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 “Some tiny creature, mad with wrath, is coming nearer on the path.”

― Edward Gorey, The Evil Garden

   

 

“Oh, for fuck’s sake, not you again.”

Namjoon stared at his parking spot, currently occupied by a shark-like BMW that didn’t belong to him. He closed his eyes and took a long breath to calm the already bubbling anger in the pitch of his stomach. No, he wasn’t going to let that asshole ruin his day. He was better than that. He was so much fucking better. Holy fucking shit, Namjoon fucking hated the guy.

It didn’t take him long to find a place where he could park his old motorcycle, anyways, but it was the principle of the thing.

He took off his helmet and looked up at the building hovering over his head with a frown, his eyes finding the ninth-floor as easily as it were his own. The small balcony was bare except for a few succulents, the dark curtains of the sliding glass door tightly shut, which wasn’t a surprise. Namjoon didn’t know his lovely neighbor very well, but he had seen the guy a few times over the last six months he had lived in the apartment below and wasn’t surprised that it—he, Namjoon corrected himself, annoyed that that kind of slips continued to occur from time to time despite his best attempts to eradicate that horrific social imposition from inside his brain—wasn’t very sociable during the day.

Namjoon wouldn’t be a proud marine biologist if he couldn’t recognize a creature—person—born from the sea. He hadn’t been able to recognize his neighbor species—probably one that liked to live near the bottom of the sea where it was darker and colder if those intense milky eyes were some indication—and knew better than to ask him.

After all, in Yoongi’s wise words, it wasn’t polite to ask a monster what the fuck they were.

Namjoon hummed the elevator’s song, fingers tapping against his helmet as he went up. He searched for his keys, hiding somewhere inside his backpack and smiled when his fingers closed around the squeaky keychain that he had found on his kitchen counter a few days ago. Yoongi was the only one with a key to his apartment and leaving a random gift on Namjoon’s house without a note was exactly the thing he would do to avoid feeling embarrassed. The keychain was cute and shaped like a red crab.

Namjoon squeezed it―giggling at the high-pitched sound it let out―and opened the door of his apartment. He hadn't even taken a few steps inside his house when something creaked under his boots.

He muttered a curse and felt the wall with his hands until he found the light switch. He blinked a few times to get used to the light and then looked down at the floor with a grimace. There, under his boot and around him were those scales again. He crouched down and took one of the small, crystal-like scales between his index and thumb and inspected it closely.

He’d have expected that the last pest exterminator would have finally ended the intruder's visits—after all, he hadn’t found scales around his house in almost a month—but apparently, he was not so lucky.

The scales had begun to appear in his house shortly after his move. The first time it happened, Namjoon had seen them on the floor and railing of the balcony. His work forced him to live near the ocean, in an area populated mostly by monsters, and it hadn't seemed strange that the wind had brought scales with it to his house. He had cleaned the mess, careful not to touch it in case they belonged to a poisonous monster, and quickly forgot about it.

It didn’t matter, back then. He was too busy being happy about his new job monitoring sea creatures exposed to pollutants and losing sleep because the monster who lived in the apartment above liked to listen to music and jump around his apartment at three in the morning for no apparent reason other than annoying Namjoon.

It was when the scales began to appear inside his apartment—in the kitchen, in his shower, inside Namjoon’s wardrobe and even on his bedside table—that Namjoon began to worry. The apartment was not exactly located in a rich area, but it was cozy and the owner had given no indication that the place was infected with some kind of vermin-monster. He had talked to some neighbors and soon discovered that only his apartment was the one that suffered from such visits.

The neighbor from two floors below his apartment—a monster with pufferfish heritage with thin spines coming out of his round cheeks called Jungkook—had looked at the scales on Namjoon’s gloved hands with big eyes and laughed.

“Don’t worry, it’s not poisonous,” he had said.

When Namjoon asked if he knew what kind of creature was leaving it all over his apartment Jungkook had smiled so wide his spines shoot out. That was the only answer. Namjoon was the newbie. The human. Monsters didn’t tend to trust them and Namjoon couldn’t blame them for that.

He informed himself, talked with various colleges, talked with the monsters working with him but no one could tell him what kind of creature it was. He contracted a monster specialized in plague extermination and, for almost a month, the scales had disappeared. Until they came back again, and again, and again. Multiplied all over the apartment as if the little vermin wanted to make sure Namjoon didn’t forget its presence.

It was the sixth consecutive month in which Namjoon stepped on those scales by accident—one horrible time two months ago he did it barefoot and had been unable to go to work for a week—and he was starting to suspect that he would have to live with that strange creature for the rest of his stay in that building.

He kicked the scaled to the side before putting on his slippers. He dropped the helmet on the table and frowned when he found it clean. He was sure that he had left the dirty dinner plates of the day before there.

“Yoongi?” he called; the silence was the only answer.

Yoongi wasn’t there, of course. Why would he be? He still lived in the human-populated part of the town, but old habits die hard. They had lived together for ten years and still saw each other every weekend, but Yoongi would have told him if he had come to visit.

He shook his head and headed to the bathroom. More scales waited for him in the shower. He sighed and cleaned them before stepping in. The hot water helped him relax the stiff muscles of his back and recover the sensitivity on the tip of his fingers after the cold from the outside.

He ate a quick dinner, too tired to cook something more complicated than instant ramen, and fell face-first on the bed. He closed his eyes, feeling content.

That was, of course, the exact moment in which the asshole decided to play music.

First the parking lot and now this.

Namjoon groaned when the walls of the apartment began to beat with the loud sound of the bass. If it were any other time during the day, Namjoon wouldn't have minded the music. The asshole had good taste, despite everything, and Namjoon loved music as much as he loved the sea. But it was one in the fucking morning, his body was tired and achy and he had work in less than eight hours.

He got out of the bed with his jaw clenched, pulled a pair of old, grey sweatpants up his legs and stumbled out of the apartment without bothering on searching for a clean shirt. He grabbed his keys and ran upstairs—too annoyed to wait for the elevator—with his fists clenched in anger.

The music was even louder there; so loud that Namjoon could feel it in his stomach as he walked past the doors of the empty apartments—he didn't need to wonder why they were all empty. He glowered at the numbers hanging off the door before knocked—or, well, he hit the door with his fist several times.

He didn't have to wait much. The door shot open a minute later by the—stupidly attractive—asshole of a monster that was Park Jimin.

Namjoon could have lived all his life without knowing his neighbor's chest was covered in gold marks that resembled tribal tattoos but were probably part of some passage ritual from his species. Golden waves curled around Jimin's slightly grey skin from his marked v-line up to his neck, and Namjoon had the suspicion that there were more on his back and down his legs.

Namjoon closed his eyes, suddenly aware of his shirtless state.

The parts of Jimin's body that looked human were attractive enough. The parts that gave away his monster heritage—whatever that was—made Namjoon feel… hot. Very, fucking hot.

Four blue and thin tentacles came out from the right side of his head—from where his ear should be—extending to touch his forehead, resting under his eye and cheek and following the shape of his jaw. They were still, for the most part, but its tips curled adorably from time to time. Another two tiny tentacles poked from opposite sides of his nostrils.

But it was the tentacles curling around his arms and waist the ones that made Namjoon feel fidgety; too big on his own, pathetic human skin.

"What?" spat Jimin and Namjoon remember why he was standing shirtless in the middle of the hallway at one in the morning instead of in his bed, sleeping.

He took a deep breath.

"Can you please turn off the music? Or use headphones? I have work tomorrow and I can't sleep with all the fucking noise."

Jimin frowned, he opened his mouth and closed it again. He looked at his feet with confusion and then glared at Namjoon. Namjoon didn't know Jimin's species but those milky eyes and the way Namjoon's stomach tied told him: predator.

"I don't have ears."

“You have one!

Jimin scratched said ear.

“I can’t hear well with it.”

“Bullshit! You’re hearing me just fine!”

Jimin leaned against the doorway with his arms crossed and a smile full of teeth. Namjoon did not stare at his arms. He did not. He did flinch when one of Jimin’s tentacles pushed a strand of hair out of his forehead.

“Sorry, human, I can’t hear you. The music’s too loud.”

Namjoon growled—or the human version of growling—and stumped back to his apartment, too embarrassed to keep playing Jimin’s games. He slammed the door behind him and made a mental note to buy some noise-canceling earbuds as soon as he could. By the time he reached the bed again, the music had gone down to a low buzz.

He looked at the ceiling with a scowl.

“Asshole,” he muttered.

Then he fell asleep.


 

Namjoon woke up in the middle of the night. He blinked, confused as to why he was awake, and then, he heard the noise again. It was… strange, to put it in some way. It wasn’t strange in itself but because it didn’t belong in his apartment. It was wet and silky, and it was coming from the kitchen.

He debated if it was worth getting up. He had an idea of what could be the cause of that noise, but he didn’t know the first thing about dealing with a plague or one of those rat-like little monsters. He wasn’t going to kill it, obviously, and he didn’t have anything to trap it with.

He heard it again, that noise. It sounded like suction cups. He mentally reviewed all the names of the small sea creatures he knew about but none of them could live out of the water—not even the monster ones. None of them could climb eight floors just to get inside and leave its crystal-like scales all over his apartment.

He sighed, turned around and went back to sleep.

When he woke up a few hours later with the sun already up in the sky, he found the same scales scattered all over the kitchen counter.

The dirty dishes he had used the night before were now clean.


 

“Maybe you’re hallucinating.”

“Hyung! I’m not hallucinating!” Yoongi shrugged. Namjoon rolled his eyes. “There’s a monster in my apartment.”

“There are, at least, thirty monsters living in your apartment complex, Namjoon.”

“Fine! There’s a… a… a thing! A strange thing living in my apartment and cleaning my dishes while I sleep.” Yoongi didn’t bother with an answer. He simply raised his eyebrows and let Namjoon bang his head against the table a couple of times. “Fuck. You’re right. Maybe I am hallucinating.  Oh my god, hyung, what if I’m hallucinating?”

Yoongi sighed and tried to hide his laugh behind his mug of coffee.

Namjoon had called him as soon as he made sure that: yes, those were the same scales and yes, he was sure he had let a pile of dirty dishes yesterday, too tired to do anything about it. The dishes had been a problem for future-Namjoon. Sadly, future-Namjoon’s problems were now bigger than a few dirty dishes. 

“Calm down. Why don’t you take a sample of the scales and send them to a lab or something?”

“Already did. Unknown species with high possibilities of being a marine creature.”

“Well, ask your neighbors if they know something about it.”

Namjoon groaned.

“I did that too. They won’t tell me because I’m.” He waved his hand from his head to toe. “You know, human.

Yoongi grimaced. They sipped on their coffee in silence, trying to come up with new ideas. Namjoon’s eyes flicked to the glass jar on the shelf where he had stored the scales of the last five months. They were pretty, he had to admit that. Of a translucent blue color that made it almost impossible for him to look away. Sometimes, when he opened the curtains of the balcony before going to work and the light of the sun hit them just right, Namjoon could see all the colors of the rainbow reflected on them. Almost like a kaleidoscope.

Namjoon didn’t want to hurt whatever creature those beautiful scales belonged; not matter if they were dangerous or not. He just wanted to be able to walk around his own house barefoot without the fear of stepping on a mortal weapon. Because as pretty as those scales were, they also were sharp and could cut deep. He had learned that the hard way. 

“What if it’s someone trying to scare you?” asked Yoongi after a while.

Namjoon frowned and tore his eyes away from the scales.

“Uh?”

“I mean… the monsters…”

“Oh, c’mon, hyung…”

“No, listen to me. You know me, Joon. I would never say any of that intolerant bullshit. But… well, you said it yourself. You’re the human. Maybe they don’t feel safe with you here and they’re trying to… push you away without being hostile?”

“Push me away by washing my dishes?”

“Hey, no, hear me out! They don’t know how we work, Joon. Just as we don’t know their traditions, their social etiquettes or what’s normal for them and what’s not. The treaty’s too resent. Both parts had been trying to kill each other or pretend the other didn’t exist for who knows how long.” Yoongi shook his head, the corners of his mouth turned down in a small pout. “Five years of peace are not going to solve centuries of mistrust. Just look how well it’s going on with the city divided into a human area and a monster area. We don’t know shit about each other, misunderstandings are meant to happen.”

Namjoon cocked his head to the side. Yoongi was right, of course. Monsters and humans had been too busy trying to exterminate the other to pay attention to anything else. Humans and monsters were the same in a lot of ways, yes. But they also were different. A good kind of different. Maybe Namjoon had been trying too hard to think as the monsters as equals, that he hadn’t realized that equals didn’t mean the same.  Maybe he had overlooked all the ways in which they were different.

Still, he didn’t believe that someone was trying to kick him out of his house.

“You have a point, but… they like me, hyung. Even those who were wary of my presence at first, now wave me hello when they see me in the elevator. I don’t think that’s the problem.”

Yoongi sipped on his coffee and looked around as if he was trying to find the answer to Namjoon’s problem hidden behind his bonsai. He hummed.

“Maybe it’s not a human problem. Maybe it’s more personal.”

“Personal?”

“Yeah, are you sure every single monster in the complex likes you, Joon?”

“Well…” And in that exact moment, loud music began to play from the upside floor. Namjoon gritted his teeth. “That son of a…”


This time, Jimin wasn’t shirtless when he opened the door. Namjoon tried not to feel disappointed and failed. Jimin was wearing a pair of tiny shorts—Namjoon had been right about the gold marks curling around his legs—and a crop-top, so he couldn’t exactly complain about the lack of naked skin.

Focus, Namjoon. Focus.

“You again?” asked Jimin, barely a hint of a smile on his voice. “Didn’t you have work or something?”

Namjoon didn’t grace him with an answer. He trusted the jar full of scales to his chest and shuddered when Jimin’s right tentacle shot up startled and curled around his wrist. They both looked down at that single point of contact. Jimin’s tentacle was a little cold but not unpleasant. It was barely humid too, and soft like silk. Namjoon had a sudden, stupid urge to pet it. Which was weird. You can't just pet other people’s tentacles.

Yoongi cleared his throat. Namjoon almost jumped. He had forgotten Yoongi was behind him. Jimin’s eyes flew to Yoongi, and if Namjoon had thought the stares Jimin had given him were scary, the one that he was giving Yoongi was downright terrifying.

Slowly, Jimin let go of Namjoon’s wrist and took the jar instead. Namjoon massaged the tiny red spots on his wrist where Jimin’s suction cups had been.

“What’s that?” Asked Namjoon after a while, grimacing when his voice came out a little rough.

He hadn’t realized before, but Jimin had been the only monster on the complex he hadn’t asked about the scales. Partly because he had been an asshole since the moment Namjoon moved in, partly because months ago he had been a little scared of Jimin’s predator side. Now... well... fear was not exactly the thing that made his heart stutter when Jimin’s milky eyes fixed on him.

Apart from Jungkook, Jimin was the only monster with a marine heritage. Namjoon couldn’t believe he hadn’t asked for his help sooner.

Jimin looked at the jar with an expression that it was hard to read. It was a little like confusion and a little like tenderness and a little like shyness. Namjoon was… well, confused. Maybe the thing getting into his apartment was Jimin’s pet or something like that. He hoped not. The last thing he wanted right now was for Jimin to accuse him of trying to poison his monster-like dog.

“You collected them.”

“Uh.” Namjoon exchanged a quick look with Yoongi, who seemed as lost as he was. “Yeah? I mean… they’re pretty?”

“Oh.”

Jimin bit his lip. His cheeks were slightly pink, too. Namjoon had never seen him like that before. Jimin’s slightly grey skin didn’t flush easily. Not that Namjoon would know, because he had never spent one of his free days on the beach down the street subtly watching Jimin exercising on the shore. He had never. There was no proof.

Jimin smiled. A genuine and sweet smile that reached his eyes and turned his face into the most beautiful thing Namjoon had ever seem.

Namjoon’s heart lost a beat, feeling suddenly overwhelmed.

“Scales. They’re scales. Aren’t you a biologist? I thought you were supposed to know these things.”

“No. I mean, yes! But that’s not what—”

“Jimin-ssi, your food is trying to escape.” Jungkook appeared behind Jimin carrying a small fishbowl with a goldfish inside. “Oh, hi, Namjoon-hyung.”

Jimin tore his eyes away from Namjoon slowly as if he didn’t want to stop looking but the urge to scowl at Jungkook was too strong.

“Stop calling my fish food.”

Jungkook shrugged.

“You’re a carnivore.”

“I’m not going to eat my pet!” Jungkook muttered an uh-uh that made Jimin bare his—very fucking sharp, Namjoon noticed with a shudder—teeth. “I should just eat you then.”

Jungkook’s rolled his eyes and looked past Namjoon to where Yoongi was awkwardly standing there looking at the scene. His eyes widened a bit and his cheeks puffed out, the spines coming out.

“Oh. Hi.”

Jimin snorted. Yoongi glanced at Namjoon as if he was looking for help but Namjoon was as lost as he was.

“Hi?”

“Can we….? Can we go back to the—?”

Namjoon waved at the jar still on Jimin’s tentacles. Jungkook let out a long whistle.

“Wow. Congrats, hyung. You were right after all.”

What the hell is going on?” muttered Namjoon to no one in particular and was, as he expected, completely ignored by all of them.

Jimin smiled sheepishly at the floor and then gave Namjoon that warm look that had his knees weakening.

“Thank you,” said Jimin and then he closed the door on his face.

Namjoon gaped at the door for what felt like forever.

“Did he just steal my scales?” Yoongi made a sound of confirmation with the back of his throat. “What the hell was all that?”

“Don’t ask me. That was the weirdest interaction I had ever had and I live with fucking Kim Seokjin.”

Namjoon shook his head. He didn’t have time for another weird confrontation, he was already running late to work. He sighed and decided to talk to Jimin—demand him that he gave back Namjoon’s pretty scales—tomorrow.

Namjoon hummed the elevator music as it went down. With the corner of his eye, he saw that Yoongi was playing with the hem of his oversized shirt, eyes lost somewhere else. Namjoon opened his mouth to ask what was bothering him but closed it again shortly after. Yoongi would tell him any minute anyways.

The doors of the elevator opened. They walked towards the parking-lot side by side, still in silence. One of the good things about having lived together for the longest time was that they didn't need small talk anymore. Silences were like a second home and Namjoon was glad that even if they didn’t live together anymore, they still could share the same comfortable silences.

Yoongi was walking towards Namjoon’s usual parking spot but Namjoon took his elbow and guided him towards the opposite direction. He shrugged at Yoongi’s questioning eyes.

“Jimin stole my spot.”

Yoongi raised an eyebrow.

“The guy with the loud music? Do you think that it’s him who…?”

“The scales? Nah. I mean. He’s kind of an asshole sometimes and last week he stole my marine biology magazine but I don’t think it was him.”

“You only say that because you think that he’s hot and you don’t like the idea of being attracted to a bad guy.”

Namjoon, who had been playing with his crab keychain, squeezed it so hard that it let out a loud shriek. Yoongi chuckled and gave him a knowing look. Namjoon knew he was blushing. It was kind of embarrassing. 

“Shut up, hyung. What was bothering you, anyways?”

It was Yoongi’s turn to look embarrassed. He looked at the floor and then at the sky and finally at Namjoon.

“Who was the other guy? The one with the spikes on his cheeks.”

Namjoon frowned.

“Oh. That’s Jungkook. He lives on the 6th floor. Why?”

Yoongi cleared his throat.

“His face was very… round.”

“Well, he is a pufferfish monster.” Yoongi hummed. It took Namjoon a few seconds to notice the way the tip of his ears had turned red. “Ohhh, hyung! You like him!”

“I don’t— I just think he was cute or whatever. Aren’t you late for work?”

Namjoon laughed at Yoongi’s pained expression. They reached Namjoon’s motorcycle a minute later. Namjoon offered Yoongi a ride, but Yoongi had plans to meet Seokjin to eat on one of the few monster restaurants that allowed humans around the block.

Namjoon put on his leather jacket and his helmet and mounted on his bike.

“I like your keychain by the way,” said Yoongi, squeezing the little red crab with a soft smile. “It suits you.”

Namjoon’s confused sound was drowned by the purr of the bike’s engine.

“But you gave it to me.”

“What? What are you talking about? I didn’t.”

I found it inside my house. You’re the only one with a key. If it wasn’t you then who the hell entered my apartment when I wasn’t there? He gulped down, remembering the strange noises he had heard last night. Who the hell is sneaking into my apartment when I’m there?

“Oh. I— Yeah, I got confused for a second. Bye, hyung.”

Yoongi waved him goodbye as Namjoon pulled out of the parking lot and straight the beach.

Maybe the reason all those traps and exterminators hadn’t work was because it wasn’t a monster-vermin what was creeping into his apartment at night. Maybe Yoongi was right and someone was trying to scare him away. Maybe there was someone who didn’t want him in the apartment. They didn’t want a human living among monsters; a human working alongside monsters. Maybe the gifts—because, now that he thought about it, there had been more than just one gift: the crab keychain, the bonsai tree two months ago, the bandages when he had injured himself, the clean dishes—were a sarcastic way of letting him now that there was someone in the complex that could get into his house whenever they wanted.

Namjoon gripped at the motorcycle’s handlebar until his knuckles turned white. He was not going to let anyone, monster or not, intimidate him. He loved his job, he loved his new apartment, and he really liked his neighbors—yes, including Jimin. This place was his home too now.

The mystery would end up tonight, he decided. He was going to catch whoever was trying to scare him away.


 

Namjoon stepped on the blue scales as soon as he opened the door of his apartment. He sighed and collected them in the palm of his hand before he remembered he didn’t have his jar anymore. He scowled at the ceiling and let the scales over the kitchen counter.

This time he wasn’t surprised when he found everything spotless. It wasn’t only the dirty mugs of coffee, it was everything. Everything was clean and shiny and smelling of lemon. He wondered how many times he had come back from work too tired to notice the weird cleanliness stare of his apartment. He wasn’t a messy person, but he wasn’t always tidy. Yoongi and he had had countless fights about the few first months after they had moved in together.

Now that he didn’t have his hyung to remind him to clean, it was easy to forget.

He took care of his bonsai tree while the leftover dinner heated in the microwave. He couldn’t remember the last time he had done laundry, but all his clothes smelt of fabric softener and were neatly folded on his wardrobe. He couldn’t remember the last time he had gone grocery shopping, but his fridge was always full. He didn’t even own a broom but not even a speck of dust could be found on the floor.

It was subtle, small things that he hadn’t been able to notice before but now were obvious. Whatever was happening on his apartment had been going on for months. Namjoon couldn’t wrap his head around it, couldn’t find a logical reason for all of it to happen. If he was right and some monster was trying to push him away—on their own creepy, way… Well, he didn’t want to be right. He didn’t want to think that way about his neighbors because none of them had been hostile towards him. No one had bothered him.

No one, except… But no. Jimin could be an asshole, yes, but he wouldn’t… Namjoon sighed. At the end of the day, he didn’t know Jimin well. Everything was possible.

As if he knew Namjoon was thinking about him, loud music began to blast from Jimin’s apartment. Namjoon frowned at the ceiling and considered going up and demand Jimin to cut the crap and return his jar, but decided against it. He didn’t have time for that now. He had to get as much sleep as he could before his night visitor arrived.

This time, Namjoon wasn’t going to let it get away.

To his surprise, the music became a low buzz barely half an hour later, when Namjoon had already discarded his day clothes for a clean pair of boxers. He pulled the sheets over his head and closed his eyes.

The next time he opened his eyes, there was a strange sound coming from his bedroom vent.   

He held his breath and remained under the covers, pretending to sleep. He didn’t want to scare the night visitor before he could at least had had a good look at it. He didn’t have a plan, exactly. He just hoped that whatever—or whoever—was sneaking into his apartment wasn’t dangerous. After all, the creature could have hurt Namjoon many times during the past months but it had decided to clean his apartment instead. As far as forms of intimidations, his night visitor’s were pretty mild.

The vent was on the wall just in front of the bed, near the ceiling. Namjoon kept his eyes fixed on it as the strange sounds grew louder and louder. Suction cups. Definitely suction cups. Namjoon had heard it enough times during his job to be sure of it.

The tip of the first, blue tentacle appeared a few tense seconds later. Namjoon bit his lip, body tense as the octopus-like creature began to enter the room. It wasn’t a normal octopus, that was sure. First, because a normal octopus wouldn’t sneak into his house to clean his dishes. Second, because of the particularly pointed head and the golden marks that ran through its tentacles.

It was a monster, as he had expected. Namjoon had worked with octopus-like monsters before, but he didn’t know what species the one contorting his limbs to get through the vent. It was, without surprise, a beautiful creature. Its movements were elegant as it slid down the wall and to the floor and then towards the bed. It was tiny at first, not larger than Namjoon’s palm, but it grew with every step.

Namjoon’s heart had started to beat so fast against his chest that he was surprised that the strange… thing hadn’t realized that he was awake. When it finally reached the bed, it was as big as the bedside table. There was something paralyzing about its mere presence, something deep and secret tugging on Namjoon’s stomach. After almost a year of living among monsters, he could recognize the strange kind of fear that didn’t belong to him but the human race in general.

Whatever was the creature on his room, the human race had feared it so much and for so long that the fear had been impregnated in the instincts of the following generations. Predator, drowning, danger, run Namjoon’s body was screaming at him with an urgency that surprised him. He had only felt something like it with one of his co-workers. Luckily for him, he had learned to separate his real emotions from the instinct of his ancestors a long time ago.

He took a deep and silent breath and forced his muscles to relax. He wasn’t afraid, not really. He was curious and maybe a little angry. That was all. He wasn’t going to run anywhere because this was his house and he wasn’t the one that didn’t belong there. He had earned his stay in the apartment, he had earned his workplace, he had earned to live in peace without the fear of some strange thing coming into his home uninvited every night.

The creature rested a tentacle on the bed, right next to Namjoon’s stomach. Namjoon remained still. He was waiting for the creature to do something, but he hadn’t expected it to do that. With strange, wet sounds the creature began to grow taller and taller. Four of his eight tentacles began to transform. They lost their blue color for something paler, something more… human.

Namjoon watched with his mouth narrowed, no longer trying to appear asleep, how the monster shapeshifted to take the form of the one and only, stupidly attractive and asshole of a monster that was Park Jimin.

Jimin leaned down, his head cocked to the side and found Namjoon looking at him with eyes. He smiled.

“Hi.”

Namjoon jumped out of the bed and as far away as Jimin as possible. His chest rose and fell erratically. His ears were hot. He was so angry that it was hard to concentrate on anything that wasn’t the ugly feeling of betrayal that stabbed his stomach.

He had trusted Jimin. He had thought that whatever thing was going on between them was only a game, a stupid game without real heat behind. Jimin’s antics annoyed him, yes, but it was also kind of fun. It was their thing. The adult version of tugging on your childhood crush’s pigtails. Namjoon had been so fucking stupid for thinking someone like Jimin would like him, would want to be his friend. Yoongi had been right, after all.

Jimin chuckled and stepped closer, extending a hand towards Namjoon but Namjoon stepped back before Jimin could touch him. Jimin froze, a frown overtaking his features.

“Namjoon?”

“What are you doing here?”

Jimin’s smile was hesitant.

“You know why I’m here.”

Namjoon shook his head. He ran a hand through his hair. He needed air. He, fuck, he was so stupid.

He stomped to the living room, clenching his teeth when he heard Jimin following him, calling his name. He slid open the doors of the balcony and took a deep breath that tasted of salt and sea. If he narrowed his eyes, he could almost see the grey waves licking the white sand of the beach.

He turned around. Jimin was there, still. He closed his eyes.

“Why the fuck are you naked?”

“Clothes can’t shift.”

“Can you please cover yourself with something? Jesus.”

“I don’t understand why humans are so ashamed of their natural form,” mumbled Jimin between his teeth but disappeared inside Namjoon’s room and came back with a pair of sweatpants and a loose tank top.

The sweatpants hung too low, not made for monsters like Jimin who had two tentacles at either side of his hip. Namjoon’s eyes couldn’t help but follow the light blue path of tiny, blue scales that was Jimin’s happy trail.

Tiny, blue scales.

Blue scales.

“It’s you,” he said, feeling numb. “It was you, all this time. I thought… What are you doing here, Jimin?”

Jimin scratched the tentacle wrapped around his arm and a few scales fell off. Namjoon felt sick at the familiar sight of those pretty scales scattered on the floor of his apartment.  

“You know—”

“No, I don’t!” Namjoon hadn’t meant to raise his voice, it just happened. Jimin looked startled. Namjoon closed his hands in fists. “I don’t know why you’re here, Jimin. I only know that you’ve been sneaking into my apartment for the last couple of months! I just, I— You know what? I don’t want to know. I can’t look at you right now, please get the fuck away from my apartment.”

Jimin's face went through a range of emotions until he finally settled on anger.

“You want me to go?”

Namjoon threw his hands up the air in frustration.

“Of course I want you to go! And don’t look at me like that, you don’t have the right to be angry. This is my home and you’re not welcomed here. Not now, not ever.”

“So that’s it? You change your mind and I’m no longer welcomed? It took you months to reach that conclusion?”

“What the fuck are you talking about?”

“Oh, please, don’t play dumb with me! I saw how you looked at me. I’m not expert in humans but I think I can recognize something as basic as lust.” He spat the word as if it burned. “What made you stop wanting me out of the sudden? My natural monster form? Is that it, Joon? You saw the real me and now you don’t like me anymore? I’m too ugly for your delicate human tastes?”

Namjoon shook his head, lost. Jimin’s voice was getting louder and louder with every question and Namjoon could only hope that the rest of the monsters in the complex were too asleep to hear their incoherent argument. It didn’t make sense. None of it. Jimin’s words kept repeating in his head like a broken record but Namjoon couldn’t find the link between them and the reason for his own anger.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Jimin bared his teeth. It was an empty threat, but it made a shiver ran down Namjoon’s spine anyway.

“Why would you give me the jar if you didn’t want me here?”

“I didn’t give you my jar, you stole it! I went to ask you what the fuck was leaving all those scales around my apartment and you closed your fucking door on my face!”

Jimin’s shoulders deflated, his anger slipping from his face to be replaced with hurt. The change was so quick that Namjoon gave a step back as if he had been slapped.

“You didn’t know it was me?” Namjoon swallowed down. His anger had calmed down to an uncomfortable feeling in the pitch of his stomach. He shook his head. “I don’t… I don’t understand, then why would you…? Is this some kind of joke? I thought you weren’t like the other humans, I thought you respected us.”

Jimin started to walk away, but Namjoon was faster. He grabbed Jimin’s wrist and pulled him to a stop.

“Wait, Jimin. Wait.” He was missing something. A detail that could link everything together, all the strange things that happened during the last couple of months. “I think we aren’t understanding each other. I think…” He remembered Yoongi’s words. He remembered that they were equals but they were different. They came from different places, different backgrounds. He thought about the way their species hadn’t had the time, nor the interest to learn about the other’s culture. “What does it mean to you? The jar. My jar.”

Jimin looked wary still, but he didn’t pull away from Namjoon’s hand. He gave Namjoon a long look, head cocked to the side as if he was wondering if he should trust him or not. Namjoon did his best for his face to look open and genuinely curious.

“It was a gift,” said Jimin after a while and the tension on Namjoon’s shoulders slipped away. “It meant that you accepted.”

“Accepted what?”

Now it was Jimin’s time to look confused. It was cute, the way his eyes were wide and his frown was tight, a pout threatening to appear on the corners of his mouth.

“My affection.”

Namjoon took a sharp intake of breath. He looked around his apartment, his head hurting from how fast his thoughts were bouncing around trying to connect all the dots.

“You came into my apartment at night, cleaned, left me stuff, gifts… What does all of that meant to you?”

Jimin stepped closer. Jimin’s body didn’t have the same body heat a human’s body would, but Namjoon shuddered anyways. His fingers were still wrapped around Jimin’ wrist. He caressed Jimin’s skin with his thumb, wondering how could it feel soft and rough at the same time.

“You really don’t know?” Namjoon shook his head. “How could you not? Do humans don’t court each other?"

Namjoon was having a hard time trying to breathe. He opened and closed his mouth a few times, the implications of Jimin’s words making his stomach bubble like champagne.

"That's what you were doing?" he whispered, his voice coming out too breathy.

"Yes!!" The heat was back on Jimin's voice. He pulled his hand away from Namjoon's grip and crossed arms and tentacles over his chest. Namjoon wanted to erase his pout with a kiss. "For over six months! I was obvious. Jungkook said you asked about my scales ages ago. I thought you were waiting to make sure I was a good mate for you. You never did anything back but you never rejected me either, so I kept coming every night to guard your sleep hoping one day you'd accept me. And then, after months of waiting, you finally did!” Jimin’s cheeks were red, the color softening his sharp features. “I was so happy… I kept pacing around waiting for you to return from work so we could meet. Now you said you don't want me?"

"Guard my— oh my god, I need to sit down."

Namjoon was careful not to step on Jimin's scales as he walked towards the couch. He let himself fall in it with a groan, his muscles protesting. He closed his eyes and massaged his temples with both hands. When he opened his eyes again, Jimin was still glaring daggers at him from the other side of the room.

Namjoon sighed and patted the space next to him. Jimin clenched his teeth but, after a moment of hesitation, joined him on the couch as far away from Namjoon as the old thing allowed him, which wasn't a lot. Their knees bumped.

They had never been so close. Now that Namjoon could look more attentively—without the distraction of the naked skin of Jimin’s chest—he could see that Jimin’s tentacles were covered in the same blue scales that had decorated his apartment for the past six months. He had to put his hands between his thigs to prevent him from touching them. The scales didn’t look sharp but Namjoon knew better that trust his eyes. He wondered how would it feel to have one of Jimin’s strong tentacles wrapped around his waist, the rough feeling of the scales biting his skin.  

"Jimin," started Namjoon, not sure of what he wanted to say. He cleared his throat and looked away from Jimin’s tentacles. "I didn't know."

Jimin looked like he wanted to believe him. His eyes were wide and hopeful but a wall of distrust still sat uncomfortably between them. Namjoon wasn’t sure how much of it had been caused by them and how much was caused by their upbringings.

"Humans lie,” said Jimin, narrowing his eyes. There was something ancient dancing on his milky irises; something that talked about a time where the world belonged only to the monsters. Not for the first time, Namjoon wondered what kind of monster was Jimin. “That's what we are taught."

Namjoon smiled even though he tried not to. It was cute. Jimin was cute.  

"We do,” he admitted with a shrug. “And sometimes it’s hard to know when we’re not lying, but you’ll have to trust me on this. I'm not lying right now. I never meant to hurt you.” He chewed on his bottom lip, feeling the tip of his ears starting to burn as his next question formed on his tongue. “Were you… flirting with me?"

Jimin scrunched up his nose.

"I'm still not sure what that means," he said, and Namjoon had the sudden realization that Korean wasn't even Jimin's first language. That his first language wasn't human in the first place. That he had to learn to talk like one when he joined the monsters of the earth—who due to their closer contact with humans had learn the different languages a long time ago. "I was showing you that I could be a good mate and take care of you when you were in your most vulnerable. I cleaned, and I gave you things that would make you happy and I protected you from predators while you rested. You said my scales are pretty and gave me a gift back. I thought you wanted me to come here tonight so we could, um, mate."

"Oh. Okay. Wow."

Jimin’s gave him a sad look.

"Do you not want to mate with me? That's why you were mad?"

"Yes! I mean, no. Uhg."  Jimin raised an unimpressed eyebrow. Namjoon hid his face on his hands. "I'm not sure what "mate" means to—?"

"Fucking."

"Yo—oh." Namjoon gulped down, feeling his face starting to burn. "Right. You know that word."

Jimin's smile was razor-sharp. Namjoon couldn't help but notice his canines, wanting nothing more than to feel them sink into the flesh of his thighs. He let out a stuttering breath and pushed his thighs together. He needed to focus on the matters at hand not… not think about Jimin’s sharp teeth and Jimin’s strong tentacles and Jimin’s pretty face and full lips and the dangers that his eyes promised.

One of Namjoon’s co-workers was a siren. Not the ones that fell in love with princes and lived happily ever after, but the real ones. The ones that the first human storytellers had warned everyone about. A monster siren that was as gorgeous as it was deadly. Those who attracted men with their voices and drown them with a kiss. Taehyung wasn’t a bad monster but the past of his species was hidden in his eyes, threatening with resurfacing at any minute.

Jimin’s eyes were similar. But his eyes spoke of an even more ancient and sinister past.

That a creature like Jimin even considered him, a simple human, to be a mate was almost impossible to believe. And yet, Jimin was there, sitting on his shitty couch and looking at Namjoon as if he held the answers to his most pressing questions.

"That’s all it meant to be mates?" asked Namjoon.

His heart beat faster and faster with every second that passed without an answer. Finally, Jimin looked away and shook his head slowly.

"No."

Namjoon nodded. He was trying to keep calm, trying to contain his thoughts from jumping to sweatier and more horizontal scenarios, but it was hard. Jimin was right there, next to him talking about mating. The butterflies on Namjoon’s stomach were trying to escape through his throat, threatening to choke him.

"Um. I do want to, ah, mate with you," he admitted, scratching his nape. "In every sense of the word."

He added the last part after a second of hesitation; after flashes of waking up next to Jimin and eating breakfast with him and holding his hand—or tentacle—crossed his mind. Namjoon missed dating. The mere idea of kissing Jimin made him want to scream from the balcony from the whole world to know. He was always touch-starved but too awkward to do anything about it. Jimin had six limbs to embrace him. That was enough for him to know that they were a good combination.

"Then why—?"

"Humans don't court other humans like this." He waved a hand around his apartment. "We don’t go to the house of the people we like to guard their sleep. That’s kind of like… uh, creepy? For us? I’m not saying the traditions of your people are wrong! But It’s not the same for us. We usually just ask each other on dates and I don't know, we talk? about feeling?"

Jimin frowned.

"Then how do you know if they can protect you when you're vulnerable?"

"Ah.” It was Namjoon’s turn to frown. He had never given so much thought about the different rituals a human went through to date another human. “I guess we learn that along the way. Sometimes. Sometimes not. Sometimes our partners stop protecting us, sometimes they protect us for life. It's complicated."

Jimin sighed. He scratched his nose with the tip of a tentacle and looked at Namjoon with exasperation.

"I don't understand how humans work." Namjoon let out a startled laugh. "I don't like not knowing things."

"Don't worry, humans don't know how we work either."

Jimin rolled his eyes.

"I can't believe that brat was right." Namjoon made a questioning noise. Jimin waved his hand. "Jungkook said I should talk to you instead of doing all this. I thought you would know what it meant. I saw the things you read; I know you like marine creatures. I know you are smart." Jimin pouted, looking down at where the tip of his tentacle was playing with his finger. "I made you uncomfortable in your own home. I'm not suited to be your mate."

Namjoon's moved without thinking. He rested his hand over Jimin's and squeezed it. He wanted to wipe away the look of pure sadness of Jimin’s face, but he didn’t know how.

"Jimin. You didn't know. We didn't know. We both fucked up, okay? It’s not your fault. If you want to blame someone, then blame our ancestors for the centuries of pointless war between our people."

Jimin's tentacle wrapped around his forearm slowly, as if he was waiting for Namjoon to pull away from his touch. Namjoon looked down at their joined limbs. Sun-kissed skin against blue scales—they look good together. They fit.

"What did you think I was doing?" asked Jimin after a few seconds of peaceful silence where both of them pointedly didn’t look at each other.

Namjoon grimaced. He didn’t want to admit it, but he didn’t want to lie either. Not now that Jimin was trusting his word. He cleared his throat.

"I thought someone was trying to scare me away."

Hurt flashed on Jimin's eyes. The grip on Namjoon’s forearms tightened.

"Because I'm a monster."

"No. Nonono." Namjoon cupped Jimin's face with his free hand. It was a bold move and he wouldn’t have had the guts to do it in any other circumstances, but he didn’t want Jimin to misunderstand him again. The thin tentacle that rested on Jimin’s chin curled around Namjoon's thumb. He took it as a good sign. "Because I thought there was someone that didn't like me, that didn't want me here so they were trying to push me away. I promise I never suspected you. At least, not until you appeared in my room.” He took a deep breath. “I'm sorry."

"Oh." Jimin nodded, his tense body relaxing against the back of the couch. "I understand. I think.” Jimin rested a hand on Namjoon’s waist. Jimin’s touch was cold and made Namjoon’s skin bristle. “You don’t have to worry about anything like that, by the way. The others like you too. And even if they didn’t, they wouldn't dare to scare you away from your home."

"Why not?"

Jimin scoffed, tapping Namjoon's forehead with the tip of a tentacle. A smug smile was starting to bloom on the corner of his mouth. Jimin was the most beautiful creature Namjoon had ever seen.

"Weren't you paying attention, silly? I protected you for the last six months. They know you're my human. If they hurt you, then I'll just eat them."

Namjoon blinked, taken aback.

"Like, for real?"

Jimin shrugged.

Oh. Well, that explained why everyone had been so welcoming.

Namjoon cleared his throat. Jimin’s words had made all the heat go south.

“So, um, now that we are clear about each other’s intentions. Uh, about the mating…” he started, but Jimin interrupted him with a kiss.

Jimin’s lips weren’t warm but they were soft. Namjoon melted into the touch, gasping when Jimin’s tongue traced his bottom lip. The touch felt like a question so Namjoon answered it by narrowing his mouth. Jimin didn’t waste his time. He rested a hand on Namjoon’s nape and pulled him closer, licking into Namjoon’s mouth eagerly.

Six months. Jimin had waited for this kiss six months ant it was obvious in the way he climbed on Namjoon’s lap with his hands buried in Namjoon’s hair, the tentacles on his hips wrapped around Namjoon’s waist and the tentacles on his arms wrapped around Namjoon’s neck. Namjoon felt… overwhelmed. In a good way.

Jimin kisses were hard and demanding. Namjoon’s ears were burning with the embarrassing noises he was making, but Jimin seemed to like them. Jimin swallowed every whimper and every moan and stole more and more with every flick of his tongue against Namjoon’s palate.

Namjoon didn’t know what to do with his hands so he rested them on Jimin thigs. The knowledge that Jimin was wearing his clothes shouldn’t have sent a shot of possessiveness straight to his cock, but it did. Jimin smiled as if he knew. He whispered incoherent words between kisses, alternating between Korean and a language that wasn’t human. His words tasted like mate on Namjoon’s tongue.

Namjoon pulled away, or as far away as four tentacles and two arms wrapped around his body left him.

“Jimin.” He sounded breathless. His voice was rough and throaty already. “Bedroom.”

Jimin nodded. He stole one last kiss with a playful smile and disentangled himself from Namjoon’s body. Namjoon tried not to feel disappointed.

They rushed towards the bedroom, stopping from time to time to make out against the walls of the hallway. By the time they reached the bed, Jimin had lost the tank-top and the front of his sweatpants were soaked wet. More soaking wet than what was normal on a human.

Namjoon looked at the line of Jimin’s dick and noticed something interesting. It wasn’t, exactly, a dick. The air got stuck in his lungs.

Jimin, oblivious of Namjoon’s discovering, pulled the ruined sweatpants down his legs and kicked them to a corner of the room. He gave Namjoon a smile that could cut glass and approached until they were almost chest to chest.

“It’s a tentacle,” blurted Namjoon, blushing after the words left his mouth.

Jimin blinked confused and followed Namjoon’s line of sight to his crotch where a thick tentacle stood proudly against his stomach. It was the same as the rest of his tentacles: blue and with tiny suction cups, with a thick base that thinned towards the tip. It was wet too, so wet with slick that it was starting to drip down Jimin’s thighs.

Jimin cocked his head to the side and looked up at Namjoon.

“You don’t have one?”

“I don’t have tentacles!”

“I know that, stupid human. But you have…”

Jimin rolled his eyes and slid the tip of his fingers under the elastic of Namjoon’s underwear. Namjoon nodded and Jimin pulled the fabric down, licking his lips when Namjoon’s cock bobbed free. It was flushed red and aching. Namjoon had to use all his self-control not to stroke himself.

Jimin calling him stupid human had been hotter than Namjoon had anticipated.

“It’s not… It’s not the same.”

Jimin closed the distance between them, his breath was hot against Namjoon’s parted lips.

“I want to touch you.”

Namjoon swallowed.

“Then touch me.”

Jimin’s kiss was softer this time, slower. Namjoon soon got lost in the feeling of it and almost jumped out of his skin when he felt a wet tentacle curling around his dick. He gasped and broke the kiss, looking down between their bodies. The sound that came out of his mouth was loud and broken.

It wasn’t the Jimin’s arm-tentacles, it wasn’t the tentacles on either side of Jimin’s hips. It was his dick. Jimin’s tentacle dick was wrapped around his cock, stroking up and down in a tight grip.

Namjoon’s hand flew to Jimin’s biceps for leverage. Jimin smirked at him and attached his mouth to Namjoon’s neck. Whimpers started to fall non-stop from Namjoon’s lips. His toes curled in pleasure with every pump of Jimin’s dick. The little suckers on the tentacle brushed the sensitive tip of Namjoon’s cock on over and over, suckling, pulling, nibbling even. It was driving him insane.

“Do you like it, Joonie?” whispered Jimin against his ear, making Namjoon’s skin bristle. “Am I being a good mate?”

Namjoon grunted, unable to form words. Jimin’s tentacle cock kept producing slick, every wet pump echoing filthily against the walls of the bedroom. It was dripping down their thighs and making a mess of the floor. Namjoon had never felt so dirty before. He started to fuck into Jimin’s grip, eager and uncoordinated.

Jimin’s teeth sank on his shoulder. Namjoon let out a yelp, the pain running down his spine like an electric shock.

“Answer me.”

Namjoon was trembling. Jimin wrapped one of his tentacles around his waist to keep him standing.

Yes.” The word choked him. His hips stuttered when Jimin sucked one of Namjoon’s nipples into his mouth. “Yes, please, Jimin, I want— I want—”

“I want, I want,” mocked him Jimin with a low chuckle. Namjoon whined, feeling his cheeks heat up in embarrassment. “Stupid human can’t talk anymore?”

Namjoon’s lungs were burning. He was breathing, we knew that he was breathing, but it wasn’t enough. Jimin’s skin was cold, his tentacles were cold and despise that Namjoon felt too hot inside his skin.

“Ngh—"

“You like that.” Jimin was awed, his tone almost reverential. “You like it when I call you that. What else, Joonie? What else do you want me to call you?”

“Fuck me. Please, please, Jimin, fuck me.”

Jimin took his mouth in a bruising kiss. The tip of his tentacle cock was playing with Namjoon’s slit, pressing and collecting the pre-cum, mixing it with its own slick. Namjoon tried to fuck into the tight hold but Jimin kept him still with the tentacle around his waist. Namjoon babbled some weak protests against Jimin’s lips, earning a mocking smile in return.

Jimin chewed on Namjoon’s bottom lip, pulling at it until it hurt.

Pathetic.”

Namjoon’s cock twitched. Jimin laughed and let go of him, pushing Namjoon towards the bed.

Namjoon walked backward until the back of his knees hit the bed. He climbed into the bed, shortly followed by Jimin. Jimin’s golden marks were glowing in the darkness of the room.  

“How do you want to—”

Jimin wrapped his tentacles around Namjoon’s legs and pulled them open, giggling when Namjoon let out a scandalized noise. Jimin took place between his legs, the thin tip of his tentacle cock sliding from Namjoon’s perineum, up to his balls, tracing the vein at the side of Namjoon’s cock and teasing his slit before going down and repeating the process again and again.

“Like this.”

“Fuck.” Namjoon tried to move his legs just to test if he could and moaned when he realized he couldn’t. He had been right about the strength of Jimin’s tentacles. He wondered if Jimin could carry him around. “Fuck, yes. Please, Jimin.”

“Shh, don’t be so impatient, little human. I’m going to take care of you.” Jimin kissed him again, stealing the air from his lungs. “I’ll show you how monsters’ mate. I’m going to fill you up so good, baby. ‘m going to fuck you until you’re dumb and drooling on my tentacles.”

Jimin let go of one of his legs and curled the free tentacle around Namjoon’s middle, arching his back. He nibbled on Namjoon’s bottom lip as his left arm-tentacle took Namjoon’s wrists and pinned them over his head. Namjoon squirmed in his place, feeling trapped and exposed. He licked messily into Jimin’s mouth, saliva dripping down his chin.

The tip of Jimin’s right arm-tentacle pushed against the corner of his lips. Namjoon’s stomach tensed. He looked up at Jimin with wide eyes.

“Can I fuck your mouth, sweetheart?”

Namjoon didn’t answer. He couldn’t. His tongue felt heavy and dumb, unable to form words. Instead, he tilted his head to the side, opened his mouth big and sucked Jimin’s tentacle into his mouth.

Jimin let out a low grunt, his body tensing before relaxing again. He pushed his tentacle further down Namjoon’s mouth until its tip was brushing the back of Namjoon’s throat. Until Namjoon’s mouth was full and prettily stretched around him.

Namjoon’s eyes flickered closed. Jimin tasted salty and a little bitter, the same slick that coated his tentacle cock beginning to fill his mouth, leaking messily down his chin. Jimin licked every drop that slid down Namjoon’s neck as he started to thrust his tentacle in and then out, in and out, slowly at first but rougher once Namjoon relaxed his throat.

“Like that. Just like that, baby. Fuck. Such a pretty human, you are, Joonie. Look how good you take my tentacles.”

Namjoon gurgled an unintelligible answer. Jimin’s tentacle was thick and slippery, it filled his mouth like no cock had ever done and he couldn’t get enough of it. He wanted it down his throat so badly it hurt. He sucked hard, gagging every time Jimin pushed it inside, whining every time Jimin pulled it out.

“Mhoreg,” babbled Namjoon around the tentacle. “’imin, mught.”

 “Aw, little human isn’t satisfied with a tentacle down his throat, you want my cock too, baby?”

Namjoon nodded. He tried to move his hips up in search of contact, but Jimin’s tentacles had him frozen in place. Jimin’s smile was savage. He pushed Namjoon’s legs towards his chest, bending him in half and exposing his hole.

Jimin slid his tentacle cock up and down his crack, coating it with slick. A tear ran down Namjoon’s cheek and got lost in the pillow.

Jimin stilled the tentacle on Namjoon’s mouth but let him keep sucking at it. It calmed Namjoon’s nerves. He clenched several times around nothing, wanting nothing more than to be filled to the brim with Jimin.

“Ready, love?”

Namjoon took a deep breath.

“’m ready.” Jimin tightened the grip of all of his tentacles, the suction cups sucking Namjoon’s skin so hard that it hurt just right. Namjoon stuck out his tongue to lick at the tentacle dangling over his mouth. “Fuck me, Jimin, please.”

“Only because you asked it nicely.”

Jimin circled Namjoon’s rim with the tip of his tentacle cock a one, two, five times—cooing and laughing at Namjoon’s futile attempts to move—before he finally started to push inside. The slid was easy at first. The first centimeters of Jimin’s tentacle was thin, the slick making everything smooth. Namjoon closed his eyes and let his body melt against the sheets.

Jimin’s tentacle cock thickened as it went down, stretching him open slowly but surely. Namjoon couldn’t remember the last time he had had a cock so big up his ass. He had been fucked by guys with thick cocks, but none of them were as big as Jimin. None of them had scales, none of them had small suction cups that grazed all the right places, none of them had a humming vibration that traveled up his spine and made his toes curl in pleasure.

The only reason he hadn’t come yet was Jimin’s hand wrapped tightly around the base of his cock.

Jimin bottomed out with a loud moan and stayed still. Namjoon’s heart was drumming against his chest. It was… strange, to put it in some way. Jimin’s tentacle cock was nothing like Namjoon had ever felt before. He could feel it move inside him, the tip searching for his prostate and circling it with poisonous precision once it found it. Jimin wasn’t moving, but his cock was and the confusing feelings were making Namjoon’s head starting to feel with fog.

“Jimin,” he said. “Jimin. Jimin. Jimin.”

Jimin kissed the corner of Namjoon’s mouth. He kissed Namjoon’s dimples and his forehead and his chin. He pushed Namjoon’s sweaty hair out of his face and kissed him some more before he knelt on the bed and slammed his hips forward.

Namjoon let out a surprised cry that Jimin suffocated by pushing his tentacle inside his mouth once again.

“So good, Joonie. You’re so fucking tight.” More tears streamed down Namjoon’s face and Jimin was quick to lick them clean. “I imagined this every night for the past six months, baby. Every time you came back from work on that bike, with that leather jacket and smelling of ocean… Wanted to press you against the wall and fill your mouth with my cock.”

Jimin emphasized his words by pushing his tentacle further down Namjoon’s throat. Namjoon whined—high-pitched and needy— and tried to meet Jimin’s thrusts but he couldn’t move. His hands were above his head, held in a mocking praying posture; his back was arched, suspended over the bed in an angle that made Jimin’s tentacle cock reach deep inside; he only had one leg free and Jimin had it over his shoulder, fingertips sinking into the flesh of his thigs as he fucked him.

Jimin smiled as if he knew what was going through Namjoon’s head and mouthed the skin of his leg, biting there where Namjoon’s thigs were meatier and leaving red and purple marks that contrasted beautifully with his caramel skin. Jimin’s free hand was playing with the head of Namjoon’s cock, teasing the slit with a mean thumb.

“You love this, don’t you, Joonie?” Namjoon was quick to nod, mouth too full to give him a proper answer. He didn’t want Jimin to take away the tentacle from his mouth. “Fuck, look at you, baby. You’re nothing but a pathetic human gagging for my tentacles. How does it feel to have all your holes full of me?”

Namjoon sobbed. He felt so… tiny. He felt like he finally fit into his skin, into his pathetic human skin. He didn’t have to do anything, just stay still and take everything Jimin wanted to give him. And Jimin wanted to give him everything, he realized. This was why Jimin had waited months for Namjoon’s approval, this was why Jimin had worked night after night, cleaning Namjoon’s apartment and making sure he always had food on his fridge. Mate, his body was screaming at him. Mate, mate, mate. Maybe the word didn’t mean the same for a human-like Namjoon than it meant for a monster like Jimin, but that didn’t matter. Not right now. Jimin had promised to take care of Namjoon in his most vulnerable and now he was fulfilling his promise.

Namjoon had never been so vulnerable in his life, both physically and emotionally. All of him was bare for Jimin to see, to touch, to play with.

One of the suction cups on Jimin’s tentacle cock attached to his prostate and sucked. Namjoon screamed, or he would have screamed if his mouth wasn’t already occupied. It kept sucking and sucking, sending shots of pleasure up Namjoon’s spine. His cock hurt from how hard it was.

“Are you going to come for me, baby?” asked Jimin with a sweet smile that didn’t match the dark pools that were his eyes. “’m close too, baby. Come for me and I’ll fill you up too.”

The suction cup kept sucking on his prostate. It sucked and it sucked and it sucked and it only took one especially hard suction for Namjoon’s world to come crashing down around him. His back arched, thick threads of cum spurting between Jimin’s fingers.

Jimin cooed at him. He milked Namjoon thought his orgasm and kept mumbling sweet nothing against his ear, encouraging Namjoon and praising him for taking him so well. Jimin took the tentacle away from Namjoon’s mouth—despite Namjoon’s pout—so he could breathe more easily. Namjoon filled his lungs, feeling like he hadn’t been breathing at all for the last hour. His lungs burned.

Jimin kissed his cheek a few times and let go of his hands too. It was a weird feeling being in control of his limbs again and it took him a couple of confused seconds before he could move his arms again. He touched Jimin’s chest, his neck, his face. He pulled him closer by the neck and kissed him silly.

His nails scratched Jimin’s back when the monster slammed his cock inside again. He hissed. It was borderline painful with how sensitive he was, but he didn’t want Jimin to stop. Not now, not ever.

“Jimin.” His voice was completely wreaked. He had to clear his throat a couple of times before he could speak again. “C-come inside me, Jimin. I want it. I want you.” He cupped Jimin’s face and pulled him down for another kiss. “You’ve been a good mate for me.”

Jimin’s body stilled. A low growl ripped past his throat as he came, his hips flush against Namjoon’s ass. Namjoon’s mouth fell open as he felt his insides get wetter and wetter until Jimin’s come started to drip down his asscheeks. Jimin whined, moving his hips in little circles as more come kept spilling out of his tentacle cock, filling Namjoon to the brim. It was… strange, new, a little uncomfortable and too fucking hot.

If he hadn’t come a few minutes ago, Namjoon would have been rock hard again just by the feel of it.

Finally, Jimin let go of the air stuck in his lungs and his body melt against Namjoon’s. Namjoon smiled and embraced him, not bothered by the extra weight. It was hard to remember that Jimin was tiny compared to him when his mere presence was so big but right now, breathless and naked between Namjoon’s arms, he felt small. It’s Jimin’s most vulnerable state, realized Namjoon after a few seconds. Jimin was letting Namjoon hold him, showing him that he trusted Namjoon to protect him as much as he wanted Namjoon to trust him.  

 Namjoon buried his nose on Jimin’s hair and filled his lungs with the smell of saltwater.

Mate. Namjoon still wasn’t sure what that word meant to Jimin and his species. But for Namjoon, right now, that word meant Jimin.


 

Namjoon insisted on a shower as soon as Jimin regain his breath. As hot as it had been in the moment, he already felt sticky and filthy. Debauched, told him Jimin with a wicked smile that soon turned into a fit of giggled when Namjoon replied: “You know what that means, but you don’t know what flirting is?”

They argued about the temperature of the water—Jimin wanted it freezing cold while Namjoon didn’t feel properly clean if it wasn’t nearly boiling—before finally settling for lukewarm. It was too cold for Namjoon and too hot for Jimin’s skin, but they dealt with it.

It was Jimin the one who changed the sheets because Namjoon’s body was too sore to do anything more than standing next to the bed and look pretty. He let out a deep sigh as soon as he lay down on the fresh sheets.

Jimin collected a few of his scales that had ended up on the floor after he had transformed from his natural monster form to his more human-friendly body and put then on Namjoon’s bedside table before joining him in bed.

They stared at the ceiling.

“This is usually the time you put your obnoxiously loud music on and I go to your door.”

Jimin chuckled and hid his face on the crock of Namjoon’s neck.

“I did that on purpose, you know? All of it.”

“I figured. I just don’t understand why.”

“I wanted to cover all my bases. I was courting you as my people would and I was sure it was going to work. But Jungkook—well, he lived here on the surface longer than I did. He insisted that I had to catch your attention as a human would. He lent me a few books about human relationships and I followed what that boy did to get his lover’s attention.” Jimin raised a finger as he numbered the items one by one. “Loud music, parking on your spot, taking your magazines, more loud music. And it worked! I got your attention.” He pulled away from his hiding stop and looked at Namjoon with worry. “Or was I mistaken about that too?”

Namjoon opened and closed his mouth like a fish out of the water.

“I— no. No, it wasn’t a mistake.” God, Jimin was right. Humans were filthy liars. He shook his head and cupped Jimin’s face, pulling him down to a soft kiss. “You got my attention as you said.”

Jimin let out a happy sound and rested his head on Namjoon’s shoulder.

“I was telling you the truth about my ear, you know? I can hear voices and other sounds well enough, but music… I can’t hear it if it’s not loud. I guess it’s because we don’t have something like it down there.”

 Namjoon hummed. He ran a hand through Jimin’s hair and traced the thin tentacles that decorated his face.

“Can I ask you something? It’s been eating me alive for the past months, but it’s okay if you don’t feel comfortable with answering it.” Jimin hesitated but nodded. “Is it rude to ask about what… about what kind of monster are you?”

“Oh.” Jimin frowned but not in anger. He was thinking. Namjoon caressed his eyebrows until the frown melted away. “I don’t know. I don’t think so. I guess it depends on which monster do you ask. We don’t all think the same, you know? I’m okay with it. I had to deal with the same question enough times from my people that it doesn’t bother me anymore.”

“Your people don’t know, either?”

Jimin shrugged one shoulder. One of his tentacled started to circle Namjoon’s nipple almost absently.

“Some do. Others are too young to remember my kind.” He looked up. His milky eyes were like two lighthouses leading lost ships to their downfall. “I’m a Kraken. Do you know what that is?”

Namjoon nodded, hesitant.

“I heard some stories. Legends written by humans.”

“There aren’t many of us and we live in the most recondite depths of the ocean, where not even other monster dares to go. We don’t come to the surface often. That’s why both humans and monsters alike think we are myths.” He smiled, smug. “Oh, but monsters are quick to remember our existence when they see me.”

Namjoon swallowed down the saliva gathered on his mouth.

“You’re a predator.”

Jimin threw his head back and laughed.

“Oh, baby. That’s too weak. I’m the first link in all the food chains that exist in this world.” Jimin climbed on top of Namjoon, sitting astride him. Namjoon’s heart stuttered when Jimin’s brought his face close to his. Jimin’s eyes glowed in the darkness of the room as much as his teeth when he gave Namjoon a crooked smile. “I can eat whatever—” Jimin left a soft kiss on Namjoon’s lips, followed by another one on his chin and another one on his Adam’s apple. “—and whoever I want.”

Jimin sunk his teeth on the sensitive skin of Namjoon’s neck. Namjoon groaned, his hips jumping up.

“I’d let you,” muttered Namjoon. He was having a hard time trying to breathe with the way Jimin was leaving bite marks on his throat and all the way down his chest. A particular harsh bite on one of his nipples made him choke on a moan. “I’d let you eat me.”

Jimin pulled away. He looked as glorious—naked and sitting on Namjoon's lap as if he belonged there, with his golden marks and his white eyes glowing in the darkness—as ancient human poets had described the mythological Kraken. Carefully, Jimin wrapped his left tentacle around Namjoon’s neck.

Namjoon’s eyes flickered open and close. He was starting to get hard again.

Jimin pressed his smirk against Namjoon’s lips.

“I shall eat you, then.”


The ringing of his phone was what startled Namjoon awake. It took him a few minutes for his heart to calm down when he felt the unfamiliar weight on another body on his. Namjoon blinked his eyes open and looked at Jimin’s peacefully sleeping with his head resting on his chest, his right leg, arm, and tentacle wrapped around Namjoon body as if he wanted to make sure that Namjoon wasn’t going anywhere without him.

Namjoon hid his smile on Jimin’s hair. He felt completely wrecked, both psychically and emotionally. He had red circle marks all over his chest and legs from where Jimin’s tentacled had suctioned on his skin and he didn’t want to know the state of his ass. Oh, god, his ass. After last night he would never be able to fuck a human and be satisfied again. Jimin had truly ruined him for everyone else.

He bit his lip and traced Jimin’ spine with his fingertips. Jimin’s skin was only a touch warmer than his tentacles and smooth, oh so smooth. Namjoon was going to have a hard time keeping his hand to himself in the future. He traced the golden lines that went down Jimin’s back, creating spirals and designs that probably meant something in Jimin’s native language. He traced the dry and cracked skin of his lower back too, wondering why it was like that. He had so much to learn about Jimin. About how different his body was from Namjoon’s, the obvious stuff aside. He had so much to learn about Jimin’s culture too, about his habits and believes and how he liked his breakfast in the morning. It was going to be a hard and long process, but Namjoon had always liked to learn new things and Jimin was not an exception.

He wanted to know Jimin.

He hoped Jimin would want to know him too.

The phone rang again. Namjoon reached a hand to the bedside table, careful to not wake the Kraken, and accepted Yoongi’s call.

“Hyung? It’s six in the morning, everything’s okay?”   

Yoongi took a deep breath. Namjoon could hear Seokjin cursing loudly in the background.

“Joon,” he said. “Do you have any idea why there are pufferfish spikes all over my floor?”

 Namjoon couldn’t help it. He started to laugh.