“Oh my god,” Yoongi said as Namjoon walked back into the dorm.
“Is it that bad?”
“I was going to ask you to go make some tea for Taehyung but never mind.”
“I have my night class tonight.”
Namjoon stepped tiredly into his third shower of the day, a little worried about how stiffly his legs moved. His dick still stung with sensitivity. As he walked to class, he sent Jungkook, I think I’m gonna need to tap out and rest until tomorrow.
thought so. take some painkiller
Throughout the three-hour lecture, Namjoon’s attention drifted back to the scent of Jungkook’s hoodie, still around him like a constant hug. He tuned into the lecture long enough to ask some questions about the reading, and then sank into restlessness. It wasn’t until the last thirty minutes that he noticed the girl next to him holding her scarf over her nose and leaning away.
After class, Yoongi came into Namjoon’s room and climbed onto the bed. “The Essential Analects of Confucius,” he read off the spine of Namjoon’s book. “What class is that for?”
“Eastern Thought and Ethics. I’ve read this for a different class already so I’m just skimming. Do I stink?”
“I took a shower,” he whined.
“Believe me, you don’t smell as bad as Taehyung and you can’t possibly smell as bad as Jungkook does right now. You just smell like alpha. A little like rut, but mostly like alpha.”
“Really? A girl in my class was leaning away from me.”
“Some people do that around alphas.”
Namjoon dropped his book onto his knees and thought about how Jungkook said he noticed when Namjoon held his breath. He’d have to be awfully attuned to things like that to notice it, must have been watching people around him recoil for years. “Can you get me some painkiller?”
Yoongi returned with the bottle and climbed laboriously back onto the bed, grumbling about how high Namjoon had it lofted. “So how was it?”
“Um.” Namjoon braced for whatever teasing was coming, whatever Yoongi thought about his best friend getting the lights fucked out of him by the baby alpha.
“You’re under contract to tell me about it.”
“It was a lot.”
“Pretty hot. My ass hurts.”
“Is that all I get? I drag your ass through three and a half years of school and spill every detail about my sex life to you for a few sentence fragments about the hottest sex of your life?”
Namjoon finally chuckled. “His dick is huge, Yoongi. It’s ridiculous. I’m kind of new at this. He's not shy about using it either.”
Yoongi grimaced, but the edges of his mouth kept quirking up. “So did you enjoy it?”
“I’m trying to come to terms with how much I enjoyed it.”
Namjoon flipped through the pages of his book, wondering what else there was to say. Yoongi sat unusually straight, staring at him and looking like he was trying not to grin. “I’m not built for this obviously, but damn.”
“You seem kind of worn out. Are you going back?”
“I have my morning class tomorrow, so I’ll probably go back after that.”
“How long do you think it’s going to last?”
“I haven’t asked.”
“Is he cute?”
Yoongi was still biting down a smile. “I know you like ‘em desperate. Was he cute?”
Namjoon hadn’t really been paying attention to ‘cute’ through all his delirious pleasure, but he supposed shaky, needy, demanding Jungkook had been precious in his own way. “He’s always cute, but yeah. Less so than normal though. More intimidatingly and alarmingly sexy.”
Yoongi hummed, head cocked to the side like he couldn’t picture it. Namjoon brought the sleeve of Jungkook’s hoodie up to his nose and breathed in, getting another warm blast of campfire scent. Something in his chest ached for Jungkook, a need like a hand around his lungs. “I might go back over there tonight,” Namjoon said. “Make sure he’s staying hydrated. He was kind of in a bad way when I got over there.”
“Don’t let him wear you out, old man.”
“Ruts can’t be all sex, right? I’ve heard there’s also lots of snuggling.”
“You two are gonna be absolutely sickening as a couple.”
“Payback time, bitch.”
Yoongi left him to read with a proud pat on the knee. Namjoon struggled to focus, Jungkook’s now ubiquitous scent sneaking up on him and making his concentration fizzle. When he finished his reading, he got as far as sticking a desperate hand down his boxers before he grit his teeth and pulled himself up out of bed to pack an overnight bag and his books for classes the next morning.
“Have fun,” Seokjin said over his bedtime tea, lounging in silk pajamas on the couch.
Jungkook didn’t answer his texts, but opened his bedroom door before Namjoon could knock, shamelessly naked, and pulled him gently inside with hands around his waist and his soft lips all over Namjoon’s face. The lewd scent of his room was like a painkiller, driving the tiredness out of Namjoon’s limbs and the ache from his ass. When Jungkook pushed in, his body accepted it without complaint, an unfamiliar but powerful relief filling him like fresh air.
“You didn’t have to come back,” Jungkook whispered against his back.
“I missed you.”
Jungkook made a breathy, groaning noise and left a wet kiss on Namjoon’s shoulder blade.
Namjoon came into Jungkook’s hand within a few minutes and then lay quietly as Jungkook cleaned them up and fussed over the sheets. He drifted in and out of sleep under a pile of blankets until Jungkook arrived with plates of lasagna and water bottles. “Sit up here. You gotta eat.” He pulled Namjoon to lie against his chest and ate around his shoulders with his legs pressed warmly to Namjoon’s sides. His scent bloomed around Namjoon like a cloud, leaving him spacey and sleepy. “We have to get you to sleep,” Jungkook said, rushing through his food. “You have class tomorrow.”
“Maybe I should skip it.”
“I mean, maybe, but I know you hate missing class.”
“It’s what, two a.m. now? I’m not getting enough sleep no matter what now.”
“It’s only one.” He kissed the top of Namjoon’s head. “Go brush your teeth.”
Namjoon got up obediently and stumbled away to the bathroom as Jungkook fussed in the kitchen. He was back in bed and asleep before Jungkook joined him.
Dreams came fitfully, every one of them possessed by an insatiable lust, the vague, frantic search for a lost dildo or a race to a nameless prize that Taehyung and Taeyong were hiding from him, and his dick felt so hard it might fall off.
He woke to Jungkook panting and squirming against him.
“…just for a minute. Sorry. Joon, please.”
“Can I just—Joon, god. Ugh. Just rub off against you or something? I’m fucking dying.”
“Wuh time is it? Shou’ I geddup?”
“’s 4:30 in the morning. Please, Namjoon. Please, it hurts.”
“Do wha’ever you need,” Namjoon said, spreading his legs. Immediately, he felt a wet mouth gulp his cock down, which must have been as hard as it felt in his dreams. A wanton moan left his mouth, head twisting on the pillow, sleepiness making him sensitive. “Fuck, baby, that’s good,” he breathed and grabbed handfuls of Jungkook’s hair, who gasped and pulled up, coughing. “Shit, sorry.”
Jungkook rolled him onto his side like he weighed nothing and he flopped there like a sandbag. A sharp click of a cap opening shook him to try to open his eyes, then Jungkook’s entire length slid into him like two puzzle pieces slotting naturally into place.
He started in at a desperate pace unequal to the hour, a race in the blanketing darkness that Namjoon received with a grateful body. A dull ache came alongside the flood of pleasure that Namjoon would be more concerned about in the morning, but Jungkook had a hand around his cock, his scent filthy and intoxicating on the air.
Sleep found him minutes after he finished, before Jungkook had finished rutting his way through the aftershocks against the curve of Namjoon’s ass.
He woke around sunrise to Jungkook biting his nipple. “Ow. Wuh?”
“You have class in an hour.”
“We have shit to do before you leave.”
The pheromone high must have left him sometime in the night because morning hit him like a brick between the eyes. “Ohhhhh,” he groaned, and rolled face down into the pillow, trying to drown the world. Everything felt grainy, just the edge of painful and gross. Jungkook’s hands over his skin came with an edge of sensitivity he wasn’t ready to handle.
“You okay?” Jungkook asked, patting gently.
“Why is anyone alive?”
“Um. Can I sit on your dick?”
Namjoon dick sat up and begged. He rolled slowly back over and nodded.
Jungkook worked too quickly for ass o'clock in the morning. He speared himself on Namjoon’s cock and sat there, rocking urgently as Namjoon tried to blink the blur from his vision and truly appreciate having his dick in Jungkook for the first time.
Those beautiful abs arched into his touch, trembling. His pecs and nipples cast angular shadows on his shimmering skin as the dawn light drifted into the room, bedhead bouncing. Though he must have slept less than Namjoon, his complexion glowed.
“You with me?” Jungkook asked.
Namjoon could only nod. A thick thigh flexed under his palm. The perfect artist’s rendering of male anatomy shuddered and tensed above him. He wrapped a hand around Jungkook’s cock and got two long strokes down the entire length before Jungkook whimpered, hiccupped, and came onto Namjoon’s stomach.
He didn’t stop, just curled over with broken moans and shaking thighs. His jaw tensed and he rocked in faster, smaller waves. Namjoon’s dick throbbed dangerously. “Beautiful,” he breathed. He cupped Jungkook’s cheek. Jungkook pressed into it and Namjoon’s arm almost gave out.
He finger-fucked Jungkook in the shower too, soap still sliding off their bodies as he struggled to keep the lube working. Jungkook guided Namjoon’s hand over his own cock, Namjoon already spent and done for the morning.
Though the wave wasn’t nearly over, Jungkook captured his cock in the hem of his sweatpants and prepared breakfast for them both. He stopped behind Namjoon after setting his cereal and coffee down and pressed his nose against Namjoon’s scalp. “You smell so much like me,” he murmured. “Even with the soap.”
“I don’t mind. You smell good.”
“Are you sure? I mean, I like it.”
Namjoon shrugged. “It’ll get me some looks but I’ll deal. It might be kinda, uh, distracting.”
“Have some Oreos and chocolate too. You’re gonna need the energy.”
After coffee and chocolate, Namjoon arrived in class wired but unfocused. His frequent class partner, Jackson Wang, sat up straight in his seat. “Wow, dude. Oh my god.”
Namjoon sat down at his desk and realized just how much his ass hurt. “Yeah,” he muttered.
“You look fucking dead, bro,” Jackson whispered. “Jungkook?”
“Wow. Damn. Get it, bro. Didn’t see that coming.”
Keeping his eyes open felt like he was rubbing sand in them. Warmth burned against his skin. He fumbled through class discussion, staring at his notes on the reading without remembering what they meant.
Afterwards, the professor stopped him on the way out the door. “Are you okay? You seem really off.” She stepped within three feet of him and blinked. “Oh.”
“I’ll survive,” Namjoon said weakly, stepping back again.
“Right. Um.” She couldn’t look him in the eye. “Sorry. Just like to check in with my students when they’re acting strange. You know you can skip classes, right?”
“It’s not an excused absence.”
She snorted. “There’s the question of whether it’s allowed and then the question of whether or not you should. We had this talk about you going to class with a cold last semester. I think there’s such a thing as being too good of a student.”
“Right.” Jackson gave him an over-enthusiastic pat on the back on the way out and Namjoon’s staticky brain began to realize that he felt extremely uncomfortable. “Gonna go take a nap.”
“Take care of yourself,” she said.
The smell of eggs and bacon woke Namjoon from his nap. He cracked an eye open and saw Seokjin there with a plate of breakfast food and a glass of orange juice.
“Your next class is in a half hour and you haven’t eaten lunch.”
Namjoon sat up slowly. For a few seconds, he could smell Jungkook’s dirty smoke scent, almost like Lapsang tea diluted in his room. Then his nose got used to it again and it faded. “Shit. I still smell like Jungkook.”
Seokjin nodded. He helped Namjoon arrange his pillows to sit up and put his food on his lap. “Do you have your homework done for class?”
“Yuh. I work two days ahead of my classes. Toast. Nice. I love breakfast in bed.”
“Sorry I don’t have an actual tray.” Seokjin flopped into Namjoon’s desk chair. “I was making a load of food for Taehyung and thought I’d double it up.”
“Aww. Thank you. How’s he doing?”
“Better than you at this point. It’s wearing off quickly since it started so intense.”
Namjoon ate, feeling like his stomach had turned into a vacuum. Seokjin took out his phone and waited for him. A blank state of tiredness filled Namjoon’s head, clogging his responses. He lifted Jungkook’s hoodie sleeve to his nose again and let the smell fill him with warmth.
“Look, Namjoon. Don’t overdo it, okay?”
Seokjin scowled at the ground. “You’re worrying me. Please remember to take care of yourself. You’re not built for this and you’re not getting time off class.”
“I’m here napping, aren’t I?”
“Yeah, that’s good. I get to feed you.”
“How’s radio holding up?”
“It caught fire yesterday.”
“Kidding. I’ve filled your water bottle with tea to take to class. It should be cool enough to drink now.”
“Thanks. Really, Seokjin. You’re doing too much.”
“This is not how I expected things to go with you two.”
Namjoon blinked at him, waiting for him to elaborate, but he seemed to already be past his comfortable sharing point. He’d always had trouble speaking sincerely, never shared his feelings with the group, preferred to let Yoongi speak for both of them. He gathered Namjoon’s dishes with his lips pursed and Namjoon could sense it, some more serious reservations, an amount of concern for Namjoon that went beyond how he was physically holding up.
Namjoon could hardly pay attention in class as his stomach tied itself in knots over Seokjin’s quiet disapproval. And how many hours now had Jungkook gone without help? Nearly nine now after that long nap. Had he eaten? Had he fucked himself through a wave with his vibrator?
Yoongi met Namjoon in the kitchen after class and handed him a grocery bag of Tupperware containers. “If you’re going back to Jungkook, take those to him and make sure you both eat.”
“I have a shift on radio.”
“I’m taking your shift. Got an essay to write anyway. I figured you’d be heading back over.”
Namjoon nodded, body already itching to go. “Yeah, gotta make sure he eats.”
“Among other things,” Yoongi muttered. “Stay hydrated.”
Jungkook’s next door neighbor blocked Namjoon’s path into their kitchen, frying burgers on the stove. “Sorry,” he muttered and tried to back out quick.
“Hey, one minute,” she said and tugged him back by the hoodie with one thick arm that pulled him like he weighed nothing. She opened the cabinet, hand still gripping his sleeve, and pulled a box down from the top shelf. Up close, her scent reminded him of sand in the sun, a little blistering and gritty but friendly and familiar. “This tea is good for rut. Make your boy drink it.”
“Oh shit. Thanks.”
She shrugged. “You can probably use it too. Use as much as you want. I’ll get more when I go home.”
He sniffed it and got a bitterly herbal scent, closer to mate than tea. “Thanks again. I’ll make sure he drinks some.”
“He’s been using chamomile and that just doesn’t cut it. I don’t know how much help he’s okay with during ruts so you’re probably a better person than me to get it to him, but he’s been having a really rough time.”
“Oh really? Gotta get in there.”
She gave him a pat on the back and a grin that made her look a little shark-like. “Brave man. You’re a good dude.” She went back to her burgers, putting the tea on top of the microwave next to Jungkook’s Oreos.
Jungkook didn’t respond to a knock but his door swung open. He lay barely covered in his thin sheets on the bed, these ones a faded navy with bleach stains that looked too old and misused to be anything but rags. His tan skin looked like satin in comparison, rising in gentle curves out of the bed. Namjoon dropped the forgotten food on the desk and kicked off his shoes to climb in next to him. Jungkook stirred just enough to throw an arm around Namjoon and tug him close, and then drifted back to sleep.
The contrast between Jungkook’s baking skin and the cool air outside the sheets had Namjoon shivering and jamming in closer. The urge to sleep evaporated as he lay there so close to the scent of rut pouring into his nose, his sudden desire to be good, his sudden need for skin on skin contact.
And deeper than that, Namjoon couldn’t bring himself to close his eyes. Jungkook’s long lashes and rounded nose were so close, the angelic curve of his lips, his soft hair, his smooth cheeks, the cut of his jaw. Breathless, Namjoon worked a hand up and brushed a thumb over Jungkook’s bottom lip, chapped with fever. He placed a soft kiss on the side of Jungkook’s mouth, his nose, his chin.
Jungkook let out the softest laugh. Those big brown eyes cracked open, eyebags puffy and dragging his lids closed. “Can’t just let me sleep?” he whispered.
“It’s fine.” Jungkook leaned forward and kissed him again. “I’d rather kiss you than sleep.” But his eyes were closed again and his face slackened slowly. His breathing evened out. Namjoon’s throat closed to tamp down the involuntary cooing and giggles. He lay there and stared until the warmth of the bed dragged him under too.
He woke to the sound of Jungkook clattering silverware around. The sun had gone down outside. “Did Seokjin send this over?”
Namjoon turned slowly and saw Jungkook fussing with steaming food containers on the desk. “I found these when I woke up. Dinnertime!”
“Yoongi sent them actually. Can I? Oh shit, is that bulgogi?”
“Bulgogi bowls,” Jungkook said with a smile. “I think this is the Hello Fresh recipe he got last semester. I heated them both up. Here’s some chopsticks.”
“Thanks. This is the second time I’ve been fed in bed today.”
Jungkook beamed. A quiet buzzing could just be heard over the sound of the building’s heating and the clatter of chopsticks against the glass containers.
“Are you in a wave?”
“Uh-huh. It’s not too bad though. I took the edge off so we could eat.”
“Tea. You gotta drink the tea.”
“Your neighbor gave me good tea for rut.”
“Is that her name? Yeah. It’s on the microwave. She says we should both drink some.”
Jungkook nodded, looking surprised. “I wish I knew her better. She’s been really cool this whole week, like leaving water bottles outside the door and letting me have all the time in the bathroom that I want. We should definitely drink some later.”
Despite how empty Namjoon’s stomach felt, he ate slowly, attention on the way Jungkook squirmed in his desk chair, how he shoveled food into his mouth with complete focus for a few minutes and then stopped in the middle of a mouthful to sit very still with his eyes closed and his shoulders tense. Eventually he dropped everything and grabbed a handful of tissues. He yanked the band of his sweatpants down and fisted himself quickly until he came into the tissues, then shuddered with his forehead on the desk for a while before tucking himself back in and throwing the tissues away.
He smirked at Namjoon. “I can smell it—”
“When I get turned on. Yeah.”
“We’ll get there in a minute, honey.”
Jungkook made tea while Namjoon finished eating, then took his dishes and washed them. Namjoon stumbled around with his fuzzy brain and put up polite but unconvincing protest about how he should be helping more.
Back in bed, Namjoon tugged off his clothes, preparing for whatever rough, fast sex Jungkook needed before they crashed back to sleep. But Jungkook came up slowly, settling himself between Namjoon’s legs looking very naked and very small, his brightest smile on his face as he stared down. “It’s actually feeling really good now,” he said and bent to kiss Namjoon’s knee.
“The rut is?” Namjoon said. His dick looked pathetically small, soft on his belly with Jungkook’s monster of a cock in full view between his legs. The heavy alpha musk made it a little hard to focus.
“Yeah.” He lifted Namjoon’s leg and kissed his ankle.
Jungkook shuffled closer until Namjoon’s thigh pressed fully up against his chest. Jungkook turned his head and bit Namjoon’s calf, eyes closed, still smiling. “Pretty legs,” he said in his tiny voice, and hugged Namjoon’s thigh closer. The stretch burned just a little but Namjoon’s brain emptied of even more sense as his dick decided it really liked that. “I’ve been wanting to see these up close for years.”
“They’re so long. You could be a model, Joon.”
“A-ah. So could you.”
“Yeah right. Lemme just.” Jungkook’s dick pressed heavily against Namjoon’s balls and tickled up his thigh. He ran his hands up and down, touch shivery and light. Namjoon’s dick plumped with astonishing speed as Jungkook kneaded happily as his thigh, cheek rubbing against his leg.
“You really like…my legs?”
Jungkook finally scooted backwards so he could press Namjoon’s thigh back and leave light kisses down the inside. He nipped every few inches, leaving little red marks behind on the skin that faded quickly but left a tingling pressure behind. Namjoon’s breath quickened. “They’re so nice,” Jungkook said. He sat up and rocked back against the bed, nose scrunched, his hands running up and down Namjoon’s thighs. He pressed them back and dug his thumbs into the muscle, making Namjoon hold them open and shake with his perfectly average cock completely exposed.
Jungkook leaned forward suddenly, face against Namjoon’s thigh where his hand wrapped around it, hair tickling Namjoon’s stomach. He tensed up, becoming small, one hand between his legs. His shaky gasps puffed against Namjoon’s skin until he held his breath and whimpered. When he sat up, cloudy white liquid covered his hand. Another rush of campfire scent tickled Namjoon’s nose.
“How can you keep producing so much of that stuff?” Namjoon said as Jungkook fumbled for tissues. He just shrugged, equally bewildered.
“Looking a bit needy there,” he said, nodding at Namjoon’s hard-on.
“Yeah, you think?”
“I got you,” Jungkook said, and nestled his face right down against Namjoon’s balls with his tongue out. “Smells so good.”
“Uh-huh.” A giddy heat briefly engulfed one of Namjoon’s balls. He had time to yelp before Jungkook pulled off. He licked a long path up Namjoon’s dick—or a short one, comparatively, and swallowed him down to the root. Namjoon yanked Jungkook’s fitted sheet off the corner of the bed and accidentally smacked himself in the chest. One of Jungkook’s hands wrapped around his hip and held him down.
“You’re gonna make me cum.”
Jungkook hummed with the tip of Namjoon’s cock against the back of his throat and Namjoon scrambled for a new handhold as his whole body tensed with it. “Okay, okay,” Jungkook murmured and pulled off.
“Nooooo,” Namjoon groaned as orgasm hovered there dangerously on the edge, waiting to explode.
Namjoon’s stomach flopped again, dick throbbing like it was trying to cum without help. A condom packet ripped open and Namjoon blinked the sweat out of his eyes to watch Jungkook roll it all the way down and down his cock. His skin gleamed, dewy and flushed, lips glossy, dick standing straight against his stomach and deeply red. His hair stuck to his forehead. The dazed, haggard look to his previous waves had left his face though, and even with hooded eyes and panting lips, he looked comfortable and pleased.
“You pulled my sheets off the bed,” Jungkook said with a grin, noticing for the first time.
“It’s good. Can you hold onto the bed frame for me?”
“You really care about the sheets that much?”
Jungkook made a “tch” noise and cocked his head to the side, staring Namjoon down with his half-lidded eyes and that satisfied smirk on his face. With his breath trapped at the top of his throat, Namjoon slowly slid his hands over his head and found the metal bed frame poking up just over the top of the mattress. He gripped it and Jungkook rewarded him by pushing lube into Namjoon’s unresisting hole.
“Ugh, you’re so perfect,” Jungkook said, lazily massaging the lube deeper like he was doing no more than preparing a fleshlight. “So ready for me.” The callousness of it had Namjoon melting like overheated wax, wilted by the indignity of being toyed with. His noise of protest came out a desperate groan of need.
Jungkook’s hands burned hot as they pushed, lube-wet and powerful up Namjoon’s thighs, folding him back to line up and push in. Like always, the swelling pressure of Jungkook’s cock filling him felt more like his soul was being punched out from the inside. Namjoon couldn’t help but make stupid noises, vision blurred and lungs malfunctioning. His thighs burned, his back ached from arching.
Jungkook bottomed out with a gasp and collapsed over Namjoon’s chest where he got his teeth around the bottom of a pec and chewed lightly like he needed something to do with his mouth.
Namjoon let go of the bed frame to hold onto the back of Jungkook’s head. “Ah-ah, bed fr—oh.” Namjoon scratched his scalp with one hand and rubbed his back with the other. “Th-that’s fine, I gue—hnn.” His hips rocked frantically into Namjoon in quick pulses that made Namjoon tense and squirm, oversensitive. The sweaty skin of Jungkook’s stomach brushed over his neglected cock, breath hot over his nipple. Vibrator buzzing came muffled through the air. Namjoon clenched his thighs around Jungkook’s waist and he whimpered.
“Oh, I’m gonna cum.”
“Me first,” Jungkook grunted. As if on command, he froze and trembled, dick twitching. An orgasm waited impatiently right within reach for Namjoon, but Jungkook pulled out with a horrifying suctioning noise and panted above him with eyes screwed shut.
Namjoon groaned. “Stop edging me!”
“Sorry. I don’t mean to. Gotta get another condom.” He crawled over Namjoon’s body to grab it, dick trailing wetly across his hip and stomach. “Turn over,” he said, patting Namjoon’s hip.
“Good. Yeah. My hips hurt the other way.”
“Stretching is good for you.”
Jungkook kissed Namjoon’s back and gave him a quick but tight hug around the waist before pushing him chest down into the sheets with his hips in his lap. He slid right back in and relief shivered its way through Namjoon’s every limb. He stopped struggling for a more dignified position and just savored it, rocking his hips to feel it. “There you go,” Jungkook breathed. His hand ran slowly up Namjoon’s back. “How’s it feel?”
“So amazing. I’ve never taken anything this big,” Jungkook said.
“Fucking try it sometime.”
Jungkook finally started working with more thorough, relaxed strokes than Namjoon had felt from him yet, relentless and demanding but patient. Namjoon pressed his face into the campfire-smelling sheets to muffle his whimpering and smeared drool all across them. He could feel Jungkook’s hands on his ass, on his back, his sides, his hips, thumbs spreading him apart, digging into his thighs. Shy Jungkook—who shared soft love songs with him in the library and blushed when he talked about himself—fucking taking what he wanted from Namjoon’s body with both greed and reverence.
He made it five minutes before his cock gave up on waiting for touch and spit pathetically into the sheets with a shuddering, aching orgasm that went on almost painfully for far too long and left him shaking over Jungkook’s thighs.
When his ears weren’t ringing quite so badly and his body wasn’t locked up in aftershocks, he could feel Jungkook frozen up behind him, gasping with his lovely, soft voice, dick buried to the hilt in Namjoon’s clenching ass.
“Kook—Kook, oh my god, Kook, you gotta—fuck—hurts—”
Jungkook pulled out with an unbearably long slide that made Namjoon’s eyes water.
“Ugh, still need more,” Jungkook whined as he pulled off the condom.
Namjoon lay on his back, staring at the starry tapestry on Jungkook’s ceiling. Jungkook’s head landed on his upper arm, head angled towards his armpit and eyebrows pinched. He fisted his cock with one hand and stretched the other behind himself.
“What does it feel like?” Namjoon asked.
“Like—there’s static electricity in my guts—and it needs—” He groaned and left his cock alone for a second to flick a finger across his nipple. “Like. There’s something inside me pressing on my. Stuff. And I gotta get it out. Like there’s an actual fire under my ass.”
“How’s it feel with me here?”
Jungkook nuzzled closer to Namjoon’s chest, mouth open as he breathed in. “So good,” he breathed. “So much better. Like everything I just said except it feels good.”
Namjoon wrapped his arm around Jungkook’s head and pulled him up awkwardly by the hair. Jungkook complied easily, mouth angled up where Namjoon could nibble his lower lip and tangle their tongues together.
With a growing shiver, Jungkook’s lazy work turned desperate. Namjoon leaned over him, watching those biceps and forearms straining as Jungkook worked himself, every muscle in his body stretched into sharp relief, eyes squeezed shut and neck barred, hair still wrapped around Namjoon’s fingers. Namjoon reached between Jungkook’s legs and grabbed the vibrator, found a button and pressed it. The buzzing kicked up a pitch. Jungkook clung to his arm, face pressed to his skin. Namjoon kissed the top of his head and rock the vibrator deeper.
The comedown of an alpha high made itself apparent with Namjoon’s clearing mind and aching body. Jungkook’s sticky hand came off his cock to brace against Namjoon’s stomach. He threw a leg over Namjoon’s hips. Namjoon felt protectiveness and control rising into him like the filling of a deflated balloon “Fuck, you’re gonna make me hard again,” Namjoon murmured.
“Eung! J—ah. Mm.”
“Where’d all the alpha control go, baby?”
Both of Jungkook’s hands squeezed against Namjoon’s skin. He tipped his face back up to meet Namjoon’s eyes with what was supposed to be a glare, wrecked by the tears filling his eyes, his gaping lips. “Please,” he whispered.
Heart pounding with that old, familiar sense of power, Namjoon pushed him onto his back, spread his legs apart. Jungkook flopped there as Namjoon grabbed his cock and stroked, admiring. “Think your rut will be over soon?”
“Mm-hm. ‘s gonna get harder.”
“Harder than this?” Namjoon said, squeezing his stiff, angry red cock.
“Harder to cum.”
He shuffled down and fit as much of Jungkook’s cock into his mouth as he could, which wasn’t a lot, and satisfied himself with sucking on the head as he fisted the rest. The vibrator hummed in his hand. Jungkook struggled to clutch the sheets where they lay loose on the bed, then reached over his head and grabbed the bed frame.
“Good boy,” Namjoon said.
“Oh, fuck you, oh my god, please go faster. Take out the vibrator. Fuck me.”
“I’m not gonna be able to get hard for a bit. Sorry.”
Namjoon wrapped his lips around Jungkook’s cock again, watched the muscles in his stomach jump in response. “Touch yourself,” Namjoon said. Jungkook let go of the bed frame and ran his hands down his chest. One got stuck on a nipple, rolling it between his fingers. The other ran down to his abs and stayed there, trailing over them again and again.
“So unreal,” Namjoon said. “Look at you. You know you’re hot.”
Jungkook writhed, thighs squeezing in, back twisting. He panted, shook, came in a short white burst into Namjoon’s hand. Namjoon slunk up Jungkook’s shaking body, kissing each muscle and freckle until he mouthed over Jungkook’s open lips.
“V—oh, Nam—mm—vib—oh—fuck, Joon, vibe.” Namjoon reached down to pull it out, moving away from Jungkook’s face. “N-no!” Jungkook yanked him with alarming strength down onto his chest, still tense and trembling with oversensitivity. “D-don’t go.”
“Can’t reach your vibe.”
“Rnng! Hah!” He kicked the sheets angrily and let Namjoon go long enough to pull it out, then squeezed him back against his chest. They lay smashed together in a sweaty, smelly heap until Jungkook stopped trembling.
“Lemme clean you up, baby,” Namjoon murmured and kissed his nose. Jungkook slowly let him go without opening his eyes. Namjoon slid out of bed and went for the wet wipes.
This time, it was Namjoon who stripped the bed and retrieved water, Namjoon who got them into the shower and washed Jungkook’s hair. An ache shot through his ass every time he took a step, but Jungkook could barely keep his eyes open. His scent seemed stale, almost wet like a fire that had just been put out. The dirt and musk was still there, but older and dimmer.
“I can tell you’re coming out of it.”
“I’m almost disappointed,” Jungkook mumbled. “That’s a first.”
Namjoon tipped his chin up so he could rinse his hair and couldn’t stop himself from peppering his swollen lips with little kisses. Jungkook arms looped loosely around his waist and he leaned heavily into him with his surprising weight. “Careful. It’s slippery in here.”
“Uh-huh,” Jungkook said, poking a finger between Namjoon’s ass cheeks and sliding easily into him. Namjoon squeaked and jerked out of the way.
“Cute,” Jungkook said while his head rolled tiredly against Namjoon’s shoulder, half asleep and needy.
He barely got Jungkook to eat a handful of Oreos before they climbed back into bed. Jungkook tucked himself against Namjoon’s chest without comment and dropped off to sleep as soon as his head hit the pillow. With a deep, contented breath of Jungkook’s scent, Namjoon did the same.
“I’m skipping classes today.”
Jungkook slowed where he was rocking on Namjoon’s chest, dick trailing precum between his pecs. “No! Why?”
“I, um, got called out by a professor for being unfit for class participation on yesterday.”
Jungkook froze, eyes wide. “Oh my god. I’m so sorry.”
“It’s fine,” Namjoon said. “We did what we could about it.” The pheromone high covered the early morning like a gentle blanket, turning 5 a.m. into a cozy adventure, both of them keeping each other quiet with fingers and hands over and in mouths, giggling and pressing pillows over each other’s faces. Jungkook slapped Namjoon’s thigh too loudly and sent them into sex-stopping fits of laughter. Already sated and riding it out, Namjoon had agreed to let Jungkook fuck his tits. He didn’t have enough there to be satisfying, but Jungkook had a vibrator in again, an egg buzzing where it was strapped to the head of his dick, pushing through a puddle of lube between his pecs. Namjoon cupped his hand over it to feel the thick slide. “Really, it’s okay,” he said. “You can’t control it.”
“It’s not fun through. I know you like your privacy.”
“It’s not--I mean yeah, I do. Don’t blame yourself. I wanted this.”
“I keep thinking. If rut hadn’t hit this week, we would have gone on dates by now.” Jungkook’s thrusts stuttered a little. He gazed blearily at the wall. “I’ve been thinking about taking you to that winter festival northwest of here. Or cooking in your kitchen.”
“Back in the fall a few weeks ago I kept trying to get up the nerve to ask you out to that corn maze. Remember the sign for that in the dining hall?”
Namjoon shook his head.
Jungkook shuffled on his knees. The base of his vibrator dug into Namjoon’s stomach. Wet thumbs soothed over his nipples. “When we got back to school, I was going to ask you to the farmers market.”
“Baby,” Namjoon whispered. Dewy skin rippled above him in soft curves, looking more puffy than cut, the light presence of muscle under skin. How hard he worked for the gentle sculpt of his arms and chest, the flatness of his stomach? Was it the same way Chungha fought for her wiry strength? Other alphas filled as much space as possible, choking scent extending their reach to whole rooms. Namjoon floated in it like a snail in a fishtank.
With a strained groan, Jungkook came over Namjoon’s chest. He felt it pool hotly on his collarbone and run down his neck. With tired tenderness, Jungkook wiped it up and covered his lips and jaw with kisses. “You hate missing class,” he said.
“I’ve made my decision.”
Jungkook curled around his side, crushing him in with long arms and strong thighs. The remaining tackiness of the lube made Jungkook’s arm stick to Namjoon’s chest like they had magnets under their skin.
“I’ll stay in bed with you all day,” Jungkook murmured.
Namjoon kissed his forehead and breathed in the campfire scent, going just a little floatier as he squeezed his perfect, beautiful Jungkook close.
"I swear I'm nearly done," Jungkook growled against Namjoon's back.
"We just started." The ache in his ass had reached the point where not even the pheromone high covered it up, a dull throb that turned sharp when Jungkook's enormous cock punched into him. Jungkook whimpered, thighs trembling with every thrust and hands scrabbling desperately on Namjoon's body. He let out a sound close to a sob and thrust unevenly. Namjoon didn't have the heart to ask for a thigh fuck, knew he couldn't offer to suck him off well. He wrapped his fingers around Jungkook's wrist to comfort him and gritted his teeth.
The bliss of rut sex seemed to have run its course, no more sweet nothings and laughter, no more dirty talk, no more slow, affectionate sex or heady power play. Jungkook moved frantically. Namjoon lay still.
"Right. Oversensitivity is a thing," Jungkook said, voice shaking hard. He kept half-heartedly thrusting in.
"You wanna rest a minute?"
A desperate whine.
"Take your time."
"You're not even hard," Jungkook whimpered.
"Don't worry about it. Deal with me when you're done."
Jungkook hovered, dick barely in, one arm tight and shaking around Namjoon's waist. "You sure?" he asked.
"I'm here to help you," Namjoon said, "You can spend the next few weeks making it up to me if you feel the need, but this is what we're doing now. Just do what you need to do."
Jungkook railed him into the mattress for another fifteen minutes until he came with his whole body rattling. He pulled out with a strangled whine and collapsed on the bed, still tense, still shivering. His teeth chattered. Namjoon took one look at the sweat dripping down his neck and reached for the water bottle.
"We should probably shower," he said.
Jungkook's eyes opened the tiniest bit to acknowledge that he'd heard and then shut tightly again.
"It's gotta be done by now, right?"
Namjoon got up and fetched the wet wipes.
A couple buildings over, Namjoon's Eastern Thought and Ethics class was meeting to discuss something Namjoon hadn't finished reading. The thought of all the piled-up homework he had to do, the final projects coming up, the hours lost in the studio, crashed into him suddenly as he stood in Jungkook's narrow kitchen out of the worst of his smell. He gripped the counter and breathed through gritted teeth.
Back in the bedroom, Jungkook had a fleshlight on his cock and a vibrator in his ass, panting harshly as he worked. Namjoon set the hot tea on the desk. "You're gonna hurt yourself."
"Last wave," Jungkook whispered.
"Where's the lube?"
"I can’t fuck you again."
"Not what I meant."
Namjoon got two lubed hands around Jungkook's cock and worked hard and fast until tears streamed down Jungkook’s face and his frantic kicks rocked the whole bed. He came with a sad, weak dribble and an exorcist-like contortion. He could barely stay awake long enough for the tea.
The room had begun to smell, not like campfire or alpha musk, but of plain old body odor and sex. Namjoon left Jungkook's corpse where it lay and limped stiffly about the room, beginning to clean. He could do nothing about the sheets, but the trash needed to be taken out, the boy wiped off again, the stray tissues and snacks tracked down. He lay in bed. He texted Yoongi. He took more painkiller. He went over their lunch supplies and got working.
Jungkook stumbled into the living room in the early afternoon smelling like a dishrag left in a gutter. He gave Namjoon a weak salute and headed right for the shower. Namjoon made sure the lunch was covered and followed him in.
"Painkiller," he said as he stepped into the shower. Jungkook opened his mouth obediently. He already had shampoo in his hands. Like a sloth, he worked his way through conditioner while Namjoon washed his hair and body. As he rinsed, Jungkook gave up on soap and leaned against the wall. "I'm gonna go wash the pile of sheets," Namjoon said. Jungkook nodded and sank slowly to the floor.
It was only after Namjoon stripped the bed and loaded two different washing machines that he realized they'd gone through the last pair of sheets, leaving the mattress bare. "Oh, Kook, you'd better be done," he groaned. The mattress pad shone a bright white in the light coming through the window. Namjoon blinked at it, wondering if his eyes had gotten too used to the cave. He went to the window and drew the blinds.
Snow filled his view. The road that curved through campus, the sidewalks, the little bare trees and benches, the iron railings, the empty flower beds all stood quietly under a veil of white, gathering fluffy clumps of snowflakes. Namjoon took a deep, slow breath and let it out, felt his lungs fill with calm.
He stuck his head in the bathroom. "Kook, it's snowing!"
"Huh? I'll be right out."
They ate lunch while bundled up in extra blankets on the living room couch, watching snow fall past the window and coat the roof. Jacky walked past them with a little grunt of greeting. She returned a few minutes later and grinned at their tea. Namjoon gave her a little toast. "Pretty," she said, nodding at the window.
"Am I done?" Jungkook asked weakly, looking up at her. She hesitated a moment, then leaned down for a closer sniff.
"Yeah, it's gone," she said.
She made herself a cup of tea and sat down with them. "Shouldn't you be taking a nap?" she asked.
"I'm okay," he said.
"We've run out of sheets," Namjoon admitted, and saw Jungkook give him a little self-conscious pout.
"Seemed like a rough one," Jacky said.
"Wasn't anything much compared to the one you had earlier this year."
She cackled. "That's true. I didn't have any help though."
"When I walked in on you face down on the bathroom floor," Jungkook said.
"Low point of my life."
Namjoon sipped his tea, feeling weird about being included in a personal alpha to alpha conversation.
"So, beta," Jacky said with her shark-like grin. "How'd you like that alpha cock?"
A deep feeling of unease bloomed in Namjoon’s chest as if his dignity was shriveling into a husk as she stared at him, making him small. It was as if she could smell the sharp ache in his thighs. "...Intense."
Jungkook pouted again, knowing that was a neutral cop-out. Jacky grinned at them with her arms over her chest, bulging with muscle, looking at Jungkook with off-putting pride.
"The cock changes you," Jacky said with a sigh, but didn't laugh afterwards, and Namjoon got the feeling that was an honest statement. He tried to shake himself. This was a nice person trying to be friendly. "Speaking from experience?" he asked.
"Yyyup." She sat there a minute longer, staring off into the corner like she was thinking of good memories. “Well, you two pretty boys get some rest,” she said. Jungkook grumbled but gave her a respectful nod as she traipsed off to her room. An odd distance sat on the open couch between the two of them.
The snow fell outside with the best feeling of cozy winter. Namjoon’s projects and readings could wait for him to enjoy the year’s first snowfall. Jungkook scooted close enough to bump shoulders with Namjoon on the couch, head heavy on his shoulder.
It could have been a different scene. They could have been lying on a bed after a dinner downtown, bundled up and cozy on clean sheets, still getting comfortable, still taking their time. The snowfall could have been an exhilarating blessing, something to take a walk in instead of a distraction.
Jungkook had been imagining dates for so long. Namjoon had taken months to ease himself in only to get shoved in the deep end. He felt himself coming back into the air, shocked and shivering, water up his nose.
They watched the winter until Namjoon got the sheets out of the dryer and coaxed the exhausted Jungkook to bed.
Namjoon left for class the next morning without waking Jungkook, just a good-morning text in his inbox and hot tea in a thermos. The smell of rut had faded completely in the night, leaving the room almost bare of campfire scent, and Namjoon felt weirdly out of body, like he stood in a stranger’s room. Even asleep, Jungkook’s swollen face gave away how burnt out he was. Namjoon indulged in a few quick brushes of Jungkook’s face, a kiss in his hair, a couple down his back. Jungkook didn’t stir.
Jackson gave Namjoon a handshake when he walked into class. "What's that for?"
"You're walking funny,” he said with a smirk. “Your daddy get you good?”
Jackson stopped snickering and leaned across the aisle as Namjoon sat gingerly in the unforgivingly hard desk chair. "Is it over yet?"
"Yeah, it is."
"Figured. You're looking way more conscious today. How was it?"
"Intense. Kind of overpowering." His head felt horribly clear, a hangover kind of awareness, a sobering intensity that made him think the whole class was staring at him. The professor especially, who raised her eyebrows when she walked in and saw him in his seat. He sat board-straight the whole class and focused until his head felt wrung out.
"You did really well for having not read the book," Jackson said after class.
"I read it last night! What are you talking about?"
Jackson held up his hands. "You didn't have your notes!"
"I was rushing!"
“Only you would bother to do your homework while getting dicked down by an alpha.” Classmates definitely heard that one. Jackson didn’t notice, just grinning with excitement. Namjoon kicked his desk. “Find an alpha yourself if you think it’s so great.”
“No!” Jackson yelped. He looked horrified for a minute, then giggled nervously. “I’m not—that’s not me. Like, I totally respect it, but it’s not me.”
Namjoon headed home feeling disgruntled. "You okay?" Seokjin said first thing, voice low and cautious.
"My ass hurts, but I'm good."
Namjoon pulled on his snow boots and spent the rest of his Friday at the library. He considered texting Jungkook, feeling a bit conspicuously alone at a table by the high windows, watching the snow drip slowly off the trees outside, leaning awkwardly sideways to take the pressure off the worst of his aches. His phone stayed face-down on the table, cycling through the lyric-less study playlist, the slow jams and Flashbulb and occasionally ballet movements.
Jungkook had shown him a couple of these.
They often went to the library without each other, right? Namjoon did sometimes. Jungkook needed to sleep. Namjoon needed to get ahead on his homework again. It wasn't weird that he wasn't texting. They didn’t used to spend every minute together and they didn’t have to now.
At dinnertime, Seokjin made him a chicken and rice bake and sat him down at the downstairs table to eat it instead of letting him retreat to his room. He called Taehyung in too. "I'm doing great," Taehyung said when Namjoon asked. "Don't worry about me. I've been catching up on work and I feel weirdly good."
"Me too," said Namjoon. "I'm feeling fine."
"You're walking like you've got a balloon between your knees."
Namjoon snorted into his food.
"Why isn't Jungkook here?" Taehyung said. "I bet he could use some food."
"He's, um...I figured he was sleeping," Seokjin said. "Namjoon, do you know where Jungkook is?"
Namjoon pulled his phone out and saw that he'd gotten a text thirty minutes ago that said, Do you want to get dinner and go to the library?
"He wants to get dinner with me," Namjoon said.
"Oh," Seokjin said, wringing his hands together. "Tell him to come over here."
Taehyung stared at his plate, the fork halfway out of his mouth. "Namjoon, have you seen him yet today?"
"Yeah, this morning. I slept at his place last night."
Jungkook arrived with fresh snow in his hair and deep purple bags under his eyes, scuffing his feet across the floor. He looked so much like himself, so strangely familiar, so oddly normal compared to the last week, but his skin was pale and he leaned against the wall to take his shoes off. "Oh my god, Jungkook," Seokjin said.
"Thanks for the food," he said, lowering himself into his chair as carefully as Namjoon had. The weakest campfire scent tickled the edge of Namjoon's smell, just a breath of it, nearly as soft as Taehyung's usual scent. "Hi, Tae. Long time, no see. The nurse said I set you off. I'm really sorry."
"I kind of got you back, didn't I?" Taehyung said. "You're fine. This is what we get for being friends."
Jungkook raised an eyebrow that looked almost doubtful. He shoveled three bites worth of seasoned rice and chicken into his mouth in one spoonful and chewed laboriously.
"You've been to the nurse? How much weight did you lose?"
"In three days? Oh my god, Jungkook," Seokjin said again, and rushed to the fridge.
As he ate, Jungkook shuffled his knee to the side to brush it against Namjoon's, leg to leg in the hot kitchen. He leaned sideways until their shoulders touched, lay his head against Namjoon's shoulder when he finished. It wasn’t that Namjoon wanted to push him away, but Seokjin and Taehyung were right there watching with their blank gazes.
And Namjoon fell out of step, like the man he'd spent three days in bed with must have been someone else. This was the person he knew, the soft, unsure, quietly affectionate person who smelled softly like campfire. This was the person he wanted. The man who held him down and called him pretty and split him apart was someone else.
He'd meant to come together carefully with this person, had meant to get to this point with a couple dates that had never happened, some sweet, late-night conversations he hadn't gotten out yet. Yet Jungkook lay on him like he had his claim already, like they'd already passed the point of negotiating familiarity. Namjoon wasn't sure they'd made those negotiations on equal terms.
Across the table, Taehyung watched them, a grim look on his face.
"You smell..." Jungkook started.
Jungkook's sharp chin dug into his shoulder, looking up at Namjoon's face.
"What do I smell like?"
Jungkook shrugged. "You don't smell like me anymore."
Namjoon registered his own relief with guilt. "I'm sorry."
Jungkook let go, pulled away, then gathered his dishes and went to the sink. "I'm gonna go work in my room," he said. "I need to be able to sleep when I want to."
"Do you want me to--"
"You can stay here," Jungkook said. "Get a full night of rest for me, will you?"
"Yeah, okay," Namjoon said, trying not to feel relieved. "Want to meet up tomorrow?"
"At the library? I've got some studying to do."
"Y-yeah," Namjoon said. He'd meant a date. Seokjin handed Jungkook a tub of ice cream and guided him to the couch. Across the table, Taehyung frowned.
"Are your professors being good about letting you catch up?" Namjoon asked.
"Hm? Oh yeah, they're all being reasonable for once. This nurse is good. The last one didn't go out of her way to pester the professors about their responsibilities here, but this new one does." He frowned at the table. "She shouldn't have to, of course. That's not her job. It helps though. Have your professors been helpful?"
"Actually yes," Namjoon said. "They're all really lenient with me in general, not just this week."
"Your slacking is everyone else's normal work," Seokjin said from the living room. "Of course they're lenient."
"They shouldn’t be lenient with me if they’re not with Tae and Jungkook. They’ve earned it too."
"Damn right I have," Taehyung said, "putting up with Type-ists in all their fucking classes and being nice anyway."
The front door opened and closed.
"Was that Jungkook?" Namjoon asked. "Did he leave already?"
"Yeah, he's going to go do his homework," Seokjin said, coming back into the kitchen. "And you're going to stay here and do yours. I know how much you hate being behind and I'm baking cookies after this so you're not going anywhere."
Namjoon nodded, weirdness prickling his head but relieved to have an excuse to stay. He texted Jungkook a goodbye and a promise to meet up the next day. As he sat there, feeling his dinner roll in his stomach and his heart kick him in the ribs, Taehyung picked at his food across the table with his lip between his teeth. So much disapproval from all sides. Namjoon holed himself up in his room and got barely any work done.
"I've been picking up your shifts all week," Yoongi said. "It's a Saturday. I know you've got nothing going on. Please, for the love of god, let me go spend a few hours with Seokjin."
"I was gonna have dinner with Jungkook though."
"He's allowed in the studio!"
"Right. Yeah, I got it. I'll take the shift."
Yoongi let out a long sigh of relief and put a hand on Namjoon's shoulder. Students passed down the hall behind him, heading from the cafeteria to the computer lab. "My ass needs this. I haven't sat on a cock all week while you had all your fun."
A tall athlete-looking guy passing by them turned to stare. "Yoongi, I don't need to know this."
"I've been counting how many times in the past few days you've described to me how much your ass hurts. Do you want to see the tally?"
Yoongi gripped the front of Namjoon's jacket. "Jinnie might not be an alpha, but his dad's an alpha, and he passed down some of those good, good dick genes. You wanna know why I walk funny all the time?"
"Have I really made you this miserable?"
"Nah. I just like watching you squirm." Yoongi pulled away and dragged a pack of gum out of his pocket, popping it open like cigarettes. He shoved a piece in his mouth and jammed the crumpled wrapper in his pocket. "Have any plans for real dates yet?"
Namjoon struggled for a response, for something that made it sound like he had a plan.
"That's your tell," Yoongi said.
Yoongi popped a bubble and gestured at Namjoon with the box of gum. "Your eyes get really big and buggy. What's up?"
"No, seriously. What's wrong?"
"It's been a weird foot to get off on. Rut before any real dates.” Which stated nothing new. To say that he felt like he’d been dealing with two different people seemed a bit dramatic, maybe a bit Type-ist. The weird Jungkook who was an alpha and his Jungkook who wasn’t really. Except he was, and seemed to be perfectly adjusted to starting a relationship this way while Namjoon struggled to reconcile the intensity of rut with the innocence and care he felt compelled to start out on.
Yoongi shrugged. "Start over then."
"I think that ship has sailed.”
Yoongi patted him again, awkwardly sincere. "He’ll get it. You can do this. I'm gonna go get my ass broken back in."
For a while after Namjoon called off dinner and invited Jungkook to the studio, he got no response. As Namjoon hovered anxiously over his phone, Kendrick Lamar in his headphones, the girl with the butterfly tattoo passed by the window.
Even with snow on the ground outside, her fishnet stockings bared the tattoo to the world, and Namjoon brain went right back to the way the world felt when they were together, how strong she made him feel, how every waking moment had a little bit of her in it, the feel of her body against his, her hands on his chest, her long neck under his mouth. She pushed and pulled and teased and his hands rarely left her body for three months until they shattered apart under the ways they used each other.
Sana looked in and saw him through the window, meeting his eyes for the first time in months. She stopped in her tracks and gave him a smirk with her eyebrow cocked, half delighted, half disdainful, the look she used to give him when he talked about the awkward sex he had in high school. He got a vivid memory of her drunkenly calling him her big alpha in the line at Starbucks and he hadn’t been nearly embarrassed enough. He tore his eyes away.
Jungkook showed up a little while after the shift started, smelling like a cheeseburger. Sana had left the hallway, but Namjoon checked for her anyway.
"I see you didn't go with a protein shake and a salad," Namjoon said.
"I'm craving nothing but high-calorie foods right now," Jungkook said. "It's driving me nuts. I can feel the grease clogging my arteries." Jungkook put his phone down and seemed to fizzle with anxiety for just a moment, arms stiff by his sides and back unusually straight before he stepped Namjoon's chair and took his cheeks boldly in his hands. Namjoon sat up straighter, skin buzzing. He ass felt like he had a railroad spike lodged in it. Jungkook’s lips parted around a breath in like he was preparing for something, a kiss maybe, but he stayed where he was, just studying Namjoon's expression. "I did too much, didn’t I?" he murmured softly.
Namjoon swallowed. "I want to...have the first date. Can we do that? Can we still take this from step one?"
Jungkook's hands left his cheeks. He stepped back, shoving his hands in his pockets. "Step one? I’m really sorry."
"I hurt you, didn't I?"
"You..." Jungkook tipped his head back towards the ceiling. "You don't want to be around me. I can tell. Every time I see you, you smell scared like Taehyung."
"Like Taehyung? I’m not scared."
“When I touched you just now. You cringed.”
Namjoon’s heart stopped in his chest.
"I knew you were having a rough time,” Jungkook said, voicing lowering and lowering towards a whisper. “I didn't stop. I never stop. I'm so selfish.” The studio seemed suddenly sick. Jungkook put his face in his hands and stood in the middle of the room, breath shallow, scent sour. “I wish I wasn’t an…”
Namjoon’s throat felt clogged, chest filled with acid. Jungkook associated him with Taehyung, thought he’d forced himself on Namjoon, took Namjoon’s discomfort as a reflection of trauma.
The door clicked open and Jimin stumbled into the room with Seokjin and Taehyung behind him. "Kook! Joon! Haven't seen you in years!" Jimin gave Namjoon a quick hug and them wrapped his arms around Jungkook. "When are you coming back to dance?"
Jungkook took his face out of his hands and Namjoon could see his red eyes, the distraught pinch of his eyebrows. Sickly alpha murk rolled out over the room, the scent of unhappiness as pungent as bleach thrown on a fire. The room slowly froze as each person realized what they'd just walked in on. Taehyung jerked forward as if compelled to comfort, but Jungkook picked up his backpack and trudged out past his friends, leaving them to watch silently as he opened the door to the stairs and disappeared.
After a long moment, Jimin asked "What happened?"
Namjoon’s head spun, the scent still aching in his sinuses like a dehydration headache.
"Namjoon can't hide how uncomfortable he is with Jungkook," Taehyung said softly.
"You just went through rut with him," Taehyung said. "He’s grown seriously in tune with your scent. He can tell when you're feeling weird. You start putting out, like, fear scents, I guess. Anxious scents. Omegas can smell those on everyone but alphas need to know you really well. If I can smell it, so can he."
Namjoon pushed away from the table. He made it two feet before his headphones pulled him back and his thighs gave out. He sat heavily in his seat, feeling as if they were linked how Jungkook must feel, something like what Namjoon felt when the girl in class leaned away from him with a hand over her nose, something like how he felt when Sana smirked at him.
And hadn’t it been fear? Not fear of Jungkook, exactly. Fear of what he’d made of himself, fear of being a stand-in omega—a human more object than person. A fear sick with prejudice and judgement.
People hid things from each other for a reason. This was his own brain’s problem, not something Jungkook and Taehyung needed to read in him before it was fit to be shared.
"Namjoon, why are you uncomfortable?" Seokjin asked. "Are you okay?"
"I'm fine! Really, I'm fine!” Weak, gross, too caught up in his pride. “We had so many date ideas and we skipped that and went right to super intense fucking, and it's weird, okay? I feel weird. He really didn't have to know that. I’m not scared of him. I’m not traumatized."
"Namjoon," Taehyung said softly. Seokjin wordlessly pointed at Namjoon's computer where the song was switching. He grabbed the mic and mumbled a transition. The moody intro to "Lose Yourself" began playing in the frozen room.
"I don't know how I'm supposed to act," Namjoon said to his silent friends. "I don't know what he expects me to be to him. I don't know what the whole last week meant to him and I don't know what I'm supposed to do with it. I know what it means to other people and I want to crawl out of my own fucking skin!"
Seokjin let in a sharp gasp.
But Taehyung slid into Namjoon's arms, hands on his waist. He nosed against the side of his face and all the agitation flowed easily away with the soft perfume of Taehyung's scent. He leaned back in his seat and hung on.
"You don’t know enough,” Taehyung said.
It took a minute for Namjoon to process what he’d expected to be comfort. "What?"
"To date an alpha. You're relatively uninitiated." Taehyung pulled back finally and looked over Namjoon's head at Seokjin. "You either. You're getting way more defensive than you need to be. I can smell it on you too. You're very uncomfortable with this."
"It's an inherently unequal relationship," Seokjin said.
"Ah-ah. That's what alphas want you to think."
Seokjin huffed. "I've been watching the way my father treats my mother my whole life. I think I know--"
"Your father is one man, Jinnie, and he's the type to really keep this stuff close. That's a conversation for a different time. The problem right now is that we're too good at keeping betas out. This is a big flaw of our community. Jungkook and I are guilty too.”
"I don’t need a crash course on alphas, I need to apolog—"
"Shut up, please."
Namjoon looked up, surprised. There was a piece of his brain, an instinctual, selfish, prideful piece that wanted to laugh, to blow off being disrespected and insist on dominance. Like a bad beta but a good person, he shut his mouth.
Taehyung squinted at the ceiling, deep in thought. "You're not supposed to know about how Type works. We’re supposed to keep it really close to the vest."
"Do you have to do this with us in the room?" Seokjin said suddenly. “I really don’t need to hear it. It’s like hearing my dad’s dirty secrets.”
Taehyung gritted his teeth. "No, that's what I'm talking about. Walling betas out just causes problems."
"I'll leave then," he said. "I have grown up with this. I know what I'm comfortable with." He stood up and grabbed his jacket. Jimin stood behind him, mouthing 'sorry' at Taehyung.
"Actually, you know what? Jimin, please take this shift. We need to go talk."
"I don't want to talk,” Namjoon said. “I need to go tell Jungkook it’s not on him. I didn’t force him to do anything. He’s blaming himself."
"We've hurt Jungkook enough for today," Taehyung said. "Please listen to me. I just really want to get some facts straight with you so you can dive back into this with all the information. Otherwise you’ll just keep hurting him.” They bundled up in winter wear and shuffled out of the studio, Namjoon numbly anxious.
"It's this whole thing," Taehyung continued. "We have a saying. 'Omegas too private, alphas too proud.' It's supposed to sum up why betas aren't supposed to be one of us. That's why a lot of us prefer betas to consider themselves normal and Type strange. But it means that intentionally letting betas in has to be the work of individuals because it's not taught anywhere, and that's hard. I--" He bounced up and down suddenly frustrated. "I need to tell you this because Jungkook's not going to explain how this works. He doesn't think he deserves to make excuses. If you two are going to get anywhere you need to know what he’s dealing with. The sweetest alphas are also the most self-flatulating."
"Is that it?'
"You said self-farting."
Taehyung whacked himself in the forehead. “Of course I did.”
"I have to text him."
"And say what?"
"That I'm sorry, I guess."
"Do you want to date him right now?” Taehyung said, looking a little suspicious. “Please be honest. You've been fighting your way out of your comfort zone all semester for this. Has it been worth it?"
Namjoon found himself shaking his head. "The sex was awesome, but—"
"And you were in it for the sex?"
"With Chungha, yeah."
"And with him?"
"He's Jungkook! He's..." Namjoon rubbed his hands through his hair, trying to think. "We kissed last semester. When it was only us here. We were drunk and he climbed into my lap and kissed me and I was sure for like, five minutes, that that was all I wanted for the rest of my life. And then his scent got to me and I froze up and remembered that I'm not attracted to alphas."
Taehyung pushed him outside into the snow. Sun had set minutes before and streetlights shone dimly under a still-bright sky. "You kissed that long ago, huh?" he said.
"What am I doing?" Namjoon said. "The whole campus knows he fucked me and I feel so small. I hate it. Sana fucking smirked at me earlier. Jackson keeps treating me like a sexual deviant. My professor shamed me for coming to class. The minute I get uncomfortable I just hurt his feelings."
Taehyung stopped on the slippery sidewalk and faced him. "Here’s what you don’t know. Last year when Jungkook started hanging out with us I tried to bully him out of the group.”
The snow-blanketed campus around them dampened their voices, leaving them in a limbo of black trees and white ground and the sickly glow of streetlights making Taehyung’s smooth cheeks sallow and his eyes shadowy.
“Openly and viciously,” he continued, voice hard, “right in front of everyone's noses. He knew what I was doing. We both knew no one else had the knowledge to recognize it because that’s the whole set-up. We abuse each other in public and betas don’t know. Alphas are usually the people that take advantage of that, but I do too.”
Namjoon swallowed, suddenly reminded of the time months ago that Jungkook had stopped him under a tree and told him how guilty he felt for staying friends with them, how he’d known Taehyung hated having him there and stayed anyway. “I mean, I knew you were cold-shouldering the hell out of him.”
Taehyung shook his head. "It was more than pettiness. There's such a thing as a hostile scent. I tried to smoke him out. I tried to make him feel like a threat. I told him that if he ever laid a finger on me I wouldn't rest until I got him thrown out of the school and all his new friends would help me. I—" He took a deep, shaky breath, staring at Namjoon's feet. "I knew when he was going into rut. I told him he had no right to ask for help. I made him leave. I didn't tell anyone. I made sure everyone thought that alphas didn't need help when they were in rut anyway. You know that's not true now, right? Ruts are just as dangerous for alphas as heats are for omegas. Alphas can usually push through a little better, but it's rough on them. I took advantage of everyone’s ignorance and made him go through it completely alone. And he let it happen because he thinks that he doesn’t deserve to burden people like that."
The evening darkened slowly around them, making Taehyung's face steadily harder to see. He stayed silent, waiting, watching Namjoon's frozen face, probably smelling the shock on his scent as he imagined Jungkook writhing and whining and sweating through his sheets for a week with no one there to so much as bring him a bottle of water. And he’d played it off like it was nothing. “Like the world’s worst cold,” he’d told Namjoon on the camping trip months ago.
"Why?" Namjoon finally asked.
"I was scared!” Taehyung cried. “I was so scared! Do you know how many stories I've heard that end with 'and then the omega got fucking raped because they made the mistake of trusting someone.' I wasn't going to let it come to that. He knows it too. He's never blamed me. It took me months to figure out he was actually a good person because I was so ready for him to hurt me. He’s pathetically kind by alpha standards. I was so mean!" He finally buried his face in his hands and groaned. "Poor Jungkook. The whole world tells him that all alphas do is hurt people."
They stood in the cold for a minute, Namjoon slowly shifting his plans in his head. Telling Jungkook that it was other people making him uncomfortable and not Jungkook himself like he’d planned to probably wouldn’t help much. He’d still blame himself for making Namjoon’s life harder. This was as much a problem of Jungkook’s discomfort with being an alpha as it was about Namjoon’s discomfort. He felt strangely calmer, more confident in how to move things forward, even as he felt more at a loss than ever.
Eventually, Namjoon motioned Taehyung forward with a gentle tap to his elbow. For a little while, they walked in silence. "Here's some other Type secrets," Taehyung said. "Alphas are hardly more dominant than betas by nature. Their pheromones compel submission and when they're in pre-rut or on their ruts it gets pretty hard to resist. They've developed that into a cultural code that plays up the smell and it probably has some amount of pull on their personalities, but it's not a scientific certainty. Most alphas fall into that position really easily but for some alphas it’s too hard to keep up.
“Jungkook is like that. He’s going to be his normal quiet, sweet self when he’s not on rut. He doesn’t have that chemical confidence in his head or the scent to back it up right now. He isn’t going to want to be that way. For the most part he’s going to act exactly like a beta. You won’t smell like him. People won’t instinctively see you differently. You can stop worrying about what this tiny campus will think of you since you’re leaving in six months and they don’t care as much as you seem to think even now.”
It was as if Taehyung had dipped Namjoon’s heart in cold water and brought it up clean, a quick shock and then sudden clarity. It made too much sense for Jungkook to be normal and sweet for him to be anything else.
“That’s not a Type secret though,” Taehyung was saying. “That’s science that alphas like to ignore. Here’s some more. Omegas aren't naturally submissive so much as naturally needy. Alphas are programmed more towards blind loyalty than violence, though those things get warped by our expectations for ourselves."
A lump formed in Namjoon's throat, a kind of desperate hope, a crushing guilt, horrible pity.
They'd come almost to their dorm. Taehyung stopped outside his door without making any move to enter, just frowning into the bitterly cold dusk. "I know why Jungkook didn't leave when I was bullying him. He really should have. I couldn't figure out why he didn’t for the longest time because I thought that any decent alpha would have taken the hint and left."
"He was too attached to you, Namjoon. Even back then, he wanted you."