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Thunderlight

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Keep moving. Don’t look back. Don’t look back.

You don’t know how long you’ve been running through the never ending forest, stumbling and sliding on the wet mud and leaves you pass, constantly using trees to keep yourself upright. Your pulse thrums in your ears in the silence of the forest, the only other sound besides your ragged breathing as you attempt to draw air into your burning lungs. You want to stop.

Keep moving. Don’t look back. You have to get back to them.

You stumble over a root, hands reaching out to stop you from falling on your face, keeping your feet moving as you look for purchase on the wet ground. A whistle in the distance, somewhere behind you, gives you a jolt of speed as you continue on your path up the steep hill you’ve reached. You’re reaching the top when another whistle, this one much closer, sends chills down your spine. Your foot slips as you twist, a cry leaving your lips as you tumble right down the other side.

A tree near the bottom stops your forward momentum, and you’re crying out again at the pain that blossoms in your side from the impact. You don’t have time to dwell, rolling and stumbling to your feet, a little disoriented as you try to get your bearings. A familiar figure catches your attention at the edge of your vision, but your brain is too rattled to focus, too fueled by fear to recognize who it is.

“Sweetheart,” The coo of the familiar voice stop you dead in your tracks, hands gripping a nearby tree to stop yourself from falling. You’re turning to look, fingers digging into the tree at the man approaching you.

Jin.

You’re pushing off the tree to stumble into him, and he catches you easily, holding you upright as you sag into his arms, “Jin,” You sob out, fingers gripping his arms. You repeat his name several times before you pull away to look up at him, reaching a hand up to press against his cheek. “How? W-where?”

He doesn’t answer at first, a hand soothing over your hair for a few moments. When he smiles, his eyes flash black. You know . His steel grip prevents you from escaping his grasp, and his other hand grips your chin, fingers digging into your soft skin and you know you’re gonna have bruises.

“You’re more pathetic than a human. I didn’t think you would be stupid enough to fall for a familiar face so easily.”

You close your eyes, whimpering when his fingers tighten painfully on your chin, forcing your eyes back open. Jin no longer stares down at you, replaced by the man you had been hoping to escape.

Asa peers down at you, his black eyes narrowed. The demon grins at the tears in your eyes, releasing your chin to brush away your tears. You flinch at his rough touch.

“They’re not coming for you, little dove. Too busy licking their wounds, grieving over the loss of one of their own.”

A swift intake of breath from you makes him laugh.

“The hound thought he could tangle with a demon. I should have ripped his heart out. Would you have liked that?”

You ignore him, looking anywhere but at his bottomless, black eyes. A broken, bleeding body discarded like trash on the floor. Screaming, crying. Cradling his head in your lap before you’re being dragged away. He reaches after you, determination in his golden eyes. Glint of a blade, plunged into the hound’s abdomen.

Asa twists a fist in your hair and yanks hard, ignoring your cry of pain, “Are you thinking about him? I should have played with him more. I should have brought him with us,” he chuckles, his cheek rubbing against yours. You struggle, gagging as your body attempts to reject his oily touches. “Would you have begged for his life? Taken his place? His brothers would never forgive him.”

You wrench an arm free from his hold, but he catches your wrist before your palm can connect with his face. His eyebrows raise at the white-hot lightning that crackles along your arm and hand. “Well, well. Would you look at that. It tingles , witch.” He chortles, “Don’t bother trying, [Name]. You can’t fight me and win.”

“I am going to kill you.” You snarl, the appearance of your ability, despite the blockers that should keep them repressed, gives you courage.

Asa laughs, “Over a beast like him? Them?” He sighs as you spit at him, reaching up to wipe where it landed on his cheek, “You have so much left to lose, dove. There’s already been enough bloodshed with one, do you really want to see your other lovers suffer the same fate?”

You tense suddenly, partly because of his words, and the other part because of the sudden overwhelming feelings that rush over you. Fury. Confusion. Grief. You’re automatically reaching for the array of colorful strings, but your focus is only on one certain tether. Where it was once a brilliant gold, it is dark and lackluster now, and your heart squeezes tightly in your chest at the silence. You reach for the other tethers, but you’re ripped from the connection by the need for air.

You gasp, hands clawing at Asa’s hand that’s squeezing your throat, his skin suddenly flushed with red in his anger, “Lead them here, [Name], and I will skin all six of them alive in front of you.”

You drop the connection with a strangled sound, immediately crumpling to the hard ground when Asa releases you. You cough, dragging air into your lungs, a strangled sob escaping you at the emptiness that swallowed you.

“Now, be a good girl, and come with me.” He pats a hand on his thigh, as if you’re a dog and he’s mentioning for you to come. You glare up at him, and he sighs.

“Fine. Have it your way.” He snatches you up, a hand pressing to your forehead despite your sudden thrashing against him, before he mutters something. You go stiff before you finally go limp, eyes fluttering shut as your mind slips into sleep.

You struggle briefly, subconsciously reaching for the tethers that hum with many emotions. You don’t know which ones you brush against, clinging desperately to the quietest and dullest among them.

A broken, bleeding body tossed aside like trash. Lips peeled back in a snarl. Molten golden eyes.

The darkness pulls you away from the painful memory, and you know nothing else.

Chapter Text

Fathomless black eyes. Hands on skin; squeezing, squeezing. “You can’t hide from me forever, little dove.”

You’re bolting upright with a gasp, eyes darting around your bedroom as you try to work out exactly what happened. Another nightmare. You press a hand to your throat as you collapse backwards, staring up at the ceiling as you slow your breathing. The images dance along the edges of your memory, but no matter how hard you reach for them, you can’t get a hold on them. For years, you tried harder to recall those nightmares that would send you reeling back into the real world, but as the years passed, you didn’t actively seek to remember. You’d lived a nightmare for most of your life to begin with, and you didn’t want to have any part of it anymore.

You were done with that part of you.

You roll to your side to look at your alarm clock, groaning softly at the red numbers that glare back at you before you’re pushing the covers off of you and climbing out of bed to begin your normal routine. A shower brings you fully awake, shuffling into your kitchen after you wrapped yourself in your favorite robe to make yourself a cup of coffee.

To be honest, you hated coffee. The liquid was mostly to help mask the taste of your tonic. As your cup of coffee brewed, you tapped one fingernail against the small, round glass holding a shimmering black liquid within.

You would be shunned if anyone in the supernatural community knew you willingly subjected yourself to the black liquid. Actually, you would probably be sacrificed in a ritual, if it were up to your own kind. Witches didn’t take kindly to those who tried to suppress their powers, much less take a tonic to completely render themselves human. Keeping that side of you shut off had been crippling the first couple of months. You rather imagined it was like losing one of your senses suddenly and abruptly. The tonic had other side effects too: blinding headaches and body aches. The tonic suppressed your abilities and masked your natural scent that would instantly paint you as a witch to any supernatural creature you came into contact with. To any supernatural now, you smelled completely human.

When you’d first started taking the tonic, you had to take it daily for months before you could get away with only taking it once a month. The ingredients were hard to find, and it was even harder (and riskier) to find a witch who would willingly make you a few batches. You could have done it yourself, but you had never been particularly good at whipping up potions and tonics in the first place. The less you dabbled in the actual acts of witchcraft, the better.

You popped the cork off the vial as you slide your hot mug of coffee closer, tipping the vial to pour the liquid into your coffee, using your free hand to swirl the two liquids together with a spoon. As you raised the mug to your lips, you paused to observe your hand at a tingling sensation, watching with disinterest at the little sparks of light that danced across your fingers.

You were going to need to get the witch to up the potency of the tonic. They were starting to not last as long. To keep yourself under the radar, you had to make sacrifices. Choking down the now sweet liquid (with a smoky aftertaste), you’re heading back to your room to finish getting ready for work. Within the next twenty minutes, you’re locking your apartment door and deciding you wanted to walk the couple of blocks to work.

You've barely entered the front lobby of BigHit when you’re descended upon by your best friend, Chan-ri. “I missed you!” You grunt at your best friend’s whisper scream as she latches onto you, almost sending you both toppling over in the middle of the lobby. 

“We just saw each other yesterday,” You remind her, “We had lunch, silly.” You've known Chan-ri for years, and despite the fact that she was human, she knew all about your past. Thankfully, she rarely brought the subject up, but you knew she was there to listen should you need her.

Chan-ri rolls her eyes with a sigh, “So? I can’t miss my best friend?.” The shorter woman loops her arm with yours as you laugh, pulling you along with her towards the elevator, pushing the button to call the elevator when you both got to them. You worked on different floors; she was an assistant to one of the PR managers, while you worked with make-up and wardrobe. 

As the elevator doors slid open and you both stepped inside and Chan-ri pushed the buttons for each of your floors, “Lunch again today? I want to go to that cute little cafe we went to a few months ago.”

You nod, “Sounds good to me.” Chan-ri grins at your agreement, releasing you as the doors open on her floor. “See you at luuuuunch!” She sing songs as you offer her a small wave before the elevator doors slide shut and take you to your floor next.

You hoped today was another quiet day.


 

“[Name]! Where is that girl?” 

The sound of your name makes you stiffen, pausing in your mending of the jacket you were working on to glance up and around for the source. You immediately spot the tall, willowy woman marching right for you, and you immediately scramble to your feet, attempting to bow.

The woman, Iseul, pauses to eye you up and down, one eyebrow raised. She purses her lips together before she sighs, “You’ll have to do, I guess. Come with me.”

You stand frozen for half a second, watching her retreating back before you quickly rush after her, “Uh..wha-what’s going on?”

She flicks a glance your way, looking slightly irritated that you would ask such a question, “We’re short-handed. Eun-Min didn't show up for work. You’re taking over for Eun-Min today.”

Your eyes are wide as saucers at the mention of Eun-Min. She was one of the main make-up artists and stylists for the company, or rather, more specifically, for Bangtan Sonyeondan . “Me? Am I really qualified for that? I mean….”

Iseul abruptly stops, causing you to almost run into her. She fixes you with a look that makes you almost want to run the other way, “Management has seen what you can do, that’s why you got hired, is it not? Unfortunately, you are the only option we have that can at least save this for us. If it’s too big of a responsibility, [Name] , I can make sure that Management knows.”

Her threat takes you by surprise. Iseul had never really been friendly, but she’d never been this down-right cold to you. Of course, you mostly kept to yourself; you’d been hovering in the background of the department since you got hired. Apparently, too many people were better than you at the job you’d gotten hired for.

“N-no! It’s fine. I can do it.”

Iseul’s lips curve into a smile, and it’s not friendly in the least. “Good.” She turns sharply on her heel without another word, and you quickly follow after her. You’re quiet as you follow her lead through the building and to the main lobby, where she ushers you out to a large black van, the side door open. Three other woman are sitting inside, eyeing you carefully. You recognize them as other make-up artists.

You barely get a bow in acknowledgement before Iseul basically shoves you forwards into the van before sliding the door shut roughly. You flop in the available seat, quickly buckling your seatbelt as the van starts moving.

“She’s like that with everyone.” The woman sitting next you pats your arm, “I’m Soo Jin,” She indicates the two sitting behind you both, “These two are Yun Hee and Jin Ae.”

“[Name],” You reply, glancing back behind you at the other two, who nod in acknowledgement.

“You’re replacing Eun-Min?” One of them, Yun Hee, asks curiously, and you nod.

“Um, yeah, I guess. What’s going on?” It pains you to feel like such a rookie, but they seem friendly enough.

“Bangtan Sonyeondan have an interview and a performance today. Usually, it’s not this..chaotic, but with Eun-Min not showing up...”

“You’ll be fine. If you have any questions, ask us. Don’t worry, the boys are gentlemen.” Jin Ae assures you, and you nodded absently.

You could do this, right?


 

You: I don’t think we’ll be having lunch today…

Chanri: What? WHY?

You: They pulled me to do actual work

Chanri: WITH WHO???

You: Bangtan

Chanri: !!!!! You’re going to tell me EVERYTHING later!!!!

You were positive that you weren't going to make it back by lunch, not with how the three women were chatting. You had quickly messaged Chan-ri, glad you brought your phone and not left it back at BigHit. You slid the phone back in your pocket, shaking your head at Chan-ri’s demands to hear every detail once you got done. She was probably green with envy right now.

No sooner than you got off your phone were you piling out of the van, following after the three women with a look that you were sure came off as a deer in the headlights . The three women were helpful, explaining as much as they could on the way to the room that all of you had been directed to. Three other make-up artists were already inside, working on setting up their tables.

Soo Jin indicated the table near hers, pointing out the several bags that belonged to Eun-Min. “They’re going for a more natural look today, so you shouldn’t have any trouble. You’ve seen what that looks like, right?” When you nodded, Soo Jin grinned, “Good. It will be wardrobe after that. Those clothes are picked out, so you’ll just have to help him if he needs it.”

You wanted to ask her which one you’d be working with, but she’d already moved away at the call of her name by one of the other make-up artists. Biting the inside of your cheek, you set to work on getting the supplies set out. It doesn't take you very long, and no sooner than you've set down one of the brushes, the door opens on the other side of the room.

You glance up to look in the mirror, watching the seven members of Bangtan Sonyeondan file inside. They’re talking amongst themselves as they enter, but you don’t let your eyes linger on them long, staring down at the table in front of you. Which one did you get to work with?

You were decently familiar with the band, much thanks to Chan-ri and her obsession, but you had never actually...met them. A few passing looks here and there, but you’d never talked, much less made eye contact with any of them. Your little corner at BigHit kept you secluded, aside from the occasional person rushing to you to get something fixed. “ A waste of your abilities, [Name]! It’s unfair!” Chan-ri’s drunken rant one night comes to mind and it makes you smile. You didn't mind, your job kept you in the dark, to yourself. 

Until now.

“You’re not Eun-Min.” The curious voice from behind you makes you jump, almost sending several brushes and products scattering. You compose yourself before you turn to face the owner of the voice: Jeon Jungkook. The brunette sits in the make-up chair, watching you with his head tilted in curiosity. When your eyes meet his, he immediately shifts his focus slightly, so he’s not full-on staring at you. 

Say something. You urge yourself, attempting to break out of the stupid stupor you probably have plastered on your face. “I’m [Name], Eun-Min wasn't able to make it..”

Jungkook immediately straightens, nostrils flaring and his eyes growing wide as he finally focuses back on you. He opens his mouth, but nothing comes out, forcing him to promptly snap his mouth shut.

“Is...is that alright? I can find someone else?” You wring your hands together, wondering if you’d upset him. 

“No!” He snaps a little louder than he means to, drawing several of his band mates attention towards the two of you. He shakes his head and lowers his voice, “No, it’s fine.”

You nod quickly before turning your back to him, catching Soo Jin watching you. She offers you an encouraging smile before she’s back to focusing on her client: Jimin. The dancer is focused on Jungkook, but when he notices you looking, he flashes you a bright smile.

Heat rising in your cheeks, you shake your head and grab what you need before turning back to Jungkook. You knew what you were doing, you could do this.


 

“You did amazing, [Name].” Soo Jin praises you as you flop in the chair that Jungkook had vacated thrity minutes before. You swirled in the chair to look at her, offering her a half smile. “He’s just shy around girls, especially pretty ones.”

Jungkook had been quiet while you did his make-up, watching you with rapt attention when he thought you weren't looking. As soon as you made eye contact, he acted like he hadn’t been staring. You had turned to the mirror several times to see if something was on your face, but there wasn't ever anything there. It was frustrating, to say the least.

You had been relieved when you’d gotten finished and moved out of the way so he could look in the mirror. He nodded quickly in confirmation that it was fine before he was scrambling from the chair and onto wardrobe. You had offered to help, but he’d waved you off. Oookay then. 

You did your best to brush your feelings aside. You were simply filling in for Eun-Min for the day, so it wasn't like you would have to put up with Jungkook’s odd behavior all the time. Come tomorrow, you doubted he’d even recall your name, much less what you looked like. Before you knew it, you would be back to your daily routine back at BigHit, Eun-Min would be back, and everything else would go back to normal. Normal

The voices of Soo Jin and the other women chatting were background noise to your thoughts, staring off towards the opposite wall for what felt like hours before you finally roused yourself from the chair, stepping towards the table to make sure the make-up products and supplies were tucked away in their proper places into Eun-Min’s bags. You did your best to make sure all of it was put where you’d found them; you weren't entirely sure if Eun-Min was particular about her things. Better safe than sorry.

You had just finished your organizing when the chatter from the others slowly died down. You glanced sideways towards Soo Jin, taking note of Jimin sitting back in the chair he had occupied earlier as Soo Jin worked on removing his make-up. It took you a moment to realize that, that meant Jungkook was probably back too. You turned abruptly, and lo and behold, the maknae had returned. You stare at him for a few moments before reaching behind you for the make-up wipes that you hadn’t put away yet.

You tugged a few free and stepped closer to Jungkook, reaching up to gently use the wipe to remove his make-up. He shuddered slightly under your touch, but you didn't seem to notice.

You’re tossing the used wipes into the trash bin nearby and turning back to him to make sure you’ve removed all of his make-up when Jungkook finally speaks.

“I’m sorry.” 

You freeze for a moment, slightly surprised to find that he’s actually making eye contact with you. “Sorry?” You inquire, tilting your head.

“For earlier..I...I was a little rude,” His shoulders shrugged slightly, “I didn't mean to be. I was just...surprised.”

Surprised? “Oh, I know you were expecting Eun-Min,” You couldn't help but offer him a smile. Jungkook seemed sincere enough, and you really didn’t want to end things on bad terms with him. If Iseul got wind of any complaints, you’d be kicked out the door. “Maybe...she’ll be back tomorrow?”

You watched Jungkook’s eyes widen and he opened his mouth to speak but he abruptly snapped his mouth shut when a hand clasped him on the shoulder. You glanced up to see who had joined you and Jungkook, straightening immediately at the sight of the silver-haired leader of Bangtan. 

“Jungkook-ah, ready?” Namjoon wasn't looking at you at first, his attention on his youngest member before he glanced up. When he realized you were looking back, he grinned. “He hasn’t been causing too much trouble, I hope?”

Holy dimples.

You couldn't help but return the smile, feeling a little nervous about being under both of their gazes. “No, no! He’s been perfect.” You glance down at Jungkook, missing the brief stiffening of the silver haired leader.

“Jungkook-ah, we need to go,” Namjoon’s voice almost sounds strained, and you glance up at him with furrowed eyebrows. Jungkook is jumping out of the chair immediately, his attention on Namjoon as the man offers you a quick bow and what sounds like a mumbled goodbye before he’s moving away. Jungkook smiles at you nervously before he bolts after his band mate, “Hyung, wait!”

You watch them go, blinking rapidly. That was...odd. Sure, the one time you’re dragged from your little corner and you have a day like today. Although, you can’t complain; you’d gotten to meet two members of BTS. Chan-ri was going to strangle you.

“They’re pretty intense, huh?” Soo Jin bumps her shoulder into yours, dragging you from your thoughts.

“Yeah, you could say that.” You glanced around, noting that all of the boys had apparently filed out at some point, and those left in the room were packing up and heading out as well.

“You need great, by the way! Eun-Min is going to have her work cut out for her when she comes back.” Soo Jin grins, before she’s tugging you with her, “C’mon, rookie. Let’s go.”

There’s a small part of you that hopes Eun-Min doesn’t come back right away, but you shake the thought away. 

It wasn’t going to happen.

Chapter Text

Weeks passed.

The day after you’d been dragged from your usual routine, you returned to your little corner, back to the quiet existence you were so used to. It was partly a relief, glad to be back to your usual routine, and not worry about keeping up with Iseul’s high standards. She’d made sure you knew that your “little adventure” had been a fluke; whatever you’d done to piss her off was lost on you. On the other hand, you felt oddly...empty. It was a nagging feeling, like you’d forgotten something, but couldn’t quite figure out what it was.

Chan-ri had been completely ecstatic when you’d met up with her that day, demanding to know every single detail about your interaction with the Idols. She’d invited you over to her apartment that evening, ordering takeout and even breaking out a bottle from her wine collection.

“Okay, okay, tell me everything!” Chan-ri reminded you of a school girl, eager to hear the latest gossip about her crush.

“There isn’t much to tell,” You’d mumbled around a mouthful of food, rolling your eyes as she glared at you.

“Oh please! Who did you work on? Was it Namjoon? Jimin? YOONGI!?” She leaned forwards, hands grabbing your knees as she got progressively louder.

“How much wine did you drink before I got here?” You, in turn, leaned away from her, attempting to stuff more food in your face to avoid answering her. 

“It doesn’t matter, [Name]! C’mon, tell me! I have to live vicariously through you!” Chan-ri whines, releasing you and snatching up her half glass of wine and taking a big sip.

“Jungkook.” You sighed, setting down your box of takeout, “I think I might have upset him. He seemed upset that Eun-Min wasn’t there and that it was me. He couldn’t even make eye contact, and the boy couldn’t get away from me fast enough.”

Chan-ri blinked several times, “So he’s a shy kid, [Name]. That doesn’t mean he was upset.”

“Well....he did apologize. I think that was mostly Namjoon’s doing though…”

“Did you meet Namjoon?” Chan-ri’s voice rose in pitch on the leader’s name.

“Yeah, he was nice, but a little ...standoffish.” You tossed back rest of your wine, and your eyes widened when Chan-ri immediately filled it back up. “You weren’t kidding about his dimples though.”

“Right!? I’ve been trying to tell you! You think you’ll be on the stylist team if Eun-Min doesn’t come back?” 

“Doubtful, Iseul has it out for me for some reason.” You snort, taking a sip of your wine. “It was just a fluke in the system, but at least I can say I got to meet and talk to 2 members of BTS.”

“Giirl, you got to touch Jeon Jungkook, the Golden Maknae! You know how lucky you are?”

“Lucky?”

“Very much so. Maybe you’ll get to work with them again.”

Everyday since then, Chan-ri always met up with you to ask if you’d seen or spoken to BTS again. You hadn’t exactly, but you swore you’d seen the retreating back of Jungkook or a glimpse of a head of silver hair like Namjoon’s over the past couple weeks since then. You could never catch a definitive look, so you’d chalked it up to your brain playing tricks on you.

That’s probably why you didn’t react right away to the two members of said group standing in front of your workstation. You’d merely glanced up, your brain briefly registering that two people who looked a lot like Park Jimin and Jeon Jungkook stood there, before you’d returned to attaching a button to the shirt you were working on.

It’s a laugh that actually gets your attention. You freeze immediately, eyes darting up to rest on the two men standing in front of your workstation. They’re more breathtaking up close than they had ever been in pictures or videos, you decide. You’d been thrown by Jungkook’s good looks in person all those weeks ago, and it was a double whammy when Park Jimin was involved. You didn’t feel worthy to be in their presence, much less actually look at them to take in their handsome features. 

“Oh.” You breathe out (once you can actually breathe), looking from Jimin to Jungkook and back again. “Oh!” In the next moment, you’re jumping to your feet, sending your chair wheeling backwards away from you. You bow quickly, attempting to keep yourself from face planting right onto your desk. “I’m sorry, I-I didn’t see you!”

“It’s alright,” Jimin waves his hand as if to brush off your apology, “We saw you were busy and didn’t want to interrupt,” The dancer grins at you, gesturing towards the shirt laying where you’d dropped it on your desk.

You follow his gesture, nodding silently before you look back up at the two, “Um...can I help you with something?” You tilt your head, shifting your attention to the maknae before back to Jimin.

“We wanted to bring this shirt to you,” Jimin lifts his hand to show you a dark grey tank top, and you note the rip in it along the bottom. 

“Oh, what happened to it?” You lean forwards slightly before offering out your hand towards Jimin for the shirt, which he places in your hand. You yanked your hand (and the shirt) away when his fingers brush yours, sending a tingle up your arm.

“Nothing is safe from Namjoon-Hyung,” Jungkook answers, a grin quirking his lips, “He’s ripped many shirts.”

“I’d say. This is....” You trail off, a little taken back by the fact that shirt is ripped quite a bit. If you thought about it more, you might have come to the conclusion that it’d been done deliberately. “I’m not even sure I can save this…”

“T-that’s fine! No big deal if you can’t!” Jungkook blurts, “It’s just...it’s one of my favorite shirts..”

You hum in response, inspecting the ripped material carefully. You miss the “ seriously!? ” look that Jimin shoots Jungkook. “I’ll see what I can do,” You raise your attention back to the two, “Do you need it back by a certain day or..?”

“No, no! Whenever is fine,” Jungkook reaches up to rub at the back of his neck, immediately focusing on the shirt in your hands. He opens his mouth to speak again, but the ringing of Jimin’s phone makes him snap his mouth shut, watching Jimin step away to mutter into the phone.

Jimin returns a moment later, grabbing Jungkook’s arm and tugging the maknae away from you, “Hyung is looking for us,” He tells Jungkook before he settles his gaze on you, “We’ll see you later, [Name].” Jungkook manages a half wave before Jimin practically drags the maknae out of sight.

You glance down at the shirt you’d been handed before looking up to where they disappeared.

“Strange…” You mutter, before you flop back into your chair.

Only, your chair isn’t quite there anymore, and you end up landing right on your ass on the floor. You groan in pain before sighing.

The two had definitely distracted you.


 

“There you are,” Soo Jin’s voice greets you no sooner than you’ve sat down at your desk. You blink as you turn in your chair to look at her, eyes widening when she comes around the desk, beckoning you to your feet. “You’re being stolen away from your dark and lonesome world of yours.”

You let her pull you out of the chair, blinking rapidly as she practically drags you. “What’s the occasion?” You ask curiously, noting that she’s headed out towards the parking lot.

“The boys have a photoshoot today and you’re our only hope to help.” She answers with a grin, fussing at you as you apparently take too long to climb into the van she’s brought you to. You comply, sliding over to make room for her. “With Eun-Min missing…”

Eun-Min still hadn’t returned to work, and it had been well over a month; Eun-Min had been officially declared a missing person. It’d been a ripple of shock throughout BigHit when the news first came to light. As far as you knew, there hadn’t been any strong leads as to where the young woman disappeared to. It was like she’d vanished into thin air.

“Oh,” You say, not quite sure how you felt about being thrust back into the situation you’d been in a month ago. You’d seen Jungkook and Jimin several times since they’d dropped off that ripped shirt a week ago; you hadn’t really been able to save the shirt, but Jungkook had been tickled you had even tried when you presented the shirt back to him days ago. Jimin and Jungkook had made a habit of showing up unannounced at your desk, only to rush off several minutes later, or in the case of yesterday, been literally dragged off by their eldest Hyung, Jin. ( “Have they been bothering you? They know better, I swear!”)

“I swear, we’re all working on trying to get you officially on board!” Soo Jin breaks through your thoughts, “I know Jungkook and Jimin seem to like you,” She grins at you, nudging you with her elbow gently, “I’ve seen them coming in the past week almost every day!”

Your eyes widen at her suggestion, “Wha-what? I….They brought me a ripped shirt and wanted to see if I could fix it..” You trail off as she laughs, reaching over to pat your shoulder.

“I’m mostly teasing….but I’m pretty sure the maknae’s got a crush. He’s never been like that to any of us, not even Eun-Min when she worked with him a lot.”

The maknae with a crush? Pfft. You gape at her for several moments, turning away to watch the scenery pass by when she gets distracted by her phone. 

Sure, Jungkook talked to you, but he barely had the courage to make eye contact with you. Jimin, on the other hand, was more than happy to steer the conversation, casually asking you this and that, and when he flashed that grin, you couldn’t help but answer him. Whenever the two scampered off, you couldn’t help but stare wistfully after them.

When you’d finally come back to your senses, you’d chastised yourself for looking like a dumbstruck fool in front of them.


 

Park Jimin was sitting in your chair. You had just finished setting your station up when you’d turned around and there he was.

You’d sucked in a surprised breath at the sight of the man, one foot firmly on the floor as he twisted it slightly to make the chair sway back and forth lazily. As soon as your eyes met his, he released his bottom lip from between his teeth and grinned widely up at you.

“[Name]-ah,” Your name is almost like a musical note from his lips, the sound so soft and delicate that you literally feel your heart stutter in response. The dancer stops the swaying of the chair, head tilted as he leans forwards towards you, “Miss me?” 

Sea. The distinctive smell of the ocean envelopes you, and you swear you can hear the crash of waves as they desperate reach for the sand. You sway for a moment on your feet, not able to help yourself when your eyes flutter shut. It’s calming and you can feel yourself more than content to drift into the feeling, into the sea.

Jimin.” 

Your whole body stiffens at the sharp, commanding growl that jerks you back to the present, wide eyes settling on Jimin, who is no longer looking at you, but at the floor, head slightly bowed. You glance up to lock eyes with Namjoon at the station across from you and Jimin. The silver haired man breaks eye contact first, settling an unamused look at the back of Jimin’s head before he’s turning away to put his back to you both.

As soon as he does so, you release the breath you hadn’t realized you’d been holding and the whole room swells with the usual soft chatter like nothing had happened. You absently reach up to rub at your temple, brain clouded in slight confusion. What just happened?

“[Name]-ah,” Jimin’s voice draws you to him again, and you straighten immediately when you realize you’ve been slacking. You can feel his eyes on your back as you turn away from him, grabbing the things you need to begin your work.

When you turn back to face him and close the distance between you both, you peer down at him curiously, “Shouldn’t I be working on Jungkook?”

His eyebrows raise briefly before he frowns, lips pouting with a whine, “Do you not like me?” Jimin asks, searching your face carefully. 

You shift in place under his gaze as the ocean smell returns, but it’s faint, almost like a distant memory. “I..” You grasp at words, but utterly fail.

Jimin laughs suddenly at your flustering, “I’m kidding,” His wide grin is back, “We can pick and choose whichever stylist we like best.”

You slowly nod in response as you begin your work, hoping the slight tremor in your hands doesn’t affect your ability. “Oh, I see.”

The silence between you and Jimin stretches as you work on him, relieved to find that, despite your late start, you aren’t the last stylist getting their charge done. You step out of his way so he can have a clear view of himself in the mirror. You smile as Jimin praises you almost immediately before he’s standing and tugging you along with him towards the racks of clothing for wardrobe in the far corner.

You don’t take long to pick out his first outfit, already having been briefed about what styles they wanted for the photoshoot. Once Jimin has the articles of clothing draped over his arm, you’re ushering him towards the “dressing rooms” to change.

“If you need help, let me know, okay?” Jimin nods at you in answer as he closes the door behind him. You turn around to observe the happenings going on around you while you wait for Jimin to emerge back out. All of the boys are finished with make-up, and several are already finished with wardrobe. 

A dramatic sigh from behind you has you turning, quickly covering your mouth with your hand to stifle a laugh at Jimin. He’s dressed, but the jacket he’s got on is actually inside out. Surely the dancer isn’t that uncoordinated to make sure he’s dressed properly. You could see something like that happening to Jungkook, maybe.

Shaking your thoughts away, you step towards Jimin, trying to suppress your giggle, “The jacket is inside out,” You point out.

Jimin’s eyes widen, before he’s attempting to peer down at the jacket, “What? Is it?” 

You nod, helping him slip it off before you quickly fix it before you hold it up and out towards him in a signal that you’ll help him. He complies immediately, adjusting it slightly once he’s slipped his arms through the sleeves and turning back to you.

“What do you think?” He asks, putting his arms out to the side for you to get another look.

You can’t help but admire his ability to pull anything off. You wished you could do so. Realizing you’re staring, you rapidly nod, reaching out to fix the collar of the jacket “Perfect.” It slips out before you can correct yourself.

The smile that curves Jimin’s lips at the word can only be described as sinful . Even more so because you’re standing only inches from him, the distinctive smell of the ocean curling around you. You suck in a breath at the feel of cool fingertips against your jaw, eyes fluttering shut at the sensation, before the fleeting touch is gone as quickly as it came.

When your eyes flutter open, Jimin is already halfway across the floor towards his bandmates. You watch his retreating figure, fingers reaching up to brush against your jaw. You shiver slightly at the contact, wondering if you’d just imagined his fingertips on your skin. Surely you had. Furrowing your eyebrows in confusion, you made your way back towards the make-up area.


You’d ponder about it later, when you could actually think clearly. You had a feeling you wouldn’t be able to do that until you reached the quiet confinement of your apartment later.

Chapter Text

You hated coming here. The music was too loud, the atmosphere was suffocating, and the amount of supernaturals crowded within always made your skin crawl. As soon as you stepped through the door, you almost turned on your heel and left right then and there. Whenever too many supernatural occupied such a limited amount of space, it was suffocating . It felt ten times worse tonight, and you wondered if it was because you had been on the tonic for so long. Vampires and werewolves seemed the most prominent species within the club tonight; flashes of illuminating yellow and blood red irises was enough to separate them. It surprised you; vampires and werewolves had been enemies since...forever.

You ignored the bar and the dancefloor, seeking out the familiar curved staircase that lead to the upper floors. Your destination was there, in the main office, to meet with the witch. Squaring your shoulders, you moved as quickly along the outskirts of bodies, flashing a small card at the bouncers guarding the staircase. They both nodded, and stepped aside for you to slip by them. A few glances were thrown your way when you reached the top of the stairs, but you ignore them. The supernaturals here hadn’t quite caught on that you had a scent of human on you. Hence why you didn’t want to linger long.

You moved as quick as your heels would allow, turning down the third hallway to the left and continuing on until you reached a set of double doors, guarded by one lone bouncer. He watched you approach, his eyes illuminating yellow for a few brief seconds as you flashed the card at him. He barely spares a look at the card, remaining unmoving.

“Password.”

“Wolfsbane.”

He hesitates briefly after you say it before he steps aside and pushes the door open for you to enter. You nod at him before stepping into the familiar large office. A set of windows, from floor to ceiling, line the back of the room, overlooking the club below, but nobody outside of the office can see within. A desk made of mahogany is where your attention is drawn, remaining quiet as you take in the witch sitting in the tall backed office chair.

 Arshkia.She is a beautiful woman, tall and lean. Her skin, a light brown, is smooth and blemish free. Her lips are colored with the usual bright red you’ve always seen her with, and her long and deep black hair is braided, thrown over her shoulder and disappearing past the desk. Her most striking feature, however, are her icy blue eyes. They are unnerving and miss nothing, and you swear they can see through you right now. 

“[Name], to what do I owe the pleasure?” Her smile is sharp and cutting, and doesn’t even reach her eyes.

You shift nervously before you venture closer, slowly sitting in the sole chair right in front of her mahogany desk. “I need more. Stronger doses.”

The witch raises her eyebrows, “Oh?”

“The time frame is getting shorter and shorter, before long, they won’t work. I need them to work, Arshkia.” You keep your voice even, not wanting to reveal just how desperate you are, although you have a feeling she’s well aware of the fact. Among the supernatural community, Arshkia is well-known as one of the most powerful witches. There was nothing she didn’t know. If she didn’t, she would find it out soon enough.

“Well, that’s a predicament, isn’t it?” Arshkia settles back in her chair, icy blues boring into yours, “I warned you, [Name]. These tonics will only work for so long before your body builds a tolerance to them. Upping the dosage could make you ill. Perhaps even...permanently damage you.”

You sigh, forcing yourself to look away. She had told you all of this before, almost every time you came to see her. “I know. “

Arshkia rolls her eyes, “Who are you running from? I know it’s not your family. At least, it’s not the complete reason.”

You stiffen immediately at her words, looking at her sharply, “What?”

“[Name]. I know everything about everyone that crosses through that door. Admittedly, your history has been much harder to uncover.” She waves her hand in your direction as you open your mouth, “As you are, technically, a witch...I am inclined to help you.”

You narrow your eyes at her as you prompt, “But..?”

“It comes with a price.” She taps her fingernails on the desk wood before she offers out her hand, palm up. “Give me your hand.” At your unsure look, she rolls her eyes again, “I’m not going to chop your hand off.”

You take a few moments before you tentatively place your hand in hers, gasping when her fingers curl around your wrist and you watch as her icy blue eyes close. Her expression is neutral for several seconds before her eyes snapped open, focusing on you.

“Seven.” She whispers, “Seven.”

“Seven? What do you mean seven? Seven what ?” You attempt to pull away, but you yelp as her nails dig into your soft skin, holding you in place.

“Soulbonds. Seven.” Arshkia regards you carefully, but she doesn’t release her hold on you, “Is that why you’re so afraid?”

“What are you talking about? I don’t know what soulbonds are!”

“Do you not? How do you not know? Every supernatural knows about soulbonds.” You’ve never seen Arshkia so rattled, but you’re not sure if it’s because of your lack of knowledge or the number she keeps repeating.

“I was never told anything about...about soulbonds. The witch community I was raised in…” You trail off before you continue, “Witches are superior, especially males. They’re the most powerful.”

Arshkia’s sudden laughter startles you, “Child, no.” The grip she has on your hand releases and you snatch your hand back to rub at your wrist, “Regardless of gender, any witch can be powerful. As you can very well see.” A hand gestures at herself, “The fact that you are soulbonded to seven other souls...very rare indeed. It makes you quite powerful as well, and them too.”

“What? That’s not possible. Look, I just came to get more tonics. More powerful tonics.” You don’t want to hear anymore about this soulbond nonsense. 

Arshkia sighs, “You are making a mistake, [Name], but if you insist...very well.” She leans towards you again, and when you lock eyes with her icy blue ones, you freeze, “Listen closely. Should one of those seven souls find you and mark you, these tonics will be useless.”

You gape at her, swallowing thickly before you manage to croak, “I won’t let anyone mark me.”

The smile that curves Arshkia’s mouth is wicked, “You can’t fight it. It’s fate.”


 

Screw fate. You’d thought it and mumbled it under your breath as you left Arshkia’s office, goosebumps spreading over your skin. Screw soulbonds. 

You’re moving as quick as you can through the second floor and down the stairs without tripping and falling in your heels. The bouncers let you pass without a word. You keep your head down as you move to reach the exit door. You’re halfway across when someone grabs your elbow, stopping you in your tracks.

“Where you going, sweet thing?” You turn to look, eyes wide at the blood red eyes of a vampire, his long fingers clutching your elbow in his grasp. He grins at you, suddenly leaning in close. You can hear him inhale with a groan, “Human. My favorite. You shouldn’t be alone.” You push against his chest, but you know you’re dead meat. No one here is going to care about a “human” becoming a meal to a vampire.

“She’s not.” The deep voice from behind you is a shock to yourself and the vampire holding you. You can feel a chest press against your back and a hand dart out to pry the vampire’s hand from your elbow.

The vampire glares at your savior before he looks down at you, “Next time, baby.” He promises before he’s turning and stalking off into the crowd of bodies.

When you can no longer see him, you breathe out and turn to face your savior. You’re intending to thank him until your brain registers who he is.

Kim Taehyung.

“What are you doing here?” You blurt out, looking him up and down with wide eyes. He’s dressed in slacks and a button-down shirt, and god , does he look good. 

“What are you doing here?” He throws the question right back at you, his own eyes looking you up and down. You’re suddenly a little self conscious of the black halter top dress you’d managed to squeeze into for tonight.

“I asked first.” You retort, crossing your arms over your chest.

“Enjoying a night out on the town.” His answer makes you raise your eyebrows. Kim Taehyung, an Idol, in a club like this? You weren't buying it. “And you?”

“Meeting a friend.” It’s not a complete lie. “Thank you for...saving me from that drunk.” He isn't exactly looking at your face anymore, his attention is downward. The hell? “You may be an Idol, but my eyes are up here.”

Taehyung grabs your right wrist suddenly, pulling you closer with a gasp. He brings your wrist towards his face, nostrils flaring, “You’re bleeding,” His voice is deeper, and you swear it almost sounds like he’s growling.

You blink, twisting your wrist slightly to spot the crescent-shaped marks on your wrist. Only one is bleeding, and it’s barely doing so. Arshkia had apparently dug her nails into your wrist too hard minutes ago. “Oh..my friend must have grabbed me too hard.” You mutter the excuse, attempting to detach yourself from Taehyung.

You have to say that you are absolutely floored when Taehyung brings your wrist to his lips. Your legs nearly give out at the feeling of his lips and the swipe of his tongue against your skin. You’re too shocked to stop him, much less protest.

Your brain is wheeling from his sudden act, rapidly connecting the dots. You’re distracted momentarily from your revelation when the man moans. God damn, you have to clench your thighs together at the sound.

He releases you a moment later, his dark eyes swirling with hunger. If you didn't know any better, you’d swear he wanted to devour you right then and there. You need to leave, get away from him. Immediately.

He’s quicker, however, hands latching onto you to stop your body from moving. Despite his sudden movement, he grip is gentle, but strong. One hand reaches up to tip your head back to look him in the eyes. 

You realize too late what his intentions are, and once you lock eyes, you know you’re lost.

“I’m sorry, jagiya.” You hear him whisper, “You never saw me here. You’re going to go home, go to bed. You don’t want to come here ever again.”

You’re stepping into your apartment thirty minutes later. You stop after you shut the door, confused at how exactly you got home. You’d been in the club and talked to Arshkia before you’d left in a hurry. You wince at the pain in your temples from thinking too much about it.

Bed. You need to go to bed. You kick your heels off in the hallway as you shuffle towards your bedroom, reaching up to untie the halter before pushing the dress off and crawling into bed without a second thought.

You’re asleep before your head even hits the pillow.


 

“Hyung. We have a problem.”

Taehyung’s voice startles Namjoon from his book, and he glances up, one eyebrow raised in question. Namjoon is surprised to see him home so early; usually Taehyung is gone longer. 

“You didn’t piss of those werewolf brother again, did you?” Namjoon questions, closing the book and placing it on the nightstand. As he turns to look at Taehyung, he reaches out to stroke his fingers through the hair on the head laying on his thigh. The maknae releases a sound of contentment at the motions, burrowing sleepily into Namjoon’s thigh, eyes closed.

“No, of course not.” Taehyung scoffs before his expression turns serious, “It’s [Name].”

At the mention of your name, Jungkook is abruptly sitting up, eyes flashing yellow as he sets his gaze on the hyung in the doorway,  “What? What did you do?” Jungkook is all but scrambling off the bed, but Namjoon grabs ahold of him to stop him, bringing the maknae’s back against his chest, resting his chin in the crook of the younger’s neck.

“Elaborate, Taehyung.” Namjoon is calm, but Taehyung can hear the growl bubbling in his chest. 

“She was at the club tonight.” Taehyung warily watches Jungkook, “She’s unharmed. I sent her home with the suggestion to never come back. Apparently she was meeting a friend .” A hand pushes through his hair before he continues, “Her blood, Hyung...something is off.” He could still taste it on his tongue, could still hear your pulse thrumming in his ears.

Namjoon raises his eyebrows, “You bit her?” When Taehyung shakes his head, Namjoon’s eyes narrow, “Then how do you know?”

“She had a nick on her wrist. I-I didn’t mean to, but it was...I couldn’t help myself. Her blood is powerful but ...it's diluted. She smells human. She tastes human for the most part...but there’s something different.”

Namjoon is quiet, slowly relaxing his hold on Jungkook. The younger doesn't move, watching and listening to his two hyungs as he processes the information Taehyung has just shared. “She is still human enough to be susceptible to you and Jimin.”

“She’s meant to be with us,” Jungkook finally speaks, pulling away so he can look at Namjoon and Taehyung equally, “Does it matter if she’s human or not?” 

“Her being human puts her in danger.” Yoongi suddenly answers him from beside Taehyung, “We could kill her.”

“What!? Hyung-”

“I didn’t mean like that.” Yoongi sighs, “A human bonded to seven of us. Think about it. Aside from hunters and others like us, she’s fragile. A liability. We mark her and she dies, we will never recover.”

“Yoongi.” 

“They need to hear it. You need to hear it. I’ve heard what happens. The remaining bonded go insane. It would be no different if one of us died instead of her.” Yoongi shrugs his shoulders, “If she is human, perhaps it would be wise to consider turning her at some point.” Without another word, Yoongi turns and leaves.

Namjoon rubs a hand over his face with a sigh. 

“He has a point.” Taehyung speaks up from the doorway, “Maybe..”

“No. We are in no position to even consider anything. None of us have marked her, and it’s going to stay that way until I say so.” Namjoon settles a pointed look at his youngest members, “The others already know this. No marking her.”

Taehyung nods his head before he silently slips from the room. Jungkook whines but nods his head, settling himself back to his previous position. When Namjoon’s fingers settle back in his hair, Jungkook nuzzles his thigh.

“Are you still sulking about Jimin getting to her chair first yesterday?”

Jungkook stops nuzzling, “No..”

“You are faster than him.”

“He cheated.”

“How so?”

“He distracted me while Taehyung tied my shoelaces together.”

Namjoon can’t help but laugh.

Chapter Text

You always hated the lavish parties that your parents threw at least once a month. It meant that the large mansion would be overrun with like-minded people like your parents. It made you feel on edge, made your skin crawl.

Tonight isn’t your first. You’ve attended dozens by now, subjected to the sneers and jealous looks from the highest nobility that witch families had to offer. Your parents spared no expense when it came to such parties: only the finest food and drinks lavished nearby tables, champagne glasses full of the soft golden liquid, staff dressed in silken shirts and black pants. The invited guests spared no expense either: the men dressed in their finest suits and the women dressed in dresses of all sorts of different colors.

As the eldest daughter, the dress you wore was always picked out by your mother. You had worn many different dresses over the years, from different styles to different colors. You had been relieved when the dress laid out on your bed when you’d returned from your lessons earlier today hadn’t been a ballgown. You always wanted to strangle yourself with the offending material. No, tonight’s dress was a floor length navy blue satin, the upper bodice beaded and v-necked [CLICK HERE FOR DRESS]. You raised your eyebrows at the split down the back when you’d inspected it closer. This was...daring. Then again, your mother had a flare for the dramatic and she took pleasure in torturing you. It was exhausting to fight her on such matters, and even more so if she brought your father into it. You played the part of dutiful daughter, slipping into the dress and silver heels hours later once you were ready.

At least it wasn’t a ballgown again.

As the night dragged on, you longed to escape back to your room. Your mouth hurt from the fake smiles and laughs you’d been forced to keep, especially when you felt the heavy stare of your father’s attention. He had especially been keeping an eye on you tonight; it was the most he had ever paid attention to you in years. You kept up appearances for your own sake, knowing that if you should falter, your father was not known for his mercy. You knew better than to embarrass him in front of guests. So, you smiled and danced with countless men who offered their hands to you throughout the night. You kept your answers short and sweet, letting the men who held you close carry the conversations as they spun you around the dancefloor.

“May I have this dance?”

Your attention had been on the double doors of the ballroom, dreaming of slipping from this torture when the voice drew you back to the present. You blinked several times at the man standing before you, clothed in a suit much like the other countless men in the room. Your eyes are most drawn to the black and gold mask covering the upper half of his face from your view; he isn’t the first guest you’d observed with such a mask, but you couldn’t help but admire the delicate swirls of gold against the black. It was truly unique. 

“Of course,” You murmur, placing your hand in his and allowing him to draw you from your chair and out onto the dancefloor. He brings you near the center of the dance area, a hand resting on your hip and the other holding your hand in his. You place your free hand gently on his shoulder, and allow him to set the pace to the music.

You find yourself staring at him as he guides both of you around the other dancers on the floor. He moves like he was born to dance, and you find yourself at ease in his grip for the first time in...years. The stranger doesn’t seem to mind that you’ve been staring, a smile curling his lips when he notices the sudden red flush to your cheeks. 

“Who are you?” You ask suddenly, not able to shake the nagging feeling that you’ve seen him before, that you should know who he is.

“An admirer.” He answers, the hand on your hip slipping around towards your lower back and drawing you closer against him. 

“An admirer? Of me?” You’re taken back by his words, even though you had heard such words before from other men who danced with you. His felt...sincere. Not forced for the sake of gaining something. “I don’t think I’ve seen you here before.” You must have, however. How else would you feel like you’d seen him before? “I don’t think you would be easy to forget.”

“Are you surprised? You are beautiful, breathtaking.” The smile on his lips never leaves, his hand squeezing your hand in his grip gently.  His words send your heart fluttering within your chest. “It’s the mask, isn’t it? I’m quite fond of it myself. Brings out my eyes.” He chuckles softly, and you can’t help but smile at the sound. 

“May I ask why you’re hiding behind it?” You briefly glance away from him to survey those around you, although no one seems to be paying the least bit of attention to the two of you, before your eyes are drawn back to his.

“Perhaps I’m shy,” He’s turning you both again, dancing between two other couples with ease as he brings you both back towards the center.  

“Shy?” You question in surprise, reaching up with the hand that had been resting on his shoulder towards his mask. You feel him tense as you brush your fingers over the cheekbone of the mask, “I don’t think a shy man would wear such an intricately designed mask. I’m sure every woman in this room is watching you.” You start to lower your hand back towards his shoulder, but you’re stopped by his fingers curling gently around your wrist.

“Unfortunately, I only have eyes for one woman in this room.” The air in your lungs leaves in a rush at his answer, eyes moving from the sight of his fingers around your wrist to lock eyes with him. Where his eyes were once dark brown, they were now a molten gold. If you hadn’t felt like you couldn't breathe before, now you definitely couldn’t.

“Your eyes,” You finally manage to whisper into the silence between you both. The longer you stared at his gold eyes, the more it felt like everything around you just faded away. You had never come across anyone with gold eyes, nor could you recall ever reading such things in a book. It had been a given that he wasn’t human, but you were fairly certain he wasn’t a witch. “They’re…”

You open your mouth to question him, but in the blink of an eye, his once golden eyes are back to the dark brown they’d been before. Had you been imaging that? You searched his face for any kind of clue, but his expression hadn’t changed; his lips were still curved into a smile. A knowing smile.

To gather your thoughts, you turned your head slightly to look anywhere else but him, barely taking in the blur of faces around you before you caught sight of a familiar face among the crowd as you both stopped as the song faded to an end.

You froze, the hand clasped in his squeezing as a shiver raced up your spine. You locked eyes with the familiar man across the ballroom, and a cruel smile curls his lips at your attention, and his eyes flash completely black.

Your mystery dancer doesn’t seem surprised by your sudden fear, his thumb gently brushing back and forth on your wrist, “What is it?” He questions, “What do you see?”

“Asa.” You breathe, your throat tightening in fear and your heart hammering in your chest. What was he doing here? He wasn’t supposed to be here. You have the urge to bolt, but your mystery man keeps you in his hold. “I-I have to get out of here, I can’t let him touch me.”

“Breathe, [Name]. He isn’t really there.” He whispers against your ear, turning you around so you’re no longer facing one of your worst fears. His eyes are golden again, and you can’t help but be drawn to them once more. You close your eyes when his forehead presses against yours, “I’ve stayed too long, I’m sorry.” His lips brush your forehead seconds later before you feel him slip away.

*******

You open your eyes to watch him go, but you suddenly find yourself staring up at the familiar ceiling of your apartment, rays of early morning sunlight filtering through the windows.

A dream...but a memory. You remember that dress; you’d worn it to one of your parents parties two months before your 19th birthday.  There had been no such masked stranger at any of the parties you had attended.

It had been a dream, right? The lingering feel of his skin against yours almost conveniences you otherwise.


 

“Hoseok.”  Jin.

No. He doesn’t want to leave yet. He can't.

“Hobi-Hyung."  Jimin. "Let go.”

Hoseok ignored the melodic pull of the siren’s voice against his ear, refusing to disentangle himself when he could feel the fear rolling off you in waves. He knew he’d stayed too long in your dreamscape when something had suddenly drawn your attention. Hoseok knew better than to overstay his welcome, especially if his intent wasn’t to evoke fear in the dreamer.

He hadn’t meant to insert himself into the dream at all; he only came to observe. It wasn’t hard to tell that this dream wasn’t any ordinary dream, no, it was partly a memory too. You looked young, several years younger than you were now. It had intrigued him almost instanty, a rare look into a memory of yours. He knew nothing about you; correction, they knew nothing about your past. You’d come from a rich background it seemed, if the extravagance of the party was anything to go by. He’d heard your introduction, heard the whispers that you were Councilman [L/N]’s daughter.

He watched you being drawn out to the dancefloor more often than he would have liked throughout the night. You weren’t hard to find among the crowd of dancers, not with that navy blue satin dress. Hoseok had been more than content to observe, but the hellhound was less than inclined to do so.

He’d grown impatient.

Before Hoseok knew it, he was stalking across the ballroom and approaching where you had been sitting for several minutes by yourself. At least the hound had the sense to conjure up the mask before getting too close and drawing your attention. The hound was beyond pleased with himself when he had finally been able to draw you into his arms; he hadn’t liked the sight of another man with his hands on you. Only his. Only his other mates. 

The banter you shared with each other had went well; Hoseok carefully avoided giving too much away. Humans often didn’t remember their dreams, but his presence often increased the odds of remembering. Afterall, it was how he hunted. 

Hoseok couldn’t hold off the inevitable that happened when he entered someone’s dreamscape: dreams turned into nightmares. He knew the second your dream twisted into a nightmare. You’d locked eyes with something over his shoulder, and he could feel the fear radiating off you in waves. For the first time in his long life, the hound was repulsed by the fear. He hated it. It made him sick.

His thumb brushes back and forth over your wrist in a soothing gesture, “What is it?” Hoseok can’t help but question, “What do you see?”

“Asa.” He can hear your heart hammering in fear as soon as the name slips from your lips, and he stiffens. Asa . The fear has a name.  He holds you in place against him, feeling your body jerk as it prepares to run, to get as far away as you could from whatever had manifested into the dream. “I-I have to get out of here. I can’t let him touch me.”

Hoseok bristles at your choice of words, intent on finding out just who this Asa person was that had you in such terror.  “Breathe, [Name]. He isn’t really there.” He murmurs against your ear, turning on his heel to put your back to your fear, his golden eyes searching the crowd. He catches sight of the source of your fear, and Hoseok isn’t prepared for what he sees.

Pitch black eyes. Handsome. A cruel smile. A demon .

Surely not.

“Hobi-Hyung, please.” Jimin’s melodic voice is back again, stronger this time. The hound whines at the pull of one of his mates, but he can’t leave you just yet.

Hoseok presses his forehead to yours, gently releasing your wrist, “I stayed too long. I’m sorry.” He hadn’t meant to stay long enough to twist the dream. He can’t help but brush his lips over your forehead before he releases you and melts into the crowd. He suddenly feels empty.

********

Hoseok snaps his eyes open seconds later, lips parting to gasp for air, fingers gripping the arm across his chest as an anchor.

“Finally,” Jimin breathes against the shell of his ear, pulling away to look down at his elder with relieved eyes.  “You were gone for so long,” The siren reaches up to brush Hoseok’s hair from his damp forehead.

“Did you find her?” Jin’s voice draws Hoseok’s attention to his other side, where the eldest paces alongside the bed. 

Hoseok nods, “Yes.” He groans as he pulls himself to sit up before he swings his legs over the side of the bed and stands, before he steps around Jin to head for the bedroom door.

 Jin immediately swings around to track the hound, following him out into the hallway, Jimin close behind. “Is something wrong, Hobi? What did you see?”

Hoseok doesn’t answer him, stepping just outside when the bathroom door opens and the silver haired werewolf he was going to look for emerges, towel wrapped around his waist.

Namjoon stops when he spots the three standing feet away, raising his eyebrows, “What?”

“We-,” Hoseok immediately snaps his mouth shut when Taehyung steps out of the bathroom behind Namjoon. Naked .

“Taehyung, what are you doing? Put some clothes on!” Jin fusses at the vampire from beside Hoseok.

“I just took a shower, Hyung.” The vampire snickers as he presses against Namjoon’s back, arms wrapping around the werewolf as he nuzzles his shoulder, eyes flashing red as he bats his eyelashes at the three innocently, “I’m too wet for clothes.”

“That’s why we have towels, Taehyung-ah!” Jin chides in return, oblivious to the mischievous glint in the vampire’s eyes.

“Hmm...I forgot to grab a towel,” Taehyung grins against Namjoon’s shoulder, his hands slipping down towards the top of the towel on the werewolf’s waist, fingers gripping the material, “Can I borrow yours, Joonie-Hyung?”

Namjoon’s lips twitch before he’s reaching down to grab the vampire’s hands, pulling them free from his towel, “Behave, Taehyung,” He scolds the younger softly, ignoring the pout Taehyung sends his way before Namjoon settles back on Hoseok. “Hobi?”

“I visited [Name]’s dreams last night,” Hoseok immediately answers,. “I intended to only observe,” He’s quick to explain himself, especially when Namjoon’s eyes narrow, “but the hound had other ideas. We hide our identity.”

“What happened?” Namjoon prompted Hoseok, rolling his shoulders at the feeling of Taehyung pressing his lips against his skin.

“It was a memory. She was young, maybe late teens. Her father is some kind of Councilman.” Hoseok shifted uneasily, “It was fine for a while, but I didn’t realize I had stayed too long.” Hoseok didn’t miss the way Taehyung suddenly stilled behind Namjoon, and Hoseok kept his attention solely on Namjoon, “She was terrified.” He wanted to shudder at the feeling of her fear rushing over him.

“Did you see what it was?” Taehyung voices the words instead of Namjoon, his chin resting on the werewolf’s shoulder.

Hoseok nods, letting the silence stretch between the five of them. Jimin nudges against Hoseok’s side, hand sliding down to intertwine their fingers together, “What was it, Hobi-Hyung?”

“A demon.” The word demon tastes sour in his mouth, and he can feel the sudden mood change in the air almost immediately. 

Jimin gasps beside him, and Hoseok knows that Jin had immediately bristled as soon as the word left his mouth. Namjoon raises his eyebrows in surprise, while Taehyung looks thoughtful.

“You’re sure?” Namjoon prompts, sharing a look with Taehyung out of the corner of his eye.

“I know a demon when I see one. It was only a figment of her imagination, so I can’t tell you how powerful or what kind of demon he is.”

“The friend she was meeting at the club…” Namjoon mutters out loud, but Taehyung shakes his head.

“She wasn’t afraid of this friend when she mentioned them. The club doesn’t permit demons inside. They have precautions to prevent them from entering.” Taehyung pauses a moment, “I’m pretty sure she was meeting the witch.”

“The witch? What witch? What club?” Jin interjects, looking back and forth between Namjoon and Taehyung with narrowed eyes.

“Club Fallen.” Taehyung answers, shrugging his shoulders, “I go there sometimes to grab a bite.” He ignores the sudden flare of Jin’s nostrils at the admission, “I ran into [Name] there a week ago. She was meeting a friend . At least, that’s what she told me.”

“We’re missing something.” Hoseok pipes up, pausing when the door down the hall abruptly opens and Yoongi emerges from his room. 

Yoongi glares at the five of them in turn before he speaks, “You’re all too loud.” He grumbles, squinting up at the lights with distaste. He blinks at the sight of Namjoon and Taehyung, his lips twitching into a smirk at the towel-wrapped werewolf and naked vampire. His chest rumbles in appreciation at the sight. 

“Are we having a meeting, hyungs?” Jungkook shuffles down the hallway from the opposite direction, hair sticking up in all directions. Jimin releases Hoseok and immediately latches onto the youngest member, cooing softly as he fusses at the maknae’s bedhead hair. “Did Hobi-Hyung say demon?”

“It appears [Name] is somehow involved in the supernatural world,” Namjoon rubs a hand over his face with a sigh, “It’s both...relieving and frustrating.” If you knew about the supernatural world, it decreased the odds of them sending you screaming and running the opposite way. On the other hand, if you didn’t exactly know anything, it made their job much harder. Not to mention what your history was with the demon. “First her blood, now somehow there’s a demon involved.”

“You know, if I could bite her and get more of her blood, I could figure that part out…” Taehyung trailed off, side eyeing Namjoon, “Those measly two drops wasn’t nearly enough.” 

Namjoon snarled at his vampire mate, “No.” Taehyung shuddered at the command, well aware the others had to. Taehyung put his hands up in mock surrender as Namjoon continued to glare at him.

“Could we somehow get Namjoon an audience with the witch?” Yoongi directed his question at the vampire, ignoring the looks from the other five.

Taehyung raised his eyebrows at his hyung, “I….I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

“Why not? She’s just a witch.” Jungkook asked, drawing Taehyung’s attention to the young werewolf.

“Arshkia isn’t just a witch. A witch is never just a witch, especially not Arshkia. She’s old as hell, powerful as hell, and she knows everything .” Taehyung ignored the wide-eyed look Jungkook was sporting now, “I’ve managed to stay under her radar and I don’t want to draw her attention if the rumors about her are true.”

“What?”

Taehyung groans out loud at the need for elaboration from Jin, “There’s been a rumor on the streets that she collects...soulbonds.” Jin chokes at his words, but Taehyung continues, “There’s seven of us in a soulbond. That makes us pretty damn special. If we add [Name]...that’s an eight member soulbond. There’s only a handful of soulbonds with more than six.”

“Collects them? Like baseball cards!?” Jungkook stiffens against Jimin, looking around at his elders with exasperation.

Taehyung shrugs, “I heard she absorbs the power of the soulbond to make herself more powerful. I also heard she collects the rare creatures from soulbonds and bonds them to her.”

“You’re pulling our leg.”  Yoongi laughs bitterly before he glares at the vampire, “Where the fuck did you hear that shit?”

“Regulars at the club, loose lips when they’re drunk.” Taehyung is unaffected by Yoongi’s disbelief, “I’m not going anywhere near that witch, neither is Namjoon. She’ll smell the soulbond from a mile away.”

“What do we do then?” Jin directs his question at Namjoon, “[Name] isn’t going to tell us anything, especially if she’s running from a demon.”

“We’re going to continue what we’ve been doing and we’re all going to behave ourselves.” Namjoon fixes his gaze on the three youngest, ignoring their immediate protests.

“Me?”

“I didn’t do anything!”

“It was once, hyung.”

“Hobi,” Namjoon tuned to the hellhound, “Can you find out anything about the demon? Discreetly, of course.”

Hoseok nodded, “Yeah, I’ve got some contacts.”

“Good. Now, let’s get moving. We’re gonna be late.” Namjoon breaks away from their gathering in the hallway to disappear into his room.

“For Pete’s sake, Taehyung. Go put clothes on, I’m pretty sure you’re dry now.” Jin jabs his finger in the air towards the vampire.

“You’re just jealous, hyung. You should try this sometime. Namjoon-hyung appreciates me.”

“I appreciate you too.”

“See? Yoongi-hyung does too.”

“You’re a pain in the ass.”

“I’m YOUR pain in the ass, baby.”

“I think you have a nice ass, hyung.”

“Kookie, don’t encourage him.”

“No, please, Kookie, tell me more,”

“Stop corrupting the maknae!”

Namjoon steps out of his bedroom, fully clothed and one hand holding his previously used towel and the other planted on one of his hips as he glares at his six mates, “Why are you all still standing here? Get moving!” They immediately start to disperse, except for Jin and Taehyung.

“What’re you going to do if I do-YA!” Taehyung suddenly jumps and shrieks when Jin smacks him right on the ass with Namjoon’s towel. “Ya! Hyung!”

“There’s more where that came from, brat.” Jin whips the towel back in mock motion, laughing when the vampire shrieks and takes off towards his bedroom.

Jin glances at Namjoon before he does a double-take at the look the werewolf gives him, “What? You want some too?” Jin mock swats the towel in the leader’s direction, grinning.

“Go get dressed, Jin-hyung.” Namjoon shakes his head, stalking off down the hallway to wait in the living room.

“You’re no fun!”

Chapter Text

“You should let me go in alone, Hyung.” Hoseok knows that as soon as the words leave his mouth that he’s fighting a losing battle. For the sake of his sanity, he has to at least try.

Yoongi fixes Hoseok with an incredulous look at such a request, eyes narrowing. “No.” His answer is sharp and final, arms crossed across his chest as if to make his opinion on the matter that much more obvious.

Hoseok groans, “It’s bad enough I’m going to draw attention. You’re going to draw even more attention. Why did you come?” The hellhound hadn’t even asked Yoongi to come with him; his elder had apparently followed him out the door when he’d tried to leave discreetly. One minute Hoseok was silently celebrating his victory, and the next, Yoongi was nonchalantly following behind him.

At least he had avoided drawing the attention of Jimin and Taehyung. Those two shouldn’t be allowed to leave the dorms. Ever. Especially not together. Hoseok would have ditched them back at the dorms if they had been the ones to follow. Yoongi? The man was stubborn .

“We’re not supposed to go anywhere alone.” A pause. “Hence why I’m here.” Yoongi gestures at himself, clad in black pants, a black hoodie, and a black headband pushing his hair back. “Incognito.”

“That’s…..that’s not what I meant by drawing attention.” Hoseok sighs before he continues towards the building he had been leading Yoongi to. He was dreading this; exposing himself to a bunch of possible demons. Not to mention exposing Yoongi as well. That made his skin crawl. Yoongi’s mind was already made up, and Hoseok knew he shouldn’t waste his breath any longer trying to convince him otherwise. The hellhound could abandon his mission tonight, but there wasn’t a guarantee he would get this opportunity again. 

The smell of sulfur enveloped him as soon as he stepped inside the bar. It was disgusting. The smell wasn’t overly potent, but Hoseok was still disgusted all the same. God, he hated dealing with demons. His hound felt much the same, giving the impression of his hackles raised as soon as he stepped foot inside. 

A look thrown over his shoulder to his mate behind him gave Hoseok no indication if Yoongi cared about the smell; his expression was as stoic as usual.

No sooner than they approached the bar did the chatter of the patrons taper off; the once muffled music over the speakers much louder and more distinctive to make out now. Hoseok wasn’t surprised; he hadn’t been expecting a warm welcome to begin with, although he wasn’t quite sure if it was because of him or Yoongi. Perhaps even both. It wasn’t every day two species like them came into a place crawling (mostly) with demons. The hellhound gritted his teeth; his contact had chosen this place specifically for the reason that she would be surrounded by her own kind.

It was only a few seconds longer before the previous chatter started up again, somewhat drowning the music as it had before. Glancing around again, Hoseok focused on a short, squat man approaching them. As he neared, his eyes flashed green for mere seconds as he looked between Hoseok and Yoongi.

“Hoseok.” An eyebrow quirked upwards as the man practically spat out his name, lips peeling back to reveal rows of sharp teeth. Goblin. As Hoseok nodded in confirmation, the goblin flicked his attention to Yoongi, standing just behind him at his shoulder, “Not him.”

Hoseok stiffens, gritting his teeth as his eyes flash golden, “He comes with.” Like hell Hoseok was leaving Yoongi alone. The goblin’s eyes widen slightly at the aggression before he scowls and mentions them both to follow, muttering in a forgein language under his breath. He leads them deeper into the bar, the crowded dance floor parting to let the three pass. Hoseok wrinkles his nose at the stronger stench of sulfur due to the cluster of demons they pass. The goblin stops at the third door on the left down a hallway. He knocks three times in rapid succession before he turns the knob and pushes the door open, mentioning the two inside.

Hoseok steps through first, Yoongi close behind although neither react when the door shuts behind them a little harder than needed. The room is almost set up like a lounge; a large tv hangs on the wall, two black leather couches face the tv, and a mini bar takes up the back right corner of the room.

The only other person in the room stands at the mini bar, her back to them, although she’s well aware they’re there. She finishes pouring wine into the wine glass before she snatches it up and turns to face the two men. She’s tall and slender, the white dress she wears clings to every curve, flowing down around her ankles, barely reaching the top of the white three-inch heels she wears. Her jaw is sharp, her cheekbones high. Her soft, blonde hair is loosely curled and flows down to the middle of her back, her lips are painted blood red, and her eyes are entirely black. 

Hoseok isn’t surprised when he feels Yoongi press close against his back, his chest rumbling with a growl. It’s hard to feel safe when you’re trapped in a room with a high level demon, not to mention when soulbond is close too. Hoseok swallows the snarl threatening to slip from himself, reaching a hand back to intertwine with one of Yoongi’s. Hoseok trusted that Yoongi would behave himself, but Hoseok felt the need to be grounded as well.

“Jung Hoseok and guest,” The demoness purred as she crossed the room, sitting on the closest couch she reached with a flourish, left leg crossing over her right. She waved a manicured hand in the direction of the other couch, “Please, sit.” 

Her eyes tracked them both as Hoseok pulled Yoongi to sit down. Hoseok set on the edge of the couch, while Yoongi settled on the arm of the couch, knee pressed against Hoseok’s side, eyes zeroed in on the demon with suspicion.

Her gaze remained on Yoongi, head tilting as she regarded the blond before she focused back on the hellhound, “It’s not everyday someone like myself gets the pleasure of your company, darling.” She flashes her pearly white teeth, “Your message was cryptic. You need information. On what, exactly?”

Hoseok hated that he had to contact her. Lilith . All his other contacts had lead to nothing, nothing more than rumors. He had been half-tempted to tell Namjoon that he couldn’t find anything on the demon called Asa, but he couldn’t bring himself to tell such an untruth to his mate if he had another lead to follow. He would have understood. This is dangerous. She’s a viper. His hellhound was seething, ready to fight his way out at the first sign of anything suspicious. It wasn’t just himself to protect either; Yoongi had been dragged into the viper’s nest too.

“A demon. I was hoping you could tell me about him.” Just saying the words, asking for a favor, made bile rise in his mouth. 

Lilith’s grin is wolfish as she raises the wineglass to her lips and takes a sip of the blood red liquid within. “If you wanted a master ,” The word is purred, head tilting as she flicks her gaze up and down his body, “you could have asked me. We could have so much fun..” Lilith trails off, her attention shifting to look just past him with surprise.

Her attention on Yoongi makes Hoseok realize how cold the room has gotten and the anger beating at him. No longer stifling hot like it had been when they first came in, the temperature had plummeted sharply in contrast. Hoseok twists in place, a hand reaching out to grab one of Yoongi’s clenched fists, prying his elder’s hand open before lacing their fingers together.

“Yoongi-hyung.” Hoseok murmurs to his agitated mate, squeezing his hand in an attempt to get his eyes from Lilith and onto him. Yoongi resists briefly before his eyes flickering to the hellhound, and Hoseok almost shivers at the silver receding from Yoongi’s eyes. Yoongi keeps eye contact with Hoseok while he takes a deep breath before he slowly exhales.

-and just like that, the temperature in the room starts to rise.

Satisfied, Hoseok turns back to the demon, who looks like she’s the cat that got the cream, “You never said you had a dragon,” She giggles, attention fully focused on Yoongi, who bristles immediately, “An ice dragon at that! My, my. You are rare indeed..”

“No.” It’s a snarl, and Lilith raises her eyebrows as she finally settles her attention back on Hoseok, “I’m here for information, nothing more, nothing less.”

The demon pouts for a moment before she sighs, “Very well. Do you have what I requested?” Another sip of her wine passes her lips before she watches him over the lip of the glass.

Reaching into the pocket of his leather jacket, Hoseok pulls out the vial he had safely tucked away before he left the dorms. The vial was about the same length and width of a pencil, filled with an iridescent liquid that shimmered in the light of the room. Hoseok stared at it for a long moment before he tossed it towards Lilith.

She caught it easily, holding it up to examine it like she was assessing a diamond before she hummed in satisfaction, “Excellent. Tell me his name.”

“Asa.”

Lilith clutched the vial in her fist as she glanced sharply at the hellhound, “Asa.” Head tilting, she narrowed her eyes at him, “You’re either very stupid or very brave for wanting to tangle with him.” 

“I have no intention of contacting him. I only want information about him.”

“He’s a high level demon, like myself. As powerful as he is cruel. He’s a demon of many, many talents.” Lilith sighs wistfully, “He’s typical for a demon, really. Apparently he collects creatures like yourselves, the rarer the better.”

“Does he have a special interest in humans?”

“Hmm, he’s more smitten with witches. At least, that’s what I heard years ago. Apparently a witch caught his attention and he became obsessed. More than we usually do.” Lilith raises her eyebrows, “Are you attempting to protect a human from him?”

Hoseok ignores her, “What happened with the witch?”

Lilith frowns at his blunt dodge before she shrugs her shoulders, “Some say he consumed her soul, others say that he’s got her tucked safely away as his personal pet. I say she slipped through his fingers, but that’s just my observation. We may be in the same circle, but he tends to be the thorns on a rose. Other than what I’ve told you, I don’t know any more on the demon. He keeps to himself unless he’s pissed off. Then everyone knows it.” 

Hoseok was disappointed. He’d learned some things, but not nearly enough to satisfy himself. If anything, he had more questions about this demon, Asa. Why would you be so afraid of him? You were human, and unless you had something of value he wanted, he didn’t seem like he would waste his time with a human. Then again, perhaps you had made a deal with him and the time was drawing near for him to come collect. The thought made Hoseok bristle. If that were true, just what kind of deal did you make with a demon? Nothing about you screamed “I MADE A DEAL WITH A DEMON!!!”

We’ve stayed long enough. His hellhound was growing restless, and Hoseok couldn’t help but feel the same. They’d been here too long already and he just wanted to go back home to the rest of his mates and take the hottest shower he could stand. Being around a demon always made him feel like he needed to scrub his skin raw.

Standing without a word, Hoseok simply inclined his head towards the demoness before urging Yoongi towards the door they had entered from.

“A word of friendly advice, hellhound.”

Hoseok stops at the sound of Lilith’s voice, turning to glance over his shoulder at her.

“Watch your back. Asa doesn’t know the meaning of the word mercy.”

Yoongi promptly drags Hoseok from the room no sooner than the demoness stops talking, ignoring the dozens of eyes that follow their movements towards the exit. Hoseok doesn’t blame him, and he inhales deeply when they step out into the cool, night air seconds later. Silence envelopes them until halfway back to the dorms:

“When we get home, you’re going to explain everything .” 

Chapter Text

Soulbonds.

Despite your best attempts to forget about that word, it kept coming up. Sometimes you would hear it in a conversation, one time you had to do a double take at a sign because you swore you’d seen the word. It was going to drive you mad .

Curiosity killed the cat. You told yourself. But satisfaction brought it back. Came the reply.

You hated yourself sometimes.

The problem with satisfying the curiosity that was eating you was that you had no one to go to. There was no one you could go to for answers, at least not without taking the risk of being dragged into the world you were trying to keep your distance from. 

Arshkia was an obvious choice, but you couldn’t quite bring yourself to go to the club again. Everytime you even thought about it, a sense of dread would pool in your belly until you felt like you were going to have to run to the bathroom to heave up whatever was in your stomach.

Proceeding with caution when it came to the older witch was a must, and you didn’t want to be indebted to her anymore than you could afford to be. She was a power witch and no doubt she would crush you under her heel the moment you’d become useless to her. You weren’t deaf to the rumors circulating about her, the whispers of what she did to soulbonds. 

“Should one of those seven souls find you and mark you…” She had made it sound so archaic. You had no doubt that she was referring to being bitten, although you supposed that not all supernatural creatures marked by biting. How did that work with those that were human? Being bound to any supernatural creature was dangerous, and no doubt the risk increased tenfold for a human. No, no. You couldn’t think about that now. 

The books wrapped up and locked away in your closet held no answers. You hadn’t thought they would in the first place, since Arshkia had been surprised you didn’t know anything about soulbonds in the first place. Apparently every supernatural, even witches, were taught such things. Except for you . You’d been raised on this belief system that brought you were questions than answers the longer you thought about it. You’d been so stupid! Why hadn’t you connected the dots sooner, seen the bigger picture? 

You shouldn’t be surprised. No doubt most witches were carefully directed on how to manage and control their powers, make potions and tonics; hell, even tell fortunes, probably! Instead, you had been subjected to lessons on how to be a dutiful wife and mother. Sure, there had been lessons on controlling your powers mixed in, but that seemed like something off-handed, like it didn’t really matter. You later learned why harnessing your powers wasn’t a priority.

They were ripped from you in a ritual. When you married, your husband took them from you, transferred them to himself. Women were only meant to be dutiful wives and mothers to their husbands. It was disgusting. Your father was disgusting. Your future husband was disgusting, whoever he turned out to be.

You were merely the host of your powers until they ripped them from you, making you no better than you are now. You would be worse, a shell of a person with a hole in the fabric of what made you.

Exactly. Stop pretending to be human. Embrace yourself. Find your soulbonds. Better together than apart.

Since when did you get so philosophical? You didn’t want to admit that perhaps you’d gone about this the wrong way. You’d been scared all those years ago when you’d finally gotten the courage to run away, to leave before you became nothing more than a puppet on a string. 

You almost ran away sooner than you planned. You should have. How you wished you did. If you had known that you’d become the object of a demon’s obsession, you would have.

Asa. He’d been handsome, sauve. Black hair, cut close and neat to his head. Dark blue eyes almost like the depths of the ocean. Tall and undeniably handsome. Catching his eye and smiling had been your first mistake. Letting him touch you had been your second mistake. Learning he was a demon and not caring had been your third mistake.

He’d been fascinated by you, by your mind and your body. He’d been your rebellious stage, that middle finger at your father because while your father dealt with demons, he would have lost his head if he’d learned what you were doing with one. 

You body shutters at the memories. If you could take it back, you would. Asa had been a dangerous and terrible mistake. He still was. You hadn’t seen him since the night you’d left, running until you couldn’t hear him screaming for you, only to keep running. For years, you’d constantly looked over your shoulders for the pitch black eyes.

Even with this much distance between you and your former life, you still looked over your shoulder. It was only a matter of time before the new life you built came crashing down.

Before you knew it, you’re grabbing your jacket and keys and walking out of your apartment. You could do this. You could power through.


 

“Tell me about soulbonds.” You wince when the words come out as a demand rather a question to Arshkia. Your head was pounding, your stomach was rolling. You were tense and uneasy, your fingers gripping onto the chair you sat in minutes ago as your fought the urge to bolt. 

You shouldn’t be here. This place...it was wrong. You shouldn’t be here.

“You want to know about them now?” Arshkia questions, tilting her head and narrowing her eyes at you, “You’ve changed your mind?”

You wanted to scoff at her, but you didn’t. “No, but I need to know. I want to know. I should have known about it, but...I don't.” It’s the truth, and you’ve learned being honest with the witch usually got you somewhere. 

Arshkia regards you carefully for a few moments before she finally leans back in her chair, “Think of it like how humans use the term soulmate. A soulbond is a very powerful bond and sacred among us supernaturals. It’s rare for one of us not to have at least one soulbond. The only exception are demons, very rarely are they part of a soulbond.”  

Your body stiffens even more in your seat, “How...how do you know if you’ve met your soulbond?” The mention of the word demon sends a jolt of fear through your body.

You don’t, since you’ve been taking those tonics.” Arshkia answers bluntly, tapping a fingernail against her cheek. “The potential bonded will know, but how they know depends on their species. Vampires need blood. Werewolves require eye contact and hearing their bonded’s voice for the first time. There are too many species to list.”

“And...and demons?”  If Asa was a potential “soulbond”, you could feel the bile rising in your throat. You couldn't do it, you wouldn’t.

You don’t miss the sharp look Arshkia settles you with, lips stretching in a thin line before she answers, “I couldn’t tell you. A demon in a soulbond is volatile, a ticking time bomb.” Arshkia pauses, icy blue eyes searching your face, “I can tell you, however, that a demon is not among your soulbonds.”

Your whole body slackens ever so slightly at her words, “How do soulbonds mark each other?”

“Usually by biting, but some species are different.” Arshkia leans back in her chair, “Have you met one of your bonded, [Name]?”

You blink at her for several moments, “No, I don’t think so. I’m...just curious, like I said. How can I avoid all of this if I don’t know anything?” You bristle slightly in place, uneasy with how interested Arshkia is in your soulbonds.

“You can’t escape it, little witch. You can run all you want, deny it all you want, but the fact remains that this will come to pass.” Arshkia leans forwards against the desk, blue eyes glittering, “There is immeasurable power among those in a soulbond, especially when rarer creatures are involved. Your powers are strong, [Name], but you do not seem to understand just how much more powerful you’ll become bonded with your soulbond. Your power increases, as does theirs.”

“Why are you telling me this? I don’t care about p-” You swallow your words at the look Arshkia sends you.

“You are running from someone. Embrace the soulbond and you won’t have to run anymore.” A sigh leaves her blood red lips, “Intentional or not, your soulbonds will mark you. It is a primal drive to do so, especially heightened by stressful situations.”

“Can soulbonds be reversed?” You can’t stop yourself from asking, even though the question almost makes you wince. You don’t know them, but yet feels wrong to ask.

“Yes.” Surprise filters over your face at Arshkia’s admission, “Cutting off a soulbond will cripple the remaining bonded. Their power diminishes, and it’s not unheard of those remaining to die, whether by heartbreak or their own hand. Losing a bonded is like losing a piece of your soul. Literally.” 

You’re speechless at her words, dropping your eyes towards the floor in shame. Her gaze made you feel ashamed for asking such a thing, for even thinking such a thing. A soulbond was reversible, but at the cost of lives. All the more reason to avoid being marked. To do that, you needed to know who they were.

“Can you tell me who my bonded are?” Your question is hopeful as you look back up at the witch.

“Can I? Yes.” Her answer has you straightening in your seat, eyes widening, “Will I? No.”

Wow. What the hell? Mouth gaping open in shock, you fumble to form words, “What? Why not? I have to right to know!”

Arshkia raises her eyebrows, scoffing softly in your direction, “Do you? Don’t they have a right to know as well? Besides you have nothing of value to bargain for such a request.”

“I..I-,”

“No, [Name]. Go home.” The witch fixes you with a stare before she abruptly turns in her chair, facing towards the windows that look out onto the club.

You slowly stand and shuffle from her office, knowing that there is no arguing with her. You’ve gotten some answers, but you feel like you’re only leaving with even more questions.


 

As soon as the click of the door echoes in the room, Arshkia sighs out loud to herself. You were beyond being simply stubborn and it was going to drive her up the wall. She had plans and your stubbornness was really dragging said plans down. Tapping a fingernail against her lips, the witch hums softly as her blue eyes track your progress down the stairs and across the floor to the exit.

Once you’re gone from her view, the witch slowly stands and makes her way around her desk, pausing in front of the chair that you had occupied only minutes before. She reached out to pluck a strand of your hair left behind, taking great care to keep it pinched between her fingers as she crossed the room to a large collection of cabinets.

A flick of her other free hand in the direction of the cabinets is followed by a soft click, the upper left door popping open to reveal four rows of glass jars filled with an array of  colored liquids. Arshkia plucks a pink one, a red one, and a blue one from their resting place, placing the three jars on the counter before her.

Apparently you needed a push, or rather, one of your bonded needed a push. 

Arshkia was more than happy to set things in motion.