Jimin had become accustomed to not being wanted, but he hadn’t become accustomed to being so blatantly unwanted.
When Jimin had first arrived, he’d been treated poorly. Every member of his old pack had been treated poorly at first. They’d soon been integrated into this new pack, though, and given roles based on their skills and passions. The pack spinster, Ahro, that had always called Jimin cute growing up had even gotten herself a job as a cook. Jimin was happy for her, for she’d always dreamed of cooking professionally.
Jimin sighed as he continued making his quilt. His mother had taught him how to quilt before she’d died, and he enjoyed doing it, but it still wasn’t enough to free him of his intense sadness. His eyes stung with tears as he continued. He was making a quilt just to prove that he wasn’t completely useless, that he wasn’t a total abomination, but he honestly didn’t even believe it, himself, anymore. If he was worth something, then someone would’ve been kind to him at this point.
Of course, this pack’s Head Alpha had been welcoming, and he seemed to generally like Jimin. His name was Deoksu, and he was so different from Jimin’s former Head Alpha. Deoksu was kind, gentle, and fair. He’d only attacked out of defense. Jimin didn’t even blame them for going after his pack. Their Head Alpha had been awful.
Jimin was startled by the sound of laughter outside the window. It was a group of alphas, and they were drunkenly meandering. Their presence reminded Jimin of just how alone he was. Taehyung wasn’t going to be home for another day, and Jimin had no friends to keep him company. He was truly alone.
Taehyung was Jimin’s alpha mate. Jimin was supposed to feel lucky; Taehyung was a catch. He was tall and handsome with beautiful skin and a skinny body that still held an absurd amount of strength. Taehyung was also kind and funny. He was an alpha that Jimin’s mother would’ve approved of immediately.
But Taehyung and Jimin weren’t in love.
Jimin had been confused but immensely flattered when Taehyung had approached him one morning with a bouquet of his favorite flowers in his hand and a request for courtship on his lips, but he’d accepted. Taehyung had merely used Jimin to get a leg up on the other alphas in the pack, though. Mated alphas were more respected than unmated alphas, and Jimin? He hadn’t exactly had alphas lining up to court him.
But Taehyung was a good mate. When they’d mated, he’d been attentive and had praised his new mate repeatedly. The two hadn’t had sex since, but sometimes Jimin liked to recall those special, little affirmations when he felt especially ostracized. Taehyung had attempted to help on that front as well. He’d gotten Jimin a job making clothes, blankets, and other cloth items for the pack. It didn’t matter that Taehyung didn’t love him. Ahro had been the only one to love him since his mother, so he was used to the rejection.
He’d never admit to anyone that he actually did long for a mate that loved him, that kissed him when he came home, that spent time with him and held him at night. It was a selfish desire anyways.
When Taehyung came home, he was smiling. He smelled like molasses, as per usual, but also like happiness…and strawberries…Jungkook smelled like strawberries. He’d been spending time with Jungkook again.
Jungkook was another omega in the pack, Taehyung’s best friend since childhood. He’d been a late bloomer and only presented after Jimin and Taehyung had already mated. Jimin often wondered if Taehyung was in love with Jungkook and regretted not waiting to mate the younger omega instead of someone as useless as himself. The fact that Taehyung always seemed to smell like strawberries seemed to support this theory. Jimin wondered if Taehyung would leave him to mate with Jungkook. Omegas could only mate once, but alphas could mate however many times they wanted to. Jimin’s former Head Alpha had had fifteen mates at a time, on average. He had executed the mates who’d become unappealing. Taehyung was too kind to kill Jimin, though. Jimin would just go back to being completely alone again.
“Hey,” Taehyung greeted as he walked into the living room. Jimin was quilting.
Taehyung lingered for a moment, but then he sat on the couch where Jimin was, on the opposite end, of course. He looked stiff, pained. Jimin assumed that the hunt must have been hard on him. All of the activity really took a toll on a person’s body.
“Are you okay?”
Taehyung startled slightly. “Oh, uh, yeah, I’m good. A little sore, but Jungkook promised he’d give me a massage after the fire tonight, so it’s all good.”
Jimin felt a sting in his chest at that. Jimin had given Taehyung massages before, but the alpha’s first choice had always been Jungkook. Taehyung’s favor when it came to Jungkook made Jimin feel even more insecure. He really wasn’t needed. Taehyung would have been better off with Jungkook.
At some point, while Jimin was lost inside his head, Taehyung scooted a little closer. Jimin hated how he instinctively leaned towards the familiar scent and presence.
“Did you get pretty far on the quilt when I was gone?”
Jimin gulped and nodded. “Yeah, it’s almost done.”
“This one’s gonna be for us, right?”
Taehyung looked happy when he asked, and that wasn’t quite a rare sight, but it was when he was around only Jimin. Taehyung had always seemed so troubled around Jimin.
“Yeah, just for us,” Jimin nodded. “Just for us.”
“Jiminie, that alpha of yours better be feeding you,” Ahro scolded, poking at Jimin’s skinny torso. “If he isn’t, I’ll make sure his food is dry at every pack gathering from this point on.”
Jimin shook his head with a small smile. “Nana, I make the food at home. Taehyung has no part in it…And I’m fine. I just lost a little weight. It’s no big deal.”
Ahro had been there to support Jimin since even before his mother had died. He called her “Nana” and often referred to her as his grandmother because that was basically what she was. She’d stepped up to take care of Jimin when he’d needed it most. She’d raised him.
“Jimin, you should not be this skinny in the fall. We’ve had plenty of food this summer. Your mate alone has caught enough meat to feed all of us for a year. You should have more meat on your bones.
“I’m fine,” Jimin sighed.
It took a while to escape Ahro’s concerned questioning, but Jimin eventually managed. She worried too much. Sure, Jimin was getting thinner, but alphas liked thin omegas. Jungkook was thin, and Taehyung sure liked him, so maybe Taehyung would like Jimin more if the omega lost a little weight. Maybe then the pack wouldn’t see him as being so useless.
An alpha woman shoved Jimin into the wall on his way back home, and it hurt. Jimin swore that something shifted out of place at that, but he needed to get used to it. He should’ve been already. He’d been regularly roughed up by alphas since he was a child. This was nothing.
Still, Jimin felt his breaths coming in harshly as he walked home. Something was moving back and forth inside of him. Was that his rib?
Jimin just wanted to curl up in bed when he arrived home, but he had to put his purchases away and then clean up, and so he did. The pain still brought tears to his eyes, but he just wiped them away and hoped that Taehyung would stay out of the kitchen for a while and leave Jimin alone.
Alas, it was not so.
A big hand squeezed Jimin’s shoulder, and the omega jumped back. The movement caused a surge of pain in his side, though. Taehyung squinted at Jimin. The omega mused that hiding an injury was a bit difficult when clutching his side in pain.
“What happened?” Taehyung asked softly, stepping closer. “Let me see.”
Jimin waved his hand dismissively. “I’m okay—”
“Jimin, I can smell it. You’re hurt,” the alpha said firmly. “Don’t be shy; let me see. I’ve seen it all before.”
The omega swallowed but nodded and let Taehyung lift his shirt. He wasn’t prepared to see purple, nor was he prepared to watch Taehyung’s eyes go wide as he hissed.
“Oh my god, Jimin, what happened?”
“Did someone hurt you?”
Jimin bit his lip, and that was all that Taehyung needed for an answer. His scent spiked, and his jaw clenched. Jimin didn’t like that. He didn’t know how to deal with an angry Taehyung, for he’d never seen it before. They’d been mated for half of a year, and this was the first time he was seeing Taehyung angry.
“Who?” Taehyung growled lowly.
Jimin gulped. “I don’t know.”
Taehyung straightened abruptly, and Jimin was terrified as he looked into his mate’s eyes. Was Taehyung going to hurt him like all the alphas in Jimin’s old pack had before?
“Jimin, you need to tell me.”
“I-I really don’t know…I don’t…I never learned her name.”
Jimin saw a hand being raised in his peripheral, and he flinched backwards on instinct, wincing at the pain in his ribs. When his terrified eyes met Taehyung’s, the omega was shocked to see surprise instead of anger. Taehyung looked almost scared.
“Jimin, I…I wasn’t going to hit you.”
Jimin mentally scolded himself. Of course, Taehyung would never hit him. Taehyung was a good mate, a good alpha. He wasn’t like the alphas in Jimin’s old pack.
“Sorry,” Jimin mumbled. “Force of habit.”
Taehyung shook his head and sighed before gently wrapping his arms around his mate. It was a little awkward because they’d never really hugged too much before, but Jimin still found it comforting. Just Taehyung’s presence calmed Jimin’s omega side intensely. Taehyung was just a soothing person in general.
“I’m sorry for getting angry,” Taehyung sighed into Jimin’s neck. “I didn’t mean to scare you…I’d never do anything to intentionally hurt you, Jimin, never.”
“I know. You’re a good guy.”
Taehyung pulled away and nodded a bit, hands resting delicately on Jimin’s hips.
“Let’s get you to the infirmary.”
Taehyung had doted on Jimin until his rib was healed enough for him to go about his usual routine. Then, it was back to normal, back to Jimin quilting alone in their house as Taehyung spent all of his time with another omega that had a cute laugh and smelled like strawberries. Jimin bought Taehyung apples because he loved them, and Taehyung always brought Jimin back some venison from the hunt because Jimin loved that. They continued on with their routine of being mates but not quite lovers or friends. Taehyung still sought his comfort out in Jungkook, and Jimin still cried whenever he didn’t know exactly what those two were doing together.
Jimin was on a walk with Deoksu at one point. Taehyung was spending time with his friends, and Jimin had just finished the quilt, so the omega had decided to take a walk. He’d run into the Head Alpha on the way. Jimin liked spending time with him. He was nice.
“How’s the rib?”
Jimin hummed. “It’s all healed now. And Taehyung has stopped rushing into the bedroom every time the bed creaks, so there’s that.”
Deoksu laughed. He had such a soft, comforting smile. Deoksu, in general, was such a paternal figure in the pack. He was like everyone’s father.
“Taehyung has always been protective like that, even as a pup. He looks out for people he cares about.”
Jimin laughed nervously. “Yeah, it’s taken some getting used to.”
Deoksu gave Jimin a long and intense look. The omega got a little shy from it, but he sort of knew what Deoksu was thinking. The alpha was the only one in the pack that was fully aware of Jimin’s past in his old pack. Everyone else just thought that he had been sleeping with the Head Alpha because of a rumor started a while ago. The reality was much different.
“How have you been transitioning? You’re comfortable living with an alpha, right?”
Jimin nodded. “Yeah, I’m good. Taehyung’s, like, the total opposite of the alphas back in the other pack...Having Ahro around really helps.”
“I’m glad...Your father—“
“He’s not my father,” Jimin said a bit harshly. Immediately, he felt guilty. “Sorry...I didn’t mean to snap...I just don’t like people referring to him as my father.”
Deoksu put an arm around Jimin’s shoulders in support. “It’s okay, kid, I get it, and I’m sorry...As I was saying, the Head Alpha of your pack was a very bad person, and I’m glad that we were able to get you out of there. You’re a very valuable member of this pack now. I’ve never met a person who sews as fast and as well as you do. Plus, you step up whenever anyone needs help...you make a great addition to the pack.”
Jimin didn’t believe that for a second, but he still thanked the alpha. Compliments had always felt weird to Jimin. He didn’t believe them, so he’d always had a hard time responding appropriately. Not that he got very many. He only regularly got them from Deoksu, Ahro, and Deoksu’s mate, Euna. Taehyung complimented him every once in a while too, but everyone else seemed to hate him.
When Jimin got home from the nice—and long—walk, there were fresh apple pies sitting on the counter. Taehyung didn’t bake, though.
“Your grandma dropped them off.”
Jimin jumped nearly a foot in the air at the sound of Taehyung’s voice, and the alpha chuckled slightly as Jimin put his hand on his racing heart.
“You scared me.”
“Sorry,” Taehyung smiled.
Jimin just shook his head and inspected the pies up close. Ahro had always had a habit of making things containing apples for Jimin because he smelled like apples, and so the omega rolled his eyes. Apple pie, of course. Jimin didn’t even particularly care for pie. Taehyung really liked pie, though, and he really liked apples too, so maybe he would eat most of it.
“She said that you’ve been looking too skinny lately...I noticed too when I looked at that bruise...”
Jimin sighed. “I’m fine, Taehyung. I’m just a little thinner. Thin is more attractive, isn’t it?”
Taehyung had an unreadable expression on his face. “You don’t have to be thinner to be attractive...you’ve always been beautiful.”
Jimin felt his face heat up at the compliment and immediately ducked his head. “Uh, thanks.”
Taehyung grabbed Jimin’s hand at that, and it was a little strange, but Jimin decided that he liked it. Taehyung’s hands were so much bigger than his. It made him feel all light and happy.
“Really, you’re gorgeous, Jimin.”
Their faces were really close. If Jimin wanted to, he could kiss him. He could kiss his alpha and be held in the way that he’d been craving for so long. He could finally feel like he belonged.
In the end, Jimin moved away and started making dinner. Taehyung wouldn’t want to kiss him anyways.
“See you later, skank.”
Jimin sighed in exasperation before walking out of the building as quickly as possible. After hours of sewing without rest, his hands hurt. He still had to make dinner, though, and he was going to start on Taehyung’s anniversary present too.
It was coming up on Jimin and Taehyung’s first anniversary in several months, and Jimin knew that they weren’t close, but he still wanted to do something special for his mate. He wanted to make Taehyung feel appreciated and valued.
Taehyung was munching on an apple in the kitchen when Jimin got home, and the omega gave his mate a tired hello before grabbing the necessary ingredients and lighting the fireplace. His hands were hurting, but these were his household jobs, and so he was going to do them.
“I invited some people over.”
Jimin froze. “Huh?”
Taehyung hummed. “I invited some of my friends over to hang out. I hope that’s okay.”
Jimin clenched his hand tightly around the matchbox that he was holding. He just wanted to make dinner and then sleep, but this was more Taehyung’s house than his anyways, and who was Jimin to throw a tantrum just because his mate’s friends were coming over?
And that was how Jimin ended up hiding out in the kitchen as four unfamiliar people sat in his living room. He knew that he’d have to go out there eventually and introduce himself, that he’d have to be social and play the role of the good little omega mate when all he wanted to do was cry and sleep.
When Jimin eventually did make it out, he immediately spotted Jungkook. The omega was hanging off of Taehyung in a way that was far more intimate than how Taehyung and Jimin were with each other. Jimin hated the jealousy that consumed him.
There were four other people, though, one woman and three men. The men were named Seokjin, Hoseok, and Namjoon if Jimin remembered correctly, and the woman’s name was Soora. Soora and Seokjin were both betas and mated to each other while Namjoon was and alpha mated to Hoseok, an omega. From the very limited information that Jimin had on Hoseok, he noticed that the other omega was much like himself. Only, Hoseok was constantly bright and happy while Jimin just wasn’t.
“Jimin!” Taehyung immediately called out before turning to the rest of the guys. “It’s been forever, and you guys still haven’t properly met my mate. This is Jimin.”
Jimin shook everyone’s hands with a smile that only he needed to know was fake. The last person that he shook hands with was Jungkook, and the younger omega seemed way too happy to be meeting Jimin.
“Damn, you smell good,” he laughed. “I always smell you on TaeTae, but man, the real deal is even better.”
Jimin blushed and bowed his head slightly. “Uh, thanks. You...you smell really good too. Taehyung smells like you a lot too.”
Jungkook’s eyes immediately went wide. “Is that okay? I know how it might seem, but I don’t mean to scent up your alpha, and I’d understand if you were uncomfortable having the scent of another omega on him.”
Jungkook really was perfect, wasn’t he? He’d make the perfect mate for Taehyung.
“It’s fine,” Jimin lied. “Don’t worry. You’re Taehyung’s best friend; of course he’s going to smell like you.”
Jungkook’s smile returned, but Jimin was feeling less than happy. He just wanted to curl up in bed forever.
But he had to entertain Taehyung’s friends.
Jimin had decided to go on a run within the territory because he couldn’t sleep. He ran in his wolf form, and he noticed in the reflection of the water that he was smaller than he had been before, thinner. Jimin was pretty strong still, but he was so thin. He hadn’t noticed it on his human form, but it was dramatic on his wolf form.
When Jimin was done looking at his reflection, he started to wander. The territory was pretty at night, and he spent a long time just looking at everything.
But then he heard a whimper.
Jimin paused for a moment, but then he heard another whimper and immediately ran in the direction of the noise. If someone was hurt, he needed to get them to the infirmary and quickly.
When Jimin finally found who was whimpering, he was shocked to see a completely unfamiliar male alpha wolf collapsed on the ground. His fur was dark and matted in a few places, and Jimin could smell blood. This wolf didn’t belong to their pack, sure, but Jimin wasn’t just going to leave him.
Jimin shifted into human form and then carefully approached. The wolf whimpered even louder when Jimin touched his fur, but the omega shushed the alpha like one would a baby.
“Hey, you’re in my pack’s territory. I can get you to the infirmary, but can you shift? That would make this a bit easier.”
The wolf shifted into a man, and Jimin was surprised by how small the man was. He was thin and a bit feminine looking, but he was still an alpha. Now that Jimin was paying close attention, he noticed that the stranger smelled like smoke. What a peculiar scent...what a peculiar person.
The man was groaning, and so Jimin put a hand on his bare shoulder. The man’s shirt was in tatters.
“Hey, are you with me? What’s your name, sweetie?”
“Yoongi,” the alpha gritted, clutching at his side. “I’m Yoongi.”
Jimin hummed. “Okay, Yoongi. I’m Jimin. Can you walk?”
The alpha shook his head, and Jimin cooed a little at him, running his hand soothingly over Yoongi’s arm. “Will you let me carry you?”
Yoongi opened his eyes for the first time since he shifted. Jimin could tell that Yoongi was sizing him up.
Jimin scoffed. “I’m an omega, not an invalid.”
Yoongi still seemed hesitant. “I can smell...you’re mated. Won’t your mate mind that you’re touching another alpha?”
“He can suck it up,” Jimin said resolutely. “He comes home every day reeking of another omega, so if he has a problem with it, he’s a hypocrite.”
Yoongi looked a little alarmed, but Jimin just sighed. “Yoongi, I’m trying to help you. Will you please just let me?”
“...fine, but your mate better not kill me.”
Jimin gently put his hands beneath Yoongi’s back and knees. “Trust me, I doubt he cares about anything I do.”
Jimin was pretty strong, but Yoongi was still too light. He was so skinny, and it scared the omega. He’d always been an empathetic person, and the fact that Yoongi looked so unwell made Jimin worry beyond belief.
They made it to the infirmary in no time, but the emergency doctor, Hana, just glared at Jimin.
“What are you doing here, whore? And with an intruder—“
“Listen, Hana, I found him injured in the woods. He’s been cooperative, and he doesn’t seem like a threat. Please.”
“And why should I help you?”
“Don’t help me, help him!” Jimin growled. “Do you want a wolf’s preventable death on your conscience?”
Reluctantly, Hana began to treat Yoongi’s injuries. Once he was on the table, Jimin tried to leave, but Yoongi grabbed onto the omega’s shirt once he started walking away.
“Please,” Yoongi gulped. “I don’t...please don’t go.”
And so Jimin spent the night in the infirmary. He wondered what Taehyung’s reaction would be when he found out.
“So you’re from a pack in the mountains?”
Yoongi nodded. “Yeah, we were, uh, attacked...I think I’m the only one left.”
Jimin felt himself melt in sadness, quickly grabbing Yoongi’s free hand. Yoongi’s hands were almost as big as Taehyung’s.
“I’m so sorry.”
Yoongi sighed. “Don’t be. It wasn’t you that attacked us...Thank you for helping me, by the way...Really, I have no one left, and it really—“
Yoongi was cut off by the door slamming open, and Jimin immediately jumped back and into a standing position, staring wide-eyed at the person who had entered.
It was Taehyung.
“Jimin, what the hell?!”
Jimin backed up even further as Taehyung rushed forward. He felt fear course through him quickly at that manic look in Taehyung’s eyes, and it spiked when the alpha grabbed his biceps.
“You smell like an alpha! What were you thinking?! I woke up, and you weren’t there, and... God, Jimin!”
Jimin was too scared to formulate a response, but he actually didn’t have to.
“Hey, dude, chill. That’s no way to handle an omega.”
Taehyung immediately turned when Yoongi said it, stalking up to the other alpha and growling. “And how would you know, huh? Have you been ‘handling’ my omega for me?! Is that what this is?!”
“Of course not, fuckwit. I’m injured, and he brought me here. He stayed to keep me company. I don’t know about you, but your mate is faithful.”
“What is that supposed to mean?” Taehyung spat, shoulders tensing. Jimin was still frozen in place.
“It means that you hardly smell like him at all. You smell in equal parts like strawberries and molasses. Only one of those is your scent, and neither of them is Jimin’s.”
“So what? I smell like my best friend!”
“Is your best friend an omega?”
“Yeah, but that—“
“Please stop,” Jimin finally forced himself to say. He felt like he was about to start crying. “I’m sorry that I wasn’t there this morning, Taehyung. I went for a run a little after you fell asleep and found Yoongi. I took him here and stayed with him so that he would have someone...I’m sorry if that makes you angry.”
Jimin nodded a little and gently grabbed Taehyung’s hand, leading him out of the room.
“I’ll come by again later, Yoongi,” the omega said softly. “Bye.”
And then the door shut.
Deoksu had welcomed Yoongi into the pack with open arms, and over the next month, him and Jimin had become fast friends. Taehyung was not a fan, but Jimin just dismissed his mate’s attempts whenever the alpha brought it up. Jimin didn’t have any friends, and so befriending Yoongi made him feel less alone. Jimin needed that.
Ahro had seemed to adopt Yoongi as another pseudo grandson, and Jimin found it entertaining to see. Yoongi seemed a little rough on the outside, but he was unbelievably respectful and honestly just a big marshmallow. Jimin liked that about Yoongi. He was so sincere and rawly passionate in everything he did.
Jimin and Yoongi were lying on the ground on their backs, a little bit away from the river. Jimin had his hands beneath his head, and Yoongi was freshly healed, meaning that he was easily able to rest his hands on his ribs. As Yoongi had healed, Jimin had noticed just how strong he actually looked. When he’d been injured, he’d seemed frail, like that old, broken doll that Jimin’s mother had kept hidden in a trunk. Now, though, he was skinny, but he had visibly strong arms and a very stable body. He had a hidden strength that Jimin couldn’t help but admire.
“My mom and I used to lay together by the river,” Jimin sighed at one point. “That was the only time we ever really got out...I loved it.”
“I haven’t met your mother, have I?”
Jimin chuckled a little. “No, and you never will...she died when I was fourteen. Ahro raised me after that, and then Deoksu’s pack attacked the Head Alpha, and I swore my allegiance to Deoksu after everyone had been slaughtered.”
Yoongi turned his head, and his eyes were wide. “You were in another pack? This pack attacked you? Why would you join them?”
“The Head Alpha in my old pack was awful. He was a murderer, a rapist, a child molester, a thief, and every bad person in between. He deserved what he got...Deoksu found me and Ahro curled together in the corner of my living quarters, and so he took us in. Now, Ahro gets to live out her dream of being a cook, and I...well, I’m not dead, am I?”
“How long ago was this?”
“Almost two years ago.”
“But that means...you and Taehyung...”
Jimin smiled bitterly. He could feel the tears welling in his eyes.
“He wanted to be a more respected alpha, and I guess he thought I was easy...the whole pack thinks I was my old Head Alpha’s little whore, and I had no friends...he probably just wanted an easy target. I was so stupid.”
Yoongi moved so that he was on his side, and he put a hand on Jimin’s shoulder. Jimin appreciated it. He loved physical affection.
“Hey, don’t talk about yourself like that.”
“It’s true, though,” Jimin said through tears, wiping at his eyes. “I wanted someone to love and appreciate me so badly that I accepted his courtship because he had gone through the trouble of finding out what my favorite flower was. I let him mate me, and I hate it because then Jungkook presented, and I just know that he’d rather be with him than with me—“
Yoongi sighed. “You’re not stupid for wanting someone to love you. That’s perfectly valid. Everyone deserves to fall in love and to be loved in return. You deserve a mate that can see how wonderful you are.”
Jimin shook his head. “I screwed up, Yoongi. I can only mate once, and I screwed up. He doesn’t even come close to loving me. I wake up in pain every morning because my body’s been so tense in my desperate attempts to not touch him at all costs. He smells like Jungkook all the time, and I hate that I hate it. I don’t even have friends to fall back on. This whole pack thinks that I’m a slut, but the only time I ever had sex was when I mated Taehyung...God, I’m so stupid! I gave him everything! I gave him my virginity, I gave him my mating, I gave him my life. I gave some strange alpha everything important to me because I was a scared little omega in a pack that hated me.”
Yoongi wrapped his arms around Jimin as the omega cried, and the two of them stayed there for a while. Yoongi held Jimin through his tears, and it made the omega feel a little less lonely, a little less worthless.
“You’re too skinny,” Yoongi said a while after Jimin had stopped crying.
“Jimin, it’s not—“
Yoongi pulled back, and Jimin looked over to see Taehyung next to a tree. He looked hesitant.
“Uh, sorry...are we going to have dinner together tonight, or are you going to stay out a bit longer?...You’ve been gone all day...”
Jimin sighed but got up, and Yoongi did too. They parted with a hug and with Yoongi fondly ruffling Jimin’s hair.
Jimin was a bit offended that, on the walk back, Taehyung had nothing to say about the red puffiness of his eyes or dried tear-tracks on his cheeks.
Taehyung was too oblivious for his own good.
“Please! Please, stop!”
Bitna turned towards her son with wide, crying eyes. Her hair was too stringy. Her eyes were too bloodshot. She was too unkempt. Jimin didn’t like it.
“Shh, sw-weetie,” she tried to soothe. “It’s alright. Mommy’s okay. Mommy’s okay.”
Jimin whimpered as Bitna gasped. He hated it. He hated seeing his mom naked. He hated seeing the man naked. He hated seeing him hurt her. He hated seeing the dead look in his mother’s eyes, but he couldn’t do anything. He couldn’t fight him. The last time he had, he’d broken his leg. He couldn’t run away with her, for they couldn’t escape. They never could escape. Someone even accompanied them on their way to the river.
Bitna screamed as a cracking sound split through the air, and Jimin wailed. He just wanted him to stop. He just wanted to hug his mommy. He wanted her assurances to be true for once. He wanted to be wrapped in her arms and never have to let go.
“I didn’t say you could talk, bitch.”
Jimin whined as Bitna was shoved into the table, a cruel, calloused hand in her hair. The woman made a choked sound.
“I’m sorry! Please, I’m sorry!”
“I TOLD YOU NOT TO SPEAK!”
“Please! Not in front of Jimin!”
“Jimin, wake up!”
Jimin lurched out of his nightmare with a sob, curling in on himself. He hated it. He hated remembering. He just wanted it to be over. He just wanted everything to be over. He wanted his mom back.
A large, warm hand threaded itself through Jimin’s hair, pushing it back from his face. The omega whimpered at that, but then he was being shushed.
“Hey, it’s okay, Jimin,” Taehyung’s deep voice soothed. “It was just a dream.”
Jimin just sobbed more, and before he knew it, big, safe arms were wrapping around him, and his head was resting against a firm, warm chest. He could hear Taehyung’s heartbeat, and it soothed him. Jimin loved being held, but he hadn’t been held like this in a long time.
Taehyung kissed the top of Jimin’s head. “That’s it, baby. Just breathe. You’re okay. You’re safe...you’re always safe with me, Jiminie.”
Jimin nodded and grabbed onto Taehyung, pulling him even closer. He didn’t smell like rain-soaked oak leaves like Jimin’s mother had, but his scent was calming on its own. His inner omega was soothed when shrouded in the stabilizing scent of his mate.
“C-can we scent?” Jimin asked weakly, a little afraid of the answer as he looked up and into Taehyung’s eyes.
Taehyung’s expression softened. “Of course, Jimin. We’re mates...We can scent any time you like.”
Jimin gave Taehyung the biggest smile that the alpha had ever seen on him before burying his face into the scent gland on Taehyung’s neck. It smelled so good that Jimin let out an involuntary whine. Taehyung held him tighter.
“You smell so good,” Jimin breathed into the heated skin before him.
The hand was back in his hair, lightly scratching at the omega’s scalp. “You do too, Jimin. I love your scent.”
Jimin’s inner omega preened at the praise, but Jimin, himself, just leaned in and placed kisses all along Taehyung’s neck. This was actually the first time that Jimin had scented someone romantically, but he let his instincts guide him, kissing over the mating bite on Taehyung’s neck and rubbing his cheek against the start of Taehyung’s shoulder. Jimin felt almost high, and his distress was temporarily forgotten.
When Taehyung gently ducked down to return the favor, Jimin’s breath got caught in his throat. Taehyung paused.
“Are you okay?”
Jimin nodded, letting out a shaky exhale. “Yeah, I’ve just never done this before...you’re the first to...to do this.”
Taehyung reached a hand up to touch Jimin’s cheek. “I thought...you and your old Head Alpha?”
Jimin expected to feel hurt over the fact that Taehyung believed all of the rumors about him, but he didn’t. The moment was too intimate and Taehyung’s eyes were too sincere for him to feel hurt.
“No,” Jimin sighed. “Someone just made that up...I’d never done anything before you.”
Taehyung looked like he was going to cry. “Jimin...I’m so sorry.”
“But I took everything away from you,” Taehyung argued. “If I would’ve known you were a virgin, I would never have done that with you.”
Jimin shrugged a little, ducking his head. “I let you...and I liked it. You’re...you were nice.”
Fingers traced Jimin’s jaw, and the omega melted into his alpha’s touch.
“I was just trying to treat you right.”
Without much further hesitation, Taehyung attached himself to Jimin’s neck, gently trailing his lips and teeth over it. The omega gulped but put his hand on Taehyung’s nape. Jimin had never experienced a moment so intimate before. He had to say that he enjoyed it though, even if it scared him a little.
“You’re amazing, Jimin,” Taehyung breathed. Jimin shivered, but the alpha went on. “I don’t tell you how amazing you are nearly enough.”
When the two were done scenting, they continued to hold each other close. Taehyung, at one point, gave Jimin a little Eskimo kiss, and the omega felt his heart legitimately flutter.
But then, the serious mood caught up with them.
“What was your nightmare about?” Taehyung asked softly, toying with Jimin’s earlobe.
Jimin tensed a bit. “It was...it was about my mom.”
Jimin nodded. “Yeah, she...she died when I was a teenager.”
Taehyung frowned deeply. “I’m so sorry...Were you close with her?”
Jimin nodded. “Yeah. She was everything I had...she held me when I cried...You’re actually the first person to hold me like this since she died.”
“Do you want me to stop?”
Jimin shook his head with a smile. Before long, he was nuzzling into Taehyung’s chest.
“No, I like it.”
Over the next couple of months, Taehyung and Jimin grew closer. They were always scenting each other, and sometimes, they even walked through the territory holding hands. They ate dinner together as always, but it was livelier, and Taehyung often fed Jimin extra food when he felt like the omega had eaten too little. Taehyung still spent a lot of time with Jungkook and smelled like him a lot, but Jimin let himself believe that the intimate moments that he shared with his mate were assurance enough that Taehyung was faithful.
Jimin had been so happy as well, always laughing and smiling. The others in the pack were starting to insult him less, and a very tiny few started acting kindly towards him. He had started gaining weight, and Ahro told him that he looked almost as happy as he had when he’d been with his mother.
Jimin didn’t want to admit that it was because he was falling for Taehyung, but it was true.
It was their anniversary, exactly a year since their mating ceremony, and Jimin was waiting eagerly on Taehyung’s arrival. The omega had made his alpha’s favorite foods and had set up the presents that he‘d crafted in their bedroom, right on top of the quilt that smelled like them and only them. He couldn’t wait for Taehyung to come home.
Taehyung came home later than usual, at some point in the night, but Jimin was excited all the same, ready to spend the night having sweet moments with his mate. Jimin had dreamed of this sort of domestic fantasy his whole life, and now it was coming true! He’d never thought that it would happen.
Jimin’s fantasy was ruined when Taehyung stumbled through the threshold to the living room. He threw himself onto the couch without even a word thrown Jimin’s way, and the omega was concerned.
“Taehyung? Are you alright?”
Taehyung just grumbled, and that was when Jimin smelled the mead on him. He was wasted. The scent was so thick, but it was overpowered by different scents. There was the scent of Taehyung, and he smelled oddly aroused, but there was something else too. It smelled like too-ripe strawberries. Like something familiar but way too musky.
It was Jungkook’s slick.
Jimin felt his heart break in his chest as Taehyung made himself comfortable. There was a tent in Taehyung’s pants, and the scent of slick was so strong.
He had to get out of there.
“I was so stupid, Nana,” Jimin sobbed. “H-he...I made him food and a jacket, and I painted these rocks, and he...”
“Shh,” Ahro soothed, running a warm hand up and down Jimin’s back. “I know, darling. I know. He never deserved you.”
“I thought he was actually starting to care about me!”
Ahro shushed Jimin, but his heart was in too much pain to be soothed. Jimin was falling in love with Taehyung, not quite in love yet, but Taehyung didn’t seem to care for him at all. Jimin should’ve known that this would happen. Why would Taehyung care about Jimin of all people? He was only sweet to Jimin because of his alpha instincts and polite, kind nature. Taehyung still felt nothing for him.
Jimin cried for hours, and before long, it was morning, and Jimin still hadn’t slept. Ahro had someone tell the others at the sewing building that Jimin wouldn’t be there that day before she tucked the upset omega into her own bed. Jimin was still awake, but he appreciated the soft warmth of the blankets. It was winter now, and he needed the warmth. He hated that, after the night before, he still craved that warmth from his alpha.
Jimin could hear everything from the bedroom because of how thin the walls were, so he could hear Ahro milling around the house. She was probably cooking.
Then, after a couple hours, there was a knock on the door.
“What are you doing here?” Ahro hissed. Jimin wrapped the blankets around himself further.
“Is Jimin with you? He wasn’t in bed this morning, and he isn’t at the sewing building.”
Jimin felt the tears start up again at the sound of Taehyung’s voice.
“Have you ever stopped to think that Jimin is capable of being alone and having space? You don’t need to know where he is constantly.”
“But he’s my omega—“
Jimin hated how his heart started beating faster at the tenderness in which Taehyung referred to him as “my omega.”
“No,” Ahro growled. “I don’t care if you had that ceremony or bit him. He is not yours, not when you pull this shit on him! What, do you expect him to just be okay with everything and bend over backwards for you?!”
“What? What are you talking about?”
“Jimin came here crying in the middle of the night last night because you decided that it would be a great night to get drunk and cheat on him—“
“Cheat on him?! I’d never cheat on Jimin!” Taehyung protested.
“You came home aroused, smelling like another omega’s slick! And on your anniversary at that!”
There was a pause, and Jimin felt the first sob claw its way out of his throat.
Jimin could hardly see as he picked everything up from the bed. His tears were too thick, and he felt so pathetic, but his heart was ripping itself apart in his chest. He shouldn’t have let himself develop feelings for Taehyung.
For their anniversary, Jimin had made Taehyung a warm winter jacket, and he’d scented it. Now that Taehyung had revealed to still prefer Jungkook’s scent way more, Jimin felt stupid. What he should’ve done was wash it until no trace of his scent existed in the material.
Jimin had also painted a few rocks for Taehyung. He’d heard that Taehyung’s father had done that for him when he was a kid, and Jimin knew how much Taehyung had missed his parents since they’d moved to another pack—occasional long visits were never the same for him—so he’d wanted to do that. Jimin had put a lot of thought into them, but he just felt silly as he placed them gently in the box.
Lastly, Jimin had written Taehyung a letter. It was emotional and romantic, and Jimin threw it in that box as quickly as he could. It was taunting him. His own unrequited feelings were rubbing it in his face. Taehyung didn’t care. How could he? Jimin was just a waste of space. That was what everyone in his old pack had told him once upon a time. That was what most people in this new pack just wouldn’t stop telling him. He was worthless.
He should just die.
Jimin flinched when a hand squeezed his shoulder.
“There you are,” Taehyung breathed.
Jimin just tucked himself into an even smaller ball on the bed. It was way too hot in the room, but Jimin still kept the blanket over him as a form of comfort. His heart hurt, but so did his gut and his head. He felt like he’d been run over.
Jimin sniffled. “Go away.”
As Jimin inhaled, he smelled the heavenly scent of molasses and his alpha, and that should have lured him in, but instead, he just wept. He hated it. He hated that he felt things for Taehyung that would never be returned.
“Jimin, you’re in heat,” Taehyung said softly, hand slithering down Jimin’s arm, making the omega shiver. “Let me help you.”
The realization terrified Jimin. He was in heat in front of Taehyung. And now Taehyung wanted to have sex? Jimin felt like he was going to throw up at that thought. He couldn’t have sex with Taehyung because now he felt something, and Taehyung didn’t. He couldn’t have sex when he felt something while his partner felt nothing.
“Get away from me!”
“What? But, you—“
Jimin sobbed so harshly, that he felt bile rise into his throat. He was shaking now.
“Jiminie,” Taehyung said. His voice sounded choked up. “You’re scaring me. What’s wrong? What do you need me to do? I’ll do anything, just please...what can I do to get you to stop crying?”
“Leave!” Jimin sobbed. “I don’t want you here! You—you just don’t get it, do you! All I do is give and give and give, and you never give anything back!”
“Jimin, I’m sorry. Please, give me something to do. Let me help you.”
“It should go away in...in two or three days. Just leave me alone, and I’ll wash the blankets afterwards so that they don’t smell like me anymore, and I’ll try to figure something out.”
Taehyung let out a worrying noise, but Jimin still didn’t look at him.
“Are you saying that...that you’re leaving me?” the alpha croaked.
Jimin wiped pitifully at his face, nodding. “I’ll let you get an omega that you actually want.”
“Please,” the omega begged. “Please just go away.”
And Taehyung did.
“How could you do this to him?”
Jimin wound himself tighter at Jungkook’s voice. He didn’t want the other omega around. He didn’t want to smell him or think about how Taehyung would look so much better with him.
“Really? You’re just gonna lie there and pretend that I’m not here? What are you, six?”
“Get out of my house,” Jimin said softly.
“No. Not until you tell me just exactly why you thought it would be a good idea to break my best friend’s heart.”
Jimin’s frown deepened. “I didn’t break his heart...I’m just giving him what he wants.”
Jungkook’s scent spiked, and suddenly, Jimin was being lifted out of the bed. The older omega was terrified. Jungkook was angry, and Jimin hated anger. It reminded him of his old pack.
“You don’t get to decide what he wants!” Jungkook bellowed. “Stop pretending that you’re the victim here!”
Jimin was too terrified to form a response, but he wouldn’t have had any time to anyways. Jungkook punched him square in the face before he could even try to reply.
Jimin couldn’t remember what happened after that.
Jimin hated that he just couldn’t stop crying.
The omega was just trying to wash his scent out of everything, but it was hard work, and it was even harder to do when in the midst of a breakdown.
A big hand landed on his shoulder.
“I’m sorry,” Jimin sniffled. “I’ll try to get it done faster.”
Taehyung sighed. “I don’t want you to do it, Jimin.”
“You don’t have to feel guilty. I...I shouldn’t have agreed to this.”
Taehyung made a wounded noise before manhandling Jimin into turning around. Before Jimin even knew it, he was being kissed.
Jimin and Taehyung hadn’t kissed since they had mated, but this kiss was still infinitely different. It was rough, hurt, and possessive. It almost made Jimin feel wanted again.
When Taehyung pulled away, there were a couple tears falling down his face.
“Please,” he whimpered quietly. “Please don’t leave me, Jimin. I’ll do anything.”
Jimin was confused. “I thought you’d want me to go.”
“No, Jimin, I...I care about you. You’re my mate, and I...Jimin, I love you.”
Suddenly, rage filled the omega, and he took a step away from Taehyung.
“No,” he spat. “You’re not allowed to say that.”
“Do you know how much I’ve been tearing myself apart for the past year?! Do you know how many times you came home smelling like another omega?! Do you know how much it broke my heart every time?! Do you know how many times you blew me off in favor of Jungkook?!”
It was all spilling out now. Jimin had no real way to stop it.
“But then, what do you know?! I’m stupid enough to think that you care! I let myself be a lovestruck fool just because you held my hand on the way to the fire! I let you hold me like my mother did! I let you scent me, and I fooled myself into thinking that it meant something! I guess I’m just a fucking idiot!”
“Jimin, no,” Taehyung gasped, stepping forward. “You’re not an idiot. It did mean something—“
“Then why did you cheat on me?!”
It was silent for a moment, and Jimin’s sadness returned.
“I made your favorite foods, and I made presents for you! I spent months planning everything, and I was excited because I never thought I’d be able to do that with anyone. I thought that maybe our anniversary could mean something, after all. But then...then you come home wasted and turned on and smelling like slick...How did you expect me to feel, Taehyung? No one has ever wanted me, not even you. Do you know how much it hurts to be unwanted by everyone?”
Taehyung was crying too, and Jimin just felt so tired. His hands were hurting, he had a headache, and his heart was in shambles. He never should’ve accepted Taehyung’s offer of courtship all those months ago. He was just more damaged than he’d already been.
“Jimin, I want you,” Taehyung all but whispered. “I’m sorry that I forgot our anniversary. I’m sorry that I got drunk when you were so excited, and I’m sorry that I made you feel like I preferred Jungkook over you...I never meant to hurt you. I meant it before when I said that I’d never intentionally hurt you...I was...that night, I was drinking in the hall, and so was Jungkook, and he went into heat, and I didn’t do anything with him, I swear. He just...he was a lot more drunk than I was, and I’m an alpha, so he...he got really wet. The heat-scent turned me on a little, and I’m sorry, but it was only because of the heat. I’m not attracted to Jungkook, I swear. I brought him home, and then I came back here...I promise I would never cheat on you. I’m so, so sorry. Just, let me make it up to you, please...I don’t want to lose you.”
Jimin’s shoulders sagged, and his weeps intensified. He didn’t pull away when Taehyung took him into his arms, though. He just held onto him tightly, wetting his shirt.
“I’m sorry, Jimin,” the alpha breathed. “I’m so sorry for hurting you.”
“W-what?” Jimin sniffled.
“Beg for it.”
Jimin choked on the lump in his throat. “No! I don’t want it!”
Jimin was silenced as the belt struck his face, hard. He wasn’t supposed to speak like that.
“I said, beg for it!”
Jimin’s dignity was lying in a place that he had been before, on the floor and in a broken, bloody heap. He had no pride left. He was pathetic now. He’d always be pathetic.
“P-please,” Jimin whispered.
Jimin flinched with a whimper. “Please! Please punish me! I need it.”
The alpha smiled, and Jimin gulped as he came closer and closer. Jimin didn’t want to be touched by the man. He didn’t want to be touched by anyone but his mother.
Arms wrapped around Jimin’s waist, and he felt like vomiting. The man was hugging him. He was hugging him. Jimin didn’t want to be hugged by him.
The alpha’s arms tightened, and he kept saying Jimin’s name. The boy was terrified. He didn’t want him to say his name like that. He didn’t want him to touch him. He needed to get away.
Jimin opened his eyes all at once, and all that he saw was darkness. Where was he? Was he still in that tiny, dirty room? Was he alone?
No, he wasn’t alone.
He could still feel one of the arms around his waist. Someone was saying his name.
Jimin jumped away, and he was surprised to fall so far. He only had a mattress on the floor. It wasn’t supposed to be so high up. And the floor was supposed to be made of packed dirt, but it wasn’t. It felt like wood.
Where was he?
Jimin immediately curled in on himself at the sound. It had to be him. It had to be the alpha. Jimin wasn’t safe. He was going to be hurt even more.
Jimin’s eyes were screwed shut, and his face was buried in his knees. Maybe if he shut his eyes, he’d wake up safe in his mother’s arms.
A hand touched Jimin’s shoulder, and he immediately began to sob.
“Please,” he begged. “Please don’t hurt me, please.”
“Hurt you?” a voice said. It was deeper than it should’ve been, but maybe he was sick. “Why would I hurt you?”
“Please, I want my mom. I’m sorry, Alpha, I’m sorry. Please...I didn’t—what did I do wrong? I’ll fix it, just please...”
Jimin was sobbing harder, shaking from the force of it. He felt like he was breaking apart, like there was an earthquake inside of him. He couldn’t control himself or the way he shook. He was powerless. He just had to hold on until it was over.
“Jimin,” the voice said again. Why was his name said so gently? “Jimin, it’s me, okay? It’s Taehyung...I’m not going to hurt you. You’re safe.“
The name sent a jolt of electricity through the omega.
Big hands...Molasses...Soft touches...Sharp teeth...Loneliness...Quilt...Strawberries...Jealousy...Arms...Handholding...Anniversary... Slick... Hurt...Sadness...Pain...Kiss....Promise...Love...
Jimin opened his eyes just a little, and he immediately saw those familiar pretty features: the big eyes, the puffy lips, the random moles. It wasn’t dark anymore. There was a light at the other end of the room, next to a plush bed covered in messy blankets and a nice, warm quilt.
Jimin’s nightmare had ended.
“Jiminie?” Taehyung gulped. “You with me?”
Jimin didn’t say anything in reply to that question. He just threw himself into his mate’s arms, wrapping himself around Taehyung’s warm torso like a koala. He smelled like molasses and apples, and it was heavenly. Jimin wanted nothing more than to stay with Taehyung forever.
“I’m sorry,” Jimin wept. “I—I thought I was still there. I’m so sorry.”
Taehyung ran his hand through Jimin’s hair softly. “It’s okay, baby. You don’t have to apologize.”
After a few more minutes, once Jimin calmed down a little, Taehyung led the omega back to the bed, sitting across from him. Jimin wiped at his eyes.
“Sorry,” Jimin apologized again. Now that he was thinking clearly, the entire situation seemed so embarrassing.
Taehyung shook his head. “Don’t apologize. It really is okay.”
Jimin just shook his head. “You should go back to sleep. It’s late.”
“Will you be going back to sleep as well?”
“No,” Jimin exhaled. “I...I don’t want to have that dream again.”
Taehyung frowned at his mate. “What was it about?”
“You really don’t have to be concerned—“
“Yes, I do,” Taehyung insisted, grabbing Jimin’s hand. “I promised you that I’d be a better mate...I want to really get to know you and learn how I can help and comfort you.”
“It’ll change your opinion of me...It’s in the past anyways. It doesn’t matter,” Jimin mumbled.
“It does matter. I hate seeing you like that. I just want to know what it is that I need to do to help you feel safe and not, I don’t know, fall off the bed because you’re so scared of me...I don’t care what it is. I care about you, and I won’t stop—“
“I was abused, Taehyung,” Jimin interrupted emotionlessly. “My old Head Alpha regularly beat the shit out of me and killed my mother. Is that what you wanted to hear?”
Taehyung’s eyes grew unbelievably sad, and he looked like he was going to throw up his heart into Jimin’s lap.
Jimin sagged with a sigh. “Can we just...can you just hold me, and then I can tell you?”
Once the two mates were situated under their quilt with Jimin safely tucked into Taehyung’s protective embrace, the omega sighed.
“The Head Alpha liked having a lot of pretty mates,” Jimin said. “Once they became undesirable, they’d be killed. My mother was one of the mates...and the Head Alpha was my...I don’t like saying this, but he was technically my father...he raped my mother over and over again, and once I was born, he’d make me watch.”
Taehyung was silent, but he ran his big hands through Jimin’s soft hair encouragingly, so the omega continued. “He used to beat me for fun, and sometimes he’d make me say or do things just to humiliate me...when I was fifteen, he made me stand, naked, in the middle of the territory for two days straight, and I was never allowed to leave the sight of him or a guard. Sometimes the guard would beat me too...My mother was hanged in front of her sewing shop, and Ahro took care of me after that...She’s not really my grandma, but she took me under her wing and took care of me. Deoksu found us huddled together in the corner of my room when this pack attacked.”
Taehyung remained quiet even after Jimin was done.
“I’m sorry...I shouldn’t have told you—“
Before Jimin could even finish his sentence, he was cut off by a kiss.