it isn't a competition or a wager either. kissing jeongguk is a compromise, a promise. kissing jeongguk feels like finally attaining your goal, after looking back at decades worth of baby steps. kissing jeongguk is like that one child that refuses to budge or change, insistent on wilful whims until they see the pain and tears behind the rationales, succumbs to acknowledge and empathise with the sadness and toiling behind the scenes. kissing jeongguk feels like trying again and again, meeting countless failures and disappointments, until the hundredth and one attempt leading to the missing piece of the puzzle where everything works out. kissing jeongguk is like perfecting the timing for a perfect batch of macarons, crisp on the surface, then biting deep into an irresistible sticky web of sweetness. kissing jeongguk is like devouring bitter chocolate, biting into the liquor filled centre, oozing out with dizzying satisfaction and savouring it till the last of it melts. melts into nothingness, but the happiness resides deep within, together with contentment, utmost joy and desire burning bright, the aftertaste a solid and rich timbre to the palate. jeongguk is someone, perhaps, that jimin has learned to love and will always love.

“jeongguk ssi?” jimin says, breathless, when they pull apart, his lips all raw and glossy and bitten a cherry red. “i- you forgot to open me up, i'm- i'm supposed to be your present…” slowly, sensually, jimin guides his warm hands down his waist, past the dip of his hip bone, to his ass. the other hand is used to tug off the ribbon bundled around his head, the bow atop of his head. he's blushing such a beautiful shade of pink that jeongguk feels no remorse if he's going to be selfish from now on, and keep his omega all to himself.

“this part- these pants have buttons to tear open for, um, for easier access,” jimin squeaks towards the end, upon explaining the curve of an arc of buttons down the swell of his plump ass, specially designed of that year's fall winter collection.

“jimin-” jeongguk suddenly feels like he lacks the words to speak, mouth parched. throat dry.

“it's all for you- i'm your present, jeongguk.” he's got his hands wrapped around his alpha’s neck, kneeling to gain leverage as jeongguk's hands remain guarded by his ass, his waist.

“your present has been waiting to be opened since the very first day…”

and then there are tears, water crystals that gather in jeongguk's eyes. he doesn't know if it's the guilt he feels, or the pain in jimin's eyes as he stares right into jeongguk's, with so much intensity and adoration and love. “i've always been ready for collection, so thank you for-”

jimin's pulled into his lap in one quick swoop, an easy manoeuvre, as he exclaims in surprise. “jeongguk, what are you-” there's no other way to make up for the countless misery and sleepless nights he's been causing, the tears and the pain. he needs to treat jimin better tenfold, he's going to be a good husband and worship jimin like the doll that he is. he's going to treat jimin right, with dignity and ardent respect. he's going to love jimin like no one ever has.

“may i kiss you again?”

now, they're no longer immiscible, like oil and water that never interact, can never mix, floating as two entirely different entities; now, it's more of drops of food dye entering warm water- with the slow sinking of convection currents causing beautiful and elegant swirls of gradient dye; one drop of yellow, one drop of blue. there's some green too, that forms, but it's a compromise, a promise. a slow waltz, a mazurka, a sarabande. the first dance of a debutante to the live orchestra playing the blue danube. it is a promise, a compromise.

“alpha…” jimin's so irresistibly cute when he's a shy, flustered mess- it's undeniably adorable that jeongguk wishes he wasn't so blind in the beginning. he's been awfully myopic and parochial, it sickens him. “do you really need to ask me that, alpha? i've always-”

jeongguk doesn't need to be told twice to ravish him and spoil him rotten.


“you haven't done this before?”

“no…” jimin quietly shakes his head, “i saved all my firsts for my alpha, so… you were my first kiss and the first hand i held… as well as my first fight, and you’re also the first person i’ve wanted to cry over, and the first person that i wanted to punch, and the first person t-” it’s a lovingly tender kiss that jeongguk leaves on his lips to hush him; jimin can feel the apology laden in it, the remorse, the guilt, the sadness.

“i don’t deserve you, jimin.”


“i-it's- jeongguk, it's b-blushing…” and for the love of god, how can someone point to and describe an angry, raw red of another person's nether regions so cutely? this is pure madness! absolute insanity— to think someone could describe an erection this innocently-! he can’t describe the embarrassment and the melty feelings inside as jimin reaches for it, the way he just turns to mush as quick as jimin can flush a pretty, pretty pink.

“jimin- i can't- ohmygod. jimin, it's b-blushing because of you...”

there is only so much a heart that starts beating again can bear.


“come for me, jimin.”

his omega’s all flushed, eyes half lidded and sultry in the most innocent and enticing of ways. they're both sweaty, but as soon as he says this, jimin musters up all the energy he has left to reverse their positions, peer into jeongguk's brown eyes with such tenderness and worry. push jeongguk down in such a sweet and yet careful, firm manner as jimin stares at him from above, fully sheathed.

“comfort you, alpha? are you feeling okay? are you tired? are you-”

“ohmygod,” jeongguk manages again, a whisper as he playfully thrusts into jimin slightly, causing the smaller male to squeak out a moan. jimin's now lying on top of him, patting his head and knocking their foreheads together. if anything, jeongguk should be the one asking if jimin is tired, or if jimin needs anything.

“i said it was alright to come, actually…”

jimin blinks, before his flush turns from pink to a dark red. “i- i ruined the moment-!” he's so endearingly embarrassed it makes jeongguk let out a genuine laugh, a laugh he hasn't had in a long while. a laugh that physically transmits to jimin in vibrations and little sound waves, sets him giggling too. “you're so precious, little one. so pure and so beautiful.” he's tucking jimin's matted hair behind his ear, an excuse to see his brown eyes better, to leave a trail of fingerprints all over jimin's soft, supple skin. “so precious.”


it's awkward when jeongguk brings him a warm towel to clean up with, and they keep a lamp on by the bedside, usually used when the rest of the lights are turned off. as jeongguk slowly dresses jimin back with a fresh cotton button down- with shaky hands, gentle, so he won’t catch a cold- he can hear sniffling, feel jimin tremble. the lights are still turned on.

“jimin? jimin, why are you crying, god, did i do something wro-”

“i don't know,” jimin cries, “it's just- you've never held me so tenderly before and i- it's just- that's all i've wanted in a long while and, and-”

“oh, please- no, no, jimin...” jeongguk pulls him into an embrace, wiping away his tears. jimin's shirt is half unbuttoned, one sleeve fallen off to reveal his clavicles and a bare shoulder. his bare heart. jimin's actually so very pretty. the word pretty barely does him justice. beautiful falls short too. and to think he's all laid pretty for jeongguk. just for his viewing pleasure only.

“you're really-”

“i’ve always wanted to do it with the lights off because-” jimin pauses, hiccuping, “b-because then i could pretend that you actually-” he cuts himself off, unable to say it, mouth dry. “i'm sorry, i always cry because- and in front of you-” his tiny apologies are mumbled into jeongguk's chest, so vulnerable.

“shall we just call it a day?” jeongguk's touch is surprisingly gentle, along with the hands holding jimin, melting in jimin's radiant glow, the warmth he exudes. it's so fascinating to see how pure and genuine and beautiful his mate actually is. he's just been blind for all his life, probably.

“my eyes are puffy and red, aren't they- don't stare at me…”

“you're a pretty crier,” jeongguk mumbles back into his hair, patting his back. “so pretty. i don't deserve you.”

it's strange how jimin manages to sleep easily in jeongguk's arms, his bed for two finally being put to good use.

“you cry so much because you love me, isn't that why? and i've been such a meanie to make you cry all the time...”

jeongguk feels his heart soften for the first time in forever.


so, they’ve finally made love.

jimin gets so giddy even after he wakes up, high with effervescent cheerfulness, and he talks to the baby while jeongguk sleeps next to him, in their room. “baby? i have a good feeling that i'm one step closer to being with you- your daddy is so handsome and so caring in bed, you know? i just wanted to tell you… i can only tell you, baby, since it's embarrassing to say, i'm so lucky to have him.” jeongguk almost makes a sob in his feigned sleep, cooing at jimin's sweetness. he smells like orange blossoms and soft clean laundry. he smells like jeongguk’s favourite detergent. he smells like jeongguk now. frankly, that drives him wild. to the brink of insanity and a million raging blushing heart boners in pure pride of his pure omega.

“i know it will be hard carrying you for around nine months, baby. but i think it's worth it, if you get to meet the world, and jeonggukie. he's the best alpha i could’ve asked for.”


“jeongguk, if you want to kiss me you don’t have to ask, you know.”

“...”

jimin’s only saying such shameless things because jeongguk has been standing at the door, holding his hand and taking deep breaths. and every time his lips part to say something, his mouth goes dry, and all he can do is stare at jimin dumbly, while holding his hand. the hand with their wedding ring.

jeongguk’s not saying anything, apart from coughing in embarrassment and using the back of his other hand to mask the ferocious flush on his face. “of course, if that’s not what you meant then i’m sorry i assumed because you’re holding my hand for about five minutes now.... but if there is anything, we can always talk it out! i can try to give you my opinions, or any solutions i have to off-”

there’s a little peck landing on his lips.

“you talk too much, omega.” there’s no longer any bite, but rather, utter fondness in his voice. “if you- um. if you want to kiss me you don’t have to ask either. uh. like, if you want to.”

his shyness makes jimin fall into his arms in a fit of giggles, rosy cheeks in full flare. “my baby is so cute.” on his tippy toes, jimin makes sure to pepper jeongguk’s whole face with little kisses. nobody cares if he’s going to be late to the office.


weeks later, jimin starts to feel dizzy often, aching all over. and he also starts to feel like throwing up, nausea in the mornings. morning sickness? can’t be. “seokjin, d’you have any… painkillers? or those… th’ emergency suppressants?” his speech is soft and slurred as he clutches his head, before namjoon scurries to his side to catch him before he staggers towards the ground. “d-dizzy, just… threw up…”

“jimin, did you and jeongguk have sex?”

“i! we—! i, um, we kind of, um!” jimin’s sent into a tiny flurry of words, cheeks flushed all pink as he gets ushered to take a seat, while seokjin runs for a glass of water, fumbles with the medicine cabinet. “about… 2? maybe 3 weeks ago?” it’s a soft little confession, one that makes his cheeks go a bright cherry red. “‘s nothing serious, jus’ really don’t feel well-”

“the full moon was 19 days ago.” seokjin tells him, hesitant in handing over the tablets, “and that’s when you’re most fertile, jimin.”

three pairs of eyes take turns to interlock, two points where three lines meet.

“jimin, i think you’re pregnant.”


jimin takes the pregnancy test, does it a few times just to make sure and he’s so nervous as he makes his way to the 13th floor where jeongguk is currently making his rounds.

“jeongguk? i need to speak to you. it’s… urgent.” his husband gives him a puzzled look, but nonetheless whispers some delegations to the next in line, as he guides jimin to one of the private rooms.

“what’s the matter, jimin? you look pale,”

“jeongguk— i, um. i think- because we- today-” his whole mind is a whirlwind of thoughts, a downward spiral of every single ‘what if’, in tandem to the anxiety churning away in his belly, the nausea threatening his bile duct. what if jeongguk doesn’t want the child? what if this is bad timing? what if all the pregnancy tests were flukes? what if-

“jimin, breathe, please?”

his hands frantically hold onto his alpha, he’s so nervous and hyperventilating and he right words won’t come out of his mouth. flustered, he fumbles with the zip of his satchel, shoves the seven test sticks into jeongguk’s hand before staring at his own shoes. he’s just as unsure and unfamiliar to this, too.

two bright red lines stare back at jeongguk.

“you’re… you’re pregnant-” he’s staring at the stick, then at the crown of jimin’s bowed hair, another hand clutching his own head.

“i know- i just- i wasn’t expecting to- i just felt sick this morning, and i was so dizzy, and-”

“oh my goodness,” jeongguk says, cupping jimin’s cheeks in his hand, the test strips thrown aside onto the table, “you’re pregnant- we’re going to be parents- we’re going to raise a pup-!”

“do you… want the child?” jimin timidly voices, eyes flickering despite jeongguk holding his dollface to make him stare into his eyes. “jimin, of course i want the child- are you kidding me?”

“but- i don’t think i’m ready to- to raise a child, and our relationship just started to get better, we haven’t even discussed our future, and now i-”

“shhh,” jeongguk hushes him, pulling him into a tight hug, “then we learn together, okay? let’s make good and bad mistakes and decisions together.”

“i’m so scared, jeongguk.” for men, since they were not created biologically with wombs, the belly swelling wouldn’t be as extensive as females. but similar occurrences would apply accordingly, but tailored to each gender type.

“i’m here, it’s okay…” his body calms down as soon as he’s in contact with his alpha; it’s an innately sensed sedative. “jeongguk-ah,” jimin mumbles into his shirt, “let’s keep going forever. with the good and the bad.”

“yeah. let’s do just that.”

jeongguk drives him home to get some rest. he holds jimin’s hand while driving the entire way back with only the other on the steering wheel.


it gets tougher with every new single symptom kicking in, jimin’s body adjusting to carrying a child. heat flashes drop by as sudden and striking as lightning would; and it’s so hot and painful sometimes that he has to sit inside a bathtub full of icy water (once even with ice cubes dumped in) for an hour to make it go away. with every passing day, the mating bond will get stronger, and the alpha has to be close or the omega will burn, feel the burn physically. although jimin has a high endurance threshold, it can be very unbearable at times.

(there are times where he starts sweating buckets, just like a normal heat- but it's not about sex; he needs to have his alpha’s presence and scent to calm him down. jeongguk is now granted more ‘emergency leave’, but jimin just calls it ‘immediate cuddles pass’.)


“jeongguk, do you want a boy or a girl?”

“a little prince or a little princess is fine, jimin.”

“i have a feeling it's a boy.”

jeongguk always ends up giving jimin massages with aroma oils every night regardless of how tired or energetic he is after work. he's read online that omegas get all sore as carrying a baby is so tiring, notwithstanding that jimin is a male. his body is also facing certain biological restraints and restrictions as far as technology can ease childbirth and delivery. the baby likes to kick when jeongguk is there to pay jimin’s tummy, and jimin will cutely whine at how the baby is only happy to meet his daddy.


 

“may i know if, ahem, you two have- to put it bluntly- had sex more often these days?”

both of them blush at the gynaecologist’s words, nodding in embarrassment. “then there are good and bad news- which would you like to hear first?”

“the good one, please,” jeongguk says, words barely coming out, both him and jimin's hands a queasy, sweaty entwined mess under the table. they’re waiting for the sonogram picture, after the ultrasound scan jimin had done.

“congratulations, it's a boy.”

“oh my god- it's a boy! we're having a pup—!”

“but there is also bad news.” jeongguk and jimin both freeze mid-hug, looking at each other in fear. jimin's evidently pale, while jeongguk’s biting on his lips so hard they might bleed. is there any deformation in the baby? will the mother's life be endangered? is the baby healthy? is it not viable to-

“it's two boys. he’s carrying twins.”


once jimin gets used to his physical changes and the additional two heartbeats he’s carrying with every step, jeongguk goes back to work, pops by the office every once in a while. which is why the pups are always hyperactive in his belly when their daddy is home.

“taehyung-ah, stop kicking, okay, baby? your mommy will have a hard time if you're so insistent on coming out now.”

“jeongguk, how do you know that’s not hoseokie? don’t be biased to the pups, please.”

“jimin… it’s gut feel, okay?”

“hmph! when the children grow up and asked how we met, i’m going to tell them their daddy was a bad man and he always plays hard to get,” jimin pouts, patting his growing tummy, “i’m going to tell then their daddy always bullies me and laughs at me when i’m not cute at all!”


jimin is pacing the halls, waiting for jeongguk to come back home from work, despite the servants telling him to rest more since he is with child.

“no… i want to wait for jeongguk to come home.”

seokjin secretly telephones jeongguk, and the latter reluctantly comes back right after tidying up two more annual reports.

“he came back,” jimin murmurs to himself, waddling to the door with a small smile, hand patting his protruding belly. “daddy is home, my child.”

he sees one of the butlers take jeongguk's traditional brown briefcase, sees his tie askew, his hair mussed up due to sweat and melted hair wax. he's the ideal working alpha, the sole breadwinner that comes home to a hearty meal with his omega and his pups. jimin can't help but swoon at the thought of it. jeongguk would feed him as he feeds the children. he would make pudding for dessert, maybe some stir fry and stew with extra servings of rice and kimchi.

“welcome home, jeongguk. i missed-” there's a frown on jeongguk's face as he scrolls through the emails on his phone, work still on his mind. it makes jimin bite the inside of his cheek, immediately figures out one of the servants must've alerted jeongguk about his relentless worries and listlessness after jeongguk leaves for the office. it's always a miracle when jeongguk comes back fifteen minutes late from the estimated time to travel back. his husband is a workaholic, after all.

the eager hands that wrap themselves around jeongguk's wrist, his rolex, drops perceptively; it reverts back into submission and docility. thou shall not want. “um. dinner will be ready soon. i'll see you at the dining table.” every form of excitement’s been cast out. it's selfish of him to only think about himself, and whether or not he gets to see his alpha- he had forgotten that jeongguk was a key figure in jeon corporations as well.

on his husband's end, it's a noise of acknowledgement, serious piercing gaze glued to the screen of his mobile device. at the dinner table, jeongguk is lethargic as he chomps down on his food, chewing away as he glares into thin air, never once looking at jimin. it makes him feel unimportant, but he also understands that work is extremely important to jeongguk.

“i’ve finished eating,” jimin announces softly to nobody in particular, a mere five scoops into his rice. “enjoy your meal, jeongguk.” its only at his name that his alpha snaps back to reality, sees how little jimin is eating, first and foremost.

“you barely ate- that won't do.” he's still doing the grumpy face, and jimin can only gaze back with sorrowful eyes. he shouldn't be feeling so needy, it's not even a heat flash or anything. “i'm not hungry.”

“you need to eat! at least do it for the pups-”

ah, so his husband did prioritise something else other than his work.

“for the pups, huh.”

he sits back down, takes another bite of chicken. it shouldn't be tasting so bland. he shouldn't be feeling this way. “i'll just eat a little more, then.”

“jimin, is there something on your mind?”

“i know work is on yours.” jimin finds himself saying curtly, chopsticks dropping his food as soon as the words leave his mouth. “i'm sorry- i mean, i understand work is important, which is why i—” he shouldn't be needing to justify everything he's doing this evening.

jeongguk's chopsticks clatter onto the table as he stands up abruptly, harshly setting them down. “baby- i'm sorry. you feel neglected, don't you? i'm sorry- it's just- at the office, someone messed up and sent a bunch of our prototypes to the wrong address and if it lands in the wrong hands-” jimin's soft hands gently caress his.

“don't apologise, alpha. i know work comes first. it goes without saying- it's just some hormones on my end. nothing to worry about.” at least you realised. thank you for still loving me.

“jimin…” his compromising tone and sweet words only make jeongguk feel worse for only considering his work affairs, when jimin must've been so lonely at home and patiently waiting for him to come home; it wasn't just seokjin who had rung him up- namjoon and yoongi too relayed messages via text. it's regret that flows in his chest now, for brooding over things that were trivial compared to his mate’s inner turmoil. jimin must've been so lonely and craved for so many hugs, but never said anything in fear of disturbing him. slowly, he puts his arms around jimin's waist, hooks his chin onto jimin's shoulder from the back.

“i'm so sorry, darling…” i'm sorry i realised so late. thank you for always looking out for me first.

“don't be. i'm happy you're home… but next time, can you give me a few hugs before you leave? then at least-”

“oh no,” there's an apologetic kiss plopped on jimin's cheek as jeongguk continues to backhug him, burying his face into his scent. he pays no mind. perhaps it is all a symbolic action, reverted to a chaste gesture with no deeper meanings or intent behind. maybe a kiss has now become a customary gesture, the way westerners greet each other. “i guess i'll have to spend the rest of the night cuddling with you to make up for it.”

“you could- you could always just stay at home,” it's a bold statement, jimin knows, and it's not even like he's in the third trimester. he’s pregnant, yes, but he’s not entitled or entirely dependent. jeongguk is still greatly needed in the office. “and not work.” he adds quietly, knowing the odds would be slim, but since they were talking about this issue, why not?

“darling-”

“it's alright!” it's the overly happy higher pitched voice that jimin uses when he's trying his best not to show he's hurt, or mask that he's sad. it makes jeongguk's heart break into smithereens; they've been together long enough for jeongguk to pick it up, even though there are days like today that he absolutely sucks at reading the mood. “i'll take a bath- you just do well in the matters of the office, okay? i'll go and take a bath…”

he's done it again, hasn't he.


jimin sleeps in the next morning, wakes up to a late eggs and toast, some honey tangerines and a cup of bitter coffee. his eyes are tired and small from all the quiet sniffling in his own room. he puts on one of jeongguk's hoodies to make himself better. he has the whole empty house- save for the servants- to himself anyway.

he's keeping himself busy, reorganising his accessories, packing up the bookshelves, sorting jeongguk's ties according to colour. he's being productive and it keeps him away from thinking and delving too much into negativity. after cold knife-cut noodles and some lemon sorbet for lunch, he's about to start rearranging the endless shoes in the storage, when there's a huge figure that looms, a towering shadow catches the corner of his eye.

“jeongguk? what are you-”

“i'm sorry!” a muffled sound comes from behind the life-sized teddy bear, “i got you some chocolates too-”

it takes two servants to steady the 1.9 meter teddy bear, as jeongguk fumbles with the box of chocolates and the small bouquet placed inside the carrier. he motions the servants to return to their chores, sitting the bear down to watch over their conversation. it’s life size.

“i want to apologise-”

“oh no, your cufflinks-”

somehow, their hands find their own way back to each other.

“you can go first-”

“after you-”

jimin accepts the chocolates and the flowers. jeongguk is ushered to speak his mind.

“u-uhm. i was being inconsiderate, and i should've thought about how you would feel so i um. the bear! i made sure it smells- like uh, m-me, and- oh my god you're wearing my hoodie— jimin, you're going to be the death of me-” realising there's no other place to hide his face, he has no choice but to speak to jimin, albeit with flickering eyes. “uhm. the bear- in case you need someone to hug— y-you know what i mean… also, i'm sorry i can’t have the rest of the day off… the bear is custom made and it was only ready for collection 10 minutes ago and there’s still a board meeting in 30 minutes at the office and i know it's not a lot— but i'll just have to tie up some loose ends and delegate the tasks to the various managerial staff and departments by friday before i can start taking paternity leave from next monday onwards—”

he's rambling on and on in a flurry, spurred on my jimin’s presence, almost out of breath- and yet not daring to look at jimin in the eyes, trying his best to be a good husband. jimin’s always been the one who had himself together between the two of them. it's different and difficult, but he's trying.

“paternity leave,” jimin echoes, gripping tighter onto his hands, eyes sparkling, “but jeongguk, the company needs you-”

“but! but you need me more.”

“... i can cope on my own,” jimin tells him softly, thumbs stroking the back of his hands ever so dotingly, looking at his tummy and then into jeongguk’s warm eyes, “your work is more important, and i understand completely-”

“but i want to take care of my omega.”

he hears jimin gasp, sees his eyes light up like little fairy lights. he’s so adorable. “oh no,” jimin says into his tender embrace, “if it's like this, jeonggukie will never be able to return to work,”

“and why is that so, little one?”

“because- because i love you and i want to keep you all to myself and take care of you too.” he called me little one- how should i feel about this? am i dreaming? this is so much more than i ever asked for—

“pardon my digression but oh my god jeongguk do you look so handsome in curly hair.” he can’t believe he’s blushing. he’s been raving about it so much to namjoon and seokjin that jimin almost feels shy telling it to his actual husband. it’s almost like he’s finally getting to tell his idol he loves them after stanning for years. (actually, jeongguk is semi aware— on a night run for cream crackers and cheese, he caught jimin whining to yoongi about how good looking he was even when he was sweaty after exercising, but he’s too embarrassed to bring it up now.)

“h-huh. i didn’t do anything-”

“i’m disposing of the bucket hats, they don’t do your fluffy hair justice.”

“jimin—”

“i’m joking, alpha. your meeting is starting soon, isn’t it?”

“but- how could i just leave when-” when you’re being so cute? when i find myself wanting to be with you?

“i’ll wait for you to have dinner,” jimin coaxes him gently, “mochi will keep me company.”

“who the hell is mochi?” jeongguk almost snarls, something feral in him snapping, making jimin flush at how protective he’s being, a sight he’s always yearned to witness. “the teddy bear… his new name is mochi…”

“o-oh.” he feels stupid for flaring up, and can’t help but keep quiet, or else he’ll do something stupid again. and he doesn’t wish to mess up how far they’ve progressed, and positively, too. “your meeting is in 24 minutes,” jimin tells him, mildly forlorn, “if you leave now, you’ll get there on time.”

“but i don’t wanna-”

“23 minutes.”

“then i’m taking you out for dinner,”

“okay! i’ll repair your cufflinks while you’re at work.” jimin is glowing. he’s smiling so brightly that jeongguk can’t help but feel flustered, like he’s in the humbling presence of a greek god, dionysus or even aphrodite. he can’t help but lean forward to deliver jimin a sincere, small peck to his cheek, before heading for the door to get the car. he drops his keys and almost trips over his laces twice in a bid to escape, and looks behind to see a pink cheeked jimin holding the massive teddy bear with so much fondness in his eyes. perhaps he wouldn’t mind if he got reprimanded for arriving last and leaving first today.

the porsche beeps, before jimin’s alluring voice calls out to him.

“jeongguk-ah!”

he turns to see jimin running towards him, little feet patter against the steps of the patio, into the driveway. within seconds jimin’s hands are around his waist, his plush lips grazing the bottom of jeongguk’s jaw.

“don’t run around, omega- be careful with your body.” jimin nods, gives him a cute, right-dimpled grin.

“i love you. come home safely.”

“if you say that then i don’t want to go back to the office…”

“the board meeting can’t start without my husband,” jimin murmurs into his shoulder, “my husband is an extremely important man.” it makes jeongguk’s heart throb so madly, makes his chest swell with so much pride.

“i- um. well. i l-love you t-too, jimin.”

the giggles that spill out from jimin’s affectionate mouth are like sounds and melodic notes in the form of iridescent bubbles. jeongguk is devastated, but in an awfully fond manner. “‘m sorry i haven’t said it sooner.” it’s an ashamed whisper that goes muffled into jimin’s floofy hair.

“i love you, jeongguk-ah.”

“i love you… ji-” you can do it, jeongguk! just a little more- “i love you, jimin-ah.”

“you’re going to be very late,” jimin suddenly retracts, lips pursed into an innocent pout, but his eyes are still shining so bright, so beautifully. god truly gave his mate the most mesmerising pair of eyes. “you mustn’t be late!” jeongguk gets stuffed into his car, still a little dazed, and is waved off by his adorable little angel. on the ride to the company, he can’t stop thinking about their exchange. he catches his own reflection, him smiling to himself while touching where jimin had kissed. it makes his face burn. maybe jimin is the sun, his sun. maybe that’s why.

i love you, jimin-ah.


while jeongguk is determined to fix the baby cot by himself for jimin to rest, the latter custom orders the baby cot mobile to have little stars and bears and fairies, makes sure to order plenty of mozart cds to play when his children sleep. brahms and tchaikovsky too. he’s heard of this phenomenal song named serendipity that helps babies sleep, and adds it to his list of pup-friendly music to play by the crib.

after jimin’s staunch insistence, both of them paint the walls together- both taehyung and hoseok will love colourful things, right? they make sure to hand paint the main wall of the nursery a beautiful galaxy, scattered with microcosmos and a cozy home at the corner. their home. there’s also the golden touch of a creative little magic shop for their pups- a picturesque and figurative gift from parent to child, of what they hope to offer.


“jeonggukie, bathroom.” he has officially become jimin’s designated carrier, having pledged his shuttling services within the mansion via arms. as soon as jimin washes up, and they brush their teeth together with matching mugs and toothbrushes, jimin will demand to be carried around after their necessities like breakfast are done.

“jeonggukie, kitchen!” he gets bridal carried there for him to pop three grapes into his mouth, before he looks up at jeongguk with his best kitten eyes, “jeonggukie… balcony,” jeongguk sighs fondly, does as he’s told. jimin surveys the sight of his gardens from above, waves to the gardeners good morning and lets out a contented hum.

“jeonggukie, nursery…” they check if the previous day’s paint has dried, add on any finishing touches to the galaxy. more sparkles, little glow in the dark stars.

“jeonggukie, study room!”

“jeongguk-ah, kitchen…”

“jeongguk!! bathroom!”

it never ends. jeongguk’s thoroughly convinced at this point that only half of the trips on foot (on arm for jimin) were necessary. “you just want to be carried, don’t you, munchkin.”

“you said you would!” jimin pouts, hides his face in jeongguk’s chest cutely.

“i’m spoiling you, princess jimin, my baby.”

“who’s your baby! the pups or me! how can you call both of us baby! please clarify! am i really jeonggukie’s baby!”


a shared dinner, a shared bath. a shared mattress, a shared quilt. it's a small but sturdy home built on firm foundations. slowly, but surely. soft, but steady. a slight saunter, a sweet soothing song.

and over a cosy candlelit dinner they grow closer. more refined and in sync and comfortable.

jeongguk can't help but find it endearing in how jimin insists on letting the teddy sleep next to him, making him sandwiched between it and jeongguk. of course, he curls up automatically next to his mate. it's a marvel how he falls asleep so easily when jeongguk's arms are around him.

“jeontiddies,” he catches jimin murmur with a contented sigh, can feel the smile on his adorable angelic face.

“better than the namtiddies?” jeongguk finds himself whispering back, causing the reverberations of jimin holding in his laugh to caress his skin in little tremors. his vision isn't as good in the dark, but he feels the little one pop up from the blanket burrito to give him a peck on the jaw. “jeonggukie is the best!”

jeongguk never knew such cute earnest words could keep him up all night, as he watched jimin's breathing even out, the silhouette of the covers rise and fall to his pretty rhythm.

“i love you, jimin.”

he's not quite sure if he's hallucinating when feels jimin snuggle in closer.


jimin starts to get weird cravings, and anxiety peaking whenever something happens. it’s mildly endearing to see him pout and become a complete worrywart. “oh no, will the kids have not enough blood- oh dear, will they be malnourished-” he’d gotten a small cut while walking around, and jeongguk had to kiss it better for him to calm down.

he likes craving the oddest combinations, like alcohol and sour plums and carbonara and french toast for dinner. “baby... you can’t drink alcohol, our children-”

“i know! ‘s hard! want peach soju- but the pups-” he’s so close to tears that all jeongguk can do is buy him rum and raisin ice cream as a replacement, and ultimately jimin cries not because his peach soju is unavailable, but because jeongguk drove to countless convenience stores to find it.

“gukkie? suddenly… i don't crave it anymore... but i'll eat it because it's full of love! jimin is happy!”


he’s out on yet another midnight craving run, and unexpectedly, just as he's paying for the red bean cream bun, jimin calls him.

“alpha- alpha, come back home,” it's sounds like jimin is sniffling as he softly mumbles into the phone, causing jeongguk to worry relentlessly. “jimin? are you okay? is the baby alright? are you hurting?”

“no…” he can hear jimin getting shy, almost can see the blush attached to his voice. “just… come back home soon, okay?”

jeongguk swings the door open after running out from the car, only to see jimin sitting quietly, caramel popcorn untouched, as the television softly blares with whatever kdrama was on, his husband staring into blank space. “jimin? are you okay? what happened?”

his mate doesn't say much, just runs up to pull him into a warm, earnest hug. “i asked you to come home because i missed you.”

“jimin, i was out for only ten minutes-” he's so exasperatedly fond it hurts. jimin makes a tiny noise of embarrassment into his shoulder. “jeonggukie… i'm sorry…”

“oh no honey, don't be sorry, you didn't do anything wrong-”

“i forgot to tell you i love you before i sent you to buy my bread!” jimin wails, eyes all watery, “i promised myself that i would do that for the rest of my life! and i forgot! i forgot to say it today!”

“darling…”

“i hate bread!” jimin's pouting at maximum plush pout, and jeongguk doesn't know what to do. he wants to both laugh at how adorable jimin is, and also cuddle him to death. buy him two hundred cream buns if he wanted. jimin claims he hates bread, but the moment jeongguk opens the wrapper for him, he munches on it angrily, devouring it within seconds.

“you baby,” jeongguk quietly teases, opening the second packet of bread, “didn't you say you hate bread?”

“i! i love!” jimin looks horrified, as he stares at the second bun and his husband, the first bun. “jeonggukie, i love you.” it's a tiny pout, but be it if jimin's doing it on purpose or it's natural cuteness, it works like a charm.

“yes, i know.”

“you have to say it back!”

“okay, okay. i love you, jimin.”

“... again. louder.”

“PARK JIMIN I LOVE YOU-”

while his alpha is smitten and declaring a whole ton of other sweet nothings- that he unfortunately also means- jimin takes the opportunity to chomp down the next bread bun, as well as lean in closer with a satisfied purr of happiness. this is it. jeongguk's building him a red bean cream bun factory the very next day.


after giving birth, jimin thinks he's fat. he’s gained so many kilos. and he needs to lose weight before the official press conference where they will need to announce the twins to the world, and prove that this allegiance was not for naught. jeongguk kisses away the insecurities. jimin is a perfect man. the perfect omega.

jimin often wakes up at night, every hour or even more, to check on the twins. but sometimes, he's so tired. jeongguk will then volunteer in his steed, but jimin still insists on checking on them personally so he has a peace of mind- babies need a mother's presence to soothe them. they’ve been through nappy changing, baby food making, breast milk pumping, milk bottle sterilisation, proper baby care. jeongguk has never felt luckier to go through it with such a nurturing and loving omega.

once again, the kids are crying in the middle of the night. in the wee hours of the morning. jimin always is on alert to go attend to then but jeongguk hushes him, tells him to rest. but the crying gets worst despite a diaper check, and they aren't hungry. the biggest nightmare, is that taehyung and hoseok operate in sync- when one cries, the other will follow. it’s as good as double trouble on a bad day.

jimin pops out from behind, hair all mussed up like a baby chick before ruffling its feathers. “aigoo, is my baby looking for his mommy? come here,” jeongguk hands over taehyung to jimin, and true to his words, taehyung gurgles happily and falls asleep in no time as jimin rocks him back and forth with his arms. next goes hoseok, who calms down as soon as jimin gives him his equal share of kisses. jeongguk's arms drape around jimin's waist, spying the dark circles and gaunt complexion. “i'm so sorry, baby, i'm always such a bad father, you still can't get rest because of the twins-”

“hush, alpha. it's a maternal scent, it's not your fault, alright? go to bed-”

“no, i'm staying with you and the kids.”

the four of them fall asleep in the sofa couch, in each other's arms.


jimin documents everything; their first steps, their first giggle, their first smile. he had barged into the middle of a meeting, and jeongguk almost lost his wits when he saw jimin rushing in with the twins in the baby carrier. the meeting was dissolved to give them some space, only for jeongguk to witness hoseok saying his first words “appa”. jimin had the fortune of videoing taehyung “mama” just thirty minutes ago.

when they're growing up, hoseok and taehyung are always dressed in the most adorable little onesies and headbands, and are always cooed at due to how sweet and angelic children they were. jimin is in charge of reading storybooks to them, while jeongguk will sing the lullabies. both are in charge of doting on them, feeding, and changing clothes and diapers. oh yes, jimin is incharge of clothing and apparel as well.

“aigoo, is my baby sleepy, my little hoseokie?”

“come here, taehyung-ah, mommy will bathe you now, be a good boy,”

as the babies grow up and learn how to crawl, cruise and totter about, jeongguk is always caught cooing and clapping at his pups to “come to daddy,” and jimin will take videos of them. he has decorated the nursery with rows and rows of polaroids and film photos.

jeongguk will toss them in the air and catch them, let them sit on his shoulders, while jimin fusses that it's dangerous and not safe at all for not one but two pups to be riding on each side of his shoulder. the gleeful grins on the twins could only prove otherwise.

jimin would always be extra doting, always holding hands and rubbing their bellies with baby powder and oils and smothering them with kisses, and he always gets so excited when his pups grab his finger and gurgle in happiness. it always feels like another milestone and accomplishment all over again. it’s pure magic.

as time goes, the twins get familiarised with the butlers- namely jin, yoonie and joonie. taehyung needs to hear ‘i love you’ from yoongi in order to sleep, and both pups need lots of kisses and hugs in order to calm down. the tiny sweet children enjoy playing with building blocks with seokjin and hide and seek with yoongi and namjoon. namjoon is too big to hide, and yoongi always stays stock still to declare them the winner when they grab his leg to find him.


yoongi knows namjoon’s been in love with jimin since the start- and that he can only lend a shoulder, see namjoon’s moments of vulnerability, the slivers of jimin when it came to his weakness called jeongguk. he's been there through it all. he knows namjoon knows. best friends, right?

unlike his usual professional demeanour, yoongi actually softens while with the twins, and coos at them all the time while pouting. seokjin, on the other hand, is chaotic and maximises the twins’ playtime. he also knows namjoon is having a hard time confessing- finally, with a change of heart after experiencing jimin and yoongi’s full forms, and true to amor fati, he always interrupts.

“y-yoongi hyung, i actually wanted to ask if you-”

“yoongi-yah! you're needed in the kitchen!” seokjin wears both a sorry as well as satisfied countenance, “sorry, namjoon, but duty calls. can this matter with yoongi wait?”

“ah, y-yes! good luck with your duties, hyung,”

namjoon waves with a sigh, at the same wanting to curse the situation but it can't be helped- butlers are extremely vital in how the jeon and park households run. sighing again, seokjin apologises, “i read your rehearsed confession. you dropped it near the servant’s library. it's a bit too poetic and long- so i think yoongi may not resonate that well at first?”

“hyung-” oh god no. how did seokjin find out-

“yoongi likes lobsters. lamb skewers. he also prefers his alcohol to be whiskey, red wine, or this thing called an irish bomb. he likes black clothing. also, he likes big rings. and i’m sorry to have disrupted the confession, namjoon- one of the servants mixed up jimin's postnatal tablets, so you should examine that first. but good luck, joonie! you're a good man, and yoongi is very lucky to have met you.”

he leaves before he has the chance to let namjoon analyse why he’s behaving so irrationally, leaves before he knows his voice will crack.

“but, hyung… how do you know so much-”

“...we've been friends and worked together for a long while.” he doesn’t look back, making sure to deliver his answer with clarity, the base of his voice sturdier. only jimin was perceptive enough to know. at night, he fiddles with the box of two he’d contemplated on giving for so long.

tomorrow, he will give namjoon the pair of cartier rings he’d bought one spring ago, with insides of the band engraved with kim and min.

maybe it was fate that he and namjoon shared the same surname. amor fati it is.


“hobi, hold the book if you think yoongi hyung will say yes, hold the doll if you think he'll say no.” hoseok cheers as namjoon waves both items, struggling to stand on the playmat, arms reaching out for the toy. everything has been childproofed, so namjoon and the children are fully protected.

“oh shoot- i forgot kids are more drawn to toys,” namjoon mutters, “okay let's do it again, hobi, pick the doll if you think he'll say yes-”

hoseok grabs the storybook instead, flashes a pretty smile through the green pacifier.

“ah. shouldn't have changed last minute, huh.”

“tae-yah! can you nod if you think hyung will say yes, shake your head if he'll say no!”

“wah! wah!” taehyung makes grabby hands at the stuffed toy namjoon's holding, uttering indecipherable words in baby talk, and namjoon sighs aloud. he doesn't even notice yoongi watching the whole time, deciding it would be better to see how things played out as he sanitized his hands outside the playroom.

the twins seem to sense namjoon's dull mode, and offer him their colourful bricks set and 5 note keyboard, their favourite toys.

“thanks guys,” namjoon smiles, settling both of them on his lap, “i'm still going to ask him out, i'll update you later, okay?”

taehyung and hoseok get kisses when they gurgle noises of agreement and shake the rattle and plastic maracas, as if rallying support. there'd only been one answer on yoongi’s part, anyway.


“when taetae grows up, taetae is air-o-not!” taehyung beams with his little gums, holding his spaceship and race car, “aigoo, is that so, my darling? my taehyungie wants to be an astronaut?” jimin coos at him, patting his hair and helping him to fly his little toy rockets. “moon!” taehyung yells happily, pointing to the galaxy jeongguk and him had painted.

“yes, sweetheart, that's the moon- will you take mommy and daddy there?”

“moon!” taehyung replies, nodding, clapping his hands in excitement. “moon! four!” he holds up the same number of fingers, “my clever baby, do you want all of us to go there? as a family?” taehyung giggles as he clambers into jimin's lap, as hoseok comes running with his small keyboard.

“mama! hobi- hobi is juice box!” hoseok puts the music toy down, pressing buttons to turn on the pre-stored melodies. “juice box!” he starts wiggling his arms and legs, spinning around in a little dance.

“he means jukebox, i think,” namjoon says, bringing in the baby food and milk bottles, “hoseokie has been trying to dance recently.”

“joonie!” hoseok laughs, running into his butler’s leg, “joonie box!”


“minnie… five more minutes…” jeongguk’s groggily refusing to let jimin get out from their covers, unwilling to let his beautiful omega leave.

“jeongguk-ah, i gotta make sure the pups have their milk and a proper breakfast, and also the new toys for their cot! and taehyung wants orange juice, hoseok wants applesauce…”

“minnie…” jeongguk whines, “you smell nice… y'smell like me... don’t go…” jimin’s childbearing hips have gotten extremely sexy, with his slightly chubby tummy and all the fat from carrying the twins being distributed so evenly. every part of him is so luscious. “jungoo…” jimin pouts back, leaning in to give his alpha ‘morning after’ kitten kisses, “joon or seokjin will do it… stay here… sleep with me…”

“don’t be a baby, jeonggukie, the pups are waiting for me!”

“don’t wanna let you go,” jeongguk finally cracks open his sparkly eyes, and immediately, jimin turns to goo. “i am your baby...”

“oh no,” jimin gasps, “i guess, five minutes is okay,”

“hehehe,” jeongguk giggles back into his shoulder, pulling him back in a swift tug to cuddle, and give his omega all the sleepy smooches. their wedding ring presses ice cold against his face as jimin caresses his face, the gentle way he always does when he looks at jeongguk with his enamoured, beautiful galaxy eyes. the prettiest eyes jeongguk has ever seen.

“gukkie, it’s already seven minutes.”

“noooooooo,” jeongguk mumbles into the pillow, grumpy, “minnie… seven minutes in heaven is too short-”

“i need to attend to the twins, guk-ah. be a good boy. let go.”

“jimin i love you...”

“yes good morning i love you. i need to make yours, and their breakfast.” refusing to let go of jimin’s waist, jeongguk shuffles along like one of the pup’s toys, the pull along animals and choo choo trains. they wash up in sync, put down the cups and turn off the taps in sync. look at each other at the same time. get dressed and do up each other’s buttons, fix each other’s bed hair.

but jeongguk says the black shirt is too hot, and he wants to change into a loose white tee before going downstairs. jimin acquiesces.

“wait. jeongguk, what is that on your bicep?” it looks funny, like an incomplete tattoo. when jeonguk tries to wash it off, it doesn’t budge. “but the pups play with crayons and clay, not ink-”

“jimin, take off your shirt-” there’s a similar imprint on jimin’s right shoulder blade.

“wait- hold on, stand next to me, here, before the mirror-”

it forms the majestic bloom of an iris.

“t-they match-!”

 

an iris that stood for a hopeful new beginning. good news.

an iris that stood for an eternal promise. an everlasting love.

 

a nurtured soulmate mark.