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“Do you really have to go?” Woohyuk strokes his fingers through Hoseok’s red hair, putting on a show of being put out.

 

Hoseok laughs, kissing him on the lips before he drags himself out of bed. He still feels a bit lethargic — he always does after Woohyuk feeds off him — but he has plans tonight that he doesn’t want to miss. Jimin is his dearest friend, even though lately he knows he hasn’t been the greatest friend in return.

 

Too many times he’s backed out of their plans at the last minute, getting caught up in Woohyuk, focusing on his relationship with his boyfriend at the expense of his relationship with his best friend.

 

He didn’t even realize how closed off he was being from the outside world — or rather, people other than Woohyuk — until Jimin had sent him a very strongly worded text message alerting him that if Hoseok didn’t make it to their hang out date this week that he was going to show up on Hoseok’s doorstep and he wasn’t going to be happy.

 

It’s not like Hoseok doesn’t miss Jimin, in fact he’s the person he loves most in this world after Woohyuk. Jimin was his closest companion, even back when he was human. For some reason it was easier to make time for each other back then, but ever since his transition… he just doesn’t feel the urge to go out like he used to. He has everything he needs in his apartment, he knows he’s safe here, that Woohyuk will protect him, and even though he is a bit embarrassed about it, he does need that security some days more than he would like to admit.

 

But he had made a promise to Jimin that he was going to show up no matter what, so he was determined to keep it, and it didn’t matter how hard Woohyuk tried to lure him back into bed, he was going to keep his word. He faces away from his boyfriend, trying to fix up his appearance so he could get ready to leave.

 

“Don’t pout; it’ll only be for a couple of hours.”

 

“You’re leaving me to go hang out with another man.” Woohyuk reminds him, coming over to help Hoseok slide on his shirt, his mouth teasing against the fresh bite mark on his neck, leaving soft kisses in his wake.

 

“Jimin is just a friend.”

 

“But you love him.”

 

Hoseok holds back a sigh; for some reason Woohyuk has always been suspicious of Jimin’s intentions, despite the fact that he has been happily living in domestic bliss with Taehyung for as long as Hoseok has known him.

 

“As a friend. I love him as a friend. It’s never been anything more. You know that.”

 

“And you’re too beautiful for your own good. But you don’t know that.” He spins Hoseok around, cupping his face so he can look into his eyes properly. “Why not just stay here with me? The night is young… we could go out. Have a nice date in Gangnam. I could have a reservation for us at one of the best restaurants at a moment’s notice; all I have to do is call.”

 

Hoseok finishes buttoning up his shirt with a sigh. “As lovely as that sounds—”

 

“Don’t turn me down.” Woohyuk winds his arms around Hoseok’s waist. “I love you so. You can’t fault me for selfishly wanting to keep you all to myself.”

 

“I love you too. But he’s my best friend… I can’t just bail on him. Again. ” He gently unwinds himself from Woohyuk’s embrace, grabbing his phone and his keys. “And I should have been gone awhile ago, but somebody insisted on interrupting me.”

 

“I made it worth your while. And you always taste so good, I can’t help it.” He grabs Hoseok’s hand. “You do look a little pale though, you should eat before you go.”

 

Hoseok rolls his eyes; he adores Woohyuk, but this isn’t the first time — and it surely won’t be the last — that he’s tried to distract him from going to see Jimin. For some reason his best friend and his boyfriend have never quite gotten along, so he sees the stalling tactic for what it is. “I don’t really have time, and I feel fine. You know I don’t need much.”

 

“I know, I know.” Woohyuk goes over to the mini warmer installed in their bedroom, opening it up and pulling out a fresh bottle of Vermilion, a high end synthetic blood designed by his company. “At least take it for the road. You’ll feel stronger. A little extra couldn’t hurt.”

 

“Okay.” Hoseok’s takes it from him, kissing him on the cheek and making for the door. Woohyuk’s hand grabs his arm, stopping him.

 

“Shouldn’t you drink it now?”

 

Hoseok shakes his head. “I can drink it in the cab.”

 

“I can call one of my drivers—”

 

“It’s fine. ” Hoseok says a little firmly. “Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy how much you spoil me, but I haven’t always lived in a luxury apartment.” “Sometimes I like to feel a little bit like my old self. If I have to take public transportation every now and then, I’m not going to die.” Hoseok smiles at the metaphor, walking to the front door. “Don’t miss me too much.”

 

Hoseok. ” Woohyuk says his name firmly, meeting his eyes. “I love you.”

 

Hoseok smiles fondly. “And I love you. I’ll be home before you know it.” He blows a kiss and makes his way downstairs before Woohyuk can make anymore protests.

 

He stops in the main lobby, where the full service staff is more than eager to help him order a taxi. Hoseok drums his fingers on the countertop, humming a tune to himself as he waits. He sends a quick text to Jimin to let him know that he’s on his way, and he gets an dancing kitty emoji in return. He chuckles to himself as he tucks his phone away, his eyes flickering around the lobby, people watching to pass the time.

 

Hoseok happens to look over when the elevator bell dings, the sudden noise drawing his attention in the lobby, and his heart — if it was still beating — would have stopped in his chest.

 

He sees a face that he knows only in his nightmares, a face that has haunted him almost every single night for the past year.

 

He turns away quickly, trying to get his breathing under control.

 

He’s being silly. The vampire that attacked him is dead. Woohyuk made sure of that.

 

Hoseok chances a glance back at the man, seeing just a flash of his face before he steps out of the apartment building to merge into the crowd.

 

His mind must be playing tricks on him. It must be.

 

“Sir?” Hoseok’s head snaps up, and the concierge looks at him strangely.

 

“W—what?”

 

“I said your taxi is here, sir. Just right outside.” She frowns at his behavior, but Hoseok is too rattled to think properly at the moment.

 

“Did you see the man that just walked outside? From the elevator?” Hoseok asks, unsure if he’s imagining things.

 

He has to be imagining things.

 

She looks down. “Sir, we aren’t really supposed to—”

 

Please. ” He asks a bit desperately, and she takes pity on him.

 

“He doesn’t live here, but he’s one of the investors in the building. Mr. Song Minseo.”

 

The name doesn’t sound familiar. It probably isn’t even who he thinks it is. In fact, he knows it isn’t. Because it’s simply impossible; Woohyuk made it so.

 

“Okay… Sorry for asking. Thank you.”

 

He runs out in a hurry, ducking into the back of the cab and reminding himself to be calm. There’s no way the face could have belonged to that person. There’s no way that he could be targeted again. Woohyuk has made it very clear that Hoseok is under his protection, that he’s safe.

 

He has to be safe.

 

But his mind is a wreck, and no matter how much he tells himself that he danger is gone, it doesn’t seem to sink in.

 

He doesn’t even realize that in his haste to get out of the building, he left behind the blood on counter.

 

.

 

.

 

.

 

“Why do you look so horrible?”

 

Hoseok gives his friend an exasperated look as he embraces him hello, stepping inside of Jimin’s apartment. “Thanks for the vote of confidence.”

 

“I’m not trying to be mean! It’s just an observation. You look pale and tired… stressed. ” He puts his hands on his hips, his eyes narrowing. “How long ago did he feed from you?”

 

Hoseok sighs. “Minnie, let’s not get started with this.”

 

“Answer the question.”

 

Hoseok knows his friend isn’t going to let it go, so he gives him the information he wants. “Right before I came over. Happy?”

 

“Absolutely not!” Jimin huffs. “Only an idiot would feed from their lover and then just send them on their way. After a feeding you’re always a bit weaker, more vulnerable. Everyone knows that, especially someone as old as he is. It’s like… vampire survival tip number one.”

 

“I think vampire survival tip number one is to avoid the sun.” Hoseok tries to argue playfully, but Jimin isn’t having it, his small eyes flashing dangerously.

 

“Just when I think that man can’t surprise me, he finds new ways to disappoint me.”

 

“Go easy on him. I was the one who wanted to rush out of the apartment, because I wanted to come here and see my best friend. So if anyone’s to blame, it’s you.”

 

“I highly object to that logic.”

 

“Well that’s what I’m going with, so deal with it.” Hoseok sits down on the couch, feeling a bit more winded than he wants to let on. “And for the record, Woohyuk tried to make me feed before I left. He gave me some Vermilion, but I must have lost it somewhere along the way.”

 

“For god’s sakes,” Jimin stands up from the couch, leaving Hoseok in the living room as he stalks off to the kitchen. “You know if he cared about you as much as he pretends to, he’d never let you feel like this.”

 

“He does care about me, Minnie.” Hoseok calls out, his head hurting a bit too much to tackle another repetitive conversation where Jimin practically spelled out all the ways Woohyuk was a terrible boyfriend and Hoseok unfailingly defended him.

 

Jimin grabs some blood from his warmer, popping off the top and pouring it into a wine glass, the deep red liquid smelling fresh and alluring to his own senses. He ends up grabbing another bottle and he returns to the couch with two full glasses in hand, one for Hoseok and one for himself.

 

Hoseok already knows what his friend is thinking, and while Jimin is a tiny person, his temper is anything but. He’s gotten into his head that Woohyuk isn’t good enough for Hoseok, and he isn’t shy about stating that fact.

 

He always listens diligently to Jimin’s words, because he knows Jimin cares about him and is only trying to help, but he selfishly can’t agree with Jimin’s opinions. He knows that Woohyuk loves him unconditionally, and he’s not going to give that up just because Jimin supposedly gets a bad ‘vibe’ from him.

 

“Minnie… he tried to make me feed and I insisted on leaving sooner rather than later.” Hoseok sighs. “He did his part, and it was my responsibility to see it through. It’s my fault for losing the bottle. Woohyuk’s always looking after me. He’s good. He’s good .”

 

“Sure he is.” Jimin agrees halfheartedly, sitting back down next to his friend on the couch with his own full mug before delicately offering Hoseok his wine glass. “Drink some of this. Once you look a little less cloudy and a lot more sunny, we’ll talk.”

 

Hoseok hesitates, his eyes drawn to the red liquid. The coloring is a bit off from what he’s used to. “I don’t know…”

 

Jimin gives him a hard look. “ Hoseok. It’s one thing to feel loyal to your boyfriend’s brand or whatever, but it’s another to make yourself feel miserable for no reason at all when I have perfectly good blood for you right here! It’s not like I’m telling you to go grab the nearest unsuspecting human and tap into them.”

 

“I know it’s silly. I do. But Woohyuk has told me so many horror stories about other companies… that you can’t be sure what they use in their formulas and—”

 

“Hoseok. It’s synthetic blood. It’s all fake anyway, so what does it matter as long as it gets the job done?” He takes a sip from his own wine glass. “See? I’m drinking from your boyfriend’s rival and I’m still here, right as rain.” He shrugs his shoulders. “And if you ask me, Scarlet is ten times tastier than Vermilion anyway.”

 

Hoseok has a sneaking suspicion than Jimin’s disapproval with Vermilion has less to do with his taste buds and more about the fact that it’s Woohyuk’s company, but he doesn’t call him on it.

 

It feels so wrong to do it, and now that he thinks about it, he’s never been in the situation where he’s needed to feed without Woohyuk there with him. He either drinks from his boyfriend directly or grabs something from the warmer at home that Woohyuk makes sure to keep well stocked for him. There’s never been a reason to get blood from anywhere else; his appetite is small and he’s never fed from a human.

 

But he still feels the uneasiness rattling through his body, the remnants of discomfort prominent after seeing that man who so resembled his attacker.  He wants to enjoy his time with his friend instead of spending the entire evening feeling like he’s going to jump out of his skin. So he pushes down his reservations, bringing the glass to his lips and taking a tentative sip.

 

“Well?” Jimin asks expectantly.

 

“It’s… it’s honestly not really different.” Hoseok says a bit in surprise and Jimin lets out a triumphant hurrah.

 

“I told you! See, you should listen to your elders more often.”

 

Hoseok gives him a small smile, feeling the lingering bits of tension starting to disappear the more he drinks. He catches Jimin staring at him, his head tilted inquisitively.

 

“Why are you looking at me like that?”

 

“Because there’s something else… something’s off with you.”

 

Hoseok shakes his head. “I’m fine now, really.”

 

“Now?” Jimin repeats. “That means that something was wrong before. So spill.”

 

Hoseok shakes his head. “I just… it’s stupid. Now that I have a bit of new blood in me, I’ll be good. I was probably just seeing things anyway.”

 

Jimin lifts a perfectly groomed eyebrow and scoots closer to his friend, bumping his arm. “Now I’m intrigued. C’mon, you know you can tell me anything.”

 

Hoseok’s mouth pulls into a frown. It feels almost ridiculous to state his truth out loud. “When I was leaving my apartment earlier… I thought… I thought I saw him.”

 

Jimin blinks. “You thought you saw who?”

 

“The vampire who attacked me.”

 

Hoseok says it simply, but his voice wavers, betraying the deep trauma that still exists from the incident.

 

It happened on a night like any other.

 

He had a full day of coursework at university, and he came back to Woohyuk’s place to do a bit of homework. They talked, they had dinner, they made love.

 

It was pretty typical, on all accounts.

 

Until he fell asleep, that is.

 

He remembers Woohyuk waking him up with kisses, apologizing because he had to run to the office to take care of some sudden business. Hoseok had waved him off, just eager to get back to sleep.

 

He had been dreaming and everything was so peaceful, until his entire world turned into a living nightmare.

 

Hoseok woke up to the excruciating pain of fangs sinking into his neck, and before he could even scream there was a hand clamped over his mouth, silencing him.  

 

He could feel the cold plastic of a mask digging into his skin, concealing the top of the attacker’s face but leaving his mouth uncovered so he could wreak havoc upon Hoseok’s body with his teeth.

 

His fangs didn’t enter gently, they went in deep, through skin and tissue and muscle, making Hoseok’s entire body light up with unfathomable pain. The man was laid down on top of his back, pushing him face down into the mattress as he drink from him.

 

Hoseok tried to call for help, to scream, to struggle, to do anything , but he was utterly powerless. His human strength was of no concern for the vampire, who pinned him down easily as he sunk his teeth into him, drinking from the carotid artery at Hoseok’s vulnerable neck.

 

He was no stranger to being bitten; as a human, he allowed Woohyuk to feed from him, because he loved him and it felt good. Blood sharing was an intimate act, and Woohyuk always made it pleasurable for him. But the monster on top of him didn’t love him in the slightest, and had no issue with hurting Hoseok viciously to get access to as much blood as he wanted, as quickly as possible.

 

He had the intent to suck Hoseok dry.

 

Hoseok knew this because he could feel his heart slowing, his vision tunneling to black, before the bedroom door slammed open and the intruder was pulled off of him.

 

Hoseok had reached up as one last feeble attempt to defend himself and his fingers had gotten caught on the mask as Woohyuk dragged the ruthless attacker off of him. The moment lasted for only a second, but he saw the man’s face, something that would forever be engraved into his memory.

 

Woohyuk had arrived just in the knick of time, fighting off the intruder, killing him for daring to hurt what was his. He told Hoseok plainly that he had made the vampire suffer for merely touching Hoseok without his permission, let alone for causing him such horrible pain.

 

And the strangest part about all of it was that Hoseok had been considering letting Woohyuk change him into a vampire. He’d been thinking about it heavily, the topic never far from his mind after he had given his heart and his body to Woohyuk.

 

But after the attack, he had no choice. The attacker had taken that luxury away from him, and Woohyuk was left with no option but to let Hoseok drink from his own wrist, saving him from a sure death and in turn cursing him to eternal life.

 

Wait ,” Jimin frowns. “When that vampire attacked you, I thought you never had the chance to look at him?”

 

“I did… just for a second. Before Woohyuk killed him.”

 

Jimin sets his glass down, giving his friend his full attention. “Hoseok… I know we’ve never really spoken at length about what happened that night. In fact you hardly speak to anyone about it at all.”

 

“Woohyuk knows—”

 

“Woohyuk saw the aftermath. But I know you, and your tendency to try to hold your pain within yourself in some feeble attempt of protecting the people around you. And I just… I want you to understand that talking about what happened… it doesn’t make you weak. Maybe it could help you. I know you have nightmares—”

 

“What is there to say?” Hoseok huffs. “I was human. Now I’m not.”

 

“It’s not that simple, Hoseok.” Jimin gives him a bitter smile. “You forget that I was turned against my will… I know the pain of not being able to choose this life willingly.”

 

Hoseok looks away, his hands slightly shaking. Jimin takes the glass from him, setting it down so he can hold Hoseok’s hands.

 

“All I know is that one day my friend was human, and then he wasn’t. You never went into much detail about that transition, and I didn’t want to push because I knew the wounds were too fresh. But let me help you now.

 

Hoseok bites his lip, his eyes getting teary. “People told me not to date a vampire, you know. They said I was just wasting my time because I wasn’t immortal. But Woohyuk was so sweet and I liked him. I fell in love with him. I… I wasn’t sure if I wanted to leave my human life behind, but I did hate the idea of not being with him.”

 

Jimin stays quiet, letting Hoseok get things off his chest.

 

“Even though he was a vampire, even though I let him feed off of me and I knew he was different not just biologically, but physically … I never feared Woohyuk in that way. In my mind vampires attacks were things of the past. We had found a way to co-exist… humans and vampires. I never once thought my life was in danger. So when it happened…”

 

He gets choked up, and Jimin’s small hands rub against Hoseok’s. “Take your time… I’m here… I’m listening.”

 

“I was asleep. One moment everything was fine and the next was pure terror. It hurt. It hurt so fucking much. How does that make sense? I had been bitten countless times before, but in that moment it felt like he was trying to rip me apart.”

 

“Do you truly not know?” Hoseok shakes his head, and Jimin has to keep the curse out of his mouth. For a person who claims to have Hoseok’s ‘best interests’ at heart, Woohyuk sure doesn’t spend a lot of time teaching Hoseok about his new life as a vampire.

 

“Because there are two different kinds of bites; one for pain, and one for pleasure. It hurt because that fucker wanted it to, not because there’s something wrong with you. You were strong, Hobi… it wasn’t your fault. There’s nothing you could have done.”

 

Hoseok nods. “I know. It’s just… I never had a chance. I couldn’t plead or beg… I couldn’t even move. I just had to lie there and feel the life slowly draining out of me… I knew he was taking too much and I just had to accept that I was going to die.” He shakes his head. “I’ll always be grateful that Woohyuk came back just in time… he pulled him off me and in the scuffle I knocked off his mask. That’s how I saw what he looked like.”

“He was wearing a mask? Why would he need to conceal his identity if his intention was to drain you?” Jimin asks, eyebrows pinched. “But wait… how did he even get in?”

 

“What do you mean?” Hoseok blinks.

 

“I mean… did you know this person? Was it your apartment or Woohyuk’s?”

 

Hoseok shrugs. “I mean… it was ours. I still had my place near campus, but I was practically living there with him. But it’s not like my name was on the lease. Why does that even matter?”

 

“Because vampires can’t enter somewhere unless they are invited in by the owner. So someone, at some point, had to have invited him in.”

 

Hoseok pauses, before he shakes his head. “No… no you must be mistaken. I mean, I was already aware of that rule, but neither of us knew him. He was some vile stranger.”

 

Jimin doesn’t think so, adamantly continuing his questioning. “You said Woohyuk killed him? Did you actually see it?”

 

The redhead blinks at him. “What do you mean did I see it? Jimin, I was bleeding out after being attacked… violated , in my own bed! It’s not like I got to sit back and enjoy the show as my boyfriend got revenge.”

 

Jimin lifts his hands placatingly, sensing Hoseok getting upset. “Listen… I’m not trying to insult you or call your memories into question. I’m simply just trying to understand. I love you Hobi, you know that.”

 

Hoseok tries to steady his breathing. He knows his friend is coming from a good place, but it’s difficult to talk about that night. He’s done everything in his power to leave that trauma behind, to push it out of his mind so he wouldn’t have to hurt anymore. “I know you do… and of course I love you too. I did even when I was human.”

 

His friend smiles at him gently. “Okay. Then try to remember that I’m asking you these questions because I love you, not because I wish to judge you. And I know it hurts to remember but think… did you see or hear him die?”

 

Hoseok closes his eyes, trying to recall what is most definitely the worst night of his life. He remembers Woohyuk pulling the man away, grabbing at the mask and seeing the face, but from there…

 

“I… I don’t know for sure. I don’t remember loud noises, but by that point I was definitely very hazy. It was all I could do to press a hand to the wound, and there was so much blood.

 

“But Woohyuk told you he killed him… surely he must have done research on who the man was. Not just for his own protection but for yours.”

 

Hoseok bristles. “He… he swore to me that it was someone he didn’t know. A rival that was trying to take him out because of his position. I always assumed it had something to do with Vermilion. He told me vampires from certain clans are always a bit jealous that his family rose to the forefront after the Revelation.” He looks over at his friend, who is clearly biting his tongue. “What? Just say it.”

 

“I just… I’m sorry, Hoseok, but I don’t see how that is possible. And before you accuse me of accusing him because I can’t stand the man, this has nothing to do with our relationship… or the lack thereof. These are simple facts of vampirism. Just how you can’t go in the sun, you can’t enter a human’s private space without being invited in. It’s part of the curse, a way to try to counteract our powers to give humans a bit of protection. Obviously you didn’t invite him in because you were asleep, so that leaves only one other option.”

 

Hoseok doesn’t even want to hear Jimin say it out loud. He doesn’t even want to think it. Because following that line of logic only lead to one conclusion; his boyfriend was responsible for the attack that changed his entire life. “What you’re suggesting is insane.”

 

“Is it? Because killing a vampire isn’t something that’s easy. Do you keep stakes in your bedroom? Did you hear Woohyuk literally rip his heart out? Did he grab a butcher knife from the kitchen and get to work beheading him?”

 

Jimin.

 

The blonde crosses his arms defiantly. “I know I’m being gruesome Hobi, but I’m being honest. And I’m speaking as someone who has done it.”

 

Hoseok’s eyes flash up to Jimin’s. “Are you saying…?”

 

Jimin nods. “Only once. My sire.”

 

“But Woohyuk says that isn’t allowed! That attacking your sire… that there’s no greater offense. You’re supposed to bring any wrongdoing to the council—”

 

“Fuck the council.” Jimin says icily. “Last time I checked, you aren’t supposed to turn humans against their will either, but my sire didn’t seem to give a damn about that. Why should I play by the rules when he didn’t?”

 

Hoseok swallows. “Jimin… I’m sorry.”

 

He waves him off. “It was years ago… maybe the best present Taehyung ever gave me. But the point is that it takes effort to kill a vampire, and if Woohyuk was busy bleeding himself to give you life, then he would have not only been weakened, but he simply couldn’t have had the capability to fight off your attacker while simultaneously saving you.”

 

Hoseok furrows his brow and shakes his head. His head aches , almost as if a fog is lifting for the first time in a long time. “But… but that would mean… that would mean it was all a set-up. That Woohyuk lied to me… he swore he got revenge for me. That I would never be hurt again. He promised . He… he loves me.”

 

“I’ve seen many people do sick things in the name of love .” Jimin taps his foot nervously. “Obviously we can’t just ask him. If he is guilty of such a horrible fucking thing, then he isn’t just going to come out and say it.” He sighs. “I just hate that it happened in your bedroom… obviously there’s no cameras or CCTV there. If we had a picture maybe we could try figuring out a name. If we tracked him down we could see if there’s a link—”

 

“Song Minseo.” Hoseok interrupts him. “I… I asked the concierge, after I saw him get off the elevator. She said his name was Song Minseo. That he… that he owned the building.”

 

Jimin grabs his phone from his pocket, his fingers typing swiftly on the screen. He clicks a few times and then turns it around for Hoseok to look at. “Is this him? The person you saw?”

 

Hoseok’s body goes stock still, like ice is being injected directly into his veins. It’s ridiculous, because it’s just a picture, but the sudden fear that takes over his body is undeniable.

 

He nods, his voice going eerily quiet. “It’s… it’s him. I could never forget that face… I see him in my nightmares, no matter how desperately I wish to forget.”

 

Jimin pulls Hoseok in for a hug, rubbing his back soothingly. “It’s okay… you’re safe here. He’s not going to hurt you.” While he comforts his friend he’s simultaneously doing research on his phone, trying to make sense of the connection between Minseo and Woohyuk.

 

“Who… who is he?”

 

Jimin huffs annoyingly. “Rich. Powerful. Sired from one of the older clans in Seoul. Sounds like just the kind of stuck up vamp that Woohyuk loves to surround himself with.” A thought pops into his head, and he decides to give it a try on a whim.

 

“What is it? What did you see?”

 

“Nothing… yet.” Jimin types in both Minseo and Woohyuk’s names, and after a few minutes of diligent searching, he finds the proof that he’s looking for.

 

It’s a picture from some random person’s instagram, but both of their names are tagged in it. The two men stand together smiling, and it’s all he needs to see to confirm that they know each other.

 

“They’re friends, Hobi. That motherfucker… he tricked you. They planned it together.”

 

Hoseok doesn’t want to believe it, grabbing the phone to see for himself. But the evidence is there, leaving no room for denial. Woohyuk stands with his arm around Minseo, the both of them holding bottles of Vermilion, obviously at some promotional event for the brand.

 

“It… it doesn’t make sense.” Hoseok says, even though he knows it’s a desperate lie.

 

Jimin purses his lips, feeling so devastated for his friend, but needing to spell it out for him. Needing to know that Hoseok understood the gravity of what his boyfriend had done.

 

“Woohyuk must have been there during the entire attack, Hobi. He opened the door for Minseo, invited him in so he could have access to you. He… he wanted him to hurt you.”

 

“Why? Why? ” Hoseok screams, pulling at his hair desperately. “He loves me! He’s supposed to love me!

 

“Maybe he thinks he does… I don’t know, Hobi. I don’t know why sick and twisted people do sick and twisted things. But after seeing this… ” He motions to the picture of his phone, taking it back so Hoseok won’t have to look at either of their faces anymore. “It’s obvious to me that Woohyuk has clearly went too far.”

 

Hoseok still shakes his head. “But it doesn’t make sense… we feed from each other… we make love. We are supposed to be together forever.”

 

Jimin frowns. “Hobi, there’s being possessive and then there’s completely trying to control a person. There’s a reason why I don’t like him. He does everything, everything in his power to control every aspect of your life, but he covers it up by pretending it’s for your own good! He’s manipulating you, Hobi! He’s been manipulating you from the start, even when you were human. And now… now he’s crossed the line. Don’t you see, Hobi? Please tell me you finally see.”

 

“So what? He just lets his friend bite me? For what? For the thrill of hurting an innocent person?”

 

Jimin shakes his head. “Hobi… this isn’t about Minseo. In fact, it’s never been about him.”

 

“How can you say that? He’s the one who bit me!”

 

“Under Woohyuk’s orders!” Jimin sighs. “Hobi… that entire night… it was all about turning you. Draining you to the point of no return so Woohyuk could pretend to save the day, just so he could get you in his clutches indefinitely. Becoming your sire so that you’d be bonded… forever.”

 

The blood drains from Hoseok’s face as the reality sinks in, and Jimin holds onto his friend with two strong hands to keep him grounded.

 

“Oh my god. Oh my god.

 

“It’s okay. Everything is going to be okay—”

 

Nothing is okay! Nothing is ever going to be okay again!” He stands up, grabbing his things and heading to the door.

 

“Hobi, what do you think you’re doing?” Jimin rushes after him, trying to grab his wrist to make him stop but Hoseok jerks it away.

 

“What do you think? I’m going to confront him! I’m not going to let him get away with this! He… he stole my humanity! He took everything from me.” All the love he held in his heart for Woohyuk burns up into ashes, leaving nothing behind but bitterness and betrayal.

 

“I know, I understand that, you know I understand that but right now you’re upset and angry—”

 

“You’re damn right I am!” Hoseok shakes his head, tearing up. “All those times you tried to warn me and I didn’t listen. You were trying to be a good friend and I shut you out! I got so wrapped up in him, that I forgot who I was. I lost myself, lost all my connections to my old life because I blindly believed everything he ever said. I was an idiot! This entire time… I’ve done nothing but play right into his hands.”

 

“You weren’t . Hobi, he’s a sick motherfucker who took advantage of you. None of this is your fault. Absolutely nothing. He’s the one who’s going to have to answer for his actions. We’ll report him to the council, we’ll make sure he pays for the vile things he did to you.”

 

Hoseok shakes his head. “I’m sorry, I can’t wait that long.”

 

Hoseok.

 

“I’m not going to do what you did. I’m furious but I don’t want to hurt him. And it’s not some bullshit reason about him being my sire or my boyfriend. As far as I’m concerned we’re done. Trust me , there’s no way he’s going to be able to talk his way out of this one. Minnie, he broke my heart.” Tears start to fall and Jimin cups his face, hurriedly wiping them off with his thumbs.

 

“I know you aren’t going back to him. I believe you. But right now you’re emotional and vulnerable and I just don’t want you to go see him. I don’t want you to hurt anymore.”

 

“No offense, but this isn’t about what you want. And I need to start making decisions for myself, instead of always doing things to please other people. I need to stand up to him. I need to tell him that I know how much of a liar he is, and that I’m leaving him forever. I need to do that for myself. So please, please just let me go.”

 

Jimin still shakes his head, something in his heart telling him not to let his friend. “Just stay here. Or I can go with you—”

 

No. I’m doing this alone. I need to do this on my own terms. Afterwards… fuck, I practically don’t have anything of my own…”

 

“Just pack a bag. Of course you’re welcome here.”

 

“But Taehyung—”

 

“Taehyung adores you just as much as I do. You’re our friend and more than anything we just want you to be safe.” Jimin sighs. “I promise you; we will make not just Woohyuk, but Minseo pay for what they did. We won’t rest until we get justice for you. But you don’t need to prove anything to me or to yourself by going to see him again.”

 

“That’s your opinion, and you’re entitled to that. But please don’t try to talk me out of this. Just support me, and be happy because you were proven right. He was a piece of shit all along, and I was just too lovestruck and naive to notice.”

 

“You know that’s not true. Woohyuk lied to you, he purposely didn’t show you who he really was, because he wanted to deceive you. To own you. But he doesn’t, Hobi. You are your own person, and you will shine so brightly without him.”

 

Hoseok hugs him tightly. “Thank you… thank you. It makes me absolutely sick, to think of how much longer I could have went on living with such a… a horrible person. If it weren’t for you, I would’ve gone back to Woohyuk tonight, none the wiser.”

 

“That’s not true. You were the one who recognized Minseo. You’re so strong Hobi… stronger than you ever give yourself credit for.”

 

“That’s hard for me to believe right now but hopefully… after I confront him, maybe I’ll be able to accept that I can have a life without Woohyuk in it.” He pulls back, kissing the shorter boy on the forehead. “I’ll call you after I’m done with him, when I’m on my way back here.”

 

“Please don’t go, Hobi. Please.”

 

“I’m going. Please respect my decision and don’t try to talk me out of it.” Hoseok says stubbornly. “I’ll be back here and free of him, before you know it.”

 

He opens the door and leaves, giving Jimin no further recourse to try and convince him to stay. Jimin watches as he walks away, keeping an eye on him as he steps into the elevator and starts his descent downstairs, trying to make himself believe he didn’t just make a horrible mistake by letting his friend go.

 

.

 

.

 

.

 

Hoseok storms into his apartment, his anger boiling hot in his blood. It was one thing to have suspicions, to feel like something about that night wasn’t quite right. He had buried it down, telling himself it was the pain of transitioning, of leaving his human side behind.

 

But now he knows he’s been played, and he’s furious.

 

“Back so soon, baby?” Woohyuk rises from the couch, a smile on his face that makes Hoseok feel sick. “I didn’t think—”

 

“You’re right! You didn’t think at all! About me or about what I wanted! You selfishly stole my own humanity away from me!” Hoseok had planned to go about this conversation a different way, but now that Woohyuk is standing in front of him it all goes out the window.

 

Woohyuk gives him a shocked look, which only serves to make him more upset. “Don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about! You lied to me! You’ve been lying to me since practically the start!”

 

Woohyuk comes closer, trying to grab Hoseok’s hands but the younger man moves away. “Hoseok… baby , I don’t know what is going on—”

 

“I do! For the first time, everything suddenly makes sense. You’ve been deceiving me, ever since you became my sire, and that’s the truth!”

 

“When have I ever lied to you?”

 

“How about we start with when you lied about killing Song Minseo.” Hoseok watches Woohyuk’s face fall, and even though he knew it was true, the look in his boyfriend’s eyes confirms it now, once and for all. “I didn’t want to believe it… that my own boyfriend… my sire , could be capable of doing something so evil. You made him attack me on purpose, so that you could play savior. So that I could be a vampire, and all my ‘human problems’ would go away. You killed me, Woohyuk. You killed me!

 

“I gave you eternal life! I made you immortal so we could always be together!” His boyfriend shouts, and Hoseok can’t help but laugh desperately.

 

“You don’t even bother to deny it… you don’t even realize how crazy that makes you.” Hoseok goes to the bedroom, pulling out a bag. Woohyuk follows him, hot on his heels.

 

“What do you think you’re doing?”

 

Hoseok whirls around. “Did you really think I would stay with you after this? You’re not just crazy… you’re delusional .” He starts to shove his clothes into his suitcase, intent on packing and getting the fuck out of this cursed apartment, sooner rather than later.

 

“And where the hell do you think you’re going?”

 

“First, I’m going to get out of here, get the hell away from you and this… this farce of a relationship. And then I’m going to go to the council, I’m going to tell them all about what the both of you did, make sure that every single person in your clan knows just how sick you are, and you’ll burn —”

 

The last word gets choked off by Woohyuk’s hand, clamping over Hoseok’s throat as he pushes him towards the wall and his back slams into it. Woohyuk’s not applying pressure or using his enhanced strength… not yet. “You are not leaving.” He says the words slowly, as if Hoseok is dumb for even thinking he could do so in the first place. 

 

Hoseok looks up at him wildly. Woohyuk’s never gotten physical with him before, and it isn’t like him. But in the next breath he realizes that after everything that’s happened, he barely even knows Woohyuk at all. “Let me go. Please. Whatever we had… it wasn’t real. It wasn’t . I didn’t choose it.”

 

“It was .” Woohyuk argues. “So what if I speed up the timeline? You and me are meant to be. You’re mine , Hoseok. You were always meant to be mine. Forever. All I wanted was to start my life with you, so I did.”

 

“I don’t want it. Not anymore.”

 

Woohyuk ignores his protests. “How did you find out?”

 

“What does it matter?”

 

“It matters .” The hand at his throat tightens. “Tell me.”

 

“I never told you… but I grabbed at his mask and I saw his face that night. I saw him in the lobby when I left earlier and I recognized him.”

 

“Fucking Minseo.” Woohyuk curses. “Always had a bit of trouble sticking to the plan. Too cocky for his own good. I told him to stay away from the building, just to play it safe, but he isn’t so easy to control. Not like you.”

 

Hoseok scoffs. If there’s one thing he’s sure of, it’s that he’s never taking orders from Woohyuk again. “I’m not going to be controlled by you anymore, Woohyuk. Not ever again.”

 

“That’s where you’re wrong, baby.” Woohyuk chuckles. “I’m your sire. Don’t you realize what that means?”

 

“Just because you made me doesn’t mean you get to own me!” Hoseok yells, but Woohyuk doesn’t look fazed in the slightest.

 

“You’re so innocent… trusting of people. It’s part of the reason I fell for you. Because you shine so bright… it’s like feeling the sun that I miss so much.”

 

Hoseok glares at him stubbornly. He doesn’t care how many pretty words Woohyuk speaks; they are meaningless to him now. “I’m not staying. This is over, we’re done .”

 

“Does your little friend know? Did you tell him?”

 

“Of course he knows! He’s the only vampire since I turned who has ever bothered to be honest with me!”

 

“That’s… a bit of a problem. But I’m sure I’ll find a way to sort it out.” Woohyuk grabs his chin, angling his face forward. “You will stay Hoseok. That’s not up for debate. But I really do love you… I don’t like seeing you so sad and angry. So I’ll fix this for you.”

 

Hoseok shakes his head. “There’s no fixing this… fixing us. You’ve broken my trust. You betrayed me… betrayed any love we ever shared between one another. It can never go back to the way it was.”

 

“It can. And it will. Look in my eyes.”

 

Hoseok almost wants to laugh. “I might be young, but I am not that naive. You can’t compel me. There’s no glamour powerful enough to fix what you’ve broken.”

 

“That’s where you’re wrong, baby. The bottles in your warmer? That was my blood.”

 

“You’re lying. You’re always lying.” Hoseok tries to keep his voice steady, but the uncertainty and the fear bleeds through.  

 

Woohyuk smiles at him. “You’ve fed almost exclusively on my blood, ever since your transition. And I indulge in you on a daily basis. Our bond? It’s too strong to ever be severed. You are mine.

 

Hoseok feels tears sprout in his eyes. He was not supposed to drink exclusively from his sire, for this exact reason. Normally, vampires can’t compel other vampires. Their compulsion was designed to work on humans, to help them keep their anonymity back during the days when vampires existence was a secret to the public.

 

But a sire bond was sacred, special. It was a sort of a blood pact, one that was not easily broken. Hoseok knew that because Jimin had even encouraged him to not drink from Woohyuk too often, especially during his early years, just in case.

 

He thought he was being careful. He thought he was being smart.

 

He’s realizing now that he was horribly, horribly wrong.

 

“No… no…

 

Look at me, Hoseok. ” Woohyuk’s voice takes on a different inflection, and Hoseok’s mind screams at him to obey his sire.

 

Hoseok’s crying, his hands coming up to clench onto Woohyuk’s wrists. “Please don’t. Please. I won’t tell the council… I’ll stay quiet if you just let me go. I can’t be with you… I don’t love you anymore. It’s pointless… we have no future, Woohyuk. We can’t be together anymore. Everything between us is dead . Just accept it and we can go our separate ways cleanly… you don’t have to do this.”

 

“I’m afraid it’s too late for that now, Hoseok. Like you said, the trust has been broken between us. So I’m going to fix it.”

 

Hoseok stubbornly tries to resist, but it’s pointless. Even without the compulsion, Woohyuk and is older, stronger , and even though Hoseok wishes with every fiber of his being for the compulsion not to take hold, the blood thrumming through his veins makes it impossible. It’s heartbreaking, realizing that Woohyuk had been so meticulous in his deception, that he even created a fail safe contingency plan, all in the name of keeping Hoseok compliant and all to himself.

 

Woohyuk says the words slowly and clearly, so there is no room for error. His eyes flash red as he makes Hoseok forget everything about Song Minseo; his name, his face, and the fact that he was the one who attacked him. It erases the conversation Hoseok had with Jimin, wiping the slate clean to rewrite a twisted version of history. Hoseok’s eyes dilate and the fog settles in his mind, obscuring the truth and changing it into something else entirely.

 

Woohyuk removes his hand from Hoseok’s throat, wiping his tears away, watching as he comes back into himself a few minutes later, his eyes blinking and his hands still clinging to Woohyuk’s body.

 

“What’s—” Hoseok looks around a bit confused. “When did I get home? I don’t remember leaving Jimin’s...”

 

“Just now.” Woohyuk smiles sweetly at him. “You were supposed to finish packing for our trip, but you must have zoned out.”

 

“A trip? But why?”

 

“A surprise trip.” Woohyuk chuckles. “And just because you’re mine… you deserve the best and I love to spoil you.”

 

Hoseok looks into Woohyuk’s warm brown eyes, feeling nothing but happiness. “You’re too good to me. No one takes care of me the way that you do.”

 

“And don’t you forget it.” Woohyuk pecks him on the lips. “I have to go to the office to settle a few things before we leave, but it’ll be nice to get out of town for a few days, don’t you think? Just me and you.”

 

Hoseok nods, smiling up at his boyfriend fondly, a dreamy look in his brown eyes. “Yes… just me and you.”

 

.

 

.

 

.

 

The uneasy feeling stays in Jimin’s stomach, so deep that he feels it even in his soul. He hasn’t been able to relax ever since Hoseok left, and the more minutes that tick by without hearing from his friend, the more nervous he gets.

 

Jimin had been trying to be calm and deal with the anxiety on his own, but in no less than ten minutes he has already reached his limit. He pulls out his phone, calling his boyfriend with shaking hands.

 

Hello ?”

 

“Tae.” Jimin feels himself tearing up, the reality of the situation sinking in now that he’s alone. “Everything’s a mess. I’m so scared for Hobi and I think I just fucked everything up. I should have never let him go… I was so stupid.”

 

What? What happened? I’m still at Yoongi hyung’s…”

 

“Good.” Jimin swallows down the lump in his throat. “You should put me on speaker. Hobi’s in trouble… and I think Yoongi is the only person who can help him.”