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“-and he left before I even woke up, which I appreciate because next morning one night stand talk is always awkward, but at the same time I really wanted to get his number-“ Renjun trails off, noticing that Donghyuck is very obviously not paying attention to him anymore. “Hyuck?”

“Can you smell it?” Donghyuck furrows his brows, sniffing the air and trying to pick out the scent of interest out of the other customers and the smell of baked goods filling the air of the café. “It’s-“ he sniffs the air again, letting go of his decency as a couple from a nearby table turn to look at him. “It smells so good.”

Renjun looks at him and then around them, sniffing more discretely. His rut was over just a few days ago, so his sense of smell is lower than usual, and he doesn’t seem to get it.

“I can’t?” Renjun looks back at him, somewhat concerned. “I mean, many nice smells but none stand out to me.”

Donghyuck stills, in somewhat of a shock. He was fine up to a couple of minutes ago, but suddenly the scent of something, of someone absolutely delicious came to him. It’s not often he takes exceptional notice of someone’s scent, not unless he is about to go in rut and actively seeking someone to sleep with, anyway. He wouldn’t say he has the most sensitive nose either, so this is a strange phenomenon.

“It’s smoke and sage I think,” he blinks, trying to figure out if the owner of the scent might be behind them and wondering if it’d be too weird to just turn around. “God, it’s so good, how can you not smell it?”

“Ugh,” Renjun furrows his brows. “Yeah, I think I can smell that, but now I can smell you too getting fired up, so maybe you’d want to tone that down.”

“You think?” Donghyuck looks at his friend. He is -if he can say so himself- quite a well-behaved alpha and he has good control of his own scent, but sometimes he does slip. “Is it that bad?”

“Not really but, you know,” Renjun shrugs. “It’s an alpha.”

It’s only then that it registers for Donghyuck as well. He shouldn’t be so sensitive to alpha scents by nature, but this one is too strong. Still, he is progressive and into alphas, so he just shrugs back and plays it cool. “So what?” He asks, even if he knows what the problem is. Alphas aren’t usually quite eager to hook up with other alphas. It has gotten him in trouble before and it will probably happen again.

But if it’s for that delicious scent, maybe it’s worth it.

“He is with someone else,” Renjun fixes his gaze to somewhere behind Donghyuck’s back. “Another alpha.”

“Do you think he might be mated?” Donghyuck pushes his luck and Renjun’s patience. He’d never even think about getting close to a mated alpha, but he might have a chance with a single one.

“Damn dude, I don’t know,” Renjun takes an aggressive sip from his coffee. “Just go and ask?”

“Yeah, actually that’s what I will do,” Donghyuck nods, taking a gulp of his milkshake to calm himself down. He can’t be thinking with his knot when he wants to approach someone new.

Renjun stares at him, half horrified, half giving up when Donghyuck lifts himself from the chair and in one not-that-smooth motion does an 180o to seek the pair of alphas Renjun mentioned. It’s not hard to spot them, two male alphas, one looking impossibly tall with his elbows on the table, laughing at something the other shorter alpha told him.

Donghyuck clears his throat and takes a few tentative steps to the direction of their table, suddenly not that sure about himself. He and Renjun are regulars at that café and he doesn’t want to cause a scene or make any of the customers uncomfortable, so he knows he should be quick, subtle and clever with it.

“Uh,” he eloquently says when he reaches their table and has a few moments to assess the situation. There are no visible mating marks, and even if the past decades people are more inclined to mark their partners more subtly, the alphas don’t smell strongly of anyone else. He stares at the shorter one, his scent coming out in waves and Donghyuck feels lightheaded.

“Is there something we can help with?” the taller one asks, eyes kind and maybe a tiny bit mischievous as he looks at Donghyuck expectantly. He can feel Renjun’s eyes burning holes on the back of his skull as he clears his throat again.

“With all due respect,” he starts and is aware he sounds somewhat ridiculous. He thought society was progressive, but somehow at times it’s still difficult to approach and talk up someone of the same subgender, especially when having to navigate the minefield of them possibly being mated. “Are you guys…” he rubs his fingers together, “mates?” He whispers, thinking he fucked up when they both just stare at him, but then the taller alpha starts laughing open mouthed, while the shorter one’s ears are turning red.

“I’m Johnny,” the taller one says when he calms down. “This is my friend, Taeil,” he taps on the table and Donghyuck notices they were sharing a slice of lemon cake. “None of us are mated,” Johnny lifts his eyebrows. “Yet.”

“That’s-“ Donghyuck feels faint now that he’s so close to the scent. How do you tell someone you want them to fuck your brains out in the middle of a family-friendly bakery? “That is wonderful.”

“Well, I do enjoy my bachelor life if I say so myself,” Johnny nods. “Although I’m sure Taeil here would love settling as he’s the human equivalent of a housecat.” Taeil looks at his friend in mild disbelief, but still he doesn’t say anything. “So is there something we can do for you…?”

“I’m Donghyuck,” he says because it’d be rude to not introduce himself. “I wanted to just say that you, sir,” he turns to Taeil. “Uhm…you smell really good.”

“Thank you,” Taeil mutters, and he looks as about to faint as Donghyuck feels, so hopefully they are on even ground. “It’s my, ugh.”

“It’s his pre-rut scent,” Johnny fills in. “He hasn’t taken any blockers in a while, so it’s his time in a few days.”

“I hope this isn’t invasive,” Donghyuck takes his big leap of faith. “Are you spending your rut with someone, Taeil?”

Taeil snaps his head up, staring at Donghyuck like he’s seen a ghost. Donghyuck knows they can smell the alpha on him. Alphas spending a rut together isn’t ideal, although from Donghyuck’s experience it can be more than good.

“I’m not,” Taeil shakes his head. “Haven’t arranged anything yet.”

“Okay,” Donghyuck pats his pockets to find a pen and comes victorious as he fishes a forgotten one from his hoodie. “No pressure,” he takes a handkerchief from the table and scribbles his number and Instagram handle on it. “But I’ll be happy to help,” he winks in a fit of bravery and runs back to his and Renjun’s table before he has the chance to see the look on Taeil’s face.

 

“So?” Renjun sips nothing but melted water from his ice at this point. “Are you getting some?”

Donghyuck doesn’t see it, but he can guess Johnny and Taeil are leaving since Taeil’s scent weakens out right after the bell above the door jiggles. “We’ll find out,” he deflates onto his seat. “Maybe I will.”

 

-

 

Now Donghyuck knows he is somewhat of a peculiar case and he is also aware of a good amount of people who’d hook up with the same subgender to go through their ruts and heats, although opposed to him most are flexible and quite eager to just put an end to their cycle regardless of their partner. Donghyuck though, even if he found omegas and betas enjoyable overall, has never seeked them out, having them as second options in case he couldn’t find an alpha. Alphas smell good to him and he likes knotting and getting knotted, simple as that. Thankfully Renjun has been stepping up to help him every now and then but they know that hooking up with a friend is risky long term, so he usually opts for apps in order to find a suitor.

On the rare cases he has to make do with his hand and some dildo he doesn’t complain either. He’s had his fair share of dating and one night stands and fuckbuddies, so he just accepts that he can’t be having mind-blowing sex every single time his rut hits.

Sometimes he even allows himself to think about settling down, of how nice it would be to have someone attuned to him and his cycle and his needs, but for one, he’s still too young to be thinking about that and two, with his specific taste in partners he knows it’ll be difficult. Alphas hooking with him aren’t especially difficult to find since he knows where to look, but an alpha who’d want to spend the rest of his life with him? That will definitely take some more looking.

He’s in the middle of washing the dishes and twerking to his RnB playlist when his phone dings and the screen lights up with a notification from an unknown number. It’s been three days since he met Johnny and Taeil at the bakery so his hopes have gone down and he’s willed himself to forget the alpha’s scent as there are a lot of fish in the sea. Maybe not that many fish with delicious smoky sage scents and sweet timid smiles, but beggars can’t be choosers, Donghyuck assumes.

The foreign number on his screen though reignites the hope of getting some good alpha dick in his heart and he takes his yellow plastic gloves off in the blink of an eye, dries the droplets of water on his hands on his apron and unlocks his phone with almost shaky fingers, praying to whatever higher deity might take pity over him that it’s Taeil and not some old friend trying to suck him into some pyramid scheme.

 

From Unknown number 16:34

Hey

It’s Taeil

From the bakery

 

Donghyuck wills his last remaining and very hardworking braincell to muster a response that will let Taeil know he is eager to get to know each other but not that he could cream his pants just thinking about his scent.

 

To Unknown number 16:36

heeeeeeeeeeeeeey!

From Taeil 16:37

I hope this isn’t too forward

It probably is

 

Donghyuck waits a full five minutes to see what might be Too Forward, although he can take a good guess. Taeil doesn’t seem to have anything else to add though. Maybe he’s too embarrassed to ask for rut help. Maybe it’s because Donghyuck is an alpha. An alpha very happy to help with a cute alpha’s rut, so he decides to actively coax the answers out of Taeil.

 

To Taeil 16:44

i can help with your rut

i’ll be happy to, actually

From Taeil 16:49

I’m sorry this is short notice

Would you be available tonight?

Around 8 or 9?

To Taeil 16:49

always available for a cute boy

at yours?

From Taeil 16:55

Yes please

Thank you for this, Donghyuck

[user shared their location]

See you

To Taeil 16:57

see you!!

 

Donghyuck messages Renjun and Jaemin just to boast about having a Dick Appointment, washes the rest of the dishes and takes a videocall from his friends to spill the tea, although there isn’t much to tell, not yet, so he promises more when he spends the rut with Taeil.

Taeil lives just a short bus ride away, so even after his kitchen is clean and his friends have been updated on his sex life’s condition he still has some time to spare, which he uses wisely hopping into the shower and fingering himself, just to keep fit and be ready.

Long gone are the days when he would dress himself up to sleep with someone. As a rule of a thumb he only dresses up for when he wants to feel himself, but tending to someone’s rut isn’t one of these cases, so he picks an old sweater and his ratty ripped jeans and shoves some things he might need into his bag (lube, condoms, his water tumbler, spare shirt and briefs, deodorant).

It’s half past seven by the time he’s all ready and tying his shoes before he slides his backpack on a shoulder, checking that all the apartment lights are off. He’s buzzing with the pre dick appointment excitement he hasn’t experienced in a while and as he hasn’t used blockers so that his scent is nice and strong, he hopes the other people in the bus can’t smell that he’s specifically excited over getting laid, although he’s sure some of the more attentive can definitely do that.

 

Taeil lives in a small, old but cosy-looking, apartment building that somehow fits his whole vibe. Donghyuck gets equal parts anxious and excited as he waits for a few seconds until Taeil buzzes him in and then he’s climbing up the stairs to the first floor, assuring himself it will be alright; Taeil wants him there and they are going to have a good night.

It’s not always wise to trust someone you’ve only met for a few minutes and have exchanged only a handful of messages with, but Donghyuck has shared Taeil’s address with his friends in case something comes up, so he is at ease.

“Thank you for coming,” Taeil opens the door in fuzzy slippers and a hoodie too big to be his own. “Come in.”

“Thank you for having me,” Donghyuck laughs, taking his shoes off and taking a sniff of the air, the rut undertone apparent along with Taeil’s scent. “Has it started?”

“In a bit, maybe in about an hour,” Taeil moves further inside a small living room, taking a mug into his hands and lifting it to Donghyuck’s direction. “Would you like something to drink or eat? I have a few things in the pantry.”

“Some water would be enough,” Donghyuck takes a seat on the couch and looks around before Taeil joins him with a glass of water. It’s a standard living room. A large tv with a couple game consoles underneath, a few photos on the walls, various items like a hoover by the door and a scarf on a stray chair, scattered around. It feels clean and well lived in albeit a little disorganized.

“I’m nervous,” Taeil places his mug on the table and clasps his hands in his lap. “I’ve only spent my ruts with betas and omegas before.”

“You know,” Donghyuck shifts so he is a little closer. “I hope you don’t mind me saying this bluntly since we’ll be having sex in about an hour from now,” he clicks his tongue and watches how Taeil’s eyes are following his lips. “A hole is a hole, you know? Same thing.”

“Have you tried this before?” Taeil asks, picking his mug again, seemingly more out of a nervous habit than to actually drink.

“Hooking up with alphas?” Donghyuck asks and Taeil nods. “Sure have, with others too, but alphas are my favorites.”

“I hope it can be good then,” Taeil says with a small smile. He’s way too timid and quiet for someone about to go into rut in a matter of minutes. “I always wanted to try that, being with an alpha, but I was always too scared it’ll hurt, or I’ll hurt them. So I usually just picked some omega from an app.”

“So what’s different about me, then?” Donghyuck likes feeling special, and he really likes the way Taeil blushes and looks down.

“You were really bold, leaving your number like that. You seemed nice and you smelled good and Johnny told me to stop being a coward and message you,” Taeil takes a small shaky breath. “In case you can’t guess that, I kept putting off messaging you until literally the very last moment.”

“Well,” Donghyuck shrugs, smug smile on his lips. He doesn’t want to stress Taeil with more questions, although he wants to know more about him in general. “I’m irresistible like that.”

Taeil laughs, good-naturally and they fall silent until he is done with his tea. There are a few other scents Donghyuck can pick inside the apartment, faint traces of friends or family visiting, but when Taeil’s rut starts it’s obvious, because it immediately overpowers everything else.

Donghyuck gives him a little time. Watches Taeil open and then shut his mouth as he tries to get more comfortable on the couch, which is obviously not happening, as his time is up. He doesn’t look hard, but Donghyuck knows he’s on his way there and he’s looking forward to seeing what he has to work with.

“Would you mind moving this to the bedroom?” Taeil gets up, shifting his weight from side to side, probably already overheating. “It’s starting to get bad.”

“Let’s make you feel better, alright?” Donghyuck smiles and lets Taeil lead the way, although there is only one door from the living room other than the bathroom.

 

“Okay,” Taeil stands in front of the bed and yeah, he’s definitely tenting in his pants, although his pheromones are full of anxiety, which Donghyuck hates. He’s not the first anxious alpha he has to deal with, though, and he knows that after they fall on the bed Taeil’s attention will be elsewhere.

“You have to relax,” Donghyuck takes a couple of steps until they are chest to chest. “Do you want me to guide you through it?” He trails a finger down Taeil’s sternum, sneaks under his hoodie and hooks it on the waistband of the loose shorts he is wearing underneath, waiting for Taeil’s approval.

“Yes, please,” Taeil straight out moans, the tiniest wet spot starting to soak through his shorts.

“To what?” Donghyuck taps his sides feeling how warm he is.

“Yes, please guide me,” Taeil gulps. “And please take this off too,” he pulls on his hoodie sleeves.

 

-

 

“How does it feel?” Donghyuck smiles down at Taeil who’s slowly gaining consciousness again. “You kinda passed out on me right there.”

“Oh damn,” Taeil rubs his eyes. Donghyuck did his best to clean them up but there’s still dried cum and lube basically everywhere. “I’m sorry.”

“What for?” Donghyuck rubs his stomach, watching how Taeil tenses up for a moment before he relaxes. “Fucking me royally?”

“Was it good?” Taeil squints to look down at himself and the bed and scrunches his nose when he realizes how messy everything is.

“Really good,” Donghyuck confirms. Taeil had held him down and made him see stars. Three rounds later and it must be close to dawn, Donghyuck more than spent and Taeil probably exhausted, sleepy and starving. He did pass out after he was done after all, which freaked Donghyuck out but it all turned out to be good. “Six out of five stars.”

“Now you’re just buttering me up,” Taeil tries to hold himself up into a sitting position and he is probably having a headache. “I doubt I’m above average.”

Donghyuck scoffs, patting Taeil’s thigh, too close to his groin to be appropriate. “That,” he says, emphasizing the object of reference with a pointed look and watching it give a small jump. “That is definitely above average, Taeil.” He gets up to get them some water and snacks, aware that they stink, but this is an issue for later on. “And moreover, I think I really like making you blush.”

 

 

When he wakes up again it’s later in the day, a little after noon as his phone informs him when Donghyuck picks it up to check his messages. He is alone on the bed and a little cold, the sound of steps and cupboards opening and closing faintly coming through the shut door. He gets up on unsteady legs and picks up the first garment he can find, the hoodie Taeil was wearing the previous evening, along with his own briefs. If it was any random hook up he’d be on his way home already, but there is no way he’s stepping out of the house stinking of rut come, it’s basic decency.

“I’m going to have a shower,” he peeks out of the door to seek Taeil out.

“There are a few spare towels on the rack,” Taeil says from the kitchenette, barefoot and shirtless, seemingly cooking up something. “Are you staying for late breakfast or early lunch? I’m making omelet.”

And his work there is done, and Taeil is more than gracious to let him use the bathroom, but his stomach grumbles and despite his etiquette knowledge when it comes to sleeping with people in ruts and his better judgment he replies apprehensively, because it smells delicious and because he just really wants to spend a little more time with Taeil.

 

When he returns from the shower, changed in the clean pair of underwear and the tee he brought from home he finds Taeil waiting for him seated on the small, crowded table taking up most of his kitchen space. They share a look before he sits, but he isn’t sure what it means. There are black circles underneath Taeil’s eyes, but he looks happy and calm, so Donghyuck can guess the night was a win.

“So,” he sinks his fork in the omelet. “What’s the verdict? Would you sleep with an alpha again?”

Taeil looks at him blankly for a few beats, his own knife stuck on the air mid-motion. “Are you offering?” He asks right before he shoves a huge bite into his mouth.

“Oh?” Donghyuck grins. “Do you want me to?”

“I wouldn’t say no,” Taeil replies and the mental strain to keep a straight face is too obvious, even if the pink tips of his ears give him away. “I can’t believe I didn’t get to try this before, the physical feeling isn’t that different from an omega, but the,” he makes some vague motions with his hands. “Something is really different.”

“It’s the alpha pheromones,” Donghyuck fills in. “There isn’t much research on same subgender relationships yet, but some people are just drawn by certain things I guess.”

“Mhm,” Taeil spoons some more rice on both of their plates. “You have my number now,” he looks down on the table. “Don’t hesitate to use it whenever.”

“My rut isn’t about to come for a while,” Donghyuck tries to recall the mental calendar he keeps of his rut. “But we can meet before that,” he places a palm on Taeil’s knees that is bouncing. “You don’t have to be nervous about this, Taeil, you already came in me, thrice.”

Taeil chokes on his rice, Donghyuck has to slap his back and laugher fills the kitchen afterwards. Maybe something good can come out of this, Donghyuck thinks when he leaves a couple of hours later, Taeil’s scent on his clothes and the feeling of Taeil’s lips still on his own.

 

-

 

“He was so good,” Donghyuck coos, Jaemin slapping his hand to keep still. “He fucked me against the kitchen counter before I left and he’s so big even without the knot, god.”

“We really don’t need the details,” Renjun grumbles, sprawled on Donghyuck’s couch.

“We do,” Jaemin sinks the brush in the orange polish again, looking at Donghyuck’s already done fingers under the light. “That’s why we’re here.” Renjun glares at Jeno for help, but Jeno just shakes his head, letting them have their way.

“So you have a fuckbuddy now?” Jaemin asks, taking a sip from his probably borderline poisonous ten-shot americano. “You mentioned he wants to see you again.”

“I guess I do,” Donghyuck stares at the wall dreamily, thinking of Taeil’s rosy cheek, his spit glistening lips and his big d-. “Just for a mutual good time.”

“I sure hope he doesn’t end up being a douche like the last guy,” Jeno mutters, eyebrows furrowed. Donghyuck had almost forgotten him, that last guy, who took a few good fucks and then talked behind Donghyuck’s back as if Donghyuck was nothing but a fleshlight. Donghyuck would have let him go without much fuss because alphas fighting can get really ugly, but Jeno, sweet, buffy, timid omega, Jeno, had heard the guy boasting to his friends about Donghyuck being an easy fuck and had broken his jaw. It was quite troublesome, but Jaemin was really proud of his boyfriend and Donghyuck secretly enjoyed seeing the tilted jaw aftermath a little way too much, so it all worked out.

“Damn, I sure hope so,” Donghyuck agrees, looking at his orange and green nails. A little too flashy maybe, but it’s spring and they’ll look good with his pink converse and yellow cardigans. “Now the only one out of us that isn’t getting any is poor ol’ Renjunnie,” he states, just to rile him up.

“You don’t know that,” Renjun replies, ready for a fight. “Maybe I’m getting some. I’m not prone to oversharing like some of us.”

“Liar, liar,” Jaemin laughs.

“Pants on fire,” Donghyuck pulls on Renjun’s shorts.

“If apps don’t work for you,” Jaemin suggests, because they all know how much of a dry and lifeless texter Renjun can be. “Maybe try one of the university’s clubs or something like that?”

“Like what?” Renjun looks at them in disbelief. “Sports?”

“Sports are good,” Jeno says meekly and receives A Look from Renjun.

“Maybe art?” Jaemin says. “You can come to the photography club with me sometime, I’ll introduce you to some people.”

“I’ll think about it,” Renjun scoffs. “I’m not as desperate as you horndogs think I am.”

“Sure,” Jaemin, nods. “Suit yourself, Renjunnie.”

“Shut up and do my nails,” Renjun grumbles and Donghyuck, well fucked and with Taeil’s number secure in his phone, laughs at his misery.

 

-

 

To Taeil 15:09

what’s up?

From Taeil 15:18

Still at work, bored

 

Donghyuck realizes he has no idea what Taeil does for a living. Or about anything other than Taeil’s capabilities on the bed and in the kitchen (both exceptional), anyway.

 

To Taeil 15:19

wanna meet up later tonight?

unless you have plans already

since it’s friday and all haha

From Taeil 15:23

Sure

Anytime after 6 works for me

 

He was bored and in need of someone that isn’t the same three friends he sees every day. His brother was occupied, he didn’t feel like texting his other friends or any classmates, so Taeil seemed like the next best choice. Now he was bored with a little undertone of horny.

 

To Taeil 15:26

do you know the coffee place

by the bakery we met

with the pastel green exterior

at 6.30?

From Taeil 15:28

I know which one!

Will be there

 

It takes Donghyuck a few minutes. But he does realize that meeting up for something other than explicitly fucking with your acclaimed fuckbuddy might leave implications. Not that he would mind their outing being something else, but he doesn’t want to scare Taeil away and he doesn’t want to leave things up to his interpretation. But maybe they are something akin to friends? They are certainly not, but they could be. And getting coffee before settling in someone’s house for the night will keep them active and energized. And Donghyuck just wants to do that out of overall convenience. He does need to make sure, though.

 

 

To Jaemin 15:34

hey do you think

he’ll think it’s a date

if i asked taeil to meet at a coffee place?

From Jaemin 15:39

Depends.

is it a date?

To Jaemin 15:40

just wanted to get out of the house

hopefully we’ll come back to mine

and have some fun

From Jaemin 15:40

you’re on your own buddy

have fun with your fuckbuddy

on your non date

 

 

“You look good,” Taeil greets him, looking absolutely dateable in his long oversized cardigan and jeans that look straight out of an omega old fashioned magazine. Donghyuck looks down at his dark washed jeans and his university hoodie and reminds himself this isn’t a date. Just a friendly outing dash gathering energy for the night type of thing.

“You look really nice too,” he smiles, nodding to the direction of the front door of the coffee shop. “Let’s go in.”

They choose a table by the corner of the windows that provides a fake sense of privacy and since there is only one copy of the menu on the table they are forced to look at it together, Donghyuck holding one side and Taeil the other.

“This is you,” Taeil giggles, pointing at a menu item and Donghyuck has to read the words mint lemonade a couple of times before he realizes what Taeil means because sometimes he forgets he has his own scent; mint and fresh grass.

“Well me and a lemonade are both,” he starts, knowing it’s a mistake but unable to stop himself. “Suckable.”

He detects the slightest rise of Taeil’s scent before he is completely calm again when he says “you sure are,” with a badly executed wink.

Donghyuck has to calm his heart because it is about to fly out of his chest. Between one night stands after clubbing and picking people from heat and rut apps there was little time for pick up lines and bad puns and shy smiles, so even if that thing, hanging out with Taeil, is just short lived, or just a one time thing, he’s happy he gets to experience it.

They stay at the café for a couple of hours, conversation flowing easily between their drinks and chocolate chip cookies they order. Taeil shares a bit about him; he works at a large tech firm as a software engineer, which isn’t exceptionally exciting, but it pays well and provides a good working environment. He mentions that his friend Johnny is also his coworker, although at another department.

Donghyuck in response doesn’t have much to say about himself. He is fresh out of university and working from home for some nondescript marketing company until he finds something better. It’s flexible and it pays decently without sucking his every waking moment, so although he barely knows his coworkers and it isn’t exactly what he wants to do in his life, he isn’t complaining.

They share some anecdotes, Taeil praises Donghyuck’s nails, Donghyuck tells him how soft his hair looks, to which Taeil responds by leaning down to let Donghyuck rake his fingers through the feathery soft strands.

The sun is starting to go down as they exit the shop and stop by the small square in front of it, full of life at this hour. Donghyuck tries to muster up the courage to invite Taeil home, it was his initial intention after all, it shouldn’t be that hard.

“That wasn’t a date,” is what he blurts out instead, and watches Taeil’s expression go from confused to hurt to confused again before it’s back to normal, albeit a little worried.

“It wasn’t?” Taeil asks, his eyes trailing behind Donghyuck, at the people sitting and walking around the market and square.

Donghyuck stares at him. Taeil stares back. It must be the slowest couple of seconds Donghyuck has ever experienced in his life.

“Unless you want it to be?” Donghyuck offers, trying to fix the situation before Taeil decides he doesn’t want to see him ever again. Thankfully Taeil doesn’t just leave him there cold and rejected.

“I’d want it to be if you want it to be,” Taeil ends up saying and Donghyuck feels a headache creeping in. Still Taeil smells so good and he was really funny and maybe once or twice when they were talking all Donghyuck could think about was how much he wanted to kiss him. Maybe all those things would point towards the direction of this being a date. Jaemin should have told him beforehand.

“Yeah, I think I would like it to be,” Donghyuck says and Taeil’s expression softens. But this is enough romantic talking for one day, Donghyuck thinks, and hopes to god he doesn’t ruin the whole cute and nice thing they have going on when he asks “do you want to come back to mine? It’s just a short walk from here.”

Taeil agrees easily, so Donghyuck, in a fit of bravery, since they have established this is a date and all, takes his hand to guide him to his apartment building. It’s a short walk becoming almost unbearably long with Taeil’s smaller, warm, hand into his own.

“It’s nothing special,” he says right after he opens up the door and lets Taeil step in first. His apartment is small, although clean and well organized if he says so himself. He’s even been able to keep many of his plants alive and flourishing for over a year now, so he considers that a really big domestic win.

The first few seconds pass slowly, they take off their shoes, Donghyuck offers a drink that Taeil declines and then there’s nothing but the buzz of the cars outside and the static white noise of the fridge. And then Taeil takes the few steps closer to Donghyuck, slowly and carefully, wraps his hands around Donghyuck’s nape and pulls him down for a kiss that’s way too sweet and innocent.

Taeil is a good kisser and Donghyuck knows he is a goner for him when it starts getting heated. Even if he wasn’t the one in a rut the previous time, Taeil’s rut pheromones still messed with his head and made everything liquid and hazy, so, as it usually goes with ruts and heats he doesn’t remember much of the sex, apart from the fact that it was mind blowing. But now he can feel every little thing, Taeil trailing kisses along his jaw, Taeil getting hard against his thigh, a confirmation he wants this as much as Donghyuck does, Taeil’s hands coming to squeeze his ass and pull him closer.

“Eager, aren’t you?” Donghyuck tries to sound coy, as if he isn’t eager himself. He even washed his sheets and pillowcases, quite assured he’d be getting laid. “Let’s take this to the bedroom, right?”

Taeil goes down easily, sinking into Donghyuck’s mattress as Donghyuck climbs on his lap. They kiss for what feels like hours until they are both hard and grinding against each other and there’s no reason to postpone it for longer.

“Want to ride you,” Donghyuck whispers, lapping his tongue at the crook of Taeil’s neck, trying to resist full out biting his scent gland, even if his instinct wants it like crazy. “Are you okay with that?”

Taeil moans in response, low and deep, a contrast to his usual honey like voice. “Please,” he says, lifting his knees to push Donghyuck firm on him.

Donghyuck doesn’t bother taking his time after the green light to proceed is lit. He takes off his own shirt and he pulls Taeil’s off too, making quick work of their pants and underwear until they are completely naked and panting, Taeil’s hands up his sides while Donghyuck rummages the bedside drawer for his lube and condoms.

It’s easy after that, a half familiar route, half exploring the ways Taeil responds and sounds and feels around and under him and Donghyuck is ecstatic to find out his previous excitement wasn’t just a rut thing; Taeil is really that good. He is attentive and careful and just so good, even if he doesn’t have any experience with other alphas.

 

 

“I should head home,” Taeil mutters when they are done and he’s spooning Donghyuck, nosing on the short hair of his nape. “It’s gotten late.”

“I have eggs in the fridge,” Donghyuck says, trying to keep himself awake for a few more minutes.

“What?” Taeil rubs circles on his chest and it’s too comforting to let him go.

“Teach me how to make your extra thin omelets tomorrow morning and you can go afterwards,” Donghyuck says and the last thing he remembers before falling asleep is Taeil’s lips on his bare shoulder.

 

 

To Jaemin 09:37

he’s showering

we slept together

it was a date

he told me he wanted it to be a date

so it was a date

From Jaemin 09:46

lol enjoy

 

-

 

“I don’t get what you see in him,” Donghyuck whines. “He is going to have you forfeit your possessions under his name and then you’ll die under mysterious circumstances, probably,” he says and Jaehyun almost chokes on his bun.

“Donghyuck!” Doyoung lifts a finger. It’s his we’ll talk about it at home finger, even though they don’t live at the same house anymore. “Don’t talk about me like that to my future husband!”

“Dude, I have like 30 bucks under my name,” Jaehyun sips his cocktail. He used to only drink cheap beer and vodka, but that’s what living with Doyoung for three years does to a man. “Your brother should have found someone else to kill off and inherit.”

Donghyuck looks at Doyoung and then at Jaehyun. “Maybe he thinks you’ll make it big,” he shrugs.

“The only big thing about me is m-“ Jaehyun starts, but Doyoung shoves a bite of brioche into his mouth, staring at the family sitting at the next table and within earshot.

“Can you behave for an hour?” Doyoung says exasperated. “Just an hour guys, you can do it.”

“Fiiiiine,” Donghyuck humours him at the same time Jaehyun chirps up a “yes, love” happily.

His monthly brunch meetings with his brother have been one of his favourite times to catch up and relax. Despite their banter Doyoung is the person who knows him better than anyone else, after all. If he is being completely honest with himself, he didn’t take the news of Jaehyun joining them well at first. A bad mix of protectiveness over his brother and a wounded pride as he wouldn’t have a mate of his own to bring along, but he warmed up to him over time. Jaehyun was good to his brother and a lot of fun, so Donghyuck accepted him as part of the family only a few months in. Still, two years in their three-person brunches he hasn’t brought a date himself yet, although he was never pressured to and Doyoung never explicitly asked if there was anyone. Somewhat of an elephant in the room at times, but not as bothersome as their parents could be about it.

Out of his friend group (and most of the people he’s slept with, obviously) he’s never been open about his preferences to his family, fearing they won’t keep treating him the same. Still, he has a hunch Doyoung knows, but won’t press him to admit things he’s not ready for yet, which he appreciates.

The pancakes are good and they order a second round of cocktails and the soft beta scents of his brother and Jaehyun help him relax. The previous day at this exact hour he was still with Taeil, making out on the couch before Taeil really had to leave. He wonders if Taeil will be the one to be graced with being brought to a brunch sometime and quickly dissipates the thought. Even if he’s never been attracted to someone’s scent so much before he is reasonable and aware that sleeping together twice and going on something akin to a date doesn’t mean they will spend their lives together. Probably.

“You remember Jungwoo?” Jaehyun asks Donghyuck. “You might remember him from parties and stuff.” Donghyuck definitely was too young to be at the college parties his brother was invited to. But he was also everyone’s favourite, so as long as he could sneak out from his parents, he could attend each and every party. He has a vivid recollection of Kim Jungwoo mixing whiskey with Gatorade in Yuta’s dorm kitchen, so he nods. He thinks his brother’s graduation was the last time he saw him.

“We’re invited to his wedding in two weeks,” Doyoung says. “It’s funny because we always thought he’d be the last one to be committed, but he’s been with his alpha fiancé for a long while now and I think they might be expecting, isn’t that awesome?”

On the one hand, he knows the image of Jungwoo in his head is long outdated. On the other, imagining the guy who passed out standing against a wall mid-beer pong pushing a stroller around the park is a weird kind of surreal. Maybe he’s just scared of the idea of commitment and growing old because he knows that eventually he’s going to be at that stage of his life too and it’s coming closer.

“It’s awesome,” he agrees, keeping down his anxiety with a sip of his margarita. Doyoung and Jaehyun can’t naturally become parents, but if Donghyuck fails to extend the bloodline himself they might be up for adopting. That would probably keep their parents satisfied for a while, because last time Donghyuck visited they did grumble something about becoming old and that now they are retired it’s the perfect time to help take care of grandchildren. So much pressure for being the alpha son.

He realises he has dozed off when he finds Doyoung watching him, probably sensing that he’s too deep into his own thoughts and giving him a smile when Donghyuck smiles back. He almost asks them if they are planning on having any children, but considering their poor finances and the fact they are consuming alcohol at 10am on a Sunday instead of going to the church or sleeping in he decides it’s better not to.

“I think I might get a promotion the following weeks,” is what he says instead to stir the conversation to other matters. “My manager doesn’t know I intent on fucking off with the first better job offer I get, but I don’t intent on telling him either.”

They congratulate him and laugh it off and talk about their own jobs, and Donghyuck doesn’t know how they went from fighting about toy cars to dragging each other out of club bathrooms to talking about jobs at brunch, but he’s happy he has someone so close to him still in his life nonetheless.

 

-

 

“You said that Taeil guy works in IT?” Renjun asks from the couch while Donghyuck is graciously cooking them dinner. “My laptop has been really slow the past days and I need someone to take a look, so I’d rather give it to someone I half know and maybe he can give me a better price?”

“Have you considered to stop watching questionable porn and not downloading viruses maybe?” Donghyuck bites back. Renjun is kind of horrid with his electronics and has burned through two laptops at college, both of which died under unknown circumstances. Maybe he should invest in a personal electronics coach or something; it sounds like a profession that should exist for old people and old souls like Renjun.

“I’m not downloading any-“ Renjun pinches the bridge of his nose. Donghyuck loves it when he’s not in the position to bite back because he needs a favour. “Come on, just give me his phone or something, you won’t need to do anything.”

“I’ll think about it,” Donghyuck turns back to the pot and ignores Renjun’s whiny murmurs. They’ve been friends for more than ten years, so he’s pretty convinced they aren’t getting rid of each other any time soon, so better have some fun while at it.

 

To Taeil 14:32

hey

my friend renjun downloaded some viruses

and needs someone to clear his shit out

and he asked me to ask you

 

 

“I messaged him,” he tells Renjun. “He is nice so he’ll probably take pity on you.”

“He is nice, huh?” Renjun wiggles his eyebrows. “Tell me about it, because a little birdie told me you explicitly messaged him about Taeil, but you didn’t message me. I thought we were friends, Hyuck.”

“Now you’re being dramatic. I messaged Jaemin because I thought he’d be able to keep his mouth shut, but apparently not,” he exhales. “We’ve just hooked up a few times and got some coffee.”

A little more than a few times maybe. And they even got dinner the previous week. And one time Taeil brought groceries and wine and they cooked together. Taeil isn’t much of a texter, but sometimes they call on their downtime to catch up. Renjun definitely doesn’t need any of the details because he’ll be able to smell Donghyuck’s infatuation from miles away and Donghyuck will not have the upper hand from the laptop favour thing anymore, which he wouldn’t like.

“You’re blushing so badly,” Renjun laughs. “Is he the soft silly alpha of your dreams?”

“Shut up,” Donghyuck pouts. Taeil could certainly be the soft silly alpha of his dreams. “He just smells good and has a nice knot, we’re just fucking, that’s it.”

Renjun opens his mouth, definitely to say something Donghyuck doesn’t want to hear, but thankfully a notification from his phone saves him from the rest of the conversation.

 

From Taeil 15:02

Hello Donghyuck

I could but it’s not really my field

I can give you Johnny’s number?

He can do the job for a better price

than most stores

 

“What is he saying?” Renjun climbs out of the armchair to drape himself over Donghyuck’s back to look at his screen and makes a little appreciative sound. “Sure, gimme Johnny’s phone, it’s the guy that was with him at the coffee shop, right?”

“That one, yeah,” Donghyuck texts back to confirm that Renjun wants the number which Taeil sends right after. He’d want to talk more to him, but he has to wait until Renjun is gone.

“Make sure to delete anything weird before giving the laptop to the poor guy,” he says and Renjun slaps his arm. A little play fighting does wonders to his alpha instincts and so he indulges his friend, physically fighting right back until they are both on the floor laughing.

 

-

 

Taeil is a great new addition to his otherwise boring life. Work is slow, Netflix doesn’t have anything new on and videogames are tiring up his eyes much quicker than they used to. A few attempts to break the monotony are attempted in the form of having Jeno dying Donghyuck’s hair back to black, a foreign sight at first, but it does gain him a few compliments left and right, in going clubbing with Jaehyun and Doyoung and half regretting it because he knew he’d be third wheeling, but he didn’t know he’d be third wheeling to that extend and in Taeil taking him for a cinema date and holding his hand through the whole shitty romcom as the both of them laugh their hearts out to the horribly cliché screenplay. It’s the first time he thinks he might be falling, and also the first time he feels safe enough to let himself fall. It’s only been a few months but he can’t imagine Taeil treating him poorly or leaving him for some omega or beta without a word. So, in the dimly lit cinema he holds Taeil’s hand a little lighter, and when the credits start rolling he kisses him softly, all salt and cola almost like he imagines a first shy kiss would be.

“Let’s do more of this,” Taeil tells him when they are outside. It’s late spring so it’s warm even in the evening and people are pouring out of the cinema until they are almost by themselves close to the door. “I had a great time today.”

He is wearing a polo and Donghyuck can grab him by the collar for one more kiss. It’s not really late and he knows neither of them has to be up extra early the next morning, but he doesn’t invite Taeil home. It feels right to sleep with the memory of their intertwined fingers instead.

“Good night,” he whispers against Taeil lips and feels how Taeil shifts to peck his cheek.

“Good night, Donghyuck,” Taeil says. “Go home safe.”

He watches Taeil’s back as he turns around to walk to his own apartment and it’s at that moment, the ghost of a pair of lips on his cheek that he knows he’s falling hard.

 

-

 

It’s late at night, way after midnight when he’s done with work. He could have left some for the next day, but he opted for tiring himself out and having the time to laze around later on. The issue is that he had some coffee late in the day, so even after he is feeling exhausted and it’s past his usual bedtime he’s still jittery and wide awake. He scrolls around his social media for a bit but he knows screen light is only going to make it worse, so he opts for settling into bed and hopes for the best.

He’s high on exhaustion and staring at his dark ceiling, when he figures there’s a fool proof way to relax and further tire himself. Before he sneaks a hand under the waistband of his boxers though, he feels mischievous, up for leaving a small present for Taeil to see when he wakes up.

He lights up the bedside table lamp, puts his glasses on, checks the angle, messes his hair and bites his lower lip to snap a few selfies. He makes a fast work of picking the best one and sends it Taeil’s way before embarrassment starts creeping in.

 

To Taeil 02:34

[photo send]

thinking of you

 

He feels himself getting hard inside his underwear just with the mere thought of Taeil’s hands on him. The spare pillow on his bed still faintly smells like him from when he spent the night with Donghyuck a couple of days ago, but Donghyuck doesn’t feel desperate enough to bury him face in it and get himself off on his knees, not yet.

He’s spreading precum all over his cock when there’s a slight vibration that startles him and then his phone is ringing, the name of someone who should be long asleep on his screen. He considers not picking it up and focusing on getting himself off instead, but doubts Taeil has an issue with it.

“Taeil?” He slides the answer button and lets his phone on speaker on his chest, leaning back on the pillows and trying to find a comfortable position. “Why aren’t you asleep?”

“Why aren’t you?” Taeil’s voice is playful, a little scratchy from the late hour. “Too busy thinking of me?’

“I was in the middle of something,” Donghyuck replies, buckling his hips into his hand and letting out a shaky exhale he’s sure Taeil can recognise, just to get the point across.

“Yeah?” There’s a little shuffling from the other side and Donghyuck assumes Taeil is getting comfortable on his own bed too. “What is that something?”

“You know what it is,” Donghyuck whispers, suddenly shy. “Will you stay on the line with me?”

“Yeah,” Taeil says easily and Donghyuck isn’t sure if he’s touching himself too, but he wants him to. “What are you thinking of?”

“Your knot,” Donghyuck replies and his own cock starts budging. “One of my pillows smells like you,” he adds. He kind of wants Taeil to know what he is doing to him.

“What about that pillow?” Taeil’s voice comes out deep and there’s a groan from the other end of the line and he’s definitely in the same condition Donghyuck is.

“I lied down and jerked off to your scent last night,” he says, discarding the boxers that were looped around his ankles so he can spread his legs. “I wanted you,” he says, aware of how vulnerable he sounds. “But it was late and I knew you had work today so I didn’t want to call you.”

There’s a moment of static. Donghyuck works himself slowly, trying to pick up Taeil’s breaths, coming soft and shallow from the other end. They haven’t talked about what they are, Donghyuck a little scared of commitment, Taeil maybe a little scared of a full-blown relationship with another alpha, but they know they are running out of time.

“You should have called,” Taeil breaths out. “I would come,” he says, followed by a little fuck. “I was thinking about you too, you know.”

“Do you think of me often?” Donghyuck splays his hand on his stomach, trying to hold back from coming. He’s too tense and too riled up and having this conversation in the middle of the night barely feels real.

“All the time,” Taeil admits easily. “I’ve kept the hoodie you left here the previous time,” he says and it sounds wet, like he’s too close to the microphone, scared of anyone else hearing. “I haven’t washed it.”

“Have you gotten off to it?” Donghyuck asks, a sudden urge of possessiveness over Taeil washing over him. Alphas are possessive by nature, and although he’s been taking it slow with him up to that point, knowing they both keep each other’s scents at their apartments makes something in him come undone.

“A couple of times,” Taeil’s voice sounds rougher than it was a moment ago and Donghyuck imagines him on his bed, how pretty he is sprawled on the sheets underneath him.

“I’m really close,” he announces and Taeil makes a small sound in response. He comes all over his thighs with a muffled moan, Taeil telling him how good he is, how lewd he sounds and how nice he can bet he tastes from the other side of the speaker.

There’s silence again for a while, interrupted by shuffling and a few small sounds.

“I’m done too,” Taeil says, Donghyuck hearing the small sharp sound of a tissue being pulled out of the box. “Donghyuck?”

“I’m here,” Donghyuck mutters, his eyelids getting heavy.

“Can you stay on the line for a little more?” Taeil suddenly sounds nervous, as if he didn’t orgasm a few dozen seconds ago.

“What’s up?” Donghyuck feels panic rising in his throat, his mind going over every possible bad scenario, although Taeil might just want to tell him a proper goodnight, or something of the sort.

“When is your rut coming?” Is what Taeil asks instead and Donghyuck stares at his phone’s screen as if it holds any of the answers he’s seeking.

“In about twenty days,” he replies. He had almost forgotten about it, but the pre-rut symptoms are probably about to start hitting soon. “Why?”

“Can I spend it with you?” Taeil sounds timid, like this isn’t straight out of Donghyuck’s dreams, even if he was too scared to ask Taeil, postponing it until the very last moment. “Not because I want to return the favour, I think we are past the point of favours. I just want to, you aren’t the only one thinking about knots.”

“Alright,” Donghyuck says, and hopes Taeil can figure he’s smiling just from the tone of his voice. “Will you come over and cook for me tomorrow evening?”

“I will,” Taeil sends him an exaggerated kiss before they bid their goodnights. Donghyuck hugs his spare pillow and hopes the next day will come as soon as possible.

 

-

 

“So are you guys exclusive now?” Jeno eyes him. “You smell like him but you don’t have any marks on you, are you taking it slow?”

Jaemin and Jeno watch him expectantly as he shoves a chicken wing into his mouth buying himself sometime. “Listen,” he tries to explain what’s going on, because he is aware of it, but at the same time it’s difficult to put it into words, and even more to explain it to others. “It’s that stage of the relationship where we both want to make it more official but both are unsure so we just don’t talk about it, you know?”

“We don’t know, Donghyuck,” Jeno says with a gentle smile. “We’ve been together since we were fourteen so-“

Jaemin jabs his boyfriend’s ribs, “of course we know, Hyuckie, you have to give you both some time and maybe after you spend your rut together you’ll be ready, cycle pheromones do wonders at bonding.”

Making someone like you through mating is an ancient practise that kind of freaks Donghyuck out, because you can’t use a moment of such vulnerability to make someone like you, so he often thinks that the whole thing they have going on is nothing but leftover infatuation after he helped Taeil through his rut. But then again Donghyuck was the one completely taken aback by Taeil’s smell even before that. And their non-rut sex has been mind-blowing.

“Stop overthinking,” Jaemin taps on the table and fills up his plate with side-dishes. “Renjun is here.”

“Hi guys,” Renjun waves, draping his backpack over the back of the spare seat they’ve left for him. It’s uncharacteristic for him to be late, but Donghyuck doesn’t comment on it, not until Renjun sits down right beside him and something is definitely off.

“Renjun?” He turns to his friend and he tries to be calm but what comes out is a weird mix of possessiveness and slight panic that he can’t justify, because he’d trust Renjun with his life, and definitely to not do anything behind his back. “Why do you smell like Taeil?”

“What?” Renjun looks back at him and Donghyuck ignores Jeno and Jaemin’s confused gazes. “I don’t smell like Taeil?”

It seems to down upon them both at the same time, Renjun starting to blush and Donghyuck raising his eyebrows to a silent question. “Oh my god, Renjun?” It’s a smell from Taeil’s apartment, and one Donghyuck can sometimes detect on Taeil’s clothes, so it’s familiar to Donghyuck, but it’s not Taeil’s scent. And it’s too strong to be just the outcome of a professional exchange.

“What up?” Jeno asks, flipping the meat on the grill while Jaemin is sniffing the air, although he probably can’t guess what is going on just from scents alone.

“Renjun smells like someone,” Jaemin concludes.

“How’s your laptop doing?” Donghyuck laughs and Renjun’s mouth becomes a tight straight line. “Did you need a lot of sessions to…repair it?”

“Shut up,” Renjun takes a mouthful of meat and stuffs it into Donghyuck’s mouth. “My laptop is alright.”

“Did you fuck Johnny?” Donghyuck manages around his mouthful of food and the looks Renjun gives him is just too amusing.

“Maybe once,” Renjun admits, defeated.

“Once?” Jeno asks, because they aren’t about to take pity on Renjun and his blushy face so easily.

“Maybe thrice,” Renjun starts filling his own plate. “Please stop asking about it.”

“Let’s talk about Donghyuck who’s one step before getting mated instead,” Jeno says happily.

“No!!” Donghyuck tries to defend himself. “Let’s talk about you two who are one step before marriage, actually,” he masterfully redirects the conversation. And if he has to listen to Jaemin talking about their ideal wedding for half an hour, if it’s instead of talking about his own love life, he can bear it.

 

 

To Taeil 13:45

on lunch break?

From Taeil 13:47

yup

with johnny

[photo received]

 

Donghyuck, half listening to Jaemin half trying to hide his phone from Renjun opens the photo Taeil sends him and has to repress the need to wolf whistle, which would definitely raise some concerned looks over his wellbeing. Both Taeil and Johnny look too good in formal clothing, their employee tags around their necks. They seem to be outside, probably at their building’s rooftop. Donghyuck should ask Taeil to keep his suit on sometime when they go out, or just long enough for Donghyuck to take it off, he will get what he can. But this isn’t the time and space for that kind of conversation.

 

 

To Taeil 13:49

did you know johnny and renjun are fucking

From Taeil 13:56

I asked Johnny

He choked on his sandwich

In an affirmative way

To Taeil 13:57

lol

see you tonight?

From Taeil 13:59

See you tonight <3

 

 

“What are you laughing at, your lover boy?” Renjun asks, trying to peek at his already shut screen.

“My lover boy,” Donghyuck nods. “He’s with your lover boy.” Renjun chokes on his meat.

 

-

 

Donghyuck stares at his calendar app, like he can change the passage of time if he concentrates enough. There’s a little circle with a notice that will concern him in just five days; the day his rut will hit. He experiences ruts only twice per year while other alphas can go up to four, or even six on rare occasions, so he isn’t complaining. Rut sex feels good even with a complete stranger, but the pre-rut stink and the overall hornyness in the week prior and right after leave him exhausted and convinced he wouldn’t want to deal with more of that.

They’ve talked with Taeil about when and how and he shouldn’t be nervous about it, because Taeil looks excited to bottom for the first time, but deep down Donghyuck is scared.

 

“I’m sleeping with someone,” he tells Doyoung over dinner at his brother’s house when Jaehyun is still out at work. “More than sleeping with someone, actually.”

Doyoung doesn’t even flinch, slowly wiping his mouth before he leans back on his chair. “I know,” he smiles. “I might be a beta, but I still have a nose. And you are my brother, I don’t think you can keep secrets from me.”

“Have I been weird?” Donghyuck asks, swirling the wine into his glass. “Too obvious?”

“Just a little,” Doyoung shrugs. “But it’s alright, I didn’t want to push you. Do you want to tell me about them?”

Him hooking up with alphas isn’t exactly a secret, but it has never been explicitly stated between him and his brother before either and Doyoung sure notices how his hand trembles when he leaves his fork back down on the table.

“He is an alpha,” he starts, letting out a breath he didn’t know he was holding when Doyoung does nothing but smile and nod at him to continue. “We met at a café about…about six months ago. I think he is kind of special.”

“What is his name?” Doyoung asks expectantly. “Does he treat you well?”

“Come on,” Donghyuck laughs. “This is such a cliché brotherly question. His name is Taeil, please don’t find and scare him away, I doubt he’s up for breaking my heart if he’s tolerated me for that long.”

“Nobody is allowed to break my little brother’s heart,” Doyoung says sternly. “Have you ever been with anyone else for that long?”

“I haven’t,” Donghyuck mutters. He knows six months isn’t terribly long, but it is quite some time to be sleeping with only one person. “He smells like smoke and sage,” he adds, because he knows that if Doyoung tries he can smell Taeil on him. They slept in until late in the day before Taeil had to clock in and Donghyuck had to finish some work before visiting his brother. “I like him a lot.”

“I know it’s scary, it shouldn’t be, but I know it is,” Doyoung has been a great brother and Donghyuck tries to not inflate his ego, he has a boyfriend to do that, after all, but he has to at least mentally give him that. “You can bring him to one of our brunches sometimes, I promise I’ll be good to him.”

“I think he’d love Jaehyun’s dry ass humor actually,” Donghyuck giggles, thinking of all the puns Taeil tells him and are so horrible they actually make Donghyuck laugh. “That could be disastrous.”

“Won’t hurt to try,” Doyoung rolls his shoulders and that is the end of their conversation as they go back to dinner and bickering over trivial matters. Donghyuck realizes he just came out to his brother, it was that simple. Maybe he isn’t ready for his parents yet, but he’s ready to take the next step nonetheless, whatever that might be.

 

-

 

“How do you feel?” Renjun taps away on his laptop while Donghyuck pretends to be working on his own. They are at their usual café and Donghyuck has taken a blocker because his rut is only two days away and he stinks of nasty alpha pheromones but wanted to see his friend beforehand.

“I’m alright I think?” He scrunches his nose, lifting his arm to take a sniff of his armpit and Renjun clicks his tongue. “Tummy hurts a little and I have the usual pre-rut stuff going on, but nothing out of the ordinary.”

“Hm,” Renjun tilts his head, studying him. “Have you discussed marking each other yet? You smell like him twenty-four seven anyway, better just make it official already.”

“Marking is an outdated practice, Renjun,” Donghyuck shakes his head, ignoring how the thought of being marked up by Taeil and marking him back feels. He’s never mated with anyone and it sounds a little scary, knowing that the marks can stay on someone’s body for so long, but at the same time there’s something primal that screams at him to do it every time he’s on the bed together with Taeil. He wonders if Taeil feels it too, but he’s too much of a coward to ask.

“So you don’t want to be marked up?” Renjun wiggles his eyebrows. “You’ve been waxing poetry about Moon Taeil for the past half a year and you don’t want to mark his pretty neck and have him smelling like mint and grass? It’s true that your scents don’t really compliment each other, but I thought you’d be up for that.”

And of course, Renjun knows him too well. Of course, Renjun is an alpha too, a little selfish, a little possessive, as all of them are.

“How is it going with Johnny?” He asks instead and Renjun probably takes pity on his pre-rut hormonal self so he just stretches lazily and shuts his laptop.

“Pretty nice actually? He’s such a gentleman and I don’t know if this could be something serious, but we’re having a good time for now.” Renjun unlocks his phone to show him some pictures of what seems to be a huge fish tank in some high-end restaurant. “He took me out to that place? I think he has friends there or something because he paid and the food cost as much as my rent.”

“Well,” that doesn’t look very casual, Donghyuck wants to tell him, but he has other issues he needs to tend to, like dispersing the thought of Taeil’s teeth grazing the side of his throat. “That looks very nice,” he sips his milkshake and lets Renjun tell him about the perfect mister Johnny Suh.

 

-

 

“It hurts,” is the first thing Donghyuck utters when Taeil punches the door code and lets himself inside. “Come here,” he pouts and makes grabby hands. “And kiss me.”

“I’ll be right there,” Taeil chirps, taking his shoes off and heading to the couch, falling on Donghyuck’s lap and arranging himself so he’s half laying on him as he props himself to leave a peck on his lips.

“You call that a kiss?” Donghyuck’s hormones are on the rise and he feels more emotional than he usually is, which also means he needs Taeil to know that if they don’t kiss properly in the next five seconds he is going to start crying, which is a relatively embarrassing thing to do while he’s also getting hard and there’s only so many things Taeil can take care of at once.

Taeil pushes him down on the couch and at last, kisses him properly, tongue and teeth and all, but it barely does anything and Donghyuck is soon moving, thrusting his hips up to get some precious friction. That’s when Taeil stops.

“Let’s go to the bed,” he says, pulling on Donghyuck’s hand. “It’ll be difficult to move you later on.”

“But I want to kiss you,” Donghyuck whines, unmoving. Deep down in his mind he knows he’s being difficult, but his alpha has other ideas.

Taeil stares at him. He’s getting hard in his own sweats too and Donghyuck, completely ignoring how exhausting and messy a rut can be, doesn’t get why they can’t do it on the couch. The couch is perfect. He’s been slacking on the couch for some hours so it’s also warm, something the bed isn’t. And then Taeil does what’s undeniably one of the hottest things Donghyuck has experienced, or at least that’s what his hazy mind registers.

Alphas don’t often exhibit their alpha in front of others of the same subgender. It can get stuffy with pheromones in the best case and start ugly fights in the worst. But Taeil does and Donghyuck realizes how much he trusts them to not hurt each other, even accidentally, especially since alphas are their most aggressive during their ruts. Taeil picks him up with ease and Donghyuck can see his biceps bulging under the short sleeves of his tee, so when he’s left back on the mattress, he has only one goal in mind; taking Taeil’s shirt off. And on what Donghyuck sets his mind on, Donghyuck succeeds.

“Just kissing?” Taeil asks, Donghyuck already pushing his sweats out of the way, trying to get his hands on as much skin as he possibly can. He hasn’t seen Taeil in two days and it felt like a whole century.

“No god,” Donghyuck wipes the sweat from his brow with the back of his hands. “Let me open you up baby.”

“I already did that myself myself,” Taeil replies and he smells so delicious Donghyuck is losing his mind. “I wanted to be ready.”

Donghyuck gets a moment of clarity right then. Maybe the sole one until the end of his rut, so he uses it well, placing his hands on Taeil’s shoulders and searching for answers into his eyes. “You really want this?”

Taeil holds himself up on his arms, caging Donghyuck underneath him. Maybe it wasn’t ideal to bottom for the first time during a rut, but Taeil hasn’t shown the slightest sign of discomfort, Donghyuck can smell the eagerness, how his scent fluctuates with want.

“I really want it,” Taeil kisses his nose and Donghyuck giggles because it tickles. “And I’ve wanted it for a long time, but I had a hard time saying it. And then your rut came and I knew I couldn’t bear the thought of you spending it with someone else.”

“I wouldn’t want it to be anyone else either,” Donghyuck admits. “Will you let me mark you after my rut is done? And I want you to mark me too.”

Taeil doesn’t reply. He moves slowly, taking Donghyuck’s hands into his own and pinning him above his head, leaning down for one more kiss. “I will,” he mutters against Donghyuck’s throat. “I want you to mark me,” he kisses Donghyuck’s ear and then lets his hands free to take the rest of their clothes off. “But for now, let me take care of you.”

 

 

Donghyuck wakes up dehydrated, disoriented, hungry and horny, but at least Taeil is comfortingly pressed by his side. He doesn’t remember much from the previous night, but he remembers enough. Taeil chanting his name, how his knot felt inside him, the almost overwhelming scent, Taeil wiping him down and promising to hold him right before he fell asleep. He feels bone-deep tired and sated only in the way he can after a good rut.

“Hey,” Taeil stirs. “Go back to sleep, it’s early.” He is wearing one of Donghyuck’s shirts and he’s warm and soft and his morning voice is scratchy and Donghyuck thinks he loves him.

The second wave of his rut is much mellower, but Donghyuck knows he should eat and properly clean himself up before it hits, possibly in a couple of hours based on how he feels, still calm, but there’s something definitely stirring in the pit of his stomach.

“How do you feel?” He asks, caressing Taeil’s sides. “I’ll probably be up for more in a few hours.”

“A little sore,” Taeil shakes his hips like he’s trying to assess the situation. “Definitely worth it.”

“Shower, breakfast and round two?” Donghyuck suggests and pokes Taeil’s shoulder until he turns around for a kiss.

“Sounds good,” Taeil smiles and Donghyuck knows it’s too early, but maybe he can imagine them making some long term plans together.

 

-

 

“You could also be a little more subtle about the fact you got some,” Renjun mutters, looking Donghyuck up and down. Two days after his rut and only a few hours after Taeil left his house and he’s well fed, rested and judging from the way he feels his skin is glowing too.

“Why?” Donghyuck looks at the assortment of pants he has thrown on the bed and tries to pick one. It shouldn’t be that difficult of a task considering they are only meeting Jeno and Jaemin and going for a walk, but he knows his scent is still in that after-rut mode, strong and nice so he wants to boast to the general public a little. “Jealous?”

“No,” Renjun picks a pair of jeans for him and pulls on his sweats until he strips to change into them. “I get laid just enough.”

“We should go on a double date!” Donghyuck chirps. “Triple even if Jeno and Jaem are up for it,” it’s a good idea, he can properly meet Johnny about who he’s heard so many stories and spend his time wisely exchanging embarrassing Renjun stories with info on Taeil. He and Johnny have been friends for a good while, so Donghyuck is sure Johnny will have the good stuff for him.

“I’m not going on any kind of date with you included,” Renjun shakes his head, throwing a shirt at him to wear next. “I bet you are the pda kind of couple that exchanges spit on public property.”

“We aren’t!” Donghyuck defends himself, turning to the mirror to make sure the shirt goes well with his hails and hair. “Taeil is pretty shy, actually.”

Renjun squints at him, like he’s trying to figure if he’s lying or not but doesn’t comment further and Donghyuck doesn’t elaborate. He might not have the best reputation when it comes to public decency, although he’s never been in trouble as he knows how to behave when he absolutely needs to, but now he, above everything else, considers and respects how much of a private person Taeil is. He likes holding hands and Donghyuck loves indulging him, but he gets stressed with kissing and other kinds of PDA. It doesn’t really bother Donghyuck, knowing he’ll have Taeil as close as he wants at home; that’s where he transforms to a cuddly, warm mass.

He vividly remembers Johnny calling him a housecat at their first meeting and thinks he really hit the nail on the head with that one. Taeil likes laying on the couch and likes laying on Donghyuck who’s laying on the couch even more. He almost purrs when Donghyuck plays with his hair or back hugs him and rubs his tummy. In Donghyuck’s subtle and objective opinion, Taeil is just the single most endearing alpha in the world. And he is also Donghyuck’s alpha.

 

-

 

“Not to be nosy,” Jaemin pulls on the collar of his shirt, takes a look around his neck and lets him go. “No mark yet?”

“We didn’t want to do it during my rut,” Donghyuck eyes the matching mating marks on Jaemin and Jeno’s necks, still deep and an almost bright red, like the very first day they showed them to their friends. “It would be unfair to the both of us.”

“That is very mature of you,” Jeno says, picking a little bag from his pocket to feed the ducks by the pond. It’s a nice day to be out at the park. Donghyuck is watching the ducks come closer; they can probably recognize Jeno by now. “But are you sure Taeil is as serious about you, as you are about him?”

Jaemin and Renjun turn their heads to Jeno almost comically fast and Donghyuck stills, trying to make sense of what Jeno implied. “Why wouldn’t he be?” He says, knowing they can smell him get defensive. “We are just taking it slow.”

Nobody replies to him and Donghyuck starts getting angry, because they’ve obviously talked about this between themselves before, talked about his own relationship behind his back without sharing their worries.

“We just don’t want you to get your heart broken, Hyuck,” Renjun finally speaks up, because he knows Donghyuck wouldn’t act up against another alpha, while Jeno and Jaemin are on thinner ice, although they should know Donghyuck would never hurt them. “You haven’t liked someone that much before and even if we trust your judgment, we don’t know him and- we just want you to be happy, that is all.”

The pond is tranquil, most of the ducks out and picking on the seeds Jeno spread for them. It’s warm and it smells more of the trees than of other people. Donghyuck can smell Taeil on him still, familiar and comforting. He wonders if he has given Taeil any reason to want to walk out on him. If he is not enough, or if he simply is Taeil’s experimental phase. It’s nothing new, the same thoughts keeping him aware every now and them, but his friends expressing concern makes it all too real.

He looks at his friends. He’s known them for too long, he remembers sitting next to Renjun at high school and he remembers hanging at Jeno’s house after his classes and riding his bike with Jaemin. His dumb alpha pride tells him he needs to protect his and his possible mate’s relationship but he knows better than to push his friends away.

“Thank you for your concern,” he croaks out and Renjun looks slightly confused when Donghyuck wills his expression to soften; he was probably bracing out for Donghyuck lashing out too. “Me and Taeil can talk it out, but in any case it is something personal, as if it’s his first relationship with another alpha too.”

He asks Jeno for seeds to feed the ducks too. It’s too much of a nice day to either fight or get himself sick with worry, after all.

 

-

 

To Taeil 23:53

you like me right?

 

Still less than a full day since they last saw each other and Donghyuck already misses him too much. It hurts, but the thought of Taeil not missing him as much hurts even more.

 

From Taeil 00:04

Come over

 

Donghyuck stares at his phone screen, so long it goes black. He doesn’t know what it means but he doubts Taeil would want to see him just to tell him he doesn’t like him. They both have to work the next morning, but Donghyuck doesn’t care, he’ll deal with his lack of sleep and foolish decisions later on. So without replying to the text he puts a tee and a pair of shorts on and walks the thirty five minutes to Taeil’s place, a route familiar and comforting because it always meant he’d be in Taeil’s arms soon.

The night is quiet and the fresh air eases his worries even if just a bit. He wishes they could be a little bit better at this; at talking, handling their own emotions, the whole relationship thing, but at least they try and maybe this is all that matters.

 

“Donghyuck,” Taeil greets him with a small smile. He’s in his pajamas, washed down and looking tired, and Donghyuck knows he loves him, even if he hasn’t told him before and it might take a long while to tell him, if they make it through the night, it is. “Do you want a chamomile?”

“Yes, please,” Donghyuck steps in, feeling weird. He’d usually take his shoes off hastily and run to kiss Taeil, but it feels off limits somehow. The living room window is open and he can hear the cicadas, but apart from it and the small sounds of Taeil taking a mug out of the cupboard and boiling water it’s completely quiet.

“Are we going to break up?” He asks, before he can stop himself and it sounds dumb even to him, because there is literally nothing that points to that direction, nothing apart from his own insecurities, at least.

Taeil’s shoulders tense and he doesn’t look back at Donghyuck, but he relaxes again. “I sure hope not,” he says and the few minutes before he comes with their mugs feel like centuries. “I just think we need to talk,” he places the mugs on the low table and pushes on towards Donghyuck.

“Is there something specific you want to tell me?” Donghyuck draws closer to Taeil until they are against each other. He needs the assurance a warm body next to him brings and he can smell that it helps Taeil, who gives him a little nod, too. “Alright,” he places a hand on Taeil’s knee, his voice soft. “Tell me.”

 

“Okay,” Taeil takes a deep breath. “So, a few years ago me and Johnny used to share a dorm at our last years of university. It was good, we hosted a lot of parties, we had fun together and he cleaned up after himself well on top of us being friends from earlier on. I always knew he liked both alphas and betas and it never bothered me, I was only a little curious about it, I guess.”

“Curious in what way?” Donghyuck takes a sip of his chamomile.

“I liked alpha scents, but I could never imagine myself with another alpha,” Taeil explains. “Johnny would come home scented, and I just couldn’t understand how he’d be comfortable going around with another alpha’s scent on him when everyone could smell it. I guess I grew up in a pretty conservative environment and before university I didn’t even know those kinds of relationships were a possibility. I wish I could say I was a supportive friend to Johnny, but I know I wasn’t, because I always kind of assumed he’d settle with a beta and his university sleeping around will be forgotten. And then he confessed to me.”

“Oh,” Donghyuck bites the inside of his cheek and reaches for Taeil’s hand.

“It took a really long time to mend our relationship back. I panicked and pushed him away and I know I hurt him too much, but at the time I didn’t know any better. Every day I am thankful he was so patient with me and that he wanted me back as a friend.”

“Are you good now?” Donghyuck’s curiosity gets the best of him. “You seem very close.”

“We are,” Taeil smiles. “He is the most important person in my life, I know he always has my back.”

“That’s good,” Donghyuck rubs Taeil’s palm with his thumb. “I’m glad,” he says, because he and Renjun had horrible fights and they have hurt each other, but they worked to keep their relationship afloat too.

“But you know, the feeling never quite left, not until recently,” Taeil continues. “At some point I made peace with the fact I liked alphas, but honestly I didn’t think I’d ever act on it because I knew it’d strain my relationship with my family and I had to work through my own pile of issues while at it too, it seemed like too much, you know?”

Donghyuck stares at him. “We are in a relationship,” he states. It’s been eight months since their first meeting, a long time.

“We are,” Taeil confirms. “I wanted this to work, because you are worth it and because it feels right and it makes me happy. I was really scared. Actually I was about to end things every single day the first couple of months just because I was a coward and I knew I was becoming attached to you.”

“But you stayed,” Donghyuck looks at him. A silent question. Will you stay a little more? Maybe a few months, a couple years, or forever?

“That text of me asking you to come for my rut,” Taeil laughs, but it’s a dry, lifeless sound. “Johnny sent it from my phone because my hands were trembling too much, but I wanted to try it. And once I tried it I knew I could never go back again. I would never approach another alpha by myself but you just came and left me your number, like it was the easiest thing in the world. I decided I owned you some courage back.”

“Well, that worked well for us, somehow,” Donghyuck leaves his mug on the table and climbs on Taeil’s lap, hugging his shoulders right. “Can I share some things too?”

“Of course,” Taeil’s arms come around his waist as he noses on Donghyuck’s cheek.

So Donghyuck starts in reverse. Tells him about his friends being worried and about him being worried, about all the alphas that were terrible to him in the past and about how he once wished he’d be attracted to other subgenders too, but he was never interested in anyone else and even his ruts with omegas and betas couldn’t compare to the ones he’d spend with alphas. Taeil holds him close and kisses the tears off his cheeks and tells him it’s going to be okay, and maybe for the first time in his life, Donghyuck really believes it.

 

-

 

“Morning,” Taeil mutters and Donghyuck, before he even opens his eyes knows they’re both going to be terribly sore from the way they slept since he’s still on Taeil’s lap, unmoving from when he passed out the previous night.

“Don’t you have to go to work?” Donghyuck whispers against his chest and he wishes Taeil never moved again.

“It’s still too early,” Taeil kisses the top of his head. “We have some time.”

“I love you,” Donghyuck smiles. It feels right to say it and the scent of smoke and sage fill the room, a little excited, a little of something else Donghyuck doesn’t recognize, but it feels like an I love you too.

“Donghyuck,” Taeil’s voice is soft, as his hand is on Donghyuck’s check, pushing his head up. “Love, come on?”

“Huh?” Donghyuck lifts his head just enough to look at him.

“Come on,” Taeil smiles, rubbing the side of his neck before he cups Donghyuck’s face again. “It’s time.”

Donghyuck noses on Taeil’s fingers first. The scent is musky and thick and he feels it too, that it’s the right time to do this even if he didn’t imagine it to happen like this, when they are lazy and slow. He leans down and takes in the scent, leaping his tongue on the spot, trying how it tastes and Taeil gives a little moan in response.

“Are you sure?” he checks, but Taeil is holding him close by the back of his head and the room feels too hot and he’s never wanted to bite down on someone before. All thoughts of subtle marking fly out of his head the moment he realizes that when Taeil steps out of his apartment in a few hours everyone out there will know he is mated, and Donghyuck will have a matching mark of his own to show off.

He kisses the soft skin just to coax every little sound out of Taeil. He’s never marked everyone before but everyone says that no time feels as good as the first one, so he wants to make it as good as he can. By the time the sun is up and he knows their alarms are due to go off soon Taeil is shaking underneath him, hard against Donghyuck.

He doesn’t know what to expect when he finally bites down, because the real feel of it is so much better than anything he’d ever fantasized or dreamed, but above all, it feels right. And when Taeil catches him by the waist and pushes him down on the couch to kiss him before he marks him back, it feels complete too.

 

-

 

“So, Taeil,” Doyoung smiles like a Cheshire cat. He’s wearing his thin rimmed glasses which create the illusion that he is way more serious and sophisticated than he actually is. “What do you do for a living? You have to understand that I only want the best for my brother.”

“Doyoung,” Donghyuck almost chokes on his cocktail before he elbows his brother. He throws a desperate look Jaehyun’s way, but he’s more occupied with dripping maple syrup on his stack of pancakes than saving his brother-in-law.

“I’m an IT engineer,” Taeil replies pleasantly. He was really excited to meet Donghyuck’s brother for some reason, and for some other reason they seem to be getting along really nicely, even if Doyoung is trying his hardest to play the role of the older firm brother. Jaehyun seems to be enjoying himself on the side while Donghyuck is stressed Doyoung is going to scare Taeil away, although at this point, mated and all, that seems like a much unlikely scenario. “I work for a big company, Beta electronics, if you have heard of it.”

“That sounds nice,” Doyoung nods, digging into his French toast with honey. “I am a land developer,” he adds. “My fiancé, here,” he takes Jaehyun’s hand into his own, their rings shining under the sun rays coming in the bruncherie from the wide windows. They’ve been even more whipped than usual after the proposal and Donghyuck is glad he has Taeil, because it’s disgustingly sweet. “My dear Jaehyunnie is a songwriter and composer, he works at a small company right now, but he is going to make it big.”

“That sounds exciting!” Taeil smiles at Jaehyun. “You like music a lot then!” He chirps to which Jaehyun nods excitedly, his dimples in full display. “So do you know why can’t an athlete listen to music?”

“Why?” Jaehyun lights up, Taeil apparently more important than his pancakes.

“Because they broke the record!” Taeil beams as Jaehyun starts laughing so loud he scares the couple at the nearby table.

“Oh my god,” Doyoung covers his mouth with his hands. “That was so bad.”

“Oh my god,” Donghyuck agrees. He thought Taeil was out of puns, but apparently he always has some for emergency bonding.

“They like me,” Taeil leans in to whisper into his ear while Doyoung is wiping the syrup off his fiancé’s mouth. “Now you’re never getting rid of me.”

“Ah,” Donghyuck dramatically exhales. “I guess I can live with that.”