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He hath given his empire up to a whore

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-

 

The letter from the castle is hand delivered to him two hours past daybreak by a messenger of the court.

His father is the one who answers the booming knocks to their door as Jungkook is already out back getting an early start on repairs and several urgent orders they have for new furniture.

When his father shouts for him, the last thing he expects to see is a man wearing a uniform unfamiliar to him, but in the royal colours, brandishing the castle’s intricate crest on his breast.

He stands stiffly, his posture exquisite, in the entryway of their old wooden house. His father appears to be just as puzzled by the man’s presence.

“Are you Jeon Jungkook? Status alpha?” He reads flatly; Jungkook’s name and then his title, just as it was scribed for the castle records on the day of his presentation.

The man shifts uncomfortably, seemingly feeling just as out of place as he looks in full garb and thick shoulder pads in the early morning heat. His attire is much better suited for the cooler temperatures up in the hills where the castle sits. On his forehead are beads of perspiration but the man maintains his dignified deportment even as it trickles down his face.

Yoongi, the only person Jungkook knows personally to have ever visited the castle, had once told him that castle ‘etiquette’ dictated that duty often outranked personal comfort. Jungkook, who was never quick to believe anything out of the elder’s mouth, wondered if this was the reason this man hadn’t moved an inch despite his obvious discomfort, despite the sweat now dripping into his eyes.

It was a bit fascinating to observe up close.

“Yes, that’s me.” His father guides him in closer by his shoulder, stationing Jungkook between himself and the messenger. This relinquishes some of his authority to Jungkook, who, at nineteen ought to already be standing in for his father as the man of his home, a role his father has been trying his best to impress upon him, especially as of late. His father often says he is too meek an alpha. Jungkook maintains that there are simply different kinds of alphas.

“Can you read?” the messenger asks.

Jungkook’s mother is a teacher so he has been taught to read but spends little time doing so. His daily duties do not require him to. Though he can, he is anxious to put an end to this interaction as quickly as possible. By the number of letters still in the man’s satchel, Jungkook thinks it safe to assume the man would rather not stand on his doorstep for all the time it may take Jungkook to decipher the complicated words likely to be written in a letter from someone in the castle.

“No,” he says and puts them both out of their misery. The man dutifully flicks the parchment open and begins to read it himself.

“The King requests assistance from young, able-bodied alphas and betas for major renovation of the castle ahead of the Treaty Meetings to be held this time next year. The contract will span six months, though the offer to extend this contract may arise should there be unanticipated delays. There will be jobs available in a variety of trades and compensation will be double the standard payment for such work. Additional compensation will be given to those who show exemplary work. The King asks for you to consider the offer throughout this week and the next, at the end of which several carriages will meet you in the market square to take you to the castle where you will begin your work. Are there any questions?”

His eyes are very expressive of the fact that he hopes Jungkook will not bother him with trivial questions. So, Jungkook doesn’t.

“No,” he answers plainly. The man gives him the piece of parchment, tips his hat and turns on his heels trotting back to his own carriage with the same meticulous posture. It looks painful, being a nobleman.

His father hits him over the head as soon as he closes the door. “And if the job required someone who could read?”

Rubbing his head, Jungkook sighed, “You go on as though I’ve already accepted the offer.”

“Surely you will?” he says, eying him like Jungkook has just said something crazy. The look on his father’s face makes him chuckle and his laughter earns him another clout. “Jungkook, you may never again get an opportunity like this. Isn’t this the first time the castle will allow common folk into its gates since-”

“Since the former King’s passing,” he nods. “Seems to be.”

“While you’re young and able, you should go put your skills to good use and earn yourself some money. You are of the age now where you will soon marry, don’t you want to put a proper roof over your mate’s head?”

“I would put one over yours and mother’s first,” Jungkook admits, resting himself on an old wooden dining chair he had made years ago, surrounded by the home his father had painstakingly built for them. Wooden, it was vulnerable to the unstable weather patterns that was common to these parts, but it was all they could manage.

Standing above him, his father placed a gentle hand on his head, “You are too kind, too selfless,” he admonishes, but is clearly pleased. “In the future your mate may resent you for such a decision.”

“My mate will be as kind and as selfless as I am,” he vows.  

 His father smiles. “Will you go?”

Jungkook nods.

 

-

 

In the interim, Jungkook learns more about the castle’s offer from conversations he overhears in his village once the news of it has spread around.

The reason they were hiring common folk was due to the poor harvest they had experienced. Trade had suffered because of it and the subsequent income had not met their expectations. They wished to reduce some cost burden by hiring non-professionals, though Jungkook suspected there would be a skilled few in attendance; enough to train the inexperienced. Yoongi, who told Jungkook he hadn’t hesitated when presented the offer, agreed that it wasn’t likely they would leave renovation up to the devices of a hundred plus men with varying levels of experience.

Yoongi is a scribe and much smaller than the average alpha and Jungkook wonders aloud what sort of work he might be tasked to do.

“Nothing laborious, if luck is on my side. I’m not built for that sort of thing,” he huffs.

“Hyung, we’re going to be renovating a castle.”

“I hope I’m put on cleaning duty. Surely a castle under construction would get filthy quickly,” he says. “Besides, you know my real reason for going there.”

To reunite and run away with the sweet omega boy he had fallen deeply in love with when he had been hired to work in the castle before King Woojin’s death. As a scribe, he was often paid handsomely to assist in record keeping and other similar tasks.

According to him, it was a whirlwind romance with secret meetings and stolen kisses under the light of the moon because the omega was soon to be wed. It has been three years since then and the omega has likely wed and mated the nobleman to which he had been promised. Jungkook had not asked for clarification as to what the alpha planned to do once he locates his omega as any mission Yoongi could have had in mind seemed futile in Jungkook’s opinion, but he dare not say as much in the presence of the love-stricken man.

Yoongi wasn’t the only alpha there like himself; with little interest in any sort of manual labour and simply curious to see what was within the castle gates. To marvel at the young beauties said to reside in the gated faction of the hills, to see their new King and his Queen, rumoured to be one of the most beautiful omegas on this side of the world. Jungkook had his doubts of that happening and for their sake hoped that the King’s celebrated wisdom and kindness was not just hearsay.

There were even a few brazen enough to speak of treasonous undertakings; many still of the belief, even two years later and under now his son’s competent leadership, that King Woojin’s passing was an unnatural one, despite the castle’s vehement denial. Many believed that the King had been too young and too healthy to pass away naturally as had been reported.

Jungkook commits those men’s faces to memory and promises himself to stay far away from the likes of them.

His only intention was to work diligently while he was there. In fact, he wouldn’t be disappointed at all if he never saw any member of the royal family in his time there.

 

-

 

His mother cries and cradles his face lovingly in her hands on the day he is set to leave and, as is routine, his father loudly insists that her coddling is the reason Jungkook is as passive and as soft an alpha as he is; though his eyes are wet as well.

His older brother, a beta, comes to see him off in the market square with his mate, now heavily pregnant, in tow. He had declined the castle’s offer, opting to remain with his mate and assist her through the remainder of her pregnancy. He had hoped to forgo any more emotional goodbyes but welcomes the kisses they both place on his forehead, grateful they made the difficult journey into town to see him off.

He will miss them.

 

-

 

 

The journey is longer than it appears to be from way down in his village. Yoongi was not exaggerating that much at least.

As a child he would look up at the hills and imagine that he could walk up them and arrive at the castle in only a few moments, so clear is its visage. In reality, they depart at daybreak and do not arrive until night has fallen. The path was winding; not a straight upward journey as he had once thought.

They pass through several aristocratic communities during the ascent, each more lavish the higher they got. The air was different, fresher and crisper and the temperature dropped steadily as they ascended. Jungkook is shivering by the time the castle gates finally come into view and he isn’t the only one.

He has no clothing suitable to this type of weather, never having had any need for it in his village. One of the older betas in his carriage informs the nobleman sitting near the carriage driver of this. Just like the meals they had received along their journey had been, the man’s response was similarly surprising.

“After a formal welcome, you will be provided with more appropriate clothing for your use during your stay here. Please bear it a little longer,” the man says politely.

Jungkook, never one to presume, had never formed much of an opinion of royal-folk or noblemen so he finds it pleasantly surprising how kind they have been thus far, especially with the almost three years of contempt between them.

 

-

 

The castle is huge from the outside, towering and beautiful. Jungkook pays close attention to the gorgeous stone detail, the years and years of work that must have originally gone into the now almost eight-hundred-year-old structure. The task of its renovation suddenly seems daunting.

They are led inside by a castle attendant and inside the detailing is even more exquisite. They are guided through a room in which every tall, towering wall was covered in stone carvings that looked to be as old as the building itself.

Once they have arrived in the appropriate place, a spacious hall, they are made to line up; all one hundred and fifty of them. Even the large number of them does little to make the castle appear any smaller.

The man that sweeps into the room next is an omega.

Normally, Jungkook isn’t one to recognise someone’s status so quickly, but then it isn’t usually this obvious.

The man is petite, and his features are soft and delicate. His eyes appear to be a gorgeous shade of brown, nose small and neat, lips pretty and pink, skin creamy and unblemished. His hair is dyed a light almost pale, soft colour, a luxury only very wealthy omegas have come to be known for partaking in. So, the omega is a noble, that much is certain.

His attire is immaculate; a loose satin overlaid tunic with intricate crisscrossing ties across his chest, purely for decoration as the ties do little to hold the fabric together, his chest and collarbones on display beneath them. He wears trousers that appear satin as well, drawing attention to the gentle curves of his body and cuffed with a gorgeous lace detail.

Surely it’s too frigid to be dressed in so little, Jungkook thinks, fighting against the cold himself.

As his eyes trail behind the beautiful figure as he walks, he decides that the omega must just be used to the cold; used to parading around as confidently as he is. He certainly looks it.

His smell, Jungkook notes, as the omega breezes past the group to stand before them, is not overpowering. It is pleasant and crisp and clean smelling, but sweet like he might spend a lot of time lounging in sweet, floral-smelling baths. The alphas near him all appear a bit ruffled by his presence; all-consuming as it is, especially too since an omega noble is probably the last person they had been expecting to see; coveted and treasured as they are. Male omegas, rare as they are, are especially so.

The new King’s consort is an omega male as well and as far as rumours go, he is said to be the most beautiful of all the omegas to have ever been crowned as such. When his name was revealed to the public – Kim Seokjin – there had been nasty claims and rumours regarding his lineage; that he was not of noble blood and as such was unsuited to be their Queen. At the time there had been much public dissatisfaction with their newly crowned Queen alongside the ever-growing suspicion about the former king’s passing. Not long after, there had been a considerable decline in public invitation to the castle. In fact, resultingly the castle had become significantly less forthcoming with information, seemingly just leaving the village people up to their hearsay and idle chatter.

They used secrecy as a means of chastisement against village folk, even going so far as to marry the new King and his Queen with little fanfare and without a single commoner from their village in attendance, as was previously tradition.

There was an almost palpable tension in the air that the omega seemed ignorant to or one he was simply accustomed to. He certainly appeared more comfortable in a room full of alphas and betas than any omega had the right to be.

He had entered flanked by a burly beta male – from the looks of it, a personal guard - who had remained in the doorway. The only other person in the room was the elderly looking beta that had accompanied them on their journey. In the face of one hundred plus alpha and beta men, the three of them together were hardly cavalry, yet the omega didn’t appear at all phased, not even as the room seemed to take a collective breath in an attempt to fill themselves up with his delectable scent, not even as many eyes narrow carnivorously in his direction.

As small as the omega is, his voice when he greets the crowd before him, though melodic and sweet toned, demands their attention and radiates authority.

For a moment Jungkook wonders if he is their Queen. That is until the man introduces himself, eyes piercing and sharp.

“I am Park Jimin, hand of the King.”

 

-

 

 

The omega does little more than introduce himself, insisting that despite his title, they can simply refer to him by his first name as he “dislikes the formality of it all”. He also apologizes to them for not providing them with more parcels of food for the journey. The castle had not anticipated such a large turn-out, but he expressed hope that the meal awaiting them would make up for it all.

The meal is no feast, likely only remainders from the meals served in the castle that day, but it tastes exquisite and fills him well.

Jungkook sits with Yoongi quietly to one side of the small dining hall, a well-lit, large and aerated room that had taken some time getting to as it seemed to be tucked away and out of sight.

“It’s so that we don’t assault the nobles’ eyes with our destitution and filthy garments,” Yoongi explains to him, ever the cynic. Jungkook doesn’t respond, his attention having been captured by the conversation being had next to him by two other alphas.

Unsurprisingly, it is about Park Jimin and most of it is disgustingly explicit but some is somewhat enlightening.

Jungkook learns as he suspected that the omega’s title as the King’s hand, and as such The King’s most trusted adviser, was not typical of someone of his status.

Omegas that resided within the castle were usually high-born and as such mated and married off to someone of high social standing, in which case they were left at home to raise their young or always closely flanked by their mate or guardian when out in the open. Even the Queen was rarely seen for this very reason. They certainly did not dress the way Park Jimin had; typically being kept veiled within long draping fabrics, their bodies hidden away from prying eyes.

Any other omega lucky enough to be living within castle walls were likely low-born and as such they were usually made concubines to those same powerful men. They are given homes and treated well considering their lineage, but their purpose is typically made clear through the way their clothes would hug their bodies; relentless temptation to those alphas unfortunate enough to not have a few of their own.

Park Jimin seemed to be some perplexing mix of both.

“It appears much has changed since Woojin’s passing,” Yoongi adds.

The largest of the alphas at their table agrees with a nod, “His son must have been anxious to make a few changes around the castle to his liking. King Woojin would be rolling in his grave.”

Yoongi offers, “The pretty thing may just belong to our new King himself.”

“Keep your voice down, hyung,” Jungkook frowned at him.

Another man, a beta, nods and whispers, “The boy is right. Besides, our King is a married man.”

The large alpha reaches over and pats the younger beta’s head, smiling derisively, “That carries very little meaning within these walls. The omega could be one of our King’s concubines.”

This, Yoongi disagrees with, “Nobles keep concubines yes, but Kings rarely do and it’s certainly not common here. Apart from that, a concubine would never be allowed to hold such an astute title and pretty as he may be, he seems far too intelligent to be anyone’s concubine.”

Curious, the beta asks, still speaking in a hushed tone, “So how else do you suppose an omega has come to be our dear King’s hand?”

“Our King is happily married to his Queen, as you have said, so I believe adultery may be more fitting here,” he takes a mouthful of food, makes a face, then swallows and continues. “Likely highborn and actually mated to some unfortunate nobleman but he was given such a privileged title because in addition to spreading his legs for our new King, he must have a brain on him.”

“He does appear well educated in things other than just cocksucking, though I suspect that may be where his expertise lies,” another alpha who had been listening intently joins in with a boisterous cackle.

“I almost don’t blame our righteous King, I too would find it difficult to remain faithful if my Hand looked like him,” the large alpha agreed.

“Hand of the King, mouth of the King, hole of the King; seems he has many roles, in fact,” another chimes in with a bellowing laugh.

Jungkook rises.

“Oh, come on Jeon,” Yoongi calls at his retreating back.

“I’m tired so I’ll be heading in,” he says plainly.

 

-

 

Jungkook is escorted to his room by a castle attendant and once there he finds that he is to share it with the two alphas already settling into their respective beds for the night.

Jungkook recognizes the two from around his village. Wonho, the baker’s boy and Chanyeol, a seasoned craftsman if what his father had once told him was true.

They greet him kindly and he accepts the final empty bed between the two of them.

The room is small and has no windows but there is a small wooden stool and a desk for working. It is warm, but not unpleasantly so, the cold air seeping in through the walls to keep the temperature just right.

His bed is comfortable and after a long day’s journey, Jungkook is soon asleep.

 

-

 

As they had been forewarned, the following day they are awoken at dawn. Breakfast is a hearty loaf of warm buttery bread that they had chosen to eat while trekking across the castle grounds to where they would spend their days working.

While walking, the attendant directing them dictated to them pertinent information related to their stay: they were only to use the routes designated for workers, a formal lunch would be held every day at midday, but the kitchens more often than not had left over food from the day’s meals that they would happily share should workers desire a meal outside of lunch hours, assessments of their works would be carried out every fortnight after which adjustments may be made to their contracts accordingly.

The three are guided to a stone structure at the very centre of the castle, much larger than the buildings at its outskirts. The architecture, Jungkook can identify, seems to be much older than the rest as well. Intricate carving details along the walls and centuries-old sculpting. It leads him to believe that they are probably being led into one of the main areas of the castle.

They are directed along the walls and instructed to always remain close to these walls to get around. What Jungkook observes is that doing so seems always to lead them on a path to the back corridors and secluded passages of the building, along a long, continuous and hidden path; one that puts them close enough to hear the delicate footsteps of nobles on the other side of the walls without they themselves being seen. It is as Yoongi had said, a way to keep them out of the way of noblemen.

As they are guided up a large flight of stairs, Wonho and Chanyeol share a look of excitement, one that Jungkook cannot reciprocate when they turn it on him. Their eyes strain to try to see between the brickwork at those individuals walking just on the other side of the wall. As they walk, it becomes more and more clear that the area is heavily populated with nobles. Each bedchamber they walk past is larger in size than the last, and fewer in number the further they walk, until it appears they have arrived at the deepest extent of the building.

It’s lavish here. Everything polished and marbled and golden, shining brightly. Floors lined with soft, deep maroon carpeting, large exquisite paintings hanging too far up to reach on tall marble walls.

In the final hall they enter, their final stop it seems, there is the faint scent of sweet honey and lavender.

The hall funnels down to a door, a huge monstrosity of a thing, and it occurs to Jungkook once they are assigned their tasks that the large adjoining ‘hall’ in which they are standing, serves as more of a foyer to the rooms that lie past the door than the largeness of it would have you believe.

The three of them are assigned many of the same tasks which range from sanding and polishing the expensive wood works to dusting dirty paintings and sculptures to roofing, joining and trimming frameworks for new fixtures to be added later.

While all three of them will apparently spend their days doing much of the same things, Jungkook is separated from Wonho and Chanyeol who are led beyond the large door, while Jungkook is left in the foyer to begin his duties.

The attendant returns at regular intervals as the day goes by to ask of his needs, personal or related to the job and to observe his progress; whether his skills might be better suited elsewhere. Secluded as the area appears to be, each time the man disappears down the steps, Jungkook is alone once more.

When his day ends at dusk, he is exhausted but pleased with his progress, however minimal.  

Jungkook retraces the path along the walls they had taken that morning and again makes the long trek back to his chambers ahead of Wonho and Chanyeol, who have not yet completed their work for the day. However, the two older men join him only a few minutes later.

Though visibly worn and tired, they appear giddy as they stroll through the door.

Beyond the large gold door, as it turns out, is a beautiful, spacious bedchamber and baths fit only for royalty. Jungkook listens, amused, as the two deduce amongst themselves that the space belongs to Park Jimin himself. Though they had not seen or heard of the man while working that day, they insist that the surroundings smelled heavily of the omega’s sweet scent.

“I’m telling you, the way it smells in there he has to spend much of his time there. They’re his bedchambers,” Wonho says to Jungkook’s now dwindling scepticism.

Omegas scents are distinct; Jimin’s is especially so. Jungkook thinks he too would easily recognise the scent despite having met the man only once. He is all of a sudden very grateful for his placement outside of those doors as he listens to Wonho and Chanyeol speak of the gorgeous man for way too long into the night, considering the gruelling nature of their work and the fact that their days begin at dawn.

As Jungkook’s body gives into his exhaustion, the last thing he hears is Chanyeol say reverently, “I should hope we see him soon. He truly is the most beautiful creature I have ever laid eyes on.”

 

-

 

Jungkook spends the next morning polishing and varnishing, the smell of it permeating and nauseating all the same. For this reason, he almost believes himself to be imagining it when the sweet smell of lavender fills the hall and all but pierces through the unpleasant odour. Not a moment later does Jimin appear at the top of the staircase. With him are three of his personal guards.

He truly is beautiful, that much is undeniable, and Jungkook wonders how long it will take for the novelty of that fact to wear off; if he will ever get used to seeing the way the teasing dip of the omega’s clothing reveals velvet smooth chest and pretty slender neck. For his sake he hopes he does not have to see the omega for as often as that will surely take.

While Jungkook bows almost immediately at the sight of him, Jimin scarcely acknowledges him with a minute nod in his direction; there is no eye contact. One guard opens those large doors and two of the three disappear with Jimin through them. The last guard remains stationed there when the door closes shut behind him.

As the hours pass, Jungkook began to abandon all hope as it seems as though Wonho and Chanyeol were right in their assumptions, that the grand space belonged to the hand of the King.

By their accounts, those doors opened into a hallway with a two arched passageways, one that led into a truly grand bedchamber and an adjoining sitting room - in which the older alphas presently worked - and the other into lavish baths.

Though the guard had his focus elsewhere, Jungkook found himself anxiously doubling his efforts and choosing to work nearer the staircase which put him at a greater distance from those doors, from that which he hopes to avoid in his time here.

Thankfully, Jimin does not leave his chambers again before Jungkook’s day ends, but admittedly at times it was as if the omega had been standing right beside him, so strong was the scent of him. Jungkook enters his own lodging willing himself to remember to ask Wonho and Chanyeol how they were ever able to power through such a thing.

The two enter together, just as Jungkook has gotten comfortable in his bed. They smell days away from a rut and it is so much in contrast with the scent he had been bathed in all day that he has to pinch his nose shut.

“We apologize,” Chanyeol is quick to say with a grimace and he seems particularly affected, his face flushed a deep red. “We’re heading to the common baths now to cool off, it’s a pseudo rut.”

Though Jungkook has heard of it, he has never actually known anyone to have a false rut. According to his older brother, it was something embarrassing and shameful and so people tended not to mention it at all as it usually stemmed from a lack of control; a sign of immaturity. While the older alpha pair do seem bashful, they also appear almost contented.

“I’m sure you saw him, Jimin came into the rooms today,” Wonho explained, stripping his sweat soiled tunic and rolling it into a tight ball. Chanyeol does the same and the scent in the room suddenly improves significantly.

“He was pleasuring himself,” Wonho’s scent spikes and Jungkook feels his do the same, body involuntarily going hot. “Didn’t so much as look in our direction when he arrived, but as soon as the doors to his chambers closed he was making the most gorgeous sounds.”

“It’s amazing, his guard stood across the room from us, right at his door and didn’t even seem the slightest bit perturbed,” Chanyeol adds in awe.

“Omegas have needs,” Wonho says sagely, and Jungkook can’t help the chuckle that he releases. Of course they have needs. Everyone does. “It’s true! Male omegas are especially sexually needy and Jimin, as busy as he must be, likely hasn’t the time to seek out his mate’s presence should the need arise within him.”

Having only met a male omega twice before, Jungkook can’t dispute the statement, so he remains quiet. However, he wonders silently about the kind of person Jimin would make his mate. With the omega in such high authority, surely no man other than the King himself would suffice; Yoongi’s words replay in his mind.

“It doesn’t appear he needs the company of his mate. It seems he can take ample care of himself,” Chanyeol concludes.

Feeling a heat building low in his stomach, Jungkook attempts to ease the tension, “Please try to keep your own self pleasuring limited to the baths. Both of you.”

Wonho salutes agreeably. Chanyeol appears to still be in a daze.

 

-

 

 

The days blur together quickly and soon Jungkook has spent one month within the castle walls. His days are fast becoming routine and his work, though slow going, is progressing well according to the elderly castle attendant that now visits only every few days.

Now too, Jungkook sees Jimin more frequently, almost daily, and each day the omega appears more beautiful than the last.

Parading around in his beautiful silks, always with a tempting view of his chest or with a deep slit in the flowy legs of his pants that exposes the milky skin of his pretty thighs.

And most recently, always in the company of different men.

His personal guards never appear to change, but the men that accompany the omega beyond those doors frequently do. Always a nobleman, by the state of his dress and more often than not, an alpha.

Jungkook observes them from wherever he is stationed to work that day; how they walk close to the omega, some even guiding him gently along with a hand on his side. Jimin always smiles brightly at them; he’s charming. Pretty and charming. Jungkook sees them come up the stairs and watches them disappear though the golden doors.

Wonho and Chanyeol then bitterly fill in the salacious details from there. It appears self- pleasure could only appease the omega for so long.

The timing is usually such that Jimin’s suitors, as Jungkook has taken to calling them, arrive in the mid-afternoon and likely depart once Jungkook’s work day is already over because when Jungkook arrives to work early the next morning, he watches as Jimin leaves for his duties and by mid-afternoon the omega appears again, pressed close to another man.

Though there had been one night Jungkook was present to seemingly witness all of Wonho and Chanyeol’s words confirmed.

The doors had swung open and an alpha, not one Jungkook had ever seen before; though they didn’t tend to be, stepped out into the hall. Jimin leaned against the doorframe, his body angled temptingly. With his robes hanging off his naked body, he bat his lashes flirtatiously at the alpha. Jimin had smiled and so too had the alpha, both smelling almost unbearably like one another. Jimin had leaned in first, dusky pebbled nipples on display, and pressed his lips and his front against the alpha. When Jimin finally separated from him the man leaned in a second time. Jimin stopped him with a gentle hand on his chest, had licked his pretty lips, turned on his heels and shut the door loudly behind him.

As usual, Jimin’s guard stood stone-faced and unfazed nearby however the alpha appeared dazed, much like Wonho and Chanyeol would when they returned at night with new tales of Jimin’s prowess, after having to listen to the moans and shouts that came from Jimin’s bedchambers.

That night while alone in the baths, Jungkook had masturbated with the image of Jimin behind his eyes and the memory of his sweet scent, wringing his knot and biting his lips shut against the groans that threatened to spill out.

 

-

 

Some days, Jimin is accompanied not by suitors but by individuals Jungkook assumes he considers friends. Particularly three other omega males, all very beautiful, all nobles as well if their attire is to be believed. Rarely too, Jimin will bring his work home with him in the form of older scribes and as he speaks in his pretty lilting voice, the men arduously note his words onto parchment. They don’t often enter with him, but when they do, they soon return, parchment in hand.

On one occasion, Jimin does not speak, neither does he smile and as he comes into view and sees Jungkook working there. He silences the two young women beside him, both of whom are carrying a mountain of scrolls in their arms. Jimin holds a few more under his arm as well.

In that moment he does not look kind, but he looks more like his position would have him to: stately and cunning and intelligent, eyes cutting with viperlike quickness to and away from Jungkook, lips drawn into a frown.

Though Jungkook tries not to be, he is hopelessly intrigued, as were many of the other workers from his village, many of whom by now had their own personal accounts of Jimin’s promiscuity. The omega is far from careful in his exploits. Then again, he does not appear at all repentant or ashamed by them. In fact, he often appeared to be quite pleased with his numerous conquests.

Many workers would spend their lunch hour discussing the omega; speaking on his deservingness of his role as the King’s hand considering his habits, his lineage that remains a mystery as no one can seem to trace Park to any noble bloodline and the fact of the tremendous freedom Jimin is allowed within the castle.  Though none of these men have any say in such matters, Jungkook finds that he can empathize with their curiosity. Daily, Park Jimin proves himself a difficult man to ignore.

 

-

 

Come say hi!

 

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Chapter Text

 

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Jungkook didn’t see Yoongi very often anymore as he had been tasked to grounds-work and was stationed on the opposite end of the castle. He only saw the older alpha on the rare occasion he decided to make the trek over to the lunch room for a meal, as opposed to eating in the kitchens as he now preferred given its proximity to his end of the castle.

When Yoongi enters the lunch room that day, Jungkook is surprised to see that he has bulked up some over the weeks they have been apart.

He is obviously pleased to see Jungkook as he strolls over to him, though tiredly, with his food in hand. When he sits, he comments immediately on Chanyeol’s bloodshot eyes. Ever intuitive, he makes a surprisingly astute supposition that perhaps working so close to Park Jimin’s ‘sex chambers’ as he calls them, must have something to do with it.

While Chanyeol is lamenting over his lack of sleep and about Jimin’s constant presence in his dreams, his infatuation evident, the omega himself makes a surprise appearance to their humble lunch room, skin glowing radiantly, this time with only his largest, broad-shouldered alpha guard in tow. His presence draws everyone’s attention to him, though he quickly waves them away explaining that he only came to greet them.

He makes his rounds, his guard following close and Jungkook can hear the ripples of awful and grossly lecherous mutterings begin to float around the room. About the way his lips appear a bit kiss-swollen and red, the curve of his ass in the soft, slender-fit fabric of his pants, how he must not have gotten fucked well enough the previous night to have the strength to come trotting around as he has.

So much of it, Jungkook has heard before that he is surprised when Jimin’s guard suddenly perks up and in what seems like an instant, hooks his arm around an alpha’s neck and drags the man’s entire body effortlessly down onto the stone floor. The crack of his skull against the floor echoes through the room, now shocked silent.

“Do you have any idea who you are speaking of?” the words are uttered menacingly through gritted teeth and directly into the worker’s ear, drowning out the man’s cries of pain. “You will do well to remember your place in this castle. You will address Lady Park as such and nothing less or I will ensure you lose much more than your job here within these walls.” His final words he directs threateningly to the entire room.

Lady Park.

Jungkook suddenly remembers the omega is still present and looks over at him as he strolls over to the two men on the floor.

He is frowning thoughtfully and there’s an insightfulness in his eyes as he stares down at them. His guard looks at him, clearly awaiting instructions, the man under him slowly turning blue.

Jimin simply keeps watching them.

The moment draws on long enough that Jungkook believes Jimin will allow his guard to take the man’s life. The crowd around him look on in horror. When the omega finally speaks, it’s with a voice Jungkook has never heard from him, flat and devoid of emotion, “He will find work in the underground dungeons as of today.” And then a moment later, “Release him.”

Jimin addresses them next, his features again going soft, but it doesn’t appear to reach his eyes. Behind him the worker sputters and gasps and coughs sickeningly, struggling for air; Jimin smiles prettily, “‘Lady Park’ is not necessary, but it may be wise to keep any vile conversations behind closed doors from now on. My guards are rather protective of me, as you can tell.”

The humour of the statement is lost on just about everyone still reeling from the present happenings, and his guard appears dissatisfied by his easy dismissal, his face still severe and full of anger.

Jimin places a reassuring hand on his guard’s forearm that does little to quell his anger. “Please, finish your meals well,” he tells them, voice sweet on the background of their dazed silence and the worker’s loud sobbing heaves.

Jimin sweeps out of the room and Jungkook watches a few of the older men in the room hesitate to go to the injured man’s aid because Jimin’s guard does not follow after him.

Glaring, he looks around the room. “Lady Park may not care for his titles, but you will do well to remember them and respect him accordingly. Had King Woojin been alive, he would have all your heads for speaking in such a way about his consort.”

 

-

 

When both Jimin and his guard’s scents have all but disappeared in their wake, the injured alpha’s companions walk carefully to his aid, eyes wide with trepidation and steps apprehensive. Two of them assist him to his feet while the third sends anxious glances in the direction of the entryway; a poor excuse for a lookout. The worker’s laboured breathing had all but stopped, however his head hangs limply as he is carried out, his skin a sickly, pale colour.

The men’s movements cut like a blade through the silence. Around the room, there is an equal measure of bewilderment and unease etched onto the faces of the men who remain. Slowly, one after the next, those who had not already been standing, rise to their feet, many choosing to retrieve what was left of their meals and leave the room. A few linger, of which Jungkook is a part, however Chanyeol and Wonho soon rise to their feet also.

“Let’s head back,” Chanyeol says to him in a hushed tone, one that is reflected in the voices of remaining men around the room. They speak quietly and close to one another, their heads almost touching, the previous clamour of idle chatter abruptly shattered. It is as if they all fear the omega and his guard will return.

Jungkook follows them instinctively, eager to leave the room that was now saturated with an uneasy sort of tension. It makes the roots of his canines itch.

His mind races with questions that he knows Yoongi would be all too happy to answer; his friend’s face contemplative and eyes penetrating, likely already assembling the pieces of the puzzle that is Park Jimin. Lady Park.

However, for fear of potentially further agitating the omega’s ire and due to Jungkook’s close working proximity to him, beginning his afternoon tasks seems like the more favourable of his present options should he wish to keep his current station above ground.

In the weeks Jungkook has lived within castle walls he has never visited the dungeons, however a place that houses hardened criminals, men set for dead, certainly could not be a pleasant place to spend one’s time.

Jungkook’s eyes find Yoongi’s and the alpha tips his head in acknowledgement of Jungkook’s departure. Still deep in thought, Yoongi showed no sign of recognizing Jungkook’s silent plea to see one another again soon.

Quickly, he follows after Chanyeol and Wonho. The latter is impatient to discuss the guard’s revelation; however, he heeds Chanyeol’s concerned warning to remain quiet until the three of them are alone together in their room at end of their workday.

That afternoon Jungkook works until Chanyeol and Wonho join him outside in the hall then he calls it a day.

Though Chanyeol had previously been insistent on silence, the same cannot be said for presently, as he spends the entire walk chastising Wonho on his apparent distraction this afternoon. Jimin had not been in his rooms that afternoon, but still the omega managed to disturb his thoughts. Wonho only smiled amusedly at the scolding.

What Jungkook knew on his own was that King Woojin had been married a few years into his rule. Though he had not been alive to witness the celebrations himself, Queen Sunhi, consort and wife of the King, was well known and loved in their kingdom largely in part due to the unfortunate manner of her death; in childbirth with their son, now a King himself.

Queen Sunhi was the King’s consort and the only person known to the public to have been wed to Woojin. It was her face illustrated beside the late King’s in portraits around the castle, not the omega’s. Not Jimin’s.

If Park Jimin became the King’s second consort, Jungkook had not heard of it and he is certain that was a sentiment shared among all the workers in the room that day.

Once they have piled into their bedchamber, Jungkook asks the question that had been weighing heaviest on his mind. “How could we not have known? Is it possible King Woojin took another mate without public knowledge?”

Once it’s out in the open, the answer seems obvious. Jimin had been called his consort, he had been referred to as Lady Park and he was seemingly unqualified for his role as the King’s hand. An omega who was once Queen or was to be Queen was certainly qualified for such a role regardless of his omega status.

Chanyeol responds with his own concerns. He is careful to whisper. “Over the past years we have always had our ways of keeping abreast of castle-goings. Call it an inside source or the castle itself leaking the information, it has always found its way to us despite those locked gates. There is no conceivable way they could have concealed a new Queen from us.”

“Well it certainly is possible,” Wonho laughs incredulously and gestures around himself as if to indicate his own state of being; as if to say they wouldn’t be here, speaking on the very same, if it wasn’t possible. “The question is why? Our falling out with the castle came as a result of the death of King Woojin. Before then, what reason would they have had to conceal something like this from us? We were the castle’s loyal servants then,” Wonho elaborates.

“Maybe for fear of the fall out?” Jungkook asks. “Queen Sunhi was loved by all. She was golden in the eyes of our parents and their parents. To this day they still speak so highly of her.”

Wonho nods, considering, “To replace her celebrated modesty and grace with the likes of Park Jimin who frolics around with his ass up and his neck bared. There would surely have been riots.”

Chanyeol frowns at his words. “It has been many years since the Queen’s passing. Many who worshiped her are dead and gone themselves and King Woojin was a force. Had he wanted to marry Lady Park, he would have done so in ostentatious fashion. To hell with anyone else’s opinion.”

Jungkook considers this silently. He had been born after the Queen’s death; King Namjoon, her son, now being in his twenty-second year meant Jungkook was born three years after her death. Still, he had heard from his parents over the years that though their King had mourned her death for a long time, he persevered and was resilient. Once the grief had finally released him from its grasp many years later, Woojin became known for his aggressive passion that won wars and moved mountains for their people.

His father had once said that it was as if their King had a new lease on life.

Of the few mindful adult years Jungkook had experienced of the King’s rule before the man passed away, he could agree with Chanyeol that Woojin was a man who appeared to be an alpha among alphas. Certainly, someone who would marry whomever he pleased and deal with the consequences later.

In his new vigour for life, had he mated the omega in an unceremonious manner and their wedding was no more than an afterthought? Or maybe they had been wed as the dying man’s last wish?

Wonho scoffs and it pulls him out of his thoughts. “Compared to Sunhi, Jimin would be considered nothing more than a common whore. You hear how they speak of him even now. They would have had Woojin impeached.”

“Lady Park is unmarried now, how are you to know if his behaviour now would be the same within the context of marriage?” Chanyeol challenges. “He may have belonged to Woojin once, but the King is long gone and omegas have needs as you will not let us forget.”

“I am no King, but even I would hope that in my passing my mate would honour the sanctity of our mating.” Wonho laughs, “And let me remind you, you do not know the omega any better than I do.”

“That’s another thing,” Jungkook says into the growing tension, “I haven’t seen a mating bite on him.”

“I’m not certain what it all means, but I think we should keep our focus on our work. Concerning ourselves with such matters is sure to get us banished to the dungeons ourselves,” Wonho says with finality in his tone. He kicks off his boots and gets comfortable in his bed.

The three don’t speak on it any further but Jungkook’s mind races all night long.

 

-

 

 

Wonho and Chanyeol are separated temporarily ahead of an ally-country’s visit to the castle because completing construction in specific areas around the castle suddenly becomes more urgent of a priority. It was an impromptu visit, if the annoyed mutterings of hectic noblemen and women through the walls were to be believed.

Wonho’s time is split between the morning and the afternoon; within Jimin’s chambers and then down in the castle’s antechamber respectively, where Chanyeol is stationed to work for the entire day given his expertise in the area.

For Jungkook’s contrasting lack of skill in the aforementioned, specifically where masonry was concerned, he remained at his original station to continue his work in the halls adjacent to Park Jimin’s chambers.

Despite his best efforts and Wonho’s warnings, despite Jungkook’s own rising fear of succumbing to the same fate as the alpha who had been made an example of in the lunchroom, Jungkook still finds himself eagerly awaiting the omega’s arrival or listening intently whenever the omega is mentioned in anyway without even realizing it. The rest of the castle might be in a frenzied state as they prepare for the visit each in their own capacity, but here Jungkook can move at his own pace, a lucky bystander to all the madness as his own work was not expedited.

The only real break from the monotony of his unchanging workdays comes when the omega himself appears; when he leaves from and returns to his rooms every day. Jungkook blames his ever-increasing interest on the fact that Jimin is quite literally the most interesting part of his day. So, Jungkook observes him as he floats by, determined and hurried when he leaves, and subdued, face soft and sleepy when he returns but always so unbelievably beautiful. Jungkook can admit to himself that fact plays a large part in his fascination. How could any one man be so beautiful?

His nightly activities have slowed down as far as Jungkook has observed. Jimin has taken only two suitors to his rooms in about as many weeks. Jungkook tries not to form an opinion on that fact.

By much of his own observation and things he managed to overhear, he knew that despite the omega’s reputation, he was a diligent worker, excellent at his job and apparently a perfectionist. Many of the staff sing his praises constantly.

Wonho has told him the omega is often praised by the men who share his bed as well. A perfectionist in all areas it seems.

In the few weeks he has been there, Jungkook thinks he has seen every side of the man; exhausted after a long day of work, bubbly and energetic upon receiving good news, tense with his scent biting, when he is lax and loose and carefree on the days he is visited by friends. His scent is sweetest on those days. When he is aroused, his scent is like a wildfire that devastates everything in its wake.

Jungkook has seen him angry as well, though never the severe almost subdued kind of rage he had exhibited in the lunchroom that day. Today however, when Jungkook sees him, Jimin is that same terrifying kind of angry.

At first, Jungkook wonders if he had come to work on one of the days they had been warned to stay away; during the duration of their visitors' stay. Jimin appears in the afternoon with another young omega at his side, one Jungkook has never seen, his personal guards nowhere to be found. The other omega is tall and slender in build, hair a fair shade of brown and his pretty face is wet with tears. He is clad head to toe in unfamiliar clothing that looks thick and uncomfortable for even the cold halls of the castle. He is a foreigner and from their allying country if Jungkook had to guess, but their ship was not due for another two days.

Jimin notices Jungkook first and protectively pulls the taller man closer to himself quickly; instinctively. He bares his teeth and they glint sharp as knives, but the omega is not afraid. His eyes are no more than slits, dangerous and obvious in their message to stay away. As if Jungkook might reach over and try to hurt the man; as if he could even fathom hurting anyone at all, but more so someone who already appeared to be broken.

Then almost as fast as it came, it went, a look of realization suddenly passing over him, cutting right through the lens of his barely contained rage. His friend is whining now in earnest; pitiful, sad sounding cries. Jimin’s face goes rueful and he hugs the man even closer, apologizing in hushed whispers directly into the man’s hair.

Jungkook hears bits of it as the two quickly cross the distance to the doors.

“Taehyung, sweetie,” he hears, and “I’m so sorry” and “It’s okay, love” and “Hush now, we’re here” and “It’s going to be okay” and before the doors close behind them, a promise: “What needs to be done will be done.”

 

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When Jungkook tells Wonho and Chanyeol of the incident, they explain to him that one of the ships had arrived that morning with their staff to make the necessary preparations for the main fleet that would be arriving two days later.

On Jungkook’s last day of work, the day before their arrival, Jungkook sees the mystery omega again. Taehyung. He is being escorted to Jimin’s doors by one of Jimin’s personal guards, though unlike when he would accompany Jimin, Jungkook notices that the guard keeps his distance from this omega, the space between them awkward and obvious in its span. Jungkook supposes though that maybe this is simply castle etiquette to which he has not yet been introduced.

The omega is different from Jimin, nervous in the way he walks and so quiet and hesitant when he thanks the guard after the man opens the doors for him and lets him inside. Today, like the previous day, the omega is dressed in spectacular robes.

Suddenly, Jungkook recalls what Wonho and Chanyeol had told him and thinks there is no way this omega was “staff” of any kind.

He was dressed like royalty.

 

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Jungkook spends most of the three days they are given off from their duties with Wonho and Chanyeol. The three find themselves in the stables on the other side of the castle, assisting the few men stationed there that are still required to work. Many of the other workers from their village have the same idea and so the work is easy as it is distributed among a large number of them. The days are filled with camaraderie, easy conversation and laughter as they all talk about their experiences thus far. Though they all speak of being treated well, it is clear many of them have needed the break.

They also take part in the surplus of food they are provided for their efforts at day’s end; remainders from the feasts provided by the castle to welcome their guests.

Yoongi is noticeably absent from the revelry, likely using his time off as it was intended to be used. Jungkook tries to be grateful for that fact, knowing that his personal reasons for wanting Yoongi to be there would only serve to ignite his ever-growing intrigue with a certain omega. Thankfully, the past three days had served to strengthen his resolve; to do as his mother had begged of him and stay out of trouble. His fascination with Park Jimin, he knew, could only lead to trouble.

What he finds out about the visiting country is by chance and overheard from out the mouths of the men he spends the days with. Many of the single men have taken up with palace staff, namely the cooks, maids and entertainers, and as such they are kept well informed. Unsurprisingly, Jungkook discovers his suspicions about Taehyung were correct. Though no one identified him by name, the description the man gave as he spoke of all in attendance made it glaringly obvious. “A meek, almost fearful young omega. Beautiful and slender and tall. A friend of our own King’s hand.” He was involved very little in the actual proceedings, his mate having the more integral role as one of the many royal advisors in attendance.

On the last day free, they take the back passageways back to their room as they had done for the past two days and are met about half the way there by a castle attendant. His face is wet with perspiration and his breathing heavy, as if he had been running.

He grips Chanyeol’s forearm and delivers the frenzied message:

“By order of the King, you are to return to your rooms at once and you are not to leave until you are explicitly told. Inside you will find a few parcels of food and should this lockdown continue for longer than expected, an attendant will be by to deliver you more food.”

“Lockdown? What is happening?” Chanyeol asks, brows pinched with concern.

“There has been a death among our guests, a Lord. Workers have been asked to remain inside while investigations are being carried out. If you are needed, you will be summoned.”

 

-

 

Regular castle proceedings, including construction and renovations, are halted for exactly two more days. The attendant only returns to them once, to supply them with a few more parcels of food and two buckets; one for relieving themselves and one filled to the brim with water for drinking. When they probe him, he reveals nothing of the happenings related to the supposed death that has taken place within castle walls. Having little else to do, the three had driven themselves almost to the point of exhaustion envisioning the possible scenarios among themselves.

A Lord of an allied nation, or any nation in fact, dying on peaceful foreign soil was enough on its own to have serious implications. As Wonho had explained to him earlier, visiting heads will only bring with them a limited number of staff especially as the visit was only meant to host a simple meeting to keep abreast of one another’s trade agreements and negotiate any changes if necessary. Their limited staff meant they would be reliant on unfamiliar people to meet their daily needs. This fact would raise the question of whether or not the castle, their supposed allies, had any hand in orchestrating the death, something that was usually determined by the deceased’s country and it was unlikely they had brought with them their most competent sleuths or even a coroner.

For this reason, Jungkook had been convinced that they would have been locked away for much longer, so he is surprised when the attendant comes only two days later.

This time around, the attendant is far more receptive to their questioning; he certainly appears more collected than he did in their previous exchanges.

“His death was ruled as due to natural causes,” the attendant explained. “His heart simply gave out.”

 

-

 

 

The next day, before they are allowed back to their assigned work, they are called to gather in an empty room, much like the one they had assembled into the day they arrived at the castle.

Before they are attended to, as usual there is an absurd amount of chatter and gossip related to what had happened. There are even mutterings of the deceased Lord’s omega remaining in the castle, inconsolable and too distraught to make the voyage back home. The omega is said to be close friends with Seokjin, their Queen and as such has been provided with shelter until he is stable enough to return home.

Yoongi is usually never too far away when such chatter is taking place, however as Jungkook looks around the room, his friend is nowhere to be seen and not for the first time since they have arrived at the castle, Jungkook wonders if the older alpha is well. Especially as it becomes apparent that everyone else is present.

While Jungkook worries, they are informed that such an assembly is standard protocol after events such as the one that occurred over the past two days. There is a headcount and their names and locations for work all over the castle are noted in an official manner.

When Jungkook has been called forward by the attendant and the man scribes his name, Jungkook explains, “A friend of mine is missing today. I think he may have overslept.”

The attendant pauses in his writing and looks up at him tiredly. “His name and status.”

“Min Yoongi, alpha,” Jungkook says immediately.

The attendant nods to himself, “He was called to assist in a few legal proceedings upon the castle’s request.”

Jungkook is immediately relieved, a smile coming to his face when he thinks of what the alpha’s expression must have looked like when he was asked to work while everyone else was locked away and resting.

Soon enough they are allowed to head back to work.

It has only been about an hour since Jungkook has been working when he hears the familiar sound of footsteps coming up the stairs. Though he tries his best to look busy, he imagines the omega must have been busy over the past hectic days and his curiosity wins out as he can’t help but peer down the hall as the omega’s guard appears ahead of him, though strangely, this isn’t one that Jungkook recognises.

Another guard follows that one and then two arrive flanking a central regal figure who seems to float onto the landing, so light is his step. At the tail, there is one more personal guard but no Jimin.

Aside from the fact that the man is so heavily guarded, Jungkook also notices he is dressed unlike any other omega he has seen in the castle; heavily robed in an immaculate blossom coloured gown, hair rich and dark and styled primly. He is tall and his posture immaculate and he is probably the most handsome man Jungkook has ever laid eyes on. When their eyes meet, Jungkook comes to the shocking realization that he is in the presence of their Queen.

He had already been kneeling, having been working on the floor today, however in his surprise, he rises to his feet just to fall to his knees again so quickly that they make an awful sound against the floor. He can’t hide his wince as he bows deeply despite his alpha raging within him not to submit.

He is surprised yet again when someone begins to laugh. A glance upward reveals that it is the Queen himself laughing at his expense. Jungkook watches in amazement as he laughs with little reservation, loudly in the normally quiet hall, head tilted back and pearly white teeth on display. His scent is different from Jimin’s, like freshly cut grass or a bright dewy morning; subtle and calming.

As his laughter quiets into lighter giggles, he steps even closer his head tilted, appearing almost intrigued.

Jungkook’s heart catapults into his throat when the Queen opens his mouth to address him, fearing he has done something wrong.

“You are one of the new workers.” It is not a question but Jungkook nods anyway.

“It appears no one has taught you how to properly greet me, and I am certain Lady Park just has you all forgo such things anyway.” It isn’t a reprimand, Jungkook realizes. He speaks matter of factly, with a hint of fond exasperation as he mentions Lady Park. His personal guards appear amused as well, something Jungkook is thankful for; grateful they hadn’t taken offence on the Queen’s behalf for his sorry display.

“Please rise, surely your knees are aching now,” He smiles good-heartedly down at him, radiant. Jungkook stands to his feet as instructed.

It’s as he is nervously inching away from the Queen that Jimin finally shows, emerging through his doors where it appears he had been all morning. Jungkook had grown so accustomed to arriving either just before or soon after the omega has left for his day’s work that he had just assumed the same to be true today; that Jimin had probably already left for the morning and Jungkook would see him, as he often did, returning from work in the afternoon.

“Seokjin, I knew I heard you causing trouble out here.” Jimin’s face is swollen adorably as if he had been resting. He looks like innocence itself, wrapped up in a white, fleece sleeping robe.

As the Queen appraises Jimin, Jimin regards Jungkook as if seeing him for the first time, brows pinching together in confusion.

The Queen snaps his fingers right under Jimin’s nose.

“Relax, he caused me no trouble. I was only having a bit of fun,” he explains when Jimin shifts his attention to the Queen’s liking. Jungkook uses the opportunity to escape to the other side of the hall. The biggest of the Queen’s guards watches him and snickers as he retreats.

“You were asleep?” the Queen asks him with the familiarity of close friends.

“I was,” Jimin confirms with a sigh.

The Queen sniffs pointedly, then grimaces exaggeratedly but the display is obviously light-hearted, “Has some alpha finally managed to wear you down, then?”

The brashness of the comment has Jungkook looking in the direction of the two and to Jungkook’s surprise, the omega is red in the cheeks. It is the first time Jungkook has ever witnessed Jimin being bashful about his night-time escapades. His reaction is revealing of the nature of their friendship as Jungkook has personally never seen Jimin be anything but confident and unremorseful with regards to his promiscuity.

Jimin places his palms on his cheeks and avoids the Queen’s eyes as he responds, “Sorry to disappoint you, but no. The past few days have just been quite exhausting.”

Suddenly, the Queen’s face goes grim. “Yes. I have actually come to speak to you about the very same.”

Jimin sighs again at that and it somehow manages to sound indignant. “Yes, well if you’re here to scold me, we might as well go inside and get comfortable.”

“You act too hasty at times,” the Queen tells him, resoundingly. Jungkook holds his breath, frowns at the unmistakable weight with which the Queen delivers those words, at the fact that they were speaking so freely in his presence at all.

Jimin glances over to him briefly, his face indecipherably blank when he catches the alpha staring. Jungkook looks away quickly as the omega replies, “That may be, but only when necessary.”

 

-

 

Jungkook finds himself losing sleep in the week that follows his encounter with the Queen, his meddlesome brain won’t stop replaying the events of that night. When he closes his eyes to rest at night, he sees the Queen and Lady Park, hears the ensuing conversation between the two and awakes poorly rested with questions about what it could all mean. Particularly, what the King’s hand might have done to deserve the Queen’s admonition, to accept it so readily.

To have the conversation so openly and in his presence made him want to believe his suspicions were unfounded, but he can’t shake the feeling he shouldn’t have been there, shouldn’t have heard what he did. He can’t forget the look in Jimin’s eyes as he spoke. “But only when necessary”, said unapologetically; he had looked no different then than he had in the lunchroom that day when he exacted punishment on the crude worker.

Jungkook didn’t know what it all meant, only that he was certain he shouldn’t want to know. However, as the days pass by it becomes apparent that he would not be able to rest until his thoughts were out in the open. He seeks out Yoongi.

The alpha is difficult to locate as it turns out he had been given extra time off from work thanks to his assistance during the lockdown and it didn’t seem he spent much of this time in his quarters, if his co-tenants were to be believed. They tell him Yoongi had only returned to inform them of why he would not be joining them at work for the week, but he had not slept there since.

Knowing the alpha as Jungkook did and the man’s propensity for persuasion, he would not be surprised to find out that Yoongi has managed to talk himself into being relocated to new bedchambers in exchange for his service. Either way, Jungkook commits himself to the trek across the castle grounds every night with the hopes that he spots the alpha.

On this particular night, it is not Yoongi he finds.

“Jungkook,” Wonho says, surprise clear in his voice to have discovered that the person he had bumped into while feeling around dark castle halls late at night was Jungkook. Though Jungkook can’t see much else of him, his eyes are wide, though they soon close on a sigh that sounds like the man’s surrender. When he steps closer, Jungkook suddenly understands why.

The alpha smells like Lady Park; like the omega’s slick and cum. The cloying mixture of their scents seem to envelop him and instinctively, Jungkook recoils.

“You mustn’t tell Chanyeol,” he whispers, voice desperate. It isn’t a voice Jungkook has ever heard the alpha use before. It gives him pause. “Please, Jungkook.”

After a moment, Jungkook finds himself agreeing easily with a silent nod of his head, but there must be some emotion written on his face that makes Wonho believe he wants an explanation.

He doesn’t.

In fact, the more he thinks about it the more he wants to just return to their rooms for the night. When he thinks about what Wonho and Jimin must have been doing to go away from each other smelling the way Wonho is, he wishes he had not thought to come down here at all.

He thinks about Chanyeol who they both know has always had a more enduring sort of affection in his eyes for Jimin to be simply lust and he thinks about what this would mean for the friendship the three of them have built. Jungkook looks sadly at him.

Wonho reaches out for him, but seems to think better of it, fisting his hands at his sides.

“I- you have to understand, Jungkook, he-” the alpha sighs heavily, hands rising to scrub at his face in frustration, “I couldn’t help myself against him.”

It is surprisingly easy for Jungkook to accept Wonho’s explanation as the truth, not hard at all to imagine Wonho having difficulty resisting someone like Park Jimin. Jungkook had seen him many times, like he knows Wonho has as well; in the omega’s presence, under his attention, men appeared to be bewitched.

So preoccupied by his own thoughts lately, Jungkook thinks it must have been easy for Wonho to come and go as he pleased. Jungkook also belatedly noted that despite him having discovered Wonho groping around in the dark, it had been with the ease of someone who had been familiar with the halls. It makes Jungkook curious.

“How long?” He asks and he turns and begins to walk back in the direction from which he came. Wonho falls into step with him, still uneasy but not apologetic in the least. Jungkook doesn’t want to think about what that means.

“He started coming into the baths while I worked about two weeks ago, while Chanyeol was relocated down in the antechamber. He was so beautiful, Jungkook. He is so beautiful. How could I stay away?”

Jungkook does not know the answer to that, so he does not respond.

 

-

 

On their way back, they don’t go into any more detail and they don’t speak any further on what Wonho has done. Jungkook doesn’t think he’d like to know any details more than the ones he can extrapolate, given Wonho’s appearance and his scent. Instead Jungkook feels greater urgency to locate Yoongi soon; the bonds of his friendship together with Wonho and Chanyeol feeling suddenly exposed and vulnerable, losing strength with every step they take. He tells Wonho of his search for the alpha.

“I’ve seen him a few times,” Wonho admits. “Late at night and always in the same place. Near staircase in the main building, if you wait in the shadows by the fountains, you should see him.”

 

-

 

Maybe a little desperately, Jungkook returns everyday for the remainder of the week to the place Wonho had told him Yoongi was likely to be found. He does not see Wonho again and feels a regrettably large amount of vindication at that fact, but just as he had said, after three days of watchful waiting Yoongi does appear.

The alpha looks well as he descends the staircase, a healthy flush to his normally pale complexion. It makes Jungkook smile as he steps out of the shadows and goes to meet him before he can slink into the darkness of the nearby corridor.

The man visibly startles as Jungkook emerges from the darkness. Yoongi turns sharply towards him and his expression immediately eases once he recognizes that it is Jungkook. However, as Jungkook gets closers he notices that though elder’s face is carefully blank, his eyes appear cagey.  

It makes Jungkook hesitate.

“I must have really surprised you, hyung. What’s that face about?”

Thankfully, the words pull a more familiar expression from the alpha; one of exasperation. One Jungkook knows well.

“And what are you doing this far from home?” Yoongi asks him, he leans against the wall and crosses his arms. Now the alpha’s gaze is fonder.

“Looking for you,” he answers truthfully. “You’ve been like a ghost for so long, it feels as if I haven’t spoken to you in ages.”

He smiles tiredly at that. “I’ve been so spent as of late, I have not had the strength to walk all the way to the lunch room every day.”

“Ah yes, because while we were all resting, you were busy assisting the castle.”

Suddenly, Yoongi has his hand in a tight grasp around his forearm. “Who told you that?”

Jungkook frowns at the unexpected change. “I saw that you were absent when we all assembled the following day so I spoke to a guard who told me what happened.”

“Jungkook, that information is confidential. He shouldn’t have told you that.” But Yoongi does not look afraid, instead his expression is one of anger. Jungkook doesn’t know what to make of it.

“He only told me you were summoned by the castle, he didn’t disclose to me any details of your work.” When the explanation doesn’t immediately give way to relief, Jungkook questions, “Did something happen?”

“Do you know his name?”

“What?”

He huffs, agitated. “The guard, Jungkook. The one you spoke to, what was his name?”

“I don’t know his name. Hyung, I don’t know anything about what you did for them,” he insists. “He didn’t tell me anything more.”

Just as suddenly as he had erupted, Yoongi deflates.

“I apologize if I appear to be overreacting. I didn’t mean to frighten you,” he says, his voice has lost its vicious edge, has mostly returned to its usual drawl. Still, this does little to put Jungkook at ease. “I just – I don’t want the castle to have any doubts as to where my loyalty lies. If they’re given reason to believe I’ve spoken about certain things to commoners-”

He does not finish his sentence, but he doesn’t have to. Jungkook still bristles at what the words, or lack thereof, imply. That the castle’s preferred method of punishment for such an act might be too horrible to even speak of.

It also doesn’t escape him the fact that when Yoongi referred to him as a commoner, the words sounded so clearly like a metaphorical wall being placed between the two of them. Jungkook, the commoner and Yoongi …something else. Jungkook thinks that instead of a commoner, Yoongi might now think himself a loyal servant to the castle.

For as long as Jungkook knew the alpha, he has had nothing but contempt for the castle and noble-folk. Even when he had been employed by them in the past, he returned with his pockets stuffed and with stories about all the things that made the castle and its people detestable.

Before now, Jungkook hadn’t thought Yoongi could ever be bought, but maybe he was wrong.

“What did they do to you?” Jungkook questions. “Or is that information confidential as well? Are you not meant to speak to commoners like myself about it?”

Yoongi sighs and a flicker of genuine remorse passes over his features. When it is gone, he just appears even more worn.

“That isn’t what I meant. I- there is a reason,” he finally admits. “I have been offered an extended contract to reside and work here once our six month contract is complete. It would be as a scribe, not all this manual labour nonsense.” He makes a face like manual labour is the worst punishment in the world, which for him it just might be.

“How long would you stay?”

“One year more, at the end of which they can again offer to extend it further,” he explains.

It was a great opportunity, one that Jungkook knew he would accept had be been in the alpha’s position. A source of steady income for another year was enviable. Still, the fear he saw in Yoongi’s eyes makes Jungkook worry.

He says as much to the alpha.

“Make no mistake, my feelings towards these people have not changed but I couldn’t let an opportunity like this pass me by. My skills are better suited here. There are very few jobs in village for me apart from teaching and you and I both know I’m not cut out for that sort of thing.”

Jungkook agrees with a fervent nod of his head that makes the alpha chuckle.

“So, you see, I am not in any danger. I’m sorry for worrying you.”

Instead of replying, Jungkook goes to his side and leans on the wall beside him. He nudges the man playfully, in a way he hopes will convey his acceptance of the apology. The brief contact also helps to calm him some. It helps that at his side, Jungkook doesn’t have to look directly into his eyes when he says his next words, ignoring the feeling of unease bubbling in his chest.

“I wanted to tell you something,” he starts.

When Jungkook remains silent for a long moment after, the elder laughs, “But now you’ve reconsidered?” He gives Jungkook a nudge of his own. “Out with it, Jeon.”

So, Jungkook barrels on, “I wanted to speak to you about Lady Park.”

“Have you come to me to confess your love, because you would not be the first,” he teases.

The statement rings bitterly in his ears. He quickly continues, “No, it’s about something I overheard. Something he said.”

Yoongi gestures encouragingly at him to continue.

“It’s actually about that very night.” He speaks his next words in a whisper, “I believe the castle had something to do with the death of that man.”

Yoongi hums. “The castle, or Lady Park in particular?”

He doesn’t answer directly, but his next words are more than indicative, “He was speaking to someone and he said something very incriminating.” He decides at the last minute to keep the Queen’s presence that night a secret.

Yoongi sighs, “I know I was assisting that night, but I assure you I know nothing about all that. If what you are saying is true, I’m afraid I won’t be much help to you in confirming your theory. My only role that night was assisting in record keeping and translating medical texts.”

“Then do you know who he was? The Lord, what kind of man was he? Did he pose some sort of threat to the castle?”

“Jungkook-”

“His omega is still here you know. You don’t find that odd? He is also apparently a dear friend of the Queen.”

Yoongi frowns, “As far as I have heard, the reason for his omega remaining with us is because he became ill following the death of his mate. Too ill to return with them on the day of their departure. All I know of the Lord is that he was an old man. A Lord yes, but his heart was weak since his childhood. He died because his heart gave out, an unfortunate coincidence that it happened now during his visit.”

“Hyung, I heard Lady Park being scolded for impulsive actions he took that night. That night a man died, the husband of the only person in attendance shown to be so friendly with our Queen and now the omega supposedly lives here. You don’t think it’s strange?”

“Jungkook, there are millions of other reasons Lady Park might have been scolded. Just what are you saying?

“I’m saying I believe they had him killed,” Jungkook answers into the dark, his hands shaking.

“And if so what would that change?

He frowns, “What do you mean?”

“What would change, Jungkook? If you found out the castle orchestrated this man’s death, or even Lady Park himself? What would it matter to you? Why is it so important you know for certain? This castle has waged wars with many nations for many years, surely you don’t naively think because they have so graciously employed the likes of us that they have done no wrong.”

Jungkook hesitates and Yoongi, like a shark, is swift to latch on.

“No one residing in this castle is a saint, and I’m afraid that’s simply the way it has to be to maintain order. If Lady Park has killed this man as you say, or others, I assure you it won’t make the pleasure of fucking him feel any less gratifying,” he reassures belittlingly, as if comforting a child. “I’m sure your friend Wonho could attest to that.”

Jungkook glares. “I don’t want to fuck him. This isn’t some inner moral conflict, hyung. I don’t want him,” but the words lack conviction even to his own ears.

“Then, you love him?”

“I do not.”

Suddenly Yoongi laughs, “Then what is all this about?”

Jungkook looks away and wishes he could take back everything he had just said. Now that he allows himself to wonder about the reason for his interest, he realizes he doesn’t know for sure what caused it and he doesn’t think he’ll be pleased with the answer once he does figure it out. It seems like every time he vows to stay out of affairs that do not concern him, like a tide something pulls him right back in.

“You should stop this obsessive behaviour.” The words make Jungkook wince. “We have only three more months left in this place, don’t allow yourself to be caught up in all the gossip and rumours floating about and for your sake, it’s best you ignore what you learn about the callousness of noblemen. We cannot live with their guilt as well as our own. Accept that sometimes heinous acts are committed that we may not understand and whether we agree or not does not matter. It’s in our best interest to simply put our trust in the people that rule us. It is safer that way.”

 

-

 

After bidding Yoongi good night, Jungkook makes the long trek back to his room slowly, distracted by Yoongi’s words replaying in his head. Why had he been so insistent on knowing? When had his distant admiration and innocent curiosity turned into .. this?

He passes the common baths just as Wonho emerges from them, skin wet and scrubbed rosy as he struggles into his night clothing. Before he can cover his upper half completely, Jungkook observes the bright pink outline of blunt teeth on his chest.

He has been with Jimin tonight.

He smiles when he sees Jungkook. Jungkook finds he cannot return the gesture.

“You need to be more careful,” he tells the alpha who bristles, likely from being spoken to in such a manner by someone younger.

“I am being careful,” he replies.

Jungkook gestures to his chest which Wonho obviously hadn’t seen until Jungkook points it out. He at least has the decency to appear sheepish.

“What if it had been Chanyeol, how would you have explained that to him?”

“I would have come up with something.”

“Hyung, he isn’t a fool. He would know the second he saw it.”

“I know that-”

“You already smell so strange lately, practically scrubbing yourself raw every night with those bath oils. It is obvious you’re trying to hide something.” When he feels his words are taking on a more biting tone than he intended, Jungkook takes a calming breath and lets it out in a slow sigh. He ignores Yoongi’s words as they start up again in his head.

Before he can speak again, Wonho explains with a bitter laugh, “I think our tryst may soon be coming to an end. It’s been making me a bit reckless. I suppose maybe I haven’t been as careful as I should be.” 

Jungkook knew all too well that Jimin did not keep lovers for long.

“I will be more careful while this lasts,” Wonho promises, a firm hand on Jungkook’s shoulder.

 

-

 

 

In the end, Jungkook is present when it all comes to a head and surprisingly, it is not because of Wonho’s carelessness.

Only a fortnight has passed since Jungkook first discovered him sneaking around in the dark. After many nights spent first searching for Yoongi and then several more nights spent distracted by the alpha’s words in his head, Jungkook has taken to spending more hours working to compensate for the hours he had lost. It is where Chanyeol and Wonho find him as they leave for the night.

When they exit the omega’s chambers, they are both grinning at him and Jungkook knows that does not bode well for him.

“You have been working hard all week,” Wonho says as he strolls over to him. “Surely you can take one night off to come have a drink with us in the kitchens. Minho told me at lunch that there was perfectly good wine being thrown out. He was able to save us a few bottles.”

“You can complete that tomorrow,” Chanyeol pats his head soothingly.

Jimin appears suddenly at the top of the staircase, likely returning from his daily duties, his faithful guard following loyally behind him. He appraises the group of them as he strolls slowly over to his door, seemingly intrigued by seeing them all together like this. Jungkook can’t tell what the man is thinking and Chanyeol tenses at the sudden attention.

Jimin smiles at them, a clear invitation.

It makes Jungkook startle and Chanyeol gasp, but Wonho barely reacts when Jimin’s gaze remains on him much longer than it had for the other two alphas. The gaze he sends to Wonho is heated and mixed with easy familiarity, his pretty eyes dancing.

Jimin bites lip and Wonho’s scent spikes involuntarily. The omega giggles mirthfully, mischievously as his guard pulls open the large door for him and he slips inside.

The exchange was not lost on Chanyeol either and Jungkook sees the moment he figures it out because his face crumbles, and really, the only thing that surprises Jungkook in that moment is that it had taken this long for the alpha to finally realise.

 

-

 

Chanyeol doesn’t say a single word to either of them in the fifteen-minute walk back to their room from the hall however once the door to their quarters close behind the three of them, Chanyeol holds Wonho with a firm grip on his shoulder and lands a solid punch to Wonho’s gut. He crumbles to his knees but doesn’t cry out.

Jungkook looks on quietly, hands itching to intervene despite Wonho’s instruction not to interfere once they entered the room. Chanyeol’s hands are fisted tightly at his sides as he paces the room furiously.

“I will allow you to hit me, but I won’t apologize to you, Chanyeol,” Wonho grits out. “You don’t own him. He doesn’t belong to you.”

Chanyeol’s eyes narrow, “You know how I feel about him!”

Wonho looks at him sadly.

“Don’t look at me like that,” Chanyeol spits. “Don’t pity me.”

“Chanyeol, he’s fucked just about every man in this castle,” Wonho speaks in a soft, almost sympathetic tone. “If you wanted it, I’m certain he would fuck you too. You saw him tonight. He’d fuck anything!”

Jungkook feels bile in the back of his throat.

“Stop it,” Chanyeol hisses.

“Do you think he loves me? Is that what you think this is? Do you think that because I’ve fucked him now you’ve lost your chance to have him? He doesn’t fuck me because he loves me, Chan.”

“Stop it, Wonho,” Jungkook warns, but Wonho only continues.

“He’ll never be yours, put this ridiculous obsession of yours to rest. He’s not some princess and you will never be his prince so take what you can get while we’re still here because you will never get a chance like this again and despite the fantasies you’ve created in your head, he will never marry you.”

When Chanyeol storms away, he slams the door shut behind him so forcefully Jungkook feels the floor beneath his feet quake.

 

-

 

 

In the days that follow, a cloud of anger and tension seems to cling to the warring alphas, Chanyeol more so. For Jungkook who would usually spend most of his day with them, he now feels uncomfortable in their company.

For the most part, both men are surprisingly mature about it all. They don’t fight again, but they don’t talk either.

Chanyeol has been distancing himself. Though Jungkook can’t say for sure how this translates to their work, where he and Wonho are forced to spend their day together, but Chanyeol no longer sits with them during lunch. He also rarely sleeps in the room with them at night. Though he still exchanges words with Jungkook every so often, it isn’t the same as before.

Jungkook can pinpoint the day Chanyeol too begins to sleep with Jimin because that night he sleeps in the quarters with them and though nothing in his smell betrays him – he must have cleaned himself well – he looks different. Vindicated. He can tell Wonho has noticed too.

Yoongi confirms his beliefs a week later when he comes to visit Jungkook at lunch. He tells him he saw them a few nights prior; Jimin on his knees with his mouth stretched pink around Chanyeol’s cock in the shadowed alcove down near the gardens. Chanyeol’s eyes had been reverent as he looked at the omega. Jimin’s eyes had been closed.

“You should warn him before it’s too late,” Yoongi tells him. “Lady Park won’t tie himself to another man, not after King Woojin.”

Jungkook looks at him. “Wonho has said the same thing, but how are we to know to know for sure? Things may change.”

“Trust me when I say this will not.” Yoongi seems certain. Jungkook frowns, ignores the irritating feeling that starts up again inside him; the need to know more. He feels Yoongi knows more.

Instead, he continues his meal.

“It’s beginning to upset Wonho, I can tell,” Jungkook confides.

Yoongi sighs, “Two alphas that share the same space also fuck the same omega. It’s a recipe for disaster.”

Disaster strikes only two days later.

 

-

 

 

Jimin emerges from his bedchambers like a force of nature, absolutely fuming. Jungkook looks on as he beckons his guard over.

“I need you to remove those two men at once, I can’t bear the scent of them any longer.”

When Wonho and Chanyeol emerge, they both appear agitated and Lady Park is right, they smell as if they had both been secreting territorial pheromones for hours. The combined smell ruffles Jungkook as well and he moves further away from the group of them.

“You’ll send me into heat with your ridiculous posturing,” he complains. At that, both alpha’s scents spike again. The omega’s eyes grow large, astonished by their reactions.

“You both work well, so I would hate to be forced to relocate you. If there is an issue here, you need to resolve it in private. Please do not return until you do.” To his guard, he repeats, “Remove them at once.”

Wonho leaves easily, does not look back even once.

Chanyeol lingers and the guard moves swiftly into action. He takes Chanyeol’s arm in a firm hold and begins to forcibly remove him.

So shocked by the sight before him, Jungkook does not realize that he is being watched, until Chanyeol’s eyes meet his as he is being dragged away, then go swiftly back to Lady Park, who is looking intently at Jungkook, a frown on his face.

“You too?” Chanyeol asks in disbelief.

Jungkook stammers.

Jimin doesn’t allow him the time to respond. “Wait a moment, Chiwon,” he directs at his guard.

To Chanyeol, he replies, “Not that it is any of your concern, no, I’m not fucking him too.” The omega does not raise his voice, but his anger is obvious in the sharp tone of his voice. His next words are dripping with malice. “When you came to me, you begged for me. Do you remember?”

Chanyeol glowers. He is shaking in the guard’s hold.

“Do you remember how you swore to me that you understood what it meant for me to become involved with you? I don’t take well to men trying to control me. I fuck you because I want to. The second that changes, you’ll never share my bed again.”

As he is led away, Chanyeol manages a miserable sounding apology. One the omega does not acknowledge.

They disappear down the steps and Jungkook picks up his equipment and gets right back to work, ignoring the omega’s scrutinizing gaze that remains on him.

He didn’t want to be the next one of them hauled away.

“Jungkook, is it?” Jimin asks suddenly. Haltingly.

It’s the first time Jimin has ever addressed him like this, outright, since he has worked here over the past months. He didn’t think the omega even knew his name.

When Jungkook meets his gaze, he has that familiar look of intrigue. Under his attention, Jungkook feels a spark of heat run through his body. In its wake comes a sudden wave of discomfort as he thinks of his friends, hauled away and threatened and Jimin now, here, with an almost playful look on his face as if none of what had just transpired actually had. Jungkook realizes with a start that the omega may be about to choose his next victim.

He bites down the unhappy whine threatening to spill out of him and manages a small nod instead.

“I’m sorry you had to hear that,” Jimin says. Jungkook doesn’t answer, doesn’t know how to react to being apologized to by the omega, the King’s hand. As the silence drags on, he eyes Jungkook critically and it’s as if he’s analysing Jungkook’s every move, looking for a point of weakness. He made a similar face when he was with his scribes, verbalizing diplomacies and bargaining strategies for them to transcribe to parchment.

So Jungkook avoids his eyes, avoids looking at him altogether where he stands there in a flimsy robe.

The omega shifts on his legs, standing now with his hip cocked and a hand on his hip. The movement strengthens his scent.

“How old are you, Jungkook?” he asks. There is a pout in his voice, a pleading sound to his tone. Jungkook feels himself flush.

“I turned twenty but a week ago.”

He hadn’t even told Wonho and Chanyeol of this fact and it had even escaped his own memory until very recently, likely because of the stress the past few weeks; with Yoongi’s warning a constant mantra in his head and with Wonho and Chanyeol’s falling out, he hadn’t even realized another month had begun. Yet here he was telling the omega.

“You should have said something to me,” he tells Jungkook as if he’s the silly one for not doing so. “I see you here every day, I would have given you a small token.”

Jungkook’s head spins. He is so taken aback by the statement that he can’t stop the words before they spill from his mouth even as the omega is retreating, back to his quarters.

“I work for you.”

Jimin pauses in his tracks and Jungkook mentally berates himself. Why had he even spoken?

The omega turns and the look he gives Jungkook is one of bewilderment. It makes his face look even younger; fairer.

“Yes, you do,” he says slowly, head tilted. He’s trying to comprehend.

“I’m sorry. It’s nothing,” Jungkook answers quickly. He turns to get back to work when he feels a hand grasp his arm in a gentle hold. Jimin releases him quickly once Jungkook turns to look at him, his eyes wide. Then the omega takes a purposeful step back.

“What do you want to say?” he prods. “What is it you were going to say?”

“Nothing, please-”

“You won’t be punished,” he insists. It’s with a childlike sort of curiosity that he stands there and observes Jungkook with his hands behind his back. It’s almost laughable how quickly the docile act puts Jungkook at ease. It makes Jungkook think that Jimin is well suited for his job not in spite of, but because of his omega status. It’s easy to see why men fall so easily; a touch, a smile, some kind words and his neck bared.

Jungkook takes his own step back, an attempt to distance himself from the omega’s entrancing scent. When he speaks, it’s only because he wants the omega to leave as soon as possible. He doesn’t think of the consequences.

“I work for you, Lady Park. What reason would there be for me to have told you that? I’m here to work,” he says it with a finality meant more for his own conviction than for the omega’s understanding.

Jimin stares at him for a few more moments before nodding slowly, his eyes darting between Jungkook’s own two. He seems to have come to some sort of conclusion about the alpha. “Yes, I suppose you’re right and I commend you for working hard,” he says kindly. “Your companions should be more like you. Good work here, Jungkook.”

When Jimin finally exits, Jungkook can’t shake the feeling that he has failed some sort of test. For the rest of the day, he is repeatedly distracted by both his thoughts and the lingering scent of honey and lavender.

 

-

 

Jimin sends a messenger to their quarters that night. He informs Wonho that his suspension from his duties will last officially for one week. Chanyeol is not present when the man arrives and neither Jungkook nor Wonho knows where he had fled to after the day’s incident.

Like the previous nights Chanyeol had stayed away from the room, Jungkook had expected to feel a small sense of relief; that both alphas were apart and so there would be no confrontation, that there would be no acrid smell of alphas at war with one another, but Jungkook feels only a sense of dread that worsens as his sleepless night drags slowly on.

Wonho lies in his own bed beside him and he reeks of guilt and anger, but Jungkook doesn’t smell much better as he gnaws worriedly on his lower lip.

Wonho had only spoken to him when Jungkook had returned earlier that night, after thoroughly washing himself to rid himself of Jimin’s lingering scent on him. He reassured Jungkook that once Chanyeol returned that night, they would try their best to resolve their differences, but as the night went on and Chanyeol did not return, Wonho’s scent only soured further.

When Jungkook leaves the room, he doesn’t tell Wonho he’s going in search of Chanyeol; he doesn’t give any explanation in fact, but Wonho does not ask either, simply rolls onto his side when Jungkook opens the door and the cold night air wafts in.

As he searches and time passes, he loses his confidence. What could he tell Chanyeol who seem to already believe that Jungkook too has bedded the omega?

Though he wanted to avoid searching there, Jungkook follows the familiar stretch of corridor to Jimin’s room. As he walks, he considers turning back many times, but his feet don’t stop moving; following his instinct to check there at least once for good measure.

When Chanyeol had been dragged away by the guard, he had looked distraught and irrational. He had looked desperate. When Jungkook finds him in the halls just outside the omega’s doors, he looks just the same.

At his feet Jimin’s personal guard lies in a lifeless heap on the floor, his body serving to barricade the doors to Jimin’s chambers. He is bleeding heavily above his brow.

When Chanyeol turns to look at him, it is with pleading, regretful eyes. So much regret. In his hand is a large, bloody forging hammer.

Jungkook takes a hesitant step forward, his heart in his throat. “Is he alive?”

“He is.” The hammer makes a booming noise when it falls from his hand and onto the marbled floors.

“Chanyeol, hyung, please do not do this.”

His eyes are glassy with unspilled tears. “I won’t hurt him, Jungkook. It wasn’t my intention to hurt anyone, but he wouldn’t allow me to see him.”

“You need this job, hyung. You told me yourself. The money you earn here can change your life.”

“I only wish to see him,” he says again. It terrifies Jungkook, the finality with which he speaks the words.

“He does not want to see you Chanyeol, please don’t do this. It isn’t worth it. He’s not worth it.”

“He is. You don’t know him like I do, you don’t know the things he’s revealed to me in those moments. You don’t know what those moments meant to me.”

Gently, Jungkook asks, “How do you know he hasn’t spoken those same words to all the others? You believe yourself special to him, but he had you dragged out and suspended from your duties. What do you think will happen when he finds you here, with his guard’s blood on your hands?”

Chanyeol laughs churlishly. “Have you fucked him as well Jungkook? Is that what this is, you fucked him now too and think you know him better than me?”

Jungkook reaches for his arm, only for Chanyeol to pull away roughly. “Reconsider this, there’s still time for you to leave before he hears us.” It’s shallow reassurance considering the man near death and bleeding heavily at their feet.

“I know how you feel about him, Jungkook. I see the way you look at him.”

“Jungkook, is that you?” Jimin’s voice trails out through the cracks of the door. He sounds groggy with sleep.

Chanyeol frowns, huffs out a derisive laugh at the sound of Jungkook’s name and hangs his head in wait as the doors begin to open. They come to an abrupt stop when they make impact with the body on the floor but Jimin fits easily through the small opening made.

When he sees the state of his guard on the floor and the hammer lying beside him, his eyes steel frightfully, but only for a second. As he looks between the two of them, he goes chillingly calm.

“I take it this is your doing?” Jungkook is surprised when Jimin almost knowingly directs the question solely to Chanyeol.

The alpha nods easily, “He wouldn’t allow me in and I only wanted to speak to you.”

“Stop this, Chanyeol,” Jimin pleads.

Chanyeol shakes his head sadly. “You told me you wanted me. You told me you love how I make you feel and that you love being with me.”

When Chanyeol reaches out for him, Jimin moves quickly out from between the door and Chanyeol, instead situating himself between the two alphas, his back to Jungkook.

From where he stands, Jungkook can see the back of the omega’s neck, exposed in his showy sleeping robe. It is damp with anxious perspiration. Though he stands firmly, well postured and exuding authority even in his flimsy sleepwear, Jungkook can tell the omega is afraid.

Jungkook wants to go to him but stops himself just in time when he realizes with startling clarity that Jimin has just put himself between Chanyeol and him. Terrified as he is the omega put himself between two alphas and his back is to Jungkook; he has placed his trust in Jungkook. He hopes Jungkook will be the one to keep him safe.

Jungkook keeps his calm for the omega’s sake and stays anchored where he is. He doesn’t want to appear to the omega as another approaching threat and one that was coming at him from behind.

Jimin speaks his next words clearly and with little delicacy.

“I do not love you, nor do I belong to you.” Chanyeol shakes his head in disbelief.

“Jimin, please.”

“No, I need you to listen to me. I enjoyed my time with you and the way you made me feel. You are kind, kinder than many of those I share my bed with, and one of the first things you said to me was that you will never hurt me. I knew of yours and Wonho’s friendship, but as I have been hurt before, I wanted to give you a chance and until right this moment, you have never hurt me.” Chanyeol reaches out again for the omega and his eyes are pleading, sorrowful, but Jimin continues stonily, “You have disobeyed my direct orders not to come here and you’ve nearly killed my guard.”

“You don’t understand, I love you,” he confesses.

“You can’t love me, Chanyeol. You do not know me.”

Chanyeol takes hold of Jimin suddenly, a large hand around the omega’s forearm. Jungkook feels a growl rise up from his chest and into his throat. He tempers it down when it has only has the effect of provoking irritation in the other alpha.

“Chan, I am unmated not because I haven’t found love, I am unmated because I do not wish to be. For what you have done here today you will work and be housed in the dungeons for the remainder of your time here until you have come to the end of your contract.”

“No, Jimin, please.” Jimin flinches and Jungkook realizes Chanyeol must have tightened his grip on the omega. Jungkook feels the deep timbre of the growl he lets out vibrate through his body.

“Chanyeol, release him!”

Chanyeol pulls Jimin in towards himself and hold him tight against his side, a powerful grip on the omega’s exposed hip. The alpha bares his canines and they glint even in the low lighting, elongated and sharp.

“Be quiet! I can fix this!”

At his side, Jimin is trembling, his breath hitching and his breathing becoming progressively more unsteady as seconds pass. If he hadn’t been here to see it himself, Jungkook would not have believed the omega could make such a fearful expression. Even now, as his gaze meets Jimin’s trembling one, Jungkook can recognize the struggle in them to maintain composure despite his obvious terror.

It’s in the way his fingers tap a calming rhythm onto his own thigh, how his eyes scan the room methodically, likely searching for a way to escape. From where he stands, Jungkook even scents the almost sedative aroma of Jimin’s pheromones. The omega releases them in slow, even pulses, something Jungkook has never experienced before, but it is clearly systematic in nature.

In fact, it almost seems … practiced.

Suddenly, Jungkook sees red.

He’s on top of Chanyeol before he has even realized he’s moved. Chanyeol looks up at him through pained eyes as if astounded himself that Jungkook had attacked him.

In the force of the attack, Jimin goes sprawling off to the side, the omega immediately griping his side with a pained gasp.

With a growl and all the force he can gather, Jungkook’s head connects painfully with Chanyeol’s. The older man’s head ricochets against the floor and the alpha cries out.

The sound of it makes Jungkook hesitate to repeat the action. Instead, he lays his forearm across the alpha’s chest and rests all his weight there, trapping the alpha against the floor. As Chanyeol visibly recovers from the blow, Jungkook tries again to make him see reason.

“How can you say you love him and hurt him like you have?”

Chanyeol opens his mouth to respond and a trickle of blood follows his words.

“It was easier before I knew him, before I shared his bed,” Chanyeol admits in a shaky whisper. Jungkook stills. “I wish I never did.” He shakes his head and smiles sadly.

Like Wonho had, Chanyeol smells of grief and deep regret.

Suddenly, Jungkook is hauled to his feet and off the alpha by a rough hand. A glance behind him reveals Jimin with a determined set to his jaw near the staircase where he is now surrounded by several burly alpha guards, two of whom now replace Jungkook in restraining Chanyeol and another that holds Jungkook in his grasp. They then look to Jimin, waiting for his orders.

“Provide him with payment equivalent to his progress here thus far, then take him back to his village.” Jimin instructs the men.

“I’m sorry,” Chanyeol keeps saying, head bowed. “I don’t know what came over me” and “I would never hurt you” and then again, “I’m sorry.”

“The worker named Wonho,” Jimin says next, not sparing a glance as Chanyeol as taken away, “Find him work in the courtyard. I don’t want him returning here.”

“And this one?” The guard asks behind Jungkook.

Jimin’s looks at him.

“Release him. He has done nothing wrong.”

 

-

 

Come say hi! 

A few people asked me for a few visuals of the castle and Jimin’s outfit (the one from his very first appearance specifically) so you can find that here!

 

-

 

 

 

Chapter Text

-

 

Wonho’s bed and his belongings have already been relocated when Jungkook enters the room. Chanyeol’s bed still remains, but his belongings are gone also.

Just one, maybe two, hours had passed since he went in search of the alpha and now he returns to a scene so drastically different than the one he had left.

It had all happened so fast.

Though the room is eerily quiet, the bitter scents of the older alphas linger. It makes his head throb. When he recalls the events of the past day, the pain only worsens.

Sleep comes slowly but as he calms and the adrenaline seeps slowly out of him, the strength of his migraine makes it difficult to do much else. When he finally falls asleep hours later, he sleeps fitfully.

He wakes to find that his migraine has subsided. The relief, however, does little to quell the troublesome thoughts still swarming his mind. What would happen to Chanyeol? Does he blame Jungkook for any of it? Was Wonho alright?

Was Jimin alright?

He glimpses out into the hall and recognises the tell-tale orange-gold rays of the sun setting through the large arched castle windows near the room. He has lost yet another day of work.

After all that has happened, he doesn’t believe he will be reprimanded for the missed day. Certainly, Jimin would vouch for him if his diligence was called into question at the end of his time here.

In any case, he also doesn’t think the omega would be thrilled to see him there again so soon, especially since spending the night in this space means he likely smells heavily of Wonho and Chanyeol’s scents.

When he had been released by the guard, Jimin had ordered him to leave while the injured guard was being assessed and attended to, but Jungkook could tell it was more than just that. Jimin had watched his every step, his every move, with those calculating, blazing, fierce eyes as Jungkook crossed the length of the hall to exit down the staircase. It may not have been the fear Jungkook saw there when Chanyeol had cornered him, but it was meticulous caution and for reasons Jungkook thinks he might be beginning to understand, he didn’t want the omega to be wary of him.

He spends the night with his mind at war, feeling immense guilt that only worsens as the night progresses; when he realizes that his distress stems less from the knowledge of the consequences Wonho and Chanyeol now face and more so from the fact that despite all that, he is still so concerned about the omega.

Jimin had been safe surrounded and shielded by his guards and as Jungkook exited he had even heard one guard confirm that Jimin’s omega friends were alerted and would be there soon. He had ample protection from his guards and when his friends arrived, he would have their comforting support. Even knowing those things, Jungkook finds he can’t forget how vulnerable and terrified Jimin had looked.

The more he wills himself not to care just so much where the omega was concerned, to heed Chanyeol’s and Wonho’s warnings – Yoongi’s as well – a feeling of discomfort comes over his body that he knows won’t subside until he sees the omega again. Until he knows the omega is safe. It’s easier than he’d like to admit to temper the self-loathing bubbling within himself at that fact.

Though he is in no position to do so, he finds himself hoping he never has to see the omega make such an expression ever again. Promises that he will do what he can to ensure this.

 

-

 

When Jungkook returns to work, the floor has been wiped cleaned of the injured guard’s blood and another alpha Jungkook recognises stands guard at Jimin’s door. He was there that night. He was one of the men that had restrained Chanyeol.

The man nods knowingly when he sees Jungkook appear at the top of the stairs.

It is as Jungkook is settling in to begin his work that the man suddenly speaks.

“Lady Park will not banish you as well if you take today to rest.”

Jungkook looks at him, frowns when he processes the word ‘banish’. He feels the sudden sting of guilt in his chest. “We are almost at the end of our contracts. I fear if I waste any more time, I will not complete my work here before the deadline arrives.”

The man nods. “I see.”

As Jungkook begins working, laying down the necessary tools he will use today, he decides on a whim not to let the guard’s sudden chattiness go to waste.

To put some of his own concerns to rest, he asks without looking at the man, “Is he well?” hoping to appear aloof; nonchalant.

Jungkook knows from experience that Jimin’s guards are protective him and they had proved it again that night as well. Those that came to the omega’s rescue had been enraged in a way that seemed to go beyond the call of duty. Jungkook doesn’t want to arouse the man’s suspicion by appearing too interested in the omega.

By the way Jimin had looked at his injured, unconscious guard too, Jungkook could only assume he felt the same fierce protectiveness towards them. Again, as appeared to be the trend with respect to the omega, Jungkook felt a pull to know more; what was the history there?

The man answers Jungkook readily, “He has gone to the infirmary.”

“Was he injured?” Jungkook asks immediately, then grimaces when he realizes how it must sound. Far too concerned.

The man looks at him, eyes calculating and after a moment he replies, “Not badly.”

Jungkook frowns at the brevity of the answer and the way the man seems to have purposely allowed his words to trail off. His eyes bore into Jungkook’s and it’s obvious there’s more he can say, more he knows about the omega’s condition. Rather than not being permitted to do so, he appears to be waiting; challenging Jungkook to probe further. It becomes clear to Jungkook then that this is a test. He wants to see just how interested Jungkook is.

At this, Jungkook feels his alpha’s hackles rise to the surface. The guard’s lips curl into a smirk. Still, Jungkook takes the bait, feels a desperate need to know.

“Will he be okay?” then, “Was it when he fell?”

The man’s smile takes on an amused appearance.

“I don’t think this will come as much of a shock to you,” he starts, “but Lady Park is one of the strongest omegas you will ever have the pleasure of meeting.”

Jungkook recognises almost immediately that the guard is not referring only to omega’s physical strength, though he suspects the omega may have significant prowess where that is concerned as well, but his strength of will. His resolve; his determination. Even when he must have feared for his life, Jimin had been strong; courageous in spite of his obvious fear.

Even on that night, Jungkook realizes that he had not once doubted the omega’s strength. Jimin has always appeared confident, cunning, intelligent, but Jungkook had seen the most honest form of his strength that night, when he had held his ground unwaveringly against Chanyeol.

The man continues, “I assure you a few bruises will not deter him in the slightest, though he will surely whine all the way to the infirmary.”

Jungkook feels relief spread through him at that.

The guard must smell the sudden burst of emotion because he chuckles, and his expression is one of disbelief. Jungkook feels heat rise to his cheeks. He couldn’t do a worse job at appearing uninterested if he tried.

When the man remains silent, Jungkook quickly returns to his work, glad for the reprieve.

He hasn’t been working for more than a few minutes when he hears, “Thank you for protecting him when we could not.”

Again, he looks at the man and finds that he is bowing.

 “No, I- it’s – please do not thank me,” Jungkook shakes his head, the familiar feeling of regret suddenly churning up within him again. “I only acted instinctively. He was in danger; my alpha didn’t think that was right.”

The words incriminate him yet again; implies that his alpha is protective of the omega. Implies that maybe his motivation for helping the omega might not have been as selfless as the man must have concluded, to offer him such genuine thanks.

Jungkook can admit his alpha is responsible for much of the protectiveness he feels towards Jimin, but as he reflects now, he knows for certain that it’s not the only reason. Unsurprisingly, this realization doesn’t make him feel any better.

“Despite whatever ulterior motive you think your alpha might have had, you still did what was right,” he commends. “If your first instinct was to protect him, then it matters little to me what the motivation was.”

It occurs to him then that this man and the other guards like him must be used to it; they are the ones that silently stand guard while men enter and exit Jimin’s quarters. They must think Jungkook is like all the rest of them that hope to share the omega’s bed, that only want the omega for one thing. It appears he is only grateful that Jungkook had not harmed Jimin in his pursuit, as Chanyeol had, however unwittingly and if this is true, it is an alarmingly low standard they must all hold Jimin’s lovers to. It makes Jungkook frown, makes a flare of anger rise up within him when immediately he thinks the omega deserves better.

Like a confirmation to all his thoughts, the guard says suddenly, “Lady Park has many lovers and not nearly as many protectors,” he looks at Jungkook again with those calculating eyes. It makes Jungkook feel exposed, like somehow he can read Jungkook thoughts and recognize his internal struggle. “However, make no mistake, the people he entrusts with his life would willingly give up their own to protect him.”

The words make him shiver with sudden gooseflesh. Jungkook can read between the lines: There are enough men out there to satisfy his body, help keep him safe instead. As much as it is a request, Jungkook knows it is also a warning, one that feels significant to him and the feelings he is beginning to realize he had developed for the man, just by standing nearby and observing him as he came and went.

Mentally, he steels his resolve.

“You all seem to love him very much,” Jungkook concludes finally.

The man nods. “He has much kindness in him,” is all the man expounds. “I owe him my life.”

“What is this I hear?” Jimin’s voice trails over suddenly into their conversation and they both turn towards it, watching as his body comes into view as he ascends the staircase into the foyer. “Are you revealing my secrets, Kijung?” He smiles at the guard, but it’s not all the way there; a more subdued version the usual pretty, unrestrained grin.

Nevertheless, the guard give him a small smile of his own, bowing in greeting to the omega. “Never, my Lady,” he earnestly replies.

As Jungkook observes the exchange, he finds himself searching Jimin’s body for any visible injuries. The omega, probably purposely, dressed in concealing garments today; a long pretty robe with flowing sleeves that hide his arms, swallow up his delicate hands and hide the many rings he seems to enjoy sporting. Notably though, his eyes look tired as they turn on him next.

“Why do you look so pale?” Jimin frowns at him. “Were you struck that night? Are you well?”

Much like the first time Jimin had spoken to him so directly, Jungkook struggles for a few moments to find his voice. When he does, he answers honestly, “I feel it might be because I have slept very little as of late. My thoughts have kept me awake,” Jimin seems to consider this and it’s clear in his eyes he wants to know why that is, but he refrains from asking.

Instead he laughs, “You are quite self-sacrificing, Jungkook. I’m not a monster you know. If you are ill or even just need time to rest, I will allow you to do so with no consequence to you.”

Jungkook thinks back to what he had overheard Jimin saying to the Queen. He remembers the look on the omega’s face as his guard squeezed the life out of the older worker. The careful steadiness of his voice as he banished Chanyeol from the castle, yet, “I don’t think you’re a monster. I’ve never thought you were.” The words leave him sounding sad as the truth of that statement resonates within him. Even after everything he has witnessed, everything he has heard, still he doesn’t fear the omega. Still, he feels a fierce drive to protect.

“Don’t look at me like that,” Jimin says suddenly, with narrowed eyes.

Jungkook startles.

“I’m not fragile, so stop looking at me like that,” he spits. These words give him pause, because it’s like the guard had said, isn’t it?  Jimin is one of the strongest omegas you will ever have the pleasure of meeting.

That night Jimin had been afraid, forced to put his trust in Jungkook, a stranger, and here he was eyes scouring the omega’s body for injuries. The desire he feels to offer the omega words of empathy, to vow to keep the omega safe, must be so painfully obvious and for an omega that advises the King and embodies confidence and one that seems to take great pride in those things, Jungkook should have realized the sentiment would not be well received.

He wants to tell the man that despite what has happened and the rare vulnerability Jungkook had seen from him that night, he does not believe the omega is weak in the slightest; that it had not changed Jungkook’s opinion of him. Instead, he bites his tongue, thinking that being told so explicitly will probably be received even more poorly.

Instead Jungkook says, “I’m sorry.” He meets the omega’s eyes directly, hopes he can see the sincerity there.

Jimin scoffs and looks away. “Don’t apologize,” he sighs and crosses his arms. Jungkook finds himself looking to the guard for support, but he only gazes fondly at the omega. Jimin closes his eyes and huffs indignantly when he spots the guard’s expression.

When Jimin looks at him again, he is pouting. Jungkook is a little mystified by the myriad of emotions it seems Jimin had just gone through. “Don’t apologize,” Jimin repeats, gentler this time. “But you needn’t worry about me because what happened that day will not happen again. I’ll make sure of it.”

Jungkook watches him as he speaks with that same unnerving conviction.

Suddenly, the guard clears his throat pointedly. If it’s even possible, Jimin’s pout seems to become even more prominent.

He doesn’t look at Jungkook when he says quickly and in a quiet voice, “Thank you for helping me that night.” Before Jungkook can reply, he walks away, throwing over his shoulder, “Kijung, no visitors please. I feel a bit ill.”

 

-

 

The following day there are several articles of clothing waiting for him at his work area, neatly folded. Comfortable pants and long-sleeved pieces made of cotton and wool and fleece. Kijung, who stands guard today as well, informs him that it was left for him by Lady Park.

He must have handled them himself - hand delivered them? - because they smell of him.

Dangerous, Jungkook thinks immediately. He already felt as though his interest in the omega was veering into dangerous territories and feared what wearing these clothes, that smell so much of him, would do to his already delicate resolve. Not only that, but just yesterday he had eaten with Wonho at lunch, grateful to find that he was still in the alpha’s good graces. Showing up gowned in garments doused in Jimin’s scent was cruel, thoughtless.

He could hardly control his growing affection for the omega, but he could control this.

“Is Lady Park in?” Jungkook asks the guard.

The man nods.

“Will you return these to him for me?” Jungkook requests.

He shrugs, “I can escort you inside. You can return them yourself. I’m sure he’d like an explanation anyway.”

Jungkook wants to refuse, but before he can the man opens the doors behind him and with little preamble walks right through them. Jungkook can do little except follow.

“Lady Park, you have a visitor,” Kijung calls through the doors. He doesn’t even allow Jungkook enough time to formulate his words before he gives three short knocks to the doors to Jimin’s chambers.

Here, in where is essentially the omega’s nest, the place he spends most time, his scent is so saturated. Not for the first time he wonders how Chanyeol and Wonho could stand it.

More and more it feels inevitable for Jungkook to have gotten to this point. Better men than him had fallen prey so easily to this man, how could Jungkook ever think he would be different?

The sentiment only strengthens when the omega opens the doors.

He is scantily clad, though Jungkook supposes the omega is well within his right to do so in his own bedchamber. In the short, soft looking, peach coloured robe, he is exposed up to his mid-thigh, but his upper half is concealed by the large sheet of bedding he has thrown over himself to answer the door.

His eyes are alert, so he had not been sleeping, but by his attire today was clearly a leisure day for the King’s hand. Jungkook finds that he likes that a lot.

“Jungkook?” Jimin directs at him, then looks from the clothes in his hand to his guard and sends the man a confused look. “You didn’t tell him they were for him?”

Jungkook steps forward, “He did, but I can't accept this.”

“It’s a gift,” Jimin explains. “You helped me that night, so I’ve done this for you.”

Jungkook shakes his head. “You don’t need to repay me for that, Lady Park.” It may be selfish of him but hearing that he finds he wants to return the clothes even more; he doesn’t want his actions that night to be cheapened, made into something transactional.

It makes him feel low.

Jimin insists, “Take it, please,” and under his breath he adds, “Now maybe you won’t pity me quite so much.”

Ah. So that’s what it was about.

Before the omega can close the door in their faces, he asks disbelievingly, “Just what are you trying to prove to yourself, Lady Park?”

Jimin glares at him.

He can’t help the incredulous huff of laughter that escapes him. It’s ridiculous when he thinks of the way he has been berating himself for thinking so highly of the omega given all the terrible things he believes Jimin might have done when all the while, Jimin seems to believe he thinks the exact opposite. “Do you think that I pity you now, because I helped you that day? You think that now I believe you to be helpless?”

Jimin looks away, “Take the clothes and leave, Jungkook.”

“You’re not weak because you needed my help that day. You never had to convince me of your strength, Lady Park,” Jungkook tells him.

“Kijung,” he says more forcefully this time. “Please escort him out.”

“And I never would have thought you would need to go to such lengths to convince yourself of that either.”

At that, Jimin meets his gaze head on. His eyes glow like two fiery pools of amber flames, but he surprisingly doesn’t respond. Notably though, his scent spikes, sour in its irritation. At Kijung’s nudging, Jungkook breaks his gaze, his heart racing, and with the clothes still in hand he follows behind the guard as he is led out.

He expects to be scolded, or even asked to leave but once they exit and the door is shut behind them, the guard only pats him on the back gently.

“Back to work.”

Jungkook recognises the olive branch and takes it, setting aside the clothes and getting back to work.

 

-

 

A week full has passed since the incident when Jimin’s guard Chiwon comes up the stairs and, after greeting Jungkook kindly, stands beside Kijung. There is a patch on his head where he had been struck by Chanyeol. Jungkook expects him to replace Kijung, instead, they both remain stationed at Jimin’s door.

When Queen Seokjin arrives not a minute later, Jungkook realizes that might be the reason why.

The Queen greets the Kijung, the rest of his entourage following behind him. The man in question bows respectfully. Jungkook gets to his feet to do the same and his movement draws the Queen’s attention to him suddenly. The man startles at his presence.

“Are you supposed to be out here?” he asks in a whisper, somewhat conspiratorially and before Jungkook can respond, he turns to Chiwon and Kijung, “Does Jimin know he’s out here?”

“I- yes?” Jungkook replies suddenly unsure.

As he has not seen hide nor hair of the omega over the past few days, Jungkook had concluded that the omega was either avoiding him or had written him off all together. It seems he might have been right.

“Lady Park did not object to him being here this morning,” Kijung tells the man who only appears to be more surprised by that news.

He hums thoughtfully and gives Jungkook a look he is becoming all too familiar with as the man crosses his arms and taps a rhythm on his own cheek.

“What did you say your name was?” the Queen asks. There’s mischief sparkling in his eyes.

“Jungkook,” he replies, and the name brings small nod of recognition from the Queen as well as an unquestionably conspiratorial giggle this time. Jungkook prepares himself for the worst.

“Ahh, the Jungkook,” the man smiles. “You have been giving my friend a lot of headaches as of late.”

While he had known the omega was probably upset with him because of the things he had said, he didn’t think the man would go so far as to apparently have reported it to the Queen. He didn’t want to believe the omega could be so vindictive. Then again, he didn’t think the omega would go as far as to avoid him either.

His defence is at the tip of his tongue when he feels a soft hand on his forehead. When he realizes it’s the Queen's, any words he had been about to say evaporates from his mind. His eyes go cross watching in amazement as the Queen smooths out the wrinkles between his brows.

“Stop that,” he admonishes. “Don’t go thinking melancholy things. If he were going to banish you for saying what you did, he would have already done so.”

He is still leaning in close when he takes a strand of Jungkook’s dark hair between his fingers delicately. Jungkook has a moment of panic where he tries desperately to remember when last he washed it.

In a pleasant tone, the Queen remarks, “You really are quite handsome.”

Jungkook flushes from his ears down to his toes and the Queen laughs, finally stepping away from him. Jungkook lets out a breath he didn’t know he was holding only to choke on it when the Queen bows. At him.

“Thank you for protecting my dear friend, Jungkook,” he says and straightens. Jungkook splutters, certain he must be as red as the roses in the castle’s garden.

He must know the effect he has on Jungkook because he leans in again. He smells like spring.

“He won’t be happy to know I spoke to you about this,” he starts in a whisper, “but you should know Lady Park was rather apologetic about what happened. I imagine once he’s not incapacitated, he will tell you himself.”

Several parts of what the Queen said surprises him, but one thing more so than the others.

“Incapacitated?”

The Queen bounces once, onto the balls of his feet and down again and he nods happily as if he’s pleased with what Jungkook has chosen to focus on.

“Jimin is in heat,” he smiles.

“In heat…”

“Yes,” the Queen says amusedly. “And he usually makes sure any strange alpha stays far, far away. Isn’t that right?” he asks Chiwon and Kijung.

The men in question nod in agreement. It’s as Jungkook is coaching his brain into formulating an appropriate response that the Queen speaks again.

“Jungkook.”

“Yes?” he replies immediately.

“Please continue to look after him for me.”

Jungkook nods. “O-of course.”

The Queen smiles prettily at him and then enters Jimin’s chambers. When he returns not long after, Jungkook is where he left him, still has not recovered. He happily waves Jungkook goodbye.

Weakly, Jungkook waves back. Kijung snickers behind him at the sad attempt.

 

-

 

For seven days, Jimin is wrecked with heat. No one enters the omega’s rooms but the Queen and several omega attendants that bring him food and drink. As far as Jungkook can tell from his perch outside the omega’s doors, Jimin spends his heat alone.

He finds this doesn’t surprise him now nearly as much as it might have a few weeks ago. Jimin had said he didn’t wish to be mated, that he didn’t take well to men trying to control him. Conceding to an alpha made him feel powerless.

So, it doesn’t surprise him much at all that the man would not allow an alpha near enough to even see him at his most vulnerable, much less help him through it.

Jungkook first sees Jimin again one morning as the man is back off to work. He looks – Jungkook can’t quite describe how beautiful he looks – but it’s very apparent the omega is fresh out of heat. The skin of his cheeks is peach coloured and rosy, his lashes dark against them. His lips are a bright pink and Jungkook has a sudden tempting vision of biting down on them, tasting the blood flowing just beneath the surface. Even the fit of his clothing appears to hug his hips more than usual. His scent, Jungkook can only describe in one word: ripe. It’s like a punch to the gut.

The omega stops in his tracks when he sees Jungkook and makes steady, unyielding eye contact. He looks determined. Jungkook can’t quite reciprocate. In fact, he feels his legs buckle.

“Jungkook,” he greets, and his voice is a little less confident than his demeanour would have Jungkook believe.

“Lady Park.”

He nods. “I wanted to apologize to you. A friend of mine helped me to realize I was being a bit of a hypocrite.” He steps closer and his scent becomes that much stronger. Jungkook holds onto the railing of the staircase for support. “To get where I am today, I’ve had to prove myself strong. As an alpha, you are privileged in that no matter your birth-right or lineage, you are always considered strong. Still, it was wrong of me to judge you in such a way, when I would loathe to be judged by you in a similar fashion. I let my prejudices make me assume certain things about you and for that I apologize. It was not fair to you.”

“I accept your apology,” he says after a long moment or two, after the shock of it has dissipated and the words have registered. The Queen had warned him the omega would do something of the sort, but he hadn’t expected such a truthful admission.

His voice must waver - he’s not quite sure, he doesn’t have the greatest hold on his mental faculties at the moment – because Jimin frowns at him. It’s cute, to say the least.

“Don’t just accept it because you’re afraid of being banished,” he warns.

For someone who wants a genuine response from him, going about getting it by means of a warning is probably the worst way to do so; and probably the exact opposite of the omega’s intention. It makes Jungkook laugh.

He only stops when he feels his body move under the hard shove he receives.

When he looks at the omega, his ears a red. It makes Jungkook smile, the candidness of it.

“Don’t laugh at me,” he orders with finality in his voice.

“You are never what I expect you to be,” Jungkook looks at him with open admiration. He couldn’t stop himself now if he tried.

Jimin looks away, there is a pink flush to his pretty cheeks now that only deepening as the omega makes a show of smoothing down his clothes against his chest. “Yes, well, that was actually the whole point of my apology. Had you been listening, you would know that.”

“I did listen, and I do accept your apology, wholeheartedly,” Jungkook says with a smile.

Jimin nods, “Good. I’m glad.”

In his periphery he sees Kijung rolls his eyes from where he stands off to the side of them, having gone there to give the two some semblance of privacy. He has a feeling the omega had orchestrated it in such a way, another subtle show of his strength and courage.

When the omega lingers there in the staircase, Jungkook finds he doesn’t want the man to leave just yet and he doesn’t think he’d be wrong in guessing that maybe Jimin didn’t want to leave so soon either.

“I spoke to the Queen. E-erm, her majesty?” He says and mentally clouts himself.

“Oh, no,” the omega says almost immediately.

“No, he was extremely kind, though I could tell that from the first time we met,” Jungkook continues. “You two are close friends.”

“Yes, he is one of my dearest friends. He also runs his mouth like a river,” Jimin sighs. “Did he happen to let it slip that I felt badly about what happened?” The way he says “slip” makes it sounds anything but accidental.

Jungkook considers the question for a moment.

“As Queen,” Jungkook wonders aloud, “he ranks higher than you, doesn’t he? So, I’m afraid my private discussions with him cannot be repeated here.”

Kijung lets out a raucous cackle that he manages – poorly – to temper into a painful sounded cough when Jimin turns his incredulous gaze on the man.

“In that case, I will see to it that the Queen doesn’t have any more private discussions with you,” Jimin promises, voice petulant.

Jungkook considers his next words, and decides to barrel right ahead, his curiosity getting the better of him. “He did say one thing that I have been curious about.”

“Yes?” Jimin asks, a little worriedly.

“He said I shouldn’t have been here? He said you normally don’t allow strange alphas this close to you during your heat.”

Jimin nods and he seems less bothered about this being the particular fact the Queen had chosen to let slip. “Yes, well, for some strange reason I felt like I could trust you,” he answers. Jungkook feels his heart speed up when the man looks at him for a little while longer, then says, “And I suppose I was right.”

With a small smile and a soft farewell, the omega signals the end of their chat and with Kijung following close behind, he disappears down the staircase.

 

-

 

After that - their first proper exchange, Jungkook begins to call it in his mind - every morning that follows begins similarly. Now when Jimin rushes off in the morning, he makes sure to exchange a few polite words of greeting with Jungkook and when he returns in the afternoon, tired, his eyes half lidded with exhaustion, he often speaks to Jungkook about his day.

Jungkook wishes he had more to offer the man in terms of conversation, but his days are pretty much the same. Still, he is happy to just listen to the omega whine about something or the other, happy to have even gotten to this point with the man who used to appear to him as an impenetrable force of nature.

They never discuss sensitive matters related to Jiming's job and it becomes clear to Jungkook that when the omega comes to him at day’s end, he doesn’t wish to be reminded of such things anyway. There are people enough to discuss such things with him; treaties and war tactics and decrees. He’s happy to have become one of the few people it seems that would sit silently as Jungkook does and simply allow the omaga to speak, listening as he talks about love for the ocean, his love for dance and dislike for long voyages, about his daily failure to convince Queen Seokjin to allow him to keep a sweet snow, white kitten that often sneaks into the castle gardens.

Before long, they were having longer, more meaningful conversation and Jungkook was beginning to realize that despite doubts he had initially, the omega must enjoy their conversations as much as he does, sometimes even returning in his nightwear to continue a conversation after telling Jungkook earlier that he was retiring for the night.

He was happy to know he wasn’t the only one.

Be a protector, Kijung had said. When Jimin’s smiles at him at the end of a long day and bids him farewell and a goodnight, he thinks he might be doing just that.

He had also started somewhat of an acquaintanceship with Jimin’s guards that seemed to consist mainly of them watching him with amusement in their eyes as he tried valiantly to control his urges where Jimin was concern; when the man in question – in his many tiny, slinky robes and skimpy nightgowns – seemed desperate to thwart his progress. The two appeared to be understanding and supportive of his plight, which Jungkook was grateful for.

The men did not speak to him often, but sometimes when Kijung felt indulgent, and only then, he would talk shortly with Jungkook, about his beer brewing hobby and his five-year-old daughter. For the most part, however, it seemed the soft-spoken man’s words were reserved mainly for Jimin and the same could be said of many of the other guards that sometimes replaced him.

With time, Jungkook has gotten better about accepting the omega’s gifts. Rather than feeling like somewhat of a transaction, he feels that now they come from a better place. Kijung tells him that it’s one of the way the omega shows his affection for the people he cares about and Jungkook finds he can’t refuse another gift he receives from the man after that.

Clothes, bath oils, soaps, towels. He saves most of them for his parents, using only the clothing he receives with longer sleeves for when the day was cold - if Wonho notices his new clothing, he says nothing when they sit together during their lunch break - or one of the expensive soaps after a long day of work.

 

-

 

Jungkook completes his work at the castle with three weeks to spear and is promptly given a new assignment. When the attendant comes to survey his completed work, he is told that he will be given significant additional compensation to continue the work Wonho and Chanyeol had begun, inside Lady Park’s chambers, until his contract comes to an end.

It gives him an excuse to see the omega and when the attendant explains to him that Lady Park was the one who had suggested it, Jungkook finds himself agreeing readily.

The decision was reckless, and he only realizes that when he enters through the golden doors to begin his first day at this his new task and hears the omega moaning loudly behind the closed doors of his chambers. He has the sudden vivid realization that these final three weeks will be agony.

For the most part, he is right.

Jimin pleasures himself then comes out to speak to him, still smelling strongly of cum and slick, and though it can be difficult to ignore, Jungkook finds that it isn’t an issue as much as when Jimin traipses into the hallway a few days later with an alpha on his arm. Jungkook can feel his resolve crumbling.

The man is tall, probably taller than him, broad shouldered and large. His muscles bulge in his clothes that Jungkook recognizes as some sort of vessel captain’s uniform. He looks wealthy, the classic, tan, alpha-male type. The kind of man that chooses to wield axes instead of a sword in battle.

The alpha looks at him as they make their way to Jimin’s chambers and Jungkook expects a showdown, some subtle show of possessiveness; a growl or menacing stare at the alpha having the gall to be in the same room as himself and the omega he was clearly about to fuck. But the man only looks at him and his expression is laced with arrogance and an equal measure of pity. It makes Jungkook’s blood boil. He looks at Jungkook like he knows the things he wants from the omega. Chances are, he does, because there are few men that have met the omega who don’t desire him in that way. He looks at Jungkook like they aren’t even on the same playing field, like he has already won a game Jungkook couldn’t even qualify to participate in. Insignificant.

Jungkook has the sudden malicious thought that this man probably doesn’t know Jimin has fucked men just like him. Men who have nothing. Men who people like him think are nothing.  

It would be easy for Jungkook to have Jimin like that, to be with him like that, Jungkook thinks as the two disappear and his heart begins to race, his alpha snapping its teeth angrily. Wonho had said it, Jimin will fuck anything, Jungkook only had to ask. He knew Jimin found him attractive, the Queen had insinuated that much and sometimes he could smell it himself. And wouldn’t the omega be even more inclined to do so now that they were on friendlier terms?

As he has that particular thought, the haze of anger begins to leave him. Suddenly he registers the vileness of his thoughts and can’t help but let out a derisive laugh at the fact that it had been so easy for him to become the very kind of person Jungkook had been trying to protect the omega from. Derision turns to grief when he suddenly remembers Yoongi’s words again: Lady Park won’t tie himself to another man, not after King Woojin.

While it is impossible for Jungkook to deny the way he feels about Jimin now, he knows without question that Jimin cannot give him what has now accepted he truly wants. He thinks if all he wanted was to share the omega’s bed, he might have already done so, but he had watched as Chanyeol had been cruelly rejected for having the very feelings Jungkook has now.

On a particularly loud moan from inside the room, Jungkook is pulled out of his thoughts suddenly when he slices his palm open with the back-saw he had been using distractedly.

He doesn’t react more than a sharp inhale from the initial shock of it, the depth of it, and a few drops of blood escape and dirty the white marbled floor before he has the presence of mind to grip his other palm around it in a makeshift tourniquet.

Kijung must smell the blood or had heard the pained sound he had made because he comes through the door not a minute later.

He frowns when he sees the injury, the small pooling of blood at Jungkook’s feet.

“Distracted?” he asks Jungkook with a pointed glance at the omega’s door.

“Not in the slightest,” he tries to laugh, but the movement jostles his injury and he winces. “Maybe a little.”

Jimin’s door swings open suddenly and the man appears in nothing but a sheer nightgown that leaves nothing to the imagination. Jungkook’s heart speeds up and his wound starts to bleed with renewed fervour. Behind the omega, he can see the alpha still lying sprawled out and confused on the bed.

“Jungkook, what in the world?” he kneels beside him and takes his hand in his. Something compels him to look at the alpha again, over Jimin’s shoulder. The man glares, and he meets the man's gaze challengingly. The alpha’s frown deepens.

“In the past I kept many sheets of gauze and alcohol in here, like my own little infirmary.” He goes quiet then and after removing the satin belt from around his nightgown, he ties it around Jungkook's hand expertly.

“Lady Park!” The alpha calls.

“I’m sure you can entertain yourself for just a few more minutes, Sungmin,” Jimin answers with a roll of his eyes. To Jungkook he whispers, “I’m sorry about him. When you finish as quickly as he does, I’m sure every, last minute counts. Kijung-”

“I’ll take him to the healer, Lady Park," Kijung says dutifully. 

Jimin nods, “Right. I’ll be there in a moment, I’m sure this won’t last very long at all.” As Jungkook passes him, Jimin slaps him admonishingly against his chest, but when he speaks, his tone is gentle. “Please be more careful.”

 

-

 

The healer is a tall, thin, elderly man with a kind face and the whitest hair Jungkook thinks he has ever seen. When he ushers him over after Kijung leaves and finally sits him down, taking the larger chair that mirrors his own, Jungkook can smell from the close proximity that the man is an omega.

He takes Jungkook’s injured hand in his and he smiles when he sees the silk tie there, deftly used as a makeshift dressing.

“It seems Lady Park hasn’t quite lost his touch,” the man remarks in a soft voice.

“He was a healer?” Jungkook asks, suddenly intrigued.

“Oh no,” he replies, “but I have taught him many helpful things over the years. It used to be that he would come visit me very often, now I suppose he hasn’t the time.”

He stands to gather a few items, collecting them in a small woven basket. When he returns, he loosens the tie with much ease and removes it to reveal the wound that bubbles up again with fresh blood. Promptly, the man informs him that he will need stitches. Silently, Jungkook accepts his fate.

“Kijung said your name is Jungkook?” the man asks while threading a needle that he then cleans in a shallow dish of strong-smelling alcohol.

Jungkook nods, believing the question to be for some form of record keeping or patient index. He supposes it might be used for that at some point, but for the moment the man smiles at him, “Ah, the Jungkook,” he says, echoing the Queen's words not long ago and seemingly putting a face to the name of a man who appears to be popular along the rumour mill as of late. “Lady Park is quite taken with you.”

Jungkook winces when the needle breaks skin.

The man looks at him, then back down at his hand then hums. “That is a good thing.” It is said under-breath as if as an aside, something of little significance. To Jungkook, it feels significant.  

“Why do you say that?” Jungkook asks.

The man does not look up from where he is working again as he answers easily, “Lady Park is fiercely loyal to those lucky enough to fall in within his good graces. Treat him well and it is guaranteed you will be treated well too. He looks after those he treasures.”

There is a subtle undercurrent of words unspoken; about what might happen to those who aren’t so lucky, to those who do not “treat him well”. When the needle pierces his skin this time, it is particularly painful.

Another warning, Jungkook realizes suddenly. The man is cautioning him as Kijung had done to remain in Jimin’s good graces; betray him and face the consequences.

Make no mistake, the people he entrusts with his life would willingly give up their own to protect him.

Though Jungkook suspects he already knows, suspects he had once overheard the omega’s preferred choice of punishment for those that hurt him; for those that hurt the people he loves, still, he asks, “And for those who aren’t so lucky?”

The man looks up at him sharply, fingers halting on his work as he looks calculatingly at Jungkook. “I imagine you already know,” he replies and continues working. 

He doesn’t speak again until he has finished.

“Keep off your injury,” is all the man says to him.

When Jungkook exits the room, Jimin is not there.

As Jungkook makes his way back to his work station, he feels his chest tighten with every step, with the sudden devastating realization that while he would never hurt the omega, would never even think to lift a hand against him, that same overwhelming affection and almost suffocating desire he feels for the man is the very reason he hurts.

The omega had shown him kindness and would likely do so until the end of Jungkook’s time here, after which Jungkook will leave this place and hurt and want  for him and Jimin’s life will continue unchanged.

How foolish of him to have fallen in love with someone he could never have and there was no one else to blame for this but himself. He had been more than forewarned, but in the end, he could no long withstand it.

"I couldn’t help myself against him," Wonho had said. Jungkook thinks he finally, truly, understands.

 

-

 

Jungkook finds one of the castle attendants in the the room they had been told the men could be found. There, he asks politely to be relocated, claiming Chanyeol and Wonho were much better suited for the work he had been assigned, claiming his new injury meant he could not do much of the work anyway.

He is sent to work in the stables.

-

 

Jungkook had been trying with minimal success to begin what would surely be a slow process of moving on. When Jimin does not once come to look for him, it hurts in waves as the days pass by and the end of his time there draws nearer, but Jungkook finds it helps also; makes the thought of leaving this place more tempting.

In just a matter of days he will be home, and he would have made enough money here to begin to build a home for himself, something he has found has become more appealing to him since coming here.

He would find a sweet omega bride that he would fall in love with and have them love him in return.

On his final day in the castle, none of the workers are actually required to work though many still do; those who have not completed their original projects. Jungkook takes the opportunity to rest.

There is a knock on his door just when the room has gotten its warmest, likely from the blazing midday sun. Unsuspectingly, he answers it, thinking it might be news pertaining to his return home.

He does not recognize the man who stands at his door, but he recognizes the man’s uniform. One of Jimin’s guards. He wears the guard’s ensemble and the King’s crest.

“A royal suite has been prepared for you, on this your final night in the castle upon the request of our Queen; a reward for all your hard work. It has been made available to you until you leave the castle this time tomorrow. He hopes you will use it.”

The man leaves promptly after giving him the appropriate directions to this suite.

Jungkook goes only so as to not disrespect the Queen who had been so kind to him, but when he enters, his belongings in tow, he is not surprised to find Jimin lying there in wait. He sits up on the edge of the bed when Jungkook arrives. He looks upset.

Despite his better judgement, Jungkook feels remorseful, his heart clenches painfully in his chest.

“You’ve been avoiding me.”

There was no sense in lying. It was obvious. “I have.”

Jimin stands, it’s a shock to his system to seem him again. He is beautiful, he is always beautiful, but it still shocks him now, as he thinks about how he will be gone this time tomorrow.

Jimin makes his way over the him, his eyes never leaving his. “Why?” 

Because I love you. Because you will never love me. Because you are a nobleman. Because I am a commoner. Because any of it, all of it is senseless when his time here will soon end. Because there are things Jimin will never share with him. Because they are so different. Because it hurts to be near him now. Because Jimin is dangerous.

“You’re dangerous,” he repeats, as the words come to mind. They feel the most fitting.

“What have you heard?” He doesn’t deny it. It’s interesting to Jungkook that this is what Jimin wants to know, when it isn’t so much all the things Jungkook has heard why Jungkook believes he is dangerous. It is, however, confirmation that Jimin has done terrible things, but he thinks he always knew that and still he allowed himself to fall. It’s a testament to the power the omega has over him, the hold he has on him, the ability he has to hurt him without even knowing it.

He deserves to know, Jungkook thinks, why Jungkook was willing to leave without ever seeing him again, without even saying goodbye.

“What I want from you is something you will never be able to give me,” Jungkook admits, selfishly and selflessly. Trying to be honest without burdening him with the knowledge that it is because of him that Jungkook hurts.

Again, he thinks, it was not the omega’s fault that he fell. He had been warned from the very beginning.

Jimin hums. “I called you self-sacrificing once before, in jest, but it seems I was right.” His eyes are kind as he looks at Jungkook now. His palm is soft and warm when he places it against Jungkook’s cheek. “You are different than the men I choose to lie with,” he says, “So kind, and so honest. You are deserving of a love I cannot give to you." It feels like his own goodbye.

“But it is a shame,” he continues, “that you won’t allow me to thank you for that in the way I know best.” His breath is a warm, enticing caress against Jungkook’s lips. Jungkook holds onto his waist, his grip gentle. This makes Jimin smile.

Jimin is dangerous, and Jungkook is terrified, but he doesn’t let him go.

“I am afraid of having you like this because I don’t think I will ever be able to let you go.”

“But does that make you want me less?”

Jungkook laughs, sadly, “No,” he answers, “Doesn’t that make me a fool?”

Jimin presses his lips against Jungkook’s and replies in a whisper, “Yes.”

 

-

 

 

It’s funny, when he lays Jimin down and brackets his petite body with his own, Jungkook feels guiltless.

He is gentle to do so, so that he can keep Jimin’s soft lips against his own. He tastes like the sweetest, most tempting fruit when he opens his mouths and allows Jungkook in and he moans liltingly as Jungkook sucks on his tongue.

He is warm, so warm where he is pressed tight against Jungkook, under him, legs spreading wider with every second that passes, hips canting upwards seeking friction Jungkook readily provides.

His scent, like this, is intoxicating and he opens his eyes every time Jungkook pulls away to catch his breath, gazing at him pleadingly through half lidded eyes, mouth pursed in invitation for his own, already so far gone. It’s the vindication he needs to continue, knowing that the omega wants him this much. Not in the way he wants, but in some way still. Suddenly he wants to make sure the omega remembers him as much as he knows he won’t ever forget this man moaning beneath him.

Jungkook meets his lips again in a dirty kiss and meets Jimin’s waist with his own, slots both their hardening cocks together through the fabric of their clothes and moves against him.

He lets out a groan as the smell of the omega's slick becomes evident. 

“Undress me, Jungkook, please,” Jimin whispers.

Below the elegant lighting, Jimin’s skin seems to glow. As he drags the draping material gently over the slope his shoulder, Jungkook presses his mouth at the exposed skin there, at the junction of the omega’s neck, where his scent is the strongest. Jimin cards his hand in the hair at Jungkook’s nape and curses with the pleasure Jungkook's mouth gives him.

With Jimin’s encouraging groans, the smell of his slick hypnotizing, he kisses and licks and bites and sucks a path down to the omega’s dusky, hard nipples. Jimin swings a leg over his body and with the access this allows him, Jungkook reaches beneath his robes to caress the soft skin of his thighs. He sucks on the omega’s nipple, traces the skin of it with his tongue, learns all the ridges he has there and flicks his tongue roughly. Jimin’s bare skin beneath his hands break out into gooseflesh.

He allows himself to look up at the man as he takes the other pebbled nipple into his mouth and follows the gentle slope of the man’s thigh beneath his clothes, up to his slick soaked underwear. Jimin’s lower lip is fat and red between his bruising teeth and his eyes are open, calculating as always, watching every move eyes filled with desire as Jungkook’s mouth moves against his chest. Jimin opens his legs to Jungkook’s wandering hand and Jungkook groans against his nipple, his eyes falling shut when feels the delicate material between the man’s legs.

He traces the outline of it with Jimin’s nipple between his teeth and bites down gently, just as his fingers slip below the seams of his underwear and slips easily between slick soaked cheeks.

Fuck,” Jimin cries. “Oh, fuck.”

Jungkook feels a gut-wrenching amount of heat pool in his lower stomach and rises on his knees, stripping off his top. Jimin sits up to meet him, his robes slip right off his upper body now, revealing a smooth stomach.

Beautiful, he thinks. So, so beautiful.

Jungkook watches as Jimin explores his body; touches the ridges of his chest and abdomen almost reverently. Jimin kisses him in the centre of his chest and Jungkook has to look away.

He leaves the bed only to remove his trousers and strip the last bit of fabric from the omega’s body. What he sees there makes him pause.

Jimin’s legs are spread wide, cock hard and soaking the front of his pretty teal underwear and there is slick soaking through the back, but on his inner thigh is the tell-tale patterned, jagged scarring of a mating bite. Framing it are more scars that Jungkook also recognizes. They’re from claws, an alpha’s claws.

“You understand now?” he hears and looks to Jimin with wide eyes. Jungkook can’t find the words to respond. “Please don’t stop, Jungkook. I want you,” he says. “Please, don’t stop.”

Jungkook doesn’t. Beautiful, he thinks again.

He kneels between the omega’s legs again and holds the spread legs in his hands, leaning over to mouth at the omega’s hard cock through his underwear. When he slips his cock from its confines, he guides the omega’s legs over his shoulder, sucking him down and squeezing around him, hot and tight. The omega cries out once, and then again when Jungkook’s finger meets his sopping rim.

Jimin’s scent spikes and he feels a gush of wet fluid over his fingers. Suddenly, he can’t wait any longer. He slips the flimsy fabric easily down the omega’s thighs and legs.

Readily, Jimin takes his legs in his own arms, spreading his legs, eyes begging him to do something, so Jungkook spreads his ass, exposes his slick hole and puts his mouth over it setting a brutal pace, tongue delving into him, opening the omega up. Jimin thrashes and moans loudly, uncaring of who might hear him.

He opens up easily under Jungkook’s tongue, then under the two fingers he adds alongside it.

When Jungkook runs his cock in the slick crevice of his ass, it’s because he feels close to bursting himself.

Jimin is eager, moves his hips to slot Jungkook's cock where he needs him most when it seems the alpha only wished to tease him further. He spears himself down on Jungkook’s cock with slow rotations of his hip. When Jungkook is seated deep inside him, Jimin guides him down and connects their lips. Jungkook doesn’t hold back then.

They kiss, messily against the brutal pace Jungkook sets, fucking him deeply. Jimin breaks apart from him to pant wetly into his ear, Jungkook tries to memorize the sounds.

When Jimin comes, it is with a shout and with a pool of slick forming where the two were still joined. Still, the omega met his every thrust, begging for his come with words whispered into the alpha’s ears. Jungkook spills within him just a few moments later.

 

-

 

“You killed him didn’t you?”

After a very long moment, Jimin asks, “Who?” The question should be answer enough, but Jungkook continues. He thought he would be afraid. When he thought of this moment in times past, he thought it would make him sick to know for sure the things the omega has done.  Jimin touches his skin gently, runs the tip of his index finger down and up Jungkook’s forearm and gooseflesh spring to life in its wake.

“The Lord, from the visiting country. Our allies.”

“Yes.”

“Why?”

“He was hurting a dear friend of mine.”

Jungkook nods.

They lay in the bed in the dark in silence for a few more long moments.

“There is more you want to know," Jimin says knowingly, "You can ask. I won’t hurt you and you have given me no reason to believe I can’t trust you. Go on and ask me.”

“King Woojin, he did those things to you. He hurt you.” Not a question.

Jimin nods.

"Did you kill him?"

“I poisoned him.”

Jungkook nods. He breaths in Jimin's scent deeply. The omega drapes himself over Jungkook, presses his lips against Jungkook's scent gland.

“I could never be his Queen Sunhi and he hated me for that. There was always something I didn’t have, something he was searching for that I couldn’t give him, but if there was one thing he loved about me, it was my body." Jimin kisses his neck again. "He married me so he could fuck me without the court taking issue but I got no ceremony. He would not even kiss me. When he started to hurt me, I was fine with it so long as he didn’t dare touch the people I love but, he broke that promise."

"Who?"

"The guards, our servants. The only people who would treat me well back then." Jimin rises up, swings his legs over Jungkook's body to straddle him. "They tell me he was a good man a long time ago, but I did not know that man.”

Jimin leans over and kisses him, sucks on his lips and bites down. Jungkook moans against his lips.

They kiss for a long time and his heart pounds in his chest, exhilarated. Even now, even now with the things he knows, he thinks he might love the omega even more.

“So I won't take another mate," Jimin says against his lips, "I won’t belong to another alpha.”

Jimin holds him all night.

 

-

 

The omega is gone before morning but Jungkook doesn't let himself grieve just yet. In the large room, he takes a bath and gets dressed.

When he is finished and all his belongings packed, he still smells like the omega. He wears the scent proudly and heads out to meet the group of men gathering in the hall, already receiving their pay. Many eyes turn on him, nostrils flare when he arrives, but he pays them no mind.

The process is long, as there are many of them but after about an hour they have all received their correct payments.

Then, as they are about to leave, Jimin strolls into the hall much like he had done that very first day. He looks regal, even with the many outlines of Jungkook's teeth on his neck peaking through his expensive robes. Especially with them. He can see a few of the men around him make the connection between his smell and the marks on Lady Park's neck, thinks the omega might have worn that particular outfit specifically for that reason.

He looks uncaring, confident, stunning, just as he had six months before. Despite everything, it brings a smile to his face.

Jimin addresses the group. "On my King's behalf, I thank you all for your hard work over the past six months. I am glad to have been able to open these doors to you all once again and hope that future endeavours might allows us to do so more often."

Suddenly, Jimin's eyes find his among all the others in the crowd. He looks mischievous. Jungkook frowns in confusion.

"Before you all leave, two men have shown exemplary dedication to the work they have completed here and as such the castle would like to extend to you both the opportunity to continue to work here. This time your contract will span one year. Those men are Min Yoongi and Jeon Jungkook."

Jimin continues to look at him even as he steps down off the stairs and strolls out the door.

Jungkook feels himself moving before he even realises what he is doing but before he can exit the room, someone catches him by the arm. He turns, a growl ready on his lips, when he sees it's Yoongi. 

"Hyung-"

"I suppose you will find out soon enough if you choose to stay here, which I suspect you will," Yoongi says in that cryptic way he says most things, but as Jungkook looks at him, the man appears nervous.

"Hyung, what-"

“My omega, he came back to me. You might have heard of him, Kim Taehyung.”

You killed him, didn't you?

“Lady Park helped return him to me. I am forever in his debt, so if you do stay please be good to him.”

He was hurting a dear friend of mine.

Yoongi leaves him there before he can respond and he watches as the alpha walks down the hall to meet a man. He is slender and tall, taller than the alpha even, but his face is hidden in the cover of the shadows.

A guard appears before him then and looks expectantly at Jungkook. “Have you decided yet whether or not you will remain here?" he asks, "Should you accept the castle's offer, Lady Park has asked for us to escort you to his rooms.”

 

 

“I won’t belong to another alpha..."

"I won't take another mate..."

 

“I accept.”

 

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He hath given his empire

Up to a whore

William Shakespeare

 Antony and Cleopatra: Act 3, Scene 6

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Come say hi!

 

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